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Date Released: Fri, 17 October 2014 14:34 +0200

By Sihlangule Mmiselo Siwisa, Rhodes University Alumnus


It was appropriate for us to raise our voices during a time when our voices were constrained by oppression, banishment and violence. And indeed we did so both in voice and in song. Now that we are free to articulate our thoughts without fear of censure, we need to learn to differ with each other without drowning out each other’s voices. We have to remain as President Mbeki seems to suggest as the keeper of one another’s freedoms.

In order to differ with dignity, we need to give ourselves permission to gauge sense not by the volume and militancy of one’s voice, but by the weight of critical content and the robust quality of the thought process that informs that militancy.

In short, we have to give ourselves permission to be led NOT by the LOUDEST voices, but the MOST SENSIBLE voices. Such voices are not necessarily the voices of messiahs, but ordinary people who doing extra-ordinary things to change their communities.

We as South Africans also need to let go of the fear we have of discarding divergent thoughts as dissenting voices. What the EFF advocates for in Nationalisation is shareholder activism that is founded in the tenets of the Freedom Charter. Yet we have been taught to fear and demonise the word and the young party without reflecting.

In the same way, we are taught to dismiss the DA as former oppressors and yet their idea of a Youth Wage subsidy had merit. As an intelligent, reasoning ANC cadre, I welcome divergent thought. So, let us enlarge the theatre of voices in parliament with content. The People shall govern.

This 20 years of democracy is our moment to stand on the mountain top and declare that INDEED we are the African Leaders that we have been waiting for. The City Press Newspaper ran a Billboard that had a bold headline declaring that on Rivonia Road in 2010. In exercising initiative and beginning again, we have to remind ourselves that there are NO SHORT-CUTS TO GREATNESS.

Let us borrow from the noble dreams of our common ancestry as we re-imagine the future.

Let us set aside our differences. Let us seek common ground.

And let us re-visit our own history in order to inspire our children not to look beyond our shores for heroes, but to look within.