The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

Two weeks ago City Press ran an article penned by talented and award-winning poetLebo Mashile (Live, Love and Belong) once again exposed the high levels ofintellectual bankruptcy in our society and our ongoing celebration ofmediocrity. For anyone to have opted for Mashile to deliver such a flawedspeech during such an august occasion insinuates that South Africa has runout of history scholars with a proper grasp of anthropology – I protestthat Mashile carries such a mantle lest I proclaim our collective appraisal of mediocre intellectualism.

First; there is no ‘small’ nation in the face of the earth calledBapulane. There is a ‘big’ nation called Mapulana rooted not inBushbuckridge (as a matter of fact Bushbuckridge is in Mpumalanga and notLimpopo) but Mapulaneng which covers a sizeable chunk of Mpumalanga.Mapulana are found in every corner of South Africa, largely in Gautengwhere they have a footprint. This is information so in the public domainthat a first year anthropology student could have delivered a betterpresentation on. That Mapulana did not have their own Bantustan and arecognized (official) language does not make them less of a nation thesame way Palestinians are not less human by virtue of being denied landand self-determination.

Mashile should also understand apartheid’s (especially Bantustans) role incrafting the modern South African identity. Tribes and languages weredeliberately suffocated under the homeland system. I know not of a singleMoPulana who is “very comfortable referring to themselves as both Pedi(sic) and Bapulane (sic)”. The biggest insult one can dish against aMoPulana is to call them a MoPedi.To position Mashile’s flawed analysis within a cultural context I wouldprofess that identity is inherited and never chosen to suit a populisthegemonic agenda. Contrary to her calculated definition of her ownidentity the Mashiles are not Basotho (from Lesotho) but one of the fiveoffspring of the lion (Bana ba Tau Sethlano). They are royalty inMapulaneng.

They are in the same league with Mashego, Malele, Chilwane andMogane.Given that Mashile’s diatribe was during the World Summit on Arts andCulture one can sadly conclude that the world now carries that distortednarrow interpretation of our cultural identity as fact. It will beencouraging next time for the organizers to offer such a privilege tosomeone more qualified on the subject like Professor Pitika Ntuli or DrMathole Motshega instead of a poet.

All Mashile had to do was to GoogleMapulaneng’ and she would have endedup with more academic references, websites and Facebook groups aboutMapulana to assist in her speech instead of perpetuating a dangerousfascist analysis of Mapulana, a victorious and proud nation.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10/31/2009

    Brilliant piece by a proud MoPulana, I was just wondering why don't you send this post to City Press? Hopefully they'll publish it.

    Otherwise i like your blog, you're just GoodEnough



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