“Now I see that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our king. If it [was] in the brave days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opoku Ware, chiefs would not sit down to see their king to be taken away without firing a shot. No European could have dared speak to chiefs of Asante in the way the governor spoke to you this morning. Is it true that the bravery of Asante is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this: if you, the men of Asante, will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight! We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.”—Yaa Asantewaa (via collective-history)
South Africa's corruption crusader Thuli Madonsela
"She’s not a superwoman, she’s just an ordinary person doing her job" is one anti-corruption campaigner’s blunt assessment of Thuli Madonsela, the woman the press often calls just Thuli.
Her investigations have led to the sacking of some of the most senior figures in the state, most recently the country’s former police chief, Bheki Cele, who was suspended over a property leasing scandal in 2011.
The softly spoken mother of two has become a one-woman corruption crusader.
David Lewis, chief executive of the newly launched campaign group Corruption Watch has described her as “South Africa’s most important bulwark against corruption”, who has inspired hope among millions of citizens looking for better service delivery.
Although her title of public protector may sound mundane, Mrs Madonsela has captured the imagination of South Africans and the media for her no-nonsense style and her ability to deliver.
Add to that her credentials as a former lawyer in the trade union movement during the fight against white minority rule and her involvement in the drafting of South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution, and she’s earned the respect of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party and opposition alike.
Our BBC documentary team has had exclusive access to Thuli Madonsela over the past few months, trailing her as she oversees some 14,000 investigations.
Our own probes have unearthed inflated water tenders in North West province, newly built schools without any furniture in the Eastern Cape and appalling sewage conditions in Bram Fischerville, Soweto. All of these are now being investigated by Mrs Madonsela’s team.
"I don’t remember it being this bad," Mrs Madonsela confided after we took her to Soweto, to see for herself the squalor of overflowing drains that have been left unattended for years.
Wading through raw sewage in a smart set of high heels and wincing at the unidentifiable waste swirling at her feet, Mrs Madonsela described how she grew up in Soweto, the proud heart of the liberation struggle rule. And yet, “things were different then”.
She accepts Justice Minister Jeff Radebe’s argument that “300 years of colonial rule and 40 years of apartheid” cannot be corrected overnight, and that the seeds of corruption were sown long before the first post-apartheid elections in 1994.
But, she says, if “visible action is taken” against corrupt officials now, then it sends the message to people that “if you are thinking about it - then don’t”.
In other countries, like Kenya, the task of rooting out corruption has been a lonely one. I first met anti-corruption tsar John Githongo when he fled into exile after he handed the BBC sensational tapes implicating very senior ministers in corruption back in 2005.
But in South Africa, the task of rooting out corruption is distributed among several agencies.
"It spreads the risk" - this is the assessment of Willie Hofmeyr, the deputy director of National Prosecutions, who says though a "great deal is being done now", he is "disappointed at the slow rate of progress".
The implication is that if one investigating agency gets cornered, another can still pursue a case.
South Africa has shown that, with a free press and independent courts, it still has a chance of winning the war on corruption, and in many ways, Mrs Madonsela embodies that hope.
The public protector has risen out of the bureaucratic morass to become a breath of fresh air for a South African public clamouring for more accountability from their public servants and leaders.
She has called for constructive dialogue rather than a repeat of recent rioting against poor services, and has been promised by ministers that despite past attempts to muddy her name, she will be allowed to do her job, whatever her investigations unearth.
With the ANC’s national elective conference in Mangaung scheduled for the end of the year, the stakes are higher than ever.
Mrs Madonsela knows that corruption allegations can be used to wound political enemies.
In our film, Thuli’s daughter, Wenzile, asks over the breakfast table: ”How does it feel to be South Africa’s biggest tell-tale?”
Thuli laughs and shrugs it off with a joke, but with four more years in the job, she knows that there are still many noses she could put out of joint.
Who else feels funny about Fela! being produced by Jayz and Will & Jada Smith?
It’s not the first time that an African story is being told by foreigners or funded by foreign money, but there are enough bazillionaires in Africa or in different countries who can fund our own efforts in telling our stories.
I haven’t seen the play, and I’ve only heard good things about it, but the fact that our stories as Africans are usually considered or made successful by the fact that they are attached to some big American names really bugs me all the time.
I wanted to write an answer on the article but it was too long :p
So I think Peternell deserves to go to London since he’s the best (in the ranking) What the Chief says is stupid about a real countrymen They should know that if you want to compete against the best riders in the world, you have to come to Europe (I live in Belgium, and we are let’s say the Mecca of showjumping, especially Brussels) Horses can’t stand such long trips up and down from SA to EU, they can but not 4 to 5 times a year. I ride dressage and when I check the list of Interntional competitions, I never see one in SA nor for dressage nor showjumping nor eventing.
So yeah … :)
**FYAfrica Rocks Note: This is a submission in response to an earlier question on whether the South African eventing rider Peternell should compete in the Olympics representing South Africa. Read the post here.
Please, don’t forget that while we look to “Africa” to save HIV positive black Africans….There are many on our very streets infected with the same disease.
We don’t see any famous Black Africans flying to the U.S. trying to save the “North Americans”, so please, give the continental Africans the same courtesy.
To be clear, I support collaboration NOT savior projects. If your neighbor is sick…why go to a stranger that is many many miles away to help them with the same sickness? Simple, because it is much easier to detach oneself as a possible victim and re-enter as a Savior. Come on, who doesn’t want to save the dying, starving, black African children?
(Meanwhile, it is the very people who go to save that destroy the local economy, esteem, and progress of the population they save. Don’t believe me? If a stranger came to your neighborhood with the solution to your gravest problems…you would leave everything to them, no? But how spiteful would you be if they didn’t even try to save the people in their own town?
Maybe I wouldn’t have an issue if her “Keep a Child Alive” was a supplement a HIV/AIDS in her hometown of New York City.
Now you’re in New York These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
is the the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.
More than 107,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV, but thousands more don’t know they’re infected. New York City’s AIDS case rate is almost 3 times the U.S. average, and HIV is the 3rd leading cause of death for New York City residents aged 35 to 54.
Let’s hear it for New York, New York,
and Alicia Augello Cook of course.
p.s. Does anyone see the color politics in the photo with Alicia and the black Africans children? I swear…*sigh*, it will never end.