Let there be light

The word said “let there be light”.  We were created to break the darkness in the wold.  Do not look outside of yourself for the power and divinity to shape the world because you are the light of the world.  Let not the darkness consume you because with you, darkness can not be.





“Awakening on the morning of June 20, 1913, the South African Native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth” – Sol Plaatje

debunking myths

Say it: de- bunk
Function: verb – active – part of the active state of being
1. Expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief).
Why: because everything is fluid and should be subject to questioning, challenge and change.

Everything is fluid in our world and every institution is subject to change.

teacher’s strike misses the point

SADTU is on the move again and South African Teachers are taking the streets…again.  when the teachers called a go slow i was excited.  SADTU said the go slow would involve teachers teaching for the required 7 hours that makes up the school day and would do no more; no holiday school, no morning classes and no extra programs.  i was excited by the idea that teachers would actually teach the full 7 hours; this would be an achievement.  i am fully behind the 7 hour go slow proposed by SADTU in part of a strike action for force basic education minister to resign.  this to me seemed like South Africa would get the best of both words, Angie would be chased out and teachers would actually be in their classrooms from 8-2 and so i was fully behind the strike action, i did not care what the strike was about.


my bubble was burst when SADTU started calling pupils, no school children, to take part in the strike action and they raised the stakes.  when the strike involved teachers actually doing their job, i was glad but now they are creatures of habit and no strike is complete before their disrupt education.  i thought they were striking to get rid of Angie, this is a good thing we have all been calling for.  the education system is in collapse and the level and standard of education in South Africa is an insult to our children.  the education system asks less and less of our children and they intern begin to require less and less of themselves until you have an under-educated, illiterate  unfocused and mediocre society.  South Africa will fail to develop and the social imbalances will deepen if nothing is done to address the collapsing education system.  so you see, i found myself behind the call to fire Angie.  with Angie gone and teachers teaching, it seemed to me we may be starting the process to address the education break down.  Angie and her team of administrators are but a part of the problem – the other lays with schools administration, unions, discipline of teachers, parental participation and many other social imbalances need to be addressed to begin to make a change in education.


so this morning after seeing SADTU call on children to join the strike i wanted to know what the strike was actually about and stop assuming we were on the same side as the strikes.  this is about some collective bargaining thing?  i should get into the details of this but in reality it irritates me.  let me try, Angie has unilaterally gone over an agreement with teachers – about the amounts to teachers who mark exam papers. i believe that for what teachers do, they are not getting paid enough and should get far more than what they get.  i understand and support the rights of teachers and value the potential they represent for a healthy society.  teachers are a treasure and this is a given.  however i am annoyed by the fact that today a full day of school is missed and children are being encouraged to leave the class room for this strike action. i loved the idea that teachers were striking for the value of education and for proper leadership of the education system.  i thought – teachers are now understanding the frustration of children, parent and the crisis that the country was being led to.  i am irritated by the narrow agenda here and their willingness to take the school system to the same depths that Angie might.  i thing i would leave my desk and take to the streets if teachers acted like the teachers in the 70’s who left their calling to be teachers because what they were forced to teach would kill the minds of the youth.  i wish SADTU was out there today saying enough with the 30% and institutional mediocrity but instead school is out because of a collective bargaining matter.  i am fully behind the collective bargaining process and the rights of workers but in this instance i just wish the agenda was focused on what is important and addressing the ongoing abuse of children through the provision of an inferior education.

for the love of peace

thought of the day: my marikana moment

I am having a Makirana moment.  This is how I now think about these moments when South Africa does something so vile and shocking I am left without words.  I have often reflected on my reaction when I first heard that miners where being target shot by the police following weeks of what had admittedly been a violent strike.   I recall trying to justify the numbers – so as to control the shock value.  First it came that 7 miners were killed and I thought – 7 more Tatanes.  This was without saying a tragedy  one more personal than national South Africa has come to understand the vocabulary of protest and clashes with the police in the number of lives lost.  One Tatane lost is a minor incident, one Mido Masia is acts of police brutality but surely not sufficiently enough to make my country stop.  So this news of 7 Tatanes had me thinking this was a rather excessive use of force but that would merely mark the numbers of dead at a protest – the price of a voice.  I was somewhat silenced, no, cold is rather the better description – I was chilled by the reality of this moment but also certain that it would pass after a few days in the news.  then the numbers rose; I heard it was 12 than 20 and so on until I could not stop thinking about the number without the image of Sharpville flashing through my mind.  This was surely more than collateral damage; the cost of the unprotected strike.  Still this silence that gripped me, now immobile and the cold came from fear rather than deep seeded indifference and apathy.  This is how it must have been in South Africa all those years ago – an atrocity can happen and the sky does not fall and the ground turn to water to mark the moment, the shift in a certain reality.  But there I was at my desk working and having no words.  This is how I have come to describe this moment when the earth should spin in reverse or the sun should be bowed for a moment and yet life carries on.  On the evening news – the new chief of police was telling me that this was the ideal end to the stand off, worse yer, those miners who got away with minor wounds were led into the back of police vans and imprisoned without reason and without telling their families.  Now I felt reality was in a way moving in reverse but it was I out of place – everyone justified their capture and some snag praise at the deaths and the rest of us watched immobile and mute.  this is my marikana moment.


I am not unaware of the irony of my frustration, paralyses and fear at the thought that we were being silent.  Many people ask why we call ourselves Miyela, which means to be quiet and still, be in a state of reflection.  Suddenly my silence felt like a physical pain and yet I did not know how to break it.  All I knew was that the opposite of miyela was being asked of me and I did not know how to speak, what to say and to whom I would send my confused thoughts.  I am terrified of the Marikana moment and hoped that I would never find my mute and out of step with my country and her people. The Mido moment happened and took the moment to be brave and have a voice and reaction to this – so I thought, I’m good, I’m back with my loud mouth social activist, tree hugging self.


This morning while driving my daughter to school, I heard about a video of a woman being beaten that was going viral.  A woman was being beaten by a belt and hummer at the back of a store.  Redi on 702 was going a little crazy even by her standards trying to get the store to make an official comment and say more than that the manner would be looked into and disciplinary measured instituted.  The callers were outraged and despite my better judgement I searched for the video.  I’m writing now – to try control another Marikana moment.  I fell a chilled silence wiping over my body and i am genuinely sad for this woman, for the safety of woman, to be born a girl in South Africa, for the powerlessness of poor women and for having to hear her plead for her life.  I have no words – I don’t think such indignity has a place to be framed in my mind.  one has a good sense of the scope the possible in the world, but more and more I see what is being done to women, to poor black women, to children, and my sense can only allow me to follow the fanciful.   I wish i could take every girl, woman, child and go on a long cruise to the middle of no particular place and we can just live and be safe, with dignity and our humanity intact.  I sometimes allow myself to fantasize about a day when all the men in South Africa would wake with their beds empty, their kitchens empty, the streets, in the offices, in the lifts and parking lots, in the open fields there would be no woman in sight.  I wonder if they would be any happier, would they dignity feel restored  would their pride be respected now, would they have anymore power?  I can not say this enough – if any of this is part of a discourse of power and masculinity then I must say again that my being born a girl has nothing to do with you and no matter how much you pound your hammer against my flesh and break my bones, I can not make you feel more of a man.  I am sad for the woman and can only think how humiliated and terrified she was  and i am sorry.  I want to reach in and stop the hands that hurt her, I wanted to cover with the dress she is desperate to keep down and sooth out the bruises on her body and I, afraid again I have no words.  I hope all of us; men, women and even our children could see this and instead of laughing as some have, we should know that this is wrong and should never be allowed to happen in our name.  I keep thinking of Bishop Tutu, saying “not in my name.” and i hope this call will grow and our Marikana moments will be stamped by a clear recognition that these things can not be allowed to happen in our name.

 it is not important that you watch the video, but i hope if you choose to; you will will free your voice in saying this can never be done in our name 



for the love of peace

quote of the day

Today let us have a lesson in mathematics:

0%= number of grade 9 pupils in Limpopo who achieved between 80& and 100% in maths

970= number of grade 9 pupils out of 194 156 who got more than ro % (if you cant count 50% is half)

0.8% =  number of grade 6 pupils who achieved between 80% and 100 % in maths nationally

66% = grade 6 pupils who scored between 0 -25%

4.4% (not 44%) = grade 3 pupils achieved 80% and 100% in maths nationally

31.7% = grade 3 learners who got 0% -25& nationally.

the quote for the day?

“Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? ”

i assume Verwoed in his grave


i can afford a lap top

Have you been to game or dion lately? Lap tops for 2K, electronics I can afford (top of the range), things are actually cheaper. The unions trying to stop walmart deal forgot to mention that ordinary consumers (including the working class) would get goods for less. Our money can actually afford us what we want and need. Even as JZ tries to undo it (as though he was on the moon when we were all talking about this) let’s be honest mazmart was not paying great wages with benefits, they also casualised workers and got most of their second grade goods from china not south african manufacturers. The attempt to block the deal benefit capital chinese goods.

From this socialist I am grateful that we now have competition and not the over protected capitalism which protects those with money. (An issue to consider as julius and the mines)

Off the cuff, miyela

on strikes and unions

Just a thought. you earn R1600 a month as let’s say a. Municipal worker and go strike for 10% increase and the strike lasts for a month like it can in SA. You are fighting for R160 more a month. That would be an annual increase of R1920. Take that number and let’s say union an workers refuse to budge and the strike lasts a month; an unpaid month. R1920 (the annual increase if all things go union’s way) – R1600 ( time spent striking thus taken off the annual income) = R 320 ( the real annual increase given the docked wages for strike time.

But during the month of striking (unpaid month) life goes on. Children still need lunch money, bills and debit orders must get paid, you must pay for transport to meet with other workers demonstrating, unions still want their monthly fees. Electricity, water, petrol, high cost of living, food…the list if endless. Will the R320 real increase cover all this? Workers take loans, borrow, visit loan sharks and end up in real debt for having taken strike action.

Then there are those workers simply striking in solidarity and not for any wage negotiations. These workers do not even get the hypothetical R320 but the principal of no work no pay applies to them too.

In the whole a month of strike action ends up with worker debt (which big banks are too happy to give with rising interest rates). Every strike for self or in solidarity increases worker debt and ties workers even further to capital always desperate for the next pay.

Unions however get to show muscle and negotiate better terms for themselves as an essential part of government. Unions gain legitimacy as crucial to allowing government to control the working class.

I think the next strike should be over medial aid for workers, a transport system that works and gets subsidised, education and training to people, maternity benefits, worker holidays, better old age insurance and savings for the poor, education grants for the youth…the possibilities for issue that matter in real ways to people’s lives is endless and has potential to improve the quality if people’s lives. If unions fought for changes which are more than R320 a year (if the strike only last a month because strike action can go on so long it begins to go to the negative in real salary difference). Unions fight for change and secure their own place until next year when they pull people out of work again.
Instead of wage percentages I would love to see unions address proper substantial issues.

Peace and love

66c to enjoy freedom of movement

66c this is an imaginative way of making sure people don’t get to see their country and remain closed to what else the world can offer (this means only the moneyed folk can travel and do the short lefts and so on.

66c in to keep masses who can hardly afford the price to petrol or even taxi (this is influx control)

66c when so many people are hungry so stores will have millions add to the price of basic goods like food (this is called starving people and creating food shortages and later famine intentionally- cruel by any other name)

66c means the guy selling on the side of the road can no longer go to market.

66c means we have a government that things people are taps to be drained while they do not have to be accountable. Highways have no lights save for those patches near tool points, roads are already full and congested. The maths of this borders on insanity; tipping congestion from high ways to already congested badly run roads has not reduced it! Thanks to BRT, down town is a one way hell hole that needs a pass in anger management; there are so many ways that could have been done without creating one ways you can not get out of (and for less money)

66c for a government that get tax, petrol tax, vat (that includes when the poor buy so fyi even the poor contribute to tax and revenue), we pay sin tax (so the chibuku you buy has a tax), on top of tax which had to deal with health, safety, education, roads and a host of matters we as society delegate to state we have to pay for medical aid, school fees are sky high if you want you kid to learn to read, we need security in our homes and cars, and now the cherry on top of this under baked pie is the 66c a km I must pay. It officially costs 66c a km to travel, move freely associate and enjoy this land…so much for constitutional freedoms. I think I feel Verwoed laughing at how we perfect his thinking.

Miyela: over taxed, under paid and now trapped by a movement toll. I want to cuss this makes me so mad?

off the cuff: i’m pissed

In south africa children pass a school year with 30%. They do not need to know even half their work to pass. Now there are plans to remove english grammar from the syllabus. I work with high school kids and trust that we need grammar because a lot of matrics can not read. Now the cherry on top of the mediocrity pie is that they are doing away with the portfolio system. learners had to keep a record of work and assignments done through grade 11 and 12. This record would be used to moderate the student given their final mark whatever it may be. So grades, grammar, portfolios are done away with until kids don’t even have to show up to class in order to pass.

Private schools seem to have make their requirements harder, they push student further and perform better each year. Most government members have their kids in private schools and not the public schools they run on behalf of the poor. The fees at private school are such that public school are the only option open not only to the poor but most middle class children are in the public school system. So why does our government make a system of mediocrity for the majority. They tell poor children that if something is hard; stop doing it. If the race is hard stop running and if english grammar is a challenge take it out. Yet children in private schools are trained to run faster and further, pushed harder, expected to do more, be better. Does this sound like class reproduction. When our kids are asked to sit out and their kids are pushed harder we must ask why.

Look I’ll say what we tell our students any one who tell you 30 is a pass and tells you not to work harder is simply throwing you out. They can’t handle you in school as there are too many kids coming behind you so you mist get out od high school. They however know that no university or collage takes people with 30% as a final symbol. No proper employer will take you without tertiary education and if they do your chances of growing are slim. You will like thousands, millions of young people end of on some pavement in the kasi at mid day during the week with nothing to do and no where to go.

So no making school easier is not the solution because it just dumps young people with no options. So to all matrics I say work harder, push and do not believe those who offer an easy way out. I wonder when cosas will finally do something about this bantu education system; when will we have a class action to stop the watering down of education.

Peace and love: .miyela