Artbud

‘a small lateral or terminal protuberance on the stem of a plant that may develop into a flower, leaf, or shoot’ 

I am still cranky from being away from the wordmachianikon for most of this year but the writerly bug juice beckons; the writing about nothing or everything or something gropes around. There is just a myriad of experiences that flood my psyche. To log into one is to gingerly watch every step of where I am going because everything is so muggle lest I get lost in the byways. So perhaps I should use a delicate scalpel to slice off this little tale…  

(more…)

Advertisements

Hindsight: The insignificant civil servant

optical jacket1OUR City of Tshwane’ Honorable Mayor Kgosientso Ramogkopa together with his entourage responsible for Finance, Policing, Health Care and Human Settlement were featured on Power FM’s Power Perspective hosted by Onkgopotse JJ Tabane on the evening of 25 April around 22:00. Although the round table was an opportunity for the listeners to hear reflections on our leaders successes and challenges that they have faced whilst carrying  our their mandate of moving our city forward as per their portfolios, I waited in bated breath to hear about the fate of the city’s employees who face being homeless by 30 June 2016. There was no mention of this issue in the lively conversation that ensued as listeners called in to comment or twittered on the various issues tackled through the live ‘round table discussion’. As an employee of the City of Tshwane and directly affected by the selling of its properties I wondered how my other colleagues who occupy houses and flats of this beautiful city felt at the end of the discussion as they wrestled for sleep

(more…)

Hindsight: A good story to tell, a promise to take up arms and nothing to offer

optical jacket1When Julius Malema during his Aljazeera interview made a call to take up arms should the 2016 local elections be rigged as he and the reds believe the 2014 election in which his party deputed nation wide were rigged he did two things on an international platform. Whether wittingly or unwittingly we will find out one day, however on the one hand ahead of the reds, Economic Freedom Fighters, local election manifesto launch he called attention to his political party so that the media’s attention could on 30 April train its sights on him which will give him the publicity he needs and on the other hand he let his guard off and revealed the true nature of the kind of a leader he is or the kind of a political party he presides over. He has, as the epitome of the reds, reminded us that he is not prepared to work and carve out a future for this country as a moderate and crowd pleaser within the realm of multiracialism. Suddenly the cool cat that we saw during the campaign to impeach the president at the stoop of parliament was gone. Malema stands for the dispossessed, the black populace, to be specific – the youth – the young people who constitute the constituency let down by the occupants of the center of power

(more…)

Hindsight: Rallying Towards *August

*grand


optical jacket1It is general knowledge that South Africa is at a defining moment. On the one hand you have a ruling party that has failed to meet its mandate and it is marred in corruption scandals both in the person of its leader at its epicenter and within its core leadership. Once a beacon of hope to South Africans the African National Congress is now a shadow of what it used to signify under its mid 90s leadership. There are only two visible dominant opposition parties that contend with it for the attention of the electorate. The Democratic Alliance can be seen as occupying the middle path with the Economic Freedom Fighters occupying the extreme left and becoming left in its leaning as we press gently towards august 3rd

(more…)

Hindsight: Of Big Bosses and Minions

 

HISTORYAs South African political parties diverge in different directions this weekend across our country to launch their political manifestoes sandwiched with promises and posturing ahead of the oncoming local government elections on  3 August 2016 an uneasiness pervades the employees of the City of Tshwane and their families who have been renting apartments and houses from the municipality.

(more…)

Freedom

/the power or right to act, speak or think freely/

/the state of being free/

 

Copy of 2dIf you are a moralist or an animal rights activist you can stop reading now for what I am about to tell you may cause you  to have a fall out with me. Growing up in the eighties I had a privilege during some of the summer to spend time in Ga-Rankua. In case you are not well travelled and have not heard about that lovely place Ga-Rankua is situated north of our capital city. It was during the time when that area together with Mabopane and Soshanguve fell under the Mangope government – Boputhatswana which was a Bantustan.

  (more…)

African Consciousness (revised Edit)

I

Quite interesting as we move towards our next forth coming democratic election is the fact that the final appeal to us to register to vote was organized in February, the month of which the 11th day of marks Madiba’s release from prison in 1990. The teaching of that historical moment was not exhausted let alone touched on, as the campaign ensues. Someone reading this article may as well roll their eyes inwardly with impatience. However they will be missing the point that we are witnessing a remarkable transition in African history let alone the history of the African people as far as charting our history and our destiny is concerned. We are in the midst of the soap opera of change and it can be dizzying sometimes because the events are not reported in retrospect but in medias res – in real time as they take place. Individuals’ and organizations’ awareness of this fact can put people in an advantageous position to take charge of the situation and ultimately lead them to a fruitful desired state of development or ,on the contrary, ignorance can lead  the nation into  the destruction of a brighter future for Africans . Africa must rise! And it will take Africans to uplift it.

II

I have just been through a weekend which, in my uneventful life, can be sampled as a rare germ in terms of its enlivening effects to my rather lethargic weekends. At the opening of the last week of February I got an invitation to attend a lecture at the Centre for African Renaissance Studies, Unisa here in the capital. Fortunately my mother was coming over to spend time with her grandson. Her coming over gave me the chance to slip away for a few hours to slip away to the Centre whose existence has been hovering at the back of my conscience, ever since I stumbled across it in its accompaniment of Prof. Shadrack B.O. Gutto’s name in several television interviews where he gave comments concerning Africa and its state.

The coordinators and the people attending the event were warm and welcoming. It felt as if I have been attending events at that institution from ever since. Guests were treated to an African lunch meal of Pumpkin, Spinach, Tomato Gravy, Mielie Pap and Juicy Stew. A couple of people I know also pitched for the lectures. So as far as companionship is concerned, at this unfamiliar place which had a sense of familiarity to it, is concerned, I was not wanting. I must congratulate Ebukhosini Solutions and Azani Nuru for the splendid organization of the guest speakers, also for the mounting of Cheikh Anta Diop’s Exhibition illustrating his life’s work. Many thanks are due as well to Brother Baba Buntu for making Afrikan literature available, What an education experience1.

But what was this event all about? It was about Africa, her present state in reference to Sudan through Dr. Samba Buri Mboup2 as far as government of national unity which has been established recently in Sudan is concerned and the referendum (for my thoughts on secession see http://wp.me/syl4Y-secede) that will be signed in 2011 and the implication of it to the rest of Africa; Dr. Mboup cautioned, that Africa’s future with regard to sensitization of African people to their identity in terms of pre-colonization, colonization, and looking ahead, post-colonial Africa, is of paramount import in order to curb out future conflicts internally. This was a plight to espouse awareness about the problems facing Africa. While opening these discussions Mpho Mothoagae3 reminded all present that historical depiction of Africa from a western perspective should be rejected and revamped from an African stance so that it can be endowed with truth not humiliation;  Western  depictions  of African are  rich  with degradations on the part of the African contribution to World history.  In their light, the African gave nothing world history.
The main speaker was Prof. Catherine Odora-Hoppers4 whose topic Identity, Culture and Knowledge in addition to offering a different approach for the alleviation of Africa’s challenges, was a historical exposition of our continent’s past. I shall come back to her just now. There were also three poets who shared their poetry with all present , their performances embedding the main presentation. I feel proud to know one of them personally – Percy Mabandu.

III

Unfortunately I did not take notes during Odora-Hoppers presentation. With all due respect the reader will bare with me; however I have tried to pick up the essence of the lecture and I feel that there are key points that stood out for me and it these points that i will presently like to turn to.
Of the key points that stood out, one  was the fact that about 88 African states were colonized by 8 European countries who legitimized their rights to the resources of African States while their inhabitants suffered poverty and degradation and submission. Using slides and verbal enunciation Odora-Hopper also tied the entry of Europe into the continent with the age of imperialism (which was preceeded by missionary work) to expand Europe territorially and commercially. Two slides stood out in that presentation. One, showed Africa in pre-colonial period. What was remarkable here was how the ancient states seem to encompass all the states that were neighboring them without bias of borders in a somewhat osmological formation. The slide in particular demonstrated a fact which is pivotal in understanding our relations to one another as Africans – that pre-colonization there existed no borders dividing Africa into the states that it finds itself divided into today. When you look at how varied and amalgamated they were (the ancients states), one gets a sense that in pre-colonial period there existed no separation amongst Africans. The partition which continues to dictate terms of association and accommodations today in the continent were created by the colonialists; in turn breeding limitation and resentment amongst Africans and ultimately in the long run self hate.

Observing and meditating you will begin to get a sense of  how lethal to the well being of people the xenophobic attacks we experienced last May are in the light of unification of Africans;  you get a sense that hate was bred into us from time immemorial which was somewhat, I come to think of it, what Odora-Hoppers indirectly implied.
The second slide which, for lack of flair and vocab’ that Odora-Hoppers possess, I will make a feeble attempt to describe to you, showed three layers which illustrated how violence against humanity in the face of revenge and survival gets bred. This was illustrated by using three parallel line bars in a vertical formation; In the bottom line, violence is harvested, Let us say those whom you wrong start to feel the pain and are able to identify that they are being wronged (potentiality to violence is born). Second line, in the face of continued violence, the wronged, prance to strike back (potentiality violence is legitimized) and lastly, with regard to the top line, violence as revenge and a savage undertaking is endorsed by the two bottom lines and put into action (effect/revenge). In other words crime against humanity is justified.

This is an important lesson to remember in that we keep thinking that action is the result of a single provocation all the time, we mostly neglect to consider that it is potentially given impetus by continued motivation for it to be committed.
Does Odora-Hoppers offer a solution? Yes indeed she does and it is an African solution. She pointed out that the first thing to acknowledge is the cause. To ask how Africa/Africans got where they are [at the moment] and to try to restore our dignity in unity and skills sharing rather than isolate people (other Africnas) based on ethnicity and mark them as potential hazards to our individual progression and survival. Here caution was sounded for the fact that individualism is a Eurocentric tenant not an African aspect in terms of progressive thought within the African context. Africans are communal in finding solutions and solving problems.
How then will Africa find its way into the future? Odora-Hopper specifies that a vertical and horizontal movement will have to be adopted by us Africans in our attempt to reclaim the rightful place that Africa deserves in terms of civilization. By vertical movement, Odora-Hopper, points out that while looking ahead into the future Africans must acknowledge the past so as to learn from it while simultaneously avoiding past mistakes in our progression towards the future. In the Horizontally movement she maintains that Africans should look around at the status quo of Africa and devise solutions to the problems facing the continent by taking into account that the solutions offered will also affect other African states – thus sensible solutions considerate of other African states should be borne in mind at all times – this can be considered to be a practical approach to African solutions.

What an education stance this is because then it makes it possible that the African sense (Ubuntu As Ndumiso Dladla argued in ‘The Philosophy of Ubuntu5 of doing things is once more revived to its ancient state as it was prior to colonization. Odora-Hopper here is offering a universal solution to the African way of maneuvering around unnecessary conflicts and social challenges. As much as I have tried to report to you verbatim of what I learnt at that lecture I feel I am somehow failing you, for it would have been better for you to attend the event personally, the learning is vital for all self learning essential. After all is Africa not the ancient home of humankind?

Much to my delight Odora-Hopper in one sense concur with what I have said last May 2008 concerning the terrible xenophobic attacks. The reader may also find the reading of my review of Zakes Mda’s Cion review worthwhile for my comparative reading of that text against the argument for qualifications on being defined as African, link up @ http://wp.me/ptAqt-60

For interest sake the Centre for African Renaissance Studies is situated in 287 Skinner Street, in the City of Tshwane.

Africa, Salutations unto you as you rise up and the Eurocentric attitude bow out to take the back seat.

*
1. Cheikh Anta Diop (29 December, 1923–7 February, 1986) was a Senegalese historian, anthropologist, physicist and politician who studied the human race’s origins and pre-colonial African culture. He has been considered one of the greatest African historians of the 20th century.(see Wikipedia for more information)

2. Dr. Samba Buri Mboup
Dr Mboup is an Associate Professor with CARS with academic merits and involvement within General and Comparative Literature, Swahili/Bantu Language and Civilization, African Renaissance Studies, NEPAD and African Politics.

3. Mpho Mothoagae
Mr Mothoagae is a lecturer with CARS and researcher within African languages, IKS, Indigenous Peoples and African Renaissance. He is involved in Kgautswane Community Development Project, the National House of Traditional Leaders and Tshwane Traditional Healers Forum.

4. Prof. Catherine Odora-Hoppers
Prof. Odora-Hoppers is a policy specialist and senior consultant to multilateral and bilateral agencies on international development, North-South questions, social policy, disarmament, peace, and human security. In 2001, she was appointed by the Minister of Science and Technology to lead the Task Team to Draft the National Policy on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (now under full implementation), and redraft the Legislation on the same. She has served as expert to the OAU, United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and UNESCO She is currently the holder of the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Development Education at UNISA.

5. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/note.php?note_id=27105757402

Additional Reading

1. Perhaps the reader may find the articles Zakes Mda’s Cion at http://wp.me/ptAqt-60 worth their while to read.

21 December

©  Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2010

To read the original version of this article, publish on 2 March 2009, for comparative purposes and tracing of ommisions, corrections and editions the reader may link at http://wp.me/puRfy-g