OUR DEMOCRACY older than a teenager!!
From a teachers training college I was employed as a secondary school teacher with high expectations and got down to work. But I was immediately sucked into a political movement and pulled into a vacuum of politicizing and immobilizing the innocent pupils who were been confused by the frequent Apartheid Government wings mainly SANDF and SABC visits. There was nothing wrong with the students seeing their broadcasting heroes who they only heard of through the radio, but the worrying factor was compilation of the statistics so as to give the government feedback of what the future of the country, the kids, were thinking of it so that it could have a clear image and start planning for its future, whether to increase or reduce its apartheid tactics depending on the support from the kids. SABC would come around the schools and present horrible and misleading programs like ‘Sebokuboku’ in Sepedi and ‘Tshipulepule’ in Venda and more others as measuring gauges of the depth of how much knowledge did the kids have in politics. Soldiers in uniforms convincing pupils how good the SADF was and how much help it rendered to communities with water deficiencies and so on. It was disgusting listening to your own black brothers busy misleading their kids. Some of them in radio stations studios with diplomas and university degrees preaching that wrong gospel, feeding their own curious children with snakes when they asked for food. Remember these were children who were looking up to them as their heroes for guidance. What do they have to say today? I guess they celebrated with us when Mandela came out of prison, they must have also celebrated our first black vote and the triumph as well to which they took an opposite and misleading role to promote White supremacy and prolong abject poverty over the innocent youth, but these highly respected people were supposed to be their community teachers like me.
I was destroyed, devastated and I took a difficult decision; I rendered my resignation, terminated the office and looked around for something better away from all those satanic acts, especially when the evil hegemony’s eyes were hovering over me, following me at each and every corner and on the other side as I was trying very hard to fight against it for the sake of the unsuspecting kids. Then I took a job with a big company in Mpumalanga as a machine operator. I looked around and every time when I was travelling in an old taxi from Kinross to my company hostel, on the way adjacent to a smaller town I would notice a long golden building called a mine compound. One day I decided to go inside it and I luckily met one of the middle aged man who came from our place in the North. He was so proud to show me around and we ended up in his room. There were three steel beds caving like a small boat and in the middle was an old small black coal stove burning red hot. At the corners there were broken steel cabinets where they stored their belongings, clothes, boots, gumboots, steel helmets with lamps on the foreheads. The space inside the room was about twelve square metres for three people to squeeze and sleep in to store every little item they have gathered to carry to their homelands when these serfs were given time to go and visit their loved ones. There were no chairs so we sat on his bed on which I felt prickling pain from the steel under the shoe sole like sponge but I tried to hide it. Later on we went to the canteen and he piled dollop porridge and meat on a steel tray for us to eat. We sat at a table next to the open window which allowed a bad smell in, a pungent smell coming out of one blocked drain. Later on I asked him the direction to the bathroom and he pointed to the half-broken steel door that was on its way to falling down in a karate style. A long block with about thirty un-separated toilets units were in line so that when you are busy relieving yourself, squatting over the toilet seat you can talk to your teammate next to you unhindered. In front of the toilets, about six metres from the squatters, a group of old and young men were standing naked under rusted showers; you could see them all at one glance from undivided shower units. I guess they had just knocked off. I made a U-turn without answering the call of nature and said to myself that; ‘Bullshit no ways, I can’t do it here’ and went back to the old man waiting for me. I looked straight into his eyes as we chatted and I could read that there was nothing wrong in them. Later in the evening I bid him goodbye and left for the taxis at the gate. On my way to the gate, I walked past a building, with sharp noise coming from it and realised it was a beer-hall full of Lahoho, Umqombothi or kaffir-bier plastic containers. A jukebox oozing Maskandi music upon which boots, shoes and dirkies were hitting the dance-floor hard like when they are digging the mineral in the shafts, I suppose. Maybe together with all the assortments of women around them, this helped them to forget their problems, and disperse memories of their homelands and their children.
Before I could fall asleep I thought about the old man and wondered how he managed to live for about thirty years in those harsh conditions. It seemed as if he never regretted it. On the other hand he struggled to raise his family, a big one. I could imagine him in his full working uniform going deep down the shaft to dig that shiny stone, gold and eventually hand it to his bosses who were staying in posh mansions in the suburbs with their families, earning big salaries for sending the old man in dangerous mine situations while they gave him peanuts as a reward to his toil. I felt angry and very disillusioned as I struggled to have a nap realising that myriad black brothers all over our beautiful country were living under the same situations in their own land, a land of their forefathers. I told myself that these things had to change, change now and for good.
Fortunately we went to polls to vote for the first time for a government led by our own people who knew how their parents struggled in the hands of the Boers. We thought it would bring better living for us all but still today the wealth of our country is still in the hands of the then oppressors. Then I realised that it was just an illusion. Empty promises everywhere and every time and maybe forever, by our own black brothers who kill us when we voice out our dissatisfaction. Our own government killing the poor Marikana’s for a few thousands rand whilst they themselves pocket millions daily in daylight, in front of us trying in vain to feed their insatiable gluttony and don’t worry of delivering services and justice. This is simple arithmetic which our cretin leaders don’t understand: if the service delivery was in place, was in order, nobody would be in the street protesting, nobody would have anything to protest about, no one would be dead now, therefore, the killer is the Government, hegemony failing to deliver service delivery that we pay for each and every month!!! The question is, should we stop paying? And again, should we go to the voting booths? I had never seen protests at Inkandla, I only hear of Zuma playing Father Christmas handing out presents to the Inkandla’s. Impetuous but mundane protests which are not fights at all, but an enlightenment of the inner pains of the people only fall on deaf ears followed by the killings of the Mothutlung and others for what they paid for from meagre pay where the majority are unemployed. ANC should have known it better that matchbox, petrol bombs and stone-throwing gained them power. Everywhere there is suffering and the answer to it is to turn a blind eye to it or face the barrel of the police gun. Not only me but to many of us confusion is written on every page of our faces and leave us with the conundrum; what happened to our pyrrhic freedom we paid for with blood and sweat? When we skipped the country, beyond the borders putting our lives and family lives at risk, were we doing it for these few rapacious, gluttonous and avaricious inept leaders? Were we fighting for these political cliques who deserted us to stay the suburbs and only to check up on us when time like May 7, 2014 is around the corner? To whom must the blame go when ANC is adamant in shrinking its own fishing pond instead of expanding it? How do you explain all these to our children especially those in schools? Is this their country? From where will they get the courage to study? And studying for what? Where will they get jobs from especially when we are at the confluence of job outsourcing and labour brokering which lands opportunities directly in the hands of the haves, Whites, resulting in unemployment birthrate escalating in the faces of the have-nots day after another, pinning our poor people against the ropes in an arena of poverty? Where are their Leaders? What are their Leaders doing for now and the future? Are they producing potholes and cultivate an arable land to produce more deaths on the roads? No wonder the funeral parlous have increased tenfold in the last decade, it is not only because of AIDS. When you relate to our kids of apartheid and of oppression epoch, how are they supposed to see and understand the difference and what we fought for? It is absolutely meaningless and I promise you they laugh at our actions, useless and childish. Mandela must also be turning restlessly in his grave. What he punished himself for is today not evident at all. Our Freedom looks set to grow up to become more horrible than Apartheid and outmuscle (GAA), the Group Arrears Act in sowing divisions amongst the blacks hence the incessant births of myriad political parties. We have heard and read enough from their lips but the innate is upside down and tells different stories, wolves in sheepskins!! With all the colourful harbingers in the air, I have a strong feeling that we are approaching another demise of a Rise and Fall but this time the fall is hovering over the softy, head of Freedom and not on the stubborn half dead body of Apartheid which looks set for resurrection. Their age difference is two hundred and eighty.
By Modibana Kadi
The author of books;
‘MATLA-KADI-Be’ – published, still to be released with Reach Publishers
‘DIKENYWA TšA TLALA’ (FRUITS OF HUNGER)
‘PELONG YA MMAPELO’
‘ANN EGG NEVER HATCHED’
‘ITINERANT CHILD OF AZANIA’
‘TRUTH NEVER TOLD’ still on editing desk.