*** For those who don’t know the Sipho Pityana article I am talking about, you can find it here:
After reading through the comments that were made on the Sipho Pityana piece over the last week, I went through a lot of emotions, but the most prevalent of them was sadness… I felt the sadness of the words of Harriet Tubman when she said she freed a thousand slaves, and could’ve freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. There is a mighty lot of work to be done… but we must be understanding that the truth has that effect, especially when you introduce it to people who are used to misinformation. No one wants to wake up and realise that everything they thought they knew is in fact utter rubbish, and a fabrication. It is like finding out you are being cheated on and “catfished” all at the same time. The most likely response is resistance because you want to escape the cognitive dissonance between the lies you hold as truth, and the truth you now know.
However, the truth is stubborn, it is like bacteria. Even under the most powerful antibiotics (controlled media), it survives and resurfaces from dormancy. As St Augustine put it, all the way back in 420 A.D., the truth is like a lion, you don’t have to defend it; just release it and it will defend itself. Against all forms of suppression the truth prevails, Arthur Schopenhauer puts it as follows: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” It is for this reason that we continue with the truth even in unpopular times.
A lot of people asked for sources and references and I think it is a fair ask provided the nature of some things but firstly, I need to clarify this: a Facebook post, even a newspaper article or book, is not subjected to the requirements of academic articles that referencing should be present. In fact some things would otherwise be torturing to read for the non-academic if there was a bracket every two sentences going (TEC Subcommittee on Finance: Committee Report, 1993) or (Nowak and Ricci, 2005) for instance. Not to mention the tedious affair of writing it when you are not publishing for an academic audience. As it is, many postgraduate students find literature review and referencing a nightmare…
Another thing is that people tend to never ask for sources from mainstream media when they make “bold claims” without listing sources (apparently it’s dangerous to make bold claims without referencing sources by one comment I read) because the mainstream (read mainly white) media enjoys the privilege of being intrinsically correct and unquestionable. This is a problematic notion created by white supremacy where even in academia white/western scholarship is put forth as true and legitimate, and any disputes are labelled quackery and illegitimate. This is what we mean by epistemological decolonisation.
However I will share a few sources below, on the various things I asserted in the Pityana article.
1 QUATRO MUTINY AND DEATH IN UMKHONTO WE SIZWE CAMPS
In the article, I say that over 30000 MK soldiers were executed by the MK itself. Now for clarity purposes, this is a collective number and not a singular event. The prison camps of the MK started in the 1960s and would last until 1993, and outside Quatro there were many other prison camps; however Quatro is popular because of the mutiny that took place and had two groups of soldiers killing each other with many casualties resulting, including the aftermath of the execution of people who had led the rebellion like Ephraim Nkondo. Another famous camp for the mutiny that was crushed is Pango camp, there is also the Morogoro camp and Camalundi camp where Oupa Moloi died; these were not necessarily prison camps. It is a well-documented thing albeit it being well suppressed. Remember it is the winners that get to write the “official” account of history; however the official account not necessarily the true account, in this world it seems to be the case more often than not. Take for instance the fact that the official death toll of people who died at the hands of the apartheid regime from 1948 – 1994 is 22 000. That says on average only 500 people died per annum in the apartheid era; and that is a questionable figure without even having to think. We have seen how white supremacy has attempted to wipe, rewrite or distort African history for centuries now, and sadly because they control the education system, 90% of the people are duped. In some American States, they have even begun rewriting slavery out of history within the education syllabus. Slaves are called “voluntary labour”, because it will be bad on the image of the “founding fathers” to have been slave owners. Here we also have a lot being written out of history too…
Here are excerpt from a book titled: Mbokodo: Inside MK: Mwezi Twala – A Soldier’s Story by Mwezi Twala and Ed Bernard (Jonathan Ball Publishers, 1994)
“In 1981 began a time of terror and death for ANC members in exile. In February a strong ANC National Executive Committee entourage which included President Tambo made the rounds of all ANC camps in Angola. Cadres were warned of the presence of a spy network and the need for vigilance was emphasised. Enemy agents and provocateurs were rudely warned by Piliso, in Xhosa, ‘.. I’ll hang them by their balls.’ An ‘internal enemy’ psychosis had been whipped up and whenever ANC leaders visited camps they were heavily guarded. Many men and women were apprehended on suspicion of dissidence were to be exterminated in the most brutal manner in the months ahead. Those disillusioned MK cadres who returned from Rhodesia were the first to go.(p.49)
I became aware of these developments by word of mouth, but I was to discover later on, by personal experience, the terror of Quatro, to name but one death camp. People were removed from amongst us — taken to Quatro or Camp 13 — and disappeared forever without reason. Many of them were slaughtered by one means or another and their ultimate destination was a shallow grave. We heard rumours of execution by being buried alive, amongst many other techniques beyond civilized imagination. The purge created great fear amongst all of us, to the point where the smallest criticism, such as of badly prepared food, was seriously reconsidered by every individual, for one could never be certain that a ‘best friend’ would keep his mouth shut. (p.49)
Our own security people became exceedingly arrogant, to the point where an innocent slip of the tongue or even a simple gesture could land you in a torture cell at Quatro. Security men of the lowest rank and intelligence — fourteen to eighteen year olds — became our masters, with the power of life or death in their hands. They acted on a mood with impunity. (p.49-50)
Oliver Tambo visited Pango [Camp] at the height of the terror. The path from the entrance to the admin building was lined — like a scene from ‘Spartacus’ — with men, bloodied and filthy, hanging from trees. When his entourage arrived at admin, where I was officer on duty, Tambo’s chief of staff told us that there would be a meeting at ‘the stage’ (a clearing in the jungle… where we held meetings and discussions). Runners were sent out to notify everyone in the vicinity. On his way to the stage [Oliver Tambo] again passed the men tied to the trees. Being officer on duty, I could not attend the meeting, but my deputy went. After a while I saw guards come up from the stage, release the prisoners and take them to the meeting. There, my deputy told me, instead of objecting to their treatment, as I had hoped, Tambo berated them for their dissident behaviour and appeared to approve when Andrew Masondo declared that on the presidents next visit they would be in shallow graves behind the stage. The prisoners were returned to their trees.. where the president [Oliver Tambo] passed the unfortunate men without a glance on his way out, and they hung there for another three months — followed by three months hard labour. (p.51-52)”
The book is difficult to find outside university libraries and other places that have kept it, because it is supposedly one of the tell-it-all books that were bought from the publishers to not continue printing or not start at all. In 2012 Xarra books sold one book about MK from a soldier, a self-published one, and I am not sure about its availability now.
Mkwezi Twala, the author of Mbokodo: Inside MK, was part of a group of eight soldiers that escaped from Tanzania in January 1990 alongside Sipho Phungulwa. Now Sipho Phungulwa, another case altogether, was a former bodyguard of Chris Hani, he had a tell it all interview in June 1990 on behalf of the eight. Within three weeks, he was gunned down in a broad daylight assassination. Paul Trewhela expands extensively on him and why he had to be killed, one paper “Death in South Africa: The killing of Sipho Phungulwa” is available on SA History online last. The same paper also expands on the “M plan” of the SACP from the 1950s already, that was designed to use Mandela as a rallying point and cult figure – and when you start piecing it together you realise some chilling and nefarious architecture that led to where we are from the 1940s already. I too have written on Mandela’s sell out project, and how he was used as the face of the whole “reconciliation and rainbowism” sham that left black people landless and economically excluded yet again. The details are included in the book I am writing about the Mandela Deception, inclusive of pre, during and post CODESA issues.
Paul Trehwela writes a lot of papers, mostly published in “Searchlight South Africa” in the early 1990s, and a book titled Inside Quatro, published by Jacana media in 2009. A website with a domain of Nauru (Pacific island, third smallest state in the world) was created back in 2010 to give references to some papers, books, reports written about Quatro and the ANC Mbokodo. Find it here: http://mbokodo-quatro-uncensored.co.nr
Here: http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/media%5C1997%5C9707/s970722f.htm you can find the sad TRC testimony of Diliza Mthembu about how his father (a founding member of MK – Abel Patrick Mthembu) was killed for betraying the ANC in 1978, after he had been recruited to execute his own father and after which way tortured daily from prison camp to prison camp.
There is not nearly enough literature that covers the institutionalised sexual abuse of women in ANC camps. It is mostly men who talk about it even when one conducts interviews with former MK soldiers. This paper: [Oct 1993: Olefile Samuel Mngqibisa. Sexual Abuse of Young Women in the ANC Camps. Searchlight South Africa, Vol 3, No. 3, (p.11-16)] is an account of a man who went to give evidence of how sexual abuse of women, young women more especially, was both institutionalised and suppressed by the security department at the Motsoenyane Commission in 1993. A few years ago there was a documentary film that played on SABC about women in the struggle, and a female soldier, spoke of her account of how she and her friends were raped when they skipped the country to go to MK; she was an SANDF military official when the doccie was recorded. Perhaps SABC archives still have it. However there are many more cases and the issue was very big, yet to this day it is still suppressed. You expect too much then from the ANCWL to play any role in societal feminism activist issues when issues within the organisation are an elephant in the room but ignored. How many times have we heard about solicitation of sex in exchange for employment or contracts in municipalities and in government in general? Where does that culture come from and who speaks against it?
While on commissions, there were three commissions set up by the ANC to investigate the gross violation of human rights in MK camps:
- Stuart Commission in 1984, right after the aftermath Quatro mutiny.
- The Skweyiya Commission in 1992
- The Motsoenyane Commission 1993
The International Freedom Foundation (Washington D.C.) sponsored the Gordon Commission that lasted from 1992 to 1993.
The reports of these commissions – hopefully with the undoctored evidence submitted before them – should be available in various archives like university archives. However the issue is that these archives didn’t do much really. They were just procedural aesthetics.
I hope you realise where we come from with commissions, so in future don’t be shocked that there is a commission on everything, but none actually deliver justice or whatever their mandate is. Marikana commission, fees commission? [As a side note: If you knew what really happened in the Marikana massacre prelude, if you knew where the demand for the amount of R12 5000 came from and the beneficiaries in cheating the miners with labour brokering deals with LONMIN, the BEE partner setup, you would have your jaw dropped. We will surely delve into it in a subsequent write up.]
However people who were in those MK camps are still alive and living in our communities, talk to the individuals to get raw stories of their experiences. Hear the accounts they give and draw what you think from there.
2 IMF, CODESA AND WHITE MONOPOLY CAPITAL
Although the details of everything that happened at CODESA were never made public news, a lot of what happened there and the aftermath of it is widely availability in repositories, archives, books, the internet and through people. Also one just has to assess and understand the widely available literature on the economic ongoings of the country, historically to the present, to see that something very faulty and nefarious happened at CODESA. Then when you start focusing the microscope and digging you uncover the details.
Literature on the Bretton Woods system (IMF, World Bank Group, BIS) and its international monetary system of fiat currency pegged on the US dollar is widespread too, people need to just get over their philistinism and understand what is going on around them. Go and research the difference between gold standard currency and fiat currency (which is in technicality less valuable than the paper it’s printed on), and why Bretton Woods institutions are hell bent on keep their fiat currency monetary system in place. Why wars have started against anyone attempting to change this, for instance trade commodities outside the US dollar – Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi both died for attempts to shift from this paradigm. Once you understand, then you will know why the IMF gives countries credit.
South Africa has its own history with the IMF going back to Apartheid; the IMF gave apartheid all sorts of bailouts including for ESKOM. For instance in 1982 a loan of US$ 1.07 billion was given to the apartheid government by the IMF (Even though all member countries voted against it except the western powers). These debts were taken over by the ANC government, and it is public knowledge. In fact most African states took over colonial debt and a lot of other nefarious arrangements, take how countries in the francophone are still paying colonial tax to France to this day. Jacques Chirac openly admitted in 2008 that without Africa sustaining them France would become a third world country overnight.
Back to South Africa, I have already explained how a lot of state owned enterprises were privatised as part of CODESA in the Pityana piece, and the only beneficiaries of this were white monopoly capital companies and the top political figures who got co-opted into BEE positions. The state was torn down effectively, and its ability to generate income for itself left to private hands that avoid tax through Illicit Financial Flows. Take the example of ArceloMittal; the majority of the company is what was the state-owned enterprise ISCOR, CODESA effectively agreed to sell off the largest steel producer in the world. Today ArcelorMittal is 108th on the Fortune Global 500 in 2016, that could be a state-owned enterprise right there. In China they have 103 companies on the 500 list, and most are state-owned. Why is PostBank not the biggest bank we have? You know the answer…
Here the fight for privatisation is still on and the aim is to privatise ESKOM as priority number one through sabotaging its competence. Remember the wet coal saga? Remember the failure to approve the timely construction of new power stations? Now the Guptas are solely blamed for plundering ESKOM when in actual fact white monopoly capital mining companies have held monopoly supply of ESKOM on the basis of a 40 year-supply contract signed with the National Party under Apartheid. Exxaro, Glencore, BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Xstrata (Xstrata was acquired by Glencore in 2013) are the original cartel group that 40 year contract and have been fixing prices for decades. BHP Billiton had a market capitalisation of R1 trillion in 2012 on the JSE and Glencore was 10th on the Fortune Global 500 list in 2015. These companies have had 80% of the supply volume of ESKOM coal for ages now; it was BHP Billiton who supplied Kendal Power station with wet coal in 2014, resulting in deficit electricity generation and the subsequent loadshedding that rocked the country. Again I ask: who has really captured the state?
The 27 companies named by the minister as ESKOM coal suppliers in 2015 were: Liketh Investments; Umcebo Mining; HCI Khusela Coal; Sudor Coal; Stuart Coal; Exxaro Coal; Keaton Mining; Kuyasa Mining; Shanduka Coal, whose interests held by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are now held in a blind trust; Ntshovelo Mining Resources; Just Coal CC; African Exploration Mining & Finance Corporation, which is a state-owned mining company; Wescoal Mining; Hlagisa Mining; Perisat Investments; Universal Coal Development; Vunene; Optimum Coal Holdings (bought by Tegeta Resources – Guptas); Iyanga; Lurco Coal; Anglo American Thermal Coal SA (Pty) Ltd; Anglo American Inyosi Coal; Becsa (BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa); BHP Billiton; Anglo/Exxaro JV; and Xstrata/African Rainbow Minerals JV, which has an interest by billionaire Patrice Motsepe.
By the way, all these mining companies buy electricity at an extremely discounted price per kilowatt hour when they should foot the higher bill, they don’t get loadshedding and they get diesel rebates from SARS in the millions of rands while you and I as ordinary citizens feel the full might of the fuel price.
Tell me then, who is fooling who? Or is plundering state resources reserved for white capital and those who are endorsed by it? These coal mines right should belong to the people, not western multinationals or any other persons but those to whom the land belongs.
I hope you now understand where this tussle between Jacob Zuma and Pravin Gordhan comes from. It is much much bigger than meets the eye. Using organs of state also predates Zuma, and one that has come under scrutiny is the “Rogue Unit” under Pravin Gordhan’s tenure as SARS commissioner. The sole existence of the unit was to purge the competition of monopolies. British American Tobacco is one of the companies highly associated with the unit for money laundering in the form of Illicit Financial Flows, running a scheme of bribing South African police officers (paying them extra salaries), spying on competitors using police cameras, and even sourcing confidential business information on one of its rivals from officials in SARS. It is a known fact that BAT holds 93% of the tobacco industry market share in South Africa and it is near impossible to compete with them; even Philip Morris International, a company bigger than BAT internationally, has found challenges eroding their market share. When BAT was investigated as part of the Rogue Unit activities, KPMG was appointed – the auditors of BAT, how convenient. BAT by the way is a mainstay on the number one spot of JSE market capitalisation charts. Then we have to get to how this unit has allowed Illicit Financial Flows by these major multinationals to go out of the country without apprehension. We are talking trillions of rands stolen from the public.
Then you hear threats of foreign rating agencies that they will downgrade our bond/credit ratings to junk status. Don’t think it is a mistake that S&P, Moody’s and Fitch have rated US Treasury Bonds as “AAA”, a country with a total gross national debt of $19.4 trillion, equivalent about 106% of the previous 12 months of GDP of the country as of July 2016, yet everyone else must appease the agencies to get “investors”. It is just part of the same scheme to plunder resources; it’s economic capturing and rating agencies are just part of the toolkit. These ratings and investor confidence things don’t change the lives of the 27 million people who either way live below the poverty breadline in this country, instead they determine wealth increments for the wealthiest; do you think the homeless, incomeless and squatter campers benefit in any way? Explain then how is it possible that we are happy that the top two wealthiest individuals in this country have more wealth among them than the bottom 26 million people. Why are we happy that the so-called richest square mile in Africa is across the street from Alexander township? How are positive credit ratings going to reconcile the great socio-economic disparities between the two neighborhoods? Until you can have answers to such questions, you should realise the agenda of the propaganda being paddled.
John Perkins explains how economic capturing of a country in his part autobiographical book – Confessions of an Economic Hitman. (John Perkins was formerly Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm where he advised the World Bank, United Nations, the IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.) Yanis Varoufakis, former Minister of Finance of Greece and Professor of Economics, had this to say about the book: “When I read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, I could not have known that, some years later, I would be on the receiving end of the type of ‘economic hit’ that Perkins so vividly narrated . . . Perkins has, once again, made a substantial contribution to a world that needs whistle-blowers to open its eyes to the true sources of political, social, and economic power.”
Those of you who follow global political economics will remember how Yanis Varoufakis championed the negotiations with the Eurogroup (EU finance ministers) against Greek debt crisis austerity propositions; with the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission as creditors that facilitated the situation where ordinary Greeks lost their pensions, are suffering the longest recession of western country since world war 2 and are at the mercy of private corporations who have privatised everything right down to drinking water. How did this happen? The IMF and company gave Greece loans they knew Greece wouldn’t be able to repay post the engineered 2008 financial crisis, ratings agencies then came in and downgraded the Greek bonds to “junk status”; after which the same IMF and company placed austerity measures on the citizens and rendered the state unable to function. Then as part of the “bailout” conditions, everything that was state-owned or semi state-owned was privatised and ownership taken by foreign corporations, everything right down to drinking water like I said.
The same trajectory is being followed here in South Africa (as I have already explained above but cannot over emphasise); after CODESA allowed mass privatisation of state-owned enterprises post-1994 – including ISCOR (now a huge part of Arcelomittal as mentioned above) and SASOL (which would have had us paying far less for fuel), both of which now trade on the New York Stock Exchange – the capitalists of western imperialism are still not satisfied. ESKOM and SAA are the next target of privatisation, the Democratic Alliance shadow Minister of Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone has said in parliament, in the discussion of SAA privatisation, that the only way is to privatise SAA (This is DA policy, and this is why Herman Mashaba talked about privatising PIKITUP – owned by the City of Johannesburg – in his first week as Mayor of Johannesburg Metro). Other targets are of course TRANSNET, SABC, SANRAL, PETROSA, SAPO and PRASA; all of this talk disguised as a bid to improve service delivery when in reality it is about corporatocracy (the rule of corporations), under which all state functions will be private – right down to the police, correctional services, healthcare (already mostly private in SA) and all public works. So when the state-owned enterprises are being purposely sabotaged and the National Treasury speaks of how it will not bail them out and is tabulating privatisation as the highly possible solution, just remember who’s agenda they are serving. If China managed to put over 80 of its state-owned enterprises (103 Chinese companies in total) in the Fortune Global 500 of 2016 after only 10 total companies list in the year 2000, then there is nothing wrong with this formula of state-owned enterprises. It is about how the state is managed and who’s interests they are serving; this is our challenge today.
As the saying goes, you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
3 COMMENTS ON THE QUESTION OF SOLUTIONS
A lot of people who commented were on the “yeah but what are the solutions?” tip, which more than anything was problematic because for the most part it was people who don’t know what is really going on but lazily ask for solutions without even perusing the writing. Let me clear and say that 5th grade, even 12th grade, mathematics will not solve a Calabi-Yau manifold compactification problem in string theory; and thus without understanding the problem at hand we are likely to flunk at solution attempts. The moment you speak of the word solution, it means you have fully grasped the nature and extent of the problem, pondered on the different approaches, and finally decided on the best way to solve the problem.
If we are interested in real, lasting solutions then we must appreciate the depth and complexity; and we are not yet there. We are still held in the parameters of “acceptable opinion” that Noam Chomsky warns about. That is we are engaging in a debate of whether Zuma should go or not, something that will have no effect on the status quo even if he left office tomorrow. In effect we are still thinking outside the box when we should be thinking outside the factory that makes the boxes, lest we move from a shoe box to a fridge box!
Firstly, we are faced with unaddressed historical injustices, which CODESA reinforced, that are responsible for:
- The continuing landlessness of the black majority from whom the land was stolen.
- The continuing economic exclusion of the black majority, with 97% of the economy still in the same hands as pre-1994; resulting in the most unequal society in the world.
- Over 51% (approximately 27 million people) of the population living below the poverty line, thus absolutely poor.
Then we are faced with a government that has not only endorsed and watched these injustices continue unabated (in the pockets of the transgressors), but created a kleptocratic culture of governance further adding salt to the wound. The ANC has effectively turned the state into its employment agency. Most of the fiscus ends up paying high salaries of unnecessary deployees – like R19 billion of the R26 billion budget ends up in salaries in the North West Provincial Government. Then the rest disappears in corruption, with a small percentage ending up being used for its intended purpose of public service. We have a bloated cabinet, too many provinces and in fact too many municipalities too. What is the job of district municipalities anyway except additional bureaucracy and budget?
Our system of governance has fundamental flaws, we are unable as citizens to monitor and hold accountable our government and public officials. They do what they want and all we can do is Tweet, update on Facebook and protest on the streets with no results. That is flawed in all ways.
While perhaps removing Zuma is seen as a start by some, the conversation has not even started in how to address these issues that are burning and predate Zuma; and will in all likelihood outlive his incumbency should our line of thought continue. We seem to be concerned about rating agencies and removing Zuma, after which we reach a cul de sac.
Jacob Zuma can vacate the office, sure, but who replaces him? With the same structures in place? Is he/she going to prioritise land expropriation without compensation? Push for true economic justice? How is the removal of Zuma going to benefit the ordinary black man if he alone goes? Why are we fixated on one man instead of the whole government? Any solution that doesn’t speak to these questions is not a solution. Because we don’t want aesthetic change, that only benefits the few at the top. We cannot have a continuation of factions of the same party (and their masters) changing hands with the state and which corporations they co-sign with to loot the economy; it is just working backwards. We are seeking permanent freedom of the people from imperialism.
Audre Lorde teaches us: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”
If imperialism is like a prison, and we a locked in a small; then our cause isn’t about negotiating a better place within the prison, a bigger cell, double bed and television. Rather we are about breaking out of prison altogether, and breaking out is treacherous. We will run in the wilderness for some time before making a clean break.
Solutions therefore mean uncharted territory; that we must rethink everything that is today. In academic terms we need a conceptual framework that we know builds on fundamental pillars: The expropriation of land and economy. From there on we can speak of truly giving people power when it comes to governance; creating real mechanisms of accountability. These are conversations around direct (non-partisan) democracy at local government. While at National and Provincial government level we can look at semi-direct democracy (mixing both direct and representative democracy), that gives citizens:
- Referendum power on all major issues
- Initiative to call for a referendum on anything they deem necessary, and to propose amendments to legislation
- The power to recall any public officials
- The power to veto any decisions taken by representatives
We have the technology and capacity available to put such systems in place and creating other means of real time mechanisms of accountability for an efficient, people-centred government. Imagine if tomorrow for instance we could propose which candidates would best manage SAA, have a direct say in the selection, and even set employment contracts up.
It stretches further to trade and economic partners, the relationships we have and how they serve us right to the ordinary citizen. What resistance are we going to be met with from those who benefit from the status quo and how are we going to negotiate it?
Thus we say the term “solutions” can’t be carelessly thrown.
Ultimately it is the motherland that comes first, its children; not a political party, not a corporate, not Bretton Woods institutions, but the children of the soil which our forefathers died for. Any solution is to be for them primarily.
“If you fail to understand white supremacy (racism), what it is and how it works, everything else that you understand will only confuse you.” ~ Neely Fuller Jr
To better explain this quote I am going to use artwork from one of my favourite schools of thought, Surrealism (out of which Aimé Césaire and others formed the Négritude movement that would tutor and influence Frantz Fanon)… In 1929, Belgian Surrealist artist, Rene Magritte completed a painting of a smoking pipe, titled it: The treachery of images. The caption of the image: This is not a pipe (translated from French – Ceci n’est pas une pipe.). When you look at the painting, the first thing your mind is going to tell you is that this is a pipe, but in actual fact it is not a pipe – it is only a picture of a pipe. A pipe is three-dimensional, and the picture two-dimensional, and that is the first point of departure to many realities about a pipe you wouldn’t get from the image, like using the image pipe to smoke. So Rene was right, it is not a pipe. Surrealism questions the perception of reality based on observation, because that observation is usually informed by predetermined barriers in one’s imagination through socialised constructs and permissible thinking that Noam Chomsky articulates in his quote: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum…”
White Supremacy is an advanced system – a labyrinth – that has been at it for centuries now; it requires critical thinking and further critiquing of that critical thinking to be able to first grasp its function, thorough institutionalisation and sovereign control right down to even how people think and the outlook they have about every facet of their lives. Only then can we be able to discuss how to break from its confines. It is not something you understand at first glance because you are most likely going to call it what it looks like, and not what it is. We need to understand what we are facing and fighting against before anything else, without this we will move from one trap to another, from one box to another; it is something Sun Tzu captures beautifully his war strategy masterpiece.
The outcomes of the future are on us and what we do today, whether future generations will bless us or curse us is on all of us. Read proactively, visit libraries, archive centres, open access journals and if you can ask someone who has access to paid journals (another criminal thing is to privatise information) do it. Explore alternative knowledge and not just the mainstream views that conceal the truth, dig deeper as it is still free and will lead you to understanding what is going on around you and becoming critical thinker. A lot rests on a raised consciousness level of the masses; our discerning abilities will be sharper and our public opinion deeper and more informed. Everyone must pray the Frantz Fanon prayer: that their bodies make of them people who question. We must question everything, and I mean everything.
*** For those who don’t know the Sipho Pityana article I am talking about, you can find it here: