Worse than an Informer

(Column first published in the a Daily Dispatch)

A Corrupt Official – worse than an Apartheid informer

Had the National Party admitted during their ruling years that they had a corruption problem; Steve Biko could have been our next president and Hector Peterson would not be famous.


Let us give some credit to the ruling party for acknowledging that it has a corruption problem in its planning document for its upcoming National General Council for 2015. Had this document been released in 2005, our country might have been operating like a company with excellent customer service by now, hopefully.  


It is imperative that the ANC acts on its corrupt members with the kind of decisiveness it would have applied on anyone of their members who did as little as to smell like an apartheid informer during apartheid years. Well, that is without going as far as necklacing of course, but perhaps necklacing their career.


What is the difference between an ANC official whose actions betray the Freedom Charter through corruption and an apartheid informer who sells his soul to an apartheid government for a quick buck?

An apartheid informer did not only bring death or imprisonment to freedom fighters but also frustrated and delayed the progress of freedom for the people of South Africa.


How is it that a corrupt comrade is not treated as a grave danger to the organisation since he or she by his or her actions works against the people of South Africa and the ideals of the movement?


A corrupt official is like an informer because he has traded the dreams of the struggle in order to satisfy his greed. This is a crime no freedom fighter would smile upon nor glorify. The corrupt pretend to be friends of liberty for all, friends of economic freedom for all and friends of the upliftment of the poor; but in reality, like informers, they become a roadblock to the progress of the people who need it the most.


They say all the right slogans at rallies only to betray every promise they made. How is a corrupt official different to an apartheid informer? Did the apartheid system not make the informer wealthy so that he or she will keep the people in their struggle and prevent them from flourishing?


Corrupt officials must be seen as haters of the ANC more than any opposition party ever will. They destroy the ANC with their bare hands.


Those who love the ANC must show their love not only through not doing corrupt acts. They must lead by speaking against it fearlessly. Since when did timidity and cowardice silence people who once did not fear death itself? Those who love the ANC must be unafraid to lose their status or possessions. They must work to save the soul of the organisation from the mafia who have hijacked the dreams of just men and women who are no longer here to defend the organisation they created and died for.


If the ANC remains complacent about corruption, then the ANC must continue to self destruct. Then, it must die a swift death, because we as a nation refuse to die with it. The youth of this nation are growing in numbers and they will make the 2019 election results different from every result we have known since 1994.


The weekend Daily Dispatch story of Tiny Ngcukana gave me hope that the ANC could one day have trustworthy leadership. Ngcukana, an ANC Youth League activist, gave birth to baby Aluta in a bus toilet on her way to the ANCYL conference. She said: “My comrades had sole trust in me to ensure that Xolisani gets elected into the NEC as an additional member. It’s difficult to send anyone as a delegate because other comrades get easily swayed to vote for other people in exchange for cash,”

Tiny Ngcukana is a courageous young leader. Her name must rise.


Corruption Watch

Racism is part of our corruption. It’s not a side issue. 

It corrupts our collective human experience.​ ~ contemplating, we were not born for this. We are born with pure thoughts towards others.

Social Networks- A Dangerous Place 

(Column for the Daily Dispatch first published 1 September 2015 on print)

Power dynamics on social networks are like shifting sands. In a single moment, a well known personality can lose their power to an unknown Wits University student and former Hudson Park High School learner, over a few comments on Twitter.


Our interactions on these platforms teach us about the beast called freedom of speech and the power of equality. Now, the power does not lie on the politician who speaks in parliament, a radio personality who uses her platform to pour water on the student’s struggle; nor does the power lie on a university body that has enjoyed power for decades.


Before the days of social networks, Unathi Msengana may have enjoyed another unmemorable full day’s work. But instead, she left vulgar private messages on 19 year old Palomina Jama’s twitter account in response to her “Unathibelike” hashtag comment on Twitter. Private messages became public and Unathi was suspended from her Metro FM radio show, where she had originally made comments that triggered the creation of #Unathibelike. Msengana’s comments on her radiow show were seen to be in support of Stellenbosch University’s contentious language policy which was discussed on a short documentary called Luister.


Luister, the short documentary about Stellenbosch University students’ experiences of racism and exclusion; would have unlikely come to Unathi’s attention without social media. The university’s management may have also still been carrying on with their business as usual, and they would not have been summoned to parliament last week, to answer to the allegations of racism made on the documentary.


This year, university students from around the country have successfully used social networks to protest, mostly about transformation issues. They have successfully outsmarted their superiors by exploiting their universities’ desperation to preserve their reputation. This strategy will probably see to it that these student campaigns succeed. If these universities do not satisfy these transformation movements, they have a nightmare on their hands. It may prove impossible to control students on their social network platforms.


It may have taken forever for Luister to be aired on television, but through social networks, it means that it is accessible anytime to anyone, and this accessibility is the power factor.


This is where freedom of speech and equality are tested. The often powerless against authorities or against famous personalities have power at their fingertips. Power on social networks often tends to end up as cyberbullying. This is why Jama must be commended. She had the power to humiliate Unathi further after her suspension, instead the teenager showed humility and maturity. She regretted what happened to “sis Unathi” even though Unathi had called her some vile names.


On social networks there is a measure of equality of power and voice regardless of the number of followers one has on Twitter. Jama has about 2K Twitter followers while Msengana has almost 500K Twitter followers. The University authorities may have easily squashed the student’s voices but their documentary which was posted on social platforms made their voices accessible and almost impossible to ignore. It stirred students as far as Wits.


University students are among the privileged young people in the country. Many young South Africans are still living under digital apartheid with no access to free wifi or adequate internet access, if at all. Who knows what lies beyond the digital wall when the millions of often jobless out-of-school-youth find their power and voice in the digital world? Freedom of speech may need new rules. It comes with power as the university students are experiencing but it also comes at a price as Unathi has experienced.

Social networking has been argued to have played a key role to the Arab Spring. Behind the digital wall lie new kinds of leaders for a new era, as we are seeing among the student movements. The internet is proving to be the meaning of “power to the people.”

Blue like Jazz

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.- Donald Miller 



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