Friday, January 16, 2009

Siphiwe M - A response to my "The Sober Judge" posting

Not being from a law background, a lot of the arguments below seem to go right over my head, although I would like to believe that the crux of the ruling was around the Judge from the lower court passing judgment on issues that were not even on the table in the first place, and in the process taking liberties/being very creative with the interpretation of acceptable legal aspects/code/procedures.

That aside, it only dawned on me that this sad episode in the movement's history has at its core, the "class" divide that has always existed within the movement. I stand to be corrected on the facts, but it appears that the movement has being led for the past century by the "black elite"... the mission school educated (from the likes of Lovedale, the "Eaton of Africa") type, that went on to enroll and earn degrees from the likes of Fort Hare, Wits or even international universities... in many instances, the "black Englishmen more English than the English themselves"... priest, teachers, medical doctors, etc. If not, then they had some claim to being "royalty", and foregoing the comforts that such claims brought for them to take up the fight on behalf of their less privileged fellow black South Africans (backward rural peasantry, disorganized urban proletariat) was their leadership ticket. Yes, I may have taken some liberties and over-generalized a little bit.

But to illustrate my point, take a look at the lineage since formation (an extract):
1912-17: JL Dube, , US university degree, teacher, "businessman"
1927-30: JT Gumede, mission-schooled, teacher
1952-67: A Luthuli, mission-schooled Adam's College, teacher, "chief"
1967-91: OR Tambo, mission-schooled St Peter's College, Fort Hare, teacher/lawyer
1991-99: RN Mandela, mission-schooled, Fort Hare, lawyer
1999-2008: TM Mbeki, mission-schooled Lovedale, UK university degree
2008-?: J Zuma, rural peasant background, formal education - primary school to standard 2/4?

If indeed, the ANC is the political home of the ordinary masses, then JZ is the first leader to come from within this mass. Yes, there are corruption charges hanging over his head. Yes, some of his peasant-type views has resulted in others questioning his judgment. Also interesting is that, the birth of COPE was around personalities... "we cannot be led by a 'fool'" they proclaim. Let me be controversial for a moment: how different is this stance from that of the former colonial masters, "we will never be ruled by a black man; too backward, too barbaric"? I'm only asking the question here, so do not shoot the messenger. Interestingly, the majority in this very network will probably identify more with the long lineage of ANC leaders before JZ, well-educated, with university degree(s)... finding the idea of being led by someone who failed to excel in academia repulsive. When the people proclaimed "The people shall govern", they never meant nor intended to have it interpreted as "The people with a good academic backgrounds, that excel in their professions of choice, that speak the Queen's language fluently through their nostrils, from privileged background, of royal blood, shall govern".

Let us stop this madness (read: COPE), let the people determine their own future even if in your "learned" opinions would only result in doom and gloom. The correlation between leadership and academia is a poor one, else all important leadership positions would have been occupied by professors. JZ is a leader chosen by the masses, it is about time that the masses take their rightful place at the forefront of the struggle to self determination. If we think they are not capable of it, then we are no different to our former colonial masters (we become "more English than the Englishmen themselves").

As we continue to provide commentary on what 2009 will hold for the nation, I urge all of you to introspect... take a step back and ask one's-self the question: how much of this unconscious class bias is clouding my judgment and opinions on matters relating to the leadership of the movement? Only if that commentary passes the litmus test, then pen it... if not, think carefully whether it's worth penning in the first place.

It is just by coincidence that it is JZ, it could just as well have been another peasant....

That said, I would like to wish Msholozi well in his legal battles. He always contended that he wanted his day in court, well that day is not far away. Even if he pulls out of the race, after TM.... the masses do not want another one of those know-it-all, intelligent type and aloof leaders. Just a simple person, that will understand our day to day issues, someone that will converse with us in our language, and not talk at us in a language only a few select elite would understand.

For the masses, aluta continua............


  1. Siphiwe, it is not about the individual, it is about the policies you follow as an individual. You could be a "peasant" and follow capitalism. Zuma is a case in point. You could be from the "elite" class and follow communism e.g Marx, Castro, Che Guevara, Slovo etc.

    Your response is way off the mark. The ANC of all the educated "elites" you talk about is still the same under the "peasant" Zuma. Don't confuse lack of education with being a peasant. It is an insult to peasants!!

  2. Siphiwe nkgonne this is a good post, one I cannot do justice to in a space of a comment. I do need to thank you though for growing the space for debate. I will post a reply to your post on my blog, if Moremogolo does not mind.

  3. By all means MoAfrika...your response is highly antcicipated.