Destiny Magazine December Cover Story is Bad

2015-11-18 18:02

When we saw university students participating in the Fees Must Fall movement, confronting the police - rushing into smoke and fire in the midst of stun grenades - we noted that this is the worst time we have ever seen, but equally we noted that the protests have brought out the best from our society.

Students were self organising through social media and ultimately coming together beyond party politics, in their unity they devastated the corridors of power and authority. The authorities besieged and terrified gave in to the legitimate demands of the students. It was clear that the authorities were cornered and did not have any choice. Big victory it was for the students.

Throughout the process the media has been careful in portraying the Fees Must Fall movement, first they sought to understand what the movement is and what it represents, and then they worked with the movement along those lines, giving the best description of it.

The media honoured and valued the movement's diversity. Where personalities were displayed it was done in a way that is consistent with the political broadness appeal of the movement. Where the media presented students leaders they presented them from a common ground that is in a way that did not disturb the equilibrium of the movement.

But just recently, coming from nowhere warrior Destiny magazine took to the sky with a B52 bomber, carpet bombing and annihilating everybody and making a declaration through psychological smartness that the newly elected Wits SRC President Nompendulo Mkhatshwa is a victorious general of the Fees Must Fall movement. It was really a surprise because the magazine's culture is not to rock the boat - the magazine's culture is to go along with the status quo, and by all means avoiding ruffling feathers. How is it now putting itself in the center of such a status quo disrupting fiery and explosive movement as Fees Must Fall?

The magazine's manipulative polemic was too much to bear for everybody genuinely involved in the Fees Must Fall movement.

People reacted very strongly against the suggestion - forming a solid wall of twitter defense from the assault of their psyche.

"What crap…?" people were pumping their disgust with their guerrilla journalism tweets. The raging remarks on twitter was nothing but scandalous.

There was an immediate sense of forlorn astonishment and utter shock about the coronation Nompendulo Mkhatshwa as the supposed president of Fees Must Fall movement.

Once again the students succeeded. They came out in great numbers to debunk the ghoulish Destiny magazine story. Doing that they unshackled themselves from the slavery chains, the binary entrapment and attempts made for their super movement to be placed under a partisan narrow minded doek of some political party.

The Destiny magazine December cover story is now so gingered by aggressive twitter feed that it is now floating around like a corpse bobbing along in a river.

All this was achieved without a leader - the Fees Must Fall activists simply connected and informed one another through social media about the story as it was being unveiled Sunday evening. And from there, in one swoop they unleashed a flurry of full throttled aggressive attacks, gingering the story from different angles, oh it was scary.  Reading through the twitter attacks makes you to shrink back in horror.

The internet has given ordinary people extraordinary power to impact their world. The world has always had a small number of people with tremendous influence over the majority. That was then, this is now. If there was no social media the Destiny magazine story could have slipped through society influencing and shaping people to its subtle suppositions. People are now free to determine their own course and aspirations. People are their own media moguls to set the agenda for themselves.

The danger is that Nompendulo Mkhatshwa is now a subject of vicious jabs and uppercuts. As the anger swings across the public space she becomes the target. Out of this came a hot trending hashtag #We are not Ulo. The hashtag has become an arena where Nompendulo Mkhatshwa is denigrated and bashed. The central idea of the tweets under this hashtag says that the Fees Must Fall movement has nothing to do with Nompendulo Mkhatshwa and the political party that she is obviously hard wired to.

As of writing this article there has been more than 100 spine jingling attack tweets under the: #We are not Ulo" hashtag and there are thousands of re-tweets. And the tweets keep coming, they are not abating.

After a torrent of social media rage the Destiny magazine story went into mainstream media. It was even carried in the front pages of some of the national newspapers. The headlines screamed: Row over student leader's magazine shoot.

Fees Must Fall movement is driven by a series of on the spot tactics with no discernible long term strategy. The movement is a kind of muddled, loose-themed entity that is spread across the country.  The people that are actively involved quickly detects problems and formulates tactics to solve those problem in fast speed. The movement is agile and resilient and quick to organise, and foments quick solutions through its radical brand of youthful exuberance.

All these gravely causes those in power suffering endless relational disharmony. They don’t know what to expect and they see the intelligence displayed throughout by the students, and they are raising ahead of the movement seeking to slow down its energy through partisan tactics. Those are the old political tactics – that if something is out there beyond your political reach, stretch the hand and co-opt it so that you can be able to control the damn thing.

Any way what this week has demonstrated again, is that South Africa has an aggressive twitter community that has metamorphosed into the country’s most formidable silent and powerful vanguard - driving the political, social and cultural shift in society and upsetting the balance of power in the Republic.

Many people have since suggested various avenues Destiny magazine could have taken with the story to avoid igniting a fire. One of those suggestions was; why not juxtapose Nompendulo Mkhatshwa with the others who were even more vocal and visible than her, as this has been the norm in all media?

Fees Must Fall movement does not belong to no person. The movement does not belong to any party. I have shouted myself hoarse making this point.

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