Gukurahundi had the privileged or cursed attendance at the HSRC lectures to experience intellectual and pragmatic juxtaposition of an Afrikan cultural revolution and the Afro-American democratic struggle. The gist of the lecture was on the meaning of Mandela.
True to our Kushite spirit I went forth to this enlightening event driven by the hunger to hear inspiring words and revolutionary intellect packaged as a dialogue of philosophical minds. The posters for these lectures promised word feast featuring Dr. Cornel West, Prof. Henry Louis Gates jnr and Prof. Wole Soyinka. Needless to say, as much as I wanted to attend all three lectures I managed only to attend two.
Dr Cornel West’s lecture had me riveted as he articulated the meaning of Mandela and democracy matters. The first point of reference for Dr. West’s lecture was that his philosophical appendages were rooted in religious thought. This by the way is not a bad thing. The crux of the lecture revolved around democratic privileges i.e. cultural freedom, courage to hope in the absence of optimism, Jazz notes that fuel the courage to hope, keeping you hands on the plough, Socratic views, keeping your eye on the prize = freedom and peace even if its not realized, realities of losing your democracy and our middle class which seems to be intoxicated with bourgeoisie mindset –wine of the world and how our young are kept away from true aspects of our revolutionary struggle as well as what our revolutionaries died for. Dr Cornel stressed that they died for us to be successful and yet we strut this gift like colourful peacocks without knowing that peacocks do not fly. A key view uttered was how terrorism is not new to Afrikans at home and the Diaspora as we have been unprotected, de-humanised and hunted down for the past 400 years.
Prof. Soyinka, lecture did not move my soul as the latter but resonated in a place that was familiar and this familiarity was based on his use of language, colloquialism, mannerisms and views of the world. This was a native Afrikan sending out projectiles that smacked of wisdom, opinions and commentary that like all Afrikans was based on truth as seen through his eyes. The subject matter traveled through vistas of neglected truism, learning a language and how different it is from speaking a culture, polluted culture influenced by our living habits and commercialism, swimming against the tide, cultural self-retrieval. The effect of television and how it affects our Afrikan taste, Big brother Afrika (self voyeurism), desecration of cultural value (commodification of self exhibitionism), and Mandela: A symbol of cultural dialogue.
From both subject matters one can sense that the fillers in between were insightful and much need for the Afrikan mind. As I looked around all I saw were our mothers and fathers from various fields absorbing all these wonderful words. My heart heaved with sadness when I realized that the future leaders of our land will never get the opportunity to absorb these inspiring words whether it’s from their parents of organizers of these events. Why are these event restricted to a select few? Why are these events not held on an open space where young Afrikans can experience mind freedom and learn to critique our moral fiber and those who champion it? Gukurahundi is constantly disappointed with how the young are marginalized and kept away from relevant information. We need critical thinkers and contemplators of deep thought. How can you invite Ngugi wa’Thiong’o, Chinua Achebe, Ayi Kwei Armah, Wole Soyinka, and many others to our land without sharing their wisdom with the pulse of our progress? My blood boils even more when these learned scholars do not realize the importance of teaching young Afrikan instead of European kids who do not care about Afrika and treat her as a mosaic to build their philosophy careers.
Til’ Afrika is free. We are living on scorched earth void of generational bonds and elders’ courage to speak in and involving the youth to speak out.
Kush Khoza is the voice behind kush.co.za; the spirit of kush kollective. he’s that voice that speaks the truth in all of us.