Archive for June, 2012

THE BATTLE OF IDEAS – Who Sets The Agenda.

Today the ANC completes its National Policy Conference after five days of serious reflection on the State of the Organisation and the State of the Nation. The importance of ANC conferences resonate far beyond the confines of the structures of the organisation. It derives this far-reaching importance from the fact that it is the ruling party and its decisions are bound to affect government and other sectors of the South African society.

It is against the backround of the ANC being the party in government that its conferences attract hoardes of journalists and commentators. In the South African context, journalists and commentators derive their existence and relevance from the ANC.

In the event we were to wake up one bad morning and the ANC had disappeared, the bulk of journalists, commentators and the oppositions would disappear too. This is how their existence is tied to the ANC.

The ANC by virtue of being the ruling party should have hegemonised its views in every sector of the South African society. It was supposed to lead in the realm of ideas and the rest of society was supposed to follow. Sadly this is not the case – the historically advantaged sections of the South Africa society continue to lead with the ANC following.

Talk of the tail wagging the dog, instead of the dog wagging the tail.

Where we are today, the ANC has lost the battle of ideas. The agenda of this battle is set elsewhere other than in the ANC – a tragedy of massive proportions.

In future interventions I’ll shed some light on why the ANC is losing the Battle of Ideas and how it can recoup its losses.

Categories: Uncategorized

He Touched My Life

Muthundinne George Phadagi

This past month we laid to rest the mortal remains of George Muthundinne Phadagi. He died after a short illness. At the time of his death, Phadagi had been appointed a Special Advisor to Limpopo Premier, Mr Cassel Mathale.

Before his appointment as Special Advisor to the Premier, Phadagi had been MEC for Safety, Security and Liaison after his “redeployment” from the Public Works portfolio. He had come into the Limpopo Executive Council via his appointment as the MEC for Public Works in 1999.

Soon after his appointment as MEC for Public Works, he called for me to work in his support office.

The call was on the strength of our longstanding relationship and my knowledge and experience in the realm of media and communications. I didn’t wait for a second invitation before I could take the offer.

I went thorugh all the due processes until my appointment four months after his.

My duties as the Media Liaison Officer went way beyond the the job purpose, to render media liaison services for the MEC.  It also entailed writing speeches for him and accompanying him on official duties.

Outside the realm of work, Oom George as I called him revived his newspaper, The Valley Messenger. He made me a key editorial player responsible for the coverage of the acrimonious politics of the ANC in the province. Over time the newspaper gained acceptance from the people of Limpopo and became their reliable and credible medium for news on the ANC and government.

Added to my specialist editorial responsiblities I had a weekly column which sought to have the province talking by raising topical issues of the day. There were also infrequent reviews of interesting books which were relevant to the readers of the newspapers and the people of the province in general.

Through the paper I was forced to produce editorial copy weekly and also had to read extensively. An amount of discipline was imposed on me to be able to juggle with my day job, the newspaper and still be able to sample the Polokwane evening life and home in Tzaneen over my rare free weekends.

Most importantly the newspaper gave me a weekly platform to hone my writing skills. Over time I could see my writing developing wings to soar as high as it could.

It is in my reading and writing that I’ll forever be indebted to the late Oom George. As I read and write memories of him come flooding back. I expect to hear his soft voice lazily taking me through an angle he wished a particular story to take.

At the time of his passing away I was becoming more involved in shaping the future direction of the newspaper. We had shared many ideas on how to grow its circulation.

Then death struck. He is no more. Sadly, the newspaper is gone too, sacrificed by family strife.

Here am I though – the embodiment of his love for the word. In me the word leaves on.