Dashiki Dialogues: No better platform to voice discontent

2013-12-17 10:00

I’m of the view that Nelson ­Mandela would have approved of people booing President Jacob Zuma at his memorial service on Tuesday.

You may be one of those who ran atop their moral high horse after that rainy day at FNB Stadium.

Like a Facebook friend, who wrote: “If people have issues, FNB is not a boxing ring or the place to settle political scores.” Or the one who complained: “Tata’s memorial service has become about Obama and the booing of Zuma. What a joke SA, well done on disgracing us.”

Calling for observance of ­decorum when there are guests in our midst is all good and well, but I think it belongs in a different arena. These visitors are well aware of our unhappiness through their nations’ newscasters and spies.

Now, to those expressing outrage against people pointing out that our emperor is naked, I say FNB Stadium is in fact a boxing ring.

Mandela is a product of a robust toyi-toyi tradition. This is a tradition that toppled apartheid and colonialism by using gatherings like funerals to channel the anger of the people against indifferent leaders.

Funerals and memorial services of our beloved leaders have always been a place where we come in sharp view of our discontent. Think here of all those coffins we carried in the streets as we chanted struggle songs.

It was Madiba who advised the masses: “If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government.” So then here we have ­Zuma, who has grown indifferent and irretrievably corrupt. So just as people did in the past, they can use a memorial service of a leader to wake ­Zuma up to their disapproval.

In our struggle tradition, this is nothing new or disgraceful as the detached lot on their high horses have been saying.

I ­actually think Madiba would have approved of being a host, even in death, of people howling at the man at the heart of their discontent. And especially so if it is a man who rose to power by employing a mob to howl at and humiliate his predecessor.

Besides, there’s something to be said about the kind of respect Zuma and his lot actually showed for the day. For crying out loud, they hired a bogus sign language translator to broadcast gibberish at the event they now want to call “sacred”.

Let’s also remember that DeafSA complained about the fake interpreter to the party last year after he poppycocked a speech made by Zuma.

It’s the same with people saying that taking pictures of Madiba in the coffin would be disrespectful. We saw tasteful images of Chris Hani, Walter ­Sisulu, et al.

I wear a dashiki that says booing continues a dialogue Mandela has a proud record of supporting.

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