Saturday Star - - OPINION -

I WISH to re­spond to the let­ter by the the ICHAF Train­ing In­sti­tute chief ex­ec­u­tive, and I want to start a dis­cus­sion on the other side of the coin by quot­ing a case-study.

The med­i­cal fac­ulty of a univer­sity had a pol­icy for the ad­mis­sion of first-year med­i­cal stu­dents: 10% may be white (In this in­stance, “white” in­cluded coloured and In­dian) while 90% has to be black. A white scholar had a ma­tric pass fig­ure of 89% and his ap­pli­ca­tion was not suc­cess­ful. The av­er­age pass rate of the “white” group was 91%, while black pupils were al­lowed with pass rates of 50%.

The sce­nario con­forms to the def­i­ni­tion of “racism”, but this po­si­tion has been de­fined in our con­sti­tu­tion as not be­ing racist and is seen to fall un­der the um­brella of af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion, a pro­gramme to rec­tify the im­bal­ances of the past.

The young white per­son ar­rived as a born-free, but if you find that he and his par­ents do not have warm feel­ings to­wards the new dis­pen­sa­tion, then one must surely un­der­stand where the neg­a­tiv­ity comes from and should not la­bel them as “white racists”.

You will find other in­stances where racial quo­tas are ap­plied, where skilled per­sons are over­looked due to their race, where, es­pe­cially in the tech­ni­cal fields, a can­di­date from a des­ig­nated group may be of­fered a salary of up to three times more than his white coun­ter­parts, this in an ef­fort to em­ploy such a per­son and move on­ward in the achieve­ment of tar­geted quo­tas.

Oliver Tambo dreamt of a “colour blind” South Africa where the race of a per­son was ir­rel­e­vant. Tambo, re­gret­tably, took this dream to his grave, but may we yet see his dream come to fruition.


WITH Judge Ra­mon Leon’s death, the ques­tion should be asked whether apartheid judges re­alised that cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, which they lav­ishly ap­plied, would one day be re­vealed as racist, in­hu­man and a vi­o­la­tion of the right to life.

One spends one’s whole life build­ing one’s legacy, but if that legacy in­cludes the tak­ing of lives, what re­mains of it for one’s loved ones, one’s coun­try and the world to cel­e­brate?

Leon and many apartheid judges were known as “hang­ing judges” by the large num­bers they sent to the gal­lows. He is re­mem­bered for send­ing ANC cadre An­drew Zondo to the gal­lows. How­ever, Judge John Did­cott never sen­tenced a sin­gle per­son to death as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple and moral­ity. He was one of the 11 jus­tices of our Con­sti­tu­tional Court who abol­ished cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in 1995.

Now that most coun­tries have abol­ished it, what will their loved ones and peo­ple who call for its re-im­po­si­tion, say to jus­tify their be­lief and their ac­tions? Did they “fol­low or­ders”, like the Nazis said when try­ing to ex­on­er­ate them­selves?

What re­mains is for the loved ones of all th­ese piti­ful civil ser­vants and those who want ju­di­cial killing to con­tinue, to pro­mote our heal­ing process by aton­ing and seek­ing for­give­ness from those they harmed and con­tinue to harm.


THE CHANGES at the SABC are mo­ti­vated by po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions and an anti-african bias.

Why was Sak­ina Kamwendo re­moved from a re­ward­ing three hours cur­rent af­fairs ra­dio show and the Me­dia Mon­i­tor show? She was re­placed by an in­com­pe­tent white male, Stephen Grootes.

She was re­moved be­cause she is one of a few, if not the only, ob­jec­tive pre­sen­ter. The last straw on the camel’s back was when she showed Robert Sobukwe’s pic­ture on Me­dia Mon­i­tor and asked if the PAC was jus­ti­fied to ques­tion the re­nam­ing of Sharpeville Day to Hu­man Rights Day. It was the first time we saw Sobukwe’s pic­ture on SABC tele­vi­sion. She did ra­dio shows on Sobukwe, Zepha­nia Mothopeng and Jafta Masemola, some­thing un­heard of.

She crossed swords with the com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter and party hack Nomvula Mokonyane sev­eral times dur­ing in­ter­views on cor­rup­tion in her for­mer min­istry.

The SABC hasn’t ex­plained why it re­moved Kamwendo half­way through the last hour of her last morn­ing show. Why were Elvis Presslin,tsepiso Mak­wetla, Richard Nwamba and Mandla Shongwe re­moved? Unions are also not happy be­cause they were not con­sulted about th­ese changes and the fir­ing of about 30 em­ploy­ees.

Need the SABC ap­pa­ratchiks be re­minded that they are a pub­lic broad­caster?

Sam Dit­shego

SHUT UP and lis­ten to tre­ble clefs in the air, tur­bines tilt­ing off their axis. To branches sway­ing and blades of leaves danc­ing in the wind.

It could be a se­ri­ous mat­ter that has to do with the lives of poor peo­ple. Slaves to min­i­mum wage.

So when tre­ble clefs were float­ing and tur­bines swirling amid Par­lia­ment’s air con­di­tion­ing, it was only fair that tem­pers flared.

We for­get the con­tor­tion of our moth­ers’ spines some­times.

How they bend to fend for us with R20 per hour.

The magic they con­jure up to feed us, clothe us and send us to school.

We for­get some­times that our fa­thers died in Marikana, where they stood on the op­pos­ing side of that R20.

How our moth­ers live on their knees, pray­ing to clocks for a few ex­tra hours in a day.

So, when the el­ders di­a­logue with time masters; shut up, you Steen­huisen, and lis­ten.

When the Liv­ing Con­di­tions of House­holds in South Africa sur­vey still says whites earn five times more than blacks, shut up and lis­ten.

Our bod­ies are mosques, they are churches.

Our be­ing is a pil­grim­age, an ex­o­dus. We are try­ing to free our­selves. Th­ese bod­ies are gar­dens. You just stop to smell the roses. We live in the dirt.

Shut up and lis­ten to the crash­ing crescendo of rain­drops when they col­lide be­fore hit­ting the ground. Do you un­der­stand that sound? Do you hear how it speaks of a white lady at a cor­po­rate ask­ing the tea lady, our mother with a cracked spine, why she is wet? Even when it is rain­ing out­side.

Do you hear how the white lady walked into her garage from her sit­ting room into her car?

Re­motely opened the garage door and gate?

How she drove out without in­ter­act­ing with a sin­gle drop and parked in the base­ment of the build­ing they both work in. Only to take the el­e­va­tor up?

Do you un­der­stand what the crescendo means?

Do you un­der­stand how our mother stood up from her knees tired of unan­swered prayers. Clicked back her ver­te­brae, walked to catch a taxi to town dodg­ing rain­drops un­der a tee­ter­ing um­brella she bought from a Pak­istani shop two days ago.

Look at her shabby cloth­ing. Wet­ter than a dog’s nose.

Only her face is dry since her hand dou­bles as a wiper. At least that one works.

The same can’t be said about the taxi she is in.

The sun is still slum­ber­ing at the depth of the hori­zon. It has not con­jured up en­ergy to be­gin ris­ing.

It is still many hours be­fore cocks imag­ine they would crow this morn­ing.

There is no time for mourn­ing over the lit­tle things that die in­side of her.

She has to catch an­other taxi. Every day when she takes that sec­ond walk down Kruis, right into Smal and then Von Wiel­ligh Street, straight into No­ord.

There she stands in a queue of trav­el­ling men and women who are al­most ready to be driven to the brink of their mad­ness some­where in the North.

Where tele­phones are loud, and cor­po­rate lad­ders are wob­bly be­cause that ground is not firm.

Mother with a bro­ken spine, how dare this lady ask you why you are wet? When you ex­plain this to her and she in­ter­rupts, tell her to shut up and lis­ten! This poem was co-writ­ten by Mag­num Opus. Rab­bie Wrote is one of three found­ing and cur­rent mem­bers in the en­sem­ble of award-win­ning po­ets in­clud­ing Thobani Mn­tambo and Sibusiso Nde­bele. rab­bie.seru­

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