Connect with us

African Renaissance

War Hero Staff Sergeant Joseph William George of the Cape Corps (1939-1946)

Published

on

It is another violent day outside; it is another day of eating the dust of the colonial masters, the breadcrumbs from the kitchen table of the masters, the men, the soldiers, the “boys” are animated, and cool under pressure. But this is a documentary by the filmmaker Vincent Moloi of shoes and a bicycle, this is the legacy of the apartheid-government, this is the story that has not been told yet of the Cape Corps. They have seen combat, they have seen death, they have seen Kenya, and these “agents of terror” serve and protect their country selflessly and will define future generations to come. This is

not like the movie. This is real life, a reality based on the “interpretation and illustration”, and “idea and ideal” of survival-training.

The Cape Corps (that served in the Second World War) was about the adrenaline rush of camp life, the transformation of brotherhood, these “elite killing machines” knew about honour and loss, the charitable engagement of reward, discipline and obedience to the cause, and in the end they were the winners, because the war was won on the backs of soldiers of every nation, of every faith, of every creed, and of every race. The Cape Corps, the soldiers who served selflessly, fearlessly, saw destruction and death and law knew much about sacrifice and service, and this is what writing means to me now. The continuation of legacy, liberation, fraternity, honour,  honour, honour, service and reward, even if it meant imprisonment, or death, or casualties of war.

I’m not with you, the former-elite (see minority-rule), and the majority is now the democratic-elect in South Africa. I see a fragile darkness visible found in the minds of those soldiers who returned home from the war, I see major clinical depression, I see unspoken incidents of trauma, injury, infirmity, and besides the loss of life, these soldiers had to return to a semblance of normalcy somehow, they had loved ones, families, wives who had waited for their return, they had children, they had to survive by any means necessary, they had tolive, provide for their families, and some of these veterans chose addiction because there was simply no other release. In those days there was no state psychiatrist, no rehabilitation centre, no psychotropic drugs, anti-depressants, or mono-amine oxidase inhibitors, no education about the neurotransmitters (in particular, dopamine and serotonin) of the brain.

The millennials have a modern way of thinking, the “inner music oftheir soul” is not nostalgia, or even sentiment, (my next book will be called “The Elders, the Patriarchs, and Matriarchs of the George Family”) and the millennial thinks in functioning-code, data capturing, and not usurping, uprising, the collateral damages of war, rogue agents, intelligence, defence capabilities, the primitive warsthat human lives have always fought in the name of commission, and honour, the mandate of obligation, military duty, service, and conduct. The politicians say it is the political way or theinternet-highway, the technological advancements made in the name of human potential, but gender-bias still exists today in our still patriarchal society.

Our future leaders are technocrats and socialites, alpha dreamers, iconoclasts, teaching intellectuals, scholars, academics, educationalists, and it is still the West seeking key independence in mapping out trade routes, fighting democracy in this age or iron lost in the translation of the African Renaissance that began, that had its roots in the twentieth century. Now we must look to our fractured writing style, and our grassroots-techniques when it comes to our spiritual-and-collective gospel-truths, our “tribal” literature, flexing the muscle of language, the intrinsic flux of literacy in ourrural countryside and our metropolitan cities. I write to write the almost spiritual, where the lines of the external meets the struggle of the internal.

The alpha-males (Akin Omotoso, Dr Ambrose Cato George (Ph.D.), Rehad Desai, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Ayanda Billie, Mzi Mahola, Winston Ntshona, John Kani, Athol Fugard, Athol Williams, Neville Alexander, FikileBam, George Bizos, Vincent Moloi, Moses Molelekwa, Ken Oosterbroek,Kevin Carter, Patrice Lumumba, Rick Turner, Kwame Nkrumah, Stephen Bantu Biko, Samora Machel, the South African award-winning journalist Lee Gary McCabe, comrade Chris Hani, comrade Julius Malema, comrade Trevor Manuel, comrade Johnny Clegg, the lions, ex-president Thabo Mbeki,ex-president Jacob Zuma, and president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Of course, the alpha-females are in a league of their own (Dulcie September, and the Mother of Africa Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nadine Gordimer, Dorothy Alexander, Jann Turner, and the list continues ad infinitum).

It is strange to me, the homage, the tribute, the price I pay as a writer (see Nadine Gordimer) who lives with silences, solitude, loneliness, as poet (see Ingrid Jonker), as blogger, and diarist, as essayist, as playwright, to have domestic responsibilities, to live with the legacy of a post-apartheid government, the consolation of my paternal grandfather, Staff Sergeant Joseph William George, a highly decorated war hero who on his return from the Second World War received a coat and a bicycle from the then South African government. What about compensation for their devoted widows, the devout clergymen

who prayed fervently for their safe return, their children, and great-grandchildren?

It is therapy, modern-day psychiatrists, the indoctrinated-church, the African Renaissance, and conditioned-thinking of religion that has always defined my identity, my self-worth, my mental health, my reality and my non-reality. War heroes, what conditions their thinking, did the members of the elite Cape Corps suffer from auditory hallucinations, are these questions that we will never find the answers to, and what exactly was their extra-sensory, extra-ordinary comprehension of their reality and their near-catastrophic non-reality. What did they remember about the casualties of war when they returned home, the fallen heroes, the genocide of war, their mental illness, or melancholia, or their depression, the flux of their state of mind?

Our “sins must be washed away” (but how you ask), for the work must continually be published, the history of the liberatory struggle must be rewritten, and in death, the lives of our “scholars of trivia” must always be celebrated. If I may be allowed to digress, we (white, black, brown, of mixed-race descent, Khoi, Griqua, San, Asian, non-European, Afrikaner, Sotho, Xhosa, Venda, Zulu) must decolonize ourselves mentally (see oral tradition, information communication technology, the digital divide), we must decolonize ourselves intellectually, we must write in the eleven official languages with a “spiritual sensitivity” and a “divine intuition”.

We will be defined by our Pan African-consciousness, drumming “the Jerusalem, our Jerusalem at the gate” in the images of our visual artists, our photographers, the art is to look for succession, extraordinary succession, situations of mischief, conflict and otherwise, and idyllic opportunities for us all to learn and grow in grace and mercy. I have become older, but write frankly to talk about my generation.

You see for us to understand that the “figurative storm” is over, the work, the education, the philosophy is just beginning, that war makes pariahs out of all of us, that writers must unmask the , that poets must have the turning point, the edge, a world of sacred neural energy to turn their energies, sacred space, the system must demand all of their attention, that there will be music and fragility and darkness, but that yes, we can.

Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.

Continue Reading
Comments

African Renaissance

The YCCC and How It Changed the Future of South Africa

Published

on

This was the pre-apartheid education that we received when we were still at school. I was 13, 14 years of age at the time of the promulgation of the Group Areas Act in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, which then led to the forced removals and people literally being ‘dumped’ in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth. Dr Neville Alexander came to Port Elizabeth on two occasions. The YCCC-organisation (Yu Chi Chan Club) was primarily based on guerrilla warfare as is expounded by the leader of the Chinese Communist Party Mao Se Tung. It elucidates in his long walk to freedom, as well as his account in the new democracy as is expounded by his books and writings. These ideologies played a key role in formulating policy in the fight of guerrilla warfare against the Nationalist Party government. It is imperative to mention that the textbook for the organisation was Guerrilla Warfare by Che Guevara which was slavishly followed by discussions in the organisation. Other books included Partisan Warfare by Lenin, as well as Das Kapital by Karl Marx.

This took a lot of preparation and in-depth discussion groups took place based on these classic writers. It was imperative that these books were simplified and applied to the unique situation in South Africa. Dr Alexander and Ali Fataar, the then banned member of the executive of the NUM (New Unity Movement) came to Port Elizabeth to do exploratory work in creating fertile political groundwork for establishing the NEUM (Non-European Unity Movement) groupings. They visited areas like Korsten, Schauderville at night where they held underground discussion groups on the non-collaboration and the ‘Ten-Point Programme’ which at that early stage were very important and relevant documents. These were lengthy discussion groups which took place throughout the night. However, it crystallised into a solid branch of the NEUM (Non-European Unity Movement), Korsten branch. Further exploratory work was conducted in the area before these two stalwarts could return to Cape Town.

As a young student (16 years of age) we had the opportunity of meeting with people of the calibre of Dr Alexander at a very early stage in our political careers. This took place while we attended the CPSU (Cape Peninsula Students Union) group at our residence in Lloyd Street, Cape Town. This group grew rapidly as more and more progressive students became interested in the finer progressive political ideologies of the CPSU. We met regularly every fortnight and the discussions took place until the early hours of the morning. The topics included Bantu Education, Coloured Education, Bush University, Students Representative Council issues and the like. We also organised regular meetings on camping trips on Table Mountain where extensive politicisation took place on advanced political ideologies such as capitalism, imperialism and world ideologies of the day. We became acutely aware that our home got the attention of the security police. However, this did not deter us from becoming acutely aware of the intrusion of capitalism and imperialism and the like. It was at a very young age that I became involved in student politics which has its origin in political activity.

The forced removals, the Group Areas Act, the political upheaval caused havoc amongst particularly the young who were influenced by teachers who belonged to the Anti-CAD (Anti-Coloured Affairs Department) and the TLSA (Teachers League of South Africa). The city was ablaze with political activity which in a short space of time demonstrated deep into the youth. This needless to say was influenced by political youth in the Western Cape. What was affecting the students in the Western Cape was, alas, also affecting the students in the Cape, particularly Gqeberha. At times, the situation became extremely volatile and out of control. Organisations like the NUM (National Unity Movement), Anti-CAD (Anti-Coloured Affairs Department), TLSA (Teachers League of South Africa) reigned supreme. It was also apparent that the ratepayer’s organisations which were formed to fight against the rapid erosion of management committees.

Many public meetings were held with F.A. Landman and Dennis Brutus (vice-chairman), who were at pains to point out the disadvantages of the Group Areas Act. Many groups were formed which included the ANC, the PAC, the Unity Movement and allied groups were mobilised. It became apparent that the Group Areas Act was not going to go through a very easy passage. The organisations were not unified in their actions and this gave the opposition deep inroads into progressive thinkers. As a student group at the University College of the Western Cape we were invited to SOYA (Society of Young Africa) meetings in the Mowbray Minor Hall on a Sunday afternoon. For the first time we witnessed serious altercations among the members of the NEUM (Non-European Unity Movement), and this included Dr Neville Alexander and Dr Kenny Abrahams.

The topic of discussion was on Angola and the chairlady of the meeting Miss Wilcox clearly did not understand her mandate. Dr Neville Alexander and Dr Kenny Abrahams tackled her on the political aspects of FRELIMO Liberation Front of Mozambique). It appeared that two factions had now developed in the meeting. It was really a fisticuffs kind of thing. It appeared as if Dr Alexander and Dr Abrahams were at loggerheads with the present discussion leaders of the main group. The matter came to a head when the chairperson asked Dr Alexander and Dr Abrahams to leave the meeting. However, before that could take place Dr Abrahams announced to the meeting that all those who believed in democracy would leave the meeting. I was one of the Western Cape students who felt urged to leave the meeting with Alexander and Abrahams, which we did and met again at No. 2 Swiss Road in Lansdowne for a follow-up meeting. Officially, at this meeting there was information about the YCCC (Yu Chi Chan Club). Dr Alexander and Dr Abrahams felt no animosity which the meeting gave them as they left.

Dr Alexander was described as a dark horse by my father. As with all leaders, the maverick visionaries and profound thinkers, brilliant intellectuals, and having the primitive wonders of both wisdom and intelligence, for these men ahead of their time their faith was shared only by their comrades in the struggle. These stalwarts have taught me that it is the tendency of every man, woman and child of every race, of every faith to embrace every other man, woman and child of every race, and of every other faith. Indeed, it is rare. Indeed, it is exceptional when it happens. Language is a bridge. The language is not of love, but of respect. It is the flesh and blood of mother tongue language that divides us. It is respect that conquers self-pity, arrogance and narcissism. There is no one identity. Yet there is one moral code. Multiculturalism has changed the order of history, moral ambiguity, cast a spell on the doctrines and phenomena of religion. In humanity, in this human world, these leaders have taught us purpose on earth, the awareness of self, lack of ego and the finding of our identity in existential relativism, pedagogical and counterfeit phenomenology. Multiply achievement and you get the candy shop of the poetic horrors of over-abundance, the romantic weariness of decay and the complex strength of popularity.

Continue Reading

African Renaissance

Truth and the third wave of the pandemic: To be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated

Published

on

Photo: Atharva Tulsi/Unsplash

I have endured the worst possible case scenario. Being locked up in a mental institution for six months while in my late teens, early twenties. Even though I was of sound body, mind and soul. I am 42 years old now and I haven’t come all the way back from that experience. Everyone wrote me off when I returned home to Port Elizabeth as Gqeberha was known in those days but worse was to follow. Inhumane treatment from those closest to me, rejection from society. I was taught that I had a mental disability and would never be able to work again, hold down a steady job or earn a monthly income. I was told in no uncertain terms that I had to now live on the fringes of society since I would be unable to make a positive contribution to society. For twenty years this continued. I had to all intents and purposes not only given up on myself, my personal success, development of my potential and fulfillment and engagement in a relationship that would lead ultimately to my future happiness. The goal of marriage and having a child, bringing children into the world and raising a family was not only put into the distant past, I thought that it would always be non-existent for me.

I would spend my time listening to sad music, love songs on the radio and wonder why it was not me caught up in the scenario of having a relationship with the opposite sex. I sank even further into the pit of the hell in f despair and hardship. I virtually had lost control over my life, received a disability grant which I did not spend on anything which I personally needed. Family considered me to be the proverbial black sheep of the family. When I got angry at the way I was treated I was certified. My rights were taken away from me. I was verbally, mentally and emotionally abused. I did everything in my power to be loved and accepted by both my maternal and paternal family which is why I believe so strongly today in dismantling the stigma that surrounds issues concerning mental illness and depression mania, euphoria and elation (however mild or all-consuming it might be). At this late stage of my life I have become an advocate for mental wellness. To stop the fight and curb the alienation and isolation of sufferers of mental illness. I want people from all walks of life to realise that people with mental illnesses can enrich our lives and can make a positive contribution to society.

I myself have always sought solace in writing. I have found it to be an instrument for change and therapeutic as well.

I have firsthand knowledge and experience of being called anything from schizophrenic to being diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder and because of the heavy psychotropic medication I have taken over the years I have had a host of illnesses presenting themselves. Chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, an underactive thyroid, chronic kidney disease, gout and heart disease. These diseases manifested themselves early on in my life before the onset of middle age when they would be more prevalent in someone who would be prone to these sorts of illnesses because of not living a healthy lifestyle.

I take each day as it comes now and live in the moment. I have my good days. I have my bad days. I have a mean temper and constantly have to watch what I eat, watch what I say and how I react to people who treat me as him I am a second class citizen because of everything I have been through in my life. Truth be told I always knew I was different. The depression started in childhood for me. I was always an overachiever. I would come home in the afternoons after school but no one ever helped me with my homework, told me either that they were proud of me or believed in me or loved me for that matter.

Everyday I am a work in progress. It is tough dealing with moodswing but that is the currency I deal in and the territory that borders my sense of self-control.

I have been called many names. None of them pretty or lovely. I have had zero support from my immediate family and my estranged family has complete written me off and washed their hands off of me thinking there is nothing they can do for me. This has been very hurtful and even has made made me feel quite suicidal over the years and in my hour if need, my hours of silence, pain and collective trauma I turned to God, prayer and meditation in my hour of need. At the time of the outbreak of the pandemic I got corona and was admitted to the psych ward at Provincial Hospital here in Gqeberha. I had no medical aid and was once again at the mercy of the system but I survived hell and that harrowing experience again to live to tell the tale of how to overcome the impossible, to live and to learn, to remain humble and kind even in the face of adversity and cruelty.

Loneliness, abject poverty, homelessness can either kill you or make you realise that you are powerful beyond measure and I have realised that I am powerful beyond measure.

Continue Reading

African Renaissance

Thoughts From the Frontline

Published

on

Photo: Keenan Constance/Unsplash

“Hip/Hop, Trap. I would describe my music as different, unique, compared to what I hear in the music industry in South Africa. It is a different sound of genre based on hip hop. In my downtime I listen to artists like Mexikodro, Playboi Carti, Diego Money, Pyrex Whippa, Lil Gotit and Sahbabii. In my life my family has been and still is a major influence, I just want to see them happy and stress free. I want to be successful so that they can spend the rest of lives living comfortably. I chose music because I believe that it is something I’m good at. I wouldn’t call myself a musical genius, or say that I’m talented musically because I’m not but, I have taken the time to learn everything that I know today, I started as a rapper, but now I am a producer as well, a very good one if I should say, I mix and master vocals, well I try to. It is still something I am learning on a daily basis and I believe that one day if not soon, I will understand that aspect of music. The guys who I record with are so gifted at what they do, we really inspire each other to take it to the next level. I would be lying if I said that I inspire myself, well maybe I do, I don’t know, however what I do know is that we can go to the next level together because nowadays you rarely see a duo or a group of rappers in the South African music industry, there are 4 of us in our group including others who aren’t full time as yet, I think that makes the odds better for us to take it to the next level as opposed to being a solo” SUPREME ZEE, CEO OF Holidae Don’t Stop!

“What inspires me to take it to the next level is basically my daughter, Family and my everyday experiences growing up and living in Westbury losing friends and family to gang violence had a huge effect on me since a young age I’ve been through hell and back if I may describe in short and I’ve realized, to make it out you really need to dig deep. This is also one of the main reasons why I started writing music. I love Music, it is my passion that is mainly why I chose to make music, ever since a young age I’ve just been through the worst writing music and articulating every word I write is therapeutic. Manifesting and having faith in God has carried me through. Major influences in my life remains God, my baby girl, my family and obviously my Team Holidae Dont Stop! We always encourage one another to do our best we definitely do bring out the best in each other and I’d say the beats that supreme Zee creates brings out the best in me personally and it’s also one of the major influences in my music career it’s only elevated since the moment we started. In my down time I listen to All types of music mostly Gospel & HDS. I would describe my music as being one in a million very versatile, real and unusually different from the usual and it has an unorthodox flow and style to it so you can literally expect only the best” TheGR8ACE, CEO and co-founder of Holidae Dont Stop!

My inspiration comes from knowing that I have a God given talent and my friends (HDS) and family that motivates me day to day to do better. I chose music because as a hobby it is something I love doing which started out in high school where I had friends that used to rap over beats and I’d just stand within the circle and listen to their rhymes and it became to amuse me when I found out that there are people in my community creating their own music, whereas in 2019, I linked with the crew Holidae Dont Stop! and it has been a wonderful journey ever since! Learning and growing at the same time. My mother has played a role as one of my biggest inspirations including friends (HDS) have been a major Influence in my life, for they always pushed me to be a better me. Not giving up on me and providing not bad advice but love and positivity. I’ve been in difficult situation in the past and I am just trying to make a better standard of living for my family, my friends as well as my community (Westbury). In my down time I listen to various genres like Rock, Rnb, Hip/Hop, Rap, Emo Rap. I would describe our music as Western Plug for it derives from Hip-hop with an offbeat including 808s and guitar and piano samples that Supreme Zee (Producer) recreates and when hearing the beat, I can automatically put my heart on it.” Bando -recording Artist at Holidae Dont Stop!

 To conclude this, we are all from Johannesburg South Africa as one of our members spread across as far as Cape Town, temporarily. Our member who are not full time are – Leiph Camp (Splaash66) Stock broker, Razaak Benjamin (Glock) Salesman and Marion Reyners (Marion The Great) Facilitator. “Our music is Bold, Iconic and timeless” TheGr8ce. Our crew is based in Jozi (Johannesburg) although we do not have a manager as yet. Our follow up record will sound similar to the “Western Plug tape” that we have recently released, followed by 3 singles. Plug is a genre that derives itself from Hip-Hop and our next single will drop in 2 weeks. The link to our music is on all platforms and the Love and support would be much appreciated. We literally wont stop! –

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

macedonia macedonia
Finance40 mins ago

North Macedonia’s Growth Projected Higher, but Economy Still Faces Risks

The Western Balkans region is rebounding from the COVID-19-induced recession of 2020, thanks to a faster-than-expected recovery in 2021, says...

Development3 hours ago

Rush for new profits posing threat to human rights

The finance industry’s demand for new sources of capital worldwide to satisfy investors, is having a serious negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights, a...

Finance5 hours ago

Bosnia and Herzegovina Should Focus on Job Creation

The Western Balkans region is rebounding from the COVID-19-induced recession of 2020, thanks to a faster-than-expected recovery in 2021, says...

Africa Today7 hours ago

UN’s top envoy warns Great Lakes Region is ‘at a crossroads’

Speaking at a Security Council meeting on the situation in Africa’s Great Lakes region on Wednesday, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Huang Xia, told ambassadors that the countries concerned now...

Tech News7 hours ago

What Is A Mac Data Recovery Software & How Does It Work

With the advent of technology, data storage remains a crucial element of business and communication. Whether using a Windows PC,...

forest forest
Africa Today8 hours ago

African Union urged to address the threat of Congo forest logging driving extreme weather

Industrial logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may severely disturb rainfall patterns across sub-Saharan Africa and bring about...

Finance9 hours ago

Serbia: Job Creation and Green Transition Needed for Sustainable Growth

Serbia’s economic recovery is gaining pace, with a rebound in private consumption and an increase in total investments, says the...

Trending