Sandile Memela
Sandile Memela

Redi’s story of healing sugar-coats black suffering

Redi Tlhabi’s Endings and Beginnings opens with a murder scene. A bullet-riddled young, black male body is lying dead at a street corner and the whole community has come out to celebrate. He was a gangster, murderer, rapist and robber.

It is payback time for Soweto’s haunted history of jack-rollers — the girl kidnapping phenomenon and reign of terror — that people have forgotten about. But a little girl who grew up in the once notorious township of Orlando must purge her soul of this terrible memory.

Tlhabi’s debut novel sub-titled a “Story of Healing” makes for troubling reading not because of its naïve attempt to humanise black tragedy, it is a superficial account of a tragic social and economic history where the brutality of an economic system has not only been deliberately underplayed but totally over-looked.

Tlhabi is destined to be a leader of a new generation of black female writers who make apolitical and ahistorical literary art. Tlhabi’s story of Mabegzo is supposed to be just another normal story of a young male who turns into a brutal monster simply because he grew up without intimate ties or knowledge of his mother.

Only the black-on-black violence, the self-infatuation and the humanisation of black tragedy is made to seem authentic. In fact, nobody is a victim in this story as everything — in terms of how people turn out — can be traced back to the wrong choices and mistakes that were made by Imelda, Nkgono and Jakobo. But this is socio-political nonsense. Redi’s handling of one of the most brutal experiences at the height of the violent 1980s is superficial and hollow.

This story is chock-a-block with humanitarian plastering of deep psychological wounds. This explains why it has been well-received by the middle classes. This is the perversion of poverty, unemployment, inequality and brutal racial domination into an acceptable way of life. It not only fits in the cultural strategy to depoliticise black literature — where the writers make no reference to apartheid — but it reveals how Tlhabi is an independent, courageous and objective writer who gets into the soul of human story-telling.

At the time of Mabegzo’s killing by his criminal friends, the townships were not only caught up in deep political rumbles but even 11-year-olds knew that some tsotsis, thugs were very political in their criminal activities. It is for this reason that they would be welcomed back like heroes upon returning from their shenanigans. The mid-1980s were about “making the country ungovernable”. But Tlhabi neither locates her story in the context of the prevalent political resistance nor links the behaviour of her criminal characters to the upheavals in the country. Everything is just pure criminality and loss of moral compass.

Perhaps offering sandwiches to a charming and good-looking murderer, rapist and killer is the only truth about township life that Tlhabi knows and is comfortable with. But this watering down of a life of poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and crime is a misrepresentation of township reality. People like Mabegzo who relied on hand-outs for survival were not victims of a lack of initiative or laziness but were at the receiving end of helplessness and structural violence inflicted by the system.

When Tlhabi attempts to humanise this story, she is trying to please a middle-class audience that has grown tired of stories that blame apartheid for everything. The only good aspect of Tlhabi writing skills is that not only is she free to sugar-coat black suffering but she has told her story in a pretty engaging manner.

We have just entered the literary blaxploitation era in which an increasing number of black female writers — Khanyi Mbau, Bonnie Henna and Kelly Khumalo, among others — are being celebrated for their naivety and apolitical stories that appeal to human interest.

So, Tlhabi is part of this new fashionable literary trend where attractive, articulate and intelligent-sounding black women publish books that tell the authentic black experience beyond the apartheid blame game. Their books extract and celebrate the triumph of the human spirit over poverty, abuse, drugs, depression and, of course, senseless criminal violence perpetrated by black males.

Maybe the apolitical human approach to storytelling is not necessarily a deficiency. There will always be a tension between those who uphold the aesthetics of beautiful writing and others who promote ideological or a political perspective. Perhaps the ideal is to strike a balance. But as we move deeper into the new South Africa, Tlhabi et al are clearly communicating the new political-cultural codes that expect everybody, especially black writers, to get over apartheid and tell more human stories.

Thus Tlhabi is not interested in digging deep into the socio-economic circumstances that made it almost impossible for Mabegzo and his peers to be anything more than just thugs. Instead, they are depicted as society’s lost souls: young, black, violent and self-destructive.

This is, predictably, a normal story with a human touch. It will also do well because not only does it promote middle-class values — moving out of the townships and returning to find closure — but will make it easier for everyone who desires for poverty and wealth to co-exist well together. At any rate, it portrays thugs as people who, ultimately, get their just dessert. Fools will buy into this superficial political nonsense.

Now at the height of her career as a radio and television talk-show anchor and commentator, Tlhabi seems incapable of discerning the continuing impact and legacy of apartheid on black lives in the townships and everywhere. In fact, she is at the forefront of not blaming apartheid for anything as she overindulges the new post-apartheid notion of blacks, including President Jacob Zuma, taking responsibility for what happens to one. The Tlhabi politics have become the new currency.

But they are valid in their own way. Instead of concentrating on the legacy of apartheid, blacks have every right to look deep into their individual souls to explain everything that has happened to them, especially the bad things. Mabegzo chose to turn into a criminal when he was thrown out by his family. And this is not ghetto sentimentality but looking at township reality through cold eyes to put things into a human perspective. So — depending on how you choose to see things — it is not entirely true that Tlhabi has distorted a township tragedy. This is actually a new way of looking at the black reality.

An appreciation of Ending and Beginnings requires ignorance of the political happenings in Orlando, Soweto — of the time when Mabegzo was killed. Presumably, many readers will respond well to this human story but without the correct socio-economic context, Tlhabi’s story leaves a big void in the soul. In fact, it is a beautifully written story that is patronising to black suffering. What a waste of talent!

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  • 48 Responses to “Redi’s story of healing sugar-coats black suffering”

    1. Tofolux #

      @Sandile maybe you should consider that this fiction of Redi is not meant for a kasi audience and targeted at the superficial (middle-class) market whose only interaction with Kasi will be through a book. That said, the dumbing down of society by those who should know better is frustrating to say the least. Not only because these are the ones who continously shout these new anti-black slogans of corruption etc and yet their own conduct and activities not only adds to the moral decay of our society but it is highly corrupted. Their hypocrisy is being sold through a corporate lens and lets face it, with very willing partners. The irony is that these very hypocrites are allowed to occupy a social space and presented to us as a reflection of our society at large. Not only are they so comfortable in their new-found roles of misleading our society, they simply have no moral conflict about it. That is the tragedy though. But then again, I suggest you read some revolutionary literature to bring you down to earth. All of these mimicking fwools have been succinctly described so many years ago. In fact, we have been warned. And yet, as typical africans, we allow ourselves to be duped by the advent of the americanisation of society and deem it good when some amongst us start speaking in riddles with a twang.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm
    2. Zeph #

      Not every book has to be a political discourse. I think your criticism is unfair as the book is her story; not yours. She does not wear your tinted glasses.
      You should accept it is written in a different style to what you would write and for a different audience. I think she has done a good job in that, and that sir, is talent!

      There is also currently a discourse on what and where South African Black writing is and where it should go to. It obviously not something that will find its own way with time. One of the main themes is how this writing moves forward from Apartheid and Struggle writing and the search for a new identity. I am not saying our problems are over etc and should not be written about; all I am saying is that her book might be part of that evolution.
      I find your genre of writing very much part of the Struggle brand and therefore maybe ‘antiquated’. To be fair I could even therefore say you lack the talent to evolve. But I am not one for cheap shots and neither should you be.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm
    3. Alfred Kamboyi #

      Dear Sandile,
      Apartheid did not affect everyone equally and different people responded differently to the same racial oppression.Tlhadi;s story shows the fact that, whatever the social/economic circumstances one goes through,EVERY PERSON CREATES THEIR FUTURE BY THE DECISIONS THEY MAKE!!!YOU YOURSELF ARE A JOURNALIST AND NOT A THUG, THOUGH YOU GREW UP UNDER APARTHEID!!
      Sharing this part of your history would be more constructive than continuously harping on the ills of a long-gone system of governance!
      South Africa needs to be encouraged/taught in the line of RESPONSIBILITY.
      The blame game disempowers people.
      I submit that you are doing a disservice to your fellow black brothers and sisters!
      Wake up and smell the coffee, brother!
      Alfred

      December 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm
    4. Zeph #

      Last paragraph should read, “To be unfair I could even…”

      December 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm
    5. Sandile Memela

      @ tofolux the Redi story is NOT fiction but torn from the pages of township life. It is non-fiction.
      @ kamboyi & zeph: it not like I am not aware of the deadening effect of political or ideological orietation on creative expression. I am not even being prescriptive, here, but pointig out an important literary development where the system promotes those socalled writers who condone apartheid and its legacy.
      I must say that I respect every writer’s right, including Redi, to write what they likes. All I am saying is that judging her solely on her beautiful writing will not be enough as a standard to measure her writing on township life. We have to look at her work agaiinst the backdrop of the society she is writing about.
      What is SHE saying about township life, then and now?
      Political or ideological criteria or coloring is unavoidable in any work, especially of people who come from the dispossessed. However, it does not mean we should devalue good writing as in this particular work. But Redi’s politics must be problematized as she is part of those who want to romanticize not just Verwoerd but apartheid.
      In fact, there is no artistic or creative work in South Africa that cannot be subjected to political or ideological critique. Every thing is political.
      But misguided as she is, I respect her right to creative self-expression as it confirms that some blacks are apartheid apologists or just prefer to condone its sins against humanity.
      She will, unavoidably, be an…

      December 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm
    6. Jack Sparrow #

      @Sandile; I think what you are trying to say is that these “gangster(s), murderer(s), rapist(s) and robber(s)” are actually innocents, forced to commit the heinous crimes undoubtedly perpetrated by apartheid. Therefore every written word and judgement about such jack-rollers, black on black violence etc should be nuanced with the thread that apartheid was actully the root cause.

      I appreciate that this is your ingrained belief but, do you really believe this and when and how does it stop, if ever?

      @Alfred; I’m not so sure that Sandile isn’t one of, or longs to be one, of these thugs. I think the beliefs he is trying to propagate lead directly to the situations that took place in Rwanda or Bosnia where thugs are glorified and their deeds excused in the name of past injustices. Whether the pages of “Thought Leader” should be used to disperse such views is another debate.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm
    7. Sandile Memela

      She will, unavoidably, be an important literary voice in the next few years.
      Significantly, Endings & Beginnings was advertised, marketed, talked about and written about in reviews that do NOT raise questions about its political or ideological orientation. Does the book depict a political conscious reality of township life? Or does it attempt to portray it as an unending series of self-indulgent enjoyment where everybody is happy to be living under apartheid?
      Can we really afford to celebrate a writer who is lackadaisical about the horrors of the current system on black lives? Apartheid is not dead!
      I believe there is an over-enthusiastic response to the book simply because of its soporophic effect.
      Given the powerful media position she occupies in society, it would be downright dangerous to let Redi go unchallenged.
      My take on the book is not gospel. But I read it from cover to cover because I wanted to critically engage with its content. I believe it was written because the Redi wants to compel us to think, reflect and engage the work fully.
      I do not even believe there is any journalist or book reviewer in South Africa – so far – who has done what I have done. And I have done it gratis, nogal.
      Even the Sunday Times, for instance, got away with running an extract. But what the hell do book editors do there?

      December 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm
    8. Momma Cyndi #

      That is a bit mean!
      If you wanted to write Redi’s story so badly, why didn’t you approach her with an offer? It is HER story told in HER words – not a political dissection of apartheid. It is simply a slice of time out of her life.

      I have to wonder if you objected to Redi’s book because you genuinely hated it or if you object because she is a black woman and shouldn’t be allowed to write books?

      December 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm
    9. ntozakhona #

      Sandile are we not spliiting hairs over Toffolux’s comment. I understand her to be saying it is fiction as it makes light of painful township realities. ”dumbing down” of our expiriences, fiction intended for the chattering classes to me.

      December 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm
    10. Rich Brauer #

      I should state that I have not read Ms. Tlhabi’s book, and given my current backlog, I won’t get to it soon. That being said…

      Commissar Memela! You are hereby disciplined for failing to condemn Ms. Tlhabi’s work as bourgeois, decadent, and counter-revolutionary! You only *implied* those descriptors, without explicitly informing the masses of the approved terminology. Your diffidence is ideologically unsound and detracts from the glorious project of building the New Cadre! Further failures of this nature will necessitate your re-education.

      However, your singling out of black women artists does meet with our approval. They should know their place.

      December 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm
    11. WTF? #

      @Sandile:

      What are these systematic horrors you speak of? Who is responsible for them?

      If you still only apportioning blame to the white man, then you are no longer relevant I am afraid. Sugar coating the ANC failures by blaming the white man for leading them down the wrong path is similar to blaming the rape victim for wearing a short skirt.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm
    12. Machel #

      Mr Memela has written a great analysis, and a good blog. If there is anything I see in this, it is his real passion for Africa – and his real professionalism. I don’t know if at the end of the day every single problem of black suffering is due to circumstance or white people or others – every single neglect of fathers of their kids – is it always duw to someone else? Every single time? Is there nothing awry at all in our own culture that makes this happen? Either way, Mr Memela is wise and reflective and his wisdom is appreciated.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm
    13. judith #

      agreed with sandile: superficial stuff….and all too easy to publish books in SA…and rely on two-bit celebrity. Tlhabi is over-rated and over-exposed.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm
    14. Shoes #

      @Sandile

      It is her story. She must tell it in her way and if people like it, then so be it. If you have a story to tell, then tell your story about apartheid (lets see how many modern South Africans will read it). Its time to move on for goodness sake!!!

      December 20, 2012 at 9:28 am
    15. chris #

      This sounds like the rambling of a drunk old man – this point made can be made in a single sentence (‘the story lacks socio-political context’)….Sir, your writing is poor, your grammar is poor, you constantly repeat yourself, you construct your arguments in a haphazard and emotive manner, and you ramble reveals such deep-rooted prejudice and dogma that it should disqualify you as a ‘though leader’.

      December 20, 2012 at 9:30 am
    16. ntozakhona #

      Rick Brauer is simply saying he and his cohorts are pleased that they have succesfully recreated Tlhabi in their own image.

      December 20, 2012 at 10:31 am
    17. I find it amazing that you consistantly make excuses for the short coming of Blacks in general. Will the day come when you will admit that a greater part of the problem are the Blacks themselves not apartheid, not violence, not because they were fed on handouts but because they did not get off their bums and do it for themselves the hard way?
      Many did and are a huge success like Redi and her fellow South Africans that was brought up under the same laws. Maybe I am wrong in my assumption that you got off your bum and made improvements to your life? If you can so can others.

      December 20, 2012 at 10:45 am
    18. ntozakhona #

      “God forbid that our minds become the property of someone else” wrote Sol T Plaatje, ANC founding Secretary General in his seminal Native Life in South Africa.

      Redi Direko Tlhabi mind belongs to guess who?

      December 20, 2012 at 10:49 am
    19. Belle #

      Sandile, your envy is evident. Redi’s book (which I have read) reveals talent, which you sadly lack.

      Moreover, your comment that you write for free (despite your published book selling for R150) smacks of bitterness … No doubt because you realize that Redi’s book will sell way more copies than yours.

      Perhaps its not that her book ‘appeals’ to the middle classes that makes it so popular, but that middle classes read way more books than working classes?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:39 am
    20. Heinrich Becker #

      I agree with Sandile. In every negative situation there must always be someone or something else to blame.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:48 am
    21. Graham #

      What? Khanyi Mbau is being celebrated? What did I miss?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm
    22. Tofolux #

      @Sandile, if it is not factual then it is fiction. Have not read the book am therefore on the fence iro contents and only responding to a concept you raise iro of self identity, self determination and authenticity. The broader issue of course being this wholesale notion of liquidating our experiences and our past and of course the emergence of the ”intellectually elite”. However, I am wondering (ps I do understand your frustration and disappointment) if you are not being overly idealistic wrt your/our(plural) expectations. I say this because it has never been an intellectual or an elitist who articulated the process of identity formation post apartheid and post democracy. I say this because not only is it a painstaking task to reposition ourselves not as a black persons with authentic black experiences but as human beings who acknowledge having an extraordinary history. History will judge some amongst us very harshly not only for their jelly-like response to a certain responsibility but for being so feeble in their failure. But clearly Redi is not relevant or influential to the lower classes and we are not the target audience. Her relevance is a marketed expedience for certain persons only. A deeper debate would talk to certain complexes(a given) and how one ”structures” oneself. It would talk to self-negating and self confirmation. I therefore do not accept that Redi would ask us of us to be inward looking especially when she herself is conflicted.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm
    23. Gumede #

      I disagree Chris – Mr Memela’s blogs are always well written, clear and in simple but great English. You are welcome to disagree with the content, but the professionalism of his style is beyond dispute.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm
    24. What do you expect from Redi Tlhabi, a prime-time Radio 702 host who panders to her corporate white baas, Compared to others black radio hosts, her skills are mediocre at best but her constant second guessing of the black experience is why she is elevated by her white masters. btw. I can’t stand her pretentious fake accent and have to switch stations whenever I hear that voice.

      Its courageous of you to question her book which is undoubtedly more of the same stuff that “sugar-coats” black suffering. I suppose she was too preoccupied with her coming of age issues in the 80s instead of making any contribution to our struggle.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm
    25. andre #

      Redi is fine on radio. So I agree with you, she’s wasting her talent writing.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm
    26. I too, have not read the book. I’m from Orlando West (Mzimhlophe) and i remember the characters she has written about. I understand Sandile’s frustration, given the political volatility, economic repression and violence black people experienced at the time. Although its naive of her not to give her story a full context, i also don’nt think it was intentional.

      I have read some comments here, and it just sickens me when white people of this country choose to ignore the holoucast that was apartheid. When whites try to tell black people to move on and forget the past. They came to this land, broke into our homes, killed men, raped our women and children. Stole our livestock, burned our houses, stole our land, locked us into prisons, enslaved and de-humanised black people for hundreds of years, End yet we chose too forgive them. Today they are as arrogant, prejudicial as they were yesterday. Whites have proven to be impossible to live with in this country; period.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:32 am
    27. chris #

      @Gumede,

      This does not qualify as good writing, let alone ‘great English’.

      “Tlhabi’s debut novel sub-titled a “Story of Healing” makes for troubling reading not because of its naïve attempt to humanise black tragedy, it is a superficial account of a tragic social and economic history where the brutality of an economic system has not only been deliberately underplayed but totally over-looked.”

      “even 11-year-olds knew that some tsotsis, thugs were very political in their criminal activities”

      “The only good aspect of Tlhabi writing skills is that not only is she free to sugar-coat black suffering but she has told her story in a pretty engaging manner.”

      “There will always be a tension between those who uphold the aesthetics of beautiful writing and others who promote ideological or a political perspective.”

      “It will also do well because not only does it promote middle-class values — moving out of the townships and returning to find closure — but will make it easier for everyone who desires for poverty and wealth to co-exist well together.”

      “as she overindulges the new post-apartheid notion of blacks, including President Jacob Zuma, taking responsibility for what happens to one”

      December 21, 2012 at 11:33 am
    28. meOnly #

      I understand Sandile’s point, being that, as much as it would make us feel good to interpretb everything as a matter of personal responsibility, and forget everything that has to do with the context that produces suffering, it simply is not accurate. not only does it represent a kind of historical revisionism( of the worst type, for it is wrong to downplay the effects of Apartheid). sandile does not say, Redi has no talent. he does not even suggest that Redi’s point of view is incorrect, or that this type of writing has no place in S.A. rather what he asks for is BALANCE. this type of writing has a place in S.A, but just how much space should it have? That is the question

      December 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm
    29. ntozakhona #

      What does Chris know except boiterous public bar vitriol?

      December 22, 2012 at 1:19 am
    30. Pinky #

      Sandile, your accusing Redi of being apartheid apologist, or romanticising not only Verwoerd and apartheid is a direct result of your inability to be constructive in your criticism and that is bordering on slandering her name.

      In all of Redi’s writing there is nowhere she romanticised apartheid/Verwoed, more than she believes that people should be held to account for their actions especially if those endangers lives of others.

      Whilst apartheid is partly responsible for SOME of the situation black communities find themselves in, it is also a fact that absent fathers largely in black household contributes to what the young will turn out to, so when will you write and condemn deadbeat dads and consequences of their being absent parents actions does to communities? instead of trying to bully Redi into keeping things ‘hush hush’ ?

      I know that in the eyes of men like you a black woman should ONLY be seen not head and her role in life is to please ‘big daddy’ in the harem, but you should know that this is 21st century you are free to move on and embrace gender equality, cause then you will respect the fact that Redi is entitled to her views and opinions, instead of trying to guilt trip her for writing about the scrounge which is the ‘township violence’.

      Ps: I didn’t know about this book now that you brought it to my attention I will be buying it, thank you for your contribution in this matter.

      December 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm
    31. ntozakhona #

      Pinky even the problem of absent fathers should be given a historical context if it is to be dealt with holistically. The poll tax and a series of subsequent demonic laws that have seemingly been whitewashed from your and Redi’s mind have taken millions of men from their families. African familes were deliberately destroyed through the compound system. Yes, compound Redi.

      There are always social conditions that give rise to certain unwelcome behaviours in society. African people have not been simply born with genes that make them live in squatter camps etc etc

      ANYWAY we must concede that Redi has once again outdone herself in pleasing the colonial master.

      December 24, 2012 at 7:16 am
    32. ntozakhona #

      I once listened to Redi villifying a listener for quoting Steve Biko as an authority. She ranted on how Steve Biko was just a mere human being and turned the subject into a discredit Steve Biko the extra-ordinary young intellectual advert.

      Wala! The next day she went to town about some British princess extolling her infallible virtues and lifestyle. That is makoti wa Tlhabi (the Tlhabi’s daughter in law) for you.

      December 24, 2012 at 7:23 am
    33. All of us who were born and raised in the townships efficiently socially engineered and perfected by apartheid have each our own stories to tell in our own ways. We have each done what we have done, and become what we have become as a result of how we as individuals responded or reacted to the socialization processes prevailing at the time. Our respective unique individual intrinsic human and personal dispositions have probably played a more decisive part with respect to how we each one of us would turn out later in life. The latter would in turn influence the nature and style of our individual narratives regarding our experiences in/ with township lives. No one can, therefore, tell a better or worse narrative than another here.

      Indeed, brutally crush factual untruths; crush subjective claims based on unsubstantiated internal fallacies; and crush poor language, technical, as well as poor presentation skills. But do not kill the messenger in this case. No one owns absolute truths to the realities of township life as individuals, or indeed collectives, experience/ have experienced it. Leave Redi alone! Tell your own story in your own way. The narrative is the experiential manifestation of the eye of the beholder, and the word of the narrator’s mouth, or the the narrator’s pen/ keyboard.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm
    34. Sinenhle #

      Sandile you hit it on the nail.I appreciate your critique as a writer yourself. You are not saying she wronged anybody with her style but like a writer she will value the analysis.The book is real masterpiece in it’s uniqueness and the story takes us a few years back really. It is truely how she expierienced it. She is married now and to find time to do what she did is a ‘wow’ congrats.

      True I miss the link.I am very bitter towards Apartheid.It is like rape of the worst kind.It took mothers away.It defrauded us of our humanity.Till today,I am still bitter and worse when there are no whites apologising.I just feel like tearing myself apart.Mandela and the ANC negotiated on our behalf but never asked us how we feel.Now whites are fighting to bomb the ANC and take the Govt back.The DA obviously is doing it through Politics and then the Mamphelas sing their praises without even having assisted us win our dignity back.All are at the UN and World Bank. Trevor also now is going there.All this needs us to really tell the real stories of Apartheid becuase everybody wants us to forgive and forget.Nobody asked for forgiveness.Even De Klerk is now a specialist advisor on Democracy.This world if devisive.True Redi could have connected the dots.Nobody wakes up and decide to live that life.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm
    35. Judith #

      Why do you hate successful black women?

      December 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm
    36. ntozakhona #

      Alfred Kamboyi why do your Redi and her colonial listeners always blame the Africans led government for the ills of South African society ? Intellectual dishonesty or utter stupidity?

      December 27, 2012 at 6:31 am
    37. ntozakhona #

      Judith the colonial madam sleight of hand in assisting to break up the African family by telling the African women that her brother-husband-son is a rapist, thug and misogynist ( damn they have a noun for it!) does not work anymore even with the assistance of Redi,

      December 27, 2012 at 6:37 am
    38. babaBrad #

      Sandile

      Write your own book. Lets see who buys that.

      You can’t tell me what to like reading and buying. How condescending to middle class black folk.

      December 27, 2012 at 11:23 am
    39. Pinky #

      @Judith its a direct result of chauvinistic mentalities amongst African males that a woman should be put in her place. Do you know now in Swaziland they are putting a law that will sort to punish rape victims if they are found to have been wearing mini skirts at the time of the offense? One of the Swazi’s ministers said that the ‘miniskirts’ serve as an aiding tool for a rapists to carry out crime against the victim. African women are a long way before they can truly enjoy freedom, I sometimes envy our European and American peers for all the freedoms they enjoy and not being disadvantaged for being a ‘wrong’ gender.

      December 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm
    40. Phemelo #

      When White people tell us to move on,we should move from what point to where?

      December 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm
    41. ntozakhona #

      Pinky I am sure you are comfortable in the ranks of Lucas Mangope and others who sold their souls to profit from the world of the colonial master. Your self-hatred will not distract from the fact that the South African ruling party is the only party in the world that obliges that at least 50% of its NEC be women.

      The South African parliament has the highest proportion of women in the world due to women sent there by the ruling party. Affirmative Action policies that bebefited Redi immensely are skewed in favour of women. South Africa gave the AU its first female chair. There is a lot still to be done as acknowledged in Mangaung to correct the legacy of a system where our mothers were girl and maid.

      Judith at least you still have the likes of Pinky to console yourself with.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:45 am
    42. ntozakhona #

      Sandile Memela has written a book reflecting experiences in the media room.

      Eat your heart out babaBrad, Simon Chilebo and others not sufficiently exposed to literature.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:54 am
    43. Momma Cyndi #

      Judith

      A threat to a very fragile male ego?

      The liberation of women in SA has a long journey ahead still.

      December 29, 2012 at 9:43 am
    44. Aikona #

      Reading the comments, it is clear that many of Redi’s antagonists have missed the point. Ofcourse, Apartheid was awful and has left a terrible legacy. But some rose out of the ashes stronger than ever. The black man allowed himself to be defeated. Now that victory has come, the black man defeats himself.

      ( I work with young black professionals on a daily basis, and I have to keep reminding them that success is theirs only if they want it. Or you can keep on blaming everyone else for decades to come)

      December 30, 2012 at 7:21 am
    45. ntozakhona #

      Pinky are you aware that the ANC National Conference has taken a decision that lobbies the government to ban all cultural practises in violation of our constitution? The madam will not tell you about it, so you will not know.

      January 2, 2013 at 10:30 pm
    46. Tankiso Komane #

      What a critical interesting piece! well articulated I have to say.

      January 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm
    47. Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder #

      Sandile is right. A nation that loses its victimhood loses its soul!

      February 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm
    48. nkuba adam #

      if literature must continue to be viewed as commentary on the society,then the social context of all period of history must be correctly reflected in all literary offering,lest writers distort history to access markets.

      the adoption of an elitist tone in social discourse and downplaying of apartheid disempowered is a new class struggle by middle class blacks to maintain the status qou while blaming the anc all social mifortunes.

      Redi is a black woman ,but women her age in the squalor of diepsloot endure a different black experience .

      February 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

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