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Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

A Bad Black’s Manifesto Author Zama Ndlovu: The Time Has Come to Reimagine South Africa

“We were foolish to think we could build a society without first determining which beliefs we had in common. We put what we thought was the best version of our collective beliefs into the Constitution and took the next steps for granted.”

A Bad Black's ManifestoSo writes Zama Ndlovu, a social activist, columnist, working professional, founder of Youth Lab and vanguard for the #badblacks. In her book A Bad Black’s Manifesto she talks about failed education and revolutions, dating on the interwebs, white people and their braais, women’s empowerment and Black Consciousness and identity.

Ndlovu, who currently works at the National Planning Commission secretariat, makes a call for a collective ideology in South Africa in her most recent column for Business Day, reflecting on the results of a lack thereof in our modern context. She writes that old debates about the country “have grown stale” and that “the time has come for new participants, a younger crop of exceptional leaders, to reimagine SA”.

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We can continue these unproductive debates or we can decide to build a country that has a place for all of us. Our survival depends on the bravery to suspend our preferred blueprints to genuinely interrogate alternatives.

However, too many are invested in this destructive political economy, negotiating in bad faith to detonate an already volatile situation. SA is structurally and morally unsustainable; we should all be willing to agree on that at the very least. Nothing fruitful can come from a discussion between people who will not acknowledge this, nor let go of their tinted glasses. Arguments over old ideas have grown stale, and are impotent against the challenges we face.

Clearly, the time has come for new participants, a younger crop of exceptional leaders, to reimagine SA. These leaders are already here.

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“The Young’uns are Angry. And that is Great” – Khaya Dlanga Applauds Liberatory Student Protests

To Quote MyselfKhaya Dlanga, social media maverick and author of To Quote Myself, recently wrote an article for News24 about the student protest movements that have shaken up South Africa this year.

“The young’uns are angry.” Dlanga writes, “And that is great.”

He says by movements like Rhodes Must Fall and Open Stellenbosch, student protestors are showing the country that white domination still underpins many important South African institutions. He asks, “Do we really have freedom or do we live in an era of pretend freedom?”

Dlanga refers to his own struggle to gain education and employment, for the historical reasons that everyone in this country knows intimately.

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As I say in my book, To Quote Myself, (let me quote myself), “The biggest challenge for black students who come from poor backgrounds and go to institutions of higher learning is not that they struggle because they are dumb. Rather, they struggle because the system is too dumb to understand their plight. There is no willingness to understand their problems, to help them navigate these uncharted territories. We have to learn the hard way and those who don’t manage to make it, end up dealing with self-doubt all their lives.

“In some ways, I felt penalised by the system for being black and poor… Even though the system had now been opened to me, and people like me, it wasn’t designed to accommodate me.”

Even now, in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2015, black students feel marginalised in the institutions they are in. The institutions are not designed to accommodate them. This goes from the universities right down to the work place.


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Read an Excerpt from Banished, a Fast-paced, Magical Adventure Story by Liz de Jager

BanishedBanished by Liz de Jager is the story of Kit Blackheart, a girl who is learning to use spells and ancient weapons to fight enemy fae – magical creatures that wield great powers.

Kit has sworn to herself to a mission to banish evil and chaos. While her family is away on different missions, Kit meets a handsome prince in need of protection. At this point, her oath must become action.

In the excerpt below, shared on pArticipate, Kit is in the middle of a fight for her and Prince Thorn’s lives:

I’m twenty metres from them when I pick up speed. I run at them, a wild battle cry tearing from my throat the last few metres. I burst out of the undergrowth screaming like a demon, throwing the redcaps into confusion. I leap at the nearest one, propelling myself forward by pushing down on a tree stump with one foot, and swipe at his exposed neck in mid-air as I fly by. It’s chaos around me. The first redcap I cut lets out a warbling moan and clutches the deep cut in his neck. Arterial blood sprays the clearing and the smell of the blood drives his cronies crazy.

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The State versus Internet Trolls: Zama Ndlovu Considers Lessons on Public Discourse and Good Leadership

A Bad Black's ManifestoZama Ndlovu, author of A Bad Black’s Manifesto, recently wrote an article about Unimportance by Thando Mgqolozana for Business Day. In the article, she considers the lessons on public discourse and leadership that are presented in the novel.

Ndlovu suggests that the public outrage that follows relatively minor misdemeanors discourages otherwise excellent potential leaders from stepping up to take their place. She cites the way that internet trolls recently shone a spotlight on Trevor Noah after his appointment as the new host of The Daily Show as an illustration of this.

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It is quite obvious that this country is in desperate need of younger public leaders, yet we do not adequately explore the environment that deters young people from pursuing public positions.

I am fanatical about Unimportance because it asks deeply philosophical questions about the personal standards that leaders ought to have; and the standards that societies must hold its leaders against.

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Zama Ndlovu: The Death of Senzo Meyiwa was Repeated 47 Times in South Africa That Day

A Bad Black's ManifestoIn an article for the recently relaunched Rand Daily Mail, Zama Ndlovu, author of A Bad Black’s Manifesto, says she believes the death of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa is indicative of a larger problem in South Africa.

Meyiwa was killed at his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s home in Vosloorus in an alleged cellphone robbery.

But, ad Ndlovu points out, with 47 people murdered in South Africa daily, “this is the scene we saw repeated all over SA another 46 times”. She takes a closer look at the crime statistics and concludes: “This is a country that recognises personal safety as a human right while struggling with implementing the long-term meaningful solutions that would assure citizens of that right.”

A closer look at SA’s crime statistics does not tell of a nation under threat from masked strangers. It tells of a nation where disputes and disagreements are resolved with fists, blunt and sharp objects and often even guns. According to the crime statistics, the vast majority of victims of common assault, assault GBH (grievous bodily harm), sexual offences, and murder know their perpetrators. Social fabric crimes are complicated — they are aggravated by a mixture of many factors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and socioeconomic circumstances, and difficulties with conflict resolution. They cut across economics and status and are rarely planned. They are notoriously difficult to police.

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Khaya Dlanga Ponders South Africans’ Reluctance to Date Across Racial Lines

In My Arrogant OpinionKhaya Dlanga, author of In My Arrogant Opinion, believes that as South Africans we are still “very much in our comfort zone” when it comes to dating across the colour line.

Using his own and a friend’s personal experiences as a launching pad for his piece, Dlanga comes to the conclusion that often “race seems to matter more than how people actually feel”.

Dlanga says he “finds it fascinating” that in a country where the vast majority of people are black, he meet an “overwhelming amount of white people who have never kissed a black person”.

I spent some time with a very good friend of mine who lives in Cape Town. Now, for the purposes of this column I have to mention his race. He is a black guy who has predominantly dated white women in South Africa. He is not South African. He made some interesting observations I found stinging and interesting at the same time. He told me to write about how – as contradictory as this may sound – he hasn’t ended up with white girls exclusively because he just likes white women. It’s because he has felt that it’s more difficult for him to get with black women in South Africa because he senses a barrier because he does not speak any South African languages.

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Zama Ndlovu: “Superficial Hipster Ideas” Will Not Correct Past Injustices

A Bad Black's Manifesto“It will take far more than building more low-cost housing and superficial hipster ideas to address past injustices,” Zama Ndlovu writes in a column for Business Day. “It requires commitment to deeply embedding the principles of transforming a society.”

“Issues of diversity are not adequately explored, resulting in a service delivery orientated approach, whose principal concern is low-income households,” Ndlovu writes.

Ndlovu, author of A Bad Black’s Manifesto, emphasises the importance of integration, saying that closing the income gaps and racial segregation gaps will do more than just create social stability and will also positively influence other social issues.

A fundamental requirement for a stable and successful society is tolerance between the different groups of people who live in it. For SA, whose history is marred by decades of institutionalised segregation, the principles of social diversity and acceptance have proved especially difficult to entrench into society.

An analysis of community relations studies, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, found people who live in ethnically diverse streets are less racially prejudiced than those in highly segregated areas, even if they had no direct contact with people of other races. The study analysed research from Europe, including England, the US and SA published between 2002 and 2012 and concluded that encouraging diversity in neighbourhoods is a crucial part of sustainable integration.

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Zama Ndlovu: Don’t Dismiss the Role of the Patriarchal Society in Elliot Rodger’s Crimes

A Bad Black's ManifestoIn her latest column for Business Day, Zama Ndlovu, author of A Bad Black’s Manifesto, has responded to Chris Ferguson’s Time magazine article titled “Misogyny Didn’t Turn Elliot Rodger into a Killer“. Ndlovu says that Ferguson apparently “sees reactions to Rodger’s misogynistic views as an attack on all men and finds logical reasons to absolve and distance himself from the crime”. It seems that he thinks that if an act is branded patriarchal, he – and all men – are made guilty by association.

“But patriarchy is not a collection of acts by men who hate women, it’s a social system that propagates thinking that is then reflected in people’s individual behaviour. Women (and men) are not simply blaming one crime committed by an individual on all men; they are decrying a societal belief that women are the collective property of all men. This belief was central to the anger that Rodgers directed at women,” Ndlovu says.

Chris Ferguson, associate professor and chairman of the psychology department at Stetson University in the US, wants us to believe that Elliot Rodger killed six people in Santa Barbara on Friday night because he was a troubled, mentally disturbed young man. Rodger dedicated much of his YouTube clips and 141-page manifesto to detailing the cruel injustice he suffered at the hands of women who ignored him. Yet, in his Time Magazine article, titled Misogyny Didn’t Turn Elliot Rodger into a Killer, Ferguson argues that although Rodger was a misogynist, “blaming a cultural hatred for women for his actions loses sight of the real reason why isolated, mentally ill young men turn to mass murder”.

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Zama Ndlovu on South Africa at 20: “Causes for Celebration Are Not Excuses for Complacency”

A Bad Black's ManifestoZama Ndlovu, author of A Bad Black’s Manifesto and MD of Youth Lab, has written a column for Business Day reflecting on South Africa 20 years in to its democracy.

“Only the most cynical South Africans could find no cause to celebrate the 20th anniversary of these elections,” Ndlovu writes, “Still, causes for celebration are not excuses for complacency and only the most delusional among us is not concerned as the country moves forward.”

On page 82 of South Africa’s Twenty-Year Review document is a photograph of six pupils at Pretoria High School for Girls. The school was the first under the Transvaal education department to open its facilities to black students to support the St Mary’s DSG Outreach Programme. It was through that programme that I became a full-time pupil in 1996, two years after South Africa’s first democratic elections.

Only the most cynical South Africans could find no cause to celebrate the 20th anniversary of these elections. The vast majority have access to something today that they — or their parents and grandparents — could only dream of 20 years ago. For me, it is quality education; for others, it is access to clean water, electricity, or a no-fee school.

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Sipho Hlongwane Bemoans Police Incompetency at Oscar Pistorius Trial and Marikana Commission

Get Me StartedSipho Hlongwane, author of Get Me Started, has written a column for Business Day on how the Oscar Pistorius trial has highlighted the failings of the South African Police Service.

Hlongwane insists that the way evidence was collected at the scene after Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp shows negligence and incompetency on behalf of the police. He also mentions the alleged tampering of evidence that has been uncovered by the Marikana commission.

This is the great tragedy of the justice system. It doesn’t matter that we might have brilliant judges and lawyers. They have to rely on the work of the police. And when the South African Police Service fails us so spectacularly, it is the public that ultimately suffers for it.

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