Why honour Mangope?

Setumo Stone asks whether former Bop leader really made a contribution to broader South African community

In a tyranny, dictatorship or autocratic state, doing "good" often serves the purpose to advance narrow propaganda, and not necessarily the will, interest and benefit of the people.

That much is advanced in a book titled: "Bantustans - a trek towards the future", wherein Paul Giniewski concludes that he believes "Bantustans will have inherited from the mother country [Apartheid South Africa], through their long osmosis, a degree of political maturity equal or superior to that of many other independent countries in the world."

Giniewski scribed this delusion in 1961, approximately six years after the adoption of the   Freedom Charter in Kliptown; and a year after whites voted in a referendum "to sever South Africa's last links with the British monarchy and become a republic"

Interestingly, Giniewski illustrates the relationship between Bantustans and apartheid as one of a ‘mother' and ‘child' and one of an osmotic type - "[a] gradual or unconscious assimilation or adoption of ideas."

Notwithstanding the benefit of hindsight - which I enjoy in this instance - the move for Lucas Manyane Mangope to be honoured must be seen as testimonial of Giniewski's excellence and the partial success of apartheid almost five decades later: a gradual or unconscious assimilation or adoption of apologist ideas into a democratic society.

I am yet to come through an argument which denies that the formation of UNIBO (University of Bophuthatswana) - and not UNIWEST (University of North West) - was an osmotic process of apartheid, racialism, ethnicism, segregation and white supremacy.

Yes, we should celebrate the fact that the likes of Sipho Seepe and Judge Yvonne Mokgoro liberated themselves from the chains of Mangope's envisioned tyrannical control and rejected the notion that South Africa will ever be a "Western country," as it was desired by Giniewski, Mangope and Verwoerd.

A hyperbolic recognition of the little good one has done has the potential to obscure one's demonic character, much like the way an exaggerated condemnation of minor fallibilities betrays the natural saintly-hood of mere mortals.

But the question is not whether Mangope should be recognized or not. In fact, the constitution asserts his fundamental right to equal treatment on the basis that he is as human and naturally errant as the next person - me and you.

Fundamentally, we should ask whether "Mangope has made a contribution to the broader South African community? If we fail to do so, we would run the risk of approaching UNIWEST as an island - a Bantustan in South Africa - merely enjoying an osmotic relationship with the rest of the liberated people.

It is the continuation and perpetuation of such indoctrinations which continue to render the North West province a step-daughter of democracy.

Setumo Stone is an ‘organic' writer, social commentator and youth activist; and serves in the Secretariat of the ANC in Ward 3 (Ngaka Modiri Molema). He writes in his personal capacity

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