||Wolpe Lectures & Reviews July - December 2007
|The State of SA’s Social Movements Mondli Hlatshwayo, Des D’Sa and Orlean Naidoo 22 November
A Tradition of Activism Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge 13 September 2007
Robert Mugabe, the memory of colonialism and the real neo-colonial agenda Grace Kwinjeh 23 August 2007
Pan-Africanism and the 21st Century Revolution Horace Campbell 12 July 2007
Wolpe Lecture Panel: On ‘The State of SA’s Social Movements
Based at Khanya College, Hlatshwayo is former coordinator of the SA Social Movements Indaba; D’Sa is a leader of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance; and Naidoo is a leader of the Westcliff Flat Residents Association.
The STATE OF SA’S SOCIAL MOVEMNENTS’
During the apartheid era South Africa’s and at the height of oppression many groups and people fought individually against the struggle they faced. There were always small victories that communities and people could claim. When one thinks of the fishermen they were not allowed to fish on certain piers or beaches yes they in their own way took their struggle up and forced the apartheid regime to fish even when there were signs of black and white.
The Claiwood area was under threat by the regime and yet they took on the regime to stay on the land at the expense of no delivery in their communities. If one looks at the struggle of the market gardeners despite been push from pillow to post they were able to stay on the land and repel the notion of taking away the land from them.
Many other groups throughout this country who were in action since the 1970‘s and 1980’s.hundreds played a pivotal role in the survival of their communities. Although comrades and activist were tortured, killed and in prison they never stopped fighting for the upliftment of their people even to the detrimental of their families.
We immediately saw a huge change with the demise of the apartheid regime as we saw people and groupings come together to form a collective voice the UDF .We saw the effect immediately and the response of the security services. However even this response was not affective as the collective voice of the people could not be stopped nor defeated. It was this collective struggle and sacrifice that was the engine room for the democracy that all people enjoy today.
What is state of Social Movement after 1994?
After the dawn of democracy most social movements went to sleep and in fact some went into bed with the ruling party like SANCO believing that a better life was around the corner for the people of this country .In fact if you raised your voice about issues affecting the communities you were branded a traitor and not patriotic to the people of the country.
Government structures were set up to co- opt civil society with the main aim of silencing any dissent or conflict by the waiting masses. Many social movement groups continued to work out their individual boxes to educate, empower or defend the gains we made in defeating the apartheid regime. Even though we attained the freedom many social movements were faced with challenges and did not have the means or the resources to deal with these problems e.g. People were denied access to basic services like water, electricity, health, education. HIV / AIDS and environmental effects were increasing in poor communities and there was no response from the government of the freedom fighters. The 2002 world summit on sustainable was the catalyst to bring all the movements together under one banner to challenge Neo Libelirism.
In Gauteng thousands of poor people under the banner of the social movement marched on the capital of the rich SANDTON and declared war. In other parts like in Cape Town and Durban the social movements at the very same time picket, protested and marched on the multi-national corporations.
There after the government the elite took notice that the social movement was beginning to be a formiddle opponent and try as they may the failed to stop this Tsunami that was gaining momentum in the country. The environmental justice movement has grown in leaps and bounds in all corners of the country and my experience of this is that through this united struggle we have seen progressive legislation to give effect to he constitution section 24 ‘Everyone has a right to a clean and healthy environment.
We have seen through our joint efforts from comrades in the Vaal, Eastern Cape , Highveld, Western Cape ,Northern Cape ,Free State and other provinces that other pieces of legislation has been introduced in this country and in some cases compare with the EU and the USA . Just the past two days social movements collectively have stopped the draft waste bill from progressing beyond the Environmental portfolio committee as representatives put forth strong argument of the pain and the suffering poor people endure at the hands of profit makers .
We have seen the shack dwellers continue to resist relocation and to fight to get the government to build better houses on the land they presently occupy.
We have seen the street traders marching and protesting the relocation by the municipality away from earning a livelihood all in the name of protecting big business interest.
We have seen the fishermen fight their battles and take on the parastatal, Transnet and continue to fish in the Durban Bay even where the government and company employs the best law firms or uses the state security apparatus to harass the poor fishermen.
We have seen the resistance of the workers in regard to a fair wage and benefits for the working class to improve and this has resulted in gains despite the arrest and dismissal of workers by the bosses and government.
Some of us in the social movements are still stuck in remote control and continue to create division as if they are agents of the government. They even go to the extent of playing this scratch record at all events brings down the goal of another revolution that is needed so the masses can benefit. They are only intent on receiving hand out and individual gain rather than on the upliftment of the masses in abject poverty.
I must however caution that despite there been so many programs and action by social movements after 1994 we are not able to enjoy the fruits of the freedom social movements fought for. I argue that the masses can only benefit if the nonsensical crap stops and that we put together a program that looks destroying the agenda and policy of the state, which is driven by the Washington consensus. If we cannot put aside the pettiness and help collectively to build another UDF then our effort is going no where .A national collective like SMI is very important to take this process forward and .
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Wolpe Lecture: A Tradition of Activism
By Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge 13 September 2007
I am grateful and humbled at this opportunity to speak with you young people today as part of the Harold Wolpe Lecture series. Wolpe was active in student politics and joined the SACP.
As a lawyer, he defended liberation struggle heroes like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Lillian Ngoyi and Duma Nokwe. Wolpe was arrested and jailed a number of times before his daring escape from prison. To me, Harold Wolpe represents the caliber of activist that we need today. He was selfless and unafraid; he was prepared to speak truth to power.
Many of you, I suspect, would have been too young to understand, at that moment in 1994, how our democracy was won. But whilst I have got your attention, I want to take you even further back for you to have a sense of why and how we built our movement.
Today, we call the African National Congress a political party. In our constitutional democracy this makes complete sense. For many of us, steeped in its traditions, the ANC is still a movement. I would argue that we still need to conceive of the ANC as a movement, because many communities of all different colours, all over this country, are still suffering the effects of apartheid. The structural inequalities designed
and enforced by the Nationalist Party from 1949 to 1994 still haunt us and keep our communities in the throes of poverty.
We are now 13 years into our democracy. The apartheid state has been dismantled and replaced by a government elected by all our people. The end of that narrative has left our government with a whole series of challenges – social, economic and political. While some argue that 13 years is a short time during which to have corrected the legacy of 300 years of colonial and apartheid rule, for people who have no homes, no job and no hope, 13 years is a very long time.
As we seek to understand how to effectively improve the lives of our people, civil society needs to define how we relate to a democratically elected government. Our understanding and responses to the contestations occurring in our society can be much enhanced if we take the time to examine our defining methods and traditions of struggle.
Our province of KwaZulu Natal has been, and continues to be, marked by historic tension etween our African and Indian communities. An Audience of young, intelligent and critically-thinking minds like yours will be aware that these tensions have been molded and stoked by the racist governments of old, and that the structural inequalities which persist today, continue to add fuel to that fire.
Professor Kader Asmal, an ANC MP and veteran Charterist, wrote in the ANC on-line that “This year marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration of Cooperation between the ANC and the Transvaal and Natal Indian Congresses.” Recognised as an “historic milestone” by the ANC, the Three Doctors Pact, as it came to be known, was named after its three signatories, Dr Alfred B Xuma (ANC), Dr Monty Naicker (NIC) and Dr Yusuf Dadoo (TIC). Invested in their respective communities, these organizations were able to come together and speak with one voice for the oppressed and marginalized – with the clear understanding that united they were stronger. As a basic, cooperation in struggle continued with our organizations for many decades, but more so cross-membership ensured that these organizations were built internally and externally.
To quote Professor Asmal again, “In historical terms, it must be one of the first occasions when a minority made common cause with a majority, not to seek concessions for itself, but freedom for all”. As we go forward, it is important to understand the context of this bold and innovative pact. It was at a time when the newly formed apartheid regime was implementing a policy of ‘divide and rule’. At the same time, the 1949 riots were wrenching the Indian and African communities apart, or pitting them against each other.
So now that apartheid is over, we sit on the same buses, our children attend the same schools, we lie next to each other in the same hospital wards and we visit any beach we like. This may have given us more choices (in all of the above) but if our resource base is the same, if not lower, then we are now competing for the same services and you may well ask, if those services are good enough and plentiful enough.
This is why I am arguing that the notion of a movement is still
relevant. As you know, the Natal and Transvaal Indian Congresses no
longer exist – we all sit under the umbrella of the ANC now. But in this
post-apartheid, post-colonial… BEE world in which we live, many other
people sit under that umbrella – and it seems that many of them don’t
know the meaning of non-racialism and don’t know that the Freedom
Charter was built by other Charters before it – laying its foundations.
It is important that we not view the Freedom Charter as a disused Bible. It is up to you young people to reclaim that vision of a society based on human dignity which was the inspiration for millions to struggle for social justice and human rights. It envisioned an inclusive society where peaceful and productive coexistence would be the norm. And it inspired generations of young intellectuals to make great sacrifices to join the fight to rid us of apartheid and work towards a better society.
In this regard I am reminded of one of the outstanding intellectuals of the 1976 generation, Jabulani Nxumalo (popularly known as Comrade
Mzala). He died in 1989 at the age of 45 in London. In his short lifetime he was something of a legend among the exile South African community for his enthusiasm for intellectual debate and bravery in repeatedly returning to South Africa with Umkhonto We Sizwe. Writing under many pseudonyms Comrade Mzala was a keen debater – when no-one would respond to his contributions he would write for the next issue of a publication under another name! A typical example is his famous essay “Cooking the Rice inside the Pot” which he wrote under Mzala, but when no-one responded he wrote “Preparing the Fire before Cooking the Rice inside the Pot”!
Mzala loved evoking descriptive imagery in his writing. On this occasion when saying that the rice must cook inside the pot, what he meant was that the struggle should be fought primarily within the country, as opposed to internationally. Within our movement this metaphor has been used to illustrate many different moments of struggle. For our purposes
here, perhaps what we can say is that the perfectly cooked rice is the society we want, and in order for that rice to be perfectly cooked, we all have to do our part to light the fire, to keep the temperature right and to ensure that the right ingredients go into the pot. The African National Congress, elected by the majority today, and probably for the foreseeable future, is consequently, the pot. For any of you who have cooked rice before, you will know that it is easy to spoil it - take your eye off it for too long and it will overcook or throw the water out too quickly and it is underdone. My point is really simple, if you want to see the rice perfectly cooked, you cannot avoid the pot.
Standing on the sidelines and toyi-toying will not help that rice cook properly. And neither will leaving the tasks to anyone else. There are many important tasks associated with cooking the rice, and I don’t want to overkill the metaphor! Most recently, it seems I have got myself in trouble for saying that the rice is not looking good. I am sorry for the trouble, but my hope is that we use this as an opportunity to improve the cooking of the rice. I am struggling to leave the metaphor of the rice aside, because it helps being misquoted by the press! So perhaps I can quote Jeremy Cronin on the Mzala and Francis Meli debate in the African Communist, 1988, on this issue “He is prepared to engage critically (but constructively) with his senior in the movement, and his loyalty and respect for the ANC does not lead him into believing that his organization is above all criticism.” As a movement we have always afforded the space for critical engagement – and that has not changed, and must not change.
In November last year I paid tribute to Zackie Achmat and the Treatment Action Campaign at a debate on AIDS treatment, organized by the University of Cape Town. Next year the Treatment Action Campaign will mark 10 years since its founding: ten years since the rape and murder of Gugu Dlamini and the decision by of a small group of people to campaign for life, dignity and equality for HIV positive South Africans.
Over the years the TAC has campaigned for and impacted upon the adoption of a progressive legislative framework protecting HIV positive citizens, national distribution of condoms to improve prevention, the roll-out of mother to child transmission prevention and the subsequent decision to provide treatment to all AIDS sufferers. Now we have a national strategic plan, a groundbreaking document, which aims to halve HIV infections in five years and provide medicines to 80% of those that need them, and TAC leaders sit with Government inisters on the South African National Aids Council. If you want to know how to cook rice in a pot – that’s how.
Now I want to stop talking and I want to hear your thoughts and concerns.
SA must assess whether I failed: Madlala-Routledge
Madlala-Routledge says she is anxious about what will happen in Polokwane later this year September 14, 2007, 06:15
Irrespective of what her critics say, former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge told a packed Harold Wolpe Memorial lecture meeting in Durban last night it was up to the country to decide whether she had failed in her duties.
Speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Durban campus, she said: It's for the country to assess whether I did fail in the areas that I was delegated.
She said she had been tasked to take responsibility for chronic illness, health technology, mental health, the transfer of mortuaries from the police to the health department and oral health. I've written a report for the ANC to say what I did indeed do in those areas, that I was delegated.
But I also say although I was given those delegations, the minister did make it very difficult for me to perform in those areas and in particular I mention the fact that Parliament was stopped, was not allowed to interact with me directly.
She said that she had been receiving numerous messages of support from across the country,from all races. People are saying that I did try to perform.
The former deputy minister conceded that the department had not done very well on the issue of transferring mortuaries from the police to the department. Referring the ANC's succession race, she said: I think all of us are very anxious about what the outcome will be of Polokwane.
She said that whoever was elected leader at the ongress was likely to be the country's next president. - Sapa
SA must decide - Nozizwe
Durban - Fired deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge said on Thursday night it was up to the people to decide whether she'd failed inher duties.
Madlala-Routledge was addressing a Harold Wolpe Memorial lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Durban campus.
She said she had been tasked to take responsibility for chronic illness, health technology, mental health, the transfer of mortuaries from the police to the Health Department and oral health.
I've written a report for the ANC to say what I did indeed do in those areas that I was delegated.
But I also say although I was given those delegations, the Minister (Manto Tshabalala-Msimang) did make it very difficult for me to perform in those areas. In particular I mention the fact that Parliament was stopped ... was not allowed to interact with me directly.
She said that she had been receiving numerous messages of support from across the country, from all races.
People are saying that I did try to perform. The former deputy minister conceded that the department had not done very well on the issue of transferring mortuaries from the police to the department.
Referring the African National Congress's succession race, she said: I think all of us are very anxious about what the outcome will be of Polokwane.
Taking On Apartheid, Then a Nation's Stance on AIDS
By Michael Wines: New York Times 8 September 2007
NOZIZWE MADLALA-ROUTLEDGE, one of the most talked-about figures in South Africa these days, wanted to be a scientist. She says she sacrificed her ambition on the altar of principle.
Ms. Madlala, as she was then known, was pursuing a science degree at the University of Fort Hare, an apartheid-era haven for black scholars that counts Nelson Mandela among its alumni. It was 1972, and after the government barred black parents from commencement ceremonies at another university, Fort Hare students mounted a boycott, which Ms. Madlala joined.
The school administration expelled her, and said she could be readmitted only if she apologized. She refused.
I didn't see what I had to apologize for, she said. So I lost my place at Fort Hare.
Thirty-five years later, Ms. Madlala-Routledge has been expelled again — this time, from her post as South Africa's deputy health minister — and once again, she sees no reason to apologize. Since President Thabo Mbeki dismissed her in mid-August, citing a list of political and managerial lapses, both she and South Africa's beleaguered Health Ministry have been the subjects of fierce debate.
Ms. Madlala-Routledge's supporters say she was the lone voice of principle in a Health Ministry sullied by its lackadaisical response to South Africa's AIDS crisis. When the government finally adopted an aggressive anti-AIDS strategy in December, after years of international criticism, Ms. Madlala-Routledge was among the principal authors.
To her supporters, the dismissal is fresh evidence of a deep antipathy toward AIDS science on the part of both Mr. Mbeki and his political ally, the much-maligned health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.
On the other hand, Ms. Madlala-Routledge's critics say she is a headline-grabbing gadfly. In mid-August, Mr. Mbeki devoted his weekly Internet essay to a harsh attack on Ms. Madlala-Routledge, calling her a lone ranger who willfully ignored orders. Any suggestion that her dismissal will affect South Africa's AIDS strategy, he wrote, is extraordinarily absurd.
Ms. Madlala-Routledge does not directly contest that. Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Ms. Madlala-Routledge's friend for 20 years, continues to oversee the strategy, she said. But without leadership from the Health Ministry, she said, the strategy will fail. And that leadership was lacking, she said, even before she was fired.
Asked why, Ms. Madlala-Routledge replied: It puzzles me. It truly puzzles me.
Ms. Madlala-Routledge is not easy to pigeonhole. At 55, she is a veteran of South Africa's liberation struggle, a Communist, a Quaker, a fairly canny politician with a seat in South Africa's Parliament and, by training, a medical technician with an interest in immunology.
The Communist Party sees her as a rising star, though that compliment is tempered by the party's minuscule size. She has grabbed her share of headlines, but seldom by straying beyond her official mandate. Tall, hefty and soft spoken, she is nobody's vision of a rabble-rouser.
But both political analysts and health experts say she also is no pushover. At a Cape Town news conference in August, she invoked a Quaker aphorism to explain her dismissal, saying that one must never be afraid to speak truth to power.
LIKE any black woman in apartheid South Africa, Ms. Madlala-Routledge did not have an easy youth. As a child in Umzumbe, a small town south of Durban, she lived within walking distance of pristine Indian Ocean beaches from which she was banned, and attended a missionary school because blacks were not allowed a standard education.
Ms. Madlala-Routledge dreamed of being a doctor but left the University of Natal after a year because of poor grades. Steve Biko had taken me under his wing, she said of the student activist who was later murdered by the South African police, and I guess I spent more time at meetings than doing my studies. Then came Fort Hare and expulsion, followed by four years of training in medical technology at a government laboratory.
In 1980 she took a job in a Durban hospital lab, alternately fascinated by the science and appalled by apartheid's impact on blacks' health. A year earlier, she had secretly joined the banned African National Congress, running a cell of activists and — her Quaker beliefs aside — sheltering members of the group's military wing.
Her political involvements grew, and in 1993 she won a seat in democratic South Africa's new Parliament. Then in 1999, the new president, Thabo Mbeki, asked that she join his administration — as deputy defense minister. She was shocked. Are you sure you aren't looking for somebody else? she recalled saying.
But she accepted, and in 2004, Mr. Mbeki moved her to the Health Ministry's No. 2 slot. In ministry meetings, she said, she pushed for a more forceful approach to South Africa's H.I.V. crisis, which kills 800 people a day and infects 1,000 more — and was met, she said, by growing resistance from the health minister, Dr. Tshabalala-Msimang. Called Garlic Manto by her detractors, Dr. Tshabalala-Msimang emphasized so-called African solutions to H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, including diets of garlic, beetroot and African potatoes. She also suggested that anti-AIDS drugs were dangerous.
Ms. Madlala-Routledge suggested that public officials take AIDS tests, then backtracked to make clear that she was not prodding Mr. Mbeki. Increasingly, she said, Dr. Tshabalala-Msimang confined her to tasks with scant political dimension, like managing mortuaries. In 2005, after publicly disagreeing with her boss over the primacy of nutrition as a defense against H.I.V., Ms. Madlala-Routledge was summoned to Mr. Mbeki for the woodshed treatment.
SHE remained in the shadows until late 2006, when Dr. Tshabalala-Msimang exhibited baskets of garlic and other supposed anti-AIDS foods at an international conference on H.I.V., raising a global outcry. Shortly afterward, the minister fell ill, and during her absence Ms. Madlala-Routledge's old ally, the deputy president, summoned her to rewrite South Africa's AIDS strategy.
That strategy remains in force, but Ms. Madlala-Routledge no longer helps direct it. Late in 2006, she said, she heard rumors that her time in Mr. Mbeki's government was near an end. In July, she raised eyebrows when she accompanied a journalist to a rural hospital with a high rate of infant deaths, then called conditions there a national emergency. Dr. Tshabalala-Msimang publicly and vigorously disagreed — although others did not — and a few weeks later, Ms. Madlala-Routledge was unemployed.
Mr. Mbeki cited other reasons for the firing, including Ms. Madlala-Routledge's decision to attend a Madrid conference on H.I.V. vaccines after receiving routine, but informal approval from his office. (Mr. Mbeki rejected the trip after she arrived.)
Most analysts say, however, that Mr. Mbeki was extracting a thorn from his side and that of his close ally, Ms. Tshabalala-Msimang, whose husband is the powerful treasurer of the African National Congress. Some wonder why Ms. Madlala-Routledge did not see it coming.
In the last few months, I've been rather shocked at how reckless she has been in her public statements, said Kerry Cullinan, a veteran reporter on medical issues for the South African Web site Health-e. If you know you're under scrutiny, you have to be very, very careful. You don't go off with journalists.
Review of: A TRADITION of ACTIVISM
By Coral Vinsen 25 September 2007
There was not even standing room in the TB Davis 6 auditorium on the Howard College Campus at UKZ-N on Thursday 13 September 2007. An expectant audience of every age and race, mostly students, academics, and members of Durban’s civil society, occupied every seat, and even the steps, as they waited for Nozizwe Madlala- Routledge, ANC M.P. to address them.
The packed audience had come to listen to the hard working KZ-N M.P who had recently been axed by President Mbeki from her post as Deputy Minister of Health. At the same time, she had also been presented with a hefty bill of over three hundred thousand rand, to be repaid for attending an international conference on AIDS vaccines, without permission, according to a government spokesperson.
KZ-N Rhodes scholar Mandisa Mbali chaired the meeting and introduced the speaker, with a short resume of her early gender rights activism in this province and subsequent career path as a national parliamentarian.
Nozizwe began her talk with a rousing ”All power”, to which a sprinkling of Struggle Veterans in the audience responded ” to the people”.
She sketched a brief history of Harold Wolpe’s activism starting in student politics and continuing later when as a lawyer, he defended liberation struggle heroes in court. She commended him as representing the calibre of activist needed today. This set the tone for her address, which reminded everyone that all have to play their part in achieving the society they wanted.
She noted that many of her audience would in 1994 have been too young to understand how our democracy was won. So she proceeded to lead them even further back to when the ANC was still a movement, and argued that it should still be conceived as that, because many diverse communities countrywide were still suffering from the effects of apartheid. This meant that although South Africa now has a government elected by all her people, it had inherited a whole series of challenges and that the 13 years it had been in power was too short a time in which to correct the legacy of 300 years of colonial and apartheid rule. However, for people who have no homes, no jobs and no hope, 13 years is a very long time.
In order to understand how to improve the lives of our people, Nozizwe felt that civil society needed to define how it related to a democratically elected government. There was a need for social movements such as the women’s movement in order to make gender equality a reality in our country.
She said that our province of KwaZulu- Natal continued to be marked by historic tension between African and Indian communities, which have been moulded and stoked by racist governments of old, and noted that structural inequalities that persist today continue to add fuel to that fire.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the “Three Doctors Pact” as it came to be known, when Dr Alfred B Xuma (ANC), Dr Monty Naicker (NIC) and Dr Yusuf Dadoo (TIC) signed the Joint Declaration of Cooperation between the ANC and the Natal and Transvaal Indian Congresses.
Professor Kader Asmal said ”in historical terms, it must be one of the first occasions when a minority made common cause with a majority, not to seek concessions for itself, but freedom for all.”
Nozizwe posed the question that now that apartheid is over and there are more choices, but the resource base is the same, are we not now competing for the same services? This is the reason why she contends that the notion of a movement is still relevant. The NIC and TIC no longer exist, all are under the ANC umbrella, including many others, who seemingly, do not know the meaning of non-racialism or that the Freedom Charter was built by other charters before it.
She exhorted the young people in the audience to reclaim that vision of a society based on human dignity, and to struggle for social justice and human rights. This was the inspiration that caused young intellectuals in the past to make great sacrifices in the fight against apartheid and to work towards a better society.
Nozizwe then quoted from the famous essay of one of the outstanding intellectuals of the 1976 generation Jabulani Nxumalo (known as Comrade Mzala). This was entitled “Cooking the Rice inside the Pot”, which meant that the struggle should be fought primarily within the country. In today’s context, the pot is the ANC, so if you want to have perfectly cooked rice, you cannot avoid the pot and will need to be actively involved in order to achieve a good product.
A further quote from one of Nozizwe’s comrades, Jeremy Cronin reinforces her point that “as a movement, we have always afforded the space for critical engagement- and that has not changed, and must not change.” If you criticize your organization, you should not be seen as an enemy of your own organization.
Nozizwe went on to say that she publicly, paid tribute to Zachie Achmat and the Treatment Action Campaign and despite initially being shunned by some in high places, the TAC leaders now sit with government ministers on the South African National AIDS Council, with all sectors coming together to implement the National Strategic Plan.
That she says is how to cook rice in a pot!
After, her talk, a generous time was allowed for questions. Nozizwe listened intently and gave insightful, considered replies to questions related to: the HIV/AIDS pandemic, priority areas for women and gender activists, rape, violence against women, health indicators, housing, informal traders and poverty. She emphasised that South Africa is not a poor country. Resources are wrongly used. There is a lack of accountability.
She said that TAC used the media, including international media to advance their cause.
She encouraged young people:
To scrutinize the budget.
Identify the correct issue and mobilize people around that issue.
Bring allies together
Use their vote
Harold Wolpe would have been proud of his present day comrade.
Wolpe Lecture: Robert Mugabe, the memory of colonialism and the real neo-colonial agenda
By Grace Kwinjeh 23 August 2007
University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society, Durban Harold Wolpe Lecture series
23 August 2007
Why were we colonized? And were we ever really decolonized?
These are the central questions that should be at the core of liberation discourse in Zimbabwe and Africa at large, in order to start dealing with neo-colonial ‘ghosts’. These ghosts are real enough when they take the form of dictatorships, exploitative neo-liberal capitalism and repression of our growing resistance to these.
Rather than reflect upon now distant liberation ideals - one person one vote, or restoring the dignity of the African person, both of which are frankly further from us than they were in 1979 - I think it is important to begin by asking why as Zimbabweans and Africans we were colonised in the first place, and whether even the most radical nationalists in Zanu(PF) are guilty of what Frantz Fanon called ‘false decolonisation’.
What forces were at work then and now? Might it be that our continued oppression and underdevelopment result as much from the global capitalist order, as from our own failings as Africans?
Most importantly, are our elite leaders – especially those who excel at anti-imperialist rhetoric when giving speeches at conferences, summits and other public places - the real agents of imperialism?
It is crucial to remember the history of colonialism in Zimbabwe, especially ‘How Europe underdeveloped Africa’ as Walter Rodney phrased it. That history set the stage for the postcolonial political agenda in Zimbabwe, the ‘exhausted patriarchal model of liberation’ in Horace Campbell’s words, in which ‘the ruling elite [serve] as intermediary for global capital’. Only then can we tackle the resulting challenges facing Zimbabwe’s new social liberation movement.
Finally, we Zimbabweans also have something to say about the advent of neoliberalism in South Africa, and we look with disquiet upon Pretoria’s plans for a potential ‘elite transition’ in Zimbabwe. Our ability to resist a bad deal will depend upon how much we learn from the infamous events of March 11 this year, how we counteract state violence, and how we restore the Ubuntu of our Africanness in the face of state brutality and economic exploitation.
I want to argue that it is only by putting these ingredients together that we can identify home-grown struggles that call forth home-grown solutions in the form of people-centred economic and political transformation.
The Zimbabwe case
Over the past years, we who are fighters for genuine liberation in Zimbabwe have been arrested, beaten and tortured – and some of our cohort killed - for daring to challenge Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial regime. The paradox is that state violence is committed in the name of correcting past injustices, combating neocolonialism, restoring the dignity of the African people, fighting the British Government, and preventing the recolonization of Zimbabwe.
As activists we have been put in the position of defending our Africanness, our blackness, our patriotism, our love for country and continent, and our vision of an egalitarian society, against a regime which exels at mixing radical rhetoric with reactionary repression. As we saw last weekend in Lusaka, Zanu(PF) and its allies on the continent have generated a solid block of denialism.
The most cynical view of our ruling elites emerges from the comment that Zimbabwe simply moved from a ‘White Smith’ to a ‘Black Smith.’ Even after independence was achieved in 1980, a black government took over state power but did not alter in the least, the inherited exploitive economic and political relations.
Fanon’s prediction could not have been more precise: ‘The national bourgeoisie steps into the shoes of the former European settlement: doctors, barristers, traders, commercial travellers, general agents and transport agents. It considers that the dignity of the country and its own welfare require that it should occupy all these posts. From now on, it will insist that all the big foreign companies should pass through its hands, whether these companies wish to keep on their con¬nexions with the country, or to open it up. The national middle class discovers its historic mission: that of intermediary.’
Therein lies the problem: with no future in this strategy, Mugabe and his national bourgeoisie have turned to corruption and eating the economy in the most parasitical manner, initially to accommodate World Bank and IMF dictates and then, from about a decade ago, on the basis of state commands. And so in this paper I not only wish to look at the nature of the postcolonial state but also at its relationship with global capital and the neoliberal agenda.
Do we see in Zimbabwe as in South Africa the official dance that Patrick Bond has termed, ‘talk left-walk right’? There are mixed signals, for the Mugabe regime adopted the much hated Economic Structural Adjustment Programme during the early 1990s and followed with a chaotic land reform programme from February 2000, all the while stepping up the militarization of the state and repression of resistance.
The torture I suffered on March 11 was just one aspect of the culture of violence that has run rampant within Zanu(PF) since before independence: in ‘struggles within the struggle’ (as documented by Masipula Sithole), and soon later in the genocide visited upon Ndebele people of the Midlands and Matebeleland (‘gukurahundi’), and then again in recent years when paramilitary and formal state violence was again unleashed on opposition party members and other civic activists.
The recent rise of a workers’ struggle for emancipation peaked in the Working People’s Convention of February 1999, and led to the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change. The Working People Convention resolutions should, like your South African Freedom Charter, become the reference point in the struggle against the dictatorship and for a new Zimbabwe. Democratic forces have to remobilize around these, for they do not only deal with the pressing national democratic issues, land reform, the economy, health and education, but also address the International Financial Institutions which still insist the only way forward is the adoption of neoliberal policies.
My point here is that Zimbabweans know what they want, as they showed in February 1999, but the script is being written for them elsewhere with disastrous consequences. This failure to grasp our own future has led to the current quagmire. Again and again, external forces aim – as we saw in Zimbabwe’s own birth at Lancaster House - to promote an elite transition in which they have influence over the who’s who of Zimbabwe’s next leadership. Pretoria has been endorsed by Washington, London and Brussels to carry out this deal. George W. Bush even called Thabo Mbeki his ‘point man’ for this task, four years ago.
That is why I am weary of the election project which, as in the past, seems to be a rallying point for Pretoria and the rest of the International Community. The best outcome under prevailing conditions would be what Thandeka Mkandawire calls a ‘choiceless democracy’. Why the focus on the narrow objective of elections and not on a long term sustainable democracy and economic development project? The Mugabe regime gets relegitimised each time an election is held, because there are other elites willing to endorse each stolen poll, as Pretoria has shown again and again. The next election in 2008 must give Zimbabweans the opportunity to elect leaders of their choice freely, and external forces should facilitate this process not the opposite, as Mbeki appears to be hell bent on.
There is a framework for a proper transition to take place in Zimbabwe agreed upon by Zimbabweans ourselves. There is a broad consensus on constitutional reform, on other transformations of the state apparatus, on the demilitarization of key institutions, on the role of traditional chiefs, on press freedom (especially the role of public broadcasters and newspapers), and on an end to violence.
In spite of our own clear statements about these matters, it is tempting for Mbeki and the SADC leaders to simply ignore the democratic grassroots impulses. And it is because of this desire to impose a false democratization on Zimbabwe that we should revisit why we were colonized, and in turn why we sometimes internalize Eurocentric views about us as Africans.
Only then would we become ashamed, properly, at the poverty and dictatorship around us. Only then would it be possible to build a new Zimbabwe, and a new Africa.
The colonial and neocolonial agenda
Different theories have been put forward as to why Africa was colonized, ranging from extreme Eurocentric views to do with bringing civilization to Africa, to pan-African ones to do with Europe’s exploitation of Africa’s resources, labour and markets, to Marxist theories of Northern capitalist crisis as the driving force of imperialism.
Let us recall the Berlin Conference of 1884-85, devised by key Britain, Germany, France, Portugal and Belgium in order to partition Africa amongst themselves, to share the ‘cake’. Africa was thus subordinated to the whims and will of the western powers as a provider of raw materials, cheap labour and markets for their finished products. This economic domination coupled with political subordination guaranteed Africa’s underdevelopment and inferior status in the world today.
The roots go back even earlier, according to Walter Rodney:
Western Europe and Africa had a relationship which ensured the transfer of wealth from Africa to Europe. The transfer was possible only after trade became truly international; and that takes one back to the late 15th century when Africa and Europe were drawn into common relations for the first time — along with Asia and the Americas. The developed and underdeveloped parts of the present capitalist section of the world have been in continuous contact four and a half centuries. The contention here is that over that period Africa helped to develop Western Europe in the same proportion as Western Europe helped to underdevelop Africa.
In Zimbabwe and elsewhere, the ruling elite simply stepped into the shoes of the colonialists, fulfilling Fanon’s prophesies:
The state, which by its strength and discretion ought to inspire confidence and disarm and lull everybody to sleep, on the contrary seeks to impose itself in spectacular fashion. It makes a display, it jostles people and bullies them, thus intimating to the citizen that he is in continual danger. The single party is the modem form of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, unmasked, unpainted, unscrupulous and cynical.
It is true that such a dictatorship does not go very far. It cannot halt the processes of its own contradictions. Since the bourgeoisie has not the economic means to ensure its domina¬tion and to throw a few crumbs to the rest of the country; since, moreover, it is preoccupied with filling its pockets as rapidly as possible but also as prosaically as possible, the country sinks all the more deeply into stagnation. And in order to hide this stagnation and to mask this regression, to reassure itself and to give itself something to boast about, the bourgeoisie can find nothing better to do than to erect grandiose buildings in the capital and to lay out money on what are called prestige expenses. (Frantz Fanon in the Pitfalls of National Consciousness, Wretched of the Earth)
Rosa Luxemburg also considers the relationship between the elite and the masses in a vicious colonial-capitalist mode of production:
The method of violence, then, is the immediate consequence of the clash between capitalism and the organisations of a natural economy which would restrict accumulation. Their means of production and their labour power no less than their demand for surplus products is necessary to capitalism. Yet the latter is fully determined to undermine their independence as social units, in order to gain possession of their means of production and labour power and to convert them into commodity buyers. This method is the most profitable and gets the quickest results, and so it is also the most expedient for capital. In fact, it is invariably accompanied by a growing militarism whose importance for accumulation will be demonstrated below in another connection. British policy in India and French policy in Algeria are the classical examples of the application of these methods by capitalism.
The militaristic methods of colonial capitalism, which the mothers and fathers of our revolution valiantly fought against, are well documented:
Each day 30 to 40 civilian Africans died, whether as ‘curfew breakers’, ‘supporters of the guerrillas’, or caught in the crossfire. This killing of innocent civilians was not confined to Zimbabwe but extended to air strikes deep inside Mozambique, Zambia and even Angola. The Rhodesian Air Force supported by the South Africans, carried out bombing raids against the frontline territories, bombing vital communication links, roads, bridges, and refugee camps. – International Defence and Aid Fund (1979) Political Repression in Rhodesia. London.
This is what the liberation fighters were against, yet along the way began to adopt methods of the oppressor.
Zimbabwe’s elite transition from colonialism to independence
Let us retrace the steps of the transition to our independent country, Zimbabwe. Through this process we consider the dangers of repeating our history: the flawed Lancaster House Agreement/Constitution or ‘elite transition’ that has haunted us to this day.
During this period white South Africa (under great pressure especially from the Americans) was a key supporter of the Rhodesian government. Ironically, this is the case today with the relationship between Robert Mugabe and South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki. During the period leading to our independence, Ian Smith’s continued stay in power depended on South African resources and political support.
The Rhodesians were destined to lose, notwithstanding Smith’s claim that ‘not in one thousand years’ would black majority rule arrive. South African apartheid leader John Vorster withdrew explicit military support to Smith in 1976, in order to gain more room for his own regional co-option strategy. US secretary of state Henry Kissinger meddled in the region’s geopolitics, and together with Vorster strongarmed Smith into agreeing to an untenable ‘internal settlement’-- called ‘Zimbabwe-Rhodesia’-- with the co-opted Bishop Abel Muzorewa in 1978.
The nationalists rejected this settlement, and the power-sharing agreement soon collapsed. Increased international pressure resulted in the holding of the Lancaster House Conference, attended by all parties - the Rhodesians and the Nationalists – with the British mediating. However there was a conspicuous absence of women’s participation, a point I will elaborate on later.
The parties agreed on the following:
to accept the authority of the Governor;
to abide by the Independence Constitution;
to comply with the pre-independence arrangements;
to abide by the cease-fire agreement;
to campaign peacefully and without intimidation;
to renounce the use of force for political ends.
This was a ceasefire agreement and should have remained as such. However as Horace Campbell points out, the whole set up was problematic in the sense that it did not capture the sentiment of freedom for the black majority.
Even though the agreement was arrived at after 15 weeks of fierce diplomatic struggle and military intimidation by the Rhodesian Forces, the Patriotic Front signed because, though they were well aware of the shortfalls of the settlement, they believed ‘it was a sound basis on which to build a truly democratic society in Zimbabwe, free of racism and the explaoitation of man by man.’ Reclaiming Zimbabwe: The exhaustion of the patriarchal model of liberation.
So then were the guerrillas pushed? Or did they jump?
Neo – colonial ghosts or hallucinations
To return to Luxemburg’s thesis, how did the ‘superexploitation’ of Zimbabwe’s non-capitalist terrain continue after independence? Mugabe inherited a capitalist mode of production whose sustenance was based on the exploitation of the majority black labour and the country’s wealth and natural resources. One key resource, land, remained in the hands of the white farmers and eventually some of the black elite became farmers too. For two decades, Mugabe had no political will to redress the imbalances that existed in landownership. Ten years into independence, in 1990, a majority of those in Mugabe’s cabinet were commercial farm owners, with some owning more than one farm.
Had there been political will on the part of the ruling elite to deal with the land issue in an appropriate manner, we would have avoided some of the socio-economic problems bedevilling the country today. In fact the manner in which the Fast Track Resettlement Programme was adopted and carried out is a further insult to our dignity and integrity as Zimbabweans.
Sometimes in a barbaric fashion, dressed in party slogans, our mothers, fathers, grand-parents, aunts, uncles were moved from villages they had been forced onto by the settler colonialists to bare pieces of land, with no water, toilets or farm inputs, and dubbed the ‘new farmers’. Opposition activists and white farmers were killed during these invasions, and scores of thousands of farm workers displaced, many of them of Malawian and Mozambican origin in yet another sign of how little Mugabe and his cohort care and think of the black masses. It should be noted that the relationship between Mugabe and many fractions of white capital remained very strong even during this period, as was demonstrated in his relations with John Bredenkamp and British businessman Nicholas van Hoogstraten.
What then resulted? According to a study by Joshua Nyoni and Prof. M. Rukuni, problems included,
the displacement of newly settled farmers by the elite;
multiple ownership of farms by the elite;
underutilization and neglect of huge amounts of productive farmland allocated under the fast track programme; and
low uptake of allocated land.
The myth that land reform is for peasants is disputed by war veteran Margarat Dongo, interviewed recently on SWRadio:
or a rural person coming from Chipinge the bureaucracy that he has to go through just to shake [Mugabe’s] hand is not easy. He has changed to me, even the behavior. He has changed his behavior in terms of how he looks at the ordinary masses. The issue of land is very crucial. I tell you the majority of ex-combatants who have been used to invade the farms today are being harassed and I don’t even think they are comfortable there. And I think they have become the poorest people. I don’t know if they are doing any farming because the majority them – if you want to ask on the allocation of tractors, how many of them got those tractors? How many of them are getting enough support in terms of implements? How many of them are actually living comfortably. I am telling you the majority of those comrades who invaded the farms were used as guinea pigs. They were just used as frontiers. They were used just like in a slavery situation. To be honest enough lets do an accountability, let’s do an inventory to see what went to real comrades.
This is where we see Mugabe’s ‘talk left and walk right’ rhetoric. Mugabe is notorious for his public dismissal of opposition and civic groups as agents of western imperialism, and has even been cheered at different fora for this stance. But a few weeks ago, columnist Mutumwa Mawere wrote of how this stance allows Mugabe to displace the blame for his own mismanagement:
I do not think that even the most enthusiastic anti-colonial and anti-imperialist advocates would agree in 2007 that the 1st revolution of Zimbabwe has produced a positive outcome that is in line with the expectations of all those Africans who have made the sacrifices to eradicate the artificial man made colonial distortions. The issues that seem to occupy many regarding the crisis in Zimbabwe are no different from the kind of issues that occupied the pioneers of the decolonisation struggle as is to suggest that the passage of time under self rule was a non event during which no one should be accountable. In the case of Zimbabwe, the architects of the independence project still would want to argue that they were never in control of what President Mwanawasa described as a “sinking Titanic” and choosing to rightly or wrongly assign the blame on the machinations of relentless imperialist forces. In advancing this persuasive argument, they benefit from the global atmosphere created by the conduct of Bush/Blair on global issues including Iraq. A unipolar world in which western values are projected as the only acceptable values to inform global opinion seems discredited to an extent that even the most unacceptable dictators find sanctuary in responding to criticisms about their own disastrous policies and programs by claiming to be victims of an imperialist conspiracy.
Is Mugabe a victim of an imperialist conspiracy? In the book Zimbabwe’s Plunge, Patrick Bond and Masimba Manyanya dwell on the complexities between Mugabe’s dictatorship and the country’s economic and political descent in the wake of two historic events, the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Setember 1999 and the February 2000 national referendum which rejected Mugabe’s sponsored constitution. If the mothers and the fathers of the revolution were ‘pushed’ into agreeing to unpopular Lancaster House conditions which prevented land and resource redistribution, why did it take decades for them to remember their political obligation to the people of Zimbabwe?
The introduction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sponsored Economic Structural Adjustment Programme in 1990 was met with protests from the workers, students and broader civil society. It was only in 1997 – two years after the World Bank called his implementation of neoliberalism ‘highly satisfactory’ (the best rating they give) - that Mugabe began to reverse the policies.
Zimbabwean capitalism could not have flourished for nearly two decades without the complicity of Mugabe and his cronies. How then has he managed to keep his supporters in a trance with this ‘Talk left-walk right’ dance?
We have heard Left rhetoric from Mugabe most vociferously when there arise forceful popular challenges: the early 1960s resurgence of anti-colonial protest, the mid/late-1970s left turn within the ranks of exiles and during the brief Zimbabwe People’s Army experiment, the 1980 upsurge of worker confidence in the wake of liberation, mid-1980s dissents from Matabeleland, late 1980s student demonstrations against incipient neoliberalism, the 1996-97 rural and war vet rebellions, and the resurgence of protests by workers and genuine democrats since then. Acting Right has been observed while Mugabe was in league with motley white tycoons (Rowland, Oppenheimer, O’Reilly, Cluff, Bredenkamp, and Rautenbach during the 1980s-90s), white US government military advisors (early 1990s), and white economists from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (beginning in 1981 but especially from 1990, until the falling out in 1998)--or simply acting in proto-fascist mode in between, and more so at the time of writing. (Zimbabwe’s Plunge, Patrick Bond and Masimba Manyanya.)
Ghosts of foreign funding and Mugabe’s leftist rhetoric
Mugabe was always good at talking left even when he was funded by the right. UKZN politics professor David Moore writes in the Review of African Political Economy (Zanu PF and the Ghosts of Foreign Funding) about the financing of Mugabe’s liberation struggle from both imperialist and non imperialist forces. What haunts Mugabe, according to Moore, is his understanding of what foreign funding can do having been a beneficiary himself, during the liberation struggle in the 60’s and 70’s. And so it is not accidental that Mugabe has sought to ban Zimbabwean based Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) perceived to be pro-MDC and enacted the Political Parties Finance Act, which criminalises foreign funding for political parties. It is fascist, well calculated to weaken international solidarity for those oppressed by Mugabe especially in financial terms. Sadly, this moratorium on outside assistance has also often included humanitarian assistance in the form of food aid, donated to suffering masses. When food gets through, a Zanu(PF) party card is required to get access.
Moore reveals the relationship that existed between Mugabe and the British Government in the 1960’s -70’s, and also links some of the funding the nationalists received at the time to CIA front organisations. Humanitarian support for the guerrillas included scholarships (many of them and their spouses studied abroad during the liberation struggle), food, blankets and shelter.
In considering the upsurge in what can only be called paramilitary fascism, albeit camouflaged in leftist, nationalist rhetoric, it is important that we revisit what Campbell calls the ‘exhausted patriarchal’ model of liberation captured by very narrow elite interests. According to Campbell, ‘in more instances, instead of liberation becoming the foundation of a new social order, the militarist and masculinist leadership turned the victory of the people into a never ending nightmare of direct and structural violence.’
This is what Fanon predicted:
in an underdeveloped country the direction of affairs by a strong authority, in other words a dictatorship, is a necessity. With this in view the party is given the task of supervising the masses. The party plays understudy to the administration and the police, and controls the masses, not in order to make sure that they really participate in the business of governing the nation, but in order to remind them constantly that the government expects from them obedience and discipline.
The formation of the MDC was thus met with violence and tyranny that has left the masses deeply hurt and traumatised. The Mugabe dictatorship has at each point used the worst forms of violence in order to remain in power. March 11 2007, or ‘black Sunday’, dramatises the state-sponsored violence that has been used over the past decade to silence voices of dissent. First there was the Gukurahundi of the early 80’s which saw the killing of over 20 000 people from the Midlands and Matebeleland a perceived support base of the late nationalist Joshua Nkomo Then there was the recent wave of targeted killings of opposition activists, along with torture, abductions and forced removals. Operation ‘Murambatsvina’, ‘clean up the filth’, was yet another show of disdain by the Mugabe regime. An estimated seven hundred thousand people were evicted from their homes in the urban areas, which were subsequently demolished. The very livelihoods of many, especially women and children, were destroyed.
Like the colonial group that existed in our region until the early 1960s, history is repeating itself in the sense that a regional coalition has once again ganged up in protection of one of its own, Mugabe. Over 60 activists who had gone to present their case to the Southern African Heads of State Summit, in Lusaka Zambia, last week, were arrested and some of them deported.
Meanwhile the United Nations High Commission on Refugees estimated that there are over 3 million Zimbabweans displaced in the SADC region, and predicted an increase in the coming months. Yet the patriarchs meeting in Lusaka concluded that the problems in Zimbabwe were ‘exaggerated.’
What prospects are there for us to unite, across the region, from below, in defiance of the regional patriarchs? Social movements in the SADC region have, through the Southern African Social Forum and other relationships, acted in solidarity with the suffering masses in Zimbabwe. Not only are the social movements tackling the regional dictatorship but global economic justice issues too.
Elite Transition or people first?
Because Mugabe’s reign is untenable, even to other Zanu(PF) elites who cannot cope with inflation or the closure of retail trade, the real challenge is the kind of transition we will end up with. Mbeki has been given the role of mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, yet he endorsed the last 3 stolen elections: 2000,2002 and 2005. Mbeki has sought at each turn to find a solution that relegitimises the Mugabe regime, in the form of an elite transition, which once again like the Lancaster House Agreement is not based on popular sentiment. Once again, as Everjoice Win warns us, we will suffer a patriarchal mode of liberation:
Whatever deal is worked out to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis, women and their rights should be at the centre of it. We want feminists -- women who care about the rights of other women and who are prepared to rock the patriarchal boat -- to be in leadership positions and to be there when the deal is made. Women want a new and comprehensive Constitution that guarantees their rights. This includes a provision which clearly states that customary law and tradition must not violate international human rights, norms and standards. We want to see a complete overhaul of a political system that has seen women reduced to political cheerleaders, or worse, sex workers with few economic prospects and the lowest life expectancy in the world.
Women whose conspicuous absence I noted above at the Lancaster House negotiations are now demanding a place at the table as a right and not out of the largess of fellow male comrades or the regional patriarchs.
But like many, Mbeki’s own brother Moeletsi does not have much confidence in him. Commenting on South Africa’s mediation process, Moeletsi said in an interview with Sky News Sunday Live:
You are very unlikely to get any meaningful intervention by South Africa or other Southern African countries, because [for] all of them, the trade union inspired political party led by Morgan Tsvangirai is a threat also to them… You know our own government is faced with challenges from the trade unions, so if you are faced with that situation I think the priority for any politician is his own power, his own opportunity to stay in power rather than issues of conscience. So I think in terms of South Africa the issue of how to frustrate the trade unions taking power and challenging the power of the ruling parties is more of a priority than the beating of opposition demonstrators and their leader.
One does not need to go very to confirm this cynicism than Thabo Mbeki’s own ANC news letter column entitled ‘Who are our heroes and heroines’, published last week in defense of his sacking of former deputy health minister, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge. It is Mugabeism par-excellence. Not only is Mbeki drawn to using the royal ‘We’ in reference to himself, as does Mugabe, it is quite clear that everyone else is to blame but him. Mbeki’s culture of denialism has characterized his responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic (part of the fiasco with the former deputy minister of health), the arms deal, the damage done by neoliberal policies, and Zimbabwe.
Relaunch a people’s struggle
I want to argue here that there is a strong case for people to people solidarity. Always in history underdogs have united against different forms of tyranny as witnessed in both anti-colonialism and apartheid struggles. This is the challenge we are faced with as activists, in the world.
The starting point for this is to reclaim the left from a local to a global perspective. We seem to have been lulled into believing there is a multiple choice of whether we want a dictatorship or the neo-liberal agenda. This is how polarized the debate on Zimbabwe is. Speak truth to power. Wage a new struggle truly from a leftist perspective and that means clarity on who our friends and allies are going to be.
By this I mean unity for the sake of unity against Mugabe has not worked, it is not working, let us be honest. There are those who claim to be with us but who are suspect in their quickness to consume the crumbs that fall from the dictators table. In the past
Pan-Africanism and the 21st Century African Revolution:
Emancipation and Epistemological Questions A Wolpe Lecture by Horace G. Campbell 12 July 2007
View Slideshow from the Lecture
Pan Africanism arose as a philosophy to restore the humanity and dignity of the African person and indeed all humans. The concept of dignity and humanity has gone through many iterations from the period of enslavement to the period of colonialism, segregation and Jim Crow, the periods of apartheid and neo-colonialism to the current period of the HIV-AIDS pandemic when corporations have given themselves the right to patent life forms. There are two very basic and simple propositions.
The first is the idea that the African person is respected as a human being. “Dignity in humans involves the earning or the expectation of personal respect or of esteem.” The second proposition is that Africans are human beings who think and have a right to live on the planet earth. In the twenty first century, a human being is one who is defined in biological and spiritual terms and is different from cyborgs and robots (mechanical objects).
African peoples, especially those in the West, are particularly sensitive to the mechanical conceptions of humans from the period of the transatlantic Slave Trade to the present. In the era of clones, cyborgs, robotics, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering the question of what or who is a human and the dignity of the human person has been reopened.
Pan Africanists in the twenty first century continue to confront old questions of the hierarchy of humans that became embedded in the Anglo American thought through the period of the slave trade as well as the new theories dealing with potential transhumans.
The bio-political questions that are arising in this century of revolutionary technologies challenges all of humanity, but more so the African and Indigenous persons who have been threatened with genocidal violence in past periods of ‘scientific’ advancements in capitalist societies. In this century, the conceptual skills along with the creative spirit and cultures of African peoples remain one of the frontline weapons against the attempts of capitalism to dehumanize and to turn certain humans into mere body parts providing needed tissues and organs for the rich. As some scientists eagerly work towards the era of singularity (merging humans with artificial intelligence) the old questions of access to health care for all is now joined with the burning question of saving the planet earth and reversing the global warming that threatens to envelop life as we know it now.
It is the proposition of this presentation that we are living in a revolutionary period where the objective conditions are ripe for serious transformation. The challenge lay in the ideas and organization necessary to mobilize human beings to intervene politically to change the mode of human economic organization. In the absence of a clear ideology and organization the neo-conservatives at the helm of the world economy are pushing humanity deeper into the era of counter revolution. This counter revolution is being driven by ideas of neo-liberalism. However, the challenges of global warming, warfare and destruction expose the reality that the era of counter revolution is sharpening the need for an alternative to the old ideas of revolution.
Hurricanes, floods, and the pollution of the natural environment reinforce institutionalized racism and the social organization of society. New eugenic theories on right breed of humans are trumpeted while the World Trade Organization proclaims notions of intellectual property rights. At the same time a new brand of piracy –labelled biopiracy- is unleashed in order to seize the last genetic materials of the planet. All these forms of oppression and exploitation are legitimized with ideas of liberalization and freedom as the US capitalists jostle to dominate the planet from space. These challenges in the era of new potentialities for breaking the old backbreaking toiling of humans are linked to the old challenges of exploitation, sexism, patriarchy and heterosexism. Genocidal violence, warfare, economic terrorism, obscene fundamentalism and the challenges of the racialized planet have given new significance to the philosophy of Pan Africanism moving the concerns from the era of the Civil Rights movement and unity of states to the question of the emancipation of human beings.
Emancipation and emancipatory ideas have to be redefined at every stage of the Pan African movement in so far as the politics of Pan Africanism has undergone changes over time. It was poignant that at the very moment when Pan Africanists should have been celebrating the victory over apartheid in April 1994, the fastest genocide in history unfolded in Rwanda challenging the basic Pan African creed: ‘that the African in one part of the world is responsible for the condition of his brother and sister in other parts of the world.’ This genocide in Rwanda, violent contestations for power all across the continent (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Chad,) and crimes against humanity in Sudan along with the crude materialism of neo-liberal globalization has awakened new interest in the ideas and philosophies of the revolutionary traditions of the black liberation struggles. From the period of the Haitian Revolution through to the Bolivarian revolution of the 21st century, the Pan African movement has been linked to the ideas and practices of revolutionary thought and practice.
The ideas and philosophies of Pan Africanism are sometimes considered a unitary phenomenon but Africans in various parts of the world reflect and write about Pan Africanism in many different ways. In short, there is no one definition of what constitutes revolutionary Pan Africanism. What is, however, important is for us to grasp the emancipatory traditions within the Pan African movement and those thinkers who have developed a level of theoretical clarification of what it means to be a free human, that is a human being freed from all forms of oppression.
Philosophically a new cadre of intellectuals have been interrogating the philosophy of Pan Africanism and its importance to the working peoples. Most importantly, the progressive men and women of the continent have exposed the neo-colonial leaders at home and abroad. Thus far, in the written versions of African liberation, the centrality of African women have been in the main unrecorded in the dominant discourses on Pan Africanism. In the words of one activist, ‘women did not write books, but wrote history.’ Radical African feminists are not only calling for liberation and revolution but a redefinition of the past in order to prepare for a different future. These Pan African feminists draw inspiration from not simply the struggles of great women, but from the day to day struggles for life itself. It is from these struggles where the new theories of Pan Africanism emanate. In the words of Barbara Christian, ‘people of color have always theorized—but in forms quite different from the Western form of abstract logic.’ Harriet Tubman was one of those ancestors who wrote their theory by their political practice. This was the theory of self organization, self-liberation and self emancipation. In the twenty first century there are new scholars and thinkers who are not shy to retreat from the abstract positivism of ‘the scientific method’ but to link to the spiritual essence of African men and women.
At the end of the 20th Century, Phillipe Wamba’s book on Kinship moved the discussion from the level of politics of movements, governments and great individuals to the question of the lived experiences of Africans at home and abroad. In this way, Philippe Wamba was able to represent Pan Africanism both at the theoretical and intellectual discourses and at the level of struggles of African peoples.
Drawing inspiration from his own transnational family from the USA and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the experiences of young African immigrants such as Amadou Diallo and the struggles against police brutality. Wamba was using an idea of Kinship which goes beyond the traditional biological kinship to a cultural concept of Kinship which echoed from Cheikh Anta Diop’s view of the Cultural Unity of Africa.
Diop’s conception of the cultural unity of Africa provided a profound starting point for the analysis of Pan Africanism in the 21st century. This is for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Diop refused to accept the division s in Africa that has arisen from centuries of invasions. Hence, for Diop the idea of unity does not accept the divisions between sub-Saharan and North Africa.
Secondly, for Diop, the cultural unity of Africa was based on the importance of the historical unity, the psychological and linguistic unity of Africa.
Thirdly, this cultural unity transcended the artificial construction of states and nations that arose as a result of the imperialist partitioning of Africa at the Berlin Conference.
Hence, the goals of Pan Africanism were to be based on a federated state that returned to the principles of matriarchy and the centrality of the woman in the public life of Africa. This centrality was to be addressed through a new and novel form of bicameralism in Africa.
For Diop, African Unity had to be built on the independence and autonomy of African women and his novel form of bicameralism was articulated in his book, Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural basis for a federated State.
Fourthly, and very importantly, Diop did not believe in the Pan Africanism based on racial pigmentation. In his own domestic life he transcended these divisions between blackness and whiteness. Diop had not only laid out the ideas for continental African Unity, but also the ideas for a planetary civilization. In this way, Diop moved the idea of Pan Africanism beyond that of black people to the level of planetary unity of all peoples. Diop was also breaking the binary divisions between Europe and Africa in order to place the debate on Pan Africanism in a wider field.
Imbumba –Yabantsundu kanye nombhedukazwe wabaNtsundu kwiminyaka eyikhulu lamashumi ababili nanye: Inkululeko kanye nemibuzo yesisusa
Ibhalwe u- Horace G. Campbell
Yahunyushwa u-Ntokozo Mthembu
Imbumba –Yabantsundu iqhamuke njeng ‘onjulolwazi ukuze ibuyisele ubuntu kanye nesithunzi kubantu abaNtsundu futhi kulolonke uluntu. Umbono wesithunzi kanye nobuntu usuhambe izigatshana eziningana ukusuka ezikhathini zobugqila ukuya ekwebiweni kwezwe, ubandlululo kanye nemthweshwana efana no –Jim Crow, nezikhathi zobandlulo kanye nokwebiwa kabusha kwezwe ukuya kwisikhathi samanje sengculazi ngenkathi izimboni ezinkulu zizinikele kumalungelelo okugweva nezinto eziphilisayo. Kukhona izindlela ezimbili futhi neziphakamiso ezilula. Owokuqala umbono ukuthi umuntu oNtsundu kumele ahlonishwe njengomuntu.”Inhlonipho kubantu ifaka inzuzo mhlwawumbe nokulindelekile uma uhlonipha noma isithunzi”. Isiphakamiso sesibili ukuthi abantu abaNtsundu bangabantu abazi ukuthi banelungelo lokuphila emhlabeni. Kwiminyaka eyikhulu lamashumi ababili nanye, umuntu ulowo ochazwa ngokwendalo futhi nangokomoya futhi uhlukile konomgogwana noma umshini owakhiwe. Abantu abaNtsundu, ikakhulukazi labo abasemazweni aseNtshona bayazwela ukukwakhiwa konomgogwana kwabantu ngenkathi yobugqila kuwelwa ulwandle kuhwetshwa ngobugqila ukuza kulenkathi. Kwisikhathi lapho kwakhiwa umuntu, onomgogwana, izithonjana, ukwakhiwa kolwazi futhi nokwakhiwa kwembewu umbuzo mayelana nokuthi mhlwawumbe ubani owumuntu futhi nenhlonipho yobuntu isiphinde yavulwa.
Imbumba –Yabantsundu Kwiminyaka eyikhulu lamashumi ababili nanye iqhubeka nokubhekana nemibuzo emdala yezigaba zabantu asebenezimpande kumbuso wamaNgisi namaMelikana efundiswe ngenkathi sohwebo lobugqila nangemibono eqondene nokushintshwa komuntu.
Imibuzo mayelana noshintsho kwembewu-nezombangazwe ivela ngenkathi eyenziwa umbedukazwe kwezobuciko eveza inselelo luwowonke umuntu, kodwa ikakhulukazi kubaNtsundu nabantu bendabuko abasatshiswa udlame olushabalalisayo ngezikhathi ezidlule zokuthuthukisa ko’buchwepheshe’ kumphakathi wogombela kwesabo. Kwinkathi lapho indlela nomoya wokucabanga kanye namasiko abaNtsundu aqhubeka enye indlela eqavile ukulwisana noqombela kwesabo ukululaza futhi ukushintsha abanye abantu ukuba babe nje abantu abandingeka uma kundika izitho ezithile zomzimba yidlanzana ologombela kwesabo. Njengoba abanye ochwepheshe basebenza kanzima ukufinyelela kwisikhathi sobunye (ukuhlanganisa ulwazi lomuntu kanye nelokwakhiwa) umbuzo wakudala wokufinyelela kwizidingo zempilo manje sekuhlanganiswa nombuzo oshisayo wokusindisa umhlaba futhi nokuhlehlisa uksushisa komhlaba okusabisa ngokumboza impilo Njengoba sazi manje.
Kuyisiphakamiso salenkulumo ukuthi siphila ezikhathini sombedukazwe lapho isikhathi soshintsho esifanele. Inselelo isembonweni nasekuzihleleni nokuhlanganisa abantu ukuba bangenelele ngokwezombangazwe kushintshwe indlela yokuhweba. Ekungabini khona kwendlela yolwazi ecacile futhi nenhlangano entsha yokudla-ngoludala emnothweni wezwe kwenza abantu kwisikhathi esiphikisanayo nombhedukazwe. Lempikiswano nombhedukazwe iqhutshwa imibono yenkohliso. Kodwa ke, inselelo yokushisa komhlaba, izimpi nokucekelwa phantsi okuveza ubunjalo besikhathi esiphikisana nombedukazwe sicija isidingo senye indlela kunendlela yemibono emidala yombedukazwe.
Iziphepho, izikhukhula kanye nokungcola kwendalo kugcizelela izakhiwo zobandlululo futhi nokuhlelwa kabusha kumphakathi. Imibono emisha mayelana nohlobo olufanele luyathakaselwa ibe iNhlangano iYomhlaba Yokuhweba imemezela imibono yokuphathwa komhlaba ngasese. Futhi isikhathi sohlobo olusha lokwebiwa okubizwa ukushintshwa kwembewu kudedelwe ukuze kuthathwe imbewu yokugcina esele emhlabeni. Zonke lezizindlela zengcindezelo nokuxhashazwa zivumelekile kwimibono yenkohliso nenkululeko njengoba ogombela kwesabo i-Melika ilwela ukubusa umhlaba nomkhathi. Lezizinselela kwinkathi lapho kukhona ithuba lokuqeda indlela endala ephula iqolo kwabasebenzayo okuxhumene ngendlela emdala yokucwasa ngokobulili, ukubusa kwabesilisa bodwa futhi nongqingili. Udlame lokushabalalisa isizwe, izimpi, udlame lohwebo, izindlela zokuqala ezingaqondakali futhi nezinselelo zomhlaba onobandlululo esezinike ukubaluleka kweMbumba Yabantsundu ihambisa imibono ephuma kwisikhathi sezinhlangano zamalungelo nobumbano kwamazwe kumbuso wenkululeko kwabantu.
Inkululeko kanye nemibono ekhululayo kumele kucatshwe kabusha kuzozonke izigaba zenhlangano Yembumba Yabantsundu umasekufikwa kwezombangazwe weWobumbano Lwabantsundu njenguka ishintshile kwisikhathi ezidlule. Kwababuhlungu ngezikhathi kumele kugujwe ukunqoma kobandlululo lwabamhlophe ngo April 1994, kodwa sibona ukubhujiswa eRwanda lokho kwafaka inselelo kwizimpande zenkolelo ekuzibophezeleni kwiMbumba Yabantsundu: ‘lokho kusho ukuthi umuntu oNtsundu kuleyondawo akuyo emhlabeni ubophelekile kwizimo zokuphila kwabafowabo nodadewabo abakwenye indawo yomhlaba.’ Lolushatshalaliso eRwanda, udlame lokulwelwa Amandla ombuso kulolonke izwekazi (e Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Chad,) kanye nobugebengu obuqondene nobuntu e-Sudan okuhambisana nokuzibonakalisa kwenkohliso entsha yomhlaba esivuse izinhloso ezintsha kwimibono futhi nakunjulolwazi lombhedukazwe ngokwamasiko omzabalazo wenkululeleko. Kusukela ngenkathi yombhedukazwe e-Haiti ukuya kumbhedukazwe wase-Bolivia Kwiminyaka eyikhulu lamashumi ababili nanye, inhlangano Yembumba YabaNtsundu selokhu yaxhumana nemibono kanye nezindlela zombhedukazwe.
Imibono kanye nenjulolwazi Ngembumba YobuNtsundu ngezinye isikhathi ibukeleka njengenezindlela zokuhlanganyela kodwa abaNtsundu kwizindawo ezahlukene emhlabeni zikhombisa futhi zibhala ngeMbumba YabaNtsundu ngendlela eziningi ezahlukene. Kafushane, akukho neyodwa ingcazo ngokwenza umbhedukazwe weMbumba yobuNtsundu. Kodwa ke, into ebalulekile kithina ukubambelela kumasu ombhedukazwe wenkululeko ngaphakathi kwinhlangano Yobunye yabaNtsundu futhi nakulabosolwazi abathuthukise izigaba sokucacisa izindlela ezichaza ukuthi kusho ukuthini umuntu okhululekile, lowo umuntu okhululiweyo kulolonke uhlobo lwengcindezelo.
Umasijula amajoni amasha osolwazi adingida injulolwazi ngeMbumba yabaNtsundu futhi nokubaluleka kwabantu abasebenzayo. Okubaluleke kakhulu, amadoda nomame abanekusasa lezwekazi abakwazile ukuveza abaholi benkohliso ekhaya nangaphesheya. Kuzekube manje, emibhalweni eyahlukene yemizabalazo yenkululeko, ukuzibandakanya komame abaNtsundu iyona into engaqoshiwe kulenkathi yemibono ngeMbumba ngobuNtsundu. Ngamazwi elinye ishoshozela ‘omame abazibhalanga izincwadi, kodwa babhale umlando.’ Izivuthevuthe zomzabalazo womame zabaNtsundu azifuni nje Inkululeko nombhedukazwe kepha ukuchazwa kabusha kwisikhathi esedlule ukuze kulungiselwe ikusasa elahlukile. Lezizivuthevuthe zomame azitholi nje amandla emizabalazweni yamaqhawe omame, kodwa emizabalazweni yansuku zonke nakuyona impilo uqobo. Kuleyomizabalazo lapho indlela yokucabanga kabusha Yembumba yobuNtsundu eqhamuka khona. Ngamazwi ka- Barbara
Christian, ‘abantu abaNtsundu bahlale bejulile ngemicabango kepha ngendlela ehlukile kunendlela yaseNtshonalanga ngendlela ebukeka ngayo. U- Harriet
Tubman ungomunye wokhokho ababhala eyabo imicabango ngokuzibandakanya nomzabalazo. Lowo mcabango owokuzihlanganisa, ukuzikhulula futhi nokuziqaqa. Kwiminyaka eyikhulu lamashumi ababili nanye kukhona izifundiswa ezintsha nosolwazi abasha abangasabi ukuhlehla kuhlelo ekuhanjiswana ‘indlela yokucabanga’ kodwa baxhumana ngokomoya wobudoda kanye nobumame bokubaNtsundu.
Ekupheleni kweminyaka eyikhulu lamashumi ababili, incwadi ka- Phillipe Wamba emayelana *Nobudlelwano* ihambisa ingxoxo Kusukela kwizigaba zombangazwe wezinhlangano, ohulumeni kanye nabantu abakhulu mayelana nombuzo *wolwazi oluphilile* lwabaNtsundu ekhaya naphesheya. Ngalendlela, Philippe Wamba wakwazi ukemela iMbumba yobuNtsundu kokubili ngokujula futhi nangendlela enobuhlakani futhi esigabeni somzabalazo wabantu abaNtsundu. Ethola amandla kumndeni wakhe osemazweni e-Melika nase-Democratic Republic of the Congo, naselwazini lwabasebenzi abasebasha abasuka kude abanjengo Amadou Diallo futhi namzabalazweni wokulwisana nenkohlakalo yamaphoyisa, uWamba wasebenzisa ulwazi *ngobudlwelwano* obuhamba budlule indlela yokuzalana ngokomndeni ukuya esikweni Lobudlelwano elisuka kumbono ka- Cheikh Anta Diop woKubumbana ngamasiko abaNtsundu.
Ukusungula kobumbano lwamasiko abaNtsundu kunikeza isiqalo esihle ukucwaninga ngeMbumba YobuNtsundu Kuleminyaka eyikhulu lamashumi ababili nanye. Lokhu kungezizathu eziningi.
Okokuqala, uDiop uyanqaba ukwamukela ukuhlukaniswa kweAfrika okwaqhamuka kumakhulu eminyaka yokuhlaselwa. Njengoba, ngokukaDiop umbono wobumbano awukwamukeli ukuhlukaniswa phakathi ko-Gwadule olungephi kanye Namanhla neAfrika.
Okwesibili, ngokuka Diop, ubumbano lwamasiko lulele ekubalulekeni komlando wobumbano, ngomqondo futhi nagolwimi lobumbano lweAfrika,
Okwesithathu, usiko lobumbano ludlula amazwe okwakhiwa futhi nazwe avele njengeziphuma zokwebiwa kwezwe behlukanisa iAfrika ngokwe Ngqungquthela yase Berlin.
Njengoba, izinjongo zeMbumba YobuNtsundu yayizoba ekucazweni kwezwe lokho okubuyela kwimigomo yobumame futhi ibuyisele endaweni yalo iqhaza lomame kwimpilo yaseAfrika.
Ngoku kaDiop, Ubumbano lwabaNtsundu kumele lwakhiwe enkululekweni futhi nokuzimela komame baseAfrika futhi nendlela yokuzibandakanya ichazwe encwadini yakhe, Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural basis for a federal State.
Okwesine, futhi okubalulekile, uDiop akuzange akholelwe kwiMbumba YobuNtsundu engaxhomekekanga ngokwebala lesikhumba. Ngokwempilo yakhe yasekhaya izidlulile izindlela zokuhlukaniswa ngobumnaya futhi nangobumhlophe. UDiop akabekanga nje imibono yobumbano yezwekazi, kepha futhi intuthuko yomhlaba wonke. Ngalendlela, uDiop wahamba nendlela yobumbano ukudlula ayabantu abamnyama ukufikelela ekubumbaneni kwabantu umhlaba wonke. UDiop futhi waqeda ukuhlukaniswa kabili phakathi kweEurope kanye Afrika ukuze izizingxioxo zobumbano ngobuNtsundu kufinyelele ezindaweni ezikude.
Review of Harold Wolpe Lecture: Pan-Africanism and the 21st Century Revolution delivered by Professor Horace Campbell 12 July 2007
View Slideshow from the Lecture
Reviewed by Segun Ige, UKZN
I approach this review with a bit of trepidation. First, the intersection of Pan-Africanism and revolution is somewhat new to me and secondly, I had just been introduced to the lecturer the preceding day. From all indication, Horace Campbell is a distinguished Professor of African Studies and well travelled in Africa. I shall speak to the lecture, the audience and the lecturer from a third party perspective and hope that at the end, I would have done reasonable justice to the review.
You enter Howard College Theatre that is already packed out with different kinds of people, from a year old to an elderly ‘gogo’; in high expectation of what was to come, then you hear in a high pitch voice: ‘What is the 21st century?’. . .and a series of other questions that crave definitive answers. One would expect this kind of question to be answered in retrospect as it is the norm. The seriousness with which Campbell wants his audience to approach the 21st century requires foresight and vision which can only be crystallised through probing reflection. In his attempt to answer the question, he differentiated between liberation and revolution and foreground his lecture on definitive intensification and resolve, that the retention of the word ‘revolution’ or ‘revolutionary values’ is apt for the African fight for perpetual freedom.
In his review of existing literature, and an attempt to provide a framework for his lecture, he discussed extensively works of critical revolutionary thinkers like Frantz Fanon and Walter Rodney. He also discusses at great length different revolutionary movements and revolutions that have occurred at different historical moments. For Campbell, these revolutions are underscored by certain ideals which are currently being interrogated. For Campbell, the concept of ubuntu—in its raw and unadulterated African conception— best encapsulates what he termed a philosophical proposition: ‘Africans are human beings’. This premise, a similitude of definitional fallacy, reiterates not only the equality of all persons including Africans, but also a challenge to Africans to ensure that they maintain their position in the 21st century. He argues, there basically needs to be a restoration of African values of oneness, love, sharing and hospitality.
In his discussion of positivism and Pan-Africanism Campbell seeks and/or has observed a gradual departure from what he termed ‘Great Men Syndrome’. According to him, previous revolutions have always surrounded great men coupled with a number of rituals like congresses and conferences. These so-called great men have later compromised the movement through commodification and inappropriate alliances when they attained positions of power. Freedom for him has become a commodity at the expense of welfare of the people that they should normally serve. Then comes the question: How do we begin to theorise revolution beyond positivism? This aspect becomes rather problematic or raises further questions. While a clear shift from great men syndrome is ideal, revolutions and movements have always been historically configured as something that must be associated with great men (cf Cassirer, Kristeller and Randall 1948: 1). Cassirer, Kristeller and Randall believe that movement would only attract interest and perhaps, attract reasonable attention from later generations if some great men and thinkers are produced during these revolutions. In the course of time the great men somewhat lose their identity as individuals and become historical artefacts and monuments of the revolution.
Campbell’s discourse on fractals is particularly interesting. First he draws the connection between African philosophical thinking and nature, and establishes its timelessness and ubiquity. In its practical application in some places, the conceptual extracts from fractal have helped in grass-root mobilisation, e. g. Zapatista in Mexico. Considering the human nature, Campbell’s concept of ‘human being’ can only be sustained in the human condition through discipline and strict maintenance of values that originally underpin the revolution. Civilisation sometimes makes certain noble values obsolete.
On values, Campbell seeks to promote Harriet Tubman principles, namely, self orgainsation, belief in freedom, spiritual depth, rights of woman, courage in the face of military, racial and class oppression, the promotion of the safety of self and others, and the establishment of peace and freedom through networks. Campbell’s pro-African feminist stance almost beclouded his intention to advocate for the ‘humanisation’ of the African male species. In some countries, the society’s drive to support feminist agenda has disadvantaged some men which has led to the establishment of an organisation like Memucan Men’s Institute, that seeks to promote the interest of men in society. This Campbell would refer to as counter-revolutionary.
Campbell’s message is clear, there is need for Africans to work towards the recovery of the dignity of Africans. In doing so, his constant appeal to revolution, and his reinvigoration of revolutionary values may have caused some misunderstanding for some people, especially when he made anaphoraic statement starting with the word ‘resist’, while for the sake of time, he would not have the chance to actually recommend in clear term his modes of resistance. The material is overwhelming and clearly, Campbell did not get through all the 62 slides that he has painstakingly prepared. Without the aid of slides, it was clear that Campbell possesses great competence in the chosen subject area. For the ‘gogo’ in the audience, she may only have picked what Campbell was trying to say through the translation which I assume was competently handled by Mr Mthembu.
The lecture was quite insightful and thought provoking. For me, it is an eye opener to an aspect of Pan-Africanism that one may have taken for granted, even though, according to him is already happening. Campbell’s revolution is not so much of violence or force, but the embracing of certain values that re-orientates our entire society towards sustainable development, growth and prosperity for all.
Cassirer, E, Kristeller, P. O. and Randall, J. R. (1948) The Renaissance Philosophy of Man. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago.
|| Tribute to Harold Wolpe plus links to selected seminar programmes