Thursday, February 12, 2009

Will the 11th of February mark authentic change? -by Seth Naicker

The 11th of February 1990, marked the wondrous day Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was released from prison. South Africa and the world rejoiced at the site of seeing President Mandela free after 27years of imprisonment, free to grace his fellow comrades, nation and global society with what commonly became recognized as “Madiba Magic”. President Mandela had an aura about him that spoke of promise and convinced one of a bright future and hope for the South African nation.
On Wednesday, the 11th of February, 2009 Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe. One must question if this 11th of February, 2009 in Zimbabwe is to be considered as promising as the 11th of February 1990.
Morgan Tsvangirai is considered to be a champion of the people, and has propelled the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in a manner that has remained true to the cry of the oppressed and disenfranchised people of Zimbabwe. But as I reflect on this moment I am skeptic of the way in which change has presented itself. I believe that a peaceful and diplomatic path has been chosen to appeal to the plight of the people, who have and continue to face dire circumstances. It must be considered that Robert Mugabe’s actions are self serving, and one should wonder as to the authenticity of this shared power scenario.
People of Zimbabwe have faced human rights abuses and atrocities that would make one shudder. The militant acts of Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) under the leadership of Robert Mugabe and his cronies, as it relates to people being tortured and stripped of their every human dignity, must not be forgotten. It is my hope that Robert Mugabe will come face to face with his consciousness, where one who was once hailed freedom fighter and liberator of people, some where along his journey lost sight of his call to serve, protect and lead with integrity, and turned into a devious and deadly dictator.
President of South Africa Kgaleme Motlanthe, has pointed out that this result of shared power serves to vindicate and prove that the path South African leadership chose in dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis, was the right path. I dare to differ, for in my understanding South African leadership chose a silent diplomacy, standing back without pressurizing Robert Mugabe, or holding him to account for the human rights abuses, which have transpired thus far. The sharing of power as has been initiated by the installation of Morgan Tsvangirai, is at the very least a step in the right direction, but I believe that our South African government and leadership could have, and should have played a much more directive role in ensuring that Robert Mugabe felt the heat and the ridicule for his vile and villainous ways.
It seems that Robert Mugabe will never come to trial or have to account for his actions of dehumanizing his own people. It is my prayer that Morgan Tsvangirai will be able to do the work of bringing economic stability, and security to Zimbabwe, in the midst of having to deal with a global community and global leadership who by and large are critical and distrust the current shared power scenario. There have been reports by MDC comrades, stating their dissatisfaction at the sharing of power, and some who believe that this is all a charade. Ultimately for many, Robert Mugabe must relinquish his power, stand down and stand trial, for true justice, freedom and democracy to be realized.
It is my hope and prayer that the 11th of February, 2009 for Zimbabwe will truly yield a future where people will testify of the beginning of a new day of justice, hope and positive change. May we continue to uphold in our prayer, thoughts and actions the plight of the Zimbabwean people.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Freedom's Lament -by Seth Naicker

Freedom is on my mind. In the case of South Africa political freedom was achieved almost 15 years ago, a freedom from the heresy of Apartheid. A decade and half has come and gone and for many South Africans “freedom” is still a hope and dream for tomorrow. For while political freedom we as a South African nation can claim, economic freedom is still a dream to gain.

South Africa together with the world on the 27th of April 1994, witnessed a democratic vote that brought the installation of a people’s government and the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. The African National Congress as the ruling political party together with a government of national unity was contracted by the people of South Africa to deliver a future of equality and freedom for all people of our land.

Today 15 years later, many people in South Africa are restless and discouraged by the workings of a political system within a post Apartheid era that has not delivered the people’s contract. The African National Congress, the party I call my political home, has taken enormous critique for promising a freedom 15 years ago, which has only materialized in middle to upper class silos. For it is in the terminology of Howard Thurman, “the people with their backs against the wall”, who have bore the burdens of unrealized promises.

Like the U.S.A, South Africa -has been there- seen it- and got the t-shirt- of seeing the first person Black President of the land. In reflection of South Africa’s journey, pursuit of authentic change must go beyond the window dressing of race or ethnicity, not to disregard the social construct and reality, and importance of such symbolic moments, but to press on to the core ideals of systems that must change for a more perfected freedom to be engaged.

Freedom’s lament!!!!!!!!

A lyrical line “Freedom is coming tomorrow” fills my minds arena
from a song on the soundtrack of a movie called Sarafina
Depicting a freedom that would come to the people
of South Africa, but tomorrow!

Freedom will come tomorrow
Freedom from the sorrow
The sorrow of living in the margins
A painful, petrifying, pressurized
Purposeless and subhuman existence

The tomorrow for South Africa came
Not in the expected tomorrow time frame
But 48 years of a system of Apartheid had to be endured
Until the Mother of all tomorrow’s came to be secured!

It came not once or twice, but thrice in my account!!
Nelson Mandela’s release in February 11th 1990, once!
First democratic election April 27th 1994, twice!
The Inauguration of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela May 10th 1994, thrice!
Because Freedom: you are once, twice , three times a lady!!!!
And I always love you!!!!!!

Freedom though has some how only been realized
as a romanticized figment of one’s imagination
For the Freedom that tomorrow brought in the South African situation
not once or twice, but thrice was found to be flawed!
As a Freedom that came in the morrow
Which stopped short of economic freedom
Only to promise the relief from political sorrow

Now from South Africa to the rest of the world
What is freedom from the sorrow?
The sorrow of injustice, oppression, and prejudice
Concerning religion race/ethnicity,
class, gender/sexual oriented plurality
What is freedom from the sorrow?
When I can say that I am free
Only to beg-steal or borrow

Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is coming tomorrow
Not a freedom of hypocrisy
Not at all!
It is a freedom that is driven by those
who know the pain of living with their back against the wall
those who have a mind and an understanding of solidarity to call
Call for justice and equality
Call for Freedom and a respect of all
Creation and people’s humanity

Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom
Is coming tomorrow
It is all of our work to work for Freedom
In its complexity
Working for Freedom in the morrow
That will be political, economic
And utterly and totally holistic!