Economic Freedom in our Lifetime: a Critique

The African National Congress Youth Leaque(ANCYL) and its bloodline of youth leaders are credited for coining the popular slogan “economic freedom in our lifetime”. The slogan is mostly used to emphasize  the importance of transforming the South African economy to be inclusive of previously marginalized racial groups such as people of African descent; in particular the youth, women and children.

In August 2010 the ANCYL presented a programme titled Orgnizational Growth, Development and Renewal towards Economic Freedom in our Lifetime: Back to Basic. This programme was introduced at a time when the mother body of the ANCYL, the African National Congress(ANC)was preparing to celebrate its 100 years of existence as Africa’s oldest liberation movement. The ANCYL argue the idea behind the call for organizational growth, development and renewal was meant to rubber-stamp the critical role young people should play within a developmental state.

Critics of the programme of economic freedom perceive it as an acknowledgement that the ruling ANC had achieved political freedom but failed to liberate the masses economically. Interestingly, debates that followed the introduction of the economic freedom message by the ANCYL have fallen short of unpacking the many unanswered questions around the slogan of economic freedom in our lifetime.  For instance, in the main; is it necessary to understand the relationship between the concepts of economics and culture first before we can go around preaching the message of economic freedom in our lifetime?

What is economics in its varying definitions?  These questions and more need to be answered so that the millions of masses of people avoid the falling into a trap similar to the one carved by the ANC when they promised ‘a better life for all’ based on political freedom aspirations only in 1994.

There is no doubt that Julius Malema remains one of the former ANCYL members who believed so much in the ideal of economic freedom in our lifetime to an extend that it is often wrongly associated with him and him alone. Of course, Malema has since left the ANC and formed his own political party; taking with him the ideal engraved in the slogan economic freedom in our lifetime. It is not surprising his new home is also called Economic Freedom Fighters. From the name of the  EFF we can derive there has been a consolidation of ideas that were somehow spoken at random in the ANCYL towards a more focused tone of advocacy. The new political home of Malema and many other former ANYL members has grown in leaps and bounds since its formation and is now a kingmaker on the South African political landscape.

So what is the problem with this seemingly glorious economic ideal? Judging from the election results of 2014, the ANC is on the decline and this has helped loosen its grip on power thereby allowing other political parties such as the Democratic Alliance(DA) to make its mark. Since 2014, things have gone from bad to worse inside the ANC with scandal after scandal raising fears they might lose the upcoming general elections in 2019. Continuing political killings among ANC members in Kwazulu-Natal are not helping the situation.

Assuming that the ANC loses in 2019 and the DA takes over and the EFF become main opposition; chances are the EFF might take over the reigns in future. It is this unknown future which we should try to imagine in our attempt to answer the questions raised earlier regarding the ideal of economic freedom in our lifetime. In this essay, I argue the ideal of economic freedom in our lifetime needs unpacking since economics is a cultural phenomenon. That for real economic freedom to be felt by the ordinary man and woman on the street, cultural freedom should precede economic freedom or the two be implemented and advocated for at the same time. That the approach taken by the EFF in its mission to liberate economically is one dimensional and therefore not dissimilar to the one taken by the ANC pre 1994.

In my attempt to find a definition of economics I came across varying definitions by different authors. The search was done in peer reviewed journals, books and of course, the internet. In order to make it easier for readers to find some of the sources cited for the definitions, it was decided those definitions accessible through search engines such as Google would be useful. Two definitions found on Google caught my attention. The American Economic Association define economics as a discipline that studies scarcity, how people use resources, or the study of decision making. The definition goes further to identify the change of behaviour by people when they want things as the central tenet of economics. Important to note is that a change of behavior involves decision making on a micro economic level(i.e. budgets in homes) as well as on a macro-economic level (i.e. government, industry etc.). Furthermore, the Economics Network at the University of Bristol state that the ‘ancient etymology of economics defines it as a science of wealth’. That throughout the centuries, economics has evolved to become a social science that studies the well-being of nations by borrowing from other sciences such as history, law and psychology just to mention a few.

From the above mentioned definitions we can derive that although there is a misconception that economics deals with only numbers, markets and currencies; the core focus is on the well-being of human beings. That said, human beings are among the many living species on earth who have thus far managed to carve civilizations; from the ancient to the modern, the documented and the undocumented. In the Global North, history lessons teach us European and American nations have sought to change their well-being by embarking on sea crusades across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in search of better living and wealth. Such crusades enabled these nations to come into contact with people of the Global South where the ideals of trade resulted in the introduction of slavery and war as man sought dominance over the other. Among other continents, Africa became a battleground of cultural contestation when Europeans and American nations realized the continent was endowed with so many natural resources.

There are a lot of theories out there which seek to explain why the arrival of nations from the Global North was the beginning of the end of first; political subjugation and the economic enslavement of the people of Africa. One of the theories seems to suggest that the cultural traits of African people(i.e. those for warmth, peace, selflessness and collective brother/sisterhood) were taken advantage of and as such exploited by the cultural traits of violence, selfishness and individualism that were displayed by colonialists. The use of the adjective cultural is used deliberately here to refer to the distinct way of life practiced by a racial group of people among others. This includes traditions, customs and values.

In modern South Africa it is easier to tell which racial groups have been successful in utilizing their cultural traits for the accumulation of wealth. Whites in particular, are known to own the majority of the wealth when compared to people of African descent who make up the worrying statistics of the 27.7 percent unemployment rate reported by Statistics South Africa in 2017.

Loosely put, it could be argued political subjugation during the early years of colonization and the segregation policies of apartheid has assisted whites to accumulate more wealth than people of African descent. This has since culminated in gross unemployment, poverty, inequality among people of African descent who are finding it very difficult to keep up with the economically savvy, competitive behavior of people of other races. As a result, the message of ‘economic freedom in our lifetime’ as advocated for by the ANCYL and EFF in 2017 is as relevant as political freedom in our lifetime was among veteran elders of the ANC, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania(PAC) and others in the 19th century. How we acquire the freedoms is all vested in the approach used in a generational revolution.

Surely, the revolutionary approaches of Mao Tse-Dong in China are totally different from those employed by Nelson Mandela and company in South Africa. In China, the approach was Cultural Revolution first to allow the masses to be self-assertive and self-reliant. Although the was much suffering, death and torture during the ‘Great Leap Forward’, those who have lived to see present day China would attest it was worth it.

Today China has a thriving and growing economy and the masses can be counted among others as the most culturally sensitive, self-assertive and self-reliant nation in the world. Comparatively, very little can be said about the revolutionary approach taken by leaders of Nelson Mandela’s ilk on behalf of South Africa and its people. If there are any lessons to be learned from the likes of China is that there is a relationship between economics and culture or vice versa. That an affirmed mind is not susceptible to subjective social engineering unless such a move is intended to ensure that in a global world, one has a place they can proudly call home.

My greatest fear is that a slogan such as ‘economic freedom in our lifetime’ in South Africa has become so popular to an extent any criticism leveled against it is often perceived as counter revolutionary no matter how sensible it can be. I have been following the programme that gave birth to the ideal of economic freedom in the ANCYL and are yet to come across clear cut policies on how such a humongous task is going to be achieved. The inconsistencies in the nomenclature cannot be over-emphasized.

While the ANCYL talks ‘economic freedom in our lifetime’ its mother body speaks of ‘radical economic transformation’.  Do this two mean the same thing? Not even the EFF has such policies at the present moment. EFF leader Julius Malema occasionally quotes Steve Biko’s ‘black man you are on your own’ slogan but it is still not clear how an economic revolution is going to be take place within a nation that still suffers from an inferiority complex that was inflicted by decades long of dominance by self-assertive nations of the Global North. So, what is it going to be; economic freedom first and cultural freedom later or both?

Mahlaga Molepo is a member of Makhudu Traditional Council and writes in his own capacity.

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Lerato la Mmino wa Setšo – An Autobiography of Mashegoane Molepo

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Traditional Communities who still very much rely on oral culture to transmit Information and Knowledge are at the risk of being left behind by a rapidly changing society. In these communities, word of mouth is everything while residents seldom capture important events in their daily lives. Documentation is a problem and it is often difficult to verify sources of information. One can say for instance; that “the world is coming to an end tomorrow” and people would believe them to a point where the story can circulate or “trend” for months in community social discourse.

As a traditional community,  Mankgaile village, Ga Molepo shares the attributes and characteristics above. We live in such closely related families we frequently have to contend with issues of love, betrayal, scandals, jealousy, character assassination, competition and sometimes even death among residents. Ba re gona le “go welwa ke phoko”. This happens when there is a topical issue that has drawn the attention of the majority of residents on either one individual or a particular family. When this happens, residents often have nothing else to talk about except that which is seen as the top story in the community’s news circuit.

Often times, the top story will circulate at community gatherings like weddings, mephaso, manyalo, at taverns and everywhere else imaginable; including in the homes of residents – where love, laughter, lies, treachery, suspense and gossip fills the private spaces. The dialogue is often vertical(i.e. Community<——–>Royal Family) or horizontal(i.e. Community Member<———>Community Member).

The year 2015 has been both interesting and challenging for me and my family. At the center of it all, the issue of Mmino wa Setšo or Dinaka/Kiba in the village has been trending throughout the twelve months. More so because on arrival from Gauteng, my father; who is now a pensioner, decided to put into effect the decision he has always warned some of the practitioners of Dinaka/Kiba Music and Dance he would do on his return home: to deal with the rotten apples among members of Boramaga Traditional Group. This decision became unpopular among those who felt they had lost the war of distraction they have been waging on the group for years. After everything that has happened, i decided, together with my father, to write an auto-biography that will capture the incredible musical journey he has walked since childhood up until old age. What came out of the interviews and research i conducted was a short text of 20 pages titled Lerato la Mmino wa Setšo written in Northern Sotho of course, not English.

I felt it was time to write down the details so as to inform my fellow community members about the story of Dinaka/Kiba in my village. I am hopeful the few that will be able to locate and read the facts in the text will be able to see the issue from a different perspective altogether. That still, i am aware the text will be critiqued since i am his son. What i want to make clear is that my writing the text has less to do with my relationship to him and more to do with the professional commitment i have as a qualified Information Scientist. That’s what i do on a daily basis: to research, evaluate, create, organize, store and disseminate information. Therefore, my appeal to anyone who comes across the text is: read with an open mind, criticize constructively, give facts and lets all contribute positively to a balanced social discourse which can help our community of Mankgaile and Ga Molepo in general to move forward and not to degenerate and stagnate into oblivion and reckless conversations which have a potential to cause serious conflict.

 

For any queries and comments relating to this text send an email to mahlaga@molepotraditionaldance.com. I am also on Facebook, and Twitter.

 

DOWNLOAD A PDF version of the text here>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>http://wp.me/a2ne71-ea

Moshate!

 

 

Kgoro ya Ga Makhudu: ke seo sa moselana a seripa?

Pharela ke ye. Ka nako ya go ngwalwa ga pukwana ye e bitšwago BANA BA MALAHLELA(ngwaga 2012), Kgoro ya gaMakhudu e na le mathata ao a hlotšego  hlakahlakano setšhabeng. Mohumagadi wa Sekate Mankgatleng e sa le a re go boa ka gae go tšwa ga Mogano, a napa a thoma go se sa rerišana le bakgomana ba kgoro bao e lego ditlogolokhukhu tša mokgalabje Malahlela jwale ka ge go hlalositšwe.

Bothata jo bongwe jo bogolo ke gore gona le bakgomana ba Kgoro ya ga Makhudu bao ba tsejwago ka baga Makgaritša(e lego bakgomana ba kgoro ya gaMakhudu baga rangwanea tšona) bao ba bonalago ba huetša Mohumagadi wa Sekate Mankgatleng ka moya wa go se nyake go rerišana le bana ba mokgalabje Malahlela ba mosadi wo mogolo jwale ka dihlogo tša Kgoro ya gaMakhudu. Gona le mathata a go fana ka dijarata tša bodulo mafelong a mabenkele le a dipapadi, batšofe ba motse ba tshwenyega ka ditšhelete tša bona tša mphiwafela, ofisi ya motse ga se ya agiwa, masogana a motse a lla ka go segiwa ga dijarata Mmašalang, noka yeo e fetago kgauswi le motse e tšhilafetše, go na le mortuary motseng, badudiba ga kgone go hwetša ditirelo tša magwalo, bohodu le dipolayano di a atile, kgoro ga e sa tsena ka disontaga, mohumagadi wa Sekate Mankgatleng o dia dilo a nnoši ka ntle le go rerišana le bakgomana gammogo le setšhaba – ga go sana molao motseng.

Ka go le lengwe, mokgalabje Mankgatleng o boloketšwe Sebetiela diplotong gomme moya wa gagwe ga se wa robala ka ge a nyaka go boa gae. Potšišo ke gore naa mokgalabje o tlo tsenela ka ga mang gore a se no boa gae kage e le kgale a hlokofetše? Lapa la gabo, e lego lapa la mokgalabje Malahlela tatagwe, ke ka ga Mashegoane phejane ya gabo.

Potšišo-kgolo ke gore: naa kgoro ya Ga Makhudu e sa le gona goba go jo šala fela leina?

 

Molepo Traditional Dance Group Profile

Preview Dinaka Booklet

The art form:
Dinaka/Kiba music and dance or mmino wa setšo as is known among rural communities in Limpopo province, South Africa; is an important heritage from pre-colonial Southern Africa. Our explanation of the art form is twofold: Firstly, Dinaka/Kiba music and dance as cultural expression – an aesthetic which has survived marginalization and misinterpretation through colonization and apartheid times. Secondly, Dinaka/Kiba music and dance as an oral teaching instrument central to Indigenous Knowledge Institutions of Southern Africa and the role it plays in knowledge sharing.

The Group:
Molepo Traditional Music and Dance is a group that performs traditional Northern Sotho music and dance also known as Dinaka/Kiba or simply put mmino wa setṧo; which is predominantly found in Limpopo province and can be found in different regions. The group is originally from Mankgaile village, Ga Molepo – a rural town located along the north eastern outskirts of Polokwane City under the current chieftainship of Kgosi Maisha III of the Molepo Traditional Authority. The group has 22 members in total, 15 elderly and 7 youths(below the age of 35). As a result of cross-gender influences, out of the 22 people membership, we have three females who play the drums or meropa. The rest of the members are males who play the instruments also known as dinaka.

Originally the group wore selected pieces of animal skins(those of the Bush Buck, Concubine etc depending on the individual’s taste, tribal totem and spiritual inclination) and colourful beads made up of white, orange, blue and black as costumes. Again, as a result of cross-tribal influences the current colours of the costumes worn by the group during live performances are black inter mingled with purple, powder blue, white and red costumes, white takkies and socks often times complimented with animal skins and colourful beads. These colours reveal a great deal about the presence of some members from now defunct Dinaka/Kiba groups from other regions in Limpopo such as Ga Dikgale

Core services and products:

We compose, produce and perform Dinaka/Kiba Music and Dance through invite from clients such as traditional weddings and ceremonies as well as events organized by ourselves such as festivals, workshops and film exhibitions. We also sell studio recorded Compact Discs and DVD’s, books, merchandise etc.

Bookings:

Visit http://www.molepotraditionaldance.com/bookings.html.

Email: info@molepotraditionaldance.com

“African Customary Law: Contemporary Issues” and the launch of the Center for Indigenous Law

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On receiving the news of the upcoming conference organised by the Department of Public Constitutional and International Law; on “African Customary Law: Contemporary issues” and the launch of the Center for Indigenous Law at the University of South Africa i became so interested in African Customary Law as a discipline.

With so much being debated around the Traditional Courts Bill as an attempt by the state to address the gaps in the traditional sector, i wonder if the launch of the Center for Indigenous Law was a precursor for probable solutions for the now defaced Traditional Sector. How would the center help our Indigenous Knowledge Systems find their place in the predominantly Northern Hemispheric knowledge contained in records used in mainstream education?

Its really disturbing to note locally, people find cracks in the education system but seldom engage on Indigenous Knowledge Systems as crucial in addressing same. Where IKS are spoken about, many reduce them to smaller aspects like African herbs and healers. There is a need to dymystify this differential ignorance and promote the ideal of including IKS into mainstream education to a point where learners in schools do not think of school subjects as abstract but content with social and cultural relevance. For instance, the indigenous game called morabaraba contains geometrical symbols and theory which is an indication our forebears were aware of Mathematics way before colonisation and apartheid put a dent on our Indigenous Knowledge.

No wonder pupils in schools see maths and science as abstract monsters which prey on human minds. Many teachers still go with the notion maths, science, astronomy etc are only found in other knowledge systems which have thus far succeeded in destroying the psyche of the lay man and woman.

We need to start promoting Indigenous Knowledge in mainstream education so as to allow our children from the family level up to school level, to understand most of the subjects taught at school are not foreign to our Indigenous Knowledge System. That they are in fact part and parcel of the knowledge. Thus, this responsibility rests on both parents and teachers to not only teach but teach using practical examples found within our communities. 

 

Watch out Chief Molepo and Chief Mamabolo, the government isnt really your friend.

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Tomorrow is the deadline for public comment on the Expropriation Bill, which would give the minister of public works sweeping powers to expropriate private property – ranging from homes to business premises, and even shares and other investments – “in the public interest”.

Critics of the proposed legislation say it is vague and could severely damage the country’s investment credentials.

But yesterday Deputy Minister of Public Works Jeremy Cronin told The Times that the bill “makes sense” in the context of South Africa’s “historical reality”.

Part of that reality was revisited yesterday when tens of thousands of Zion Christian Church members gathered in Pretoria for a prayer meeting to mark the centenary of the enactment of the 1913 Land Act.

The act is widely regarded as the trigger of a series of laws of dispossession that later became the apartheid system, which limited black South Africans’ fixed property purchases to “scheduled black areas”.

Cronin said the bill would be better suited to land reform than the current Expropriation Act, which dates back to 1975.

He said the government would not “whimsically” expropriate once the bill was enacted.

But Manus Booysen, a partner at law firm Webber Wentzel, warned that the bill, if enacted in its current form, would “have severe implications for property rights”.

Respect for property rights and intellectual property protection were listed among the country’s strengths in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2013.

South Africa came 26th among 144 countries on protection of property rights and 20th on the protection of intellectual property, the report showed.

Property, Booysen said, was so broadly defined in the bill that it would include movable assets such as vehicles and works of art. It also refers to “a right in, or to, property”.

“This means that shares in a company, as well as various rights in property – including intellectual property rights and incorporeal property – could be expropriated under the bill,” said Booysen.

On compensation, Booysen said “there is no guarantee that you will get market value”.

The bill lists several factors that a court should take into account when considering the validity of an expropriation – and market value is just one of them.

The list is not exhaustive, meaning that “any other factor” could also be taken into account.

This, Booysen argued, would create uncertainty and was “a deterrent to both foreign local investment in this country”.

The bill does more than merely empower the minister to expropriate property for a “public purpose”, as provided for in the current act.

It also allows the minister to expropriate property in the “public interest”.

Though this is in line with the constitution, Booysen said the bill did not provide additional criteria to help in the assessment of what would be in the “public interest”.

But Cronin downplayed this, saying expropriation could still be challenged in court “if [the expropriation] is just to enrich somebody’s cousin”.

Cronin said the definition of property was deliberately kept “general” and that the bill was drafted on legal advice “to not get trapped into a definition”.

The DA’s spokesman on public works, Anchen Dreyer, said she was concerned that the bill, if it became law, would undermine security of property ownership.

“Security of ownership is essential for investment, foreign as well as domestic, and for starting or expanding businesses. If this right is tampered with, there will be little growth, with an adverse effect on job creation,” she said.

The bill succeeds a 2008 version, which was withdrawn towards the end of that year because of concerns in the consultation stages that it would severely damage the property market and discourage investment.

Cronin said that the bill was still being discussed by the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2013/04/29/threat-to-property

‘Evil forces against Christian holidays’

After listening to the discussion on SA FM’s morning talk with Vuyo Mbuliand and his panel, it was decided that we post it here.
The debate was then taken to social networking site Facebookin a group called New Political Forum 2.0 Khuluma Afrika and the following was the post and subsequent responses:
Mahlaga:
If i said: “Remove some known Christian holidays from the calendar for more representation because they mean nothing to me, religiously “. A lot of people would freak out simply because issues of religion and culture are sensitive ones, right? The irony is that other linguistic, cultural and religious communities respect and accept Christian holidays as, just normal?

What i find amazing is that every effort to try and be inclusive in representation is met with a brutal attack. Like err…”but this holidays are linked to economic activities or if we remove them things wont be the same” That sort of lame excuse.

Why cant i go to the bank wearing my Isphandla, Afrikan Religion & Cultural symbolism or dreadlocks on Christmas day?

And this is called a democracy?

Benedictus Mahlangu:

Ask my African brother ask?

Mahlaga:

‘Evil forces against Christian holidays’ http://www.crlcommission.org.za/latestnews.php

David Robert Lewis:

What is worse, the National Holiday guidelines favour Christianity over all other religions.

Mahlaga:

?. We need to question this dominance. The last time i checked there was Hunduism, Shembe, Rastafarism, Judaism and Islam. And this is what is referred to as “diversity in unity” in the constitution? Even shocking to note the San people of Southern Afrika have nothing to celebrate except the ‘Ike Xarra ike” slogan in our code of arms.