Double speak

2008-09-24 00:00

WHAT an uplifting and inspiring image of peace greeted readers from the front page of The Witness (September 19). Celebrating the launch of the Gandhi-Luthuli Chair of Peace Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) are vice-chancellor Malegapuru Makgoba and deputy vice-chancellor Fikile Mazibuko flanking that exemplary role model of peace, Jacob Zuma.

Zuma’s arrival on campus for the event was, it is reported, accompanied by a heavy security presence, with police patrolling the perimeter and students in a cordoned-off area singing his signature song Mshini Wami. This is the same Zuma who revealed his unprotected sexual dalliance with a young HIV-positive woman, not his wife; the same Zuma who has apparently made no attempt to dissuade his ANC Youth League supporters from announcing their determination to kill for him, and whose continued use of the Mshini song suggests glorification of the possession, and possible use, of firearms.

Zuma is reported as saying at the event: “I hope that through this initiative youth respect and cherish values of peace and solve human challenges in a nonviolent way.” Come on, Zuma and the powers-that-be of UKZN; you cannot speak out of both sides of your mouth and expect any credibility. Nor should UKZN be surprised if any alumni of that once-proud institution feel less than enthusiastic about any financial or other support for their alma mater.

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