Featured Image: SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Photo: Christa Eybers/EWN
By Andile Mngxitama
The following letter to Hlaudi was initially sent to City Press editor Ferial Haffajee. She agreed to publish it but never did. City Press has been in a crusade against the 90% local content announcement. Last weekend City Press published a anti-black lndian tribalist complaint against the 90% policy. According to City Press, the South African Indian community does not regard itself as South African but rather pays cultural homage to India. City Press is inciting Indian narrow nationalism by reporting voices of sectarian Indians who reject local content. This promotion of Indian separationism is anti-black and must be condemned. Read the full letter below:
A week ago, our country woke up to a different reality! We were awe struck but mostly just in a state of total disbelief. Many said it was a vicious rumour, then the news was confirmed. We heard that for the next few months SABC radio stations, all 18 of them, shall be committed to playing 90% local music. Disbelief melted into an outbreak of celebration. Even your most hardened detractors had to grudgingly pay tribute to your visionary and courageous leadership.
Mr Motsoeneng you may have some sense of how important the announcement is, but we doubt if you really realise that this policy is one of the first few policies which is unapologetically pro-black since 1994. What you have done far outweighs anything this country has done in the past 22 years. When social media went crazy on the #HlaudiRocks tip, it’s because they realise the fundamental changes your decision has already made in the psyche of the nation and the arts scene in general.
We have observed how the white owned media has been trying to ridicule you yet again. How they sneer at you through their black captured journalists. They desire nothing more than this process to fail so that we can go back to our colonial ways.
We draw great inspiration from your resoluteness and clarity of purpose. We call upon all black managers to study your management style, in particular to emulate your attitude towards transformation. Let’s imagine if every senior manager, black or white, was committed to 90% black content and representation? This country would be transformed over night from being a colony to being a liberated nation.
Your example could benefit our political leaders too. Imagine if the Members of Parliament could stop acting childish and focused on a national agenda for radical transformation? Imagine if our cabinet could adopt the same state of mind as you have demonstrated? Then the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, would be committed to returning land, all of it NOW, not in some unidentified future period. If Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, could take the “Hlaudi method”, then fees would really fall and the curriculum would reflect 90% African theory and character. This is what our nation needs. This is what would save our universities from the raging fires.
We can’t express our admiration more. We hear you have also just announced a raise in the royalties. This is another concrete example of good leadership. Your detractors are driven by a campaign to halt transformation. But, like a whirl wind you keep moving and brushing off obstacles on the way. We say keep on moving brother man, you’re doing the right thing and history shall remember you!
We just wish to raise a matter we shall again raise when the review of the three months experiment is done. On our part, we wish for the expansion of the definition of “local” to include the entire African continent and the black diaspora. Let the music of Guinea Bissau reverberate with the Zimbabwean mbira, amplified by the humming rocks of Mapungubwe. Let the music rock the boundaries of colonialism asunder from Cape to Cairo. When they took us away from this beloved continent in chains, we could only be who we are by keeping the song playing on. We weaved the song with the Atlantic Ocean forlorn waves. We sang as many black bodies were off loaded as extra cargo to cash in on the insurance claims. We sang as we were branded with the red hot iron like beasts of burden. Listen to Nina Simone speaking the ancient language of the African spirits. Who can deny John Coltrane and Miles Davis the heritage? There in the Caribbean, the sons and daughters of this continent weave and bob to the song fashioned for home. Let’s bring them home. Fela Kuti shall smile from the other side.
Mr Motsoeneng, you have started in the correct path. All we ask you to is to include more of the African truth in your policy. Local must reflect a Pan-African spirit. Let the children of now know the totality of their heritage.
We have no doubt you are equal to the task. Let’s Decolonise now!
National Convenor Black First Land First