On the 16th of February 2018, in a parliament joint sitting, President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa cited the late bra Hugh Masekela’s song – Thuma Mina (Send Me) in the State of the Nation Address (SONA). He cited the song to amplify his clarion call to all of us, south Africans, to come together and take full advantage of the opportunities that come with the “New Dawn.” The citation was welcomed with an uninterrupted standing ovation and applause by the joint sitting and the entire audience in parliament.
On the 18th of May 2018 the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), inspired by the President’s citation in the SONA launched the national Thuma Mina campaign in Tembisa. This campaign was launched strategically to rally people behind the banner of the ANC and restore the confidence among the masses that the ANC is still the people’s movement. It was a strategic move given the fact that elections are around the corner. The campaign was met with mixed reactions: Others welcomed it as a positive breath of fresh air that inspires the masses to actively participate in finding solutions to the many challenges that are facing the country; while others saw it as an electioneering campaign strategy that has no impact on the lives of the people.
I personally and principally form part and puzzle of the former – I believe in the campaign and hence I took my time to produce this article to articulate my understanding of the campaign and lobby young people to own and participate in this campaign as a tool of mobilization and organization to combat the adamant and escalating challenges that pose a serious threat to our self-determination and development as the youth of this country and the entire African continent. In my lobbying, I will further show the imperativeness of defining and participating in this campaign from Pan-Africanist perspective in emphasising the fact that the challenges that we are confronted with are not unique to us as young South Africans; they global challenges that are apparent throughout the continent – they are suffered by all Africans throughout the continent and in the diaspora.
In my lobbying, it is also important to keep in mind that the youth is not homogenous and it suffers different challenges in its heterogeneity. Therefore it’s only fair that I declare the position I will be lobbying from – I am university student from a working class background whose main objective is to reach out to a significantly large portion of the African youth in its diversity. This declaration is extremely important for this lobbying to optimally reach its objectives.
Before I get to the heart of the lobbying, it’s paramount that I express my understanding of the Thuma Mina Campaign and I shall do so by first reflecting on the song itself, specifically the lyrics that were cited by President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa in the SONA:
“I wanna be there when the people start to turn it around
When they triumph over poverty
I wanna be there when the people win the battle against AIDS
I wanna lend a hand
I wanna be there for the alcoholic
I wanna be there for the drug addict
I wanna be there for the victims of violence and abuse
I wanna lend a hand
These lyrics, beyond beautifully portraying an ideal, bestow a responsibility, a responsibility to actively participate in the struggle of championing the social-ills expressed in the song. This means that the Thuma Mina campaign’s sole mandate is to invoke that sense of responsibility to actively participate in the struggle of championing the challenges confronting us.
I believe, however, that for us to take full advantage of this campaign as a mobilization and organization platform we need to first appreciate our African identity in the most truthful sense, without any reservation. We must appreciate the fact that we are Africans confronted with African problems that require African solutions by Africans. Yes, some, if not most, of these challenges may be global challenges but this appreciation of our identity will certainly express our urgency to conquer these struggles.
This appreciation dictates that we give the Thuma Mina Campaign a Pan-Africanist outlook for us to effectively own and use it as a weapon to deal and finally conquer our struggles as young Africans in the continent and throughout the diaspora. By Pan-Africanism I am not merely referring to dogmatic and ideological set of principles to be rigorously followed, I am advocating for an attitude – a state of mind that we must invoke in analysing, understanding and confronting our struggles, and most importantly how we relate with each other. By so doing we will also be expanding the wings of this campaign beyond the borders of South Africa, which will be a revolutionary achievement.
For us to achieve this objective we must analyse these challenges – what are they? Where do they stem out from? Who are the instigators and perpetuators of these challenges and why? What do they stand to gain from our struggles? What are the repercussions of prolonging these struggles? What opportunities are offered by these challenges to us young Africans? How do we mobilize and organize ourselves to seize these opportunities? Most importantly, what solutions are we proposing and how do we implement those solutions? These questions are important guidelines for our participation in the Thuma Mina campaign and giving it the desired Pan-Africanist outlook. Throughout this article I will be giving answers to some of these questions to amplify my lobbying.
- Exponential levels of youth unemployment.
- Teenage Pregnancy.
- Alcohol and Substance abuse.
- Depression and Mental health.
- Gender Based violence.
- High Levels of Illiteracy.
Are among the most adamant challenges confronting us. These challenges are as a result and contribute to the high levels of poverty and inequality.
But to get a broader understanding of the source of these challenges, it is important that we borrow wisdom from our Pan-Africanists forefathers so that we do not lose touch with the defined state of mind that we need for our strategic mission. All of the Pan-Africanist freedom fighters defined our struggle as one against capitalism and imperialism in whatever form they may take. Imperialism and capitalism are human injustices that must be fought against at all cost, because like yesterday, they still haunts us – they are the main culprit that we must fight against!
This is what the founding father of Mozambique’s independence, former President Samora Machel had to say about our struggle against capitalism and imperialism in one of his speeches: “So long as there is capitalism and imperialism in the world, its propaganda and subversion will make itself felt against us, and the winning of independence and power will be no guarantee of our invulnerability to degenerate values.” He and his fellow Pan-Africanist freedom fighters, were prophetic in their recognition and acknowledgement that capitalism and imperialism would persist as enemies even after we gain independence, which inherently meant that our struggle and fight against them must never cease – it must be intensified instead. We find ourselves at cross roads where we have to choose between succumbing to the dehumanizing values of capitalism and imperialism in our society, or to intensify the fight that was long initiated by our forbearers. We have no choice but to choose the latter for our determination as Africans.
In this war we must be militant – vigilant, strategic, organized, disciplined and completely patriotic. We must be true comrades, cadres and patrons who offer their lives, talents, skills, intellect and most importantly love our people and land as Africans – sons and daughters of the soil. We must be willing to learn from one another, communicate, mobilize and organize ourselves unapologetically and militantly in this fight – an endless revolution of asserting our human dignity, our capability, superiority and ability. A revolution that was long started and fought by our forefathers and mothers in our defence, our emancipation and above all the love they had for us! The fight that has never ceased; it has been handed-over to us – their children. It is entrusted to us to hand it over to their grand and great-grandchildren.
We must acknowledge that the enemy has developed itself, it is sophisticated and modernized as we have been warned by the founder of Ghana’s independence, former President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, when he said in the book ‘Neo-colonialism: The Last Stages of Imperialism’: “The neo-colonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps its most dangerous stage.” He further defined neo-colonialism as: “The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.”
We are in that state where we are declared and pretentiously celebrated as independent and democratic States when in reality we do not have full claim to our sovereignty and authority. Our policies are systematically dictated by imperialist forces. We do not control our production, we do not regulate our markets and we are still deprived to actively participate in the main stream economy. Our micro and macroeconomic policies are set and regulated by imperialist institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Our politics are dictated by the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations in New York in their scrabble for Africa. We daily suffer the injustices of this game of thrones because as a result of propaganda, subversion and force we are made to believe that we are eternally indebt to our exploiters and oppressors! We are slaves to imperialism.
At the peril of capitalism and imperialism we suffer the most severe human injustices and atrocities – racism (pragmatically, systematically and institutionally), poverty, malnutrition, diseases and hopelessness. Institutions that are supposed to protect and aid us in this revolution are agents of capitalism and imperialism; they unashamedly participate in our exploitation, our suppression, division and ultimately destruction. Our education system does not sever our interests, it instead delivers us to master on a silver platter and we gladly pay for this transition. The law enforcement agencies occupy the responsibility of protecting the imperialists and capitalists from us. We are what they must tame and suppress – they are policing us from any rebellion against these entrenched enemies. The only tragedy they are securing us from is revolting against capitalism and imperialism.
Religious institutions have long abandoned the responsibility of being custodians of our morality. They are used as propaganda machinery to divide, confuse and subvert us. They have become criminal syndicates and networks to rob us every little dime, to rip us of our African morals and values, and to steal whatever little is left of our political consciousness and activity.
Taboo and calamity are normalised in churches. Our churches today are characterized by superstition, human exploitation and abuse, propaganda and complete immorality. Our sisters are raped, trafficked and abused by the men who parade themselves as pastors on church alters. Prophets have mastered the art of rigging havoc and sowing divisions amongst us through false prophecies that are based on senseless superstition.
The law is there to suppress us. Our constitutions, celebrated as they are, are Afro-phobic and xenophobic! Our judiciaries are racist in form and practice – they are dominated by white-supremacists who go at all ends to protect and defend white privilege and supremacy; traits of capitalism and imperialism. The courts are ran against us – we are arrested, charged, prosecuted and judge by capitalism and imperialism. Prejudice is the order of the day in our legal systems. We are held hostage and captive in a state of conformity by the very same law that is meant to shield us from the capitalist onslaught. We are still at the peril of the colonizers.
Government institutions are fuming with corruption, maladministration, compliancy and incompetence. Public resources are looted and squandered by the so called public servants and officials, while the facilities are left to absolute degradation and destruction. The public purse services the opulent lifestyles of government officials and their associates. The cost is billed to us, we bear the brunt of this insensitive industrial scale looting and corruption. The poor working class majority gets the largest share of the rotten pie. Imperialists and their capitalist forces and agents on the other hand are the biggest beneficiaries of our misfortune. Our resources and commodities are left to their exploitation. Our government officials have become imperialist agents and petty bourgeois; they do so without any remorse. You would swear that these officials know nothing about our struggle. It’s really hard to believe that most of them were freedom fighters who picked up arms against capitalism and imperialism just yesterday.
The state of our families as the nucleus of our African society is violent, depressing and hazardous. Our families are dominated by domestic violence, fatherlessness, alcohol and substance abuse. There’s miscommunication and very little inspiration in our homes. Our children’s dreams and imagination are limited by this violent state of our families. A state that is not inherent, but is as result of the very demons called capitalism and imperialism – it is the manifestation of their antagonisms that results in this state. Hence it is extremely important that our mobilizing and organizing begins within the households – we must mobilize our parents, siblings and relatives to organize themselves and actively participate alongside us in the Pan-Africanist Thuma Mina campaign.
I elude to these institutions to give a reflection of our society. The challenges in these institutions are nothing by a clear mirror image of our society and it challenges. After all, they are microcosms of society. In this reflection I was also displaying the extensiveness of imperialism and capitalism, and how deep they influence our daily lives. We are at their mercy as much as we are at their peril. We need to stand up and fight against this evil with all that we have. We must rid ourselves of their values. We must counter their propaganda and subversion. We must unite as young Africans to defend ourselves from imperialism and capitalism. They are our sworen enemy and we must wage war against the without restraint. A campaign like Thuma Mina must be used as our ammunition.
Now that we have defined the enemy that is responsible for our struggles, it is equally imperative that we provide some wisdom and intellect on measures to counteract. Mobilizing and organizing are, without doubt, the ultimate measures to be taken but the big questions are: What should be the centres of our mobilization and how do we organize? These questions are imperative to guide our cause in the right direction and there are no straight forward answers. However, I hope that we can be captured and agree on the light that I am about share in providing my subjective answers guided by the wisdom of our forebears.
We have surely, in my humble observation, mastered the art of mobilizing ourselves around what is antagonistic and divisive. We endlessly rent and rave about what is not fair to us. Our rhetoric and slogans are developed around what we find wrong with our societies without fair analysis and comprehension in most instances. There is absolutely nothing wrong with speaking and creating awareness about our societal-ills, but for us to win the war against capitalism and imperialism we must be far reaching. The proposal of possible solutions should be the centre of our mobilization. We must speak and articulate the society we envisage beyond the one we hate. Our rhetoric must flooded with possible methods to build that envisaged society.
Our organizing must be for construction purposes. We must organize ourselves in the construction of institutions that will service our needs and wants. Institutions that are centred on our core African values, ethics and morals. These institutions must have African blueprints in their form and practice. We must construct, own and labour them to serve humanity. They must benefit us.
We must organize ourselves for production – we must produce what we consume. Our resources must be exploited by us – we must produce, manufacture and consume them. We must regulate our own markets – be in full control of the exchange of our own commodities. We must trade amongst ourselves before we trade with rest of the world. We must organize ourselves for our own development, our own determination and emancipation. We must do it for Africa.
We have an Africa to build. Speaking about the African renaissance, the former President of The Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, in his installation speech as Chancellor of the University of South Africa said: “For us citizens of Africa, of which South Africans are a component part, that renaissance means eradicating the legacy of centuries, and perhaps a millennium, of a demeaning European perception of Africa and Africans, as well as the stubborn material and subjective consequences of slavery, imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism. The eradication of that legacy necessarily means the corollary possibility to construct something new, such that, as Africans, we define ourselves according to our image, exercising our inalienable right to self-determination.”
This, simply put, means that the deconstruction of the current ill society can be successfully be achieved by the construction of a better one. Surely constructing is tedious, challenging and takes longer than deconstructing but it’s definitely worth it. This process of construction will require us to utilise all our skills, talents, intellect and energy. We must put our differences to good use as complements rather than substitutes that are there to divide us. We are a people rich with diversity and that must work to our advantage. We must use and participate in the Thuma Mina campaign as a construction campaign rather than an electioneering campaign and hence it is important to give it this Pan-Africanist outlook.
To the students like myself we must embrace and live the words of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe when he said in his speech on behalf of the graduating class at Fort Hare University in 1949: “You have seen by now what education means to us: the identification of ourselves with the masses. Education to us means service to Africa. In whatever branch of learning you are, you are there for Africa. You have a mission; we all have a mission. A nation to build we have, a God to glorify, a contribution clear to make towards the blessing of mankind. We must be the embodiment of our people’s aspirations. And all we are required to do is to show the light and the masses will find the way.” These words must be our oath to Africa, her sons and daughters.
We must pursue academic excellence for purposes far beyond privilege and prestige, we must do so for self-reliance and sustenance. Our education with its limitations is only as good as its contribution to our construction of a better society. Education must be a weapon that is used to find solutions to the many challenges we are confronted with. We should not just study for our individual selves but for Africa, its development and prosperity. Today we have access to formal education at a far better scale than our parents, access that, I must acknowledge, needs to be widened to accommodate all of us in this process to alleviate ignorance.
We must draw inspiration from the Fees Must Fall movement and keep fighting for access to education for our fellow African brothers and sisters who are, as a result of capitalism and imperialism, a majority of the working class population. This means that we must be willing to teach our fellow African brothers and sisters including our own parents who were denied the opportunity by imperialist forces. We must carry out that responsibility not as act of charity or as burden, but as an act of patriotism. We must make it fashionable to share knowledge amongst ourselves.
We must unite across all sectors of our education system – as learners, students (in TVETS colleges and Universities) and researchers we must come together and engage in projects of teaching one another in our various communities. We should be willing to stretch ourselves beyond the comfort of our campuses in reaching out to the masses with sole purpose of teaching and learning from them. We must do research on issues that affect our communities and offer practical, systematic and sustainable solutions. Our certificates should not just be passports to the exploitative labour market that continues to enhance the legacy of capitalism and imperialism, they must instead be golden tickets to the society we envisage – an innovative society, a safe society, a clean society, a healthy society, an educated society, a peaceful one and a society that is completely independent from imperialism and capitalism.
This process must also include a transfer of skills and hence it is important that all students must be on board, especially those in TVET colleges. To expedite and ensure an effective transfer of skills we must also engage in community projects that require physical labour. We be found labouring alongside our parents in communal farms especially in rural areas. We must be hands on when a school, a clinic, a library, a sports centre or/and a community hall is built – we must lend a hand. We must initiate and be in the forefront of projects and campaigns to clean our environment in our communities. We must promote hygiene and healthy lifestyles. This, I repeat, must be done out of nothing but upright patriotism.
It also important to pursue post-grad studies; research is very important. It a seriously massive weapon that we must master and put to good use. Knowledge is produced out of research and we must not just be knowledge consumers, we must also be producers of knowledge. Our education won’t be decolonised by imperialists agents on our behalf, we must decolonise it ourselves for ourselves. We need more and more African researchers and academics. We need more black professors, teachers and lecturers. Our education must be African in its content, pedagogy, language, epistemologies and values. We must ensure that the research and knowledge produced add significant value in our construction mission. Scientific research must capacitate us with proactive ways of responding to some of the prevalent challenges such as:
- The harsh environmental and climatic conditions.
- Endemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.
- Water scarcity.
- Energy shortages.
Our research must be extremely concerned with seeking solutions to the challenges that have become the reality of the poor working class African majority. It is through extensive research that we can take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the 4th industrial revolution for our benefit, not only as consumers but as competent innovators who contribute significantly in fields such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analysis. Research is most certainly a fundamental instrument in this revolution.
We must value, participate in, produce and fund research; research that speaks to our commitment to construct a better society. We must celebrate, embrace, appreciate and honour African researchers, academics, lecturers, teachers and the entire African intelligentsia, especially the youth. This we must do, not for the sake of privilege and prestige, but in the total recognition and acknowledgement of the irrefutably significant role these learned African brothers and sisters have in helping us shape society. While we honour them, it is equally important to reach out and bring them closer to the masses so that they can shed light on solutions to the challenges confronting the masses, and mostly importantly to be an inspiration – our masses must aspire to be professors, researchers and academics. Research alongside education must be made fashionable.
Students, these are critical times that require enormous determination, sacrifice, focus, discipline and sweat. It can no longer be acceptable that the only value of education we see and emphasis is access to the exploitative labour market, excessive debt and funeral covers. Our education must pay a vital role in enabling us to build a desirable society as a legacy for our children and theirs. We need to ensure without failure that education is compulsory in whatever form it may take. We must live and breathe the Each One Teach One principle.
We need to be at loggerheads with solid constructive ideas to achieve this society under construction. In our exchange of ideas we must have upright rules of engagement that will enhance cohesion amongst us and the entire African society. We must be exemplary and inspirational in our conduct, approach and confrontation. We must be the source of hope for the poor working class African masses. Indeed a nation to build we have.
Lastly to my fellow student comrades, it important to note that without political education, our education is not complete. Political consciousness is also irrefutably fundamental to our cause of constructing the society we envisage. We must engage in political schools to equip ourselves with revolutionary and razor sharp tools of analysing and understanding our society. This means that we must be engaged in grass roots level political activities. This we must do with the absolute comprehension that this entire process of building the society we envisage is a political mission defined by nothing but our African identity. Political education must be compulsory for us all. I shall reemphasise and elaborate this matter of political education towards the conclusion of my lobbying.
Young African professionals also have crucial role to play. They, too, need to organize themselves in the sole purpose of serving Africa. We need their skills, traits and expertise to effectively construct a better Africa. They, too, must be brought closer to the masses. A large pool of our professionals is demobilized and unorganized in their exploited service to capitalism and imperialism. Brain drain is still alive and well in Africa today – our young professionals are largely poached by the exploitative private sector into intellectual slavery. Capitalism and imperialism are sustained by the exploitation and abuse of our very own professionals, who should be lending us a hand in finding sustainable solutions to our daily struggles. They’re certainly not to be blamed, but they must definitely be rescued from this calamity.
They must organize themselves and unionize. They must reach out to their communities with their skills, traits and expertise – we need them more the imperialists and capitalists do. We need our African psychologists and psychiatrists to be on the ground with us in the fight against depression and mental health. We need anthropologists, sociologists and behavioural scientists’ insight in dealing with the extensive scourge of violence in our society. We need them to assist us understand our hazardous addictions and habits, while the economists and accountants equip us with knowledge of whose financing those addictions and habits. We need our lawyers to defend and fight alongside us against the abusive use of law to suppress our voices, our action, our militancy and our being. We need our doctors to lend a patriotic hand in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the many diseases that continue to threaten our existence.
With these skilled and professional African sisters and brothers on our side we will wage a successful war against illicit financial outflows. We will triumph against debt. We need them to awaken from our economic slumber and stagnation. We need them to lend a hand in the construction of sustainable economic institutions out of the abandoned and unregulated markets in the townships and rural areas. We need their wisdom and expertise in taking control and full advantage of the emerging and existing industries and markets in our communities. They must patriotically guide us in safeguarding and expanding the rural and township economics.
Together with African entrepreneurs they must play an integral role in capacitating us to take full advantage of the economic opportunities that are present in our communities so that we are able to create and regenerate capital to invest in the manifestation of that society we are constructing. Entrepreneurs must be driven by the change they effect in society more than what they make out of it (society). Their success should not be blindly defined by registration of profit; it should be the innovative, positive and sustainable change they effect in society that should qualify them as successful. It is how accessible their services and products are to the masses that must qualify them as thriving and successful entrepreneurs. The prescription of this is that they participate in the process of finding solutions in the daily bread and butter challenges confronting the African masses. Entrepreneurship must be regarded and appreciated as the highest form of activism. We need young African entrepreneurs to be part and puzzle of this Thuma Mina campaign.
We also need journalists, authors, writers and cultural activists to be on our side. They, too, must use and express their talents and skills by authentically and progressively narrating our daily lived experiences. This narration must not be allergic to our victories and milestones. It must speak of our determination, commitment and conviction to overcome the many challenges confronting us. In their renditions, they must reaffirm our confidence to stand together, firm as upright people, in fighting against systems established to threaten our existence.
They must dramatize and cinematize our stories of courage, triumph and heroism. Through their talents our heroes and heroines must be unapologetically remembered, embraced and celebrated. Their subjective account of our experiences must be a beacon of hope and affirmation of our unshaking commitment to rid ourselves of imperialist and capitalist degenerate values.
In their recitation of art, they must help us conquer this contestation of history as warriors. Their writings must, without reservation, defend and insulate us against the propaganda that we are merely observers and objects of history. Our names must be recited amongst those who make and record history. They must ensure that the mainstream accommodates our successes more than it floods our failures. Our differences must not be exploited to divide us and register profit. Our differences must be embraced as an advantage for our exploitation in this construction process.
The media must streamline the various projects that we proactively engage in to contribute towards the welfare of the masses and the betterment of society without extortion. Our African music, artistry and drama must be streamlined for our support, consumption and enjoyment. Social media must be a weapon of social mobilization. Ideas of our national agenda of constructing a better Africa must be unapologetically popularized on social media. We must revolutionize our social media spaces with content that speaks about our African identity as a glorious and rugged identity.
The youth in the religious fraternity must intensify the war against the use of religion to propagate propaganda, to subvert and abuse. We must firmly resist the de-mobilization that is facilitated through religious institutions. We must stand up and speak-out against the demonization of African values, traditions and customs. Our religious subscriptions and practices must not deny us our begotten right to define and identify ourselves as Africans in all forms of our existence.
We are Africans first before we are of a particular religion, we should not be made to choose between the two, but should it happen that we are made, for whatever reason, to choose, we should be decisive and resolute in being Africans. We must, tirelessly, fight against the exaggerated use of superstition to dehumanize and violate our human rights. We must viciously fight against cannibalism, human sacrifices, rape and any form of human abuse practiced in the name of religion.
Religion must be used as aid for our mobilization. The morals and values we inherit from religion must never negate our Africanism, instead they must complement our African values and morals. They must be morals and values that add significant value in our process of nation building. Our shrines, mosques and churches must recognize themselves as mass assembly points concerned with the challenges confronting the immediate communities they exist in. They must feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked and actively participate overseeing the welfare of society.
Religion must inspire and rally us towards finding solutions to our daily struggles rather than falsely regarding itself as an infallible safe heaven. This is an institution that must be used to combat the persistent moral decay as opposed to perpetuating it. Through our religious congregations and practices we must be afforded the opportunity to mobilize and organize ourselves for the realisation of a better Africa. We can no longer allow religion to be divisive and oppressive. We must cleanse it of inhuman beliefs and practices. It must add value to humanity and the world.
In conclusion, it’s extremely important that I rehash and reemphasise the vital necessity of political consciousness in this process constructing of a better Africa. We need to comprehend that we are in a political undertaking that has political implications and objectives. We need to engage in political education to arm ourselves with the tools of analysing and understanding of our current society and the transition that we must undergo towards the Africa we envisage. Our political consciousness must go beyond narrow and petty partisan politics. It is our political education that must grant us the vigour and zeal to unite, mobilize and organize ourselves to radicalize and revolutionize Africa. It is this education that must capacitate us with the ability to seize historical moments to define clear and resolute political agendas that must meet our unwavering urgency to champion unemployment, poverty and inequality in Africa.
Our political engagements and activities should be practical and sustainable. The time to prolong monologues, dialogues and debates is gone, our politics must marshal us into organized and constructive action. We must cleanse our political spaces of the stubborn patriarchy, power mongering, toxic factionalism and any form of unnecessary violence. Political consciousness must put us one step ahead, not derail us into endless and sometimes senseless deconstructive contestations. We must disassociate ourselves from the destruction of public property; our political activity must be absolutely constructive. It must keep our morale of building a better society high and rejuvenated. We all have a role to play, an effort to make and ideas to contribute, politics must afford us that space.
We must keep pushing for youth representation and involvement in the composition of our political leadership in all the existing and emerging political structures and organizations. The voices of the youth must not mute, they must be amplified. Beyond ambition we must be driven by conviction, determination and commitment to a better Africa in our advocacy to be represented in the construction and effecting of policies governing our countries. We must continue to fight for seats in our parliaments, government institutions, in the judiciary, the African multilateral institutions and all the institutions that influence our society. This we should do, not for privilege and prestige but to effect the change we want to see.
The young African public servants who find themselves across all levels of government must serve the nation with distinction, honesty and integrity. They must refuse to be captured into corrupt practices that are characterized by incompetence, negligence and looting of state resources. We need them to be whistle blowers. In servicing and serving the nation they must do so guided by African values of Ubuntu and Batho Pele. They have a responsibility to restore people’s confidence in public institutions that cater for the welfare of the people.
It is absolutely clear at this point that the Thuma Mina campaign is far beyond party politics, and we all need to take advantage of this campaign to effect positive change in our African society. We are being send to the polls to exercise our democratic and constitutional right to choose the right representatives to govern us. We are being send to combat voter apathy. We are being sent to fight against corruption. We are send to reunite, mobilize and organize the African masses against the original fight against imperialism and capitalism, all its manifestations and antagonisms in our society.
Thuma Mina is a pledge, a commitment to a better Africa that we must make and uphold. The author, Ntate Hugh Masekela, upheld that commitment until his last breath. We must draw inspiration from his life more we do from his song. Thuma Mina is most definitely not the ultimate answer to our struggle but it is surely a step in the right direction. Let us zealously raise our fists of conviction up high and say ”Africa Thuma Mina!”
Former Wits SRC President.