In Response to Judith February: Dasnois is not a martyr in Mandela Legacy claim!

 – Mandela the myth, a legacy conveniently abused with ’white’ interest and benefit as base –


I read your article in the Star of December 19, 2013 on Madiba’s Legacy as immanent in not kowtowing to power. Certainly, Mandela has left a legacy for all of us but this legacy is coloured by what shades you wear. 


You have chosen to focus on the defence of the constitution as your handle, to argue your premise, which I have no challenge or gripe with, since I know what CASAC stands for in principle. Yet in this article the attempt at giving proverbial legs to your contention of protection of constitution you have proven ultra – selective to remember what was said where and when in the funeral service of Madiba.


Among others, you choose to quote Nandi Mandela who gave a very balanced perspective of her grandfather. What you perhaps did not hear or deliberately choose not have heard is Nandi’s equal plea to those who forever point fingers. If Nandi says let us ‘stop pointing fingers’, she is saying quit having this self-righteous attitude towards others.  There are those in this season as an earlier note I penned attest who think it their inalienable right to point fingers to others using Mandela as a scarecrow. These seldom contribute anything meaningful and oppose self-introspection for their overarching role is adjudicating political leadership.


The challenge with Mandela is that he was both myth and man; the mythical side of Mandela comes paraded in volumes from those who choose to deify this man. They bastardize his legacy from their own ideological preferences and read into his legacy their own outcomes and desires. It is bastardization because these are their views and interpretations from potentially pre-conceived notions, which they want to, give credence in using a Mandela. 


You also choose to quote Bishop  Z. Siwa for one statement in which he said, “we have more takers that givers” among our leadership. Again as so common in our SA narrative, this is read into only political leadership. No one under any circumstances will justify any wrong our political leaders do, yet this one sided understanding of leadership immanent only in political leadership as the maximum symbol is worth castigating.


When the theologian Siwa took us in a reduced 16 minutes on a riveting contextual homily informed by due exegesis of the text in Matthew 25 on the Talents it was not to give us a tunnel vision interpretation of the text. Yet it was to challenge all levels, all spheres, and all aspects of our society in which leadership prevails.


One can cite a thousand examples spanning the clergy, business, civil society, education, public intellectuals, youth etc. spheres of post-apartheid South Africa that speaks to this claim. Why you singularly interpreted this on political leadership I fail to understand unless your mirror was a tiring Nkandla.

Why not broaden that mirror to include the corruption of multinational construction companies whom our beloved  media refer in sin to as collusion and cartels. This is what Siwa spoke about when he said ‘takers’. The fact that the suppliers of bread (one of the most necessary commodities) in SA can in greed and corruption fix prices that hurts the poor breathes this ‘takers’ etiquette. The fact that cell-phone companies refuse to drop their connection fees and exhibits the takers and not givers’ leadership.  The fact that banks can agree on what the going rate for mortgage loan is communicates this ‘takers’ mentality.  A praxis in which the workers still earns a pittance but CEO’s  of corporates can earn exorbitant  7 and 8 figure packages  breathes this  very takers mind-set.  This takers mind-set life in the media agencies, which 20 years after democracy still prove racist in their employment and naturally skewed to benefit a certain sector of our society.

As an analyst analyse a society in which ‘white’ people remain the benefactors and the de-facto right holders of a practice of reconciliation for their benefit. Please tell us why and equally challenge why Indians today are the signpost of our freedom and the masses still do not have.


Why the needs to one dimensionally interpret the words of Bishop Siwa and Nandi Mandela to bolster a case of attack of Constitution remains unclear.


South Africa’s constitution is not under threat by those in power but it is at times under threat by the very ones who claim a custodianship in self-assignment. Those who engender and pontificate this fear rhetoric have many intertwined friends, these include public intellectuals as yourself you who long time ago made up your mind on an ANC leadership and thus hardly can lift your mind to plateau of objectivity a normal expectation from claimed “intellectuals.” 


To argue the firing of an editor in the camp of the Cape Times a major issue pointing to constitutional threat, is to argue South Africa is located in the Northern hemisphere. Their employers employ editors and thus they are hired and fired all the time. The herd mentality of some in media embrace fuelled by rhetoric of fear undergirded by sensation is deplorable as this firing of Alide Dasnois as editor attests.


Alide Dasnois for some became a martyr in exemplification of a Mandela legacy, like you for reasons opaque to say the least. When Dasnois accepted her job as editor, was someone before her not fired or relieved of his/her duties, before in the history of the Cape Times? When she accepted the job, did she agree to a contract, which clearly speaks to conduct? Does her independence of mind function only now, under new black ownership when it never functioned under ‘white’ ownership? Scanning the advanced reasons for her firing leaves on to conclude those who  claim to know in herd-mentality fashion do so based on conjecture more than reason.


Is it not amazing that organisations such as R2K can come to the rescue of an Alide Dasnois, when their silence on the firing of between 3-5 black editors by Times Media Group remains palpable. From where all of a sudden this energy, is because Dasnois is ‘white’ and our prism on reconciliation is naturally slanted and calibrated to favour ‘whites’



I think this weak hashed and thoughtless attempt at making Dasnois’ personal relieve of duty a symbol of threat on a constitution draped in Mandela legacy defence is perhaps indolent. It simply cannot stand on the makeshift Mandela legacy legs. Thus, it is a feeble and forced attempt at bastardising Mandela’s legacy.


Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine

Independent Observer







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