Saturday, August 18, 2012
Muti 'protected' miners...Bring me my Machine Gun
Bring Me My Machine Gun: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa From Mandela to Zuma; After the Party: Corruption, the ANC, and South Africa's Uncertain Future
Reviewed by By Nicolas van de Walle
Article Summary and Author Biography
The end of Thabo Mbeki's presidency and the settling in of Jacob Zuma provide an opportunity to assess the 15 years since the fall of apartheid. Russell's and Feinstein's assessments are both excellent and disquieting. A former South Africa correspondent for the Financial Times, Russell offers balanced portraits of the three postapartheid presidents, the policy successes and failures of the successive governments, and the emergence of a black elite. Thanks to the visionary leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) under Nelson Mandela, the country wildly outperformed most expectations. As depicted by Russell, the mediocre and paranoid leadership of Mbeki has slowly eaten away at the early optimism, and the country he describes is one of rising crime, corruption, and bitter race relations. Russell leavens his pessimism with inspiring tales of individual courage and virtue, but his is certainly a bleak account. Feinstein was one of the idealistic young white South African intellectuals who chose to support the ANC in the twilight years of the apartheid regime, and he was a parliamentary backbencher for that party from 1997 to 2001, when he resigned to protest a particularly corrupt arms deal. He has now written a fascinating memoir of his life in the ANC and of the scandal he helped uncover. His account is an absorbing insider's description of the internal culture of the ANC, from the chaotic (but still democratic) early years to its second decade of rule, when it had become a more centralized and expedient dominant party. Compared to Russell, Feinstein is mild in his criticism of Mbeki, but he is withering about the culture of corruption and spinelessness he sees in the ANC. Despite his damning portrait of the party's approach to governance, Feinstein appears sincere in his ultimate faith in its future and that of South Africa. On the other hand, like an increasing number of his white compatriots, he no longer lives there.
Muti 'protected' miners
SIBONGAKONKE SHOBA and ISAAC MAHLANGU | 19 August, 2012 00:26
TRAGIC AFTERMATH: Police check on casualties after firing on striking Lonmin mine workers. Locals believe muti prevented many more from being killed
A MYSTERY sangoma is believed to be behind the foolish courage displayed by striking miners during Thursday's deadly standoff.
Undeterred by water cannons and tear gas, the miners crept through the bushes towards the police and charged straight into a heavy line of fire.
The surviving miners are not talking, but union officials, residents of Marikana and the police confirmed the presence of the unidentified sangoma, who carried out rituals on the hill and dished out muti where workers had gathered throughout the week.
It is said the man, who is from the Eastern Cape, had provided muti to the protesters and made them believe it would make them invincible.
Senzeni Zokwana, president of the of National Union of Mineworkers, said the strikers had to fork out R500 before being sprinkled with ntelezi.
He said the workers were cut with razor blades and then had the muti smeared on their bleeding wounds.
Several of the strikers the Sunday Times spoke to yesterday were reluctant to talk about the sangoma, and some even denied his existence.
"I heard about that, but I don't want to talk about it," said one before walking away.
Another, who had camped on the hilltop for three days, did not deny the presence of the medicine man.
"I'd rather not respond to that one, please," he said.
A senior policeman who was in one of the police helicopters told the Sunday Times that they had recorded the muti rituals on camera.
"One by one, in a queue, they were sprinkled with muti," he said.
The strikers regarded the hilltop as a sacred place. Women were not allowed near, and the men were not allowed to wear hats.
Several other senior police officers who had been in helicopters that monitored the koppie during the week also confirmed spotting the ritual.
While some may argue that it was stupid to brave automatic gunfire in the manner in which the workers did on Thursday, some locals believe that, if it hadn't been for the muti rituals, many more would have been killed.
"I believe that more could have been killed. We saw what happened. Most of the leaders basetshenziwe (they've had muti rituals performed on them), so they can't be hit by a bullet at all," said a young woman who refused to be identified.
Another told the Sunday Times: "They can't be shot, because a strong ritual makes it impossible for them to be hit by a bullet."
She then mentioned the name of one of the miners, who she said was unharmed, despite having been in the front line of the police attack.
She added: "If a person got shot despite being 'worked on', he must have done something wrong to weaken the muti."
She said women were not allowed near the hill "because they say we'll weaken their muti".
It's unclear if the sangoma was a local from Marikana or had been invited from elsewhere to support the workers.
Amcu national organiser Dumisani Nkalitshana denied that their members used muti.
"We haven't heard any of our members telling us about that. We don't know anything about muti. We are Christians, and we believe in God," said Nkalitshana.
Claudia_Meads - August 18, 2012 at 23:21
The real innocent victims will be the policemen who were simply defending their lives in a near impossible situation.
It is transpiring that the police shooting incident was sparked by a mob (of about 50) who attacked what they thought was a lone white policeman.
The policeman was busy shooting stun-grenades (as were a number of other policemen) when the mob started shooting at him and stormed him - he retreated rapidly towards the line of police behind him, the mob followed and stormed into the open, into a line of heavily armed police.
With an ANC regime desperate for any red-herring to draw attention away from their gross incompetence, one fears the likelihood that this will be turned into a 'race-matter', the most.
The leftist international news networks - eg CNN (aka the Communist News Network), have leapt at the chance to very selectively display footage that makes it look like white policemen, shooting black people. Little do they realise that their sensationalist inanities directly lead to the murder of innocent white people - eg grotesque farm murders, people brutally murdered in their homes, high-jacked, raped, etc. While the foreign journalists firmly clasp their passports, they jump on the plane back to their safe countries (like the USA and the UK - protected by the security of Western values), they leave a minority at the mercy a brutal monster.