This picture of former South African President Jacob Zuma with the newly elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa brought to mind a 1975 transhistorical film by Senegalese writer and filmmaker Ousmane Sembene. It is a story I will never forget.
Xala! (meaning impotence) is an adaptation of Sembene’s book with the same name.
If you have time to fill in the gaps with regard to recent events in South African politics, you can watch the film here.
You can also listen to an audio version of this columnhere
In the 2008 documentary film Behind the Rainbow by Egyptian-French filmmaker, Jihan El Tahri President Jacob Zuma told a story which has stayed with me for nine years. The story was about his arrest in Swaziland while working as the ANC underground coordinator in 1975. At the time, the ANC wanted to train military operatives whom they planned to inject back into South Africa to conduct missions. The Swazi authorities did not want the ANC to conduct military activities on their soil, so they kept the ANC house under close surveillance. President Jacob Zuma recounted the story which gives us an insight into how he behaves under pressure. “I saw a car parked and shortly thereafter the police came in. When the police say, come to the police station you are not likely to come back.” He said, raising his hands up in mock surrender. ‘So, I said Let me eat first, so we ate and that’s how we were arrested”
This short story defined the character of President Jacob Zuma for me, cementing him in my mind as a man who holds his ground tenaciously regardless of the apocalypse surrounding him.
The ancient Greeks defined the word apocalypse, not as a foreboding word spelling doom, disaster or the end of the world as we have come to understand it in Biblical terms. The word apocalypse in Greek literally means the uncovering, a disclosure of knowledge or revelation. Lifting the veil on that which was formerly hidden.
Interpreted in this way, this word then gives us a framework within which to understand and describe what is happening politically in South Africa today. We are going through an apocalypse of gigantic proportions which brings to light each week all the different ways in which the political elite, government officials, state agencies and corporate South Africa have colluded in corrupt practices since 1994.
And President Jacob Zuma who is currently at the centre of this storm is bidding his time, hanging on quietly to ensure that his wives, children, extended family and friends are well taken care of before he is forced to leave the table. He will eat first despite the vultures which are surrounding his camp waiting to pluck at the dead flesh of his controversial presidency.
As much as most of South Africa and some members of the ANC are desperate to get President Jacob Zuma out of government with immediate effect – we would all be remiss to focus only on him as the source of the fungus clogging up systems in government – because he is very clearly not the only one. White monopoly capital is as real and true as the insidious nature of the friendship between the Gupta’s and the president. We should never forget that it was indeed former president Nelson Mandela himself who ordered his “boys” in the ANC not to upset the ship in the order for the negotiated settlement go ahead as planned with all the compromises that had been made.
Former president Thabo Mbeki said a much in an interview he gave in Behind The Rainbow, “we put ourselves in the shoes of the other side, we said to ourselves if we were the National Party we would be reluctant to lose power and therefore we would fight against change…. because they’d be fearful. These black people who they’ve always defined in a particular way; terrorists, communists all these terrible things you’d be fearful of them taking over. So, we said well, to address that fear we said let’s offer them the sunset clauses to say you will not lose power completely. And it meant not only retaining some of them in cabinet it also meant retaining people in the public service”
While this may have been a great negotiating tactic for the ANC at the time the unintended consequences meant that the structures of apartheid both in government and in the corporate sector were not entirely dismantled
When President Nelson Mandela went on a tour in Europe he told the corporate world in Paris France that he had the labour unions under his control and a large number of state enterprises which were open for business – for private-public partnerships which became the new buzzwords of our new democracy.
Thabo Mbeki said pleasing the west was paramount in their decision-making at the time “we had to take into account the international setting what we do here could turn a significant part of the world against us which would not be right. If we hadn’t done that I
20 years on the violence they feared would tipple the ship is now eating away at the very fabric of our society, from our bedrooms to the streets and it is threatening to unravel the delicate stitches weaving the country together.
If we all understand that much of what is happening in the country economically is a result of decisions made 20, 30, 40 years ago. We can also see that the new information which is coming to light is important to help us steer the ship in a completely new direction, one which is more aligned with the values and principles inscribed in the constitution and the bill of rights.
Changing course might not seem easy but it is our best alternative to continuing down this path. Perhaps this time we can apply our minds more rigorously to the real options we have available; which of the political parties contesting the elections are the embodiment of our highest ideals?
What we decide to do now will be critical to the future of South Africa. It is important for us to know what is happening and who the real players are behind the faces in parliament.
Perhaps then we can have a chance to elect leaders who are sober, courageous and pragmatic enough to stand for what is right with as much passion and tenacity as President Jacob Zuma and the ANC are at the dinner table.
Change is taking place and we need to be wide awake to it. We need to make sure that it’s a change we can believe in and support with our actions, lest we cross the Rubicon.
14 October 2013. This morning I tuned in to SAfm’s morning news and current affairs radio talk show program and listened with interest as the presenter of Morning Talk, Rowena Baird interviewed the organizer of the Red October Campaign, Soenet Bridges – on their recent protest marches across the country, against what they called widespread genocide targeting white Afrikaner farmers.
My primary curiosity in this case was to hear how the interviewer would handle this particular interview, due to its highly emotive content. The Interview started on a curious note with Rowena the interviewer asking her guest to explain why they chose to invoke or use a quote by African-American civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King, which she admitted on air that she didn’t know ( the quote in question: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”) – inferring that the organizers had no right to inversely use his message to further their cause, which by the tone of her voice she believed was an illegitimate one. Ms Bridges defensively responded that they also believed in the universal message of non-racialism and their use of Martin Luther’s messaging was vital to attract a wider audience.
Incidentally, Martin Luther King is not the only black leader quoted on the RedOctober website, South African President Jacob Zuma is also quoted saying:
“You can’t have a union of half a thousand people because you have declared it as the union then expects to have the same rights. Sorry, we have more rights here because we are in a majority. You have fewer rights because you are a minority. Absolutely, that’s how democracy works. So, it is a question of accepting the rules within democracy and you must operate in them”
Which the interviewer didn’t know about either, and under the circumstances, the RedOctober are well within their democratic rights to raise awareness and demand answers to concerns that affect them, the South African constitution guarantees the protection of minority rights. There’s another quote on their website which the group used to highlight their plight:
“Minorities in all regions of the world continue to face serious threats, discrimination and racism, and are frequently excluded from taking part fully in the economic, political, social and cultural life available to the majorities in the countries or societies where they live” Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Now, before I entangle myself in the complex web of race politics in South Africa, let me say that yes one might argue (facts aside) that the Red October campaign is disingenuous in its use of the selected quotes, using them to a larger or lesser extent out of context to serve their interests.
But these arguments are old. Not new. And more importantly are not solution orientated, in that they continue to entrench, reinforce and enslave all South Africans within the limitations of the colour bar.
So what happened? As black South Africans (black in this case includes all shades; coloured people, Indian People and all other races that are not ‘white” by definition) we are still hurting from the past, our wounds are still gaping, open, aching and still dripping with blood from gashes experienced over generations and generations and that is precisely why we cannot hear, we cannot listen, we cannot understand anyone else’s pain, let alone the pain of our “former”oppressors in this case. The exchange between Ms Baird and Ms Bridges was a good demonstration of this. Rowena was not ready, to hear the plight of Ms Bridges, she couldn’t understand where she was coming from. Ms Bridges in turn could not hear Rowena, or understand why she (and dare I say a great majority of black South Africans) would find the position of the Red Campaign problematic.
It was a hard interview to listen to as it did not offer any new insight into the plight of Afrikaner farmers in the country, and how their campaign relates to the very real and widespread problem of violent crime in the country which is not only directed against white Afrikaners but one which equally affects South Africans as a whole – especially with regard to the liberal use of the word “genocide”. The Interviewer was very antagonistic, highly emotional and her questions were peppered with sardonic passive aggression. She routinely cornered; “shouted” ignored, and cut off her guest.
At the core of the Red October campaign is a “belief” that white (Afrikaner farmers) South Africans are targets of hate crime, which is so grave it amounts to an effective genocide. “17 white people are being brutally killed every month in South Africa” Bridges responded to questions of why the “red campaign” was necessarily. She added that they wanted answers to pertinent questions affecting the Afrikaner community. “The South African Constitution is failing Afrikaners, It’s not right to carry on with policies such as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and Affirmative action! How long will it continue?” She asked. “But how do you expect the government to equal the playing field for the majority of marginalized South Africans?” Rowena asked angrily. “18 percent of the white population is now living in squatter camps. You don’t solve the problem of unemployment by firing one person to replace them with another, there will still be a person without a job! I don’t have a problem with government improving the lot of black people. I’m just saying that they must not do that at the expense of white people” She concluded. There are 4 million white people in South Africa. If they were the only ones living here, 17 deaths a month, give or take, could amount to genocide. Who knows we can all do the math?
To that, callers, encouraged by the interviewers’ air of righteous indignation, asserted that in fact – the ANC should have been more aggressive in their approach an in negotiations with the Apartheid regime. The interview quickly nosed dived into an argument similar to those you would hear at a bar. “They are inciting violence with the song Dubula Ibhunu” – they want to kills us she said. The interviewer interjected saying the song did not really say what she was saying and the discussion became about the semantics of what the words in the song actually mean. In fact there is no mystery in the song (which has been banned by court order in South Africa) as the Zulu words are translated into English from one verse to another – Dubula Ibhunu simply means “Shoot the boer,” The interviewer then asked what about all the black people killed by white people in the past, recounting some incidents in the recent past, to which Bridges responded “Is it right that our elderly, should be tortured, mutilated, with Pangas and all manner of instruments?” she added equally righteously “ these are racist attacks, we would like to speak outside of race, but unfortunately it is a racial issue” to which the interviewer cut her off and went on a break.
It is “racial” in as far as it is black people killing white people.“It is not us killing these people, it’s black people, doing the killing”. By this point it was clear that there was no more room for discussion, the interview had reached a point of no return. The Interviewer could only respond by saying, “black people also kill other black people”, which ironically only served to add fuel to Bridges’ argument “black people can kill each other fine, but not us”. Dead air.
The interviewer ended the interview saying: “Thank you for indulging us with an interview” effectively dismissing her concerns, as non-entities within a broader framework of the larger problems facing the country, especially a large majority of black South Africans who share similar stories of torment but which (for whatever reason) do not garner such widespread public debate – black people are in the majority so crime and violence in a way has been normalized within the black community. White people are “new” “victims” to violent crime and murder. But regardless of who is doing it, it still does not make it okay – right?
This type of interview – by its very nature, required a higher level of “maturity” and I use the word “maturity” with lot of hesitation ( and with respect to the Interviewer-Rowena here). I use the word “maturity” to demonstrate a general lack of “emotional growth” in our collective understanding our “human” condition. Our ability as citizens of this country (world) to “step” of our own insular perspectives, and at the very least attempt to view our experiences in the context of wider inclusive view. The subject of “genocide” against white (Afrikaner farmers) people by its very nature raises deep-seated emotional scars, and for many (black) people is down right insulting.
The interviewer in this case needed to interact with her guest much like a psychologist or therapist would to a patient. She needed to be the “bigger” person and allow the guest to speak. She needed to listen. Not in a “patronizing” way but in with an “open” and non-judgmental attitude, even as she “personally” disagrees with what the guest was saying. And gently bring her to the “other” daily and very similar realities faced by black people.
We live in a country divided along racial lines. Black = Victim. White = Oppressor/perpetrator. And we seem to be eternally stuck in that narrative that never, ever ventures to see/hear the other side. There is so much that happens between the lines. Pain is Pain. Black or White.
I was disappointed to observe that we had not moved an inch from that narrative. And the Interview clearly demonstrated that. But more than that I was even more disappointed that this was displayed on a public forum like the national broadcaster: we vilified the experience of white farmers, made it sound like, 17 white farmers being killed every month is okay, in fact it’s nothing compared to the number of black people being raped, killed, mutilated every month. Welcome to the club. So in effect white farmers should be grateful that only 17 of them are being killed. This is the impression I got from the tone of the interview. And I am a black South African. The interview left me with no solution, no way forward – it left me at a dead-end, with bad taste in my mouth. What now? it was as if it was it said – an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth.
I truly hope we never go back there, and this type of discussion on this platform concerns me as a citizen of this country. I don’t want to be a part of it.
The problem is huge, but is it really genocide? hard facts do little to ameliorate the hurt in this issue. There was no empathy; from both sides – which is “fine” when you’re sitting around a dinner table, with friends, and not so fine if you are in a powerful position of a national broadcaster informing public opinion. We cannot always get it right, but we can at least try – especially on an issue as sensitive as this one to “listen” and “hear” the others perspectives and engage them with respect. If we can’t we need to find a mediator, someone who can listen to both sides with understanding which is what was supposed to have been the role of the Presenter in this case.
In fact I think this interview was a missed opportunity, to talk about how we as a society should begin to address the rampant problem of violent crime in the country, and remove it from the insular – linear perspectives of just black against white or black against black crime, just women, just queers etc. We need to find ways to respect human life – regardless of the shades in comes in.
Can we have a sober discussion? White people historically have a “louder” voice, resources, capital and know how to mobilize action as they did in this case for their narrow interests, we cannot ignore them. We cannot dismiss their pain. We need only look at the example of Apartheid to see the result of what happened when they dismissed our pain.
How do we “combine” our voices, resources, know how to tackle the problem of violent crime against all citizens and non-citizens of this country?
I have been off news in recent days, I watch but there’s a certain part of my brain that sort of refuses to pay attention. But luckily my current mode of transport brings me news in the most unexpected ways. This is news as heard from a taxi driver, two old women in the first front row. A die hard Orlando Pirates Soccer Club fan in the front (riding shot gun)who is later replaced by another die hard Alex man. Destination: Johannesburg Bree Taxi Rank From: Kliptown Soweto. Atmosphere: late afternoon Metro FM is on the dial and Eddie Zondie is playing his Sunday Ballads from Whitney Houston to Mariah Carey softly in the background . Sad Love songs in Short. Taxi conversations like this one are rare, so I put together a little News Bulletin for you. Enjoy 🙂
Good Afternoon, In the headlines…
Orlando Pirate fans stoic despite defeat
The country’s youth is doing amazing things!
Warning; If you’re afraid of rats, don’t live in Alex
And finally President Jacob Zuma is a stubborn man
Good Afternoon – your top TAXI story this hour……
An unknown taxi driver says Orlando Pirate fans are brave, because they continue to wear their team jerseys and colours despite their loss against Kaizer chiefs at the weekend. A man sitting shot gun at the front of the taxi almost jumped out of the car following this statement screaming, “if you are a true fan, you will continue to wear your colours, whether you lose or win, a true fan dies with his team.” He said causing the two old women sitting behind him to roar with laughter, they consoled the young man in the front seat saying pirates did put up a good fight in one of the most watched games this season. The taxi driver told him to make a bet next time if he is so loyal to his team, put his money where his mouth is. The pirate man replied that he has mouths to feed, and that look now he would have lost money to buy food for his children had he place a bet for Pirates. He asked to be dropped off at a nearby a tree. The taxi driver obliged.
A working man from Alex has announced that a boy from his neighbourhood, his next door neighbor in fact has killed his mother and was later arrested for his crime. He told the sad news to two old women sitting at the first front row of the taxi, after he asked one of the women why she was already eating lunch en route to work in Johannesburg, “what will you eat later” he asked. “I will drink tea” the woman replied and they all agreed that they should spoil themselves with KFC (chicken) once in a while just as a treat, as children nowa days often take the money to buy a new popular drug called Nyaope. The women were shocked at the mans’ horrific story. The taxi driver commented that the Children of today are doing AMAZING things. Wonders, he keeps saying. The man from Alex encouraged by the growing interest in his story added more details saying “ apparently he suffocated his mother, who is a known alcoholic and a person living with 3k-three kicks or S3 a new synonym for HIV/AIDS. After he discovered that she was no longer breathing he tried to resuscitate her with water, but she was already gone, he continued. Police found him crying next to his mother’s body. Hmmm hmmm the women shook their heads in Unison.
Don’t even dare to live in Alexandra Township north of Johannesburg if you’re scared of rats warned an unknown driver of a taxi from Kliptown to Johannesburg this Sunday afternoon. The taxi driver claims that rats in Alexandra Township North of Johannesburg are like people they just look at you. The taxi driver’s comments caused the two elder women sitting behind him to laugh heartily like old friends at the taxi driver’ description of the rat infested township. A man from Alex sitting next to the taxi driver disagreed, saying Alex, arguably the oldest township in Johannesburg, is truly the place to be. He said despite the rats – once you live there you won’t want to leave. Swerving his car to the left the taxi driver told his passenger that in Alex – rats are not scared of people they just look at you and move on with their business bringing the elder women to tears with more laughter, but the man from Alex kept saying, Alex is the original township, the women must come there, at least they can have a piece of land. The taxi driver replied that it’s true, we all come from Alex, but if you’re scared of rats don’t live in Alex.
And finally……Two elderly female passengers travelling from Kliptown to Johannesburg say President Jacob Zuma is a stubborn man. “He has umuti (medicine/ behavior)of Mugabe so what are we going to do”? They recently asked on their way to work. They were referring to a possibility that South African President Jacob Zuma may refuse to step down as president of the country when the time comes and like Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe continue to contest elections after almost four decades in power. Zimbabweans will go to the polls this week. However the man from Alex refuted their claims, saying that though he agreed that the President is a stubborn man, he refused to believe that South Africa would allow him to stay in power beyond a third term. If he is not doing the right thing, he added, he will be voted out. The elderly women were not convinced.
That’s all the news we have from the Taxi. Thank you for reading.
27-06-2013 These are highly stressful days for any journalist… in fact for most South Africans and perhaps even the world at large. Our beacon of hope, our best example of a human being Former South AfricanPresident Nelson Mandela is critical in hospital. On life support. We are again at the precipice of the unknown. We are at a point of no return. Things are changing. Any day now, any minute now we’ll get the call. Life is changing. We are indeed yet again a country in transition, we are “growing up” and regardless of how hard we try to stall, to delay, to postpone hoping and wishing – nature will and must take its course. The book I’m reading now Country of my Skull by Antjie Krog puts that fact so vividly into perspective, makes the fragility of life so ruthlessly definite, and so final. I am beside myself with anger, with anxiety. I have been staring blankly through the window at the IT Corner – trying to finish the last couple of pages. Tears interrupt me they stream down my face. I don’t care this time. I am so full of remorse, full of shame, maybe I feel guilty. I am angry. I don’t know what to do with myself, where to place the anger… how to package my emotions in a neatly coherent articulate English sentence that will make sense to you my dear learnerd reader. What’s worse there’s a huge part of me feels that these “feelings” these “these moments when I feel so tender a look could shatter me, dissolve me,” are a luxuries I cannot afford. They are Illegitimate, Bastard feelings. There’s no time. People before me endured and survived worse. I need strength. More courage. More wisdom.
I stand up – I am finding it incredibly challenging to finish the book. The testimonies of Apartheid atrocities worse that the holocaust. Beyond what I imagine to be humanly possible. I am reading the Epilogue. I have been doing so well. But I stand up and walk up the streets of Melville, Johannesburg, once an artists preferred watering hole…
…I walk up 7th Street and each ever-changing establishments brings back memories…as if it was yesterday, Mojitos at Six the ever popular cocktail bar, dinners with friends at what used to the Asian restaurant –SOI- now dark and empty, nights spent talking nonsense or watching soccer at former Wish, Spiro’s, Now Poppy’s…prawns I devoured with friends at the now vacant Portuguese fish market, which used to be Full Stop where we used to have breakfast. I remember potato skins and cheese at Xai Xai, laughing over Oliver Mtukudzi lament on repeat “ I’m feeling low I feeling low, help me lord I’m feeling low” ahead of a night spent jumping and spinning to Drum ‘n Base in Transkei which used to be home to the famed Jazz establishment the Baseline… now it’s on its way to becoming something else again. The vacant image of 7th street stings and suddenly I feel this emptiness growing in my heart … new owners announce their imminent arrival on a few still vacant shops…but that does not fill my heart with hope…I don’t know what I should put in this gaping hole in my heart..
There’s a soundtrack for this moment in life. It’s Hometown Glory by Adel.
I’ve been walking in the same way as I did
And missing out the cracks in the pavement
And tutting my heel and strutting my feet
“Is there anything I can do for you dear? Is there anyone I could call?
No, and thank you, please madam, I ain’t lost, just wandering”
Round my hometown, memories are fresh
Round my hometown, ooh, the people I’ve met
Are the wonders of my world, are the wonders of my world
Are the wonders of this world, are the wonders and now
I go to the corner café on 7th and 2nd Avenue, thankfully it still exists but like so many business in Melville it’s also under new management. In a quivering voice I ask for a single Stuyvesant Blue, my first cigarette in over two months. I know it won’t change anything now but I want to smoke it. I smoke it slowly as I walk back down I watch as new hiply-weaved young people spill out and smoke coolly on the pavements of what used to be PHAT JOE’s studios. – I choke on mine and put it out. I really could use a glass of the most crimson Pinotage. I understand religion, I understand the need to hold on to a ritual a cleansing, a practice, a fellowship, a heaven, a happily ever after, to be born again, to be absolved, forgiven – Since I can’t even trust myself to quit smoking, keep a roof over my head, or a job, be a functional human being, have friends, stay in a relationship, have children, build my own family. Take care of something. Someone. People who cannot do that are not trustworthy. Does not matter about your Politics. Be optimistic; be balanced, mature. Be responsible, accountable. Make something of yourself for god’s sake… Me too really I want to be happy like Lira. Or at the very least content, grateful, Thankful. I feel more ashamed. What will it take?
Eyewitness news reporter Alex Aleesive is receiving kudos from a fellow colleague and new author Mandy Wiener at Talk radio 702 for writing a great piece on the legacy of Mandela, he quotes veteran journalist Max du Preez – The face of the Truth and Reconciliation reports at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) back in the day. “Mandela is living proof that good can triumph over evil” He is moved by Madiba’s supernatural ability to just be human. I can’t stop myself from crying. I think maybe I’m jealous. I’m young, black and still not qualified to tell the story of our struggle, not free to tell it as I see it. Sorry that position has been filled. We had more qualified applicants. You seem to have a problem with commitment. I am still waiting for so and so to “come back to me”. Thank you. But I know for sure it’s way deeper than that.
Instinctively, intuitively I feel like Madibas daughter, his grandchild, his great-grand daughter – I feel like one of his off-spring who have been pleading, begging asking the Media and the world to back off a while they spend this crucial time with their father – who was never theirs to begin with. I want to say wait. Shut up. Don’t interpret my words, don’t put them another way. Don’t tell me how to feel; don’t translate, don’t tell me what to say and how to say it. Don’t tell me I shouldn’t be angry –just for once back off. Don’t tell me how things should be done, don’t tell me how to be civil, don’t tell me what you think Ubuntu is, don’t outline to me what’s appropriate or inappropriate to do at this time, don’t try and analyze me, understand me, Don’t pretend to know me or to “get” me. Don’t educate me. You’ve spoken for me for long enough. You’ve twisted my story, my history, my culture, my being for long enough. You’ve spoken for, about and over me for long enough. Just don’t tell me how to behave, don’t mediate, don’t HELP! Just Stand back for once, don’t take this moment from me, and make it yours, don’t force me to feel sorry for your pain once again. Don’t try to fit me us him into your ideas of what makes you the better man or human. Don’t taint this time with your pity, empathy or admiration. It’s not about you. Please don’t interfere, don’t try and fit this moment in your very busy schedule, your plan… don’t speed it up or slow it down, just let it be what it is. Its importants. Don’t steal it, make me pay for it, work for it, earn it. Don’t ask me how I feel. Today that is none of your business. I want to be left with my nearest and dearest as we spend time with “our father” to share sweet nothing moments, – for as long as it takes – to exchange sacred secretes, moments, to hear “Things went horribly wrong, and for that I’m sorry.” To Say “I’m sorry too Tata. So – so sorry for making my happiness, our happiness, your sole responsibility. We cannot ask for more. Thank you. I love you”
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?
Expelled ANC Youth League Leader Julius Malema, is practically emulating almost every strategy and tactic which his mentor and South African President Jacob Zuma himself employed when he outsted his then arch rival former President Thabo Mbeki back in 2008.
If we could take detailed notes, we would be forgiven when we give Malema correct marks point by point by point. One 100 percent full marks. Though we don’t know as yet if Malema will make it to the ruling party ANC’s elective conference in Polokwane (sic) Mangaung in the North West Province in November.
The charges which the Hawks (South Africa’s specialist police) have been investigating since the beginning of the year could continue well into 2014.
History Repeats itself so What’s new?
The public is taken a-back my Malemas’ arrogant, disrespectful insults against President Zuma – who is ineffect his elder, a father figure (for) to him; who is to be respected. And in African tradition and culture what Malema is doing is simply “unheard” of! Out of Order with that natural flow of things.
No matter how wrong your mother, father, uncle and great grand father might be, however angry you are with them, however justified you might be in your righteous indignation, it is not correct to shame them, insult them and call them illiterate in public. Nothing they can do warrants the slightest disrespect from a youngster – “upstart” a friend once remarked.
Let’s look back at the “spear” debacle and the the moral anger it ignited even amongst the fiercest detractors of Zuma’s presidency today. Brett Marais’s painting infused such righteous anger in the public discourse it became a racial issue ( Black Africans and White Africans don’t read for the same morality book sometimes) in the public discourse. Yes many might agree that Zuma’s behavoir is wrong, but however wrong he might be, we can’t expose his manhood for all to see in public galleries even if they are of an artistic nature.
Young people are tickled by Malema’s utterances, but older folk are angered by them. To the point of being Livid. To them it is like a child whose filthy nappies you changed turning against you and saying telling you that you are nothing. You know nothing.
It’s a very dangerous line to cross.
The recent elimination of Tshidi – a promising and should I add much loved contestant in South Africa’ talent search – Idols’ is a case in point. As part of the top four competitors she was followed back to her home town of Thokoza where she was met by scores of people including her family and friends, waiting to congratulate her on having succeeded and come so far in the most talked about singing competition in South Africa. But before she came out of her car, she nervously said: ” Please don’t jump on me, don’t jump on me please, I don’t want to fall over etc, please don’t jump on me” for at least five minutes.
Such a light statement that was.
Needles to say no one came near her, and the country demonstrated their displeasure at her “pompous” comments when they eliminated her from the race to become South Africa’s next Pop Idol. No votes for Tshidi.
Malema – if found guilty could loose everything.
One hopes for his sake, he has an uncle or friend some where who can help him pick up the pieces.
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A mother, A student, A dancer, A human, A survivor... I am that woman. End rape now! In Durham, North Carolina, USA, community members are breaking the silence about sexual assault and racist violence as part of a long struggle against racism, classism, sexism and all forms of oppression.