Lest we fail the African child now ! (Keynote Address)

It is the 3rd year that I stand before you, still not sure, if someone else could not have done a better job, yet I was summoned back this year again. Humbled to be present and equally accepts the official Patron designation me bestowed.

May I therefore also extend apologies on behalf of my wife Valencia, who cannot share with us this moment only because she is a student steeped in final exams preparation, embedded in psychology and criminology subjects?

Distinguished guests present, Graduates, Educators, Family of the Honouree Mrs Foster, Edubuild Board and Staff Members and friends allow me for a moment to deliver this address with three- fold intent. In such I hope to address our parents of school going children, our graduates and ultimately to pay homage to a veteran in education embrace, Mrs. Elizabeth Foster to whom this Graduation and ceremony is dedicated.

“Suffer little Children, and forbid them not come unto me: for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven ‘Matthew 19: 13

These words  recorded in the account of Matthew’s Gospel  of Jesus Christ captured in Chapter 19 verse 13 to be precise constitutes the theme for our address this day.

2012, for all of us  in the arena of education was an extremely challenging year. We saw in this year the issue of textbooks delivery brought to court  in which the Limpopo Government and the National Government  Department of Basic Education  were embarrassed for failing the  African child  in not delivering textbooks on time at the beginning of the year. The Textbook saga had many jolts and twists and finally we can accept that the fiasco of textbook non-delivery was laid to rest since we now hear from the DBED that textbooks for the 2013 Academic year will be delivered at the respective schools by mid-December 2012. I shall give it my personal thumbs up, as valuable lessons learnt.

As if that was not enough, we heard of schools in the Northern Cape in particular Joe Morolong  (Kuruman) and  John Taole Gaetsewe  (Olifantshoek ) Districts completely in shambles with children absent from schooling recorded for at least 19 schools for over  four months.

This issue as we speak is still not resolved and the academic year is over.  So please pray for us as we continue our work in mediation efforts towards an amicable resolving of this prevailing impasse, in which the African child remains the biggest loser. As one who is personally involved in the Religious Intervention for these two areas, I was stunned to hear the advanced reasons, illogic, and supposed corroborating evidence for keeping the children away from schools and education. These vary from a need for a 135km tar road, to wild  claims of lack of service delivery, the removal of a mayor and the sitting of an ANC Branch.

Consulting with all relevant stakeholders led me to conclude that a disservice is done to the African child in the name of many things. In our house visits in for example Olifantshoek, I was moved to tears in conversation with parents and particular mothers when these proved adamant and immovable that the schools will remain closed until the shifting demands of the ‘community’ is met. I was challenged to my core to make sense of the logic for this, and  could not but stand gob-smacked by the insistence of parents in a sense of blind rage. This is the recipe for failing the African child, when the constitution is explicit on the child’s right to an education, and the African child with Apartheid already has an entrenched backlog.

The agony of my challenge is made self- evident in one particular  incident,  where a matriculant who chose to sit for the final exams in Keimoes at one of the Provincial ‘camps’ established, currently receives counselling because her parents refuse to speak with her branding her a sell-out. I watched our 17year old African children have to make tough choices in protection of their households. I saw 8 and 9 year olds, sitting on street corners used to observe who attends the meetings and report with military precision to the new community leadership who attended what meeting, rendering all those vulnerable for attack in petrol bomb manifestation.

I watched clergy deeply divided in political agenda of their own and wild in their utterances. I saw the plight of confused grade one faces, which have been abruptly drawn into an ugly political contest of adults in which self- interest is a guiding principle. I heard people say ‘ons wil ook n slag eet- hulle eet alleen’.


Baffled by the myriad of claims against others (which is not my right to adjudicate), I watched how many sought for them an opportunity to shine in the midst of the agony of this reality. We watched how the Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela too in typical proverbial cowboy style rode into these affected communities and pronounce on the processes when she had less understood the dichotomies and stark realities our deliberations and mediation encountered. Later she  too would concede in frustration it is only the church that can solve the impasse.

I have never seen communities so divided. We heard the agony of educators threatened by scholars, ‘meneer pass one pass all’ claims. We led meetings and saw how people one after the other disappear for fear that their homes will be petrol-bombed for attending these meetings.

We sat with young men, aged 19- 22 who have overnight risen to power and became the leaders of a community, some who never completed their grade 12, yet now leads the community in school closure. We witnessed politicians scared to enter their own constituencies and ask that we religious leaders lead the process.

Yet of all the faces I have seen, nothing and none other than the questioning grade 1 faces stuck in my memory and occupied the stratum of pensive reflection relentlessly. I awoke at nights  3 am in the morning and the agony of schools closure arrest me for I know my three boys goes to university and school every day without intimidation.

If I stand today before you graduates, teachers, educators, parents, spouses, esteemed community leaders, and our honouree Mrs. Foster who for 45 years have remained loyal to the calling of teaching, it is with a deep sense of trepidation and somewhat concern.

A concern borne from the state of our education yet more so the role of our parents in pursuance of this much-needed education. If I say the face of the grade 1 has gripped me, it is because the excitement of the grade one, as he/she enters the 12-year cycle remains a reality. I believe we owe the African child  more than what we are willing to give. The best we can give the African child is his/her opportunity to be educated to free him/her from the triplets of powerty, inequality and unemployment.

At this graduation of ECD educators and our special programme for our honouree, we must pause and ask ourselves some critical questions:

We can attempt to shift the blame to government, to apartheid to whomever but we cannot abdicate our conjoined Biblically instructed mandate as exacted by the God of our faith to lead our children.

The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga a few days ago  in De Aar was correct to remonstrate that parents cannot blame her department when their children engage in illicit irresponsible conjugal activities with a resultant effect of unwanted and early pregnancies.

In our country, we have developed a blame game mind-set in which we always want to play victim and make others villains. I am on record for having said Education remains the one flagship choice all administrations  of post-apartheid missed the opportunity to make.  You can falter  President Robert Mugabe on many things but when Zanu- PF came to power in 1980 Zimbabwe faced a collective of 9 critical impaired challenges, Yet Mugabe made one choice as his flagship, EDUCATION. The rest is history, because Zimbabweans are educated people who take education serious.

Notwithstanding our increasing expenditure on education as a priority amongst others, the disparity in a felt reality of such remains visible. The Government if expenditure on percentage of our fiscus is the guiding light remains committed to educating the African child yet there are many complexities, dialectical tensions, and competing interests that often overshadow the true expenditure question. Equally, succesful education programme requires more than money it must be rooted in responsible parenting. The answers are not easy for in all this there is role and aspect that warrant examination, I am afraid the Government and DBED is not the only role player contrary to what is bandied around.

We  parents have a distinguished and colossal role to fulfil.

  • We cannot claim a right to parenthood when we firstly show no interest in our school attending children’s academic life. Parenting means guiding our children in the right way, that includes our children being exposed to our direct interest in the actual curriculum and daily homework schedule.
  • We cannot claim a right to parenting without accepting we need to participate in the life of schooling with our children. That literally means active engagement in the School Governing Board structures of the respective schools our children attends.
  • We cannot claim a right to parenthood when we have not set together with our children individually and collectively annual academic goals for which we together develop a programme to be attained.
  • We cannot claim a right to parenthood if we cannot create an environment for education in our home fronts. That literally means TV, cell-phone, social media time restricted to accommodate effective and due time for the holistic development of our children.
  • We dare not claim a right to parenthood, if we allow our children to get away with doing homework before school, and we append our signatures as if it was about the signatures in the first place.
  • We dare not claim our parental rights if we have allowed our children regardless to how much we do for them at all fronts get away with 40% pass rates as a standard.
  • There is something wrong in our parenting if we spend our income on acquiring the latest fad of cell-phone technology for our children but cannot arrange for them for extra classes for the classes they struggle.
  • We have failed in parenting if we can mislead our children to believe a road, a politician or an aspect of service delivery is more important than them receiving education.
  • We have failed when we model to our children a lacklustre attitude of non-chalant behaviour in which we blame everyone but ourselves for the state of our education.
  • There is something wrong when parents are not bothered that our communities have school going children roaming on street corners during the hours of 8am – 2pm. There is something wrong if we as parents can smoke with our children and never challenge them as to why they are absent from school.

I guess I am arguing it is time we accept our responsibility of bringing the children back to God, the One who provides them an opportunity to improve themselves, the God who has established the institution of marriage, family and government.

If we today in 2012 sit with crises of education, it is directly related to our non-involvement in the lives in particular the school lives of the African child.

Yet we equally are here to congratulate our graduates for having completed the 2012 academic year and for now proving ready to serve as ECD educators and staff. ECD remains our critical area for cognitive development the foundation phase of childhood development and the premise from which we advance to a basic education, ultimately a tertiary education and eventually a readiness to contribute meaningfully in the demands and requirements that our evolving society asks for. Therefore as ECD educators you must know and appreciate the importance of your role in our children’s development, you cannot treat this aspect of education with a lacklustre attitude but be progressively conscious of the trust parents extend to place their children in your care.

It is this conviction that EDUBUILD is premised on. It is an unquestionable purpose that EDUBUILD emanates from, it is this foundation EDUBUILD from inception in evolving context shared. A persuasion deeply rooted in the centrality of appreciation for the greatest gifts we have been blessed with namely our children. Out of such conviction and faith, EDUBUILD seeks to engender culture and ethic of nurturing, cognitive growth, development, and holistic care, building the next generation one child at a time.

This ethic is embodied in the lifelong work of the person, women, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend and educator, Lady Foster. When we discussed the honouring of her life in this season it is out of the conviction that she is the mirror image of the real educator, echoing  from an epoch when teaching was a calling.

When the passion for development was less contaminated with economic well-being, but pristine in virginity of innocence and upright in pursuit. A time when parents valued education as the only key to a future out of the trapped status of poverty, malnutrition and struggle to a better life. When we pause again to remind ourselves of the words in the Matthew 14, Suffer the little children not… we can eloquently declare Mrs. Elizabeth Foster is from such a time, when education represented our only escape from the apartheid shackles of racist classification and definition of people who lived together in Germiston, Sophiatown and many other places like District Six in the Western Cape.

The one we pause and honour today stands unique in her own her illustrious career in education started at Reigerpark Primary and meanders through a number of schools such as Goedehoop Primary, Lakeside Primary,  Coronation Primary and eventually Germiston Primary school.

A true educator at heart and praxis  upon observing the ECD arena discovered that most centres were preparing staff only to care for the children with playing as a base. This propelled her in 1999  to venture out to develop a formalised programme to train ECD staff as proper educators assisting and helping what we now know as Grade R band.

Lady Foster, did this whilst rearing her own  four children plus others, remained active in her church and community context and is affectionately  called until today as we say in Afrikaans ‘Juffrou’.  A title reverently reserved for educators and the wives of the clergy. Not only has she initiated EDUBUILD in that sense but also proved entrepreneurial for launching it with her own limited resources.  Out of this vision many successful ECD centres are operative today.

Today EDUBUILD graduates  excluding the 33 of this year are in access of 400. The EDUBUILD ALUMNI is swiftly moving to 50o an achievement unparalleled given the historical context and the challenges Mrs. Foster had to contend during the many years of seeing her vision crystallise.

We want to pause and pay homage to this veteran of 45 years, this mother of  many, this grandmother, this principal, this educator, this friend and confidante yet for many of us simply JUFFROU, for life. For the many years of sacrifice, the many years of challenge and  thousands of children’ lives you directly impacted.

Lady Foster, you have equally transferred your skills and passion to your children in particular Mrs. Florizel Adolph, who now heads up EDUBUILD and under her leadership, EDUBUILD is bound to increase and grow to new heights and levels. The success of any true leader is the capacity to reproduce oneself in another. Juffrou het daarin geslaag om haarself te dupliseer in Florizel, inderdaad haar kinders is almal betrokke by opvoeding, dit spreuk boekdele van die vaardigheid and begaafdheid van iemand soos Juffrou Foster.

Allow me to conclude by quoting perhaps one of the finest minds of this era former President Thabo M. Mbeki the same one we celebrate as the 11th ANC president in this Centenary Celebration. We thus quote this astute mind when he in 1996 at the adoption by the constitutional assembly of ‘ The Republic of South African Constitutional Bill 1996’ eloquently reminds us “Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace! However improbable it may sound to the sceptics, Africa will prosper” –  ‘ At times, and in fear I have wondered whether I should concede equal citizenship of our country to the leopard and the lion, the elephant and the springbok, the hyena, the black mamba and the pestilential mosquito, A human presence among all these , a feature  on the face of our native land thus defined, I know that none dare challenge me when I say – I am an African”

With this conviction of our African identity as an uncontested, with this our presence here in the confines of our continent a reality beyond reason, let us raise our hands to train African Children, who know who they are, African children free from the trapped state of hopelessness, African children who can dream unencumbered, explore without borders, and define our new canvas economically, politically, morally and with a God consciousness second to none, for this is our moment to let the African child count if we have any hope of a future, if we have any dream of a next generation if we have any persuasion and belief in our emancipation of all encroaching evil whispers.

Let the attitude and mind  of Lady  Foster, a true African resonate in all of us, who could not allow wrong to go in unabated, who could not allow half-measures to prevail, but who became conscious of the greater need, willing to sacrifice any and everything for this convicted cause, until we have today again assembled to celebrate that vision that kept her awake, in 1999.

My solitary plea, we dare not fail the African child in this season in not affording him/her access to education, by creating an environment for learning. It was Marinos the philospher who said ‘TRUE LEARNING FLOURISHES IN CHAOS’. Out of this chaos may we learn as parents prove conscious as Africans to be there for the African child in education demand.


Let us be AFRICANS for we can be nothing else… Thank you fellow AFRICANS…

Dr. Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Patron of Edubuild

Occasion : Edubuild Empowerment Centre Graduation – November 10, 2012 Freeway Park Boksburg


ANC Secretary General Position: Mantashe will get a second term uncontested !



The Road to Mangaung, exemplified in Presidential race has another dimension if the office of Secretary General comes into contention.


I have exhausted the presidential debate with my  unsolicited individual commentary of the four claimed contenders (Sexwale, Phosa, Motlanthe, and Zuma).


It is time to move on and take the position of Secretary General under the spotlight, that we may conclude the personality (individuals) issue and move on to discuss the real issues of policies to be reviewed and discussed at Mangaung.


I hold that we all spent too much time focussing on personalities instead of the much-needed engagement of the proposed policies.


Let me then conclude by focussing on the position of secretary general, which second to that of president is the much made of discourse of change if you listen to some.


The incumbent Gwede Mantashe former Chairperson of the SACP is occupying perhaps the de-facto CEO of the ANC position, arguably the most powerful individual in organisational context.


The debate around the office of the SG similar to the Presidency change debate engineered by ANCYL or should we says some of the ANCYL who have chosen to divide the ANC into factions for their own benefit.


The youth league has been brave enough to suggest they want the SG replaced, and substituted with one of their own, former ANCYL leader, Fikile Mbalula, whom they claim should step up and fill this position. Citing the history of such generational mix leadership firstly evident in the election of the late icon Walter Sisulu, who occupied this position at the tender age of 37 as the premise for such demand?


It is therefore perhaps time to assess Mantashe as Secretary General and the term he served.


Mantashe the former mine worker born in rural Eastern Cape Lower Cala in Transkei to be precise at some point in time worked in the Northern Cape mines has come a long way. This unionist, whose contribution in organised labour is very recorded and decorated is since 2007 occupying the seat of Secretary General of the ANC.


He brings together the combination of the workers interest, the plight of the poor yet he understands the macro realities informing our political economy and has an epistemology that deserves admiration to say the least.



1. Very few people may want to know but Mantashe holds a Master’s degree of postgraduate qualification from Wits University, besides his B. Comm (Hons) from UNISA obtained in 2002. This in a country that is obsessed with political leadership  exemplified in degrees of decoration, as a sign of true capacity to lead. This should silence all those who argue the current leadership bereft of intellectual capacity.


2. Mantashe known for his frankness of opinion proves at times controversial for the media to contain, for he airs the prism of his mind even on thorny issues. This has set him apart from many. Yet anyone that leads an organisation like the ANC and have to contend with a plethora of issues  from within and equally from oppositional disposition must prove frank, for ambiguity can be a sign of weak leadership.


3. Mantashe, in his term had to deal with the expectations of the assortment of the wounded who came together for a variety of reasons and agendas and he quickly placed the interest of the ANC above that of the individual ambitions of many who thought Polokwane meant an opportunity to also move closer to the trough.


4. Mantashe managed in a very difficult season of his term to prove his leadership in instituting disciplinary procedures. There will be those who will attempt to give it a spin of factionalism, which remains an opaque claim, but no one, can argue there is a better sense of organizational discipline as we speak in the ANC in November 2012 than a year ago. He too this day defends the decision to institute disciplinary action against the former ANCYL leader Julius Malema, this whilst his colleague and deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is on record for believing the opposite.


5. Mantashe, shares the glory of an expanded ANC in membership sense. If and since the ANC has grown in leaps and bounds and exceeds the 1million target set for itself Mantashe can rightfully claim that in comparison to his predecessor current Deputy President Motlanthe he has led the process of growing the ANC.


6. Mantashe goes to Mangaung having left his claimed youth league nominee Min. Fikile Mbalula in the dust. Mbalula who now practically rejected by the vocal and manoeuvring Gauteng ANC Leadership seems to playing Russian roulette with his own political future. The latest slates reveal that Gauteng has had many mind shifts for they started with Mbalula then groped for a Joel Netshitenze now they have Mantashe as their preferred candidate for SG at Mangaung. This speaks volumes for he has entrenched himself in uniqueness as one who simply cannot be replaced at whim predicated on the contribution he has made.


7. Mantashe’ is at times accused of a sense of reactionary behaviour manifested for some  inconsiderate lending him as an authoritarian, yet whilst that in my assessment possibly may be a characteristic trademark of the person (let us not forget he at one stage would have been like so many others a candidate to be priest of vocation).


The truth is the position of SG is one where many fights and wars rage against the movement its leaders, policies, and it warrants a SG to be vocal and at time authoritative if, leadership is required.


8. Mantashe’s term as secretary general has seen no claimed business shenanigans performed or engaged by his office, at least as reported. He therefore has respected the office of the Secretary General by not making it a wheel-deal office with personal benefit as the core.


We know that for example the Treasurer General is a businessperson and conducts business whilst serving in his position of Treasurer General (I am not saying he is conducting business from his  TG office). One is not sure if the ANC will develop a clear policy for  its officials being involved directly in business at a later stage, but currently its remains open-ended. That is a topic for another day.


9. The credit for a successful Policy conference in preparation of Mangaung is another shared feather in the cap of Mantashe’s leadership as Secretary General. This though the policy development process resorts under the chairperson of the policy subcommittee, Jeff Radebe, in a collective sense ultimately Mantashe similar to the President can claim a role in the success of such.


Despite the wild claims of how divided the ANC purports to be policy conferences often is a true indication of where the organisation finds itself.


The last policy conference of July, vocal as it always is delivered critical policy considerations for the ANC to discuss and conclude on at Mangaung. The managing of this process is therefore another reason why the current SG will stay in power.


10. Under Mantashe’s leadership as SG, the ANC is listening to opinion makers, intellectuals, and people who shape discourse in the SA political canvas. The current intervention led by Thami-Ka Plaatje to make the ANC more accessible to the intellectuals is a commendable effort, which again shows foresight on the part of Mantashe as a proactive leader willing to learn from those who may not agree with the ANC.  (As one who participated in  the last session at the Soweto – University Johannesburg  Campus, it proved a cross-breed of diverse views and ideologies gathering to engage the policy platforms for a Mangaung reality)


11. Under Mantashe, the ANC continues its agreed reach out programme to the “minorities” by engaging a multiplicity of groups of various definitions. We have seen concerted efforts to engage the Afrikaner communities, we have seen engagements with the Khoi-San leaderships, we have seen engagements with groups of people of right or wrongly Coloured definitions. This confirms the ANC in its DNA a sensitive organization and under the SG leadership of Mantashe, this principle lives.


12. The Mantashe SG leadership saw a fierce defence of the president for some myopically interpreted as a defence of Jacob Zuma the person, yet those who advance the latter fails to accept that an attack on the presidency constitutes a de facto attack on the ANC and such must be challenged regardless who the president may be. So rightly Mantashe led the campaign against the much made of Brett Murray claimed art. Equally so,  Mantashe defended the sitting democratically elected ANC leadership when Malema and others proved disrespectful.


13. Mantashe feared not to reprimand the Treasurer General Matthews Phosa on his divisive tendencies, exposing chasms of divides.


14. He rightly challenged the Top 6 and 80 plus members of the ANC to respect the principle of Collective leadership and to accept the successes and failures of this current ANC leadership as their own and quit blaming one person conveniently in selective amnesia sense.


16. Mantashe as SG proved frank on the subject of a claimed BEE entitlement subculture that has shaped the canvas of black empowerment in a wrongful sense. He did this to the annoyance of some involved as black business when he honestly ask the question as to why building a school costs 4/5 more if a black company builds it then a white company.


This in my assessment starts an honest discourse as to how BEE is enslaving many to entitlement and an abuse of state resources.


17. Mantashe realising and possibly advised saw the need to step down from the position of SACP chairperson to focus whole-heartedly on the ANC work; this was a brave but commendable move because he was not doing justice to the SACP office since the office of SG proves very demanding. Maybe he like all has his own rightful ambitions, and has made that move conscious of such.


18. Mantashe has consistently maintained the ANC as one ANC and not factions of groups constituting the ANC in division. Yet he was honest in conceding that factionalism is gnawing at the ANC, with self-interest as the fuel for such.


19. The Secretary General’s report which really is a progress report of the implementation of the adopted last conference policies would attest that the Polokwane resolutions a type of KPA for the office of the SG in implementation remains on track and there has been no serious deviation.


20. Five weeks before the claimed Mangaung of Revenge ( which I have long said nothing will come of), there is no conclusive evidence to suggest Mantashe will not serve his second term. His youth nominee simply is no challenger and Mbalula finds himself in the hell-hole of questioning, betrayal, rejection and serious potential of being off loaded from his cabinet post by January 2013.


Therefore, the SG will be retained without any challenge! The truth and not emotion would confirm there was never a contest for this office.


Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Courtesy ‘Road to Mangaung – Pretenders to the Throne’

December 8, 2012



The Good leadership Debate: A dishonest discourse allowed to continue unabated!


– Why those who argue South Africa needs good leadership are wrong?-

In recent times the debate on South African leadership has received much publicity, most of it coming from a cohort of analysts across all walks of our refusing summer to come canvas.


This cohort is not free from those who act as new claimed moral guardians, academics, and politicians even now former presidents in Thabo Mbeki and FW De Klerk. These have joined the lamenting chorus of Ramphela, Pityana, Habib, the bias Midrand Group afforded space galore to vent the systemic campaign in the name of a yesteryear celebration of whomever as the maximum symbol of so-called good leadership.


The challenge firstly for me on this subject lies in the fact that leadership for the crossbreed of commentators and those I already mentioned is conveniently narrowly and exclusively defined in political leadership.


These have deliberately and opaquely drawn the contours of the leadership definition and question from an arrogated purist vantage point, in which leadership is understood as measured in a political term definition. This is a deliberate and very misleading attempt at superimposing their conclusive views on that of a person namely a sitting president as the prove of such bemoaned leadership.


Those who argue we need good leadership have for whatever reason not proven honest to reflect on their direct portfolios, in giving us as active and involved people their analysis of South Africa defined for example in education if they are educators. They prove silent conveniently so because it works for the campaign they drive on personality definition.


Those who are critical and vocal on the state of leadership often fail to admit their role nor do they prove eloquent and honest enough to state in categoric sense their personal role, involvement in the claimed “bad leadership” paradigm they advocate.


Our commentators also come from various defending dispositions. When De Klerk reprimands South- Africa and castigates the ANC leadership it is primarily in defence of his racist apartheid-led administration. It is really a regret of decision, less of deep concern for a nation but for a particular race groups benefit.


When Mbeki is talking of his concerns it is essentially from the bedrock of a one-eyed Johari window confirmed believe that his administration gave good leadership, that makes this leadership weak, rudderless etc, therefore worthy of critique if not flagrant disrespect, forgetting how sensitive his administration was to criticism from any corner.


If Ramphela proves scathing it is from her claimed rightful or wrong association of a Biko and black consciousness in romantic terms for a people desperate to hear the somewhat rhetoric of Black Consciousness that in many instances is not practical nor relevant in this context. It is equally to advocate she hold a moral meridian and high ground when she betrayed the quest for educational equality as head of UCT in failing to transform this colonial institution where Cecil John Rhodes looms larger than life


When Mashele week after treat his readers to his pet hate of a sitting president whom he blames for everything even the refusal for the 2012 Summer to settle. He proves less honest with his readers for he has failed to prove objective and has perhaps become the very bad leadership in analyst, intellectual or academic sense that he mellifluously questions in political leadership.


When the likes of Raymond Suttner, out of their yesteryear role regardless to how minuscule in this season speaks out against this political leadership it is in claim of him and others being the claimed consciousness of what a SACP leadership was and should be. Always feeling entitled to be the adjudicator of what is wrong and right and with less objectivity to critique their roles in that yesteryear context. 

Those who bemoan good leadership argue the country is sliding and on a slippery slide, they could be right because there are reasons to argue we have lost areas and should guard against losing more, yet they never tell us what this sliding has as genesis. If they do attempt to earmark a genesis, it is usually  and conveniently rooted in a ANC Polokwane Conference of 2007.


It is convenient for them to argue this as the premise because  for them Polokwane 2007 marks an era and space in time when ‘good leadership’ was proverbially kicked in its teeth. How dishonest and economic in truth this contention?


Those who opine on the state of good leadership also encamp in what I choose to call the proverbial brook of wailing where they only see the decay of leadership as a jaundiced adjudicator’s right, and not from personal introspective mind.


Leadership these claim without ever saying it too loud is best understood or exemplified in university academic achievement of a degree. These forget that many of the crises of the world were brought about by very well-trained in Ivy League University sponsored graduates.


The debate on good leadership is such a necessary one but less from a deliberately constricted platform of political dimension as base.


The debate on good leadership remains a critical one if we seeking to eke out a collective morality of social cohesion, tolerance and sharing, less from throwing stones behind glass walls.


The discourse on leadership is an overdue debate not since Polokwane but before Mandela stepped into Tuynhuis, and the future of the masses became compromised at the altar of a reconciliation in which the poor remained poor and the rich further enriched, with a now blessed constitutional franchise right of equality when our society was never equal.



Good leadership the necessary quest is needed when our racially segregated communities numbed good leadership and those who were educated and blessed departed from these communities to be integrated into a culture of difference they longed and yearned for silently defined as better.



Good leadership is needed in Faith and church context where clergy became multi-millionaires in the name of their role of the struggle and now has thus made this wealth their personal family estate.


Good leadership is needed when aspiring preachers understand the success of pastoring as that, which is a Bentley, a house on a hill and name brand clothing, if not a celebrity pursuit.


Good leadership is needed when educators sent their children to better non- striking schools when the same informed by their organized labour (trade union)  association can engage in labour strike action where other parents’ kids are affected.



Good leadership is needed when BEE as practiced has become the blueprint for business success and political association is the guiding light for your next million. When our current crop of Black billionaires are only billionaires because of their political connections less of any true entrepreneurial flair.


Good leadership is needed when the media in stubbornness of entrenched ideology and claimed fourth-estate right refuses to celebrate the achievements ANC led post-apartheid brought,  for it has taken a position as opposition to the current democratic government as their mantra.


Good leadership is required when mining houses can extract the value of R100m of product per week,  to export to the first world countries where the very mining houses are listed on stock exchanges. This in the face of struggling community reflecting abject poverty, un-tarred roads, lack of infrastructure and absent community development.


Good leadership is needed when some can adjudicate and prove scathing when they sit in blackness of identity, as board members of white capital as mere tokens, with good benefits of the very same mines that rob us from the very community enhancement so desperately needed.


Good leadership is needed when academics can use their academic cloaks and prowess to reveal their trapped ideological encampments. Even to defend disparities of ideologies refuting the right for contrary views to exist, less of progressive pursuit but as education mafia-dons.


Good leadership is needed when in a community like Olifantshoek in the Northern Cape, parents can prove this shortsighted to insist their children will not go to school until a mayor is recalled, a road is built, and or a ANC branch must sit.


Good leadership is desperately needed when young girls fall pregnant for receiving a social grant and spend the money on airtime and weaves (fake hairpieces).


Good leadership is needed when pastors can act as Demi-gods, chasing every skirt and Mammon in the name of pastoral authority. When South African pastors act subservient to overseas so-called covering bodies who is out to merely rape these African spiritual communities demanding upfront $20000 fees, limousine-driven transportation, 7 star hotel and exorbitant honoraria. What makes any one fall for this speaks of bad leadership.



Good leadership is necessary when fellow  Top 6 and NEC leaders can judge the leadership and not own up to the collective reality of decision making of the ruling party. Bad leadership affords these to abdicate their conjoined role in what they regard as bad leadership exemplified in an individual whose position they aspire to.



Good leadership is required when opposition parties are allowed to narrowly understand and interpret their role and meaning of existence in myopic oppositional platform only. Therefore disowning a role wider and more constructive than this.


Good leadership is necessary for it should help a former president admit, that I was wrong to have afforded my view on HIV – AIDS to dictate the response of my administration when people were dying in droves.


Good leadership is needed when businesses and companies can play Russian- roulette with the lives of its workers, and prove heartless since all that matters is margins defined in profit.


Good leadership is required when a president can hear the cry of the people against an Nkandla in its current form, and opt to interfere politically to the benefit of the masses.


Good leadership is required when some from their high-glass-towers and sand castles can pelt rocks because they believe it their inalienable right to adjudicate but never to self-critique their role in this bad leadership.


So this disjointed critique and dishonest reflection of good leadership is perpetuated in our social and public discourse advanced by those who claim themselves analysts but never a part of the South Africa they assess conveniently in paradigms that suit their real agendas.


I have reason to question the authenticity of this their quest – good leadership – if it fails to accept collective blame for the decay, and commit to work for it without looking at the speck in others eyes, neglecting the plank in their own.