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

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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 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

South Africa’s xenophobia 2.0 : An indictment

I am embarrassed to be a South African. Writing this is actually uncomfortable. Nonetheless it may help to clarify my mind and counter some of the cognitive dissonance that the latest xenophobic attacks bring.

I do not know what to say to my friends, fellow students and acquaintances from Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other parts of this continent. I have no satisfactory responses to inquiries from friends in parts of the Diaspora or South African citizens who are currently out of the country. Whilst all sane South Africans condemn the violence I sense a sense of helplessness. There are a few extremists who go to the extent of beating, looting and shaming fellow Africans who happen to be born further up the continent. These extremists, it must be said, share views that are not as negligible as we would like to believe. That said there are many South Africans who are embarrassed, disgusted, disappointed, dejected and infuriated. Most troubling however is the sense of paralysis that has been induced onto those Africans who do not have the sociopathic urge to kill or steal from people on the basis that they were not born in Afrique du Sud.

Leadership

It is a long established fact that South Africa has a dearth of leadership, the death happened in 2007, the funeral was in Polokwane, the mourning period seems infinite. From the crises at Eskom, Post office, schools, municipalities to the national assembly and the presidency the common factor is a (mis)leadership of gargantuan proportions.  When people were massacring each other in KZN, before the 1994 elections, Nelson Mandela would visit the sites of death and clearly articulate his (and his peers) disapproval and pave a way forward. The current miscreants operate on the level of denial. The current violence has been festering for years, in fact it never disappeared following the 2007/8 attacks. Unfortunately our elected leaders deny, deny and deny again. The tired official line from government blames the attacks on criminal elements. This is a rubbish argument that exposes shoddy thinking. If the criminal elements only target Africans from Somalia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania and not South Africans or people from other continents than these elements are afrophobic/xenophobic first and criminal second.

The leadership is overwhelmingly underwhelming. The lethargically minded Zulu king, who has less relevance than a heater salesman in hell, spewed vitriolic comments that were the direct precipitant of the current violence in KZN. I heard from South Africans caught in the crossfire on Tuesday, 14 April 2015, that the group of South African extremists were singing songs that suggested they were defending the king “sebethinta u-Zulu…”. None of the leaders in government, who give a sizeable portion of our taxes to Zwelithini, have come out and condemned his moronic remarks. Senzo Mchunu, KZN premier’s, pathetic attempt to deflect a question on this matter was disappointing to watch.

Perhaps most disturbing in the leadership front is that the ANC liberators who used to be accommodated in Tanzania, Zim, Zambia and elsewhere on the continent are either treating this matter with nonchalance or worse still making statements that add fuel to the blazing fire. Ministers Nomvula  Mokonyane and Lindiwe Zulu have made questionable and somewhat ominious statements in recent months. The much critiqued VISA restrictions imposed by Gigaba’s home affairs ministry have proven to add to frustrations for students and workers from other parts of the continent. It marks the complete failure of the African Renaissance vision espoused by leaders like Thomas Sankara and our own Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki. For some students from other parts of Africa entry into South African universities is enabled but they cannot do the practical component of their studies in the republic whilst some candidates apply for jobs and are turned down because jobs are reserved for South Africans. It is depressing to think that the European Union enables a German in Spain to be treated with more of the much touted Ubuntu that a Zimbawean in South Africa.

Conflation of issues

The notion that foreign internationals (this includes people from the Americas, Asia, and Europe etc.) are stealing South Africans’ jobs is a misnomer. In fact if it were true the current attack would be directed at the wrong class of foreign internationals. As a country with a scarcity of skills we import labour for technical, business, education and other professions. The people being attacked are largely not in this group. The attacks are happening in CBDs and townships, not at the JSE or in mine house boardrooms.

Related to the stealing of jobs fallacy is the argument that Somalians, Zimbabweans, Pakistanis, Mozambicans are opening small businesses and running locals out of business by selling on the cheap. This argument makes sense at face value but we must not succumb to lazy thinking. We have an entire ministry for small businesses that is geared towards assisting SOUTH AFRICANS establish and optimise small and medium enterprises. Now if a foreign international, who may or may not have legal authority to be in the country, can outperform a South African who has government support and the advantage of knowing the target market then surely there is a systematic problem.  This points to South Africans having a poor culture of entrepreneurship. A young person who can source funding for a degree/diploma suddenly cannot establish and maintain their own small business, in the field that they studied in? If the issue is ‘unfair competition’, find out where the Somalian traders are sourcing their goods from, if these are not SABS approved then deal with this issue.

I can hypothesise that amongst those small business owners from Zim, Somali or China can keep their prices lower by minimising their costs. For instance I know traders from the aforementioned countries who use the same accommodation for business and living. Additionally they may not wear the most expensive clothing and are advantaged by the fact that they would be denied credit by South African lenders. In any case even if the targeted traders were scheming to run South Africans out of business one would expect us as South Africans to be slightly more imaginative than ‘solving’ this dilemma by looting, burning and killing people with the disdain we reserve for mosquitoes and cockroaches.

Psychosocial implications

Sociology students would be better equipped to explain why our xenophobia is taking on a racial stance. It is almost as if the attacker can only feel better about themselves, and their own despised self image, by finding someone who can be seen to be lesser. A Mozambican with a darker, melanin induced, hue and an accent that is not familiar fits the bill far better that a Greek or Jewish trader.

From a theoretical perspective two concepts come to mind. The psychodynamic concept of displacement is noteworthy. Displacement merely refers to transferring negative feelings from an appropriate object to a less threatening object. Metaphorically it is illustrated in the example of the man who is frustrated by his unreasonable boss, does not react to him/her, goes home and takes out his frustration on the wife. Similarly I hold the belief that people frustrated by lack of job/land prospects instead of confronting themselves, the gatekeepers of the economy and our elected leadership are targeting black foreign internationals with the flimsiest of excuses.

The Contact Hypothesis Theory is also relevant. This theory simply suggests that one way of increasing tolerance (and hopefully acceptance) between different groups is to have them come into non-conflictual contact on equal terms. Unfortunately for those foreign internationals who are in a lower social class such contact is virtually non-existent. I have observed that generally those South Africans who work or study with people from other African countries are more aware of their positive qualities and thus less likely to regurgitate the stereotypes of foreigners as drug peddlers who steal jobs. For example students from Zimbabwe generally have a high work ethic. In fact African students who are the cream of the crop in their countries and have benefitted from a superior education system enrich the university experience for all students. The othering and demonization of Africans legitimizes the racist ideologies of the colonisers who constructed the borders that we have now adopted and are willing to kill for.

Way forward

The sense of paralysis remains yet it cannot, it must not, persist ad infinitum. In the heat of the moment refugee camps are being set up and food, clothing and blanket supplies are needed. Those leaders in government, religious leaders and civil society who have taken a stand against the brutalization of one black by another, one African against another, one human being against another human being must be commended. Leaders need to lead the tackling of associated problems used to excuse our appalling actions be it fixing the education system, creating the conditions for fighting unemployment, tackling the drug problem, controlling porous borders or equipping home affairs and embassies with skilled and compassionate staff. The police, as some have been doing, need to do their job as per their job descriptions. We need to be mindful of what our own constitution says and act in accordance. Matters of intolerance to difference require massive moral and educational attention. Today it is xenophobia, tomorrow it will be homophobia, religious intolerance or some other point of difference. Some efforts are indirect but influential, we insist on importing Justin Bieber’s music and neglect to give airplay to talented African artists thus perpetuating our negative view of our own people and glorifying that which is truly foreign. The current excuse of an education system is successfully creating a generation of uncritical and lazy thinking South Africans who are unemployable by virtue of being unskilled. These individuals are frustrated and they can be swayed in any direction. It’s all good and well when the direction is towards a particular face in the voting booth but an unthinking mob can attack whosoever irks it.

maite

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.