For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
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Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. (Daily Sun)
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It matters not that at some frozen moments in the past, a person did good or bad. What matters is the evolution of their work over time to the present, writes Mpumelelo Mkhabela.
There is a famous,
instructive and yet simple Shangaan idiom that holds undeniable truths about
life: "mintirho ya vulavula". Loosely translated, it means your work
speaks for itself.
we evaluate the contribution to humanity of those who have departed, or those
among us who are still alive, a contestation arises about how to go about it.
It gets trickier when we reflect on the lives of popular personalities.
are two ways to evaluate a legacy. One is to freeze the work of the person at
different times and spaces. In this way, the work of a person is like a still
photograph or photographs. It can be good or bad. It can leave a good or bad
"frozen" option of evaluating life allows you to be selective about
which still images to use as a collection to reflect on the work of the person.
It gives the selector an option to see that which they prefer to see – in the
form of all the frozen images. These pictures can also be in the form of mental
observations of the selector.
other way to evaluate legacy is the "live" option. Nothing is frozen.
The legacy is evaluated from the past to the present continuously, even beyond
the moment the person stopped breathing.
matters not that at some frozen moments in the past, a person did good or bad.
What matters is the evolution of their work over time to the present. Indeed,
the dead have presence and they speak through the legacy of their work. It is
this work that the beautiful Shangaan saying refers to.
idea that speaking ill of the dead is morally wrong cannot stand in the way of
the saying that your work speaks for itself. Whether we verbalise a legacy or
not does not matter. When someone's work speaks, it speaks for itself. It doesn't
need a spokesperson.
brings me to the contentious issue of liberation heroes and the controversy
about how best to remember them when they die or how best to evaluate the work
of those who are still active in public life. The debate about the legacy of
the late former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe says something about the
choices we make in evaluating the work of the dead.
who hail Mugabe exclusively as a liberation hero have chosen to freeze his work
at a particular and most popular period of his life. In terms of the still
frames they have selected, there is nothing that surpasses the fact that Mugabe
was a hero. For them, he died a hero.
those who evaluate the work of the dead on a continuous basis and look at work
as it continuously speaks in the present legacy have a different take. They don't
deny Mugabe was a hero. But they accept that he had evolved and, in the process,
became a monster who destroyed the economy of Zimbabwe and derailed a promising
Mugabe's work speaks for itself, as it should, we have to consider the fact
that the country has no currency to speak of, unemployment is above 90%,
interest rates are at 70% and the cream of Zimbabwe, its skilled people, are
scattered around the world trying to eke out a living.
these factors soil what would otherwise have been a sterling record for Mugabe.
Political freedom that doesn't put food on the table has no meaning. Putting
food on the table in the absence of political freedom also doesn't give life
its full expression and meaning.
fought for the achievement of both material and political freedoms for his
people. In the second half of his rule, Zimbabweans became extremely poor and
they had no political freedoms. This is the legacy that speaks louder than any
words or eulogies.
is a possibility that those who refuse to see this as Mugabe's legacy hope that
when their own legacy is evaluated, their own shortcomings would be overlooked
in favour of moments of brilliance of the past, frozen in some specific moments
it doesn't matter because the brilliant Shangaan saying has taught us very well:
your work speaks for itself in life or in death. And one might add, it speaks
louder than any loudhailers at a funeral or memorial service.
- Mkhabela is a regular columnist for News24.
** Want to respond to the columnist? Send your letter or article to email@example.com with your name, profile picture, contact details and location. We encourage a diversity of voices and views in our readers' submissions and reserve the right not to publish any and all submissions received.
Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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