From Heroism to the great betrayals: Southern Africa is still a colony

Angazi nokuthi ngiqalephi … the rage one feels regarding the Zulu King’s recent statements and his decision to join hands with a right leaning racist white political formation called AfriForum is palpable. Yet, if one understand the history of Southern Africa and how apartheid was established and how colonialism installed its own loyal people to oversee the land and its people, it is easy to rationally conclude that the king is still being used, whether he knows it or not. South Africa is a strange place of multifarious paradoxes.

I don’t even know where to begin …the sheer betrayal of trust that Afrikan leaders, including kings have exhibited towards us is beyond my ability to contemplate. While I am aware of how white supremacy uses folks against each other,employing all kinds of devices to turn governments against their own people, states against traditional leaders as well as customary leaders against their “subjects”; the things that are happening in South Afrika right now are just too much to bear.

Let us briefly examine a few key players in the land, farming and socio-political climate of  the entity called South Africa. We shall begin with the roles of traditional leaders, then and now. We shall then analyse just what purpose they serve in the so called developmental state, as the Republic of South Africa purports to be one.

South African History 101

An overview of South African history is necessary in order to gain some understanding of the current socio-economic situation.

The African National Congress

 

The Pan Africanist Congress

 

The EFF and Other Insurgent movements

 

Key Elements of Divide and Rule

 

Who is King Goodwill Zwelithini?

 

What Should be Done With Kings and Lands Under Their Stewardship?

 

Advertisements

Interrogating This Notion of Nation

I have often refuted this notion of nations, especially when it comes to the peoples of Afrika. What is a nation and can we find better definitions and peaceful resolutions to our own being, our constitutions as well as ensuring that we are not further exploited by foreign interests as Afrikans/AbaNtu? But beyond just my own pan-Afrikan interests, I believe that nationalism anywhere is a powerful inhibitor of progress and humane relations. It may sound like a contradiction coming from a pan Afrikanist as much of pan-Afrikanism has been fueled or driven by the protection and even projection of national sovereignty for formerly colonized peoples. But we may have inherited a lot of regressive ideas from our colonisers, and nationalism which may have been useful at some point of the struggle for independence,  it has now become a thorn and a hindrance to Afrikan and global progress.

One of my favourite writer, Mario Vargas Llosa has been a vehement critic of the notion of nationalism. here is a piece from an interview:

“The basic idea of nationalism is wrong,” declares Vargas Llosa when we meet at his publisher’s offices in London. “The idea that to be born in a given place is a value in itself is ridiculous. Totally ridiculous! Now the Scots want to be independent. That would be very sad. I don’t think Scotland is going to be privileged by independence. On the contrary, this is not the march of time – the march of time is for the dissolution of frontiers, integration, common denominators. Nationalism appeals to the tribe, the basic primitive tribe. No, no, no, we must fight this – Scotland must fight this. But we must fight colonialism too,” he says, adding that he is in favour of European union despite the current crisis. “We have had almost 60 years of peace in Europe for the first time in history, which is a great achievement. Never forget, nationalism has produced the most brutal and cruel wars in history.”

The elder is very clear and articulate here, but I would like to share something that is constantly on my mind, regarding questions of security and progress in the continent of Africa. The Congolese and Ethiopian situations are always a tough subject, as they both have a long history of ethnic and class conflicts, many leaders there have tried various ways to force some kind of national unity among their people, history has proven that this tenuous arrangement has only served to make matters worse. This article looks at the Ethiopian situation in a similar manner.

Please read and respond. I will add my full thoughts later as I have written about this on other platforms.

http://ayyaantuu.org/walelign-mekonnen-the-question-of-nationalities-and-ethiopias-persistent-crisis/

The Cannabis Effect

Will this leave us high and dry, or will our visions and dreams truly fly?
I found myself wondering after the effects of South Africa’s Constitutional Court decision to partially legalize the use of cannabis wore off. I have a nagging feeling that it is not Afrikan people in general who will benefit from this landmark case. But there is still more work to be done. The tree must be wholly freed.
Many newspapers lapped up the news and the Business Day of 19 September 2018, even made it their cover story. But it was Mary Nel on the Sunday Times of 23rd September which carried a more succinct or balanced narrative. Headlined “Constitutional Court Ruling on dagga leaves brains somewhat muddled.”
She began, “The Constitutional Court has passed down a judgement that makes it legal for adults to cultivate and smoke dagga in their homes. The court ruled that the right to privacy was violated by prohibiting the possession, purchase or cultivation of dagga for personal consumption by an adult in a private dwelling. The case was pursued by various parties, including a Cape Town lawyer, Gareth Prince, who is practicing Rastafarian. It was opposed by , among others the ministers of Justice and Constitutional development, police and health; the national director of public prosecutions and the NGO Doctors for Life International.” Now this opposition is what we must investigate further. We need to understand exactly on what grounds do these ministries and a civil society formation find it correct to oppose the constitution of the land as well as the will of the people.
nel continues instructively: “The Constitutional Court’s judgement is to be applauded for doing away with the moralistic and paternalistic assumption that dagga use by adults in private is always wrong and unhealthy. SA joins a number of countries that have taken a similar step, among them Canada and Portugal.”
The complexity of the COnCourts decision centres around matter of persecution and legislation regarding trading in dagga/ganja/cannabis.
Essentially, the user can grow their own herbs yet they need to obtain the seeds elsewhere. So while the private citizen has rights, the so called dealer does not have the right to sell. This speaks to the difficulty that courts will have to determine what constitutes a public and a private space. For an example, is my body not my personal space wherever I may take it. Is my motor vehicle also not a private space, what about my Bed and Breakfast or Hotel room or even the home of my relatives or friends?

“The COnstitutional Court envisages instead that, provided dagga is used “in private and not in public”, it is protected by the right to privacy even if the adult in question is not at home or in a private dwelling.” Now if that does not sound rather confusing then I do not know what else is?

The Business Day ran a more business centric story. With headlines such as, “Hemp houses could spur job creation”; “Dagga chef rolls out the boom butter”, and “Ploy to trade legally in weed just the ticket”, which included this interesting quote from a user, “Transactions are always going to happen. We are going to trade and transact and purchase and swap in private.” The journalist, Katherine Child added. “He has thought of ways to circumvent the ban on the purchase of dagga – all based on not paying directly for it.”
Needless to say, it is obvious that this is only the beginning of a very interesting journey for this versatile plant.
But the most thought provoking headline is one that said ‘Cannabis trials are up in the air”, which deals with the lives of thousands of people facing prosecution for possession as well as dealing in Marijuana/dagga/ganja. I have been there too and I know how difficult it is to get off the roll without cash. There will be bribes and there will be mass confusion, but if the law is respected and the legal system does its job properly, we should be seeing a lot of presumed guilty people walking free and contributing bountifully to society.
My only advise to fellow Rastafari is “SAVE THE SEEDS and SECURE LAND”.

We will be writing soon about how so many multinational companies as well as pharmaceuticals have already planned just how to exploit the opportunities presented by the steady but sure international acceptance of the plant that Rasta’s love to call ‘The Healing of the Nations”.

Afrika At The Crossroads revisted

“Economically, there must be a deliberate policy, as a matter of top priority, to awaken the people, especially government and party functionaries to the objective of serving the masses through the rapid development of the material and technical basis for socialist construction.Finally, it is obvious that a socialist development strategy, being scientifically conceived, requires strict discipline its its implementation.” – A.M. Babu, Development Strategy, REvolutionary Style

In the beginning of my essay writing ‘career’, I titled my article “The People Need A Leader”.In hindsight, what it should have suggested is that The People Are The Leaders. While taking into account the role of institutions such as governments and other bureaucratic entities, including traditional leadership, the essential ingredient for prosperity and peace, should be Self Reliant, Educated and Active Citizenship. Many have lamented the lack of leadership, but I have suggested before that this is a misdiagnosis. We do not lack good leaders, what is missing is DISCIPLINE as well as properly constituted Social relations – a Unity of Purpose as Black Power activist Kwame Toure has called it. Yet, how can a people discover its collective purpose when they are busy trying to assimilate into a social and economic system that was built to exclude them and use them as mere slaves?
It is now more than 15 years since my first essay written for some local newspaper and it is saddening to admit that not much has changed. South Afrika has seen 3 state presidents, and they have done what they can to help or curb development. While I do not believe that leadership of society should only be expected from the political class only, it is incumbent upon them as public servants to simply do that – serve. The unfortunate reality in Afrika is that leaders merely serve rhetorically, much of their time is spent either travelling, making speeches and cutting ribbons. For just doing their official jobs and mostly shabbily so, our leaders expect not just rewards, but the most loyal praise. It has been more than 60 years since the first Afrikan country was gained independence,mountains of papers and fervent speeches have been made and we have a large pantheon of national heroes, patriots and martyres yet it does not take much to see that Afrikans are largely unfree, our education system is languishing in colonial limbo despite of the many gains.When we formed the Economic Freedom Fighters as Black Consciousness/Pan Afrikanist activists, we asked WHAT IS TO BE DONE, but instead on concentrating more efforts into our policies and grassroots development we saw leaders from within and from other parties jostling for power, intellectual supremacy as well as loyalty.

Corruption at an alarming scale still grips and cripples most Afrikan countries, while it’s common face may be Black, it is clear that there are enablers and instigators that are also White, foreign and just as hostile as our own Big Men.That hostility eats away at most democratic as well as cultural institutions, making them unable to function according to agreed upon social contracts, such as constitutions and legislations. The cancer of corruption is just one of the plethora of troubles that plague Afrikan countries, the other one is what we have already alluded to – LEADERSHIP deficit. This is not a question of a lack of individuals who are committed and willing, it is also not a romantic call for heroic saviors, we have seen many of those murdered and others have been co-opted into the corrosive system that promotes graft and other social ills.
These days even as investigations into illicit capital outflows, where Afrikan resources are being looted by every other country in the name of cooperative development, property ownership and loans, the call for a wiser ‘class’ of leaders has grown even louder. Who Will Lead this lost and languishing people?

I am sharing this article as it deals with some of the issues while also offering ways forward.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/pan-africanism-and-the-global-economic-crisis-african-union-faces-turbulent-headwinds/5569029

State of the Arts in Southern Afrika

A great part of the Green Ankh Works vision includes the making of sustainable creative, cultural events throughout the Southern African Development Community and beyond. These events, must not only be economically or commercially successful, but they should have an impact that transcends tourism brochures and public relations or advertising. The primary purpose is to touch people’s lives in the most positive way.

Today we are exposed to an almost overwhelming amount of information, the proverbial internet of things is upon us, yet artists, creative people and many aspects of the cultural economy remain impoverished. There is either very poor or negative appreciation of the roles of the artists, idealists and social entrepreneurs or there is blatant disregard for authenticity. It may have a lot to do with the socio-economic conditioning of all of us under a neoliberal or capitalist world which favours competition over collaboration, or it is simply a survival game where corruption and corruptibility is built into the very sinews of the system. Either way, we as Afrikans are joining the rest of the world in becoming “less Spiritual“, more materialistic and less socially responsible, ‘we are following the material that we created rather then the spiritual force that creates it’, as Toumani Diabate mentioned during his 2009 concert in Cape Town. Essentially we are losing Ubuntu to materialism and are largely distracted from community participation by programming, commercial interests as well as social media.

In my next post I will write about my experience at the Creative and Cultural Industries Federation of South Africa conference which took place in Joburg on 31st of May 2018. This is where we were supposed to engage rigorously with a Policy document that is geared towards regulating and organising the Creative/Cultural economy in Southern Afrika, my aim is to use this platform to promote synergies within the whole SADC region and beyond, beginning with South Afrika/Azania and Zimbabwe. But for now, just listen to this beautiful, deeply spiritual music from the West Afrikan brother Diabate Sounds

 

 

 

Ideas Worth Sharing

Here I am sharing something I gleaned from the net. These are the words of Kate Raworth from her website Exploring Doughnut Economics. I am keenly interested in people who propagate new ways of viewing and doing economics and guiding social change. Although I am more Afrocentric and tend to promote ideas by people of my own ‘race’, I also believe that a holistic civilization can only flourish through the collaborative efforts of all human beings who seek the greater good. Kate Raworth wrote:
“For 21st century progress, pick your paradigm…

 

I spent a day at the OECD in Paris earlier this week, and had fascinating discussions there. They had asked me to be provocative so I proposed they rewrite Article 1a of the OECD’s founding constitution – and I later tweeted it like this:

That tweet caught the attention of Branko Milanovic, who is one of the world’s leading economists in analysing global income inequality trends, and whose work I hugely admire (and cite in Doughnut Economics, of course).

Branko had a visceral reaction against my suggestion, prompting him to write a fiery blog on why economic growth is an inevitable necessity in all countries, no matter how rich they already are.

What fascinated me in reading Branko’s blog was the deep difference in the fundamentals underlying the worldviews that he and I hold – differences that implicitly underpin many public debates today.

So I have done my best to summarise the crux of Branko’s position in just five bullet points – and then to write down, in equally stark terms, a five-point summary of my own, very different, worldview (spelt out more fully here).

I absolutely understand why Branko might find my assumptions and beliefs untenable – just as I hope he would understand why I think his are equally so.

Here I’m not interested in twitter spats or bloggers’ boxing matches – they are ten-a-penny online and there are far more fruitful ways to engage.

I sincerely believe we – humanity – are at a critical juncture in determining our chances of having a flourishing planet on which we all can thrive this century. And the economic worldview that we use will significantly shape that. So there is much to be gained by engaging respectfully with those who disagree with us.

Hence I’m taking this opportunity to step back and acknowledge that both of our visions of the future include strong beliefs about human nature versus human nurture, big uncertainties about how economic variables may respond, deep assumptions about how much change is possible, and lots of hope about how the future might be different from the past.

Neither route is easy. Neither is proven. And a lot depends upon the choices we make.

Listening respectfully to those who disagree with us is a fascinating (and still too rare) thing to do.

So thanks for the opportunity, Branko.”

I ( Menzi Maseko) have decided to add one of the comments that followed, this post.

 

A comment by Herb Wiseman
14 July 2017 at 19:02

The scientists who study Nature vs. Nurture generally note that they interact with each other. I had a brother-in-law who was a scientist of some renown and he told me that nature is vitally important. But more and more studies are being published showing how genetic structures and supposedly innate physiological processes can be altered by environmental factors. Manufacturing Consent and the entire PR industry coupled to the work of Lakoff and others points to how we need to reframe our minds to understand society and its purpose. People may also want to take note of a Canadian initiative called the LEAP Manifesto. It is best described in a book by Naomi Klein called No Is Not Enough.”

While I am Searching for ways to do business unusually and to work within a transformative economic paradigm. I am currently in Zimbabwe, but I want to take and apply these ideas in Southern Africa and anywhere I may move to next.

Here is the link to Kate Raworth’s website: https://www.kateraworth.com/2017/07/14/for-21st-century-progress-pick-your-paradigm/

Re-Afrikanization or Another Dead End?

My heart yearns for the glory of an Africa that is gone. But I shall labour for the birth of a new Africa, free and great among the nations of the world.”
– Anton Lembede

Many African nationalists do believe that Western imperialism was an exercise in divide and rule. The argument sometimes sounds like the following, ‘We were all Africans until colonialism split us into Ugandans, Kenyans. Ghanaians, and Ivorians.’ The logical jump is the assertion that Africans must ‘therefore’ have previously been just ‘Africans’. It is not a simple case of the very word African being itself non-African in origin, however true that may be. Rather it is a case of the inhabitants of the continent having known other, often narrower, group identities than ‘Ugandans’, and ‘Ivorians’ before colonial rule.” – Ali Mazrui, The Africans: A Triple Heritage

Did the experience of colonialism and the Trans-Atlantic slave-trade unite us as Afrikans only to divide us as Blacks? Can we not be simultaneously proud to be Black and retain our loyal identity as Afrikans, or is it a case of not being able to functionally coexists with both?
Today I am hearing more and more of my comrades advocating for a return to African Nationalism. They are evoking the likes of Anton Muziwakhe Lembede, Marcus Garvey and various other Afrikanist leaders from the bygone era. They state that the term Black no longer suffices as a definition of who we are, as people of this rich continent we should simply be known as Afrikans qha. I find it alarming and quite regressive, because I assumed we were all on the same page regarding the histories related to our being defined from without as well as from within.What alarms me even more is that these are comrades with whom we have spent almost a decade promoting Black Consciousness according to how we have read and understood it from the great activist Bantu Steve Biko. But today it appears as though we have not really understood Biko at all, or at least not the same way. This is not surprising, as Black Consciousness is neither a dogmatic doctrine nor a set of rules set in stone.
We can and have developed it and adapted it to many other progressive ideas of the 20th and 21st century, such as Black Existentialism, Afrikology, Intertextuality/Intersectionality, Black Feminism as well as Afro-Pessimism as developed by the likes of Frank B. Wilderson.
These and more are all part of the Black Radical tradition and form part of the a people’s movements towards liberation. But beyond scholarship, there have been global musical ideas and innovative artistic expressions based on the foundation of functional Black Consciousness.So what makes it different from Pan Afrikanism or even Afrikan Nationalism as advocated by our honourable predecessors from Garvey to Nkrumah to Nyerere,Cabral, Sankara, Toure’ and others?

Let’s begin by hypothetically accepting this geographically based definition,by agreeing that an Afrikan person no matter where she may be born or resides is still an Afrikan first, This means that all people of colour from the continent known as Africa, to the Brazilians, the Carribeans ( also known as West Indians), the Dominicans, some from South America as well as other parts of the Diaspora are to be identified as Afrikans first.
This definition is in spite of whether they personally identify as Afrikans of with the country of the birth, by virtue of being brown skinned or tan or as dark as ebony, they are African first.

But then there is a conundrum here, there are various peoples from all over the globe who appear dark skinned and yet they have not been in Afrika for several centuries. We can begin with the obvious Australian Aboriginals, New Zealanders, some peoples from the various Asian Islands, various so called Indians from that sub-continent as well as peoples from Mesopotamia and the Middle East who do not identify as Arabs, and some of those who do due to their religion. Are we saying that our Afrikan NAtionalism should exclude all these people even though they have suffered and continue to suffer the tribulations of anti-Black and racially based capitalist brutality?
Are we saying that only Afrikans in the continent are worth fighting and sacrificing for? Where does Afrikanness begin and end. I also need to know whether the knowledge based and technocratic economies of today …or rather can Afrikan Nationalism benefit the younger generation and assist them to become the best that they can be today? Is it a question of identity or is it really about loyalty and patriotism? If that is the case, does patriotism and loyalty to a continent progressively lead to social wellbeing or is it a question of being part of the nationalist ego?

Liberating voices from our past

One of the most influential books in my intellectual and activist life has been W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches, published in 1903. This book not only opened my eyes wider to the challenge of racial justice but also endowed me with the tools I needed in order to discern between race hustlers and authentic justice activists. Du Bois is among the most revered founding fathers of Pan Afrikanism. He was there at the beginning structures of the men and women who organised themselves not only for diaspora emancipation projects, but worked tirelessly for the liberation of Afrika’s various countries, and his last days were spend in Ghana wherein he lies buried. Like many Pan Afrikanists of his day, and even many of us today, he was mostly concerned with the building of properly equipped and ideologically sound institutions for the development of Black people. I hereby would like to quote him where he wrote about the establishment of Afrikan American colleges.

The function of the Negro college, then, is clear. it must maintain the standards of popular education, it must seek the social regeneration of the Negro, and it must help in the solution of problems of race contact and co-operation. And finally, beyond all this, it must develop men. Above our modern socialism, and out of the worship of the mass, must persist and evolve that higher individualism which the centers of culture protect; there must come a loftier respect for the sovereign human soul that seeks to know itself and the world about it, that seeks a freedom for expansion and self development; that will love and hate and labor in its own way; untrammeled alike by old and new. 

Herein the longing of black men must have respect: the rich and bitter depth of their experience, the unknown treasures of their inner life, the strange rendings of nature they have seen, may give the world new points of view and make their loving, living and doing precious to all human hearts.” – page 73 ( The Souls of Black Folk )

When I read such words, written so long ago by men who strove for real justice and whose primary focus was on freeing their own kind yet whose scope was truly about freeing the whole human race, I shudder in shame. Somehow with all our technology and knowing, we have not really achieved the great feats that these men and women fought and worked so hard for. Yes of course there are many shining examples of Black excellence, there are now many schools and institutions that do great work in our communities globally, but the missing link is still unity of purpose. Many are either divided by religious dogma while others have perished through the corrosive egotistical character of their founders or inheritors. All in all, we are moving forward, but rather slowly or too gradually. This is why it appears as if the posturing and shock tactics of radical Black political activists are our main hope. Groups such as the Economic Freedom Fighter, the Black First Land First movement and others appear as the clearest choices for people who have long given up putting their hopes in standard political processes. But herein lies the difference between the likes of Marcus Garvey, Du Bois and other Pan Afrikan leaders of the past, while they were engaged in political processes, they were also engaged in community uplift projects that were entrepreneurial in nature, but above all that, they were also educators and institution builders, the foundations of which are strong because even after a century we still look to them for guidance.

Beyond Libya

Joint Statement on the Migrant Situation in Libya

African and European leaders, gathered in Abidjan for the 5th AU/EU Summit, discussed the terrible media reports on inhuman treatment of African migrants and refugees by criminal groups.
They condemned in the strongest terms any such criminal acts and expressed their firm resolve to work together for an immediate end of these criminal practices and to ensure the well-being of the migrants and refugees.
They also agreed to widely communicate to the youth about the dangers of such hazardous journeys and against the trafficking networks.
They welcomed ongoing efforts of the Presidential Council and the Government of National Accord of Libya in undertaking appropriate measures to address such incidents, as a thorough and swift investigation has been launched in Libya, including to confirm the validity of media allegations.
They called to support Libya, through international cooperation, in undertaking immediate action to fight against the perpetrator of such crimes, inside and outside Libya, and to bring them to justice. This international cooperation should cover enhanced police and judicial mutually agreed cooperation, including freezing of assets of convicted
perpetrators.

They stressed the imperative need to improve the conditions of migrants and refugees in Libya and to undertake all necessary action to provide them with the appropriate assistance and to facilitate their voluntary repatriation to their countries of origin as well as durable solutions for refugees. In this regard, they stressed the need for all Libyan stakeholders to facilitate access by
international organisations and by consular officials of countries of origin.
They welcomed the African Union Commission for swift engagement, including the
AUC Commissioner visit to Libya.
They also commended the existing work by UN
agencies, African countries of origin, and the EU, which together have already allowed for 13,000 assisted voluntary returns of stranded migrants to their countries of origin.
They have committed to work together between AU, UN, EU, Libyan government and countries of origin and transit, and to take the necessary means and actions, in order to accelerate exponentially this work, while continuing to ensure with international organizations that voluntary resettlement is available for those in need, whether to countries of origin or third countries.
They agreed that lasting resolution of the issue of African migrants is closely linked to addressing the root causes of the phenomenon and requires a political solution to the persistent crisis in Libya.
In this respect, they stressed the imperative need for coordinated action involving all the stakeholders concerned, especially the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the League of Arab States, in order to expedite the lasting solution to the crisis. To this end, they committed themselves to convey a common and coherent
message.