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

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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

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 izinkulungwane 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

A mental status examination of the African National Congress.

We are eight months away from the 2014 elections that will ensure that the African National Congress under the leadership of Dr Reverend Professor Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma lead national government until 2019. Allow me to offer a mental status examination (MSE) of the African National Congress at this poignant moment. Wikipedia, Ja Ja I know we ought not to use it, describes the MSE as follows “a structured way of observing and describing a patient’s current state of mind, under the domains of appearance, attitude, behaviour, mood and affect, speech, thought process, thought content, perception, cognition, insight and judgement”.

Biographical details:

Name: Mr. ANC (In the words of the Women’s league president, Angie Motshekga’s,  words “We are not feminists”)

Age: 101

Date of Birth:  08 January 1912

Marital Status: In a polygamous marriage (Married to SACP and COSATU)

Mental Status Examination:

Appearance: Neatly dressed in expensive designer clothes, green, yellow and black coat with a tint of red. Mr. ANC walks with two feet up (sic. Animal Farm)

Behaviour: Disorganised (“ANC leaders charged with leading Western Cape Poo(faeces) protests”.
Speech: loquacious (Prof Zuma speaking to Journalism students was quoted by the M&G saying “when I am in South Africa, every morning you feel like you must leave this country because the reporting concentrates on the opposite of the positive”).

Mood: hyper-manic (See picture below)

Affect: Incongruent (Phiyega: “We are not sorry”, “Well done to the police”, after Marikana massacre in which 44 South Africans demised)

Thought Patterns: Illogical, Grandiose delusions? (“We are the champions of the Freedom Charter” juxtaposed with “Nationalisation is not ANC policy”. And now for the classics “The ANC will rule until Jesus comes”; “We want three thirds in the 2014 elections” said President Zuma”).

Intelligence: Meeting the criteria for the Dunning-Kruger Effect (Google it but in a nutshell it is the phenomena of not knowing that you do not know. Exhibit A: Trevor Manuel not anticipating the miners disgruntlement when he delivered a Ruth First lecture which was interrupted. Exhibit B: Phiyega firing Gauteng police chief Major-General Mondli Zuma on the day of his appointment.

Suicidality and Homicidality: ANC infighting is allegedly fatal at times. On the 25th of February 2013 ANC’s North West deputy chair China Dodovu was reportedly arrested in connection with the killing of the ANC’s regional secretary Obuti Chika. Killing your own chanas or  chinas is suicidal behaviour comrades. On the subject of homicidal behaviour the jury is out on Marikana. What of Candith Mashego-Dlamini, the Mpumalanga MEC of health, who failed to intervene when 30+ black children were killed in botched circumcisions?. She reportedly said this was because she is a woman and in her culture her gender does not allow her to intervene? {Just imagine if those children’s skin was melanin deficient}

Insight and judgement: Poor (We will establish a commission of inquiry to explicate the reason for being diagnosed as having poor insight and judgement. We will not rest until this matter is clarified.)

Differentials:

Multiple Personality disorder (traits of communalism, socialism, capitalism, liberalism and neo-liberalism)?

Dementia (Alzheimer’s type with disorganized behaviour)?

Mental Retardation?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Protective factors: Mr. ANC is very resilient having persevered following divorces with PAC in 1959, COPE in 2008 and EFF in 2013.

Disclaimer: No public funds were used in the creation of this satirical piece. However if you would like to contribute to a campaign to purchase an EFF beret for the National Commissioner feel free. Any person who has followed a trial in which the defense and prosecutors have employed different mental health practitioners will tell you that professional opinion is not always unanimous. If you disagree with me we will assume you are a professional with a different opinion. This disclaimer legitimizes opinions that are at odds with my opinion. @Hlaudi ‘Matric for what’ Motsoeneng and Prof Zuma I think this can be classified as good news.

 

Image

When the people say jump. How high do our elected representatives jump?

The dearth of leadership in South Africa

16 August 2013 marked the one year anniversary of the death of 34 black African miners who were shot by their police. The Marikana commission of inquiry is in session trying to piece together a credible story of what transpired. Allow me to uncouthly pre-empt the process and prophesize the outcome. Credible findings will point to a dire lack of leadership in the actions of the police, politicians and the business elite implicated in the most macabre massacre in democratic South Africa. My thesis proposes that the biggest crisis facing South Africa in 2013 is a dearth and death of leadership.

It is poignant that I write this at a time when South Africans follow with bated breath the long illness of Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela. This blog is titled Constructive Critique-ism, before I continue with this piece allow me to quote Mandela’s opinion on criticism. In a conversation with Ahmed Cathrada cited in Conversations with myself he says “You see criticism must be dignified. We must be factual, we must be realistic, we must be honest, but at the same time, you know, within a certain frame because we are builders”.

 

Trade Unionism

I will not entertain the Vavi debacle at great length. As far as I am concerned, which is not very far, the implicated lady is no Succubus. Let me save you an expedition to Google. Succubus is a female demon. Legend has it Lady Succubus is capable of descending upon a man while he sleeps and have sex with him. More pressing than Vavi’s urge to unzip his pants is the state of trade unionism in South Africa. Undeniably great strides have been made in attaining workers rights, particularly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The efforts of trade unionists culminated in the adoption of labour-friendly legislation such as the Labour Relations Act, 1995(Act No.66 of 1995) and representation in bodies like National Economic Development and Labour Council. In the recent past we have witnessed multiple protests that make you question the negotiation abilities of the trade unionists. The emergence of  the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the Workers and Socialist Party are to a large extent a result of the workers’ illustrating their discontent with the leadership provided by the dominant trade unionists. Comments from prominent members of COSATU suggesting that the reason for the dissatisfaction is that there is a gap between leadership and members are worrying at best.

Education

The more Angie defends the state of education in South Africa the less we believe her. We are not convinced, even when Helen Zille joins in defence of the minister of basic education. The proof is in the proverbial pudding. Speak to any high school teacher in a school attended by poor black learners and they will tell you they receive Grade 8 learners who have not mastered basic reading, writing and math. Basically they do not know the basics but the Minister of Basic education is under the illusion that things are improving. Take it a step further and quiz a Social Science university lecturer and they will tell you that students reach university without the ability to write an essay never mind understand the difference between a discursive or descriptive essay.  When Jacob “Every day I’m shuffling” Zuma announced the fourth cabinet reshuffle in five years Angie’s survival was notable and seen by many to be unjustified.

The fish rots from the head

It is easy to write about the flaws of our president. He is an innocent man with 786 charges of corruption which are yet to be tested in a court of law. Four reshuffles of the cabinet in one presidential term resemble Chippa United’s chopping and changing of coaches. For those who are not admirers of the beautiful game Chippa United had 6 coaches in a single, 9-months long, PSL season and were unceremoniously relegated at the end of the last campaign. No such luck with President Zuma. The shocking lack of leadership in the current ANC elite will see him bounce back into parliament next year. Let me not bore you with my thoughts on Nkandlagate and other such scandals.

Epidemic proportions

A comment by Agri SA deputy president Theo de Jager went unnoticed by most of you reading this. According to the Sowetan he said “Since 1994, this government has not had to manage a drought. If it happens, the government will have to decide very quickly how the country’s resources should be used”. In accordance with Theo government needs a natural disaster to be spurred into action as all forms of communication with government has been to no avail. This exemplifies a defining and depressing trait of our leadership. Our leaders are reactive, not proactive.

Perhaps the greatest indictment of leadership in present times is the ‘Pooh revolution’. No this is not a plagiarism of how Winnie the Pooh interacts with her or his friends. Unfortunately not! The Pooh revolution refers to an innovative, inimitable or downright shitty form of protest that is gaining momentum and stench. Pioneered in the Western Cape young people, alleged to be ANC Youth leaguers, collect human excrement from portable toilet containers and toss it at politicians, municipal buildings and even the Cape Town International Airport. Talk about taking ‘smear’ campaigning to a whole new level. The grievances are legitimate, people are unhappy with living in squatter settlements without proper sanitation, service delivery is slow. The form of protest on the other hand borders on mental retardation. Ask yourself the following questions. Who thought of this plan and was satisfied with it defining their legacy? Which cadres volunteer to collect the ‘ammunition’? What is the content of conversation while you drive from the squatter settlement to the airport with the human excrement in your car? Following the event, what is accepted as a good outcome? A lot was said about the leadership of Julius Malema when he was the ANC Youth League president. However infuriating he may have been he never endorsed such lunacy.  He has instead acted within the law and started his own party, Economic Freedom Fighters, and is campaigning for revolutionary changes within constitutional and democratic processes. Good luck to him and his new set of comrades. Sushi for all. Amandla! Asijiki!

Who to look up to:

A shining beacon in this current leadership crisis has come in the form of one Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His constitutionally aligned and morally correct decision to publicly admonish homophobia is commendable. Regardless of what your religious or traditional leadership tells you Tutu is correct and the constitution tells us so!

In the quagmire of desolation and adversity arose a giant, born in Qunu, with the audacity to not only hope for but promise and deliver political freedom. Thus it is fitting then that we look to what Mandela described leadership to be. In a letter to Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela Mandela he wrote “Internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being. Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others – qualities which are within easy reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life”. I will contend that the assertion that these qualities are ‘within easy reach of every soul’ is a great over estimation of human potential by Dr Mandela. However the least our leaders could do is to try, or even pretend to try…Image

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this”. Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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Allow me to postulate, I think Mandela would much rather we adopt his values and magnanimous leadership as opposed to honouring him with bank notes. 

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Julius Malema: Self proclaimed Commander-in-chief of Economic Freedom or nefarious opportunist? The jury is still out.

Indians in South Africa: Are they Black or White? Does it even matter?

It does matter. Race is not a negligible, arbitrary category in the Republic of South Africa. The institutional racism that permeated during slavery, colonialism and apartheid makes race a real, albeit socially constructed, reality. In a democratic dispensation race cannot be ignored, we cannot act as if Mandela’s long walk to the Union Buildings blew racial realities away.

The purpose of this article is to encourage critical thinking around the role or ‘place’ of Indian people living in South Africa. The term Indian is generally used to refer to people with Indian ancestry. I stay in the largest ‘Indian’ city outside of India namely Durban. One Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, jokingly asserts that the province should be renamed KwaZulu namaNdiya Natal, I jokingly agree.

Indians arrived as indentured labourers in the 1860s to work on sugarcane plantations in the Natal colony. Needless to say they stayed on and now they own that shop you go to for the best bargains in town. At this point it is important to note that not every Indian in South Africa has an ancestor who worked in the sugarcane plantations, or owns a shop. Some Indian people came to South Africa as slaves during the height of Dutch slavery and furthermore globalisation has led to some people choosing to leave India for South Africa over the years. Indian people are not a homogeneous group. It is not a matter of knowing one Reddy and knowing them all. There are poor and rich, Christian and Hindu, ANC, DA and Minority Front, extra hot and mild, aloof and friendly Indian people. To think any differently is to make a mistake.    

What do you make of a pageant titled Miss India South Africa? Do you make a blanket judgement on Indian people based on how your boss of Indian descent treats you? Are you an Indian South African or an Indian in South Africa or, my personal favourite, just a South African? Would you marry a person of Indian descent? A child born from an Indian father and Black African or White mother should be classified as what race? For the purpose of this blog it is not a matter of finding rigid answers but a proposition to being open to thinking about these questions to create a fluid dialogue.

An Indian friend of mine once remarked that during apartheid Indian people were not white enough to be beneficiaries of apartheid, yes those people who go silent when land redistribution is mentioned are beneficiaries, and now they are not black enough for BEE and affirmative action. In ‘Racial redress and citizenship in South Africa’ a 2008 book edited by Habib and Bentley this view is validated as one held by many Indian people. A study cited in the book reports that in a survey Indian people, alongside White people, identified employment equity and employment policy as the single largest source of racism. On the contrary Indian people and Coloured people alongside Black African people reported experiencing racism perpetrated by White farmers, employers, former white schools and the police. The historical basis of this contradictory standpoint is particularly interesting. Why are Indian people sometimes identifying with White sentiment and at other times siding with the views of Black African people?

During apartheid Indian people were racially discriminated against. Important to note this was not to the same extent as Black African people. The tricameral parliament system which came into existence in the 1980s highlighted the differences in discrimination with Indian and Coloured people being allowed ‘representation’ in parliament alongside the white government to the exclusion of the Black majority. Needless to say the United Democratic Front campaigned against this farce and with a turnout of less than 20% Indian and Coloured people at the polls leaders elected in to this tricameral system were seen as sell-outs who lacked credibility. Interestingly during the lead up to the elections for the tricameral parliament Indian shopkeepers, yes they have been selling at discount prices for a long long time my friend, were not unanimous in their action. Some shopkeepers supported UDF calls to close their shops on days like May Day whilst other shopkeepers did not close shop. Like I said ‘not a homogenous group’. They were not ‘Reddy to Pillay’ it the same way.

Indian people experienced real oppression during apartheid hence Indian people were a part of the liberation movement as members of the South African Indian Congress, COSATU, ANC and later the UDF. Indian people are entitled to racial redress measures such as affirmative action. Affirmative action policies make provision for Indian, Black African, Coloured and White people to participate in racial redress in labour. Thus at the policy level we can clearly say that Indian people should benefit to the extent that they were discriminated against. In a nutshell this means more than White people but less than Black African people.

Are Indians White? No. Indian people are not white. The fact that the cunning white government of the 1980s attempted to incorporate Indian people in their plans to eternally oppress Black African people does not make Indians white. A separate analysis is worth exploring. Have you ever heard a Black African person refer to their employer, regardless of their race, as ‘umlungu wami’? For many Black African people their employers, supervisors or line managers are Indian people. The relationship is more often than not a tumultuous one filled with animosity. Accusations of nepotism related to employment and promotions are ubiquitous. Does this make Indian people equivalent to White people? I do not think so. We have large groups of impoverished Indian people in areas such as Chatsworth and Phoenix that dispel the stereotype of Indian people as an affluent group. Yes there are many Indian people who have historically benefited from relatively better social circumstances as illustrated by better schools and delivery of services but issues of class and race are becoming murky.

Cultural outlook seem to offer a clue on why Indian people are neither white nor black. Indian people have to a large extent not assimilated to the culture of the majority in South Africa or the elite minority. Thus Indians living in South Africa are South Africans whose identity reflects both their ‘pro-black’ political existence in the republic and the ‘made in India’ religious and cultural heritage. They should be allowed to just be. If we are to truly celebrate our diversity than I say embrace Indian people and next time you are offered Diwali goodies find out about the meaning of the gift.

ImageAhmed Kathrada, seen alongside Nelson Mandela, spent 26 years in prison after being found guilty of treason during the Rivonia trial.

 

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This cartoon captures the essence of the Tricameral parliament. In the squashed top left and right rooms are Indian and Coloured representatives. In the spacious room down stairs are the White representatives. There are some observers checking over the fence as well.

 

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Miss India South Africa 2013 contestants.

 

The Animal farm in the African National Congress.

Please do not misunderstand me I am in no way insinuating that the leaders of this historically rich movement are pigs or more generally animals. Not at all. The comparisons I am about to draw your attention to, like George Orwell’s initiative use the reference to animals in a metaphorical manner. Thus the working middle class are not horses but these taxpayers are in essence similar in character to Boxer, the hard working horse in the book. To further emphasise this point  let me dare and compare Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela to a pig. No not in the yummy bacon manner nor the dirty we can’t even eat that manner. I compare Dr Mandela to Old Major who is an iconic figure in the story of animal farm and represents wisdom and integrity, values that his successors ought to look to strive towards and uphold.

The metaphorical comparison contrasts the Freedom Charter stipulations of June 26, 1955 agreed upon by the ANC, South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats and the Coloured People’s Congress with the social, economic and political realities of contemporary South Africa. To any Americans reading this blog post the Freedom Charter is as iconic as your very own declaration of independence.

The story of animal farm which as we all know was a metaphor of the Russian revolution tells the tale of animals in Mr Wilkinson’s farm who revolt against the oppressive farm owner, chase him out and take over the farm. Once the animals gain control of the farm they soon establish utopic rules which are unfortunately not adhered to. In fact the rules are actually altered by the pigs that become leaders who start to embody the expelled farmer much to the detriment of the farm animals who endure further oppression.

The original seven commandments, their own constitution or charter, at Animal farm were:

  1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy
  2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
  3. No animal shall wear clothes.
  4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
  5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
  6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
  7. All animals are equal.

No. Relax. I am not blogging to say you must stop drinking alcohol or killing fellow comrades/councillors because even animals see these actions to be wrong and dumb. The ANC comparison comes later. Three of the seven rules in animal farm changed under the stewardship of pig Napoleon. Changed to suit the wishes of Napoleon and his fellow elitist pigs who no longer acted like other animals; prancing around walking on two feet and wearing suits nogal. The italicised words were added to the commandments:

  1. No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
  2. No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
  3. No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.

Eventually the commandments were replaced with the overarching and all-encompassing single maxim stating all “animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”.

Manje uKhongolose ungenaphi la?  Well the Freedom charter and to a large extent the South African constitution promulgated by President Nelson Mandela on December 1996 represent the first set of commandments in SA as Animal Farm. See below some of the propositions of the Freedom charter:

  1. The people shall govern!
  2. The people shall share in the Country’s wealth!
  3. The Land shall be shared among those who work it!
  4. All shall be equal before the law!
  5. The doors of Learning and of Culture Shall be open to all!

The list is exhaustive and thus I will not exhaust it. We have not officially rewritten these ‘commandments’ as did the animals under the dictatorship of Napoleon, such a vark. However I feel that the current social, economic and political reality in SothAfrica has inadvertently altered these commandments as follow:

  1. The people shall govern but 4000 delegates will vote for leadership.
  2. The people shall share in the Country’s wealth if they know the right people.
  3. The Land shall be shared among those who work it sometime in the future just don’t talk about expropriation and nationalisation, you will scare of investors.
  4. All shall be equal before the law unless they are terminally ill with that illness called life or have a yearning to be the president.
  5. The doors of Learning and of culture Shall be equal to all but some will get Toyota quality whilst other’s enjoy Rolls Royce educational opulence.

Allow me to justify my claims. I. Unless you are going to Mangaung, the decision of who will be president of the people’s movement the African National Congress and later the president of the republic, lest the so called Democratic Alliance win LOL I am kidding, will be made on your behalf.

II. The businessinsider.com website places us as the second most unequal society in the world. Namibia‘s GINI co-efficient of 70.7 trumps SA’s 65.0 whilst the USA comes in at number 39 with a GINI of 45.0. In a nutshell there is an inequitable sharing of resources and profits in our society and policies such as Black Economic Empowerment and failures in Education and Labour policies have served to exacerbate the problem. Do not despair. If you know the right people you can magically shoot from oblivion into the mix of the high rollers. No education required ask the SABC boss who has no matric. To mimic Trevor Noah: An education for what? Matric for who? Not even woodwork pho?

III. With the exception of the now expelled former sometimes current ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, the ANC is as mum about the fact that Black African South Africans were forcefully and violently removed from land they occupied and pushed towards the homelands and the forever despicable townships as the Democratic Alliance. Are the people sharing land equitably? The answer is a resounding no. I will not discuss the Lenasia removals or the construction work being done in the president’s home; let us wait for the commissions of inquiry to take their course.

IV. All shall be equal before the Law. I have two names for you. Jackie Sela-Elibi and Schabir Shake, Shake the hand of those you advice. Until they die I will use a phrase one generally sees in social networks: Enough said!

V. The Freedom charter called for quality and accessible education. This one infuriates me most. In her justification of the Annual National Assessment results that indicate, amongst other atrocities, that our Grade 9s score an average of 13% in Mathematics the minister of education who has a Master’s degree in Education made a bewildering statement. I know my friends might think this is a product of my imagination so I will quote Minister Angie “I’m a minister I don’t deliver…” Motshekga. She said “You cannot compare bananas to apples, a Rolls Royce with a Toyota”. According to the City Press this was her analogical explanation of why Government schools cannot be compared to private schools which are, I assume, the Rolls Royce. What then happens when the Toyota learner and the Rolls Royce scholar seek jobs and/or university acceptance? This to me amounts to the rubbishing of Mandela’s take that “…it is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor…”. Clearly not old man. Not in that Toyota. I wonder what model we referring to? If it is 13%  it may just be a Toyota Cressida.

Enough reading now let us look at some pictures.

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It did not take long for the pigs to adopt the ways of their former oppressive masters. If we accept that the maxim first asserted by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” then we must heed the charter’s call for the people to govern.

 

freedom charter

 

Aluta continua!

 

Capture II

 

Does it not say something about all the people sharing the wealth of the country?

 

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I recently posted a status on one of the social networks asking what car would suit government if it were a person based on their performance…
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Generally speaking the majority of sober minded South Africans love the African National Congress.  We find ourselves hoping and wishing that this prestigious movement does not turn on its own people. I found this picture on someone’s Facebook profile and was angered by the fact that someone designed it but angered more by the fact that we can no longer claim it is blasphemous or completely inaccurate. Let the following words by Dr Nelson Mandela be an inexorable prophecy: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another”.