Attention Social Groups, you are invited to participate in ‘Merging our lives with those of Soweto people, takes you to the ‘other face of the Moon’.
The President, executive and members of the Social Clubs of South Africa, thank you for the ‘invitation’ to address your club, thank you for giving me an opportunity to present details of our initiative.
We believe, that through Economically Empowering the Orlando East community via tourism, we will bring changes to our country.
I use the description ‘tourism’, with great reservation, tour, is to visit places, it is not what we are promoting, we are promoting something much deeper, but the word is symbolic of what the visitor may understand, as our direction.
While drafting the Passport to Soweto, I was taken through a personal development process, the elders in the community, giving me an understanding of Ubuntu.
Following hours of interaction, I accept that Ubuntu is only possible, where two-way sharing takes place, within a common bond, in their case, the Township and Rural communities, and any charity that I give, is not Ubuntu.
How would we describe the ‘sharing’ that takes place, within Rotary Club Members, Roundtable Members, and other Social Clubs, where members give first consideration to supporting a service provider, who is part of the Club?
In my opinion, the sharing within these club members, is Ubuntu, it is the identical principle of the Ubuntu in the Township and Village groups, taking place in a group with a common bond.
Our aim should be to find a ‘process’, that will allow groups from different social levels, in which the individuals of the groups are in the state of Ubuntu, to intersect for brief periods, resulting in the birth of a new bond, in which the two groups are able to find Ubuntu, two-way sharing, in this new bond.
I am a Tour Operator, an author, a social activist, a white South African, born in 1947, lived through the Apartheid era, not sure whether I am a product of Apartheid, or Apartheid is a product of me, who does not worship Nelson Mandela or de Klerk, as the saviours of our black people, thanks to their failure to bring economic freedom to the people, the still disadvantaged people.
Even though the Passport to Soweto focus is Soweto, the most important topic that drives me, is the 1913 Native Land Act.
In 2013, as our Government was spending millions on commemorating the 1913 Native Land Act, I needed to find out who we were as a nation before 1913, and how we got, from 1913 to where we are today.
3 months of Google searching and I find no more than the history that I had been taught over the years, nothing that spoke to me, nothing answering my questions.
Then, one night I hear a voice,
“Cedric, keep doing what you are doing, but start looking at our history through the eyes of a black leader.”
It is 2 am, I get out of bed and start Googling, starting with Chief Hintsa of the Gcaleka, Chief of the senior branch of the Great House of King Phalo, shot in the back of the head, May 12, 1835.
I had on file, four or five versions of the shooting, all claiming that he had been asked to return 25 000 head of cattle, and in an effort to hide the stolen cattle he fled, resulting in the shooting.
I questioned why Hintsa was in discussion with the English, he would not have become involved in discussion, had he just stolen 25 000 head of cattle, he would not have fled to hide 25 000 head of cattle, it is not what a powerful, astute, leader would have done.
I link the murder of Chief Hintsa to the emancipation of the Mfengu, two days later, sixty miles away, and as I follow the trail, so within a few weeks, I become of the opinion, that the English Coloniser did ‘steal everything’ from my black brothers.
If it was not for what the Coloniser did, the black groups would be the wealth of South Africa today, the Townships would not exist, black poverty would not exist.
For the first time, I realise ‘Economic Segregation’ is the prime evil, not racism and Apartheid.
It takes a few years for me to author ‘Consider the Verdict’, where the poverty group charges the wealth of the world, for ‘Grand Theft Economy’.
I equate the damage done to our people with the holocaust, and ask, is it equal to, is it lesser than, or greater than.
My understanding, much of it gleaned off the ANC archive material, Sol Plaatje’s writings, their struggle, their application to the Crown, objecting to the 1913 Native Land Act, clouds the 1994 achievements of the ANC in my mindset, through their failure to address the land issue, the ANC origins, what their predecessors fought for.
My mindset has moved into a new status, somewhere in between, somewhere above, and looking in the mirror, I discover that I am a racist, I understand that it is impossible to heal a cultivated mindset, I have only reached the status of ‘racist in recovery’. Like the alcoholic, I will need to attend the forums that will maintain my recovery status.
With an open mind, the ‘forums’ show me, the South Africa I had missed.
As we discover the South Africa that we missed, we received our ‘Passport to Soweto’, with our entry stamp, 13 years after we first visited Soweto.
The guide book details a number of issues that we were always aware of, but never understood. Issues that we discussed during interaction, issues where the details remained hidden, till our minds were free to receive them.
Walter Sisulu becomes our focal point, one of the political struggle leaders. He however remains outside of the Orlando East heritage, as every enquiry leads me to his home in Orlando West, his ‘only’ Soweto home.
Then one day, I am directed to John Mahapa, somewhere on No. 13, when I find Mahapa, I find Walter Sisulu’s Orlando East home, and Sisulu becomes the central magnet, for the Passport to Soweto heritage.
John Mahapa lives in the Walter Sisulu Orlando East home, and Mahapa, sentenced to 7 years on Robben Island, takes me on a journey from ‘Boy Scout to Freedom Fighter’.
His Comrade, Victor Nkabinde, sentenced to 20 years on Robben Island in 1963, serving every day of the 20 years, released on August 22, 1983.
Sadly Victor passed away a few days back, Saturday, August 19, 2017, I cried.
Prior to 1955, the black struggle in Africa, centred around the Academic, the graduates of Fort Hare.
At this stage, the children in the Orlando Secondary School, working at the Drum magazine, rolling and packing Drum magazines for distributing, reading the magazine, become exposed to Kenyatta, Nyerere, Nkrumah, Lumumba, all fighting for freedom from the Coloniser, these children realise that they need to fight for their dignity and freedom, from the Coloniser.
These children are possibly the first youth, that were self-politicised, who took to their fight for dignity and freedom, without elder direction.
These freedom fighters, ANCYL members in 1955, take us through the conflict within the ANC, as the conflict over the Freedom Charter, causes a split within the ANC, the introduction to the Freedom Charter, “South Africa belongs to all the people who live in it, both black and white…” results in the formation of the ‘Africanists’, and then, the formation of the PAC, April 6, 1959.
In my opinion, the youth who followed the PAC, caused the system to fear and isolate Robert Sobukwe.
Thanks to Walter and Albertina Sisulu’s “In our Lifetime’ manuscript, we introduce the heritage of
James Sofasonke Mpanza, who Walter Sisulu credits for an ingenious approach to the housing development in Soweto.
The Mdingi brothers, great-grandsons of Chief Hintsa, murdered by the English on May 12, 1835. One of the great-grandsons, Chief Jonginthaba, is respected as the ‘Soweto Father’ of Nelson Mandela.
The Mase family, cousins to Walter Sisulu, who introduced Nelson Mandela to Evelyn Mase, her sister Kate’s family, now living in the ‘other Mandela House’.
All these heritage topics, energetically questioned and debated, as we walk the streets of Orlando East.
Visit Soweto with Cedric, has become one of the popular walks, as he defends his ‘mindset’, needing to answer for his understanding of our hidden history.
On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, I collect a family of 4 from the airport, we arrange to meet our guide near the DOCC, and Aunty Patricia, staunch ANC Woman’s League Veteran, Heritage Value Site 1, notices my car, and presents herself to the visitors. The guide has no option but to follow.
On August 19, 2017, we receive the following email;
On August 14, 2017, two visitors from the USA spent the day walking the streets of Soweto and Kliptown with me, exposed to the youth, all the negativity that the Township youth talk about, poverty, no jobs, drugs, crime, every person for themselves.
Over lunch at the Nancefield hostel, Carl and Norma asked me why, with all the frustration, all the animosity that resides in our country, the failure of our Government to address the youth problems, we do not see more aggression towards me, a representative of the white people.
My answer was glib, it slipped off my tongue, like it had since 2009,
“Many of the still disadvantaged black people, when in their comfort zone, are happy, are accepting, it is only when faced with a challenge, that they will move into the anger zone. My fear is that this inner frustration and animosity towards poverty, will be triggered, when the conflict in the ANC escalates.”
“The political turmoil will trigger chaos, when the politicians fight for the control of the country wealth, when it spills into the street, the youth, in the name of poverty, will harvest where possible”
Carl and Norma are surprised that I continue with my positive attitude towards the future of our country, around every corner the negativity, the political uncertainty, the youth that are not at school, the lack of jobs, the cries of poverty.
I smile, and summarise for them, just what drives me;
“The still disadvantaged community, angry by what they see as State Capture, or rather, what they hear about State Capture, what they see as stolen funds that should have contributed to their improved living conditions, have no motivation to do anything, they are waiting.”
“Yet I believe they will positively respond, they will start to take part productively, all we need to do, is to get South African whites, South African elites, to walk the streets with them, and they will feel that the new South Africa has reached them. The Passport to Soweto will lead the Ubuntu Food Chain Economic Development.”
As I summarise this presentation, a summary written maybe ten times during the past few weeks, I have difficulty in expressing my inner feelings, here in the realms of the social elite, I need to be careful what I say, so here goes.
In the Townships and Rural Villages, they know that I visited with Eugene Terre’Blanche, attended his funeral, and was outside court on the first day of the trial.
They have questioned my visit, and my actions, I answer honestly.
They know that I have visited Orania on four occasions, taking International Tourists on two occasions.
We discuss white poverty, we visited three white ‘squatter camps’, their assessment of what they see, is interesting.
In the suburbs, even my Afrikaans, family do not want to hear me discuss these issues.
Social Clubs of South Africa, we invite you to be the Pioneers that will lead the South Africans into a next stage of our countries economic freedom.
The Great Trek, contributed to bringing the people of our Northern Provinces, to where we are today, we have walked an arduous journey since 1835; for our still disadvantaged communities, their journey has been even more arduous, and their arduous journey continues today, 23 years into our New Democracy.
The time has arrived for us ‘advantaged communities’, to take an even Greater Trek, guided by the Passport to Soweto, visit Orlando East, walking the streets, trekking, merging our culture and experiences with the peoples’, giving birth to a new bond, allowing the youth to benefit from us, to feel that the ‘trek’ to economic freedom, is no longer isolated from them,
Social Clubs of South Africa, we would love to address your members as a speaker, should you wish, I will send you a .pdf version of Passport to Soweto, and rather than you members listening to me, repeat the above, they may prepare questions that they requires answers for.
Cedric and Nettie de la Harpe