If there is one thing that I pride myself with as a South African citizen is the intellectual rigour that many journalist and columnist posses. Their duty is inspired by the freedom of expression, speech and of press as it is confirmed in The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Section 16 (1) (a), which do not of course extend to incitement of imminent violence, propaganda for war and incitement to racial hatred amongst other things. These news agents are the one who ensures that ordinary citizens such as I receive information and news that is fair, accurate and free of bias.
No one dare challenge me when I say that journalist like Ferrial Haffegee, Justice Malala, Max Du Preez, and many others carry out their duties with distinction. Their work is well researched, insightful,groundbreaking and they ensure that they diffuse every piece of information they consider to be of public interest – and no, this does not extend to tabloid journalism. Their piece of work evokes public debates, as it was the case with “The Spear”. However, the only problem I have with journalists is that they seem to drive a political and economic discourse in this country. They seem to have exclusive right and access to major newspapers spaces to voice out their disgruntled opinions – which I highly respect by the way.
Why do I seem to have a deep rooted problem with this? If I, from an impoverished village outside Pretoria, have an opinion to raise about my poor quality of education, inadequate access to basic services, poverty and unemployment, where and how do I voice my opinion in mainstream media? Will Mondli Makhanya accept or even better publish my letter in the newspaper in which he is an editor?
Who must drive political and economic discourse in this country? Should it be, Khaya Dlanga,Sentletse Diakanyo or the so called established columnist? Have you realised that the influence that the so called established columnist such Dlanga and Co. commands drives political discourse in this country. They are so influential on the social media spaces that they have their own column in which they offer readers what is conveyed to them as established truth, that you dare not challenge.
I have a fundamental problem with that. I am of the opinion that these major media houses should introduce a column titled something to the effect of “In my hoodie” in which young people from far flung rural areas will be able to convey and communicate their stories with a hope that those stories eventually drive a political and economic discourse in the direction sought by the writer.
A friend of mine, Seth Motswaledi updated his status on Facebook and he wrote “We are living in a country infested with propaganda to win political battles. We have the DA which out of all, uses media to misrepresent the current state of our country, and then you have the ANC that use poverty and apartheid to win. What we need is totally not this!!!”
I do not know the extent of truth enshrined in the status posted by my friend on facebook. The validity of the premise submitted by Seth can be brushed aside as “unwarranted and baseless claims!”. After few minutes, the very same status was inundated with comments and the poor guy was accused of all sorts of irrationality. What was the man trying to do was to push the envelope, drive the political discourse and provoke debates amongst his facebook ninja’s. Judging from afar, this is an assignment that he (Seth) achieved with distinction. I hope he remained unshaken.
All in all, my point is that the only people who can drive political or economic discourse in this country are young lion and lioness who despite their socio-economic hardships continue to traverse life hopefully even if is difficult to do so.
My premise was further strengthened by one of the commentators on the status who wrote -to quote him verbatim – “...It can only be the masses that will drive discourse of any sort in this country!”
Let’s go cadres!!!
This post does not in anyway reflect my political viewpoints.