Latest Blog posts

The latest Blog posts  from prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela


The bar is too high for SA's inept leaders



There is no reason to dispute what Julius Malema has been saying since re-entering the political stage: that our country needs a new breed of leaders. Nor is there any doubt about the role that his party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), is playing as one of the parties trying to occupy the emerging political space.


Not all is well with Zuma

Published in Mail & Guardian, Comment and Analysis, 19 October 2012


Last Sunday I attended a service at the Park Avenue Methodist Church in New York. The sermon, by the Reverend Cathy Gilliard, was based on the story of the orphaned Jewish girl Esther, who was chosen to be the queen of Persia. When the king’s right-hand man devised a plot to kill all the Jewish people because Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, refused to bow down to him, Esther continued to hide her identity. But Mordecai called on Esther to stop playing it safe and speak out on behalf of her people: “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”

It is a poignant story that reminds us of the moral responsibility to speak out against injustice and corruption. As I listened to Gilliard, I recalled another woman’s voice—one that has plagued me since the launch of this year’s “women’s month” at the University of the Free State. It was the voice of a member of the ANC Women’s League hero-worshipping President Jacob Zuma.



The Dream that Can No Longer be Deferred

What happens when we avoid facing the past? Does it haunt us, yielding feelings of shame, guilt or anger? Or do we deny it and the feelings it evokes and then pursue a quest to “move on” and forget? Does the past play itself out symbolically in our lives, transforming us into victims, heroes or villains? Does it transform into a language of hate and destructive engagement in the public sphere? Or does it explode into violence, whether real or symbolic, against an Other?

These are not just rhetorical questions; they are questions of profound significance in a society, like ours, whose history is steeped in repression and violence. The questions are necessary because they have implications for our understanding of how “the past” may play itself out in repetition in times of crisis in our society. Past injustices are often collectively remembered by groups that have suffered oppression and gross human rights violations at certain critical times of the group’s social life. These collective memories of past traumas may be violently acted out when the level of frustration proliferates and escalates.




Moral Decay in South Africa


The recent comment by Zambia's Vice-President Guy Scott likening President Jacob Zuma to former president FW de Klerk is unfair to De Klerk. At a critical moment in South African politics, De Klerk listened to the voices that called for change. He was not blind to the unpalatable reality that it was time for apartheid to go – whatever pressures prevailed to "force" him, as some might say, to release Nelson Mandela in February 1990, and to use his power to call a referendum in March 1992 to determine white voters' support for political negotiations. De Klerk could have ignored wise counsel and dug in his heels – like his predecessor PW Botha did.



We Salute You Graca

There is a sense of sadness and celebration, as well as love and admiration across the country and thePhoto: Phill Magakoeworld.  It is in all the people who gather daily at the hospital where Nelson Mandela remains under the care of doctors for three weeks now.
For many South Africans, it is a time to connect with the inspirational legacy of the man who dedicated his
life to the service of humanity. The flowers, the messages of love, the singing in front of the hospital and
at schools and churches across the country has an air, not of adieu, but of hope, hope that our beloved
Madiba will return home to his loved ones, and be the living inspiration that his life continues to be to all of


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