Mantashe holds the line

Single heroes who defend narrow approaches to the precious citadel against massed ranks of Orcs, barbarians or Persians are much revered in mythology.

I would like to nominate Gwede Mantashe to stand briefly amongst their legendary ranks.

He stood up yesterday in front of the South African Democratic Teachers Union and said (as quoted in Independent Online):

Sadtu … has neither clarity nor commitment to the education of the black child in the eyes of the public. We continue to use them (children) as pressure points and cannon fodder in the bargaining process. During the strike white children in general and Afrikaans children in particular continued to learn, many of you know this, whose children are in Model C schools. The children of many teachers go to Model C schools. When they (the teachers) go on strike their children continue to learn.”

He was booed and heckled off the podium.

After the booing and heckling had finally died down and he was allowed back onto the podium he said:

When comrades heckle me, they want me to express views about them… if that’s the issue I would suggest that Sadtu in future does not invite me.

So let this heroic stand – flawed like the stands of all the greatest mythological heroes* – not go unnoticed and un-revered. It takes a special kind of discipline and courage to stand up in front of your allies and dress them down in the clear and unambiguous terms Mantashe used.

There is little question that the activities and failures of the South African Democratic Teachers Union is making a singularly negative contribution to South Africa’s progress. There are other failures in government and in society that contribute to the unfolding catastrophe that is our public education system, but the lousy return on the considerable capital we as a country invest in education is in no small part due to the actions and inactions of Sadtu members.

So bravo Gwede Mantashe, the halls of Valhalla await you … hopefully later, rather than sooner.

* Note: Even legendary heroes are not perfect, so we just have to ignore that ridiculous assertion that Afrikaans children were the the least affected as a group by the public sector strike.

3 thoughts on “Mantashe holds the line

  1. die klong Mantashe het die wil om eerlik wees hy is limmer as wat ons wil glo en ons het mense soos hom nodig mense wat eerlikis en met guts se what hulle moet .

    Mooi so tog dink ek daar is dalk hoop vir RSA al wat hul enogmoet doenis die klong Juju skool toe stuur dat hy ook geletterde mens raak

  2. Gwede Mantashe is the chairperson of the South African Communist Party and Secretary-General of the African National Congress . His policy of ” glasnost”
    is a reminder that Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost was one of the main reasons for the unraveling of Soviet Communism .

    Numerous explanations have been proposed
    in retrospect to account for the unraveling
    of the Soviet Union. The most popular one
    has been economic stagnation combined with
    Gorbachev’s policy of allowing more free
    expression, or glasnost. As the argument goes,
    the Soviet system faced serious, chronic economic
    problems throughout its existence,
    ranging from the famines of the late 1920s
    and early 1930s to the persistent shortages of
    consumer goods and housing. Those difficulties,
    however, did not endanger the survival of
    the system until, beginning in the mid 1980s,
    increased free expression made them subject
    to public discussion and the discontent they
    generated became more openly shared. Glasnost
    was probably the single most important
    contributor to the collapse. It made it possible
    for ordinary people to learn what was wrong
    with the system and to compare their own personal
    dissatisfaction with that of others—making
    everyone realize that their grievances were
    far from isolated.
    Glasnost delegitimized the Soviet system
    by allowing the population to learn about the
    many defects and crimes of Soviet communism,
    including forced collectivization, famines,
    the millions who perished under Stalin,
    the show trials, the specifics of life in the
    Gulag, the mismanagement of the economy,
    the decline of public health, the grotesque
    cult of Stalin, and the privileges of the Soviet
    political elites, the “nomenklatura.”

  3. Heart warming and uplifting sentiments, beautifully conveyed Nic. Stories of valour, courage, truth, honesty, always welcome.

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