Month: Dec 2009

REJOINDER TO MICHAEL COETZEE’S RIDICULOUS PIECE AND THE TRUTH ABOUT HIV /AIDS DRUGS

While I am not an ANC member and will probably never be one, the rubbishing of the late Dr. Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang on trumped-up charges by The Citizen columnist, Michael Coetzee and condemning her in the manner he did should and will not go unchallenged, (The Citizen, December 24. 2009).

It is absolute twaddle to concoct outrageous statistics that in 40 years the Apartheid regime killed only 2000 while HIV/AIDS kills 1000 people every day. Millions of Africans died of preventable diseases, malnutrition in the mines and prisons. What about cross-border raids and Apartheid South Africa’s destabilization of the Frontline states in the then SADCC region in the 1970’s and 1980’s that resulted in the deaths of more than 5 million children, according to a UNICEF report during that time?

KNOWLEDGE IS THE FOUNDATION OF A PROSPEROUS NATION

“A nation that reads is a nation that grows”, said Tony Simanga (50) a founder of Book club in Mamelodi Township near Tshwane. An avid reader with a burning desire to take readership back to the people of Mams.

His utterance was fuelled by his discovery in the importance and thrilling world of reading. Having identified a need for reading among youth aimed at keeping them away from vulnerable temptation of drug abuse and crime. He did not give up!

Simanga says reading brings knowledge that will make people take informed decisions. To encourage readership and create a platform that expose residents to various type of reading material Simanga challenge Mamelodi Intellectual academics to come together and make his initiative a success.

Tribute to Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang

The true greatness of a person is measured by the impact that person has on the lives of others. This statement rings true for the Minister of Health Dr Mantombazana Edmie Tshabalala-Msimang who has touched the lives of many in different ways.

In a country marked by a high burden of diseases, inequality and abject poverty, to succeed in improving access to quality health care requires nothing less than absolute devotion and loyalty to serve one’s country. Such is the profound devotion that the Minister of Health has shown.
Born in Emfume south coast of Durban on the 9th of October 1940, the young Manto completed her high school education at Inanda Seminary School in 1959.

In 1962, shortly after the African National Congress was banned, a young and eager Manto after completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Fort Hare was ordered with a group of 27 other spirited students to go into exile by the ANC leadership. She was in exile for 28 years. These students including Thabo Mbeki who fled the country under the guise of being members of a football team – had been identified as future leaders of South Africa who would one day return triumphantly to the country of their birth. They were arrested several times and thrown in jail before being flown into Tanganyika (now Tanzania), where the young Manto spent most of her years in exile.

Prior to her departure, her mother had implored her: “to do something for me if I should never see you again – become a medical doctor”, the promise Dr Tshabalala-Msimang fulfilled under difficult conditions. She completed her medical studies, hopeful that one day she would return to her country. She graduated from the First Leningrad Medical Institute in the then U.S.S.R.
She spent time practicing medicine in various African countries – an experience that put her in touch with the real victims of poverty. This experience spurred her to further her education by gaining, amongst other qualifications, a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Antwerpen in Belgium.

THE SHENANIGANS OF THE TRIPARTITE ALLIANCE

Let me make it clear that I hold no brief for the current ANCYL or its President. At the same time I also have no truck with the shenanigans of the unholy and unprincipled tripartite alliance which is characterized by parasitism and opportunism. But might I remind Blade Nzimande and Gwede Mantashe that the ANCYL is a formation of the ANC not an alliance partner that is parasitically and opportunistically clinging on to the ANC. The SACP has been riding on the coat tails of the ANC for far too long and it was about time that it should go it alone rather than being so grumpy and grouchy.

Mantashe told ANCYL President that he (Mantashe) wasn’t at the SACP special congress for the ANC. He said, “This is an SACP congress…” That is a typical problem of dual membership. Mantashe is Secretary General of the ANC. However he attends an SACP congress not as a member of the ANC, and yet he has the gall and temerity to tell SACP delegates at that SACP special national conference “to swell the ranks of the ANC” in order, as Nzimande unashamedly put it, “to reflect its character and strength as it seeks to influence decisions (read policies) in both the ANC and government”. This is blatantly parasitic and opportunistic. Why do they want to swell the ranks of the ANC and reflect their character and strength in the ANC in order to influence decisions in both the ANC and government rather than swelling the ranks of the SACP?

NOTHING NEW ABOUT THE ‘NEW’ APPROACH ON HIV/AIDS

The Jacob Zuma ANC-led government’s “new approach to HIV and AIDS” represents the height of hypocrisy coupled with posturing and grand standing. Zuma did it for money because already he has received pledges of financial support from some western quarters. Zuma and his ruling party colleagues are on the take.

It was reported towards the end of September 2009 that President Jacob Zuma criticized former President Thabo Mbeki in a CNN television interview saying Mbeki acted outside government and party directives on HIV and AIDS. Zuma was part of the Mbeki government that came up with the policies his administration is now criticizing and he was also heading the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) during the reign of Mbeki. The truth is that ANC policies on HIV/AIDS have failed.

CULTURAL IMPACT ON PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Social ills in African communities are connected to dysfunctional relationships between parents and children, among siblings, relatives, friends, generations, colleagues and lovers. An evaluation of the sources of murder, robbery, housebreaking, fraud, substance abuse and all other self inflicted social ills, confirms the interrelation between these vices and dysfunctional relationships.

The extent of this social deficiency is self evident in murder and suicide statistics. It is an established trend that the first suspect in investigation of gruesome murders is usually the victim’s spouse. It is sad that most murders occurs with spouses involvement in the planning or/and execution. The public domain is full of insurance spouse payouts schemes; prisons are full of domestic violence related offenders; and the courts hear bitter accusations and counter-accusations between spouses or ex-lovers.

High teenage suicide crisis is another reflection of this social crisis. The main cause of these young lives cut short is disappointments by lovers, parents’ expectations and bullying by peers.

Indeed personal relationships are a cultural matter. The rules of engagement, expectations and conducts are defined within a cultural context. There are visible community scars resulting in centuries of active and consistent cultural genocide directed at African people. The resilience of African culture is taking a toll and therefore the centre no longer holds hence community disorientation. The cultural disorientation of Africans has resulted in collapse of personal relationship pillars. Individualism, pride, ego, showing off and self centeredness were heavily discouraged within African communities in favour of collective values and common good. An individual is nurtured to develop personality traits that enhance the strength of relationships.

The cultural chaos visited upon us has deprived Africans of their most productive time in their lives. This crisis demonstrates that economic trends play a crucial role in the cultural development and outlook of a people. The gender war is also caused by shallow assimilation to foreign culture which hits during the peak of the individual’s economic participation. This is the age of thirty to fifty when a person has acquired skills and substantial experience to contribute to society productively. It is for this reason that culture is consistently assaulted. The assault is designed to guarantee permanent dominion of Africa’s enemies.

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