Remembering A True Hero – Dr Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada

This morning marked one of the saddest days in South African history, as we begin to mourn the passing of one of our last remaining true heroes, Dr Ahmed Kathrada.

Dozens of Activators, leaders, activists, ordinary men and women across the country have joined millions of South Africans who have shared tribute messages to the late Dr Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada (better known as ‘Uncle Kathy’).

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers communications manager, Nelisa Ngqulana, fervently recalls Uncle Kathy’s unyielding attitude towards young leaders who want to move the country forward. This was strongly illustrated by his unwavering willingness to have conversations with the youth of South Africa.

Nelisa recalls,

We met Ahmed Kathrada at the founding conference of the Anti-Racism Network of South Africa in 2015. After our initial engagement, we asked him if he would be available to have a conversation with youth leaders at ACTIVATE! With swift readiness, he agreed. At this point, he was already looking frail and I felt that a huge event would be too much for him. Therefore, a recorded interview with him meant that we could have something to keep in our archives. He volunteered to open up his home to us, and from that moment onwards, he became an Activate! Change Driver’’.

Another Activate! Change Driver, Tebogo Suping, who had worked with him on a number of youth initiatives reminisced,

As one of the few young people who have had engagements with the late Dr Ahmed Kathrada, I was always amazed by his selfless courage to speak the truth to authority regardless of who is in power or deadly consequences. As young leader, his resolute leadership style – one should never depart or sacrifice his principles and integrity in anything that he or she does. It is without a doubt that his sad passing is a serious loss and one can only wonder if we still have people of his calibre who are willing to walk the talk”.

South African activist and policy researcher, Pearl Pillay, described Uncle Kathy as an intelligent, disciplined and selfless teacher of social justice. As well as a revolutionary who, even at the worst of times, reminded us that he was just a young person who fought for what he believed in. May we all strive to continue his legacy, through our words, our actions, and our commitment to building a better South Africa.

Each and every Activate! Change Driver who had worked with the late Dr Kathrada could not contain their gratefulness for his contributions towards their own lives as young people. We all remember him as a very humble father who had the most infectious charm and character. So much that he despised being referred to as a giant or a great (which he was) in the struggle against Apartheid.  

The stalwart will be remembered as a grand patriot who was a very passionate supporter of human rights, and his overwhelming love for young people. During his last conversation with us as Activators, his very last advice was that we as young leaders need to invent creative and non-violent ways of navigating our way as the youth around the current socio-political landscape.

“I really understand the youth’s frustration with some other issues that are not going well in this country. So I don’t condemn or recommend what young people are doing but mine is to just suggest that young people must follow the right channels. Burning down clinics, schools, libraries and other government establishments does come as counter revolution for me.  I do think that there are a number of accessible non-violence avenues of addressing our concerns.”

Dr Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada will be buried according to Muslim religious rites. Details of the burial will be made public in due course.

Image Source: Google

Mbali Kubule photographic Campaign

A storm brewing

When a close friend of mine challenged me to write an article about human rights, I thought, “Yhoo…why would she want my views on this.” I have never considered myself a political mind or a young human rights activist, it is a topic I do not dwel on much. Ignorance is bliss, right? I try to educate myself as much as possible in 48 hours.

I am sad to report I am more confused than enlightened and have one question, “Who decides which human right is fundamental and which is not?”

Reading through the rights I am entitled to as a 25 year old, Christian, black, lebian woman was like reading through a wish list. Being from the rural Transkei, where the education rate is at its lowest, where abuse is cultivated within the holy walls of religion, “ukuthwalwa” and corrective rape is becoming the new “anti gay” pill society is prescribing.

The rights that got me thinking were rights to equality, education, a life, liberty and personal security, freedom from torture and degrading treatment and the recognition as a person before the law. How? When men are conditioned from birth that they are superior to women; when husbands rape daughters and society creates a mental illness to box him into so he will not bare the guilt or the responsibility! When my government laughs in my face as a young mind, while I attend classes under trees in classes with broken windows with staff spred so thin.

The quality of the lessons are compromised, where sanitation, lack of sanitary towels and the grumbling of my tummy reminds me where my priorities should lie. When we have diploma’s yet the rate of job creation across employment sectors is dropping. Instead, we have key members of our national entities falsifying qualifications to stay ahead compromising the integrity, profitability and stability of our economy. After years of LGBTI campaigns on transgender rights we still have little to no tactical support to incubate the sex changes on ID documents as fast as we issue condoms.

These are just a few concerns I had when thinking about human rights and what is actually happening in reality. I may not be a political science major nor and am I a human rights activist but I am a human and like all my peers have realised a new war has began. It uses no military arms or nuclear weapons, it eats away at our human dignity that we are sensitising our women to accept abuse and inequality, we teach young boys to treat women like pimps using media and we teach our young girls that rape happens and they need to accept it and move on.

Our elders deserve better

South African politicians never cease to amaze, but then again, there’s little to nothing that remain amazing in the country needing political approval. 

The recent controversial out-bust about the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is a case in point. Seemingly, thanks to the ANC led government, we’re proving to have invested our resources in rubble rhetoric, yet again, as all arms of the state: the cabinet, judiciary and parliament are all grabbling with the issue at primary level. As I write this, there’re mixed feelings in the country as to whether the seventeen million people comprising of our aged, disabled and kids from poor households will get their grants as of 1 April 2017
All thanks to SASSA, the nation is unstable running side to side due to anger and frustrations caused by the seemingly callous and clearly insensitive attitude from the South African Social Development Minister Batagilwe Dlamini and her leadership team at SASSA.  
What’s rather most perplexing about this ordeal at this moment, is the fact that, three years ago- the South African Constitutional Court had ruled against the contract SASSA had with Cash Payment Services, thus declaring it not only invalid but most fascinatingly, illegal. 
Interesting questions emerge from this experience, among them are: Does the DSD or SASSA for that matter have a legal professional? If yes, what role did the person play in this saga? Why did the relevant authorities do nothing about this scandal until I got to this point?
But then again, living in South Africa, this shouldn’t amaze us no more, at least since the Zuma term.
Because, like most people may know, this is a deliberate step to dethrone a certain internal faction with. It’s meant to present the country with a fait accompli, pushing South Africans to accept the CPS as the only capacitated entity that can manage the system for the future. Deliberately telling us, the vote chunk, that we unconditionally must accept CPS or let our beloved people in millions of numbers to starve. Unfortunately, from where we’re experiencing this dilemma, the Minister of Department of Social Development (Welfare) has given us, South Africans, an ultimatum.   
On a lighter note, we need ask ourselves, why did the DSD create this mess favouring CPS? After all, South Africa has its own entities that can do the job better, if not best. The shenanigans covering this may lead to answers we already know, which also need to be thoroughly checked. Amidst the fact that their arrangements are certainly as opaque as mud, the high officials in cabinet have confidently assured us that things will be well, which of course, raises the question of transparency.  
Another dimension to this grant paying system dilemma that’s paining some amongst ourselves is the dignity. Most among ourselves are aware that our grants recipients, are mostly the elderly and the disabled in our societies. By virtue, these are not the strongest nor the healthiest demographic but, come rain or sun, they are always required to stand in long queus in order to receive their grant.  
Emotions aside, but where is their dignity is this? Isn’t it that, we have somehow internalized the notion that our elders and the disabled should have little to no dignity? The so-called ‘ubuntu’ is nowhere found. Can you imagine if the so-called “working middle class” ‘re subjected to queu for their salaries? The reality is, per dictates of ICT, the working class are rightly expecting their salaries to be deposited into their accounts to be used at their convenience. Hence we expect the integration of capitalism, socialism and communism in one nation? 
Embracing ICT
Being a somewhat global citizen that I claim to be, I’ve been enlightened about the concept of ‘smart-work’. Imagine if we’d offer our grants recipients the option to open a bank account, most preferably with our South African Post Office of which, by measure, is obviously having the widest footprint than any other SOE/C entity. They can then access their monthly payment at their convenience via the entity like most working people. This arrangement will have positive effects and impacts such as minimising the chances of loan sharks lurking around our elders at pay-points.
Lately, there are only a few places in SA that are far from a banking center, though where such is the case, an in-house SASSA unit can be erected to handle the situation. To validate the existence of a recipient, that grant recipient would timeously be subjected to physically appear at a SASSA office for verification. Alternatively, social workers could also visit them for verification.
Above all these, our people deserve better than what our current ANC led government provides.

Developing the youth to build the country

Name: Mothobi  Tlale 

Province: Gauteng 

Facebook: Mothobi Stumiza- Mleetob Tlale 

Twitter handle: @Mthobiza

Mothobi Tlale 24 years old from Gauteng. He is a Youth Developer, Chairperson For Phiri Youth Club,Facilitator for The Peace Education Program and interested in making sure that our country and the world is at Peace.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

 I joined the network in order to get more skills and network with other people from all over the country who have the same perception as me.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

 The training itself was very informative and aslo meeting other people who have the same perspective.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

It help me because now I know how to come up with solutions to help and develop my community and the country as a whole.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

I think the role for youth is definitely transforming the country to a better country and come up with solutions to problems that the country faces and also making sure that the future of our country is in good hands.

What is your field of interest?

Youth Development

How are you driving change in your community?

I’m volunteering for the city of Joburg on creating Programs that support the Youth’s Interests like Youth Development Programs,Skills Development Programs And Career Development Programs.

Now that you have completed training, how do you plan to keep active in the network?

Making sure that there network is Visible to other the youth out there that is interested in building their country to be a better country and also Opening an Activate station for other activators to help and get help with their initiatives.

What are your plans for this year?

Opening a business and becoming an Entrepreneur that will help initiatives that build and develop our country.

How will you be involving the network in your plans?

Definitely will involve the network in my plans 

Additional information you would like us to know?

I will having an International Event and will be hosting the international Ambassador for Peace in November 2017 but further info will be sent.

Anti-Xenophobic Photographic campaign

In celebrating human rights month and human rights day, Activator Mbali Kubule took to the streets to construct a self-portrait album that raises awareness against Xenophobia. The self-portrait campaign serves as an innovative way of protesting says Mbali who believes that: “I am human before I am African.” This she says should be the barometer by which we appropriate respect to all people, be it foreign nationals or natives born within the borders of any country not limited to Africa.

As a nation we are quick to welcome other people whose pigment is not Black, call them tourists and show them hospitality, yet when it comes to our African brothers and sisters from just next door, we label them as foreigners . Mbali is of the view that we are all foreigners in some part of the world and therefore how we treat those foreign in our land will determine how South Africans will also be treated in other countries. Compassion is not just a concept or words on paper but rather an action emanating from the heart which seeks to bring to life the golden rule of thumb: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Nelson Mandela once said: “Hate is taught because love comes naturally to the heart than its opposite.” We did not sleep as a nation and wake up the next morning to find ourselves detesting African foreign nationals – we were taught to do such. In the same way we were taught to hate, we should be able to unlearn that hate. We are also not oblivious to the fact that some of the xenophobic attacks that have transpired were motivated by mob justice brought on by all the drugs and crime foreigners have contributed (the card schemes, cheap labour, human trafficking and the likes, yet it is not all foreigners who have contributed to this).

The fact is that South Africa is home and host to hard working Africans who earn their living through honest deeds-the Somalians who own some of the Spaza shops in our townships, the bead makers, the stall owners, the curtain and broom makers who go around house to house selling their craft are relatively honest in their trade yet they have also been caught in the fire during the recent xenophobic attacks, and it begs the question, ‘’Why?’’  What criteria are the perpetrators using to ascertain who deserves to be torched or mistreated and who does not?  Is the violence on foreigners justified? Relative to its negative impacts, does it in anyway offer a way forward or solution to the problem?

This campaign hopes to pull at the heartstrings of our people to say, there are definitely other ways of solving a problem without resorting to violent means. 

Why do blacks hate blacks so much?

Julius Malema’s wailing sonnet in the Sunday Times, ”Why do white people despise blacks?” is a sensational piece. It laments on white monopoly wealth, poverty, rhinos, pets, land redistribution, and nationalisation.

Yet, it totally immunises the blacks that came into power with policies that only reinforced the inequality he weeps over. 

Towards The End of Apartheid

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the Apartheid government had shifted its approach towards black people. It desegregated public facilities, repealed racial laws, granted black people property rights, as well as entrance into historically white schools, and decriminalised labour unions. 

One could migrate from a hut in rural Eastern Cape, and buy themselves a decent entry-market house in East London; without even knowing what a high school diploma looked like.

You had families whose children went to white private schools in the city, with the aim of advancing their economic mobility. Thus education functioned as a form of social/economic investment, not merely as a right.

Through public transport, they would commute to school and work, with a nutritious diet for lunch that included the now novel cheese. These were families whose primary incomes were from factory jobs that made maize meal, or car batteries.

Today : Post – Apartheid South Africa

Today this is so difficult, if not impossible, even when you work in the now declining manufacturing sector. The chances of you getting retrenched or experiencing damaging strikes are higher than our national and youth unemployment rates combined. You can just apply for an RDP house, and worry about when it will start falling down before the bank finally grants you a mortgage bond.

Today, you migrate from the EC (seeking employment) to a little shack and eventually, a peewee RDP house in Cape Town. Since economic castration often leads to depression, you are most likely depressed, an alcoholic and are ready to fight anyone in the tavern. You frequent the tavern with a strong intention to fight. This explains the alcoholism, drug addiction, violence and homicides prevalent in black communities, especially among the youth. 

We have a 27% national unemployment rate (and 54% youth unemployment), with the government being the biggest employer in the country. It’s like we’re in the Soviet Union, where everyone was a government employee, but had to wait in line for 3 hours to buy a loaf of bread.

Since we don’t have an economy that yields real-income employment for a majority of black people, we now have university graduates washing dishes in restaurants or working as social justice warriors for NGOs. Meanwhile, white people who are vilified by failing affirmative action laws are now migrating overseas, where a better life lies ahead.

Malema’s resentment of white people, and their attitude towards pets and rhinos is arresting. Suddenly the great value placed on non-human species is now an exclusively white quality. This then explains why most of the animal cruelty the SPCA condemns has its home in black communities.

Just stroll down a township, you will definitely find a skinny dog that is so petrified that it will perform a moonwalk dance in exchange for a bone. Even when it squeals from its yard (with a slave-chain yoked around its neck), it only offers redemption songs, instead of barking.

Township dogs always sound like they’re waiting for a welfare grant, singing, “Senzeni Na? Senzeni Na? Aphi amathambo? [What have we done? What have done? Where are the bones?]”. Almost like those black people who only attend funerals to whine about not having enough meat on their plates.

White-owned suburban dogs know their worth. This becomes apparent the moment you pass by a tall gate in a white suburb (where Julius, who probably owns one, lives). Their barks send thrills of thunder into your chest, sounding like a grand giant mumbling about who’s picking its pockets while taking a nap.

The way blacks treat dogs is similar to the treatment black people endure in this country under black rule. Just recently, 94 mentally ill patients died of negligence, after being moved from well-run, private mental health hospitals to unlicensed, concentration camp-styled, health facilities run by NGOs.

We are not even done moaning over the killings of 34 miners in Marikana. This racist, corrupt, and failing black government is today administering the deaths (and murders) of its own people. 

Malema’s sonnet ends with a clarion call towards socialism. As if we haven’t withdrawn enough poverty from our broke socialist account already. As if the sectors we have already nationalised have not failed enough.

Our government agencies and sectors are all failures, including the ones that are supposed to make a profit in order to survive. Generally, governments are like a drunkard uncle who’s supposed to look after you, but spends most of his time drinking, getting high and sleeping on the couch while watching porn.

They only head towards the right direction when pushed by their own citizens, especially the private sector, that actually creates the wealth and opportunities governments usually flush down the toilet.  

The sad reality is that socialism only yields what socialism yields best – failure, repression, poverty and mass murder. In our case, and mass rape. After 1994, more people have been raped and killed by blacks than under Apartheid and the entire Colonial era combined. What compounds this fact is that today, you are most likely to be killed, raped, robbed, and impoverished by a black person than you are by a white person.

All we have done was replace the white man’s racism (Apartheid) and oppression with our own. We are todays leading racists, and we despise ourselves first.

A Prosperous Future For All

Our only solution to achieving the wealth we claim a right to, is through reinvestment in manufacturing and industrial based free-market capitalism. Also, a focus that is centred on the growth of all South Africans, and less on race will take us forward. This way, we can create wealth, employment, and usher in the true Renascence (South) Africa truly deserves. 

Dumisa Mbuwa is a retired Social Justice Warrior who found refuge in the thickness of the Wilderness, and finally emerged as a Malcolm X of Free-market Capitalism and anti-Black Supremacy. He is mostly a writer, journalist, researcher, media analyst, commentator, author, entrepreneur, and publisher, who is also a chief editor for an analysis-friendly news site he founded, Having learned his lesson from the perils of social justice – being broke and in debt, Dumisa Mbuwa is also the director and founder of the high-powered tech company, GuavaTri. 


Photo credit: Youth Village

ACTIVATE! #BeHumanRights Campaign

Tomorrow, South Africa will celebrate Human Rights Day, introduced to commemorate the Sharpeville massacre. It is a day when we need to reflect on the progression the country has made to afford equal human rights for all. As part of our #BeHumanRights campaign, and in light of the recent spates of xenophobic attacks, we will be featuring the inspiring anti-xenophobic photographic campaign of Activator, Mbali Kubule.

Through her campaign, she hopes to raise awareness of the humanity that we all possess while emphasising that we are all foreigners in some part of the world and therefore we need to exercise compassion: “izandla ziyahlambana, namhlanje nguwe ngomso ndim,” says Kubule. (Translated this means: One hand washes another, today it may be you but tomorrow it may be me). 

The objective of the ACTIVATE! #BeHumanRights campaign is to advance participation and commemorate various Human Rights that are crucial in South Africa today. During our #BeHumanRights campaign, we will be provoking conversations under the following topics: Xenophobia, free access to sanitary towels, education and youth unemployment #HireAGraduate

We invite you to use the hashtag to highlight and tell us how you embody human rights or to highlight areas where human rights are being violated. Join us tomorrow on our social media platforms as we advance our steps toward the betterment of the country. With your participation we will be closer to change than we were yesterday.

Lead SA Twitter takeover

ACTIVATE! in partnership with Lead SA took over the @Lead_SA Twitter account on Friday from 10:30 until 12:00pm, receiving over 3.7 million impressions! The takeover formed part of our #BeHumanRights campaign and Lead SA’s broader campaign: “Living the Constitution” making the constitution accessible to the South African public. As a youth organisation that champions youth related matters, ACTIVATE! supports the Lead SA campaign because it supports the Constitution and encourages active citizenship.


ACTIVATE! is a network of young leaders equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa. Connecting youth who have the skills, sense of self and spark to address tough challenges and initiate innovative and creative solutions that can reshape our society.

On social media:

Twitter: @ActivateZA

Facebook: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers


Instagram: Activate_za



Activators have their say on Human Rights!

“Fundamental violations of human rights always lead to people feeling less and less human.” – Aung San Suu Kyi

‘’Human Rights are universal and invisible. Human freedom is also invisible: if it is denied to anyone in the world, it is therefore denied indirectly to all people. This is why we can’t remain silent in the face of evil or violence: silence merely encourages them’’ – Vaclav Havel

“Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.” Dalai Lama

Many centuries and decades later, the democratic South Africa is still a battlefield for back to back racial, tribal, sexiest, class and national outrageous hatred statements and actions. This continues to happen despite the fact that the country has dedicated the whole month of March to Human Rights. The day also coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

The horrific xenophobic attacks in 2017 makes Human Rights Day one of the most anticipated events as the whole world waits to see how South Africa redeems herself from global scrutiny of unjust killings. 

What Activators had to say about Human Rights

Durban based Human rights scholar and social change driver, Philisiwe Phelokazi Cenga appeals to all sectors of our society who must continuously invent creative ways of using the historical significance of Human Rights day not just as a reminder of the past, but also an opportunity for all citizens to deliberate on inclusive ways of moving the country forward.

‘’I am totally against the idea Human Rights day being used as another typical holiday where people stay home. I think it should be a vigorously run awareness campaign that lasts longer than just a day in March. I do not think it should be scrapped but maybe extended to a week and maybe focus on schools as well, especially in lower grade schools. You see, our rights should be one of those things that you grow up knowing like the back of your palm. So, maybe eventually, when those kids do grow up, they will become more conscious (and economically active) citizens,’’ she said

No one should impose human rights commemoration styles

Founder of Youth Inter-Active and social change driver Nkosikhona”Uthmaan/ Uzzi” Mpungose   suggests Human Rights day and month should be used as the national platform to reflect and take stock of the progress that the country has made and more importantly, used a platform to test social, economic and political unifying ideas

‘’I wouldn’t necessary want to impose a specific way of commemorating Human Rights Day. The fact that it is very much open to every individual choice reflects our democratic achievements. With that said, I think the emerging dominant narrative that says this should also be used as a reminder of our country’s journey in addressing challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment should also be given serious consideration,’’ he said

Scrapping Human Rights Day would be suicidal move

Human rights expert and social change driver Junior Sikhwivhilu lamented the popular current commemoration philosophy and call by some sectors of society that suggest that the human rights must be scrapped off as a holiday. 

‘’This is not true and not fair as a statement. South Africa cannot afford to invest in itself economically only but needs to invest socially specifically historically. The same people who say the day is a waste are the same people who hold views that South Africa should forget about the past, this is totally misinformed. Human Rights day is not a day to be taken lightly,’’ said Sikhwivhilu.

Social change drivers like Koko Chizama Zaka, Mkhuseli Madiba  and Ino Makoro Tshishonga will use Human Rights Day to give back to vulnerable members of society like orphans and homeless people.

On the other hand, South African Government Communication Information System (GCIS) South African Human Rights Commission has also confirmed that government will host various activities throughout Human Rights Month to remind all South Africans to continue working together to uphold the culture of human rights and take on the responsibility to build a society that respects the rule of law.

What does human rights day represents for you? What could be the best way of commemorating the day and why? Talk to us on our social network platforms 

No African man has the right to kill another African child

Xenophobia, this is the word used to describe hate crime against African people who are not from South Africa. We woke up one morning in May 2008 and Africans were killing Africans and the total number of dead people was 62 and 21 of those were South Africans. In 2015 another scary event took place were Africans killed each other, this happened again in 2017.

Following these events, we hear South Africans say foreigners take their jobs and perpetrate crime. The sad part about this is that someone somewhere believes that foreigners are responsible for creating jobs and fighting crime. The media on the other hand fails to ask real questions as to why South Africans are so angry and whom is to blame, but they too quick to post pictures of the brutal killings on the internet. Our leaders are afraid to come out and talk about the real reason South Africans are angry but they too are quick to talk about peace.

Who is behind xenophobia and who is to be blame? That’s the question we need to focus on. In South Africa alone we have hundreds of thousands of people who come in illegally every day in our very own so cold protected boarders. We have hundreds of thousands of illegal weapons and substances that come. We have a home affairs system that can be hacked at any given time because its system is not protected and the department of labor which does not investigate companies that hire illegal emigrants and company bosses that are too greedy to pay the legal leaving wage.

Are we still saying foreigners steal our jobs and perpetrate crime? Have we taken our time and asked how un-armed people manage to defeat our well trained South African defense force at our boarders and the South African police services? We also need to ask ourselves how in a country with the strong security service manage to smuggle in illegal substance and weapons and mange to distribute them so well that they are found everywhere. In a country that promotes peace we still need to ask ourselves what is peace?

As a nation we need to know that everyone is a victim, when one considers the crime rate and the high number of unemployment. We need to fight the criminals who feed the desperation of other people. The truth is no one has the guts to promote crime if they know the country security will be on to them. We need to come up with strategies as to how we can develop new security systems that other countries use to fight crime and tighten our boarders and airports with security and see if this crime rate will still be high.

But wait have we not done that already? What we really need to do is ask those in power why their security services are so weak yet tax payers pour out a lot of money to make sure that they get all the training they need in order to protect us. We need to know that since May 2008 until today what have they done with the citizens concerns about “foreigners perpetrating crime and taking their jobs.” Who was assigned to deal with the matter and what was the outcome? We are all Africans and we are capable of hate, but we are even more capable of hate when promised honey in an empty stomach.

With all these killings going on, someone is benefiting somewhere and we are left with hate while they enjoy the benefit of the hate they have fed us. All our leaders are aware of the killings and crime and they not taking action because they know who is to blame. We as people on the ground can blame and kill each other but the truth will still remain if we don’t fight the real criminals we are then fighting a losing battle.                                                                             

No African man born of African woman has the right to kill another African child. We need to stand together and fight poverty and our land. With the energy and knowledge we have, we should be able to take back our national resources and start owning them as they belong to us. We should be focusing more on aquiring scarce skills in order to build our wealth as a developing country and we can only do that if we are willing to work with our African brothers instead of killing them.  Azania is our home let us love and protect it as we live in peace.

Photo credit: VKNS 

Whose business is it anyway?

SMMEs are in for yet another year with little to no real commitment from government and treasury. After the SONA by Pres. JG Zuma, and the budget speech by P Gordan, it is unclear as to the priority treasury and government has placed on SMMEs.

The current statistics as per the budget speech 2017 and which relate directly to the ‘possible’ impact small business can have on our economy are that:

  • at least 35% of the labour force are unemployed or have given up hope of finding work
  • our towns and cities remain divided and poverty is concentrated in townships and rural South Africa
  • our growth has been too slow – just 1% a year in real per capita terms

This indicates a real challenge and a gaping hole in our economy and forces us as citizens to wonder exactly WHOSE BUSINESS IS IT ANYWAY? Over the last couple of years, the treasury has committed just over R 3 billion per fiscal year to SMMEs. And according to a report written by the Department of Small Business Development titled Vote 31, at least 51% of this commitment goes to SEDA, an agency which provides non-financial support to SMMEs. And the rest is distributed in incentives, grants, and small loans.

This commitment by treasury then begs the question why is the SME failure rate still so high. According to a report by SEDA in 2007, the failure rate was at a staggering 75% of all small businesses in their first two years. The Minister of Trade and industry Rob Davies in 2013 cited a statistic done by Adcorp Analytics which showed that the failure rate only decreased by 4% between 2007 and 2013 and still a further 4.5% drop in 2015 since 2013. Which is still very high.

In 2010 in an ABSA hosted small business roundtable, Pres. JG Zuma highlighted the importance of small businesses by saying “Small business have moved from employing 18% in 1998 to more than 60% in 2010.” Which shows that government understands the possible impact and yet lacks the initiative to implement policies that speak to this importance. In 2016 alone the mining and manufacturing sectors decreased their labour force by at least 140 000 jobs, further pressure on our economy.

In 1989 Germany’s berlin wall fell and with it the rise of the importance of small business was seen. Today at least 68% of Germany’s working population are employed by small businesses. And the economy’s strength is on the backs of these small entities of which most make less than EUR 1 million. 

South African small businesses need a more radical procurement reform which speaks to preferred procurement favouring them, where they can be given access to markets within core industries and sectors. The KING REPORT ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE requires a more stricter monitoring system that sees to it private sector is complying with ESD regulations and requisites.

The success story, the verbatim; the glory of our country is now the business of government, treasury, private sector and the entrepreneurs themselves. To simply leave the likelihood of any small business succeeding solely in the hands of an uncommitted government is both irresponsible and a self inflicted brutality to the ambitions of small start-ups. The answer ergo, to the question, WHOSE BUSINESS IS IT ANYWAY; it is all our business.

The great debate on start ups in our country is a contentious one. Where finance houses, both private and public have some of the most impossible requisites which for the most part, entrepreneurs from South Africa’s poverty hubs are not able to meet very often. There exists an economic divide which needs to be addressed if small business and start-ups are to have a chance. In his book The State of Nation Building In South Africa by Neville Alexander, he shows South Africans’ ambivalence in desiring a rainbow nation and “desperately clinging to a non-racial future vision of the future” while using racially historic ideology to build it.

He says “unless, therefore, we can invent a new discourse involving a new set of concepts that is more appropriate to the peculiarities of South African history, we will remain stagnant.” This is to say, the government’s goal for a truly inclusive economy in which the scales of wealth are addressed and balanced, a new disposition is a prerequisite.

Small business is in fact big business where our economy is involved. Unemployment is a problem that industrialisation alone can no longer solve. Innovative start-ups and small businesses are the way of the future.

An agent for social change

Name: Khomotso Komape

Province: Limpopo

Facebook: Komape Tsipa-Motlokwa

Khomotso is an individual who is always willing to learn new things,an ambitious and hard working person who prides himself in being to work in a team.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

 To learn more so that I grow ideologically as a person

What did you enjoy the most about training?

 I enjoy the session were we talked about Africa cause some young people are not aware that Africa is very rich in minerals           and heritage

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

 It has equipped me with more information and moral upliftment.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

Being hands on and taking change of all youth programmes

What is your field of interest?

Community Development

How are you driving change in your community?

 I’m making sure that my community understands the process of government especially and also to make sure they                   understanding their rights.

I also have an initiative to keep me busy and implement what I have learned at leadership programme of ACTIVATE.

What are your plans for this year?

We have a project in place that looks at career guidance, unemployment summit and talent search.

How will you be involving the network in your plans?

 We partnering with the Network and making sure our community recognises the Network.








A Moment of Silence in honour of #94_Esidimeni

As I’m writing this article, I’m once again reminded of the words by Fatima Butto during the One Young World Summit in 2013 when she said to us, the global youth: “You are either compassionate to everyone or you’re not. You don’t get to choose”.

Indeed, the recent nerve pinching episode of our beloved families in Gauteng psychiatric facilities leading to 94 dead people has no other logical justification except corruption. 

To others amongst ourselves, who at times find ourselves in the company of pseudo-politicians, can narrate how public service processes are sometimes expedited by the political principals.

Indeed, we’re reminded of how government tenders and jobs are shared in backrooms among the politically connected individuals and elite groups prior publication in the public space.

The well networked and connected individuals get informed about government plans, get advised to register their entities in the sector specific to qualify for projects tendering followed by in-house private festivities celebrating corruption victory over tenders. The fruits of the long walk to freedom.

According to news reports, the Esidimeni patients were inconveniently transported to a ‘fly-by-night’ NGO, with others placed without their medical records. What’s rather disheartening is the fact that, health professionals get registered and are regulated under strict laws in the country thus it leaves us mind-boggled as to why weren’t there any caring health professional to stand up against this malicious damage to humanity in any of the centres?

What’s rather sad is the continuous practise of institutionalising mediocrity, thus insulting ourselves as a nation in the eyes of the international community by constantly breaking national and international rules in critical sectors affecting ourselves. And worst of all, by people who went to school for years, being trained to abide and adhere to such laws.

It’d be argued that the officials at the Gauteng Department of Health weren’t aware of the developments as they unfolded but, it then begs so many other questions.

Primarily, can we soberly presume that the health officials were on leave from compassion, humanity, and official protocols regarding the handling of the patients?  

Logic dictates that we cannot have patients dying of dehydration and other such basic forms of neglect in the hands of properly trained professionals. If so, the verdict thus suggests that the psychiatric patients were simply dumped in places that were utterly unsuitable and equally ill-equipped to care for them.  

Pending outcomes from investigations conducted into this inhumane series that has already offended our national pride, insulted our national intelligence and degraded our national value systems, should probe the reach to which the sordid greasing of dirty palms played in that horrific episode. We cannot pretend like nothing happened.   

On the other hand, this case is clearly a manifestation of a widespread disease/phenomenon that thrives within our public institutions in the country mainly because the large majority among us, have become a powerless.

If you’ve ever been to a public health institution (clinic/hospital etc) and have never been told that you cannot be helped because there’s no medicine, then lucky you!

The reality is, help is available given the resources our government has but, due to corruption and incompetent staff, services in our public institutions are not rendered. What’s rather unfortunate is the fact that, it’s mostly the poor who are deeply affected by this as they’re constantly sent back home to die.

History is judging us already

I had a deep conversation with my aunt on my way to school the other day, who happens to be an active senior ANC member, about why their league (ANCWL) is forever quiet about the negative developments happening in the country. Fees Must Fall, Esidimeni case among others.

My beloved aunt, who spoke without fear or favour, burst out and said: “You know Koketso, it’s really sad and disappointing for me as your parent, to remain quiet about these but, I owe it to you to be clean and honest. The case of the ANCWL being so quiet is due to the internal differences we have within the league. We’re afraid of one another due to financial powers. Our leader is forever making irrational statements in the media and she seems never to care. We have a woman whose family is working with the Guptas thus they’re not really concerned about negative developments happening in the country because such things don’t affect their immediate family”.

At some point, she admitted that she wouldn’t mind if apartheid comes back asserting that, during apartheid, there were basic primary services for all. People had jobs and there wasn’t so much corruption as we experience today.

What is the point of freedom if I can’t get basic things like that, she argued? 

The conversation with my beloved aunt ended when I had to disembark the car and walk to my morning class. As I walked to class, I was shockingly laughing at her comments, that a senior politician can say such words.

The reality is, people are so fed-up with all the distasteful, unpleasant and unsavoury shenanigans unfolding in public spaces that they regret the advent of the democratic project.

As investigations at the Gauteng Department of Health continue, let’s not forget also that, these malpractices are expedited by our fellows. Seemingly, there’s widespread fraud involving the issuing of fitness permits for vehicles. Driving schools are said to be part of these syndicate in their desire to have as many of their learner drivers getting their licences as soon as possible, regardless of whether they can drive properly or not. The level of the problem is horrific if we consider the fact that this is not only happening in Gauteng, but in many other municipalities throughout the country.

During the 2017 State of the Nation Address, we’re again reminded of the most embarrassing and shameful scenes inside Parliament. That we’re a nation fighting a gigantic headache emanating from a variety of sources, including poor education, a colapsing healthcare system, poverty, inequality, homelessness, unemployment and many other such debilitating defects. And yet all our elected representatives seem to be excelling in are insolence, insults, fisticuffs and vandalism at our national expense. Who do we blame?

As we stand in solidarity with our #94_Esidimeni lost families, let’s stand tall in fighting corruption. Let’s remind ourselves as a nation that, our forebears did not fight against apartheid for things to be like this. Enough is enough.

Koketso Marishane writes as a concerned citizen

Photo credit: iol

Invitation to Anti-Racism Network South Africa Provincial Launch


Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

PO Box 77000


01 March 2017



Dear Stakeholders and Partners


Invitation to Anti-Racism Network South Africa Provincial Launch


The Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racism and Democracy CANRAD has the pleasure of inviting ONE or TWO delegates from your organization to the Anti-Racism Network South Africa ARNSA Provincial Launch.


ARNSA is an alliance of organizations working to respond to racism in South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation facilitated the formation of ARNSA and currently serve as the secretariat. CANRAD serves as the member of steering committee nationally.


The main purpose of the launch is to establish both provincial and regional structures that will assist in the advancement of anti-racism in South Africa, using the guiding principles as stipulated by ARNSA (the guiding principles are attached to this invitation). The launch is scheduled as follows:


Date         : 13 March 2017 (Monday)

Venue      : Alumni Meeting Room, North Campus, NMMU

Time         : 11h00- 14h00


Kindly circulate the Invitation widely to your relevant partners that would find the aims and objectives of the network significant to the work that they are doing.


Looking forward to your positive response.


Kindly RSVP by the 10 March 2017 at 12PM @



Yours sincerely

Mr. Sonwabo Stuurman

Senior Manager: Advocacy, Education and Training

Center for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

041- 504 4898 (Office hours) 0r 073 6634 920 (After hours)

When the violation of human rights are ignored…

I woke up early today and thought about the great life we are having in South Africa and burst into a worship song, thanking God for the peace and safety we have in this country.

My heart is still in shock after learning about the hate we, Afrikans, have on each other. It is no longer funny how we keep letting things go as if they don’t matter to us. We hate who we are and our own brothers and sisters. Last week I learned that I know less about my continent.

There is a small country by the name of Sahrawi with a population of 3 million people speaking both Arabic and Spanish. The country has long been captured by Morocco and never received its independence and sovereignty. Morocco milks that country’s resources, deploys their own military to kill the Sahrawi people, rape the Sahrawi women, torture them and refuses them their human rights.

To my surprise, both African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) are aware of the injustice that Morocco is doing to this country, yet not much is done. This is not breaking news in your trusted #FakeNews media platforms because, their countries are also for Morocco to loot resources in Sahrawi.

It is appalling that in this day and age, one Afrikan country is oppressing another. One black brother is abusing another brother’s basic human rights. Fortunately, it hasn’t reached a stage of the genocide that occurred in Rwanda, however, by the look of things, the Sahrawi people will soon cease to exists if these inhumane and evil acts continue under our watch.

Unfortunately the country doesn’t have all these technologies we enjoy. No internet for their young people who could voice out their frustrations with the rest of the world. I’m then reminded of how some people outside South Africa didn’t know of the unjust system of oppression we were going through. Until the message went out to the whole globe and South Africa was banned from participating in sports and other activities. That was then the beginning of the end for Apartheid.

We have powerful tools that can help us speed up the process of making the Sahrawi people independent and sovereign. We have the power to make Morocco stop their evil ways. What are we going to do about it? I already pledged my support to the Sahrawi people and will be doing everything I can with all that I have to see them break free from Morocco.

Noko Thabang Ramoroka

Described by many as a rare breed of powerful and influential young leaders in Southern Africa, Thabang Ramoroka popularly known as Abuti Rams is a game-changing human development practitioner, thought leader, author, trainer, facilitator, keynote speaker and a digital marketing strategist.



Twitter: @abutirams
Instagram: abutirams

Image Source: AFK Insider

Tribute to the Mother of SA Literature: Mirriam Tlali


The South has gone blind

What kind of nation sends its children to war unarmed? What kind of children see the devil for what it’s? What kind of nation loathes and reveres itself whilst living together? What kind of nation explicitly amends its very own ‘co-existence’ when times are tough? What kind of nation puts its children behind when doing the forecast? 
South Africa, Africa and the world lost one of the most preciously gifted dwellers of its universal spaces. Little did we know that we needed to embrace the grace of thy trace when time afforded us the opportunity. Our hearts feel betrayed by our defects- the self-inflicted pains for our failures calling for action.
Indeed, we’re saddened. Saddened by the passing of the mother of African literature.  The very same who became fascinated about the idea of an idea, epitomizing the love for education and also through some of her work, was able to give us a window to South Africa’s Southern Western Township when many of her generation feared to begin the race to Soweto. 
It’s rather shameful of South Africans that we know more about William Shakespeare and other foreign writers than we know about our very own heroes and sheroes like Maya Angelou would say. Our African mother, too, needs to be amplified. For she’s a woman ahead of her time. She saw much further standing on ground level because in her time, there was no giant shoulder to stand on. She was her own giant spokesperson speaking her truth through her writings. South Africa owes her.
Our mother was a scholar, novelist, short story writer and activist. She wrote until there’s no more ink in the pipe.  Those who drank from her well of wisdom will narrate about ‘Between the Two Worlds, Amandla, Footprints in the Quag, Crimen Ijuria and Mihloti among others which afforded her numerous national and international accolades including but not limited to: The Inaugural South African Literary Award as a Lifetime Achiever and the Silver Ikhamanga Presidential Award.
Under difficult circumstances, our mother eloquently articulated realities facing women of her times in South Africa, conscientising the world about her world, her experiences through the power of pen and paper as a writer. We lost library.
Our mother’s extraordinary character was made up of virtues that are rarely found together. She stood out as an unsurpassed person of action, but she was not only that – she was also a person of visionary intelligence and broad culture, a profound thinker. 
She was both an idealistic and action-oriented woman.  She encompassed the virtues that may be defined as the fullest expression of the virtues of a revolutionary: total integrity, supreme sense of honour, absolute sincerity, stoic and Spartan living habits,  and arguably one whose conduct not one stain can be found. She constituted, through her virtues, what can be called a truly model revolutionary woman. Mosadi sadi. Imbokodo. 
Through her life, she must be a model of what future humans should be, not only for our people but also for people everywhere in the world.  She carried to its highest expression revolutionary stoicism, the revolutionary spirit of sacrifice, revolutionary combativeness, the revolutionary’s spirit of work. She brought the ideas of Marxism-Leninism to their freshest, purest, most revolutionary expression. No other person of our time has carried the spirit of proletarian internationalism to its highest possible level like our mother of literature did.  
However, per dictates of our democratic project we may confidently argue now and then at our command that if there is another person to whom all these characteristics can be attributed, it’ll always be our African literary mother.
Indeed, your passing leaves us with questions: Did we warmly embrace you enough? Did you feel appreciated by us? Did we make you proud? For your passing leaves us with mixed emotions: sometimes sad that we didn’t know you’d leave us so soon; sometimes scared that we may not sustain your legacy and at times guilty that we don’t practise your teachings. 
It’s universally known that people like ourselves hardly show expressions, and only make a fuss over our people when they’re no more. We watch with ignorant hearts the episodes playing themselves continuously and we stare at the unknown future ahead of us only to end up embracing our selfish thoughts in isolated spaces till our time arrives when we’ll be carried in shiny corpse grand paraded for our tiny earthly contributions. History repeats itself.
Most among us write because you wrote. We travel because you also travelled. We try by all means possible to impart knowledge onto our successors because you did the same to us. We mimic fearlessness, bravery and heroism because you encompassed all of it.
As you join the entourage of great African thinkers, may the great African Angels dreamers and travellers traversing tide like Es’kia Mphahlele, Steve Biko, and Nelson Mandela welcome you in the heavenly palace, for we’ll continuously hold your name is positive light, like you have brought us that light.  
When all is said and done, we remain grateful for your life. 
Robala ka khutjo Mme Miriam Tlali.
Photo credit: Human Rights Watch

We can’t be selective about what Human Rights we observe, yet we are.

As the world observes International Sex Workers’ Rights day today, with sex work still illegal in South Africa, and with almost the entire demographic of sex workers being South African youth, what role are we supposed to play in this matter as future leaders? Must we support the decriminalisation movement, or support the ban of sex work while finding other avenues to assist those involved in sex work? Or must we just ignore this, because it’s their bodies, which they are free to do whatever they wish with, and must deal with whatever consequences come with it?

Although the trade of sex is illegal in South Africa, it is a common trade in which children as young as 14 are engaged in. It is no secret that the majority of sex workers are below the age of 35 and have been trapped in the trade for years, because once they get into it, it becomes  very difficult to get out, especially if no other job can give them the same income.

Many enter the trade due to unemployment and desperation for income. They either have little or no education and their family situations forced them into the trade as it requires no experience or education; or they were introduced into it by friends who earned a lot of income from it and they desired the same income to cover expenses they wouldn’t afford otherwise.

I spoke to “Candy,” a sex worker who is only 23 years old (same age as me). Originally from Zimbabwe, she started selling her body to survive the streets of Johannesburg. “I am from Harare and came here when I was 19 to look for work. A lady I met in town introduced me to this life. She gave me a room to stay and clothes to wear. I met other ladies that were under her wing as well. We all paid her every week for the room,” said “Candy.” 

“I have been arrested several times before, but they always let us go because there is no proof that we are selling our bodies. It’s not illegal to stand on the street corner. I was raped by my step-father daily as a child. The men remind me of him, so to avoid thinking of him I started using drugs. I want to stop this life, but I do not know of any other job that can make me the same amount of money. I also need to sustain my drug addiction and pay my rent,” explains “Candy.”

In an article titled Sex Workers’ Rights are Human Rights by Policy Advisor at Amnesty International, Catherine Murphy, highlighted how it’s not surprising to learn that sex workers face discrimination, beatings, rape and harassment – sometimes on a daily basis – or that they are often denied access to basic health or housing services.  

These are basic human rights they are denied and cannot report, because their trade is illegal.

To further substantiate the claims of the emotional and physical abuse sex workers endure, in an interview by Open Society Institute, Rights Not Rescue, the sex workers interviewed opened up about what they go through on a daily basis. The interviewees spoke about how difficult it is to stand on street corners at night, how the police beat them up and they can’t report it because they take them as a joke,  and they are embarrassed about going to clinics and hospitals because they are laughed at by nurses. They want to know what their rights are, because when clients don’t pay up they can’t even take them to court. They concluded the interview by asking the government to legalise sex work or at least put in laws to protect them.

Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and Sisonke National Sex Workers Movement joined forces in 2015 to commemorate International Sex Workers’ Rights Day, on the 3rd of March, through an online campaign to commemorate the day. The campaign called for the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa with the theme: “Only Rights Will Stop the Wrong – Decriminalise sex work now”.

The cry for decriminalising sex work has been a very long one that organisations such as SWEAT are still fighting for even today.

Decriminalisation, per the Sex Workers and Sex Work guide, is a policy model where no aspect of adult consensual sex work is criminalised. Consenting sex workers over the age of 18 are free to sell sex and consenting adult clients are free to buy sex, without interference or harassment from the state or police.

On a YouTube video published by Key Correspondents in 2015, a channel that reports on action on HIV, Roxy, a then 25 year old HIV transgender sex worker on the Cape Town streets, and an advocate for the decriminalisation of sex work shared why she is advocating for this decriminalisation.

When she found out that she was HIV positive at the tender age of 16, and an orphan at that time, all she could think of was committing suicide. She went into sex work in order to make a living at that tender age.

She has been receiving support from SWEAT for over 8 years and is receiving both health education and treatment, and education on how to be an advocate for sex workers’ rights. Without SWEAT, Roxy says, she would have killed herself a long time ago.

In the same video, Lesego Tlhwale, Media Advocacy officer for SWEAT, explained how even though sex work is illegal, it is the oldest profession and it is not going away anytime soon; so it only makes sense for laws to be put in place on how to regulate sex work.

It should be kept in mind that around 60% of the sex workers in South Africa are HIV positive. That’s according to Rights groups who are using the figures to try and persuade the government to decriminalise the industry. By putting in laws to protect sex workers, it will be easier to control the spread of the HIV virus as they would have access to proper health care and treatment for whatever illnesses they might contract while working.

Photo credit: Sex Workers Outreach Project

No fear, No discrimination

Name: Nondumiso Mthethwa

Facebook: Nondumiso Mthethwa

Province: KwaZulu-Natal

Nondumiso is a bubbly enthusiastic young lady passionate about changing other people’s lives. She currently works at Anova Health Institute in a programme called Health 4 Men which addresses both prevention and treatment issues of men having sex with men.

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

 To grow my knowledge and understanding about things around me and to interact with a diverse range of people.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

I enjoyed the session where we did the past collage; wash line methodology; Activate SONA and Thomas Sankara

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

Firstly, I used to be ignorant about things especially education. I used to believe education is a system of making Black people suffer and I learned that in order for one to beat the system you need to know the system.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

Because we still young and like the youth of 1976 who brought freedom upon this country, whenever the youth speak the ground shall shake like the uprising of Fees Must Fall.

What is your field of interest?

Advocating for Human Rights mostly those who can’t voice their opinons and community development

How are you driving change in your community?

By going to my community and conducting awareness campaigns around my field of interest. Dialogues and talks.

Now that you have completed training, how do you plan to keep active in the network?

By involving other Activators who are in my field of interest  

What are your plans for thisyear?

Carry on with my work of interest advocating for the key population.

How will you be involving the network in your plans?

Yes I am involving other Activators.

Activator to set Design Indaba alight!

The award winning fashion designer and entrepreneur, Ditiro Mashigo has been selected to be part of the 2017 International acclaimed Design Indaba Festival which will be held in Cape Town’s Artscape Theatre and simulcast live in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, Windhoek (Namibia)Lagos (Nigeria), Lausanne (Switzerland) and other cities throughout the world.

The delighted soft spoken designer believes that her participation in this years’ Design Indaba is recognition and a great opportunity for her to continue showcasing her art, talent and entrepreneurial prowess to take her clothing brand Serati Le Kgakana  to the top of the global fashion market.

“I am very grateful to have been selected to be part of this global elite network platform like the Design Indaba. Opportunities like this one only comes once in a lifetime. So my plan is to effectively use this opportunity to network with likeminded international artists, showcase my capabilities as a young designer and connect with potential suppliers and employers,” she said.

This opportunity will benefit other struggling fashion designers

Ditiro’s aim to lobby all the relevant fashion promoters, academia  support organisations, funders, mentorship network contacts and information gained at the festival will not only benefit her alone. As a fashion designer, she hopes her connections will also benefit the rural and emerging fashion designers that she is working with.

“I am very much aware that my participation in this festival can create opportunities for myself, but as a selfless pro-township fashion activist I hope I will attract many key strategic partners which will benefit hundreds of other struggling fashion designers beyond the Design Indaba,” said Ditiro.

Ditiro is part of 2017 Design Indaba and the Department of Arts and Culture Design Indaba Emerging Creatives. According to their communications team: “The programme has seen many contemporary South African Creatives launching their careers through the platform. Every year, the Design Indaba presents a select group of 40 daring and innovative Emerging Creatives. The selected emerging designers then attend workshops from industry professionals, network with fashion community legends and exhibit their work at the Artscape Theatre Centre alongside the Conference, Film Fest and Nightscape. The 2017 Emerging Creatives exhibitions is held at the Artscape in Cape Town, the KZNSA gallery in Durban and at Fox Junction in Johannesburg.’’

Government empowering and linking artists with opportunities

On the other hand, Department of Arts and Culture  minister spokesperson, Zimasa Velaphi said the ministry’s long term plan is to use initiatives like Emerging Creatives as vehicle to empower, expose, fund and link up many competent struggling artists with the potential suppliers and customers. ‘’It is a known fact that in this country and all over the world, that emerging artists who deserve much needed backing from arts stakeholders actually don’t  get it. “As a caring government we have made it our responsibility to do exactly just that or at the very least create connections with already existing platforms like Design Indaba.  The aim behind that is to make sure that artists / fashion designers like Ditiro can also thrive and most importantly have access to market,’’ said Velaphi.

The prestigious gathering features the best of global creativity all on one stage. Other renowned artists who are expected to be part of the 2017 Design Indaba artist festival include Norwegian architecture Kjetil  Thorsen, Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, German industrial designer, tech entrepreneur Marko Ahtisaari , Kenyan photographer, Osborne Macharia, Netherlands born social entrepreneur Isabel Mager Dutch filmmakers Lernert and Sander , just to mention the few.

Fashion industry advice

A fellow Pretoria based fashion designer, Khomotjo Malatji Mopai  (Grapevine Fashion Founder and Creative Director) who also kick started her career via Design Indaba, encouraged Ditiro to go the festival with an open mind.

“Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives is one the most powerful career accelerating platforms for up and coming designers, as a beneficiary of that programme, my advice to Ditiro is, now you are a few steps closer to achieving what most budding fashion designers desire. Your selection is an indication that you are officially among the fashion designers in the country. Now the best thing you can do during Design Indaba festival is operate more like an entrepreneur than an artist. Make lasting connections that will generate money beyond the event. Align yourself with key stakeholders that can assist you to go and showcase in other global fashion platforms like Paris Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week etc,” said Khomotjo.  

Ditiro has also showcased in national and international platforms like the Johannesburg Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Unconventional Fashion Statements (UFS) SANAAA Africa Festival and Tshwane Fashion Counsel, to name a few. 

It’s time for back to basics for the ANC on the land question


On a sunny day on the 28 February 2017, it was like any other political day in the Parliament of South Africa where a spectacle of political debate occured. Today, the political ball chosen to be kicked was the land question and the EFF had the first go to show their style of kick. Without fail, the EFF fly kicked the debate into high tempo.

The debate raged on about the land question and with worldclass square passes from other political parties, the EFF ended the show with a back heel to prove their point that it remained the only party in parliament brave enough to raise the land question.

For that bravery the EFF took the gold cup as a party of brave men and women who can speak on behalf of the majority of landless people in South Africa. The members of parliament of the ANC were put on the backfoot as they fell flat during the debate.

Outside this sideshow in parliament, reality continues to face the landless people that they shall never receive back their land in the immediate future. The landless people of whom the majority are black, went to sleep lastnight on land they do not own, they woke up today on land they have no real claim to as per the constitution of the country.

The ANC as the party of the people can no longer continue to live in the hope that tommorow shall be better and that oneday the people will have their land back. Land is the basis of any human development, it gives courage to human beings, it gives security to people so they have a place they can call home. Land ownership promotes a sense of belonging, it says to the land owner that you can sleep in peace in your own land. Without land, the people remain nobody’s in a country they call home.

The recent xenophobic attacks speaks volumes because perpetrators were fighting people who like them do not own any land in South Africa. These thugs who sought to chase away other African brothers have accepted that they are tenants in South Africa; to them land ownership is not an issue all they want is to own a spaza shop.

Recorded history informs us that the ANC has always been an organisation of debates, negotiations, persuasions and frankness. This special trait of the ANC is now needed more than ever. Parliament of South Africa has illustrated that it is not a house that will deliver total emancipation for all black people. Our ANC must now cease this vacuum and lead society.

It is time the ANC goes back to basics and call a lekgotla of all revolutionary parties and other motive forces to speak to the issue of land. The ANC must now speak to the EFF outside the parliamentary precint. Both these parties formative years were influenced by the land question, it then cannot be unexpected that many common ground will easily be found on this question.

The land question cannot continue to be used for politicking in parliament where people’s public inclusive participation platforms can be created for this purpose. The ANC leaders inside and outside parliament must swallow their political pride and invite the red berets for frank discussions on the land question in a people centred public platform. If the EFF is genuine on addressing the land question, they shall find no excuse to participate in this public platform.

Like it happened with the freedom charter more than 60 years ago, the ANC as the genuine leader of society must lead this process in aiming to give land back to the people. We have hope in the pro african leadership of the ANC to lead this process.

Photo credit: Environment Probe

Themba Vryman is an ANC member and writes in his personal capacity.