Bheki Mashile's Letter from Umjindi

Heady. Hoods are old hat

Sad to say, not much is happening in the world of my Umjindi that is worth writing about. Right now I’m more interested in looking at the outrageous powers that have been bestowed on our singing prez. And yes, that too – the outrageous presidential orders coming from America’s new Commander in Chief.

What do they have in common? Quite a lot really. To both sets of  voters – across the Atlantic or here in Mzansi – it has become quite clear that our constitutions have given these men way too much power.

Naturally Time magazine has been covering the Trumpster since his shockingly successful election campaign. And suffice it to say, the mag has given us an in-depth breakdown of the Trumpster’s cabinet. Man! Oh man! The Trumpster has been responsible for installing the whitest cabinet seen in America in a long time. I couldn’t help concluding that we were all wrong, or perhaps we misunderstood the Trumpster’s election campaign slogan. Instead of  “Make America Great Again” did he actually mean “Make America white again”? After all, he took over from a black president, so this would make sense, ha ha! Gone are the days of the Colin Powells and Condoleezza Rices. Now it’s blue blood all the way. Man oh man this cabinet is whiter than a heavy Washington DC snowfall in the heart of winter.

Why aren’t our opposition parties and others who are keen to see the back of Zuma crying out for an amendment to our Constitution in order to diminish the powers of the President. It’s quite clear that these powers can be easily abused – as we have seen.

You’ve got to give it to the Americans, at least the States can opt not to abide by the presidential orders.

And of course cabinet appointments must go through a rigorous senate approval process.

Clearly, we do not have such checks and balances. What little oversight we have is very limited and of course can be easily overridden by the ANC majority in Parliament.

Opposition parties are missing the boat. They should rather be making noise about amending the Constitution in order to curtail the President’s powers of office instead of fighting a battle they cannot win – eg, these useless votes of no confidence and the over-done marches that many a South African seems to be bored of.

Zuma, it seems, will not be removed by these tactics and only the ANC can recall him. So why continue with a losing battle when another battle plan should be drawn up? Call for the President’s powers to be amended, for crying out loud.

In fact, we should be thanking Zuma for prompting us to wake up to the reality that our President’s office has too much power. It is no longer about Zuma anymore but rather the office itself. Who is to say that we will not get – from any party – another president who will also abuse the powers bestowed upon him or her?

Kudos to the Americans. At least the Trumpster seems driven by a diehard patriotic approach – which many have described as lunatic – but patriotic nonetheless, while our own prez seems driven by personal and family enrichment.

There is so much being blamed on racism today that the whole notion of  the racist tag is becoming quite a bore, if I may say so myself.

Back to Time magazine. I came upon a piece in the February/March issue about a budding American comedian-turned-horror-movie-director named Jordan Peele. It highlights a scene from one of Peele’s movies that says, “The film’s opening scene recalls a sketch in which white people nervously summon their children inside as Peele, in a hoodie, walks past their homes.” Peele is quoted as saying, “The conventional dynamic people understand is white fear of the black neighbourhood...”

Oh spare me the bull please. This hoodie thing is out of control. If it’s a fashion statement then it clearly says “be afraid of me”, whether that hoodie is worn by a black or white man.

What people like Peele need to be asked is, “Why are you wearing a hoodie in the first place, regardless of the neighbourhood you are walking through?” Of course the piece does not describe whether the movie scene was a winter one because if it was, then that would explain the hoodie thing. 

I have noticed over the years the popularity of hoodies among some township youth and two thoughts have come to mind: Why the heck are you wearing a hoodie in the scorching Lowveld, African sun? And “You represent an intimidating figure who suggests criminal intent”.

I recall taking a nephew under my wing who had the habit of wearing this hoodie thing. My reaction was simple: “Take that damn thing off your head; we are delivering newspapers, not going on a mugging spree.” He complied.

When it comes to our youth I ask myself, what happened to home discipline? Why would a mother or grandmother allow their schoolgoing son to leave the house wearing a hoodie? Dumb question on my part. Clearly today’s youth don’t pay much heed to their mother’s disciplinary measures, let alone that of gogo.

So what is the solution here?

Only fashion houses and clothing retailers can save us from this piece of clothing that has become a favourite amongst criminals. Stop producing or stocking these damn things and, of course, stop importing them from China.

Who needs a hoodie in South Africa, other than criminals?

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Submitted by : Trixi on 2017-05-29 00:00:38
Latest reports reveal that the Trumpster also seems driven by personal and family enrichment - but at least he is not (yet) considering relocating to Dubai..


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