Things fell apart: We would have been better off without Zille’s infatuation (colonialism)

ziller-cooking.jpg

“For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.” (Helen Zille, circa 2017)

 

I ordinarily do not have the energy, inclination or desire to engage with Helen Zille’s utterances. It is a futile exercise. She lacks the insight to understand the deleterious effects of her ideological leanings.

 

Even here I intend not to dwell on her comments (Zille elaborated her vitriol in this Daily Maverick piece) instead I make a critique of some of the responses to her comments.

 

I am rather disturbed by an array of commentators who are, on the surface chastising Helen whilst, implicitly accepting as immovable truth the core thesis of her tweet rant.

 

My reading of her core claim is that colonialism brought about industrial (roads, water infrastructure) and social order (judiciary) that are inherently better than what prevailed and that could not have been possibly developed by Africans in the absence of the arrival of the eternal visitors from the Netherlands and England.

 

I do not accept this assertion. I find it telling that so many people can accept it with virtually no evidence and little interrogation. In an imperfect analogy it is, for me, similar to person A raping person “B” and then telling her that he has given her the best debut sexual experience possible. “B” cannot now have a chance to have a sexual debut of her choice and thus there is no way of disproving the callous assertion but that is hardly proof of A’s statement.

 

There is absolutely no reason to assume that Africa would have under-developed (whatever that means) without the painful interaction with the hostage takers that were the colonizers.

 

It is regrettable that we have never bothered to study the psychopathic drive that made some men want to travel the entire breadth of the globe terrorizing others, voraciously acquiring senseless amounts of wealth whilst inducing intractable levels of trauma and suffering.

 

The intellectual pollution spread by colonial and apartheid masterminds and their apologists requires critical thinkers to debunk and demystify the fallacious remarks that are easily accepted as given truths. For this purpose I challenge you to read any or all of the following: Chinua Achebe (whose title I have altered), Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s Decolonisation of the mind, Bantu Stephen Biko’s I write what I like, Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the oppressed, Thabo Myuyelwa Mbeki’s speeches on the African Renaissance, Na’im Akbar’s papers in African Psychology, the seminal Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois…

 

Biko in particular left African folk with the arduous task of gifting the world with a more humane face. A commendable aspirational dictate that is made the more difficult by the world’s continued perception of Africa as not being a worthy student never mind a suitable teacher. What then can Africans do if the world is not a willing learner?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Should #FeesMustFall fall? A comment on violent protests

South Africa is a violent country steeped in a violent history and students are merely doing things the way that things are done here.

 

The fallacious notion that students may protest but only do so peacefully is redundant and fantastical.

 

Let me issue the customary condemnation of violence. Violence is wrong, it begets more violence, and it should pre-empted, discouraged and dealt with.

 

Students or alumni will tell you that the matters raised by students, be it fees, residence related disgruntlement or calls for decolonizing the curricula and academic spaces, never invoke so much spark as to attract the participation of a majority of students. If a university has 20 000 students it is hardly ever the case that 10 000 +1 are ready to sing “Iyoooo Solomon” and get their voices heard.

 

The general course of events are such that a concerned group of students protest and as a means of getting their voice heard the remonstration includes a disruption of normal academic activity. Satyagraha campaigns do not fare well; this we know because students have been protesting against unaffordable fees and lack of residence spaces long before the Must Fall movement. Most of these fairly peaceful protests failed to revolutionize the status quo. Universities are enormous, if you quietly protest in some corner no one will know. More pressingly, everyone stands to benefit from the implementation of the demands of students insofar as a decolonized and accessible university programme is concerned. As a certain vice chancellor recently made note at a Golf Day event, the 1st degree has replaced the matric certificate as the mandatory qualification for job entrants. This throws out the “university is a privilege” claptrap.

 

An oft made comment, that is usually the epitome of lazy thinking, says that students must use other means, discussion with management, to get their demands heard. This comment insults the intelligence of students. As is the case with labour strikes, and, to a large extent, service delivery protests the strike is the last resort. Discussions between students and management or the department of higher education are held on unequal grounds. Students- in whatever form of organization- effectively have to pitch their ideas to the decision-makers as opposed to egalitarian engagement. In fact to date there are decision making structures that decide on student matters without student representation. I am not advocating for a change of the structures, the students do not need my advocacy, I am merely offering a partial rationale for the strikes.

 

For an elucidatory understanding of revolutionary violence I implore you to read Steve Biko, Frantz Fanon, George Orwell and Fatima Meer’s “The (mis)trial of Andrew Zondo”. Should students be conferred with a criminal record for burning car tyres and blocking university entrances? No! What if a person burns a library, lecture hall or a residence? Yes, they must be charged! Same goes for physical harm of fellow students, lecturers, and people’s cars.

 

Regrettably there will be casualties of war. Sadists from student and security set-ups will use the protest as a cover for pursuing their anti-social urges. Some will suffer 3rd degree burns in their pursuit of their 1st degrees but history will judge the #FeesMustFall students kindly.Fees-Must-Fall.jpg

Unemployment: Rand Deficiency Traumatic Reality Disorder

Last word

Allow me to begin with a conclusion. To the employed people: Be kind. Unemployment, like acquired disability, happens. If you have nothing positive to say keep your thoughts to yourself. Most people who are actively job-seeking despise their situation of dependency. Do not aggravate their pain.

 

To those seeking an income generating activity, reading inane blog posts won’t help you find a job, I am kidding. Edit that CV: delete the claptrap about your excellent health and being a prefect in Grade 7. Keep hustling, do voluntary work, study further, network voraciously and when you are on the verge of giving up pretend you are one application away from getting that job or business break. Pray if you must but ease up on the donations at church, God should understand. Good luck! Do not tell me you do not believe in luck. Your day will come, or as they say in Thohoyandou Lidoda duvha. Stay in your lane and wait for the highway to merge into a freeway…

 

Optimism of the early days

There is something about the infancy stages of unemployment that spawns unbridled optimism. You have the recent graduate or newly retrenched person making plans for the next month, “when I get a job I will… ”. Some will even borrow money using the job, which they imagine to be on the horizon, as collateral. Lend it to the person at your own risk. One source said it takes a year, on average, for a graduate to get a job; this disadvantageously becomes 18 months if the graduate is black.  Another study said it took an average of 7 months for university graduates to get hired, with Humanities students majoring in the arts remaining unemployed for longer than their other university counterparts (Mncayi, 2016). I only skim read 2 sources. I am gainfully employed, I did not have the time to indulge.

 

Levels of patience vary but without fail the fluorescent optimism dims, replaced by a gale threatened candlelight. When you have been looking for a job, or a business break, for months or years on end you can’t help but doubt your prospects. Self doubt leads to a depreciation of self-esteem (ironically lessening your employability at interviews/pitches). At this juncture social evils like gambling and substance abuse become appealing. Charlatans and money-making schemers suddenly become your best friends. Resist!

 

Television etiquette

If you know what is good for you will accept the following:

As an unemployed compatriot my television viewing times are during office hours. I can watch TV in the evenings but I do not have remote control privileges. I cannot have favourite shows during prime time (evenings). I can watch TV when the worker bees have gone to bed but this is in defiance of the principle of “altruistic expenditure of financial resources that I do not contribute towards”. Watching TV late at night is a waste of electricity.

 

Chores and food

Be proactive. To avoid being asked if you are adhesively attached to the sofa make sure you do your part in the house upkeep, more importantly ensure you are seen doing chores.

 

Do not just sweep the house. Time it such that you lower the dustpan as the first worker will be walking in from a long, productive day at the office. Otherwise the person may incredulously pick up the broom and sweep the house (read curse you for doing nothing the whole day) thus rubbishing and nullifying your efforts.

 

A woman who is unemployed automatically becomes the maid, nanny & cook. Most of us do not protest this. It is the patriarchal norm. We go with the wave, enjoy the readymade warm meals and cleanliness of the homestead. Unfortunately the reverse also applies. An unemployed male in his 20s- 30s is also expected to moonlight as a maid-cum-cook. If you do not cook for 1 afternoon you hear the murmurs “besekunzima nokubeka amanzi ophuthu nje, umuntu ezineke ku sofa usuku lonke”. You opted to lie on the sofa the whole day and did not even boil water for phuthu.

 

Cereal is out of bounds.  It belongeth to the school-going children (and working adults who may need an easy-to-make breakfast). Pap/porridge is your loyal friend, cue the lemon juice.

 

Woe unto you if you have a beer or two when you do a piece job for a paying neighbour (most won’t pay you in cash). “He couldn’t even buy bread. He doesn’t even know how much it costs”.

 

21 Questions

You can’t even take a bath and dress presentably without being asked Uyaphi? Where are you going?  Are you posting curriculum vitaes? Did you see that you friend bought a car? Are you praying about your situation?

 

Unappreciated

Generally speaking gender and age are two of the factors that determine one’s ascribed power in the family unit. Head of the house and you think of a _ _ _. Heir status is usually reserved for the eldest _ _ _. You get my drift.

 

Unemployment has the power to change this. When you are unemployed you risk losing that status. Suddenly decisions that should be made with your input are discussed in your absence. The advice of younger, moneyed, siblings is sought- including suggestions on how to deal with your ‘unemployment situation’. This becomes awkward for all and sundry.

 

Camouflage: Do not draw attention to yourself

Desist from expensive habits. You can jog and lift weights but do not go to the gym.

 

Do not even think about playing Pokémon Go! “Unama bundles uwathathaphi”? “Where did you get the money for data bundles”? Even in that augmented reality you must be an unemployed somebody with a CV in hand chasing a job opportunity.

 

The knicker dilemma

Parents, aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins may help you out where clothing is concerned. Emphasis on ‘help out’ as opposed to buy you clothes. When you start to resemble the nyaope/whoonga boys (it is always boys regardless of the person’s age or sex): shirts with no buttons, torn jeans that are literally hanging by a single thread and white clothes that now look cream brown, you may earn a pity shopping spree at the buyer’s chosen store.  The dilemma arises at this point, do you casually add underwear to the items you point out to the buyer or do you let pride get in the way. Remember everything you do may be held against you. The next time you get a verbal drubbing your purchase may lead to a reminder of how you have everything bought for you right down to your undergarments. To kill a man’s pride suddenly becomes more than just a title of an anthology of short stories.

 

Introduction

There is nothing wrong with being unemployed; except when it is for perpetually long periods of time. Time spent unemployed should be like time spent in public toilets, brisk, unavoidable and pedagogic.

 

Job experience

Aziwe #FeesMustFall

“Inkunzi isematholeni”. Lamazwi aqukethe okuningi uma ulandela okwenzeka eNingizimu Afrika namuhla.

Intsha idlala izidakamizwa kanye nezifo ezingalapheki. Ikati lilele eziko. Imisebenzi ayikho. Abantu abanawo amakhono okuzisebenza. Abanye baziphilisa ngamasenti akhishwa uhulumeni ngenhloso yokulekelela abazali bezingane. Ukuba umuntu onsundu kusayichilo njengoba kwakunjalo ngo-1994.

Amazwi eqhawe lomzabalazo u-Solomon Mahlangu, ebhekwe isigwebo sentambo, athi akanavalo ngesigwebo abekwe sona ngoba uyazi ukuthi igazi lakhe lizoba umanyolo ozokhulisa isihlahla sempumelelo. Iqhawe lentsha elabulawa ngamaphoyisa ngonyaka wa-1977, u-Bantu Steve Biko, uthi esikhathini sempumelelo wonke umuntu uyoba nendawo yakhe yokukhululeka, atanase, athokoziswe izithelo zalesihlahla umfoka Mahlangu akhuluma ngaso. Abafundi abasema nyuvesi kulonyaka bathi leyo mpumelelo abayazi! Ayikafiki! Basayizingela! Bazoyithola ngenkani!

 Ukhongolose unguhulumeni

Ukhongolose uwine ukhetho lokugcina ngomkhankaso obunobuciko, kepha isiqubulo ebesithi “We have a good story to tell” sesiphenduka ihlaya. Ukwenza abantu izilima ukuthi uthi uphethe mese utshele abafundi ukuthi uvumelana nesifiso sabo kepha ungenzi isiqiniseko sokuthi kwenzeke lokhu okucelwayo. Uhulumeni utshele abaphathi bezikhungo zemfundo ukuthi akwande inani labafundi. Izikhungo zikwenzile lokhu. Kodwa uhulumeni uyayinciphisa imali ayifaka emanyuvesi. Kuyacaca ke ukuthi inhloso ukuthi abafundi bangaqedi noma kwehle uhlobo noma ubuchule bemfundo. Imfundo yamabanga aphela kumatikuletsheni ifile. Uma isimo siqhubeka kuyacaca ukuthi iziqu zemfundo ephakeme zingagcina sezi yizeleze njenge sitifiketi sikamatikuletsheni.

Ukhongolose kumele wazi ukuthi uma ungakugobeli lokhu okucelwa abafundi, ukuthi imali ingakhuphuki ngonyaka ozayo, bavumelana nokuthi isizwe esimnyama siqhubeke nokuhlupheka okungasoze kwaphela. Isiphelile manje iminyaka emihlanu abafundi ezikhungweni ezahlukene beteleka unyaka nonyaka ngalo loludaba lokubiza kwemfundo. Isikhathi sokubaziba sesiphelile.

Abafundi bakhombisa ubuholi

Abahlaziyi bezombusazwe sekunesikhathi manje bekhononda ngokungabi khona kwabaholi ongazishaya isifuba ngabo. Uma ucabanga abaholi esinabo uvele uphelelwe amandla, awucabange laba nje: umongameli u-Jacob Zuma, mam’ Angie Motshekga, Faith Muthambi, Gugile Nkwinti, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Dina Pule, Ellen Tshabalala, Thulas Nxesi, Nathi Mthethwa neduku lakhe, Tina Joemat Peterson. Ngingazithola ngihlaselwa iNyala ne White star uma ngibabiza ngempuphu. Kuthi khala uma ubuka ubungane nobuphukuphuku obuqhubeka ephalamende.

Isenzo sabafundi abasemanyuvesi ahlukahlukene sikhombise ubuhlakani nobuholi esingasabazi. Ngesikhathi esincane nje abafundi bakwazila ukudonsa amehlo eningi ngendlela ezokwenza ukuthi sibheke ukubiza kwemfundo ephakeme, sibheke ubandlululo olusaqhubeka kwezinye zalezikhungo, siphinde sibukisise isimo sabantu abaqashiwe kulezikhungo zemfundo abasebenza kanzima kepha behhola amakinati.

Akukho nokumsabisa uBlade Nzimande ngokuthi #BladeMustFall ngoba uyambona nje ukuthi kukhona okuthize okudlula entanyeni okukade kwaqeda ngaye, sekuzisalele igobonga nje.

Okuhle ngokuteleka kwabafundi

Abafundi bakhombise umunyano oluyisimanga. Uma ubuholi babafundi base UKZN-Edgewood bungeneme, obase Westville buyangenelela. Umakuqala i-Wits i-UCT iyalandela, kuthi kusenjalo ubone i-DUT, NMMU, WSU, Rhodes kanjalo… Lokhu kuyinkomba yokuhlangana nokuhlela esingasakwazi selokho kwabakhona i-ANC ya-Mbeki ne-ANC ya-Zuma zibhekene emahlweni. Belwa bodwa. Bengalwi nobubha kanye nezinselelo esibhekene nazo njengezwe. Laba bafundi basebenza ndawonye noma omunye echeme ne-EFF omunye ewukhongolose kanjalo kanjalo. Kuyancomeka lokhu, amagalelo abo mahle. Bakhombisa ubuhlakani ngokuya ephalamende, eLuthuli House kanye nase-Union Buildings ngoba amavoti ethu aphelela khona.

Abafundi bakhombisa isimilo nobuhlakani ngokuteleka okungenadlame. Kodwa ke nalapho udlame luba khona kumele kucace ukuthi uma isimo sesifike kwa ngqingetshe angeke abafundi batshelwe ukuthi basebenzise eziphi izindlela zokuveza ukunganeliseki. Lokhu akuhlukile ekutheni i-PAC kanye ne-ANC kwadingeka ukuthi baqeqesha amasosha (POQO, Umkhonto weSizwe) ngaphambi kokuthi kuxoxiswana nezidlamlilo zamabhunu ezaziphethe.

Abafundi bakhombisa ukuqonda ukuthi impi ayikho mayelana nezimali nje kuphela kodwa kusanenselelo yokulwa nobandlulo kanye nefa lengcindezelo yeminyaka. Okunye okungihlabe umxhwele ukubona abafundi abangaswele  benyathela eduze kwalabo abangazithola bevaleleka ngaphandle uma izimali ezivele zibiza itshe ziphinde zikhuphuka.

Uma sibona abafundi bekhuzana bodwa, becosha amaphepha emuva kokuteleka, begqugquzelana ngokuthi bateleke emini mese bafunde ebusuku  sibona ngokusobala ukuthi banenhloso.

Isixazululo

Abezindaba babethi lapho uma bebuza izinsika zomzabalazo esibala kuzo u-Rolihlahla Mandela kanye no-Bantu Biko ukuthi abantu abamnyama banganikwa kanjani ivoti noma umhlaba ekubeni bengafundile? Lezihlabani ziphendule ngelithi:

Awudingi ukuthi ufunde ukuze ukwazi ukuzikhethela noma ube nomhlaba wokuziphilisa. Lendlela yokuphendula yayingenhlosi yokwenza kube sobala ukuthi akungadidaniswa izinto. Imfundo ibaluleke ngendlela eyisimanga kepha kwakungasona isizathu esiqavile sokuthi abantu abansundu ababambiswe iwa kuze kuyovalwa leso. Ngendlela ethi mayifane ke nginombono wokuthi ubuholi abudlule ekucasheni ngokuthi imali ayikho yokufeza izifiso zabafundi. Ubuholi abuhole bayeke ukuhona. Umsebenzi wabo ukuxazulula indaba yokuthi imali izoqhamukaphi. Kungcono ukuthi abafundi batelekele imali yokufunda kunoku khangezela imali yeqolo. Uma sikwazi ukukhipha izinkulungwanze zezigidi silungiselela indebe yomhlaba, sisafuna nokusingatha ama-Commonwealth games akungadlalwa ngathi kuthiwe imali ayikho. Kumele wonke umfundi ophasa kahle akwazi ukuthi afunde imfundo ephakeme!

Viva #FeesMustFall Viva!

#ProtestAndPass

#0%

#AwunyiPerhaps