Attack on our Struggle Heroes: Reputation Damage vis-à-vis Damaging Reputations

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Opinion Piece by Masibongwe Sihlahla : SdW used to have a good reputation in the leagues of the likes of Marianne Thamm , Denis Beckett etc. As one of the most respected progressive journalists SdW’s writing always caught the attention of readers everywhere and was often quoted by other journalists due to the deep and sensitive impact his writing has reflecting the South African. 

In reporting  this SdW had a reputation on the level of Marianne Thamm or Denis Becket etc. Under Apartheid very few writers were able to capture the misery Apartheid wreaked upon the oppressed masses like these writers. 

Under Apartheid  The Citizen was used to character assassinate  those leaders opposing Apartheid .It is clear that SdW is being used to slaughter holy cows by his handlers at DM who is too scared to do their own dirty work knowing the reputational damage any journalist doing so will suffer in the end. 

Just as Holocaust Denial is despicable those who mock our struggle heroes are committing the same insensitivity. When a struggle leader is disrespected it is not only an attack on that person but the whole purpose is to undermine the collective memory of blacks who suffered  Apartheid.  

Unlike the Simon Wiesenthal Centre who are actively pursuing Nazi War Criminals in South Africa blacks have been so magnanimous and have forgiven whites the evil that was done unto them .

Today in South Africa DM uses mercenaries in the form of using highly respected journalists to do their dirty work by attacking blacks indirectly. They do it under false pretences of in the “interest of the people” or for money,  for how to explain a reputed writer like SdW writing such a denigrating article. 

Today you cannot write that blacks are crooks or blacks are inferior or that blacks are criminals but what media like DM do is they do it by proxy. By character assassinating prominent black leaders they break down the self-respect and self-esteem of blacks. In the past they could use legistation to keep the black man in his place and make him understand you are inferior. Today DM do the same using writers such as  SdW  in order to gull the public.

For SdW to attempt to caricature a prominent business leader, a medical doctor and a struggle hero , he is actually caricaturing himself. 

The UDF had  a superb underground  communication  network and overnight  a pamphlet would be released countrywide. It was  via this network that the name of Dr Survé  surfaced in the MK camps in Angola. It is from returning cadres in Hermanusfrom whom I heard the name of Dr Survé. who created  employment here where I am an elected public official but I consider myself just like Dr Survé a public servanhere

From these MK cadres we heard the stories  about exploits of Dr Survé giving medical assistance to victims of Apartheid security forces. Thus for us who hold those who contributed to the struggle in  high esteem it is troubling when those whom we revere are mocked in public and more so by the likes of SdWwho has been held also in high esteem for his  sensitive and poignant writing regarding struggle history. 

To caricature Madiba or someone like Dr Survé is not only an attack on the characters and legacy of those personalities but to us still suffering the vestiges of Apartheid it is double insult as it denigrates their sacrifices. SdW was one of the few who attempted to carry across the evil impact of Apartheid and thus the tragedy to see a writer with such a great reputation damage his own good name.

Every Media House has a Founding Philosophy in terms of where they stand politically. So why would a reputable writer like SdW write for the DM who clearly has an in-house policy to undermine the good order of black society by undermining their leadership, nobody minds when any media house fights corruption, crime, unethical behaviour amongst leaders but when the personal dignity and good name of our leaders are undermined,  the purpose behind this is to undermine black ethos.

It is understandably difficult for SdW to fully comprehend the inhumanity of Apartheid if he has not suffered it. Dr Survé not only had a great intelligence, connections in the UDF underground structures but also his faith and sense of humanity drove him towards sacrificing his whole career to uplift those less fortunate whilst himself being a victim of Apartheid.  To slight and denigrate the good name and character of our leaders whom many respect  is to show his insensitivity to blacks.

It is disingenuous of SdW to hide behind the veil of  satire, when  it is nothing but a hatchet job by a media mercenary  which is plain to see for our people. There is a sad reality today in South Africa that those who suffer from residual racism tries to use freedom of expression and satire as a veil for their ignominious behaviour. 

History will judge them severely for the insensitive persons they really are, people bereft of feeling and. It is sad that he as a person with a great reputation in liberal circles would fall victim to a scheme to damage his own good name by attacking those we hold dear and respect .

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Attack on our Struggle Heroes: Reputation Damage vis-à-vis Damaging Reputations 7

Masibongwe Sihlahla

Independent Writer / Political Analyst

The Views Expressed Here are not those of Central News***

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