2 December 2007

Ki kulacho...

South Africa is not a small country. Its population is in the same order of magnitude as the Great Powers of Europe in their heyday, countries like Britain and France. Yet somehow up to now our country has avoided the worst of alienation, in the personal sense, such that every day there is public news of people we personally know and love, and of others we know and don’t love quite so dearly.

Whether this is because there are very many communists in this country, who do not make a particular virtue of hermetically sealed private life in the bourgeois manner, or whether it is an African characteristic (the kind that comes out sometimes in proverbs) we do not know for sure.

So it is a great shock to read that our beloved and respected General Secretary, Dr Blade Nzimande, is suddenly and without notice made vulnerable, possibly on the orders of other people that we know personally. This is a very frightening and repulsive action, actually intolerable. See the first linked item.

The second linked item is the report of the Augmented Central Committee of the SACP held this weekend. Among other things it says: “Over the past decade the mass participatory traditions of the ANC have been run-down, consultation with and involvement of communities have been sidelined, and an unceasing offensive against alliance partners unleashed.” In other words a process has been conducted to render society impersonal, and to make people strangers to each other in their own land, and this process has now been rejected. It was a process that went hand-in-hand with the cultivation of inequality in the country.

Here we can turn to an article (linked below) by somebody else we know and love very well: the great, and typically South African, journalist Tony Hall. It is called The Manipulator. You hardly have to guess who he means. We are family.

The SACP Augmented CC states that this year’s Red October campaign on Health Care is to continue and, for example, press on with the demand for universal health care free at the time of need, which is called National Health Insurance. “We also believe that our public health facilities should be more pro-active in their outreach to surrounding communities,” it says. Here, linked below, is an interview with somebody else who is family, niece of the CU “Vice-Chancellor’s” wife, Shanthie, Dr Natalya Dinat. Natalya has established an exemplary unit that must surely be exactly the kind of thing the Party is talking about. This you can call care. It needs support. It needs to be nurtured and grown.

There is a dialectic to family, a unity and struggle of opposites, that is well expressed in the subtle Kiswahili proverb: Ki kulacho, ki nguoni mwako [if something itches, it’s already in your clothes]. City Press’s Siyahleba “heard from a colleague that Blade Nzimande’s trusted young lieutenant, Buti Manamela, was recently on a flight back to Jozi from Cape Town. And guess who SAA staffers made him sit next to? Arch-political-enemy and Prez Mbeki fan, Mazibuko Jara. It was a long and silent journey. Well, we guess no-one can blame SAA for trying to reconcile the JZ and Mbeki factions!”

The ki kulacho principle also applies to the relations between the SACP and COSATU. Some of what itches is examined in the CU’s opening, given to the SACP Central branch yesterday, linked below. COSATU thinks that it is the appropriate body to have a “Commission on Socialism” and to host a “Conference of the Left”. They have not yet invited the SACP to this presumptuous Conference. Who do they think should come? It seems they are looking for a relationship with an even more dysfunctional branch of the great South African family: the “Social Movements”. For a glimpse of what these cousins get up to, see the link to the “Open letter to participants in the Social Movements Indaba”, below.

Click on these links:

Offensive Against SACP and its General Secretary, SACP (350 words)

2007 SACP Augmented Central Committee (1587 words)

The Manipulator, by Tony Hall (1479 words)

Hospital care at home, Jocelyn Newmarch interviews Natalya Dinat, M and G (774 words)

The 52nd ANC Conference from a communist perspective, Communist University (2870 words)

Open letter to participants in the Social Movements Indaba (742 words)

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