Month: Jul 2010

SHORT PROFILE OF JAFTA KGALABI “THE TIGER OF AZANIA” MASEMOLA

Jafta Kgalabi Masemola – “The Tiger of Azania” also popularly known as “Bra Jeff” by many others, was born at Bon Accord near Pretoria on the 12th December 1931. He lost both his parents at an early age and was raised by his sister like one of her own children. The family moved to Marabastad and then to Atteridgeville in 1942 where he enrolled at De Jong Primary School and completed standard six in 1947. He proceeded to Hofmeyr Secondary School where he obtained a Junior Certificate in 1950. Then he went to Kilnerton Training Institution (KTI) where he did his Higher Primary or Teacher’s Training Certificate.

His first teaching post was in Atteridgeville where he worked on a temporary basis until he got a permanent post at Mmakau Primary School (Rama) in Western Transvaal . In 1956 he returned to Atteridgeville to teach at Banareng Primary School where Mr. Rammopo Makhudu was principal. In 1958 he joined the Youth League of the African National Congress. He was impressed by the vigorous politics of the principal. In 1959 he joined the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania at its inception and thus became one of its founding leaders. His Africanist politics influenced the school children and some his colleagues. As a result some of his pupils became members of the PAC when they got to high schools and were later incarcerated with him on Robben Island in 1963.

After the banning of the PAC on April 8, 1960 under the Unlawful Organizations Act, Jafta Masemola continued with underground activities. He and other operatives formed underground structures that were planning an armed revolt in 1963; to this effect they gathered whatever weapons they could put their hands on for the planned uprising. The state security police uncovered these activities and Jafta Masemola and other underground activists were arrested during a swoop on PAC-Poqo suspects on the night of March 21st, 1963.

THE WEST CHOOSES HEROES FOR US TO FURTHER THEIR NEFARIOUS AGENDA

There is this crazy thing about the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday and the exaggeration of his role in the South Africa’s struggle for liberation. There is also overemphasis on the issue of the 67 years he put in the struggle. Some of his fellow comrades, like Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu, who were incarcerated with him on Robben Island, put in more years than Mandela in serving humanity. Anton Lembede, Ashby Peter Mda, Zeph Mothopeng and Oliver Tambo were involved in the struggle for liberation long before Mandela. Now what is so significant about Mandela’s 67 years in the struggle? The Western media, UN and Mandela foundations and charities set up after his retirement in 1999, are in the forefront of promoting this Mandela Day. The Western media sets the agenda for us and also decides for us who our important heroes are – the hierarchisation of struggle heroes.

According to the Western media, UN and the Mandela foundations and charities we should all forget the imperialist brokered sellout deals Mandela clinched in secret with representatives of Apartheid regime. They also want us to be in a permanent state of amnesia concerning the accusation against Mandela by his former lawyer, Ismail Ayob, that Mandela did not pay tax from the proceeds of his books sold abroad. The South African Revenue Services did nothing about these tax defaults to this day. Ayob also suggested that there are other trusts for individual Mandela children. Ayob was a trustee of the Mandela trusts. When there was a fallout between Mandela and Ayob after it emerged that Ayob had allegedly cashed in on the Mandela name, the much vaunted reconciler was said to have told a number of friends that, “I want Ayob imprisoned”.

THE IMMORTAL TRUTH ABOUT MANDELA: INTERVIEW WITH WINNIE BY NADIRA NAIPAUL

My husband and I have just crossed Africa. On the final leg of our journey we had finally come to South Africa – a place that now went hand in hand with the name Mandela.

My husband had been reluctant to come here but then he had followed his instinct and it had brought us to the Soweto door of the mystifying Winnie Mandela, a much celebrated and reviled woman of our times.

Looking out at her garden, I wondered how long we would have to wait to see her. We were in a stronghold of sorts, with high enclosing walls and electronic gates which were controlled from inside a bunker-like guardhouse. There were tall muscular men dressed in black who casually appeared and disappeared.

In the late Eighties, Winnie’s thuggish bodyguards, the Mandela United Football Club, terrorized Soweto. Club “captain” was Jerry Richardson, who died in prison last year while serving life for the murder of Stompie Moeketsi, a 14-year-old who was kidnapped with three other boys and beaten in the home where we would soon sit, sipping coffee. Winnie was sentenced to six years for kidnap, which was reduced to a fine on appeal.

Members of the gang would later testify to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Winnie had ordered the torture, murder and kidnap of her own people, and even participated directly.

Winnie used to live, before she was famous, down one of the narrow, congested streets with small brick and iron sheet houses. Soweto is still a predominately black township: tourists come in buses to gawp at the streets linked to freedom, apartheid and Mandela.

Winnie now has an imposing fortress on the hill. The garden is full of trees and well-manicured shrubs. We walked straight into a small cluttered hallway. It was full of the man: Mandela. He was everywhere. Presents, portraits, honorary degrees and letters covering every empty space on the walls.

There was an air of expectancy as we entered. Our fixer had arranged this meeting with Winnie (or Mama Mandela, her township name) through her confidant and admirer. He is a young man in his early forties who is a well-known television presenter here and clearly an ardent devotee.

He sat us down and talked softly about her. The politics of his generation, he said, had been defined by this woman. Her courage, her fire and her sheer stubbornness had made them men. They saw how unafraid she was and the risks and humiliations she was willing to absorb. These humiliations had not ended with apartheid. She was discarded, demonized and betrayed, he said.

My nerves were playing up: my husband does not like to be kept waiting at the best of times. He is punctilious and has been known to walk away from a delayed meeting, leaving me to deal with the fallout.

It was at that moment she appeared, tall, carefully attired in soft grey, wearing her signature wig. She held Vidia’s outstretched hand and asked him to sit next to her. She flashed a smile in my direction. The air was electrified by her presence.

I did what was expected of me. I asked her if she was happy with the way things had panned out in South Africa. Winnie looked at my husband. Did he wish for the truth? She had heard of him. He pursued the truth or the closest he could get to it.

No, she was not happy. And she had her reasons. “I kept the movement alive,” she began. “You have been in the township. You have seen how bleak it still is. Well, it was here where we flung the first stone. It was here where we shed so much blood. Nothing could have been achieved without the sacrifice of the people. Black people.”

She looked at Vidia expecting another question. He said nothing, but his dark hooded eyes shone and she carried on with her eyes firmly locked onto his face. “The ANC was in exile. The entire leadership was on the run or in jail. And there was no one to remind these people, black people, of the horror of their daily reality; when something so abnormal as apartheid becomes a daily reality. It was our reality. And four generations had lived with it – as non-people.”

As she spoke, I looked at her thinking she was, at 73, as her reputation promised, quite extraordinary. The ANC had needed this passionate revolutionary. Without her, the fire would have been so easily extinguished and she had used everything and anything to stoke it. While some still refer to her as Mother of the Nation, she is decried by many because of her links to the Stompie murder and other violent crimes during the apartheid era, and a conviction for fraud.

“Were you not afraid?” I asked instinctively, but then I regretted this foolish query.
She looked towards my chair. Her grey glasses focused on my face. “Yes, I was afraid in the beginning. But then there is only so much they can do to you. After that it is only death. They can only kill you, and as you see, I am still here.”

I knew that the apartheid enforcers had done everything in their power to break this woman. She had suffered every indignity a person could bear. They had picked her up in the night and placed her under house arrest in Brandfort, a border town in Orange Free State, 300 miles from Soweto. “It was exile,” she said, “when everything else had failed.”

At this remote outpost, where she spent nine years, she had recruited young men for the party. “Right under their noses,” she said to Vidia, laughing with the memory of it. “The only worry or pain I had was for my daughters. Never really knowing what was happening to them. I feel they have really suffered in all this. Not me or Mandela,” she said.

PAC LEADERS FORESAW THE LEADING LIGHT OF GHANA FIVE DECADES AGO!

The Ghananian national soccer team have done Africans proud at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and proved once again that Ghana continues to be the beacon of hope that must inspire all Africans to overcome economic plunder, exploitation, poverty, underdevelopment and achieve continental unity.

It is unfortunate that the Black stars of Ghana have been denied an opportunity to proceed to the quarter final after a Uruguay player, Luis Suarez, pushed out the ball which was a definite goal with his hands, from the goal line. The Black stars were such a formidable side that the Uruguay national team had to play with two goal keepers! Even the FIFA World Cup favourite to lift the trophy, Germany, beat Ghana only 1 – 0 but hammered the equally favourite side of the tournament, Argentina, 4 – 0.

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