Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
MANY moons ago, before people spoke of girl children ( Kader Asmal, I hope I am dead before someone calls me a man person), the men who were at the forefront of the struggle forbade us to take pride in our tribes.
Strange, though, that there is not a whimper about soccer team AmaZulu, who hail from a province that makes no bones about which tribe calls the shots there. Maybe it would not be a bad idea to form a team I can call Batswana - and then dare anyone to say peh!
The (struggle) toppies told us there was nothing like a Mosotho, Mopedi or MoNdebele. All these tags, one told me, were figments of the rabidly fertile and dangerous imagination of the dreaded white man. The oppressor.
When you are an impressionable, starry-eyed young man with anti-apartheid fire in your chest, you believe every word a struggle guru tells you. So that put paid to my pride in my half-Tswana, half-Ndebele origins.
At the risk of being labelled a sell-out, an anti-revolutionary reactionary, I can't lie any more: those Ndebele folks float my boat.
What boy could not love an uncle (and I had one) who had a shiny bicycle decorated with every colour of the rainbow and more, with an aerial that went so high it almost touchedphone network lines, and no less than six mirrors. There were little self-made baskets all-around the bike, and his explanation was that he put bread in the one in front, jam at the back, and looked in the mirror as he dipped in the jam jar while riding.
Genius. Some would say Ndebele style.
He proudly called the bike Klopjag, and painted the name on the large rubber mudguard he had made himself. To finish it off, he attached a tiny number plate which I think (today) must have been removed from a motorbike.
He told me countless stories about the heroic deeds he had done atop Klopjag, including out-speeding a group of policemen who were chasing him for a pass on their own bicycles. Those days you were a hero if you outfoxed the police.
Some of my happiest moments as a boy were when my dad took me to visit and I could stand there, look at Klopjag and dream. I felt sore that my father simply laughed me off when I asked him why he did not "improve" his own bicycle. The sneer in his laughter made me think he was jealous of my great uncle.
This week I saw what must have been a Toyota Corolla when it left the factory. Now it had "ears" on the front door windows, little wind-propelled thingies on the wheels that kept on rolling even when the car was stationary, spoilers everywhere, a little horse statue mounted on the bonnet and every little trinket you ever saw.
The proud owner played Ikwekwezi FM as loud as his cheap stereo could go.
That brought back fond memories of Klopjag.
Sorry gurus, I am not sorry I love my tribe - even if it is only half of me.