Song is more than about Zuma and the past

It is common knowledge among senior ANC members that matters relating to the party are discussed in formal forums. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case only when it suits them.

It is common knowledge among senior ANC members that matters relating to the party are discussed in formal forums. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case only when it suits them.

Recently, President Thabo Mbeki and some of his senior colleagues came out publicly to condemn comments made by Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge regarding her dismissal.

In the same vein, Mosiuoa Lekota condemned Jacob Zuma for singing Umshini Wami and questioned the song's relevance in a democratic dispensation.

There is nothing wrong when our leaders sing songs such as Umshini Wami in the post-apartheid era because the struggle was not an event that ended in 1994, but it is a continuous process.

Politically, South Africans are liberated but most of them are still caught in the throes of poverty, unemployment, HIV-Aids and crime. To this end, songs such as Umshini Wami invite ordinary South Africans to stand up against the issues that undermine and threaten their democracy.

They teach the young ones that South Africa's democracy was not only born and bred through the Codesa talks, and subsequently, the 1994 elections. But it was watered with sweat and blood, pain, suffering and death.

It is in this context that Lekota and others should look at the meaning of Umshini Wami broadly.

Kgothatso Shai and Mompheleng Maphunye, Pretoria

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