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August 23
Women are capable and strong

AS THE month of August draws to an end and the curtain is closed on Women’s Month, I urge you to continue to have discussions around challenges facing women and young girls. The issues that have been highlighted this month have not and will not be resolved overnight. We need continued awareness and dialogue around issues of femicide, rape, domestic abuse and inequality among others to ensure that we as a nation actively work towards improving the lives of women.

As the first female mayor in eThekwini I believe it is pertinent to continue to raise awareness around these issues. An example we can all learn from both as women and men is that of a young liberation solider, Phila Ndwandwe who was also known as Zandile or Zandi. She was part of the Natal Machinery of Umkhonto we Sizwe operating from Swaziland. “Brave. Very, very brave,” are the words used to describe Ndwandwe by one of the men who murdered her.

She was a dental therapy student when she was recruited by the ANC in 1985 and was living in exile Swaziland when apartheid police abducted her in 1988. They hoped that she would be an informer.

This young woman had just given birth to her first son and was breastfeeding him when she was kidnapped. She was stripped naked and beaten repeatedly. She made a pair of panties for herself out of a plastic bag. But despite the intense brutality she endured, as one of her killers later told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), she simply refused to talk. Unable to turn her, it was decided that she would be killed. And blindfolded and naked she was hit over the head and then shot while unconscious. She was buried naked and her body covered with lime and a plastic sheet.

Her body was discovered after her killers disclosed what they had done to the TRC and received amnesty. Her parents were left broken by the realisation that they had been living 10 kilometers from where their child was buried. Ndwandwe’s son, at the age of nine, attended the funeral of a mother he had never known. She was an extraordinary human being. Today, an artwork hangs on the walls of the Constitutional Court depicting a beautiful blue dress, made of plastic, floating. It is a bitterly painful tribute to Phila Ndwandwe, who spent her last days naked and battered yet unbroken.

She was 23 years old when she was murdered and remains an inspiration to many young women. She is a true testament that women are capable and strong. Let us all be inspired by her strength.


Re: Women are capable and strong

What a touching and emotionally moving account. The story you have relayed signifies two important points for me. Firstly, it brings emphasis to the fact that it is not only men who took part in the liberation struggle but women as well. Secondly, it demonstrates that women also suffered terribly in the hands of apartheid in the same measure as men, if not worse.

What a tragedy that Phila’s life had to end this way. Her story is similar to that of another lady that was abducted by apartheid security forces at a parking basement in Carlton Centre in Johannesburg many moons ago, but her whereabouts, from media reports, remain unknown.  Apartheid was indeed a brutal system of oppression through which many people lost their lives.

I commend you for re-surfacing this matter and championing the cause of women and those who are marginalised in society. The reason I commend you for doing this is because mayorship is one of the very senior positions in government that has to deal with many demanding and competing interests in the midst of which the interests of women may be neglected, forgotten and fall by the wayside.  The fact that you have been able to bring this matter into the public gaze despite many other pressing matters that may be on your table demonstrates the seriousness with which you treat the cause of women empowerment and the marginalised.

There are people who hold senior positions both in the public and private sectors but whose conduct is not empowering. I always hold the view that a senior official should always conduct him/herself in a manner that empowers the next person. Even if you decline a request from a certain person, you should do so in a manner that empowers that person. This position is in line with the values of Ubuntu. You appear to be different from these officials.

It boggles my mind why people in this day and age still refuse to live the values of Ubuntu, particularly those who occupy powerful positions both in the public and private sectors. Ubuntu is the source of African values; if we can Africanise our South African environment we will create an environment in which an African child can thrive as it would be an environment that represents our natural habitat. The fact that African women still endure triple oppression to this day is a sign that we have not yet succeeded in Africanising the South African environment. Luckily, African values were incorporated into the South African Constitution; we should therefore not look any further than the Constitution itself for the African values as represented by Ubuntu. In other words, all that we need to do to practise African values is to live the constitutional values which by the way give effect to the substance of the Constitution.

I must also take this opportunity to compliment those who came before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to give account of how Phila Ndwande died. Shame to those who had information on similar atrocities but opted not to come before the TRC.  May Phila Ndwandwe’s family find strength and solace in the fact that her death was not in vain; she died for a noble cause which was that of the liberation of the disenfranchised.

Makamisa Majola
Political prisoner of war
 on 8/27/2018 11:35 AM

Re: Women are capable and strong

We, as underground intellectuals, may hold different views with mainstream intellectuals and legal scholars but we have one point of convergence with all of them i.e. the Constitution.

Upon deeper analysis and deliberations, we at, Umlazi Institute for the Advancement of Constitutional Democracy, have come to the view that it is not necessary to amend the Constitution to introduce the programme of expropriation of land without compensation (ELWC). The ELWC can still be effected within the current constitutional framework.  In our view as a discredited Institute, the limitation clause read with other constitutional provisions such as the foundation clause, obligation clause and application clause is adequate to create grounds for the expropriation of land without compensation.

However, we also hold the view that, in the process of carrying out this programme due regard must be paid to the constitutional principles. In the historical and political context of our constitutional development framework, there is a difference between constitutional principles and constitutional law principles. If you do not know this difference you are welcome to contact Umlazi Institute for the Advancement of Constitutional Democracy; we will gladly assist you for free. Yes, you have heard that correctly, for free!

Ngasuke ngaphulukundlela, manje sengibuyela ekhosombeni. Angazi kanjani ngoba phela mina angilutho, I am just a political prisoner - bafuna ukungiqeda labo abazonda abantu abafundile.

Sisakhula eMlazi ngama ‘80s ngangazi ukuthi lelizwe lizokhululwa ngamaKhomanisi. But today I hold a different view after all le-nonsense eyenzakalayo ezweni; manje ngithi into eyokhulula lelizwe mfokaMsibi iqiniso.

Makamisa Majola
Political prisoner
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 on 9/3/2018 4:48 PM

<a title="New Year 2019" href="">New Year 2019</a>

After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well.
And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article.
 on 9/4/2018 7:50 PM

[url=]Happy New Year 2019[/url]

nice article
 on 9/4/2018 7:51 PM


 on 9/4/2018 7:52 PM

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 on 9/6/2018 5:11 AM

Re: Women are capable and strong

Economic experts have commented about the state of our economy of late. They say the economy is now officially in a recession. Although we are in a recession but we have never fully recovered from the 2008 global recession, the experts say. I just wonder if this recession can be equated to the 1930 Great Depression. Those who studied Economics 1A are probably familiar with the story of the 1930 Great Depression.
It is a shame that the economy is in doldrums once again. The reason I say so is because we are partially responsible for this imbroglio. How the economy is structured is a major factor; and this is something that is within the control of the higher-up politicians who however appear not to have the political will to grab the structure by the scruff of the neck and deal with it once and for all.

There is a certain layer in the economy that requires diversification. The point of contact for the investors in the country is currently the white monopoly capital (WMC) and as a result they become the custodian of the investments of foreign investors. When people such as us emerge to question the status quo we are presented as a threat to the foreign investors’ investments; the threat which must be annihilated at all costs. Then the conspiracy against you becomes global. However, the more diversification there is as to who becomes the custodian of the foreign investments the more even the distribution of economic power will be in the country and this will be a step closer in attaining the substantive equality envisaged by our esteemed Constitution.

If, for example, in your investor roadshow that you undertook some months ago, you also indicated to the prospective investors that you would like the custodian of their investments to be a different category of people such as the underground intellectuals of Umlazi Institute for the Advancement of Constitutional Democracy rather than the WMC, you would have gone a step further in the process of achieving transformation in the sphere of ‘Fiduciary Custody of Investments’ which is currently dominated by the WMC.

Closing down profitable businesses and retrenching personnel just because in that business there is a person who is an anathema to the WMC is another form of economic power abuse. The abuse of public power does not only emanate from the sphere of public administration but also from the private sector as the exercise of economic power at the level of the WMC has the effect of affecting the members of the public as a group. The exercise of economic power by WMC therefore has the character of public power which can in certain circumstances be brought within the ambit of Administrative law which by the way is also part of Public law.

So without diversifying the space that is occupied by the WMC South Africa will continue to suffer as the government of the day will be constrained in introducing programmes that will be truly beneficial to the greatest number of people if such will be detrimental to the interests of the WMC. It is time for foreign investors to do business with a different set of people in the country who are competent and willing to hold their investments in a fiduciary capacity.  In this way government will not be dictated to by a miniscule section of our society but its decisions will however be reflective of the diversified nature of our society which decisions would then be a step towards achieving general substantive equality. So when conducting future roadshow please remember this point in the context of diluting economic power. Remember that power that is concentrated in the hands of the few is danger. Look what Hitler did when power was eventually concentrated in his hands.

Government has been reported to have been busy preparing a package of stimulus that will reignite the economy to get it out of the recession but from where we are seated as underground intellectuals of Umlazi Institute for the Advancement of Constitutional Democracy it remains to be seen how the government will be able to pull-off that feat, given the issues mentioned above. For example, how will the government be able to ditch the policy of maintaining a weak currency in order to ease the fuel price hikes without offending the mining bigwigs or those who businesses rely primarily on exports? How will the government apply the theories of John Maynard Keynes against the background of parastatals being in financial shambles? The environment is toxic; we have got too many problems. Just look at this guy who came from a private bank to chair the financial aid scheme for students. He had been hailed as one of the best administrators and who had a magnificent track record of steering a gigantic bank in the right direction but when he came to government he failed dismally; the question is why? The answer can only be found by decoding and extending what has been stated above, in our view as discredited underground intellectuals of Umlazi Institute for the Advancement of Constitutional Democracy; that would be the starting point in the bid to extricate ourselves from the current economic slump, if the views of the economic experts are anything to go by. If you have studied Economics 2B you would probably know what an oligopoly is which would then place you in a position to understand the kind of an animal the WMC is.

PS: We do not hold strong views at Umlazi Institute for the Advancement of Constitutional Democracy. If you were to rate the strongness of our views between 1 and 10; 1 being the weakest and 10 the strongest, I would say our views can be given a rating of 4.

Makamisa Majola
Junior Researcher
 on 9/6/2018 11:18 AM
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