Rise up against malady of the ignorant

2011-02-05 11:13

Being from Mars and Venus – and from North and South – respectively, the co-writers of this piece had to toss up whether to dignify a very skewed and impious opinion by Percy Mabandu (“Lobola is simply degrading to women”, City Press, January 30 2011) with a reply.

On the same note, it is not ­admirable and cultured to bark back at a mutt. People might not notice the difference.

But as the late American philosopher, Amos Bronson Alcott, once said: “To be ignorant of one’s ignorance is the malady of the ignorant.”

It would be futile to question ­Mabandu’s right to an opinion on ­lobola, especially because he is now “of a marrying age”, but it is ­important to dispel his many ­misconceptions on the subject.

The practice of paying lobola is ­neither “a sale and purchase of ­reproductive rights” nor intended to “bring the two families’ ancestors ­together”, as Mabandu purports.

There is still a place for the ­tradition of lobola, more so today and tomorrow than yesterday. Lobola, as seen from the end product, is about inspiring the development and ­maintenance of a woman with dignity and integrity, not only for herself but for her prospective husband and all families involved.

It is extremely dangerous for iPad-tweeting technoheads with easy ­access to the media to promote ­propaganda disguised as opinion.

It is the responsibility of the media operating in the African context, and South Africa in particular, to hire editors and consultants on all matters cultural and traditional, and not take everything as gospel truth because it is pronounced by a lost soul residing within a black skin ­(disguised as an African).

The damage caused can be ­far-reaching, as these imperceptive voices are indexed and archived on the internet, and are easily available on demand to the gullible and those inclined to Western cultures.

While it is the easiest way to score points with the intelligentsia, ­rubbishing African traditions over a bottle of whisky in suburbia does not advance African people or debate on these traditions.

The Department of Arts and ­Culture and traditional leaders should be vocal on such irresponsible and preposterous views.

South Africans, and Africans in general, must rise up against this form of imperialism from within our ranks intent on advancing Western pop cultures over our own.

As Stanley Garn once said: “If the Aborigine drafted an IQ test, all of Western civilisation would ­presumably flunk it.”

» Mothapo is a communications practitioner and Nxele is a film editor

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