Tag Archive: nelson mandela


mandela

This rollercoaster looks familiar.

i had just posted a link to an article titled Get Real White South Africa, written by Milisuthando Bongela on the Times Lives site.

It contained this challenging and eye-opening statement:

Only white people can end white supremacy from within their communities – from their churches, schools, dinner tables, clamber clubs, sports clubs, boardrooms, banting restaurants, neighbourhood-watch WhatsApp groups, advertising agency brainstorms, rebranded Broederbond organisations, newsrooms, coffee roasteries, and homes.

Which i  believe contains a whole lot of Truth as typically [you see it in the USA right now with their different but similar-themed story] it tends to be those who were formerly oppressed who find themselves doing the majority of the work to end the oppression and build the different-looking future.

And ended with what it called this requirement:

This is not a request or a plea, it is a requirement if we are all to live in the peace we are all desperate to achieve. It is time to divide more equally the responsibility of dealing with the racial dialectic we find ourselves in. But there has to be the will to change. If there’s no will to change, those who do care will die trying, as will the dream of our new-look nation.

And typical to me posting a piece on ‘White Privilege’ or other related Race or Reconciliation writing, there was push-back. Some of it has been addressed quite effectively in this nine part series of letters and response, titled ‘What About Bob?’ that i ran on my blog not too long ago. If you missed that, i would seriously put aside some time to work through the posts as they were really helpful.

Two comments stood out in the brief conversation that followed. The first is from a friend of mine, Brett [good name!], who works in a township and so i think should have a greater understanding of a lot of these things or at least greater access to the stories in front of him. i know Brett to be someone who is genuine and so i don’t doubt his questions at all, which is why i feel it is worth taking the time to address my concerns.

The second is a guy i don’t know and to be honest feels like the angry words of someone not that interested in change. Derick contradicts himself in his own paragraph and i don’t know that going to deeply into that one will be helpful, but it is good to highlight how some people think and react so that we can understand what change still needs to happen.

THE CHALLENGES I SEE IN YOUR THINKING

To me, that sounds a lot like all whites, even the white people who had no active role in apartheid, must simply give over their wealth to the previously disadvantaged portion of the population and that the previously disadvantaged must do nothing in between then except waiting for the hand out and redistribution. I don’t see how that is a viable solution. Where does hard work come in or rewards for personal betterment and effort? Again, I acknowledge that the effects of apartheid are still seen today and we still have a long way to go to reach proper equality, but I don’t believe the correct way to empower the poorer portion of black people in this country is to simply give, give, give while we sit with white guilt. [Brett Miller]

Three phrases in this paragraph concern me, and i want to deal with them all briefly:

# All whites, even the white people who had no active role in apartheid

This is a very problematic statement. Is the person who calls someone ‘the K word’ more guilty than the one who stands by and lets it happen? Is the one who enforces a ‘Whites Only/Blacks Only’ beach more guilty than the white person who enjoys the privilege to be found in getting to use the best beach? Does a church or a Christian Student organisation that chose to be segregated rather than fight segregation or simply refuse and take whatever consequences follow not need to stand accountable? The words ‘active role’ i don’t think help create much of a distinction. There is guilt by action and guilt by association and guilt by being complicit and not standing against what was wrong. Most whites in the country fall into those categories although there was a small percentage who actively fought against it and received some consequence for their actions.

But it goes deeper than that. Especially now that we are 21 years in to ‘the New South Africa’ and all of that and so you have people who have been born and are growing up as the generation who wasn’t around for apartheid. But that is where an acknowledgement of White Privilege comes into play. Not that you particularly did anything to create the difference, but that you were born into the difference and purely by being white, received certain advantages [whether you were born into wealth or not]. Many people seem to confuse the term ‘White Privilege’ with ‘White Wealth’ but they are not the same thing. You can be born into poverty as a white person and still have a certain amount of privilege over someone who is black and born into wealth. We are talking about a level playing field.

A young white girl who has her own bedroom and all the quiet she needs to be able to study and a complete school uniform and two parents who love her and provide for her, three meals a day and the basic necessities of life. Compare that to a young black woman living in a shack in a township. The noise, the distraction, the possibility of having to venture outside at night simply to go to the toilet, sharing a room slash house with a huge number of people, one or both parents not around, her mom having to wake up at 4am to go off to clean someone else’s house, needing to look after her three younger siblings and be the mom in many respects. One example that exists and is played out in many households around South Africa and a clear reflection of a playing field that is not level.

The effects and consequences of apartheid mean that while the white girl may not have had an active role in apartheid, things have still turned out relatively okay for her and yet there is no way you can hold her performance against the performance of the black girl and compare them as equals when it comes to university requirements etc.

# Where does hard work come in or rewards for personal betterment and effort?

As above. The constant refrain from the white person [see Derick below] is ‘I was not an active player in apartheid. I grew up with nothing and worked hard for what I have so why should I give it up?’ And once again, if the playing field was equal, that would likely be a more valid point.

But when you go back to my example, as hard as the white girl works to get into University, at some point she has to come across the story of the black girl and realise that things are not equal or fair and that unless something pretty big is done about it, the cycle will continue for many many years to come. This is where it gets tricky cos i’m not sure what the answer is and hope others will weigh in with some practical solutions but one way forward i guess is when the white girl has a job and is earning R15000 a month, realising that she can get by on R13000 a month and deciding to put that R2000 a month towards a cause that will in some way help level the playing field. i don’t even know what the numbers are in the country for starting salaries and all that but perhaps the solution lies somewhere in the haze of ‘Maybe i won’t have a vacation in Europe for a month while my friend is struggling to pay their rent and eat’ or something like that.

Finding an effective way forward requires a huge amount of people to get hugely creative with what they have and will require a certain amount of personal sacrifice of the greeds we feel entitled to, in order to better address the needs that so many people have. Maybe it lies in part in where that white girl chooses to live or how she chooses to use her law degree or in the community of friends she gathers around herself who maybe don’t all look and think like her.

# while we sit with white guilt

This one i don’t get. i see a strong distinction between Guilt and Conviction. And we should totally be convicted. When we eat the red pill and our eyes are opened [in part] to the unfairness of the situation we live in, then that should move us to want to make a difference. All guilt ever does is paralyse and leave us feeling bad and unable to make a difference. So stop feeling guilty. Be mobilised to do something.

In my quest to understand the present situation a little better i have been reading up on our history from different voices to the ones i was taught – Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko, and even Antjie KrogI have looked to strengthen my friendships with black people i know who live in the townships and graciously spend time educating me on the real needs and hurts and drive of the people there. I have used my forum/audience to create spaces for voices representing in part different colour/culture perspectives. There is a long long way to go and i feel completely out of my depth and with no clue a lot of the time, but i am trying to LISTEN better [without preparing my answer or ‘defence’] and hear stories and be aware of opportunities and so on.

Brett, i hope that has been helpful. i imagine from your work that you have a lot to teach us and share with us and i hope you will continue to be open to really hearing the stories that are out there and gaining a better understanding of what we can do to make an effective difference.

And then there was Derick:

I’m gonna come across more blunt and say that is exactly what the author expects in this article. Stop sugar coating things please. They expect me who had absolutely zero f*all to do with apartheid, to hand over my hard earned $ which I work for everyday and require in order to live, to someone else because they are previously disadvantaged. This article is going the right way about pissing off a lot of people. I also acknowledge the gross inequalities and that I am more fortunate than most. But in many cases this is already being implemented, and look at the state our country is in. Corruption at an all time record high, more and more taxes being implemented, incompetent municipalities and leaders at every turn. Load shedding every day. Is this all due to Apartheid? Lol what a joke. Get out of my face with that please. [Derick Vorster]

i don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, because your attitude suggests that you are not so much interested in hearing anything outside of what you already believe and continue to tell yourself. My only question would be how you go from ‘I also acknowledge the gross inequalities and that I am more fortunate than most’ to pretty much anything else you said in there. It is like you are acknowledging there is a disparity and something needs to be done for it to be more equal but you are clearly not going to be doing anything to do anything about it. Just the guy who got lucky with the Lottery Ticket. The only suggestion i really have for you is to leave the country. You clearly are not happy here and you should go somewhere else where you don’t have to be inconvenienced with having all this unfairness in your face. for your sake and ours. i can’t see anything else except an absolutely major shift of thinking and attitude making much difference with you. i honestly wish i had the money to offer to buy you that ticket.

[For other Conversations relating to South Africa, click here]

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i get it, South Africa is in a bit of a mess right now, and that statement is a bit of an understatement.

And yes, xenophobia might not be the correct word, but it’s the one most people understand and so it does seem to work for now so please don’t let us get distracted by that.

With this whole Xenophobia vibe, there are two truths:

[1] One truth is violence, fear, destruction, hate

[2] Another truth is peace marches, shelter, protection and life.

The problem on social media this past week, as far as i can tell, is that for the most part only one truth has been emphasised.

While it is important for us to be aware of what is going on [i think we all are by now, yes?] i think we need to realise the responsibility each of us has in the way we share the truth, or the way we choose which truth to share.

Neither of the two truths is the whole truth.

Yes, we would love to see the government more involved, or at least more vocal, and this is definitely something the police and maybe even the military need to be involved in, but again, we have a responsibility outside of that. Whether they do or not and whether it is in a way that is helpful or not, each of us can play our part.

And while i don’t know what the actual answers are when it comes to the actual violence that is happening [besides possibly showing up in numbers and saying “Not on our watch!” although it is hard to know where to go] i do know that we can do our part. And much better than we have.

Fear breeds more fear. Hate breeds panic. Violence breeds hopelessness and disillusionment.

i think it is important for us to take a deep breath and realise that these incidents are actually representative of the minority [which you would not think if you took notice of all the negativity being shared, forwarded, liked and eaten up].

Which is why i have committed myself [and am calling on others] to start to share more of the positive truths that are true of so many of the people of South Africa [of all races, social classes, areas, genders etc].

Let us be more excited to share the good that is happening so that other people who are feeling fearful and hopeless and despondent might be encouraged and motivated to get up and become part of more good, seeing that it does happen and is working.

i don’t even have an idea why people share videos of violence on social media – yes, it’s important we know it is happening, but if we choose to watch it, then i think a little piece of our humanity leaves through the window. Fortunately we’ve been so desensitised by television and movie violence that we don’t even care…

So what i am suggesting and inviting you to do, is to become greater sharers of the more positive truth.

Like this story by my mate Rob from Zimbabwe which is hugely positive and encouraging and representative of stuff he is seeing all the time over there.

Like these stories i am trying to post every week by someone in South Africa sharing the story of someone else in South Africa who is doing something [big or small] that gives them hope.

Like this tab on my blog looking at South Africa and different aspects of how we can move positively forward or just celebrate some of the beautiful kalidoscope of who we are

And more. We live in a beautiful country and we need to claim it both in word and deed, online and out there on the streets. We must not lose sight of the incredible things that are happening all around the country and the millions of people who are wanting this all to work out well. Let’s commit to sharing at least one positive story for every negative one we pass on, but preferably more. Let’s commit to finding and sharing those stories as we see them happening around us. And to be personally involved in making those stories as we build bridges, invest in relationships, become agents of peace and love rather than soothsayers of doom.

Who is with me?

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My friend Alexa recently [as in yesterday, that’s pretty recent don’t you think? me too] wrote this piece called ‘Are there more white people like you?’ where she starts with this:

‘I have been faced with the fact that as much as I am surrounded by amazing people, doing things to see communities shift and healed, that there is not enough contact between different (colour)people happening to make people realise that actually there are many(white)who are seeking this change. Who think that justice matters, who think that restitution matters.’

And gets to this question which was asked to her by two different people:

‘Are there more? Maybe there are more but we don’t see or hear them?’

And it spoke to a frustration that has been growing in me in terms of the conversations that i have tried to have on this blog hoping to be a catalyst for deeper conversations on race and reconciliation, on reparation and moving forwards in this, my beloved country… that every time there is a post or a story share or a challenge, it is the same people showing up, liking, sharing, getting excited, engaging and pushing back – Hi Sindile. Molo Nkosi. Hey Mike. Lexy! Dre, how goes it? Linda! Avuyile!

And that’s it. With occasional cameo roles from one or two others.

And with this blog i’ve realised two things:

[1] i start a LOT of paragraphs with the word ‘and’ – well today i do it seems.

[2] and [see!] when one person comments it usually means at least five people are reading, when three people share it usually means twelve people have been moved by it, when eight people like there is the likelihood that twenty people thought it was worthwhile and so on.

So maybe this is true. Maybe the voices and comments i see on these posts are representative of many more people who are quietly reading and looking on and silently cheering and nodding and having their own wrestlings and offline conversations.

Or the slightly more scarier option of maybe only 6 to 8 people are actually interested in engaging in these kinds of conversations in this particular way.

But i don’t believe that. i do believe that not as many people as i’d like to be interested are interested. But i also believe there are a lot more than i know. And my call to you today is to come out of the shadows. To put your hand up. To make yourselves known. It’s not even about reading or liking or commenting on or sharing my blog posts [and the posts of those who share their stories on my blog] although please keep doing that.

But just let us know that you’re out there. Please just let us know you care. Let us know that it’s not just the five to eight of us who are wondering around feeling completely rubbish at making any sort of significant difference with this. Or that it even matters.

Because it’s a bit of a lonely business advocating for change and daring to hope in a country where so many people are either so wrapped up in their homogenous bubbles of sameness or else completely negative and always complaining about the state of things in the country [often both] or just seemingly oblivious to the need for any change at all “cos didn’t that all happen in 1994 and now everything is just cool, right?”

A lot of my writing is directed towards christian types [because that’s a huge part of my tribe] and while this is in no way a christian issue [as in exclusively] i cannot in my mind perceive how anyone could view racial reconciliation and unity and togetherness as not an issue facing the church and quite possibly THE issue facing the church in South Africa right now [and Americaland, let’s be honest!] especially if you want to dive into Matthew 25 and redefine those considered ‘the least of these’ in the context of our country.

In the movie ‘A Bug’s Life’ a bunch of smaller bugs are being terrorised and bullied by a swarm of locusts until the very end of the movie where they realise they have the numbers. And the tables are turned.

i do so desperately want to believe we have the numbers in this fight against racial segregation and apartness, against poverty and crime, against the disparity between really rich and really poor and against the fear and hopelessness and hectic racism that still exists in so many people you will find lurking on comment boards in the safety of their homes.

i want to believe it. But i don’t feel it. i don’t see it. It feels like there are seven of us. Maybe a few more…

And so i want to ask if there is anyone else out there who cares about this stuff? You don’t have to feel like you know the answers [or even any of the answers] or have the strength to engage in radical ways even [sometimes the simplest ways can be the most radical] – just let us know you’re out there.

So i want to ask, if you’ve read this, and you are someone who sees the need for some work to be done between black and white and coloured and indian and refugee in this country, and that you want to be hopeful and part of the solution and hungry to see positive change in South Africa [even if you have no idea how and even if you are struggling to believe it’s even possible] to leave your name in the comment section of this blog and tell us you’re in.

i’m honestly anticipating no more than seven names, because that is sometimes all that it feels are engaging with this…

So please, i’m counting on you to prove me wrong.

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One of the ways i am trying to prepare myself to be a part of a better conversation in South Africa in terms of race, reconciliation and unity is by learning some of the country’s history…

…from different voices than i grew up with.

To that effect, after my weekend at Robben Island, i got hold of a copy of Benjamin Pogrund’s book titled, ‘Robert Sobukwe: How Can Man Die Better’ and just finished reading it this morning.

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Before i read the book, i had no real knowledge at all about who Robert Sobukwe was, or his role in our country’s history. I had heard his name before we visited Robben Island mostly in conversations with my friend Nkosi who has written some posts for me. And it was certainly interesting to me that he had a separate prison house set apart from the typical prison cells [including those of Nelson Mandela] on the island which seemed to strongly indicate there was something very different about him. But beyond that i didn’t really have much idea who he was.

i thoroughly enjoyed the book. It’s always hard when reading someone’s version of another person’s story to be able to separate truth from fiction, but i feel like i got a pretty good idea of the life and character of this man. Reading some comments from a variety of other sources seem to back up a lot of the key features of his life.

Next up for me is the book, ‘I write what I like’ which is a collection of Steve Biko essays, so i can learn some more about another South African who was pretty much just a headline to me til now. [bad form, Brett]

But in the meantime, i thought i would share a couple of passages or thoughts that stood out for me from ‘How Can Man Die Better’ in the hope that it will encourage you to get hold of a copy of the book and find out more about this incredible man’s life and refusal to be broken by an evil and unjust system that took so much away from him.

While searching for the cover pic, i learnt that the title is from this quote in a book by Thomas B Macauley:

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How Can Man Die Better – part Afrikan

How Can Man Die Better – part enemy thoughts

How Can Man Die Better – part brotherly pact

How Can Man Die Better – part bigger man

How Can Man Die Better – part black racism?

How Can Man Die Better – part economic justice

From Worst Christian Book covers of 2014 to how to respond to Trolls or other people online you disagree strongly with, to a whole bunch of really helpful, insightful and great articles on race-related things and some reflections on our time at Robben Island, this has been another crazy  week of much to read, watch and ingest, and i would hate for you to miss any of it and so i have compiled this Don’t-Miss-Out summary of some of the greatest and lamest and most interesting moments from the web this past week.

Catch up on some of the gems you missed and share them with your friends:

 

MOST UNLIKELY CHRISTMAS GIFTS: If you haven’t finalised your Christmas Shopping yet, there will most likely still be time to order any of these, which i imagine will be sticking firmly to the shelves:

 

Worst Christian Book covers of 2014/2015

 
 

MOST HELPFUL.INSIGHTFUL IN THE ONGOING RACE CONVERSATION: i have continued to read a LOT around this topic and keep on finding SO MANY POSTS that are just so good. i took three of the best of them and stuck them together in this blog post:

 

The Wisdom of Others in Talking about Race
But then immediately found this interview with Christian Rapper Propaganda which made some of the aspects of it even clearer and it is worth reading the whole thing on Relevant Magazine, but at the very least part 2:

 

Interview With Propaganda by Relevant Magazine, Part II
 
 
MOST HELPFUL ADVICE WITH REGARD TO TROLLS AND OTHERS IN STRONG DISAGREEMENT: 

 

Why I run with Trolls: While a lot of people think that engagement with people who are strongly opposed to an idea you might be discussing is a waste of time, i give some ideas on why it might not be.

 
 

MOST HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT:

 

Journey to Robben Island series: Last weekend i was privileged to go with tbV and a group of about twenty young up and coming Christian leaders to spend the weekend at Robben Island and i posted some snapshots into that experience.

 
 

MOST INSPIRATIONAL:

 

18 Badass women you probably didn’t hear about in 2014: Suggested by my friend Lindsay Brown, here is a remarkable list of some stories that didn’t get as much noise as they could have this last year.

 
 

CLASSIC PHOTO MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Go and order some Thai food for my wife and this is the Customer name they assign to me:

 

dreads

 
 

MOST EPIC USA MEETS SA VIDEO: With over 200 shares just from my Facebook blog page, i imagine you have probably seen this already, but if not then watch how Trevor Noah takes on the might of Americaland in this clip from The Daily Show:

 

 
 

MOST INSPIRING SONG: Absolutely love Asumbonanga by Johnny Clegg and he released a new version of it to coincide with the one year remembering of Nelson Mandela’s death:

 

 
 

MOST CRINGEWORTHY MOMENT:

 

Watching The Ellen Show where Ellen is chatting to her ‘Most amazing teacher of the year’ who is this white lady working with mostly Asian kids and the moment in the video where the teacher says, “Some of them don’t even have English names yet.”

 
 
FROM THE TWITTERER:
 

“A movement starts when the founder really knows Jesus. You know how a movement dies? When the followers only know the founder.” Francis Chan @crazylove

“There is no point being in the right place at the right time if you are not then willing to do the right thing.” Mike Pilavachi @MikePilav

“Convictions don’t change the world. Rather, people who faithfully and tenaciously pursue and live out their convictions change the world.” Eugene Cho @EugeneCho

 
 
Analogies are like sandwiches; I’m making one right now.  @Benjamin_G_Lund

Assistant measured my feet and said “You’re an eight” I couldn’t.  @FemmeDomestique
 
 
Hashtag Game suggestions i’ve submitted:

When Harry met Slalom

Lacrosse and the Switchblade

The Good, The Badminton and the Ugly

And now for something completely discus
 
 
CELEB TWEET LOVE
 

Brought my Celeb Tweet love up to 4 with this Retweet from Parks and Rec’s own John Ralphio:

Jean Ralphio favorited your Tweet

Dec 11@rejectedjokes Oh no. Love us some Jean-Ralphio. Well played dude. So. Much. Fun. #ParksAndRec
 
 
What about you? What blog posts or articles caught your eye this week? What has been making you think or laugh or be challenged or go, ‘Wo!’? What have you written on your blog that is worth taking a look at?

Leave us a link in the comments for our weekendentertainment…

 
 
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[Possibly as good a time as any to remind readers that while i don’t necessarily agree with all the points made in every post that is published on my blog, i do believe that the conversation and engagement with pieces like this is absolutely invaluable and i think it is so helpful to know and understand why people around us are thinking what they are. If you agree or disagree with anything in this post, jump into the comments section and let’s engage, but play nice]

PW Botha once said: “the black man is only as good as singing and digging”. There is one thing that PW Botha never understood and that is the songs sung are not just songs they are an expression of the heart. The anger of the black people were carried in songs, therefore when PW Botha spoke about singing what he was talking about was the emotions of the blacks expressed in singing. It’s sad that he pointed out two contradicting actions, one was externally motivated (slavery) that is digging and the other was internally exasperated by the emotions (anger from hatred of slavery). This makes music a very powerful tool of expression. I was amazed when I heard that amazing grace was written by John Newton and the melody of the song is a black slave kind of melody and rhythm. This song was written as a conviction that slavery was wrong! What is more interesting about this song “amazing grace” is that the writer even uses the slavery rhythmic sound.

We need to understand that songs were a motivation, they were sung with a meaning, they were sung with a mission and they were sung with goals. There is a song that got Malema into hot ashes (Dubula ibhulu) that song was a motivation at the time. It was a response to a monstrous system that was tutoring the black child at the time.  I do think and believe that “Dubula ibhulu” must be part of our history the rich history of South Afrika. I think this song as it was composed at the time it played a very vital role in encouraging those who were involved in the armed struggle. It should be part of the education of children today such that they would know then strength behind the things that they take for granted. Let me just try to expose the relevance of this song during the time:

1) In this time the people who were involved in the armed struggle went to fighting without being well resourced in-terms of weapons. The price was high and there were more chances of dying and being arrested. Because there were many who used Pangas, stones and petrol bombs as compared to those who were carrying guns there had to be a kind of motivation.  Now the motivation either came from the cause itself of-which I do think that mostly it came from the cause. But also remember that the cause only has the power to drive an individual but the song carries the power to unite a group of people singing the same song and being driven towards the same goal this means that this song at this time was vital for retaliation regardless of the limitations. therefore this song must be part of our heritage.

2)   In the battlefield not so many intellectuals were involved but they were only involved in the intellectual and diplomatic engagements with whites in trying to convince the whites that “we are also humans”. The only intellectuals who took a different approach from this kind of approach were only found in the 1960’s where PAC leadership was entirely arrested under the leadership of Robert Mangaliso Sobukhwe. This means that mostly people who were foot soldiers were uneducated as a result I have learned that many of the people who went into exile for military training of different political organisations are not so well resourced in terms of political education. Now the political education is never separate from resistance hence Steve Biko when defining black consciousness he does not leave out the process of resistance. Now if there is no much of political education what would have motivated the resistance if not a song? This song motivated the martyrs not to back down, not to retreat and not to surrender but to soldier on. therefore this song must be part of our heritage.

3)  Also songs tells stories of a particular time, I think for those who did not live in the cities where they would know and understand the current issues regarding the struggle they would listen to songs and understand what more or less is happening. I remember as a young boy growing up there was a song that went like “Oliver Thambo thetha no botha akhulule u Mandela” (Oliver Tambo speak with Botha to release Mandela). Just by this song without being told of what was happening at the time anyone can just tell that Mandela is arrested and Mandela is the hope of the people and the current leader they have is Oliver Tambo. Now this shows that songs summarized issues. Now “dubula ibhulu” was a summary or what we can possible call a program of action for the time.  Now if we all believe that every response that blacks gave as resistance was right in every right then this song should be embraced by us all. This song must be part of our heritage.

I further think that if we truly believe that every act of resistance that was during the apartheid years played a major role in bringing about what we see today and we do love and embrace what we see and also want for more than this in terms of improving and building up the country then the song “dubula ibhulu” is very much part of that hopes and actions and celebrations. I fail to understand why would we celebrate the picture of Hector Pieterson (The June 16 picture) and yet despise such a revolutionary song. Also as much as that picture of Hector Pieterson played such an incredible role in bringing about what we see today then “dubula ibhulu” is not less. I think in our museums we should have the lyrics of this song written because it carries so much pain and so much resistance in it.

The argument that this song incites violence and it led to the killing of Eugene Terreblanche I totally disagree with it. The thing is more black people are dying in our communities and there is no song that is sang that says “kill the blacks”. It is in the black townships where the murder rate is so high and not in the farms or suburbs where white people are found. Therefore more than anything else I think this song is a political statement and it is confrontational to the status quo if it was not then we would enjoy this song. The reason why there are some of us that are scared when this song is sang it is simple because the past is following them or they are still holding on to the past. This song when we look at it today we should see that it meant to pull down the system, to dis-anchor the superiority of one over the other. If I were to ask how many people died because this song was sang? I don’t think there will even be one reason being people don’t die because songs are sang. Im just reminded of a song by Lil Wayne (an American rapper) which says “I feel like dying” I have never heard of any person who listened to this song and committed suicide afterwards. I am imagining a country where both white and blacks sings this song together because it helped bringing salvation to those who were superior and those who were inferior but can we sing the same song if we live two different lives? Can we sing the same song if we live in two different worlds? I think part of the reason why this song is hard to sing for some is basically the guilt of the package of the past that we still carrying.

I can still remember that this song got Malema into court, there were complaints from members of the FF+. I can recall one of the intelligent responses of Malema in court he said “When Chris Hani was killed we were walking in streets of white suburbs and we were angry because the great leader who carried hope for us was killed, and we knew that he was killed by a white person but as angry as we were we never killed anyone for that, now today why would we kill anyone?” Either we must admit that there is a white and a black problem in South Afrika, or we continue to lie to ourselves. The problem is bigger than a song maybe a song does raise what is already there. If the white and the black problem was solved then we wouldn’t be worried of who sings what. Maybe new songs would have been composed that speaks of the current state of south Afrika. But because South Afrika is the same as the past then this makes “dubula ibhulu” more appealing to the person who was singing “dubula ibhulu” anfd makes “dubula ibhulu” bitter to whom “dubula ibhulu” was bitter. If anything was different then our reaction towards the song would have been different but because things are still the same then we have the same response. I am quite sure that there are many black people who feels like singing this song as they are confronted by whiteness daily. Whiteness confronts them at work place, schools, streets and everywhere else. Some are confronted by whiteness by being thought to be prostitutes, some same whiteness by being mistaken to a robber. Some are confronted by whiteness in toilets, where there are toilets written “whites only” 24 years later.

Who wouldn’t feel like singing this song if they were faced by the same realities of the past. I think this song comes because everything that is happening around these people is reminding them about the past where this song was relevant. Remember that the relevance of this song were determined by the conditions, now if the conditions defines the times when this song was relevant then shouldn’t this song be sung? This song again I say must be part of our heritage if we truly living in a new South Afrika but if not then let’s not sing this song so that our tolerance towards one another can be kept successfully.

I think also that a song carries the past and it talks about the present and it shapes how we can view the future, for example look into the church history we find the very reformation being recorded and written as hymns. According to Ps Hombana, Hymns dealt with and deals with the conscience of the person. Hymns dealt with the inner man of a person, and they deal with such today. It was a situation of the black people that lead Tiyo Soga to write the hymn “Lizalise idinga lakho”, this song was a composition from the pain of Tiyo Soga when the Xhosa people were misled by nongqawuse to kill their cows such that this event in particular had a direct impact with slavery in SA. Now to the black people songs are an expression and motivation. The power of songs gave birth to factionalism in the politics of the ANC such that when Mbeki was to be removed there was a song that went like “u Zuma lo my president”. To us as black people we sing when in pain, we sing when happy we sing when working. Even in the circumcision school there are songs that are sang for that particular circumstance. Those are motivated by the situation there. Now to the black people songs are not just composed, for even our national anthem “Nkosi Sikelela I Afrika” this was a prayer. A deep and emotional prayer of a liberation fighter who saw the situation of black Afrika as not a blessing from God. This triggered a prayer that God may bless Afrika!!! Enoch Sontonga expressed his prayer in a song. Many revolutions were born from songs that were composed by individuals for groups. Songs were also sang as a form of preserving the truth in the olden days. That is the reason why one would find that in a middle of a story (fairy tale) there’s normally a song. This makes songs to be part of our heritage, unfortunately we are new in this whole thing of literature, and then this means that our heritage is still carried in songs and stories. if we were living in a new south Afrika we would all celebrate this song but because we are still not convinced that all that was happening in the past was wrong, we continuing with what was happening in the past today and when the reaction of the past (in a song is made) we start to get worried. This song must be part of the South Afrikan heritage.

Brett Fish: For the sake of those who do not know the song, here are the words and the translation:

Ayesab’ amagwala (Cowards are scared)
Dubula! dubula! dubula nge s’bhamu (Shoot, shoot, shoot them with a gun)
Dubul’ ibhunu (Shoot the boer)
Dubula! dubula! dubula nge s’bhamu (Shoot, shoot, shoot them with a gun)
Mama, ndiyeke ndidubul’ ibhunu (Ma, let me shoot the Boer)
Dubula! dubula! dubula nge s’bhamu (Shoot, shoot, shoot them with a gun)
Ziyareypa lezinja (These dogs rape)
Dubula! dubula! dubula nge s’bhamu (Shoot, shoot, shoot them with a gun)

[For other important conversations relating to Race and Reconciliation, click here]

 

I imagine there are more than seven ways to live a successful life. But I also think it is of extreme importance to push the pause button every so often and take a look in the metaphorical mirror [or the actual one] and see how the life you are presently living measures up to the one you could be. So grab a cup of coffee [or some freshly squeezed organic kiwi and butternut juice, with cumin] and take a minute on each of these… and consider for a moment if your life could use some change…
success

I don’t know who Andy Singer is, but this cartoon shows that he gets it. The ‘Successful’ person is often viewed as the one who is working so hard and so cut off from family and friends and personal life passion [often in the interests of providing well for family and friends] that they have actually had the life sucked out of them. If what you are doing to make money is robbing you of all the things it was meant to provide, there might be some tough but necessary decisions ahead. It’s not too late to do something else.

passion

Imagine how different your life will look at the end with a scorecard that reads, “Clocked 24000 hours on World of Warcraft” as opposed to, “Discovered cure for Ebola virus” – now for most of us, what we actually end up achieving or being part of will be significantly somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I am personally hoping for a life that ends up closer to the Ebola virus side than the ‘became really good at useless skill’ side of things.

to succeed

I hate that somewhere along the path of life, disillusioned adults seem to feel the need to tell young people to stop dreaming and believing that change is possible. Perhaps it is whatever convinced you of that, that is actually the real reason your dream wasn’t realised. Aids and the conflict in Gaza and extreme racism and human trafficking do seem like such huge impossible mountains to climb but if you were able to sit with someone from the 1800s for sixty minutes and just see their reaction when you try to explain to them things like airplanes and mobile phones, google glass and microwave ovens, I imagine you might start to consider what other impossible things are waiting to be achieved by those who refuse to believe they can’t be done.

success beging

Very simple but very profound.

Is there something you have always wanted to do but never [yet] got round to starting? It is probably not too late.

Is there something you started and then life got in the way and so it was pushed into a folder, or to the back of a drawer and you simply need to carve some time and get it out and really push through and finish it?

wait

I really love this one. It is true. Time makes no apologies. Sentences that begin with “I’ll do that when…” are so fraught with danger, because they anticipate or hold out hope that life will somehow slow down or become easier or less cluttered. It begins with leaving school, then finishing university, then getting married, then having our first child, then when my child starts school and and and… Don’t wait until. Start now. If you are feeling changes need to be made, get going with them. Seize this particular day. Seize it now.

yolo

What a stupid saying. And what an incredible way of summing up the point of what it should be. Are you doing something with your life now that matters? Because you don’t get a do over!

love

Above all, this is what life is meant to be about. Loving God and Loving people is all good and well. But there needs to be some action involved as well otherwise it is all just a pretty [and useless] Hallmark Cardin your brain. And when I talk about being significant and doing significant things, that doesn’t mean all of us will be curing Aids or reaching lost people groups or affecting the whole world. For some of us being a parent well is a significant thing. For others of us it might be affecting a local school or community. Maybe even just the people on your street or in your apartment block.

I hope you found something in here useful. I hope this will encourage you to greater success. Now go.

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