But Zuma is accountable to SA for his actions, culture or not
THAT WEIRD director-general at the Department of Labour – Jimmy Manyi – recently had a curious exchange with the probing Chris Barron in the Sunday Times. Manyi – who doubles up, don’t ask me how, as president of the Black Management Forum – told Barron matters concerning the sexual behaviour of the President of the country are not for public discussion. Here’s an extract from their exchange:
Barron: “Do you think the President is showing respect and dignity for his office?”
Manyi: “Of course he is. There’s no doubt about that.”
Barron: “His adultery; the children he’s fathered out of wedlock.”
Manyi: “You see, it’s those kinds of things that I, as an African, can’t discuss. The President is my elder and matters like that in my culture I’m not able to discuss.”
Give us a break, Manyi. Surely cultures evolve rather than being mired in ancient mores unsuited to modern standards? You can understand a Zulu warrior not desirous of questioning the sexual habits of Shaka or Dingaan or Cetshwayo knowing full well that the consequences could well include a painful death, aside from the ruin of your surviving family.
That’s not to pass arbitrary judgment on such practices. It’s illogical to criticise ancient customs against modern conditions. Throughout history man’s inhumanity to his fellow man has been graphically recorded.
Do we wish to return to the days of the Inquisition or the pogroms when decent folks were tortured and killed for their beliefs, with such atrocities based on long-standing cultural norms?
Another example is the battle against female genital mutilation, an age-old cultural practice in various parts of Africa and the Middle East. Just because something has deep cultural roots doesn’t automatically render it desirable. Consider those wretched young boys who die in agony following botched traditional circumcisions. You appreciate there are deep cultural roots involved here but is it not rational then, as we develop, we resort to modern, antiseptic and safe means of pursuing ancient and often quite constructive cultural norms?
Manyi wishes for South Africa’s media to adopt and respect his cultural beliefs by treating the President of our democracy with kid gloves. He disingenuously seeks to confuse the person of Jacob Zuma President with the office of the presidency.
But it was not the office of the presidency that was taken to court on a rape charge after unprotected sex with a female family friend young enough to be his daughter. And it was not the office of the presidency which, again, indulged in unprotected sex with the daughter of another family friend, resulting in the birth of an illegitimate child.
It was, further, not the office of the presidency that was up on corruption charges and which fought those by engaging in long, drawn-out court battles aimed solely at suppressing evidence. It’s ironic the same President now criticises the media for seeking relief, via the same courts, from State strictures.
No, it was the man himself who did all that, and in an open, modern and free democracy he’s accountable to the people for his actions and his behaviour should be an example to all.
Returning to Manyi’s Black Management Forum, it seems to me we disappearing whites should be entitled to something similar. Thus I’m launching the White Management Forum (WMF). Entry is free but restricted to those who qualify in terms of POM – which stands for Previously Oppressed Minorities.
It’s important that the WMF be seen to be independent, so it can’t be headed by a public servant. Anyway, they should be too busy serving the taxpayers to take on added and onerous responsibilities.