Mu­gabe rocks, Zuma flops.

Zim­bab­wean pres­i­dent has the crowd eat­ing out of his hand at the Uni­ver­sity of Fort Hare cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions

CityPress - - News - NTOMBI­ZODWA MAKHOBA ntombi­zodwa@city­ LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­

They have worked hard to come this far, but only one per­son is go­ing to be crowned as The Voice SA’s win­ner tonight.

One of the favourites to win is Zoë Modiga. The full-time mu­si­cian, who hails from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, says that she is ex­cited as well as ner­vous, be­cause com­pe­ti­tion is strong.

“Ev­ery­one is tal­ented and, to be hon­est, I am ul­ti­mately com­pet­ing with my­self,” says the woman who was com­pared with mu­sic icons Lebo Mathosa and Brenda Fassie on last week’s show.

Mathosa is one of her role mod­els. “She left a beau­ti­ful mark on the mu­sic in­dus­try. We will never for­get her,” she says.

“If I win tonight, it will be the be­gin­ning of a new era for my mu­sic. The Voice SA has given me a great plat­form and ex­po­sure. I have learnt so much from the show and to get this far means a lot to me.”

Kahn Mor­bee, one of The Voice’s coaches, last week asked Modiga to col­lab­o­rate with him on his new al­bum. She says it felt amaz­ing for him to ask her on live TV.

“Kahn is an amaz­ing song­writer. I have looked up to him for years and learnt so much from him mu­si­cally.

“I am glad that he said it on live TV, so I have many wit­nesses. It is not go­ing to be easy for him to change his mind.”

The top eight con­tes­tants who are up against each other for a R200 000 cash prize in­clude Them­beka Mn­guni, Richard Stirton, Cle­mour Ngob­eni, Jeremy Olivier, Al­mur Marais, Gavin Ed­wards and Ver­non Barnard.

The win­ner will also re­ceive a R500 000 Fiat 500, Sam­sung gad­gets worth R60 695 and cloth­ing worth R100 000.

Tonight’s show will be simul­cast on M-Net chan­nel 101 and M-Net City chan­nel 115, which is on the DStv Com­pact bou­quet.

M-Net City view­ers will also have an op­por­tu­nity to cast their vote.

As Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s speech scram­bled for a wow mo­ment, his Zim­bab­wean coun­ter­part, Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe, cap­ti­vated the au­di­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Fort Hare cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions on Fri­day with at­ten­tion-grab­ber quotes that he has stayed on as pres­i­dent to pre­vent the West­ern-en­gi­neered regime change in his coun­try.

The el­derly states­man, who stud­ied at Fort Hare in the 1950s, re­ceived a warm wel­come at his for­mer uni­ver­sity, which he cred­ited with hav­ing shaped his African iden­tity and ed­u­cat­ing some of Africa’s great lead­ers.

He poked fun at West­ern pow­ers, ac­cus­ing them of at­tempt­ing to ef­fect regime change in African states to serve their colo­nial in­ter­ests. With the au­di­ence in­side the venue eat­ing out of his hand, Mu­gabe said coun­tries such as the US, UK and France al­ways wanted to in­ter­fere.

“Amer­ica has been open about it. They said they can change regimes. And in Zim­babwe they said we will have a regime change. I said never, ever! And that is one of the rea­sons I have stuck on,” he said.

Mu­gabe said that since his days at Fort Hare dur­ing the colo­nial years, Africans have had to con­sis­tently prove that they had the same men­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties as other races. “The uni­ver­sity played a crit­i­cal role in shap­ing the po­lit­i­cal con­scious­ness of young Africans such as the late Oliver Tambo, [for­mer pres­i­dent] Nelson Man­dela, Duma Nokwe and others. They fought tire­lessly for the lib­er­a­tion of this coun­try and Man­dela sac­ri­ficed 27 years in jail at Robben Is­land,” Mu­gabe said.

He added that Man­dela did not re­gret stay­ing in pri­son all those years, but said free­dom and equal­ity must be for all. “That is what must be recog­nised. Equal­ity for all must not just be po­lit­i­cal, it must also be eco­nomic equal­ity,” he said to loud cheers, adding that the uni­ver­sity had been a breed­ing ground of ex­cel­lence.

How­ever, many of the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of stu­dents were out­side the venue, dar­ing the au­thor­i­ties by block­ing the main cam­pus gate in Alice and burn­ing mat­tresses, trees and tyres in de­fi­ance of an ur­gent court in­ter­dict that the uni­ver­sity sought at the Bhisho High Court on Thurs­day to pre­vent protests and dis­rup­tions.

This forced po­lice to usher dig­ni­taries and guests through an al­ter­na­tive en­trance at the back. Stu­dents were de­mand­ing an in­crease of the fi­nan­cial aid pack­age for poor stu­dents’ fees and meals. They also con­demned the money spent on the cen­te­nary, say­ing most of them went to sleep hun­gry.

Plod­ding through his poorly scripted speech, Zuma lam­basted the grow­ing pat­tern of de­stroy­ing prop­erty in the coun­try and in Fort Hare dur­ing protests, draw­ing re­luc­tant ap­plause from the fa­tigued au­di­ence.

“Stu­dents must re­flect and think deeply about whose in­ter­ests they are serv­ing when they go all out to de­stroy their fu­ture and the fu­ture of their coun­try. Burn­ing schools, li­braries and uni­ver­sity build­ings means burn­ing the fu­ture. His­tory will judge those who burn uni­ver­sity build­ings and schools very harshly.”

Zuma said claims that peo­ple re­sorted to vi­o­lent protest be­cause this was the lan­guage gov­ern­ment un­der­stood were mis­taken and that such a view did not take the coun­try for­ward. His re­marks also tar­geted the un­prece­dented torch­ing of 25 schools in Vuwani, Lim­popo, dur­ing vi­o­lent protests over the de­mar­ca­tion of mu­nic­i­pal bor­ders.

“There can be no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of vi­o­lence and an­ar­chy, es­pe­cially in a coun­try where peo­ple have free­dom of speech and ex­pres­sion, and where gov­ern­ment has for­mal pro­grammes of en­gag­ing the peo­ple. We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity as lead­ers to en­sure that our hard-won free­dom and democ­racy are de­fended and pro­tected from those with sin­is­ter agen­das, who wish to sow may­hem and un­der­mine our hard-won free­dom and democ­racy,” Zuma said.

Ac­cord­ing to Bu­lali Rawana, Stu­dents’ Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil pres­i­dent at Fort Hare, at least 14 stu­dents were ar­rested for the vi­o­lence on Wed­nes­day night and briefly ap­peared at the Alice Mag­is­trates’ Court on Thurs­day morn­ing. The stu­dents, three of whom were fe­male, were charged with theft, pub­lic vi­o­lence and ma­li­cious dam­age to prop­erty. They were de­nied bail and will ap­pear in court again on May 27.

Other dig­ni­taries at the event in­cluded African Union Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, sev­eral Cab­i­net min­is­ters, East­ern Cape Premier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle, par­lia­men­tary Speaker Baleka Mbethe, as well as Fort Hare vicechan­cel­lor Dr Mvuyo Tom and alum­nus Makhenkesi Stofile.


COM­RADES ‘WE GO TO SLEEP HUN­GRY’ Uni­ver­sity of Fort Hare stu­dents stage a protest over poor stu­dents’ fees and meal ex­penses


SCREEN SHOT The SABC used this im­age of a Mina Evans de­sign to pro­mote the show


Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and Zim­babwe Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe at­tend the Uni­ver­sity of Fort Hare cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions in Alice this week

HOPE­FUL Zoë Modiga

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