July 4, 2013 § 4 Comments
Twenty-three years ago when Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years of incarceration for fighting for his right to fight for the right to be a free man, I was too young to know what was happening. I knew that whatever it was that was happening was a significant event. Why it was I was not sure. What I knew of Mandela was what I’d heard from my cousin in the rural village just outside the no-horse town of Mount Ayliff, Dutyini, in the then “free” homeland Transkei. I believed the legendary MacGyver-esque stories they told me about this Mandela.
One of the stories that stick out in my mind is the one about how Mandela was able to make a bomb using a mere spoon at his disposal. He was so dangerous and heroic that they never gave him metal spoons in prison to eat with. Since they knew what he was capable of they gave him wooden spoons and he was locked in solitary confinement. This is all I knew about him. I knew he was in prison and that he had to come out because white people were scared of him, why I didn’t know. His name was constantly on the lips of adults. We were never allowed to listen to adults engaged in conversations. It was bad manners in our culture. I so trained myself not listen that I never really heard anything unless I was spoken to.
When my older cousins spoke of him it was always in secret, when there were no grown-ups in the area. It was from 1989 that I started hearing word that he would be released. It would not be until the following year that he would be released. I was in boarding school, aged 11, the year he walked out of prison. The previous year, 1989, my mother had made me read a number of works by Alan Paton — (Sponono) short stories. I remember they were about oppression. Since I hadn’t really encountered many white people in my life at the village I never really understood what it all meant really.
Although I remember when I was a little younger, home for the holidays from boarding school, I’d be looking after my grandfather’s cattle by the side of the road and always see white people driving to the coast, caravans trailing behind their nice cars, fishing rods sticking out the windows, happy white kids waving. Every now and then they would stop and take pictures of these black boys dressed in clothes that were several sizes too big, carrying sticks, a little dirty. I remember that particular year wondering why it was that it was always white people who seemed to have all the nice things. It never made any sense to me. Years later I would come to know why.
The boarding school I went to is in Qumbu, it was certainly one of the best schools in the Transkei at the time. It was a Catholic school, Little Flower Junior Secondary School, LFJSS. Since my mother had started forcing me to read, I started developing a habit for newspapers too. So, on February 12 when the Daily Dispatch arrived the day after Mandela’s release from prison, I remember reading the paper. As I read about this momentous occasion, the headmistress of the school, an imperious 73-year-old Austrian nun who went by the name of Sister Daniel read the paper with me and said: “What’s the point? He’s old anyway, he’s going to die soon anyway. Why did they wait so long to let him go?” I was puzzled because she was a year older than him and she was also the same age as my grandfather. I said nothing because, really, I didn’t know much about the events of the previous day, nor their future impact. Interestingly enough, she has since passed away and Madiba is still alive.
Another memorable quote I remember is by my mother. She had come to pick me up for the Easter holidays. There were roadblocks all over the Transkei as was customary at the time. She was talking about what a great thing it was that Mandela was free and then said: “I pray that God would be kind and give him at least another 15 years of freedom.” Well, God has been even kinder by another five years and counting.
It would not be until the following year that I’d benefit from Mandela’s freedom. In 1991 schools in East London voted to allow black children to go to their schools. I would be one of the first blacks at mine. I was the first black child in my class, in a school of more than 900 children there would be no more than 15 black children in the school.
The idea of black children going to a white school was such a novelty in those days that when we walked to catch taxis home or to school we’d be stopped by older inquisitive black people who were shocked at the sight of a black child wearing a “white child’s school uniform”. “Do you play with the white kids? What do they say to you? Say something to me in English!” Then they’d call their friends and you’d be surrounded by people who were marvelling at this little Mandela miracle. A black child going to a white school.
One day, during physical education, we were playing soccer and as is usually the case, two boys were selected to choose who would play for their teams. As the only black boy, naturally, I was the first one picked because the assumption was that I would be good at it. No one ever made that mistake again.
A year later, in 1992, I would go to high school. A white school. This time the high school had no more than 25 black kids. I decided to enter a speech contest at the school. I went before a sea of red blazers and white faces and white only teachers to deliver my speech. In my speech I said that Mandela had freed white people more than he had freed black people because now they could go anywhere in the world without being ashamed of saying they are from South Africa. Back then most lied and said they were from Zimbabwe when travelling the world — not a mistake they would make nowadays. There was another miracle the release of Mandela gave me, the right to express my opinion without fear or favour. Interestingly, at the end of my speech I had some of the black kids come up to me and ask me if I was trying to get the black kids expelled.
September 22, 2012 § 2 Comments
Originally appeared on News24, 2011-07-26 08:10
Malema should start a church and call it Tithes for Tenders Church. After all, the ANC is a broad church. This would be a lucrative church. There are already so many people who worship at the altar of the tender anyway.
In light of the recent allegations levelled against Malema, the suggestion of course is that Malema is unscrupulous, he’ll get you the tender whether you are competent or not. Let’s not forget that he also gets anywhere between 30% and 50% of the profits from the tender once awarded. Of course we don’t know how true the allegations are; they have not been tested before a court of law.
This might or might not go before the courts. Malema has many powerful enemies who would be happy to see him go. But he also has many powerful friends with vested interests who will do whatever they can to protect him, for if he goes down, so do they. For us outsiders, the reports make it look like the ANC is nothing but a sordid orgy of greed based palm greasing.
It is of course no surprise that there are many who are pleased to see yet another front page story about Julius Malema that goes to prove their point that Malema is a greedy principle-less entity. Because that’s what he is to them, not a human being, but just an entity to provide entertainment.
Purchasing favour with money
It seems to me that some powerful and influential people seem to believe that they can avert the wrath of the ANC by purchasing favour with money. That one will be looked upon favourably by those issuing tenders, very much like the Catholic Church forgiving people’s sins in exchange for money before Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis in 1517. There was a teaching by the church’s salesman, Johann Tetzel, who taught that one’s sins could be forgiven by God if they paid a fee.
The corruption of the church had reached Sodom and Gomorrah proportions. Johann Tetzel was working under the instruction of the Archbishop of Mainz, who had bought his position, the Archbishopric, from then Pope Leo X. The Archbishop encouraged these heretic teachings because money was coming in for him to pay the Pope. The Pope tolerated them too because money was coming to his coffers too, which would help him finance his vanity project, the renovation of the majestic St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The love of money is the route of all evil, even in the church.
If money can corrupt the church, how much more will it corrupt mere men? Especially men of politics?
The ANC has lost its soul. It lost it a long time ago, and those with the means to find it, do not want it to be found. Power and money. They are sinking in the quick sand of unscrupulous lust for all that is glitzy, all that will visibly impress. The ANC is being spat at and demeaned tender by tender, brown envelope by brown envelope. Slowly the great party sinks to stinking new depths. When you think it can’t get any worse, it does.
The ANC faces a crisis of morality and moral leadership. Worst of all, it faces a lack of outrage from its membership. Perhaps it fears losing that its sins will not be forgiven if it utters a word. I don’t know.
This is no fault of Julius Malema. He didn’t create this. The monster was already there when he got there. He had seen it done. The grownups, the ones who were supposed to guide him and show him the way (as I wrote in the Cape Times) have let him down. The seniors turned a blind eye because he must get something too. They are rewarding him for his hard word. The indictment is on the ANC, those who made him and others think that it is ok to do this, if the allegations are true.
Thabo Mbeki, when warning against what he foresaw, said: “We should not seek to emulate the demeanour of our oppressors, nor adopt their evil practices.”
Our turn to eat
The brown envelopes are a continuation of the oppression of the masses. They say to themselves there is no harm. They are just taking money from the government and helping other black people. It is our turn to eat. We must eat while we can and much as we can because the gravy might not be here for us for long. This is the thinking.
Taking money from the government is taking from the poor, whether one likes to admit it or not. They do not think that they are serving themselves, not the poor they claim to speak for. What is celebrated is the ease with which money comes as opposed to the hard work that one puts in to get the money.
Since I write about Martin Luther, a man of the cloth in his day, perhaps it is appropriate that I quote the book of Isaiah 10:1 – 3
1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
They steal from the oppressed and rob from the fatherless. They deceive themselves and say they are not stealing from anyone, and they harm no one.
The ANC is in desperate need of the RDP of its very soul. The Reconstruction and Development Programme of its very core. The ANC may be dead. It may be in need of mouth to mouth.
Who will be the ANC Martin Luther?
Who will stand up in the ANC and post the 95 thesis against what is unANC behaviour? Who will have the balls to do this? Who will be the ANC Martin Luther or is money and power far too great an incentive than to stand for what is right and true? Who is bold enough to make the ANC sit up and notice? Who will risk being called a heretic by the heretics?
One no longer has to work for the good of the people; one must merely appear to be working for the people in order to get votes, and then get the position, then get the financial benefits that come with it. Personal financial gain is valued over a legacy that one can leave behind. The generation before fought tooth and nail and even giving up their very lives for liberation.
In 1978, Thabo Mbeki delivered a lecture in Canada and said: “The capitalist class, to whom everything has a cash value, has never considered moral incentives as very dependable. As part of the arrangement, it therefore decided that material incentives must play a prominent part.”
It appears that in South Africa today, we can change the wording from “capitalist class” to “political class”.
It is not all lost. At least we can still talk about these things. We can discuss them. The moment we are not free to discuss them we are in a bad place. There are still people within the political class in the ANC who uphold the values of the ANC. And I am not for a second saying that politicians must not make money. They should and must, but it should not be at the expense of the people, nor should it be because of undue influence. Money is good, but not when people think that it’s the most important thing.
March 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
*this article originally appeared in the Cape Times on the 5th of March
The African National Congress has had women activists for almost as long as it has been alive. However, when the movement was born those 100 years ago, there were just men in the room. Perhaps there were two or so women who served these men while they decided the route the struggle against black disenfranchisement would take.
It only made sense back then that men would take the initiative to lead the movement. Women, black or white were rarely given an opportunity to an education. They were essentially second-class citizens almost everywhere. Even white women didn’t have the vote. The prejudices of the day against women prevailed, even though the ANC was fighting prejudice, ironically.
The direction that was taken by the ANC is no different from the one that was taken by the rest of the world. Just as history had been male dominated for thousands of years. If one looks at Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Shaka Zulu and others. War was one sure way of making history – women weren’t allowed to fight wars even though they almost were always casualties. They were often taken by conquerors as slaves, sex slaves and were often raped. They were, unfortunately part of the spoils of war for the warmongers.
Which then brings me back to the ANC’s women problem. Isn’t it time the ANC had female president? Women have contributed a great deal to the organization. They are also respected in a lot of communities. Women have held communities together for a very long time, often, they are the strongest and most resolute members of in many communities.
In the 1980s, many women tried to feed their families by opening spaza shops and even sheebens. Which is where the term sheeben queen comes from. As a result of opening these businesses, these women often became influential members of their communities.
It would appear as though Mbeki was laying down the ground work for a future female ANC and South African president when he ran for a third term as president of the ANC, since the South African constitution wouldn’t allow him to be president for a third term. It was generally accepted that Dlamini-Zuma was his preferred candidate for the presidency even though Mlambo-Ngcuka was his deputy president in the cabinet after he fired his then deputy, Jacob Zuma. In terms of seniority within the party, Dlamini-Zuma would have most likely been elected president of South Africa, then during the ANC’s elective conference later this year, would have been elected president of the party and republic for her second term.
Unfortunately Jacob-Zuma was in a bind and thus set women back when his desperation for the presidency set in. The knock on effect of this has resulted in the re-emergence of hierarchy in the ANC. The next most senior person in the ANC is deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, therefore, if tradition is followed, he will be the next president after Zuma.
It is puzzling then that even though the ANC has many talented women, no one seriously thinks that they stand a chance as far as position of ANC president, and thus of the country. Everyone sings the praises of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, yet no one seems prepared to give her a chance for a run for the presidency. For a while, there were rumours that Lindiwe Sisulu would be in the running for the presidency in the near future. Early on in the presidency of Jacob Zuma it certainly seemed that way.
The way the wheels were turning and the power she seemed to yield within the ruling party seemed to suggest that, but things have changed dramatically since then and now seems to have been left behind by the debate amongst the men. Now even Tokyo Sexwale’s name comes up before hers is even mentioned. It is going to be a while before we get a female president by the look of things. Unless Motlanthe wins the ANC presidency later this year with Dlamini-Zuma or Sisulu as his deputy.
July 31, 2011 § 3 Comments
*Originally appeared on the Cape Times
It would appear as if the very same people who wanted Thabo Mbeki gone are the very same people who miss him terribly now. We all remember how Malema said, “Mbeki is the best leader the ANC has ever produced… the most educated and clever,” a few weeks ago. The irony of course being that the man Malema supported, “100% Zuma”, is in office and he’s busy singing the praises of his predecessor, the man he helped get kicked out of the presidency. “A week is a long time in politics.” Harold Wilson once remarked when he was British Prime Minister those many years ago. If two weeks is a long time, then two years is a lifetime.
For Malema, a man who actively campaigned around the country against Mbeki for Zuma to say something like that speaks volumes. Louder than the trumpets that shook the walls of the Biblical city of Jericho. At one point after Zuma publicly lambasted him, Malema said Mbeki would never have done something like that, he would have taken him aside and spoken to him. Malema was excoriated for saying that because he was indirectly giving Mbeki praises above his current president.
When Thabo Mbeki was on Metro FM over the past week, the social networks lit up like I haven’t seen over him in a while. Many started calling him Dr Thabo Mbeki. Something I’ve never heard before. The comments on the social networks were going on about how intelligent he was, how great it was to hear someone who knew what he was talking about as opposed to someone who was saying what his advisors were telling him.
It is important I think to remember that the two presidents have two different styles. Mbeki didn’t live up to Mandela many said. Now that Zuma is president, they are saying he is not living up to Mbeki. Funny enough, Mandela was generous in his praise of Mbeki when he said, “No President or Prime Minister in the history of this country can claim to have done more for the people and the country than has been achieved by President Thabo Mbeki.”
What I always find interesting in regards to Mbeki is the reaction of white people when I say that Mbeki is missed. More often than not, one gets a rather violent reaction from white people. The favourite subject of choice is that Thabo Mbeki is a murderer because he killed thousand of people during the HIV AIDS crisis. He has been called an AIDS denier amongst other things. These are just some of the reactions one encounters when one starts singing Mbekis praises, particularly from white people. Remember, I’m not saying all white people, I know how reactionary we get when we mention race in SA.
What I find strange is that the people who were least affected by the HIV AIDS epidemic are the least forgiving. Yet those who were most affected are the ones who seem to miss him more. The question then needs to be asked, do some of these white people say these things because they think we will agree with them because we were affected? Or do they think that there is something wrong with us for thinking that Mbeki is great despite his stance on AIDS? (His position was misrepresented by the way, and it’s not something I want to get into right now.)
One keeps hearing whispers in the corridors of influence from people who say, not too loudly, how much they miss the former president. He may not have been the best human being but he was a brilliant man they say.
It is clear that South Africa’s loss has been Africa’s gain. With the formation of South Sudan, and Mbeki having been at the forefront of the formation of that nation, it is clear that he has included his name on yet another page of history. This has made many people realize that they miss iZizi
April 23, 2009 § 5 Comments
I walk into the voting station and a surge of emotion overcomes me, maybe it’s adrenaline or my mind is beginning to realize what I’m about to do, I don’t know, I’m not a shrink.
I tell the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) official who had my Identity Document (ID) to handle it with care because it’s in pieces, literally. I even tried to staple the pages together at some point because I wanted to prevent the pages from falling off, but some of the staples have fallen off. The black and white photo in the green ID does not look anything like the owner. In the photo I like a criminal, a wanted man, in fact it looks like a mug shot. Before I even present it to the IEC official I tell her that I promise the man inside there that doesn’t look like me, is in fact me. She opens the ID, looks at me and does not believe that it’s me. Then she says she can tell by the eyes, she laughs and shows the unfortunate ID photo to another official, who laughs at the state of the ID then at me. I’m unperturbed, I experience this mockery every time I go to a bank.
In fact I experienced it outside while in the queue when my so called friends laughed (yes, you Xolisa, Anele, Fix, Simone and Sizwe) their rear ends off, first at the state of my ID which has seen many a washing machine trips, then at my photo. They mocked me by playing cards with its pages. Fix even had the audacity to impersonate the host of an ancient TV program, “Ngomgqibelo Kamukibelo”. She pretended that the pages were money. She counted as she handed me the pages of my ID one by one by shouting, and all of them in unison, “One hundred! Two hundred! Three Hundred!” Not funny.
Inside the voting stations I can feel anxiety go through me and I try to distract myself by talking to the bored and tired elections officials. They direct me to the lady that’s going to put ink on my thumb to prove that I had in fact voted. I notice that she looks tired and irritable, I mention this to her and she tells me she’d been there since 6 in the morning. As she paints my thumb with the purple ink I tell her that I am disappointed with her job because, “I thought you were going to write, ‘I love Khaya.’” She laughs and retorts by saying “Maybe next time.” At least I leave her smiling. My heart is pounding and I feel a little shaky.
I move on to the next table where I am given my ballot paper. I take it and I make some stupid comment, as I am prone to do. The guy laughs, then I proclaim my nervousness and the official tells me to go do my duty for my country, I oblige. I arrive at the booth and unfold my ballot and see the million and one party name on the ballot paper and realize that a number of trees no longer exist so we could vote.
After unfolding my ballot, just before I make my cross, I put my hands on my face for a couple of seconds and say a little prayer, my heart is beating from what I can imagine is adrenaline. I look down and I see the ANC, DA and Cope. Those are the only parties I see for some reason. I take a deep breath. I can’t believe I’m about to vote for anyone but the ANC. I reach out for the pen inside the booth and lift it towards me. I put my hands on my face again and ask God to help me be guided by reason and not emotion. After all I will not be voting for the party of Nelson Mandela, Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and many other heroes. I did not anticipate the profound trauma I would feel.
The moments before putting the cross are traumatic. Eventually I make my mark next to Cope. It feels good but I am emotioned out. Earlier, a cousin of mine had told us that voting felt very emotional for him, especially realizing that he was not voting for the ANC. I just thought that he was being a girl. I took no heed to what he experienced.
I can imagine that some people who may have intended to put their cross next to Cope must have been so overwhelmed with emotion that they just marked by the green, gold and black flag.
Finally I will myself out of the voting booth after what seems like unaphakade (an eternity). I walk to the ballot box. I try to get over my emotional state by joking with the elections official who has been given the mundane but crucial task of making sure that we insert our ballots in the cardboard ballot box. As I place my ballot in the box stuffed with ballot papers, I smile as though posing for a camera. I pose for a second anticipating a camera flash. I ask the election official, “Dude, where are the cameras and the news folk?” He laughs and tells me that maybe they didn’t know I was going to cast my vote over there.
In the car, my friends ask me if I was ok because I was very quite. I tell them I am. I am on my phone updating my twitter (follow me on http://twitter.com/khayadlanga). That was not the reason for my silence though, I was just coming to terms with what had happened in the voting booth. A lot was going through me. It was not easy not voting for something I had loved for so long. It felt like a break up. But voting for Cope felt right and amazing. Voting for this 125-day-old baby. She is a child that I have to look after now, take care of and make sure I never have to abandon her, or she me.
April 6, 2009 § 4 Comments
South Africans remind me of a girl with an abusive boyfriend. He beats (excuse my Xhosa) the shit out of her. Every now and then he tells her “I won’t beat you again, I love you”. They cuddle up and cosy up. Then he beats her up again. The girl knows the relationship is not ideal, it is not the best relationship but keeps making excuses for him and his behaviour. “But he loves me” she keeps telling her friends through broken teeth and ribs.
Then she says: “Anyway before I met him I was down and out and in the dumps. I had nothing. I was a nobody. He made me who I am. He took me in, helped me get a good job and a better education. He introduced me to celebrities, Moet, cigars and all the glitz and glamour. He cares for me even though he gave me a blue eye yesterday and will probably give me another tomorrow. To be fair I owe him.”
She believes in her heart of hearts that she cannot find anyone better. “I am used to him” she tells friends who tell her to get out of the relationship. “I don’t want to get used to someone new all over again.” Then she continues to stay in the abusive relationship where she used to be the significant other and is now the insignificant other. The many trips to the hospital do nothing to dissuade her. Like a perfect gentleman he goes to the hospital to pick her up when she leaves the hospital because he cares. She never lays charges. She is convinced that he still cares because he was sweet enough to pick her up from the hospital.
“He only beats me because he loves me” she tells her friends. Of course by the time she wakes up it’s too late. This is what’s happening to South Africa right now. But we can change this, we only need to want to change the situation bad enough.
How badly do you want to get out of this relationship with the ANC?
January 28, 2009 § 6 Comments
Imagine a scenario where former president Thabo Mbeki decides to announce his endorsement and intentions to vote for Cope but decides to remain a member of the ANC. I cannot imagine a situation that could rattle the feathers of some of the over inflated egos at Luthuli House more. Some of those egos are “too big, too wide, too strong, won’t fit they’re too much and they talk like this but they can’t even back it up.” “Quoting” Beyonce while discussing politics seems a tad out of place. Perhaps I should make a better analogy. Let me point to the most widely followed election in recent memory. The US elections.
(Just an aside here. I was commenting on someone’s status on Facebook about something they had said regarding the ANC. In my comment I quoted Dr Martin Luther King; someone then commented saying, “Trust Cope to quote Martin Luther King who, at the time, was speaking about equality during the 1960s. What relevance does Dr King have to our democracy,” as if there was something wrong with quoting people from other countries. I’m afraid if that person sees this blog post I will be taken to task for making references to America.)
Two weeks before the American general elections in 2008 a very well respected Republican sat before Tom Brokaw, the host of MSNBC’s much-respected Meet the Press TV programme. This particular Republican, according to opinion polls, had been the most respected American for years. In fact, had his wife not forbidden him from running in 2000, would most certainly have been the Republican nominee for president, meaning that he would have ended up president of the United States instead of George Walker (Dubya) Bush. He would have been America’s first black president.
This Republican gentleman and former National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, General Colin Luther Powell endorsed Barack Obama, a member of the Democratic Party, for the presidency of the United States. During his endorsement he mentioned that he was and still is a member of the Republican Party but felt that Obama would make a better president than his fellow party man, John McCain. Although he endorsed an individual, it was essentially an endorsement of the Democratic Party’s platform.
General Powell made that endorsement fully aware of the impact it might have on the fence sitters. Here was an established, highly respected man going out of his way to make known his intentions of voting for a member of a different party to that of his own. Although he allowed himself to be used to bring falsified evidence before the United Nations, which led to the invasion of Iraq, perhaps the endorsement was a way of correcting that error.
He was not hounded out of the Republican Party after his announcement. Of course they were not happy with the endorsement. It was his right to express his preferences. Some tried to spin it by saying he was only endorsing Obama because he is black. Maybe it is time our country matured enough to allow people to express their preferences without fear or favour.
Unfortunately I don’t see Luthuli House viewing Mbeki’s endorsement of Cope as his democratic right. He would most likely be called a traitor at first. Then names and a host of animals that can be found in a zoo. The endorsement would then be ridiculed. They would say that he wants to rule from the grave. They would accuse him of bitterness. They would say that people aren’t going to switch from the ANC and vote for Cope simply because Mbeki decided to do so. The funny thing is they would spend an awful lot of time telling us how insignificant the endorsement was. They would also appear on every SABC station telling us how it would not make a dent in the ANC’s support base, which would make you how wonder: is it really inconsequential? Fikile Mbalula would say that he was right all along; Mbeki was behind Cope all along. Then Julius would call for him to be disciplined or call for his expulsion.
I had the rare opportunity of seeing Julius Malema and Fikile Mbalula at a wedding I too had the privilege of attending some time last year. While all the guests were having tea before the reception, they stood together and talked, like two lonely figures. No one really walked up to them, to talk to them. Then later at the reception the master of ceremonies made the following pronouncement, “I see Mr Malema is also here.” There was much laughter. Make of the laughter what you will. But I digress, as usual. Excuse the ADD.
Should senior members of the ANC who might be sympathetic to Cope publicly announce their intentions to vote for Cope even though they remain members of the ANC? Should they come out and say that they are doing so in order to strengthen democracy and not necessarily weaken the ANC? Will a stronger opposition not in fact strengthen them? Maybe not in terms of numbers, but in strengthening the democratic processes within the party?
Members of the ANC should have the freedom to endorse and to state their intentions of voting for Cope even though they are still senior members of the ANC without the fear of being suspended.
If the rumours are true that the ANC is busy denying – President Motlanthe’s intentions of refusing the position of deputy president should Zuma become president, then it is difficult not to view his discomfort of serving as deputy to Zuma as a vote of no confidence in his presidency.
If, in the next few weeks and months, people decide to go public and announce that they will vote Cope but will remain members of the ANC, then the ruling party should understand one thing — these people do not love the ANC any less. It’s just that they love their country more.
November 24, 2008 § 5 Comments
Allow me to make a bold claim: it was not the ANC that brought us liberation. It was a vehicle that the people used to bring themselves to freedom. Just like the newfound Cope cannot claim to be the defender of the Constitution. The people are merely using it as a vehicle to defend the constitution.
I have been somewhat disturbed by some things that I have heard from certain leaders of the ANC of late. Words such as: “Cope is stealing our history, it is stealing our leaders.”
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but does the history of the struggle for freedom not belong to all South Africans? To claim ownership is to belittle the contribution of those who belong not only to South African history textbooks, but also to the pages of world history. Freedom belongs to no party.
The moment the ANC feels that it has the right to the history of the struggle, it won’t be too long before it tells us that we, the citizens of this country owe it, and as a result must accept anything it does to the country because without it we would not be free. We cannot, and must not allow ourselves to be held hostage by the ANC. Or any party of that matter. Whatever we may owe as a people, we owe to the red, blue, black, white, green and yellow colours of the flag.
The people who contributed to the Freedom Charter were not necessarily ANC card-carrying members. They were South Africans from all walks of life who wanted to be free. Some even contributed despite their white privilege because they desired that all people enjoy the freedoms they also enjoyed.
When Nelson Mandela and others languished in prison for so many years, it was not just for members of the ANC, but for all South Africans. They did not only struggle for black South Africans, but for those white South Africans who were imprisoned by their own prejudices. Yes, they fought for the racists too.
If history belongs to a certain party then that means Oliver Thambo, Nelson Mandela, Chief Albert Luthuli, Beyers Naude, Walter Sisulu, Ruth First, Winnie Madikizela Mandela and many others should not be taught in schools, but rather to those whose parents belong to a certain party.
To allow people to carry on talking in this manner about the heroes of the struggle is to make them smaller than they are. Then we can say that the ANC does not appreciate what it helped bring. We shall all be eternally grateful to the ANC, and we cannot belittle what it did. However, by claiming ownership of the struggle, it belittles itself.
Robert Sobukwe does not belong to the PAC, nor does Steven Bantu Biko belong to the Black Consciousness Movement.
Therefore, the people of this nation have no loyalty to any party – owe no favours to anyone. But their allegiance belongs to the country that many bled and died for.
Once again, let us cherish the history of this nation by not making it belong to a group.
October 29, 2008 § 17 Comments
I am not one prone to the indiscriminate use of profanity. In fact, those who know me well will tell you that I rarely descend to this sort of level. But Julius’ ability to spew out the most outlandish statements has reduced my I.Q to levels I didn’t think possible. This is my excuse for the title of this blog. The problem with listening to some of the things that he says leaves one even stupider for having heard them. For that, he should not be forgiven. The things he says not only defy logic, but stupidity. He over compensates for his lack of intellectual curiosity with his bellicose statements, which he mistakes for coherence.
Once again, on 11 February 2009 Mr Malema did what he does best (perhaps the worst), he opened his mouth. He insulted the minister of education, Naledi Pandor, a member of his own political party, accusing her of having a fake accent. His statement could also be understood to mean that any black person who happens to have gone to a private school or a so-called Model C school all his life is using nothing but a fake accent. The only genuine accent apparently is the one he has.
Both the minister and the president of the ANCYL are eloquent individuals. However Malema is eloquent in buffoonery. As a supporter of COPE I hope and pray that he uses his substandard rhetorical abilities more frequently.
Last year he tried to insult COPE’s first deputy president, Mbhazima Shilowa, by calling him a security guard, recalling his humble beginnings. As though to say there is something wrong with being a security guard. To demonstrate his lack of foresight, he did not stop to think that his statement could be insulting to the very constituency his political party is meant to speak to. If I were a security guard why would I vote for a party that seemingly has no respect for my profession?
The sort of dangerous and frightening statements he is reported to have said on October 27, 2208 could lead this nation to genocide. To quote The Times on line, “Under Mbeki, the resources of the country were distributed to certain individuals and a certain tribe,” he said, alluding to Mbeki’s Xhosa heritage. “Not everyone benefited. But under [ANC president Jacob] Zuma we expect everyone to benefit.”
This sort of blanket statement said without an iota of evidence has the ability to incite the people of this nation into an unnecessary blood bath. Of all the things we have had the misfortune of hearing from Malema, this has to be the most dangerous, therefore it should be the most unacceptable. All senior members of the ANC should have condemned this incitement of tribalism in the strongest possible terms instead of closing ranks around him, which is their reflexive reaction.
If, as he so claimed, that only a certain tribe benefited when Thabo Mbeki was president, can he explain to us why the Eastern Cape is still the poorest province in the country? The richest black man in the country by his thinking should be from the Eastern Cape or the Western Cape for that matter. In fact, the wealthiest black people in this country should be from the Cape provinces.
If he is talking about the leadership within his party he should apply some logic, something he seems to be in short supply of. I shall help him along and give him a bit of a history lesson about his party.
Historically, the Eastern Cape is the ANC’s biggest province by membership, and has been for the longest time. (Of course COPE is changing the political landscape in leaps and bounds now.) Naturally, the vast majority of people elected into leadership positions would be from that part of the world by virtue of the Eastern Cape having the greatest number of the party’s supporters. Add the Western Cape to that number. For years, large sections of KwaZulu-Natal voted IFP. Thus the vote from that part of the world was split between the ANC and the IFP. The consequence of this is that the leadership has shown a slightly disproportionate Cape slant. One does not need to be a brain surgeon to make these deductions. In fact, one does not even need a matric.
No one has single-handedly driven young black intelligentsia from the ANC to COPE with greater ferocity than young Julius Malema. I don’t understand how and why he is allowed to carry on speaking (but as a COPE supporter I hope he is allowed to speak more often. He is our greatest election tool). The more Jacob Zuma, Matthew Phosa, Cyril Ramaphosa, Pallo Jordan and Gwede Mntashe allow him to speak, the more supporters COPE gets.
In October 2009, he was on Kaya FM. I was astonished by ANCYL president’s assertions that being a youth somehow earned him the right to be impetuous, belligerent and disrespectful. I must politely disagree (although I must admit I am tempted to disagree impolitely) with the man. Youth does not give one a free pass for foolhardiness, disrespect and impulsiveness just as maturity in years does not give one the automatic right to wisdom, level-headedness and patience.
The ANC has descended into anti intellectualism and ideological incoherence with the likes of Julius Malema. Every single young person in this country ought to be embarrassed by him. We should allow him to carry on speaking, and as young people we will speak at the ballots by voting COPE.
On behalf of COPE, I would strongly recommend that he continues to open his mouth.
*this was published last year but I deicided to updated it, thanks to Juluis’s latest outbusrst.