Former Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara defends South Africa Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu blasts Judge Zondo


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What is that history and what are those current circumstances? We can state a few aspects of the history — slavery, colonialism, apartheid and patriarchy. Currently, what do we have in SA?

We have economic and social apartheid. Let us be clear, what ended in 1994 was political apartheid, period. In 2022, we are still swimming in the pool of neocolonialism and patriarchy.

None of us (myself included) can claim to be completely free of mental slavery, colonised mindsets or patriarchal dispositions. None. We are all consciously or subconsciously victims of our history and current circumstances.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o taught us that “decolonising the mind is the most difficult exercise”. Steve Biko said: “The most powerful weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

Zondo must show SA his certificate of mental decolonisation, tell us when he obtained it and the person/authority that granted it. He (like all of us) is still a mental victim of history and the South African context, consciously or subconsciously.

When someone says: “Mutambara, you are displaying a colonised mindset and behaving like a male chauvinist”, I should not be offended. Instead, I should accept the criticism, review and reflect on my actions, do some soul searching and change my ways.

I am a product of colonial education and society, and I live in a neocolonial and patriarchal society. How can I vouch for the perfection and nobility of my subconscious mind? That would be crass arrogance rooted in unadulterated ignorance.

So, judge Zondo and your colleagues, take a deep breath and absorb the message from Sisulu. Do some reflection, learn one or two things and change your ways. We all must do this.

Another point. Don’t tell us “criticism is fine but insults, no”. Who are you to distinguish an insult from criticism? Is that not a subjective exercise?

Just take the message from the minister without labelling it. Is the idea to label the remarks as insults so that you can dismiss them without the thorough reflection they deserve? Only children will allow you to get away with that strategy.

In conclusion, let us have a healthy debate about the issues raised by Sisulu. There should be no holy cows in the struggle to establish a SA characterised by peace, inclusive democracy, social justice and shared prosperity.

In that discourse, the constitution is not sacred, and judges are not demigods.

Mutambara is director and full professor of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge at the University of Johannesburg. He is a former deputy prime minister of Zimbabwe. – Sunday Times

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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  1. SA is totally lost at the moment JZ was the most empowering man both locally and continentally never had grudges like zanu monsters