Would the ANC take a bullet for DJ Sbu?

Sibusiso Leope, famously known as DJ Sbu has become a “weekend special” for the tabloids. It has become more predictable as to who’s making the front page of Sunday World. Is this a PR Strategy from him or a deliberate public image sabotage? We can never know (for now), but what need to ask ourselves is would the African National Congress (ANC) take a bullet for him?

As a stalwart to “the movement” [ANC], Sbu has paraded green and yellow colours in the public domain showing his undying love for the movement. We’ve seen during the 2014 elections urging millions of young people to vote for the ANC. He used his media power and influence to get millions of young people to tell the good stories the ANC has done for them.

The proudly Tembisa raised, multitalented business man has recently come under more fire for offending the law on different occasions. Seeing the many problems he’s facing, some have jokingly said “you can never call Limpopians idiots and get away with it.” One tends to wonder if Sbu brought all this drama to his life or it is karma dealing with him. Oh well, maybe that’s none of our business but what’s more questionable is the silence of the ANC which he is forever advocating for.

A nation without heroes, fails its hopeless youths

Remember Bonginksosi Dlamini? The man who made hundreds of young South African’s dreams come true in just 3 days? Bonginkosi also known as Zola 7 has inspired many of us to dream and never stop dreaming. He has used him media influence to touch lives of kasi youths. What happened to him was just unfortunate. What we should be afraid of is DJ Sbu following suit. Lord knows how badly our youth need another Zola to ignite their broken and stolen dreams.

DJ Sbu motivates and inspires thousands of learners in public schools every month. He gives out bursaries to learners through his foundation and empowers entrepreneurs with his entrepreneurship seminars. Regardless of the many scandals and bad things he might have done, to thousands (if not millions) he remains a hero. Sadly, his heroic crown to the many hopeless youths might be stolen each time they read the papers about him.

What happens when the brotherhood neglects its own?

What is the point of being part of a brotherhood that cannot take a bullet for you, when it has taken hundreds of bullets for other members? Do you stop being a member when it fails to support you or do you just keep on loving it because it brought you economic liberation?

It goes without saying that the ANC has undying support for certain key individuals in their organisation. Sadly, that is not the case with all those who wear the green and yellow colours with pride. DJ Sbu is one of them who haven’t received much support recently.

Seeing all the drama between the SABC and DJ Sbu, I was reminded of Julius Malema’s words in 2012 after being booted out of the ANC Youth League. He said “We are used like toilet paper that is flushed in the toilet. We are used like condoms – those who use condoms will know how condoms work, they use them and they throw them [away] somewhere else.” Sbu’s recent Facebook posts suggests a great frustration in his life. I do feel Sbu’s frustration which led him to decide to go continue to study so that he can come back to lead the ANC-led SABC.

Having been part of organisations for 6 years, I have learned that every leader is protected by his/her followers (members of the organisation). Some protect their leader even when he/she is evidently wrong. Some feel obliged to support the leader or face the axe. They make organisational decisions with their salaries, families, and future in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I am not supporting/condoning irresponsible behaviour and bad leadership. All I’m saying that it would be good to see the ANC being an organisation that can stand for all its members and protect them at all cost.

Some of the many reasons that makes me despise the ANC its inability to protect and preserve black talent. ANC that claims to advocate for black lives, fails to understand that black lives matter as well. If the ANC doesn’t do something to help DJ Sbu, there won’t be any “good story to tell” about his life a year from now. All the good work he is doing will be covered up by the bad ones we’re constantly reading about.

DJ Sbu is not like the prodigal son who left home, he is still loyal to his home. It is hard to believe that his home is loyal to him.

Dear ANC, this youth month please take at least one bullet for DJ Sbu to save millions of hopeless youths who are inspired by his life.

The struggle to define our own struggle

It was Frantz Fenon who once said “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” The youth of ’76 were able to conquer the Bantu Education System because they had one clear mission. Victory was achieved also when the thousands of women across South Africa who marched to the union buildings on the 9th of August 1956. They were also victorious because they had one clear mission. The question posed to us is “Have we [ordinary citizens] identified our own struggle in this generation? What will tell our grandchildren when they ask us about our struggle?” We remain divided in our thinking.

The famously quoted, Russian communist and political theorist – Vladimir Lenin observed that “one of the chief symptoms of every revolution is the sharp and sudden increase in the number of ordinary people who take an active, independent and forceful interest in politics.” In light of recent events, quite a large pool of young people in the country have been showing an increasing interest in politics. Argued by some, this interest is propagated by an influx of corruption that we are exposed to on our media platforms.

According to Lenin, wherever you see an ordinary man [person] on the ground start engaging into politics and being politically active, that is a symptom of a revolution.

It all started in the ANC Youth League when the radical young people first spoke of “economic freedom in our lifetime”. This ideology carried on to become the foundation upon which the new kid in politics – the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was formed. YES, I am all in favour of obtaining economic freedom in my lifetime, however the following are some of the many questions I have been battling with lately:

1. Have we clearly defined our own struggle?
2. What does economic freedom look like in our generation?
3. Does “The Global System” allow us become economically free or is it just another far-fetched dream?

I asked one radical gentlemen a week ago to paint me picture of what economic freedom in our country would look like. To my shock, he was unable to pin-point some of the basic things would actually affirm to us that we have achieved economic freedom apart from the land issue.

I would like to believe that we got the vision correct when saying that “we are fighting for economic freedom in our lifetime”, however do we have a clear mission on how to attain it? What are the strategic measures in place to aid us in achieving our vision? Is our mission going to be a multifaceted approach inclusive of both political, religious and social systems? How do the champions of this vision going to clearly articulate the mission to the ordinary citizen on the ground?

Allow me to introduce you to three types of young people in South Africa who all believe that they are economically free:

Person A

This person lives in the townships and rural areas with a family of 5. He believes that if he has a job paying at least R3 000 per month, then he is economically free.

Person B

Person B is a young person living in the flats, earning roughly R12 000 per month. He is able to do more of the things that person A cannot. He also believes that he is economically free.

Person C

Person C is a young person living in the suburbs, in a house owned by the bank. Person C walks away with roughly R20 000 per month. He is able to do more than what person A&B can and he too believes that he is economically free.

Now looking into all the three people, who according to you is really economically free? Keep in mind that all these people do not own a company, land, or industries (e.g. the media, manufacturing, mining, etc.).

Over the weekend, I was wrestling with understanding the words of Kanye West in his recent interview on BBC Radio One when he said “The new form of racism is CLASS.” He continued to explain that; we live in a society that is segregated to the core. We have 1) the poor, 2) those that think they are middle class, 3) the middle class, 4) those who envy the elite and 5) the elite. All these are greatly divided and as a result, thus disabling us to establish any form of communication around this topic. The gap keeps widening up daily.

What is economic freedom? Does it mean that we must own land? Does it mean that I need to work at the largest company in Sandton or does it mean that I need to have means of survival on a daily basis? We need to answer these questions.

I believe that as a young nation, we need to sit down to have conversation around what does it really mean to become economically free. Until we clearly understand what that means to us, we will not be able to have a clear mission to achieve it and thus we will betray our generation as Fenon said. Our children and grandchildren will call us failures.

Let’s take it upon ourselves to have our own struggle. Define it clearly and find ways to conquer it.

Let’s have these conversations
Twitter @abutirams