MUNTU KA MYEZA LIVES ON
28 years ago on 3 July 1990, AZAPO lost one of its seasoned leaders in Cde Muntu ka Myeza. While his death was made to look like a car accident, AZAPO stubbornly believes that Cde Myeza was assassinated.
At the time of his assassination, Cde Myeza was AZAPO’s Secretary for Defence. The Secretary for Defence was expected to, among other things, organise and mobilise security and defence machinery and logistics for AZAPO internal purposes. Also, the Secretary for Defence was expected to liaise with the external BCMA and facilitate the recruitment and deployment of cadres inside Azania for the purposes of military operations.
Cde Myeza had just left Bloemfontein heading for Johannesburg when he got involved in what looked like an ambush “accident”. He had driven only about 14 kilometres from Bloemfontein. AZAPO was never convinced that Cde Myeza could have fallen asleep behind the wheel. It was alleged that his car veered off the road. He was still alive when he was discovered by a child, which gave us all the reason to suspect foul play by the system.
A glance at the inquest report confirmed our suspicions. There is no way in which so many of his bones could have been broken by veering off the road. He obviously was intercepted, bludgeoned and dumped at the road side to die!
He will go down in history as one of the most vibrant and intellectually astute BCM founders. Both his tongue and pen were razor-sharp and piercing the conscience of both BC detractors and enemies with unparalleled efficacy. He got the media running head-over-heels scrambling for a sound bite from him. It is he who said “renegades are seldom the advocates of a cause they have deserted”. When they boasted that the ANC was operating underground during the 1976 uprisings, he retorted that the ANC had gone down six feet underground such that it was difficult for it to resurface during the 1976 uprisings.
As if foretelling the world about his own death, in January 1989 at the funeral of one of the most revered AZAPO leader and BC stalwart, Dr Abu Asvat, Cde Myeza who died at the age of 39 had this to say:
“The irony of life was that valuable people often die too early, while others live too long and even defeated heart attacks and strokes.”
Simplicity, humility and forthrightness provided the foundation for his success as a leader. He is one of those that dragged a SASO President by the scruff of the neck and threw him out of the hall for impudently misrepresenting SASO policy while addressing. He was to become SASO President in 1974, and became instrumental in organising the Viva Frelimo Rallies that were scheduled for 25 September 1974 in Curries Fountain stadium in Durban. For this campaign they were arrested and accused of having paved the way for the 1976 uprisings. That became known as the SASO/BPC Trial, wherein Steve Biko was the eloquent defence witness. Cde Myeza and his 8 Comrades were convicted and imprisoned on Robben Island.
On his return from prison in 1982, he immediately joined AZAPO and made the portfolio of Secretary for Publicity and Information his own. It is during such times that he also got involved in grassroots community struggles as a residents’ association leader. Ordinary people had nothing but respect and admiration for him, and consequently gave him the name “Ingelosi Yomhlaba”.
We salute you Mzukwase, Dimbane, Mpangela, Kuthwalwa. Wena owehla ngoMzungulu, wasala wabola! Owathwala abezizwana bengekathwali! Wena kaBovumane!
THE STATE MUST STOP SUFFOCATING SMALL BUSINESS
Media reports that the State owed various suppliers more than R7 billion, exposing the reality that the politicians are not walking the talk with regards to paying service providers within 300 days. According to a newspaper report, by the end of March this year, more than 93 000 invoices worth more than R7 billion had not been paid for several months.
Senior government politicians and officials regularly commit the State that it would settle all invoices within 30 days. This is often an empty promise. Those who suffer the most from the delayed payments are the small businesses. Many of these people have to borrow money, some from loan sharks, to supply goods and services to the State with the hope that they would settle the loan once they have been paid.
The delay by the state to process invoices create nightmares for the small businesses that have no other credit lines to major financial institutions. Some of these people end up owing the loan sharks more than the amount for which they would have invoiced the State because of the huge interests the loan sharks charge.
Sadly, politicians often make lofty statements about “radical economic transformation” and the need to support small businesses that are said to be active players in job creation. But in reality, the small businesses have to wait for payment in vain without any recourse. In some instances, the delays are created by corrupt officials who want to be bribed to process invoices, while in other cases the department would claim to be experiencing cash flow crisis.
The reason that this problem continues throughout the country is because there have never been any real consequences for either corruption or incompetence. In other words, despite common complaints about officials seeking bribes to process invoices and payments, nobody has been held accountable, or arrested for these crimes. If the State does not take decisive action against the corrupt officials, this problem will continue.
The second problem is sheer incompetence. There are officials who are just lazy to do their job, but they act with impunity because the system is weak and does not act against officials who are not doing their work.
It is time that the State should improve efficiency in service delivery and act against the wrong-doers. The poor service that is associated with the public sector weakens the position of those who are calling for a stronger State which can play a much bigger role in the development of the people.
WILL THE ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS HERALD A NEW DAWN?
Later this month, Zimbabweans will participate in Parliamentary and Presidential Elections. The administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who assumed power in a military assisted take-over in November last year, has pledged that the Elections would be Free and Fair. So confident is Mnangagwa about the prospects of a Free Election that he has welcomed international observers to his country to monitor the Elections.
Since obtaining its independence from British colonial rule in April 1980, Zimbabwe has held regular Elections. So, Elections for the Zimbabwean people are not a novelty. However, the Elections have been mainly a one party show until the emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai.
The political developments in Zimbabwe, a country that has a proud history of liberation struggle, exposes the often ignored reality that real freedom is economic freedom. Politically, Zimbabweans are a free people. They are able to vote for a government of their choice, albeit, within the limitation of bourgeois democracy that tends to allow the dominant and well financially-resourced party to retain its position of domination.
In essence, the problems of Zimbabwe are mainly economic. Since the radical land reform program that saw the expropriation of land without compensation from mainly white farmers to the indigenous African people, the economy suffered a major shock that precipitated all sorts of problems including hyper-inflation, unemployment of up to 90%, the falling investments and serious budget deficits that resulted in the state failing to pay public servants on time.
The economic meltdown forced millions of Zimbabweans to leave the country for other countries, including Britain and South Africa. The palace coup in November that saw veteran leader President Robert Mugabe being replaced by his protégé, Emmerson Mnangagwa, raised hopes for an economic recovery. So far, investors have adopted a wait and see attitude, essentially postponing the long awaited economic recovery.
The real big lesson to draw from the Zimbabwean experience is that political control of the country is not enough for the creation of a prosperous and stable society. Political power should be used to break down the colonial architecture of the economy and empower the indigenous people so that the economy is in the hands of the locals. A country can never be fully free unless its own people own their land, and own the means of production in the economy. Without economic control, Elections become a regular activity which has no relation to changing the lives of the ordinary people.
OUR COUNTRY IS AZANIA
AZAPO’s name for what colonisers called “South Africa” is “Azania”. The name “Azania” has been accepted by revolutionaries, poets and historians worldwide. Whether or not they had accepted it, the name “Azania” was written and entrenched in the Land by the blood of forebears in their anti-colonial wars; by the blood of our martyrs in Sharpeville; and by the blood of Azanians in the June 16 Uprisings.
In an anti-colonial revolution, one of the first things the fighting masses do on reclaiming their land is to rename their country to mark a departure from colonial rule and its oppressive and exploitative values. That is why Gold Coast became Ghana; Northern Rhodesia became Zambia; Rhodesia became Zimbabwe; Bechuanaland became Botswana; South West Africa became Namibia; to name but a few countries.
It should make us wonder why colonial South Africa remained South Africa. It could perhaps be a signal that the things have remained fundamentally the same. Yes, the land is still owned by the colonisers, and the economy is still in the hands of white people to the exclusions of the Black majority that still constitute the majority of the landless and poor. The radio and television are still white and European.
Strangely some Black people rejected the name “Azania” and embraced the colonial name “South Africa” because they claimed that the name “Azania” means “the land of slaves. AZAPO leader and BCM co-founder Rev George Mpapa Wauchope, who penned a scholarly paper on the origins of the name “Azania”, has scorned the notion of slaves owning land because “slaves are by definition people who are owned”.
It may be necessary to quote Cde Wauchope at length on this one: “Etymologically the common heritage of Swahili clearly emerges. The word ‘Zanj’ is a Persian word meaning ‘Black’. In Zulu ‘zansi’ means down or south. When one looks at countries where the phoneme ‘za’ or ‘z’ emerges, one discovers that such countries are situated in the Southern Hemisphere, e.g. Zanzibar, Mozambique, Zambia, Zaire, and perhaps Zimbabwe. In the latter, ‘zi’ can be compared to the Zulu ‘ningizimu’ which also means south. ‘ia’ is a suffix that denotes land, whilst the Swahili ‘nia’ refers to the innermost part of man, heart, mind, conscience or disposition. Therefore, Azania means ‘land of the Black people”
After the banning of the Black Consciousness organisations on 19 October 1977, AZAPO as the political heir to those organisations and their political and historical legacy, emerged and intensified the campaign for the usage of the name “Azania” by attaching to itself and all its formations the name “Azania”.
AZAPO calls upon all our people to join this campaign by dumping, where necessary, all references to our country as “South Africa”. For instance, it will not be correct to say Azania is a neo-colonial country because it is South Africa that is such a country. The name “Azania” is a direct identification with self-discovery and positive identity of our people within the context of Black Power.
One Azania! One People! One Nation!
To print and read, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue Number 20
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