The past week has seen and heard so much debate about the suitability for Kgosi Lucas Mangope to be recognized by the North West University for the good he did while president of the erstwhile Bophuthatswana.
No amount and quality of protestation will rub off that Kgosi Mangope was president in an area where people recognized themselves as a nation at the time. Like in all instances some good and some unpleasant things happened like they are happening in the present day in South Africa even in advanced democracies like the United States of America.
Some people in the ANC have appointed themselves moral standard bearers. If an elected Student Representative Council of a university decides independently and democratically to name some residence after some individual like Kgosi Mangope, why should unelected people like those of the so-called Provincial Task Team try to familiarize themselves by objecting to a decision of an SRC elected democratically?
Kgosi Mangope never applied to be considered for the honour; grateful and studious students noted that of all black leaders who governed in whatever period Kgosi Mangope is second to none in so far as the provision of services is concerned.
Some have greatness thrust upon them by having whole universities, to which they contributed nothing in their construction, named after them but a man who achieved greatness is being denied to have a university residence of a university he established named after him.
It is surprising that the same people who subject Kgosi Mangope to this inhumane treatment claim to be upholding the constitution. Their actions and pronouncements fall in the face of Section 12 (1) (e) of the same document they purport to uphold.
Some in their puerile arguments have even gone as far as to say that naming the residence after or erecting Kgosi Mangope's bust at the university or residence will boost his image among students supporting his party. This is very far from the truth as SASCO, the student body that initiated the idea, has no connection with the United Christian Democratic Party. Tallies indicate that the UCDP has never been represented on the SRC's that have been wrestling with this naming and erecting of the bust.
It is on record that many names were balloted and Kgosi Mangope's beat them all. This is democracy at its best; students who belong to a body opposed to Kgosi Mangope had no qualms to announce him as winner. It looks like with some people even if Kgosi Mangope's party can win it will never be declared as such by some of these self appointed guardians of morality.
Many who called in during the radio talk shows brought in the absurd issue that Mangope did not heed the call to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These people suffer from selective amnesia as only Minister Jeff Radebe appeared before the TRC. The others refused yet they run the country as did their predecessors. Nothing is being said to and about them. How can such people run the country?
Even in instances where people volunteered themselves and testified before the TRC they were and are still being told they have not divulged all. Why call on them to testify if their version of events is not acceptable?
The very government has yet to heed the recommendations of the TRC, such as the President having to accept that there were transgressions from both sides but he as Father of the nation should apologise to both sides on behalf of government. The other simple one that made Archbishop Tutu, the TRC chairman, turn grey is the blatant disregard by government to compensate the victims of whose rights were violated.
The atrocities carried out by the ANC in camps such a Quattro and others are well documented and people are at pains to live with the past yet some are riding high pedestals pointing fingers at a man who was shown no respect by the new regime while some of those who served in similar positions with him have been kept in the fold and even appointed to government positions.
This is not the last the public has heard of Kgosi Mangope's prowess as a leader. More incidents will come to be made known. In fact some American universities have acknowledged his qualities as some one who could make something out of nothing. After all no prophet has respect among his people.
Great thanks to the intellectuals in the making at the North West University who use their brains and not blood to think. Their empirical approach to issues shows that they will be men and women of substance in time to come. They approach facts and issues without fear, favour or prejudice.
Sipho Mfundisi is a Member of the North West Provincial Legislature
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