Month: Aug 2012


My personal tribute to her is best cast in what Comrade Harry Gwala, another martyr of our heroic struggle, taught to young cadres and political prisoners on Robben Island. That included the president of the Republic and me. I was one of those who sat at the feet of this self-proclaimed Stalinist and master of the revolution. I do not recall who he attributed the quote to but the revolutionary mantra stayed with me: I have expunged reference to “man” for “woman”

“A woman’s greatest possession is life. Since it is given to her to live but once, she must so live it that in dying she must be able to say: all my life and all my strength have been dedicated to the finest cause in the world and that is the liberation of mankind.”

Enough said about the revolution and its poetry. The agonising question I have chosen to ask is in what way the heroic life of Ruth First should inspire my role as a judge in a post-conflict society; thus a transforming society or one in transition. I propose to explore that question within the overarching theme of courage of principle.


The demand for a living wage has ended in the cold-blooded shooting down and murder of some 50 mine workers in Marikana by the South African Police force. One can safely say, without fear of contradiction, that their deaths are a direct consequence of the ruling party’s subordinated policies.

Further they were killed firstly because two policemen were amongst the ten people who had died earlier but also because the ruling oligarchy continues to hold Black lives cheap.

“Before rigor-mortis could even set in on the bullet-riddled bodies of the mine workers, platinum figures surged to a one-month high at the world’s No. 3 producer of the metal, raising concerns that supply would be more limited than previously thought,” reads the banner headline on Google News as well as every other business website. Even in death the shattered bodies of the Black worker accrues profit for the rapers of continents and destroyers of nations with the eager support from the ANC government and its storm-troopers.

%d bloggers like this: