“With everything perfect.” Nietzche wrote, “We do not ask how it came to be.” Instead, “we rejoice in the present as though it came out of the ground by magic.” The reality of the new South Africa is the 27 years of prison life of Nelson Mandela, Lionel Bernstein, Denis Goldberg, Arthur Goldreich, Bob Hepple, Abdulhay Jassat, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Moosa Moolla, Elias Motsoaledi, Walter Sisulu and Harold Wolpe, Oliver Tambo, Moses Kotane, Joe Slovo, Moses Mabhida, Stephen Dlamini, Joe Modise, Alfred Nzo, Wilton Mkwayi are among thousands that gave their life to the freedom of South Africa from the tyranny of Apartheid. The struggle was fought over decades when they were vulnerable like an egg under a mallet. Their grit and resilience won the day. Today, we are splitting hairs to maintain the democracy we have.
Democracy gives the latitude for freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of association amongst many other freedoms too but, the responsibility of dignity is ours to have in all situations. The recent reactions to the awful advert by Tresemme that CLICKS used is a real eye-opener to the issues of racism and, the EFF’s response calls into question the nature of new revolutionaries. Are they opportunists or, have we as a people grown soft in our fight against oppression and racism? I think we have we become complacent and distant in character and reason to our forefathers who liberated this country from the shackles of Apartheid. Our anger, in opinion is misdirected.
Anger misplaced is tragedy begotten. In the turn of events following the racist advert of Tresemme that CLICKS used and the thrashing of CLICKS stores by EFF supporters presented the amphitheatre to witness the character of leaders and truly not their lexicon. ‘People don’t care what you say until they see what you do’, is a statement of profound depth by Mirza Yawar Baig which helps in expostulating the resentment of violent action. Indulge the moment of turning the lens of analysis on character rather than rhetoric and then determine the nature of events that could be. While we acknowledge the advert as no graceful epaulet at all, we must view how it triggered behaviour because, behaviour drives results and results are glorified by king and country. Therefore, the liberty of obeisance to characters of our past gives way to respect and adoration because, we have too much to begin learning. The mallet smashed the egg and there was nothing to eat so the man blamed the mallet as hopeless little did he know in his hand it could have been used like a scalpel.
Justice in the hands of a leader is a scalpel but in the hands of a brute it is cleaver and both reveal a character you love or hate. The intrigue of Ali’s (ra) reaction in battle with a warrior whom he subdued to kill was suddenly spared is an incident that needs reflection. Spared because the warrior did a ghastly deed of spitting in the face of Ali (ra). For Ali (ra) to let him live is really ground breaking. Jaludin Rumi captures this in his poetry and its reads like this:
Learn how to act sincerely from Ali
God’s lion, free from all impurity:
During a battle, he subdued a foe
Then drew his sword to deal the final blow.
That man spat in Ali’s pure face, the pride
Of every saint and prophet far and wide
The moon prostrates itself before this face
At which he spat — this act was a disgrace!
Ali put down his saber straight away
And, though he was on top, he stopped the fray.
The fighter was astonished by this act,
That he showed mercy though he’d been attacked.
He said, I use my sword the way God’s planned
Not for my body but by God’s command;
I am God’s lion, not the one of passion
— My actions testify to my religion:
I am a mountain, God’s my solid base,
Like straw I’m blown just by thought of His face;
My longing changes once His wind has blown,
My captain is the love of Him alone.
The incident ends with the warrior embracing Islam on the conduct of Ali (ra) in that he demonstrated that killing in battle out of anger is repugnant especially when the cause is for Allah. This is the gold standard. The worship of the self was annihilated. This refined character dispelled all negative notions the warrior had of Islam in the heat of battle when literally, his head was inches away from a sharp sword. Again, the advocation of turning the other cheek is not suggested but, the need to ‘know thyself’ is axiomatic. Know that the battle still raged on after Ali’s (ra) encounter with the warrior and you can imagine on whose side he the fought. The battle of heart and minds is now raging in the malls, on social media and newsrooms across the world.
EFF leader, Julius Malema used the word ‘attack’ to rouse his loyal supporters to bring CLICKS to their knees and the words lacked sagacity. Assuming his words ameliorated a less nefarious reaction would we not conceive EFF in a different light? Most definitely because their reaction to the killing of farmers, the pillage of railway stations and the multi-million Rand school built on wetlands in Thembisa and the looting of PPE by government officials pales into oblivion. While tough action is required against CLICKS and Tresemme, the constitution of our country was ignored and this illustrates to voters like you and me that only when elections are on the horizon is the constitution made the rising sun other than that, it is not the gold standard. In opinion, my expectation that EFF would call on the constitution to make the case in courts and not subject CLICKS and all of us to their trial my media and iniquitous actions in the public space where we all have the right to safety and security was actually only a great expectation conjured in a dream of a new, new South Africa. We need leaders to make decisions that resonate justice and not wild emotion because justice served is peace preserved.
Ali’s (ra) character is preserved in his just actions and when he became the fourth Caliph, he dealt with great treachery but came out as the epitome of sound leadership. If we cut out the standards of office symbols from our leaders and isolate them from their statuses what would we see? Would we find refinement of character? It would be an interesting and fascinating study. I think we will see a grand lot without character that would inspire us to make them our role models. Ali (ra) mentioned to the best effect that what issues from your tongue is an index to your character. Take the words of leaders today from USA to South Africa and see what their words reflect to know their character. Again, I am confounded but amazed at Ali (ra) that he was within seconds of beheading a warrior in battle and that instant of spit on his face from the warrior, he became cool like a cucumber and of better reason. My question is, “What makes a man behave like that?” A man behaves like that because the true understanding of justice, service and humility before a higher Being was real and alive in his body, blood and soul.
Nelson Mandela’s legacy is alive in body and soul of many South Africans and it draws me to the instant I heard his speech when he was released from prison. I was glued to the television and watched Mr Mandela speak from the Union Buildings. His forgiveness and call for peace is a hallmark of great leadership. His words were his to say and Mr Mandela could have called for war in light of his immense suffering and that of his people too, but he did not. Assume he did call for a revolution there would no EFF today or the South Africa we have today. In fact, we would be in a situation where the mallet and egg scenario would play out all because, the maturity of leadership could never ripen under revolution to learn the skills to govern a country. Guns, verbosity and inveiglement would be the order the day and society would be split asunder to the extent that civil strife would lead us to lengthy bread lines and social dislocation. It was the most precarious position for the stalwarts of the ANC at the time to make difficult decisions in the best interest of peace under the mallet of a wanted revolution by the people. The truth is that many lives were lost in the transition to the birth of South Africa to the democracy we have today that we burying with our hands.
Our hands are tied to our lineages but, our lineages do not save us from our own actions. The nobility of our lineages have become the tool in our hands where we use words and phrases in their names like epiphanic revelations only to sow division, discord and to continue our own agendas unsealing our Achille’s heel to the world. We fear too much. It was Moulana Suliman Moola’s wisdom that got me thinking on how we rely to lineage to make a leader’s impression in today’s time but, how wrong we really are. Give your yourself 4 minutes to listen and then reflect.
The reflection got me thinking on just how much of the current ANC leadership rests on the lineage of the stalwarts of the past and how many jobs have been given to people today on the lineage of their parents or ancestors. The count is infinite and it appears that the few meritorious people deserving the post are very much the egg under the mallet. The actions of the leaders are not analysed like how the unpalatable advert by Tresemme and used by CLICKS was analysed. The advert can, after this debacle, became a case study at university level or at a lower level for Grade Nines to learn how to analyse visual literacy. But, the corruption and looting will not become a study because we choose the more easy option to catch the gravy train of fast and furious success plainly based on political expediency.
Kudus to the EFF for the master stroke of political expediency on the CLICKS saga because it is the fitting spectacle to woe people away from the deeper rot this beloved country is going through and again I say, our constitution would be best gold standard to resolve the CLICKS saga, but that route requires more grit, time, energy and political will. 27 years on Robben Island matured men to rally behind a leader and today we are gone in 60 seconds creating mayhem. How would our stalwarts deal with CLICKS when they heard the click of the gun all to often in their ears and the ‘twack’ crack of a sjambok on their bodies. I wonder! But I am sure their reaction would be vastly different. There is a lopsided approach in our ways today when we look at choosing leaders.
Due to this lopsided way of choosing leaders on their lineage or ties to prominent families or strong bonds with those in power our vote has become the egg under the mallet and instead of earning an appetite for justice, we have become smashed by the political impotency of a ruling party that has to shape up because waiting in the wings are those who tied themselves to people of great lineages but have not the grit, passion, resilience, will, strategic plan, managerial acumen, administrative skill and system except exuberant verbosity to snatch victory from the current ruling party. We stand fooled, bewildered and like a child at the store waiting for gift of candy, we wait for aphorisms from leaders as if it will be our eudaemonic. Only in harmony with one’s good will happiness be conducive and it cannot be sought through a pill. Iqbal the renowned poet of Pakistan sums up the reality we witness and experience but cannot phrase because our wit, charm, intellect and reason has been usurped by social media. Iqbal says:
Of this civilisation of ungodliness beware!
At war which is with the men of Truth;
The mischief-monger nothing but mischief breeds, In the Harem it re-instals the idols of Lat and Uzza. By its sorcery the eye of the heart is sightless,
The soul thirsty with its barrenness;
The joy of eagerness it kills in the heart,
Nay, the heart it.self it destroys.
The depredations of the old thief are for all to see, Even the tulip cries, ‘What have they done to my scar?’
The scar on the world is Guantanamo Bay and the shielded truth of the events of the bombing of the Twin Towers 19 years ago is testimony of how truth is an egg under a mallet. The soul is thirsty for the truth and justice because we are witnessing too much of bloodshed that we have become numb. Justice is not served because if it were so then many Presidents and Prime Ministers would be on trial for crimes against humanity. The international High Court in the Hague appears to be the mallet for African leaders who are like eggs under the yoke of an international tribunal, face poetic justice. The International Court however work hard to ensure there is no sunny side up for these African despots who in many ways were lackeys of their masters living out of Africa. The mischief mongering continues unabated because power and dominance lies within unholy and expedient alliances. This is further layered with the policy of divide and rule which is the true depredations for all to see yet, we fall hook, line and sinker into this thief of unity.
Unity now appears like an egg under the mallet because from micro organisations to macro institutions there is just divisions and new splinter groups. One has to reflect on what Nietzche said deeply because even in our religious associations we have scholars dividing and ruling and wooing support.
“With everything perfect.” Nietzche wrote, “We do not ask how it came to be.” Instead, “we rejoice in the present as though it came out of the ground by magic.”
Where did all this begin and my final analysis it became vivid to me that the real egg under the mallet is our manners and beliefs because we have not given great attention to it. We have failed in being just. In effect, we tend to rely on pedigree, lineages and bloodlines as means to power, glory as the quintessence of leadership. The conclusion of this discussion is best suited with the saying of Sheikh Al-Albani
The truth is heavy. So, do no make it heavier with bad manners. I used to believe that the (main) problem in the Ummah is ‘Aqidah’ (belief), but it became clear to me that it is ‘Aqidah’ and manners.Source: Silsila al-Huda wa al-Nur.
The reality we have is what our hands have earned through our manners and beliefs. Our conditions did not appear like magic therefore, let us indulge in the present by refining our character so that it will be the means to change all conditions regardless how vulnerable you might feel, even if it is like that of an egg under a mallet. This is justice served and peace preserved.