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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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

A commoner’s guide to appointing ministers

As we approach the elections I present to you alternative criteria for selecting ministers in the new cabinet. We are exasperated with the current selection criteria (popularly referred to as cadre deployment). It has brought us the (dis)honourable Dina Pule, who used our cash to indulge her boyfriend with an around the world trip. We have had to watch on as Fikile Mbalula munificently awarded our tax money to a team that lost in the CAF champions league because he was proud of their performance There was also that whole Beyonce fiasco. To quote footballer Lerato Chabangu, “Mbalula is a bunch of a loser”. What of the Minister of State Security whose own wife was convicted of drug trafficking? It is time for change. Comrades, citizens, fighters and democrats vote for whoever you want, or spoil your ballot, or rather enjoy the public holiday by staying at home, but allow me the chance to prescribe how we appoint ministers.

President: Must be able to sing, shake hands with other dignitaries and angrily rebuke anyone who commits the treasonous act of accusing the president of any misdoing.

Deputy President: Must be forgettable, be available to head committees set up to review the findings of commissions of inquiry. NB: Potential candidates cannot be better at singing and handshaking then the president-elect.

Minister of Finance: The appointed candidate must have a positive bank balance, excellent credit record and have very few friends. Must be a loyal and reliable Stokvel member.  The candidate must not be currently blacklisted.

Minister of Transport: Must have a Code 14 driver’s licence. An eye test will be completed instead of the boring old constitutional oath.

Minister of Women, Youth, Children and people with disabilities: Must be a woman of child bearing age with at least one disability, preferably not an intellectual disability. We will not discriminate on the basis of race, sexual orientation or religion.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Candidates will be asked to recite a poem explaining why it is better to teach a man how to fish than to give man fish. Candidates will also be asked to write a paper discussing the following: If money does not grow on trees where is that paper-like substance that Madiba’s face is printed on acquired from?   

Minister of Arts and culture: The candidate must be able to spell the word: hymn. Must not be a better singer, of any hymn, than the president-elect.

Minister of Sports: The candidate must be able to beat FC Barcelona with Arsenal FC on FIFA 14, with the game difficulty set to legend.

Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs: Must be able to write a 2000 page essay contrasting spring and mineral water.

Minister of Home Affairs: Must have an original South African identity document. The candidate must be able to recount the names of all the border posts, without peeking at a cue card.

Minister of Health: Must have worked at a hospital. The candidate must be familiar with the scientific names of the first line of antiretroviral pharmaceuticals.

Minister of Basic Education: Can spell, read and write. The candidate must have a Code 10 driver’s licence for the purposes of delivering textbooks.

Minister of Higher education: Can write a 3000 word critical essay on the similarities and differences between communism, socialism and capitalism. The candidate must have attended an institution of higher learning.

Minister of Correctional Services: The candidate must not have a criminal record.

Minister of Human Settlements: A suitable candidate ought to be able to deliver the following phrase with a straight face: “Housing opportunities”.

Minister of State Security: Must at least know the security code to his/her partner’s cellular phone.

Minister of Energy: The selected candidate must be able to dance to “Wuyu Wuyu Y-Tjukutja” without letting the energy subside.

 

All candidates must be skilled in the art of creating acronyms that have a life span of 5 years.

 

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Honey Pot (Manna from taxpayers).

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People be hating on Pres. JZ like he votes himself into power…

Till death do us apart my foot!

If you are happily married and you believe you will forever be happily married kindly move onto another article. Thanks for logging in. Goodbye.

The idea of marriage does not fill me with orgasm inducing thoughts. In fact I think the entire institution is usually an elaborate waste of the paper that is used to print the marriage certificates/contracts. In 2014 we should save trees and delay or dismiss the urge to be wed.

Controversial

Unfortunately this is, for some, a sensitive issue. Perhaps your God decrees marriage and thus this article is blasphemous or your parents are pretending to be happily married and you buy it. If this is the case you may continue reading or alternatively see the recommendation in paragraph one. The view that marriage sucks is usually met with annoyance or disbelief. This is due to the dominant social script we (are expected to) follow in life: Birth-School-Work-Marriage-Retirement-Death. Needless to say there are people who deviate from the set path. For example some people do not complete schooling, similarly others never retire or die (certain politicians come to mind). That, however, does not change the dominant idea of what people (including significant persons, such as your family) expect you to do with ‘your’ life. Marriage is part of the expected life path and while there is absolutely nothing, inherently, wrong with not getting married we expect people to marry. Each time I ask friends to give me three good reasons for marriage they first look at me with a look that says “How dare you even ask that”? Such is the strength of this social script.

Success rate

To the devoted marriagees (people who believe in marriage), the country with the lowest divorce rate (0.04% of those who say “I do” end up saying “I cannot wait for death”) is Afghanistan. Feel free to relocate at your earliest convenience. According to the 2011 Census 43.7% of South Africans aged 20 or older have never married. The Justice Department’s 2012-13 annual report reported a 28% increase in divorce rates from 39 573 to 50 517 cases. Working together (or perhaps apart) we can do more! The numbers do not paint marriage in the best of light but they are not very useful because the complex picture of people who re-marry, those who soldier on in hazardous marriages et cetera, are not appropriately accounted for.

Socially ascribed oppression

Have you ever heard of the notion of “S/he changed after we got married”? This notion suggests that there is something about marriage… I propose that the institution is essentially designed to nourish oppression as much as marriagees believe that marriage is a love cocoon. Marriage is a curious institution. It is presented, at least in the mainstream, as the joining of two people and making them one. Now Africans reading this will tell you that it is much more realistic to construct this thing institution as the joining of two families. Thus not only is it oppressive to the two people who sign the contract but their offspring, and other family members, are in the proverbial firing line.

Nguni women who are married will be familiar with the following phrase: mtanami kunzima emendweni; kuyabekezelwa emendweni. It can be translated to say my child one must be understanding/patient/conforming in marriage because marriage is difficult. Why you would leave your family to go and make do in an institution that comes with a disclaimer is beyond me. This should not be alluring!

If you are not married but you are with a partner and s/he cheats on you, with someone who does not even look half as good as the person in your bathroom mirror, you can end things and move onto the next one. In the context of marriage, you can leave but it is not quite the same. You now have to think about the implications for the jointly acquired/held assets (and liabilities). You also have to consider what the families will say, you friends etc. Unfortunately divorcee is not a cool term (but we can work on increasing its street credibility). You may also consider staying with the cheating (or abusive or lacklustre) partner for the sake of the kids. We will return to this notion in a short while.

Now you might argue that if a person is a bad person an unsuitable partner they will be unsuitable in/out of wedlock. You are partially correct. Yes there are people in abusive relationships who are not married. However, legally they can walk away without any consequence. Not the married lot. I know of at least one South African case, documented in an academic journal, where a husband raped his wife and successfully argued in court for a reduced sentence because he had paid Lobola. All the ills of patriarchy are neatly massaged and nourished by marriage. Back to the purported altruism of the supposedly valiant marriagees who do it for the kids. It is utter nonsense! Sometimes it makes financial sense, thus an unemployed housewife with no economic prospects may stay with an economically secure (but abusive) man out of financial dependence. This is not doing it for the kids; it is doing it for the money. The notion that a wife (or a husband) must hold on to a broken marriage because it is better for a child to grow up having two parents is misguided, false and dangerous. It has no rational basis. In fact psychological research, if you are into Attachment theory, argues that a child needs a secure base to develop healthy attachment (and subsequent social behaviour) patterns. This can be provided by a mom, dad or a grandmother. If the child gets it from two parents that is great but you do not suffer psychological damage because your dad or mom was not around. Those who are around are capable of offering you the required affection, somewhat similar to how some people are rocking on with one kidney.

Stability

The related argument of marriage providing stability is worth noting. In cases where the marriage ‘is working’ then it is good. That said you probably know of unmarried couples who are in, what you would define as being, healthy/‘working’ relationships. Some may go on to get married. Hopefully some will not. I am of the opinion that being in a healthy relationship, composed of mutual love and affection, without abuse of any form, keeps you on your toes. You work on keeping things in that state. Why mess up a perfectly good relationship with this thing institution called marriage? If you do decide to alter things at least come to me and we will draft a pre-nuptial agreement.

Disclaimer

Now back to reality. Unfortunately having read this will change nothing. Your views are already firmly established and the social pressures run too deep. You may critique this blog for being unbalanced, why do I say nothing about marriage’s positive qualities? Initially I made an effort to find marriage’s redeeming qualities. I did not come across any. I subsequently decided to stop searching for the evasive because the dominant view of marriage as a ‘natural’ and positive institution is so pervasive that a critique of this view need not even give reason for deriding this institution. Should I ever get married, to my future wife, I was listening to some really bad Kwaito music when I drafted this. It was the music and not me dictating this vitriol.

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Marry at your own(and relevant others) risk!

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I like this Anonymous person, s/he always has wise words!

2014 elections: A look at the opposition.

I write this in a state of mourning. I washed my hand this morning. I study at a hospital so washing my, right, hand is not the real reason for my moroseness. I attended Amambazo- The musical. When I was exiting the gents’ room, the lead singer of the Grammy-award winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo greeted me. Needless to say, I was in there for a number one, not a number two, although number one does deliver a boatful of number two. I digress. Let us start again.

 

Citizens, fighters, and members this is about you. We are headed to the polls in 6-8 months time. Worry not, your food parcel and free T-shirt are on their way. A friend and I think it is a real pity that the DA does not deliver food parcels from Woolies.

 

The theme for next year’s elections: Education-Economic Freedom-Transport system-Anti corruption-Inequality-Healthcare-Non-Service delivery-and some other stuff.

 

Never before have the people been this gatvol with the ruling ANC. Marikana, E-tolls, Mining sector challenges, Guptagate debacle, Nkandlagate debacle, illegalities in the Police ministry, absurdity in Intelligence, lack of basics in Basic Education, I could go on and on but I do not want to be labeled a ‘clever black’ spewing vitriol that is opposite-of-the-positive.

 

This is not about the ANC, okay it is but it is not. Think of it as analyzing the Soweto Derby but principally looking at how the opposition, Orlando Pirates, fared in the game. In a nutshell, if there is so much dissatisfaction with the ruling party who is offering a ‘better life for all’?

 

We have 230 political parties in SA. Most are irrelevant and do not deserve scrutiny. We have 13 parties currently represented in parliament. We have a confused party called South African Communist Party that is represented in parliament, is lead by hard-core capitalists who cannot spell socialism to save their bourgeoisie lives, which does not participate in elections. We have 19 parties who have registered with the IEC in the last 9 months. Just imagine, you still carrying one unplanned pregnancy and 19 new potential presidents have emerged. Of the nineteen, we will look at Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Ramphele’s AGANG SA (AGANG) and the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP). The others are a waste of time, money and votes, but liberal democracy allows it so it is, very much, okay. If this is getting depressing kindly, join the DAGGA Party. They, much like everyone else, promise a post-election high. If you vote for the DAGGA Party, they will legalize cannabis. Depression and anxiety will return back to where they came from. Eight joints a day they say.

 

The IFP, NFP, UDM, PAC, AZAPO, ACDP, Freedom Front, FF+ and COPE et cetera are all not coping. Let us not waste too much time on them.

 

The official opposition is the Zille-led DA. They are growing! Zille’s clumsy rendition of the late Brenda Fassie’s memorable songs is having an effect. The response of black people has gone from “I love you ANC, wena DA leave me alone you want to beat me again” to “eish ANC is not good to me these days, now that he has money. Maybe I must listen to DA, eish mara better the devil you know…”. On a serious note, the DA’s ‘Know Your DA’ campaign is a failure on two, important, counts. 1. It leaves you not knowing your DA. 2. It leaves most, non-upper middle class people, alienated. So much for know your DA. It is rather difficult to know and become intimate and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears with DA when he calls you a refugee. Nonetheless, I expect the DA to remain the official opposition. I hope, for their sake, they do not lose Western Cape whilst pursuing Gauteng. The DA will need to become a whole lot more black before blacks can accept it as a solution. In this regard, they must be clear on where they stand on issues of BBBEE and Affirmative action. I sincerely hope I added enough ‘B’s’. Importantly, perhaps more importantly to many South Africans, the DA must be clearer on where they stand on grants.

 

AGANG SA members call themselves citizens. Now I do not mind Juju’s beret-clad militants referring to themselves as fighters because the implicit message is that non-members and non-sympathizers are non-fighters. This is no insult. However, when members of a political party call themselves citizens I am confused. Are non-members not citizens or perhaps are we members whether we know it or not? I like Ramphele as a person, and dare I say it I even like her as a leader at times. However, I think her campaigning is a bigger mess than what Mathews Phosa aptly refers to as the bit of a cover up of the irregularities at Nkandla’s home of the nation. Ramphele lacks credibility on key issues. When estimates suggest that, more than half your wealth is amassed via BEE deals you are not the person to tell people that this policy must be scrapped. Even if your views are, factually, correct. When you say you want to tackle inequality, proudly broadcasting that you are a millionaire is not the way to go about it. You limit the number of people who will listen to you to the same middle class group that the DA is fighting for. Without food parcels, flimsy policy ideas, groupthink passing as innovative ideas your prospects do not look good. Ramphele will be the first to warn against this, but as things stand the party is far too much of a one-woman show. Her personality overshadows the party’s ideals. With all that said, I look forward to having a parliamentarian who is not on a leash that leads to Luthuli House but has credible struggle credentials and intellect. We have missed intellect in our leadership since Thabo was recalled, haven’t we? In fact, we have missed it so much I saw a bizarre theory try to come to life. The theory suggests that since Thabo Mbeki did not complete his two terms he is constitutionally eligible to stand for election. It further adds that he will stand as the candidate of a united opposition. This is wishful, albeit elucidatory, thinking!

 

I include the WASPS for one reason. They are not significant in the numbers game however, the fact that some workers are so piqued at the trade union movements that they would rather start their own party must ring alarm bells for COSATU and the trade union movement at large.

 

This piece would be incomplete without talking about the Julius Malema led EFF. By the time, we vote he may be in jail reminiscing about the days of ANCYL conference parties and EFF’s birth. EFF is clear on policy, or rather the broad outline. Juju’s target market, disenfranchised youth will vote for him, if they register to vote. The IEC is aiming to register two million new voters. A large number of youth are poorly skilled, unemployed and sometimes are unemployable. Now why must they not jump on a train that promises land and honey and manna? Napoleon once said, “A leader is a dealer of hope”. Julius must turn up the rhetoric. However, he must be wary of potential damage of his populist statements, such as when he puts the death penalty on the table for rapists with “uncontrollable libido”. His statements may serve to alienate him from the middle class, which he will need if ever he avoids going to prison and the subsequent terminal illnesses people get there. The EFF fails by calling middle class black people coconuts. It is hard enough selling a revolution to people who do not need it. It is disingenuous to insult them in the process.

 

Let me offer a brief and somber summary. The ANC is not in a good shape. However, it has the minds and the machinery to win the upcoming elections comfortably. Most of the opposition parties are a waste of votes. By this, I mean they weaken the opposition. An ideal position would be fewer parties sharing the vote with narrower margins of difference. Just picture a DA-Western Cape, EFF-North West, ANC-KZN, ANC-GP, and AGANG-EC… The competition will divert some of the attention from bulging stomachs to the mouths of the masses. The opposition is likely to be lead by the DA. AGANG SA and EFF will kickoff relatively well. Their ability to stay on will depend on their ability to metamorphosize beyond the identity of their leaders. I look forward to the 2019 elections, which I think will be much more crucial to the direction this country will follow.

 

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is named after imbazo-axe. An axe is only a tool. So is political power. You can vote for a party/person who will use their axe to murder. Alternatively, you can vote for a party that will use the axe to chop firewood used to nourish a fire that will ensure that the roads are lit, learners do their homework in illumination and pots are kept eternally burning. Not just on days when a non-Woolies food parcel is thrown your way! 

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Sigh!

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Economic Freedom cannot possibly come in your life if you argue for a revolution. This is a misnomer. I admire the ignorant altruism though. Aluta continua!

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Yes we can pick our leaders. H.L. Mencken said it best. “People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard.”

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.

 

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