EFF and Herman Mashaba Agree

2016-08-18 07:18

It is never a pretty sight when the Commander In Chief of Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema descends on the ANC,  in his hands a bucket full of indictments. But this time around the kind of public beating that Julius Malema inflicted on the ANC yesterday at a squatter camp in Alexandra was blistering. Every word about ANC was uttered with force.

I have often said that EFF style of politics may strike some as mere theater, but if you have a sharp eye you come to realize that beyond the drama something far more profound is usually at play. But now people who have been lecturing EFF on political etiquette and propriety are beginning to understand.

Take for example the Wednesday's's conference in Alexandra. It might have seemed to have been mere efforts to create empty drama. But the gesture went beyond the spectacle. The event was for EFF identifying with its base and also in a way thanking the people who voted for them.

The staunchest supporters of EFF are petrol attendants, supermarket trolley pushers, security guards who live in informal settlements. In my simple research that I have done I have never come across one petrol attendant or security guard who is not deeply passionate about EFF - that when they talk about EFF they talk with pride and glowing smiles. Now some may not vote for it but generally EFF runs through their blood and they understand it.

Now let us come to Herman Mashaba. I have studied and researched Herman Mashaba in great detail, read his books and so on. This was part of the work I was requested to do on Mapudi Phasha. Mapudi Phasha is one of the principal entrepreneurs in Limpopo Province during the times when Herman Mashaba's Black Like Me company was flourishing and vibrating across Africa.

I understand EFF. But I would want to share with EFF my two part formula in discussing Herman Mashaba phenomenon.

First I start with my love for the man and pride with his epic achievements, breaking the hardest and harshest glass ceiling: Apartheid. I focus on the great pride he instilled among Black people with his Black Like Me company, unpack the great work he did as a entrepreneur and pioneer Black manufacturer, in the process employing thousands of Black people - feeding Black families.

After discussing that, I then come to the second part of my formula. The Second part I lambast him for his positioning. Because when Herman Mashaba talks he speaks as if he want to put Black people at arms length.  I deeply dont think he is unconcerned about Black people. He just talks that way but that is not what he is. His actions proofs different, he is a man who is passionate about the welfare of Black people and nothing else.

Despite my disapproval of his positioning I regard him as a deeply loving person. Otherwise he could not have done the great things he has done among Black communities especially across Pretoria in Ga-Rankuwa, Mabopane and Soshanguve - places where I used to stay.

I remember also while still at University of the Limpopo he use to sponsor university soccer games there through advertisements. Herman Mashaba's  massive courage as an African inspired a whole generation of Black entrepreneurs in many African communities, not just South Africa but across Africa.

When Justice Dikgang Moseneke wrote a foreword for Herman Mashaba's Black Like You book he focused of the great legacy of Herman Mashaba and how that it should be allowed to filter through African communities as one of the great stories of achievement.

I dont think Herman Mashaba is suffering from racial betrayal, and also he is  not tied to the Whites. What I think about him is that he has  not read too deeply on the issues of race and identity. And that is what frustrates EFF leaders who have drank deeply on matters of race and identity. EFF has raised the matter on principle - and like all points they raise - they have raised this point strongly.

But as Julius Malema have said, the issue of Herman Mashaba is not a big deal. For sure it will not prevent EFF for voting with DA for him to become Johannesburg Mayor.

I believe when all things are said and done, in the ultimate, the EFF leadership and Herman Mashaba share one thing: promotion of the notion of black humanity.

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