Is Ngugi wa Thiong'o as relevant as Fanon,Biko,Ramphele and Ndebele in decoding President Zuma's speech that has the media barking?

2012-12-28 15:25

  Is Ngugi wa Thing'o as relevant as  Fanon,Biko,Ramphele and Ndebele in decoding President Zuma's speech that has the media barking?


In the context of the furore over President Zuma's speech that has the media barking, I ask whether Ngugi wa Thing'o (Decolonising the Mind), is as relevant as Frantz Fanon (Black Skins,White Masks as well as 'The Wretched of the Earth')Steve Biko (I write what I like), Mamphela Ramphele (Conversations with my Sons and Daughters) and Njabulo Ndebele (Fine Lines from the Box as well 'Rediscovery of the Ordinary') in decoding the media response to President Zuma's speech in which he spoke about ' decolonising the African mind'.

Thiong'o  powerfully argues that imperialism (or it's clone neo-imperialism) deploys the cultural bomb  whose effect is to ' annihilate a people's belief in',inter alia,their unity and their heritage.'It makes them' he goes on,'see their past'( in the present context) as a 'wasteland' from which 'to distance themselves'.

Without the benefit of the text of President Zuma's speech, the media engaged in misrepresentation both in context as well as what he actually said. This reminds me of 'comprador intellectuals' referred to by Hamid Dabashi (Brown Skins, White Masks) and Fanon's earlier work( Black Skins,White Masks) about go betweens who negotiated between the colonisers and the colonized! These embedded intellectuals always wrote negatively about their own, the colonized. In similar vein Steve Biko, Mamphela Ramphele and Njabulo Ndebele spoke of the need of the blacks to self determination and if one decodes President Zuma's speech this is what,in my opinion,was being conveyed by him. Issues of race always creep in the media's analysis without an objective analysis of context which is what the media as a go between did in the past that prompted government to propose restrictions on media freedom.

So are they relevant? I donot intend in a lengthy discourse but in my opinion having read, in the past I must admit,the authors referred to I get the sense in the affirmative!

The media flopped.No one that I interrogated in the social media,we're able to provide me with the text of what President Zuma actually said and I get the regretable sense that the fourth estate fumbled with accurately representing  the truth yet again!

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay



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2010-11-21 18:15

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