Poverty Porn & Fake Benevolence

That’s  what Zz;  a good friend and former colleague of mine told me she’s so tired of, over her  plate of garlic chicken and fries at the  Goldmine Cafe  on Anderson street downtown Johannesburg.

She is  wearing her Geeky-in-fashion glasses, but hers are prescription glasses, like mine;   White triangular earnings… a beige  thin and loose wollen top, and an above the knee animal print skirt (not sure which animal) and brown floshem looking shoes – they are in fashion. She looks great. We were both highly traumatized by our last place of employment  and she’s still ridding herself of the sickening dust from the the from the blue-carpet floors and paper brown walls. I left before she did.

I’m joining the ANC Womens’ League she says to me with a straight face.  I admire her. South African politics have become that serious   “You know they have endorsed President Jacob Zuma in the next election?” I say to her.

Their statement reads:

There is consensus among seven of the nine provinces who support continuity within the organisation, and therefore support Comrade Jacob Zuma for the position of President, Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe as Deputy President and Comrade Gwede Mantashe as Secretary General. Limpopo province differs in opinion as to who should be nominated in these positions and Gauteng have been busy preparing for their provincial conference and will contribute once that process has been finalised.

The ANCWL is an advocate of the 50 – 50 principal including the top six officials of the ANC, discussions and consultation is still underway regarding the remaining three positions.

Yeah I heard, she says, but I really want to know what goes on inside, like, What are they thinking? What are they doing?

I sent them ( the ANCWML)  an email the other day,  she continues, asking them what are they doing and they told me about women representation in government  and Nkosazana-Dlamini-Zuma…  and I was like, no like, what practical things are you doing, like what are you doing in Marikana…  ” She dips into her tomato-red fries.

The ANC Womens’ League has been a  key supporter of Zumas’ presidency, including Cosatu – The Largest Labour Union in the country (whose members are now in revolt re:Marikana)  since the ruling liberation party’s  elective conference in 2008. The Limpopo Elective Conference left many in tears of sorrow and jujubilation. It was out with the old ( Former President of the ANC and the country Thabo Mbeki) and in with the new ( enter President Jacob Zuma). I remind her of history,  and it makes me feel slightly old.

They were Zuma’s  key allies during his very controversial rape trial. A trial in which he confessed to having forced himself on his deceased best friends’  daughter who is HIV positive without a condom, and then proceeded to say she wanted it. He used baby oil and a shower as his protection against a  disease which has (is) ravaged the country.  The country was divided.

The ANC women’s League wasn’t, in fact they were more vocal and supported Zuma’ innocence in the trial. They called the rape victim/survivor a whore and a slut. Old/grown women in traditional Zulu costumes  sang, danced and slurred insults at the rape complainant,  exposing their bare bottoms at her for daring to  speak out and stand up for her rights.

They also stood steadfastly by him (silently this time)when in another court trial in 2004 for corruption this time, his friend and financial advisor  Shabir Shaik was convicted of fraud and corruption.  Zuma was implicated and was fired from his  job as the country’s Deputy President.     After along and muddy battle in Polokwane Zuma was made president,  and  Shabir Shaik was released soon after  on medical parole after serving 2 years and four months of his 15 year prison term.  Not only that they have supported him (remained silent) when  Zuma told South Africa recently  that unmarried and childless women were a problem to society. Women needed to be trained through marriage and child birth.

But in the midst of that I found it generally shocking that the ANC women’s league continuously failed to speak out against the many many many cases of  women and child abuse in the country.  I too was made speechless when  they still remained silent when the country stirred after a woman was finger raped by a group of men at  Noord Taxi Rank in downtown Johannesburg because she was wearing a short skirt and therefore had invited them to violate her.

Or their silence on the increase and seemingly targeted rape against Lesbian women living in township. In June at least 10 Gay men and women were killed in South Africa.

“It would be interesting to find out what  they actually do at the ANC Women’s league” I say cutting up a piece of hake.

Ag It’s Angie, she says dejectedly, She wants to keep her job, that’s why the ANC Women’s  league is endorsing Zuma. The road to Mangaung,   (the next ANC party’s elective conference in the North West Province is to take place in December)  is not paved with good intentions.

Angie Motshega is the current ANC Women’s league President and the Minister for The Department for Basic Education. Her department has been marred in  controversy over the The Limpopo Text Book Saga, in which her  department failed to deliver textbooks to primary school children at the beginning of the year. They still don’t have textbooks, even today, it is said by some.

An anonymous teacher had sent an e-mail to Section27 reading: “The minister of education came to our district and threatened us not to talk to the media about the book shortages if we value our careers.”

President Jacob Zuma recently opened a new  school somewhere in the Eastern Cape- near Bizana in fact,  not far from where Zz is from.  He has yet to make any pronouncements on learning  without text books in Limpopo.  He is more aloof that his predecessor when it comes to matter affecting his nation.  Education is suffering in the country and he’s not even looking. The ANCWL doesn’t even seem to care.

I am just so tired of people going around painting schools, donating this and that when it  doesn’t even have to be this way! Why do we still have children learning in mud huts,  or under trees, without textbooks in 2012, I’m so tired of this Poverty Porn and Fake Benevolance! I’m angry! She said  and  we looked at each other in total agreement.

Is any one – are you angry enough to join the ANC Women’s League?  Can we still change it from within or is it time to Amputate and Start Afresh?

Would love to hear your thoughts….

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