2016-02-15 06:15

Part of the #SONA2016 nostalgia was the publishing of a photo on social media depicting the dress of Halle Berry in contrast to that of Minister Naledi Pandor. Amongst the youth it became a laughing matter and another source of attraction to the event outside the content of the #SONA2016 delivered by President Jacob Zuma.

It is worrying that our youth watch #SONA2016 for red carpet fashion purposes and to expect disruptions of the EFF rather than watching it to gain perspective on the program of government for the next 12 months on youth empowerment & economic opportunities – something that they will gain a lot from and have their lives changed practically rather than the EFF disruptions and dresses on the red carpet. It is worrying indeed and says a lot about the state of our youth - a discussion, I must say, I am reserving for another day.

The photo published of Minister Naledi Pandor plays in the good old hands of the neoliberal media agenda that of classifying anything and everything that is ‘normal’ to that of being white and American in the form of Halle Berry in this case. In cultural, intellectual, and ethical spaces; whiteness is the default standard of what is regarded as ‘normal’. All things related to the African epistemic are relegated to the ‘traditional’ if not some backward ways that we must outgrow in order to demonstrate that we are a civilized citizen. That is the existential balance of social power that white people benefit from. That is the existential balance of social power that the neoliberal American agenda benefits from worldwide.

For one Minister Naledi Pandor is a leader of our people. She went to Parliament for #SONA2016 to discharge her duties and responsibilities mandated by the people of this country to do. An academic par excellence whom her struggle credentials speak for themselves. She has served this democratic South Africa with integrity and accumulating volumes and volumes of international awards and honorary doctorates in the process. She is not a fashion diva, she never was and she will never be fascinated by the low thinking fashion sense created by the neoliberal media. This week we are expecting her to contribute valuable discussions in the debate of the #SONA2016 where the content of the matter will only be that not fashion. I challenge the noelibral media and all its offsprings to do what Minister Naledi Pandor said at the University of Fort Hare recently in the ZK Matthews Memorial Lecture that "let us use our intellectual efforts as the African youth for nothing else but to the service of our people & their communities", starting by listening, debating & tweeting the content of the upcoming #SONA2016 debates this week.

The daily gospel preached to the youth is that of promoting self-importance, self-marketing and self-glorification in the same time silently discrediting the importance of the community. The message is always "be popular, look young & yellow, be rich quick, be selfish, be on the now moment". It encourages young people in general, females in particular, to be a Khanyi Mbau and a Halle Berry in a classy dress to be empowered. Community developers like Albertina Sisulu, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Naledi Pandor but to name a few, people who fought and changed our lives for the better in education & society generally, such people never make the list.

The agenda is always to produce a youth who are of loyalty to materialism and instant gratification whilst of betrayal to their communities, families, our people and a elected democratic government that serves them. It cannot be in 2016

Minister Naledi Pandor is not Halle Berry.




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