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Once we were ‘Comrades’, until we became ‘comrade...

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Opinionista

Once we were ‘Comrades’, until we became ‘comrades’

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Busani Ngcaweni is Principal of the National School of Government.

Corrupt people are not Comrades. They show no regard for the poor. Factionalists are also not Comrades for they divide the people using pettiness and narrow interests. Neither believes in human solidarity, a key characteristic of being a Comrade. They are in fact as counter-revolutionary as the incompetent, the anarchists and the murderous.

On my mind this morning are the people who call themselves, or want us to call them, “Comrades” when they are in fact “comrades”.

I mean, there is a certain obligation that comes with this title:

  1. How you treat people (comradely);
  2. Your philosophical/ideological outlook (progressive);
  3. How you conduct yourself (honour and integrity);
  4. Your strategic objective (your thoughts and deeds must produce national liberation including economic and cultural freedoms); and
  5. Locus of enunciation (a deep desire for and unshakeable belief in the value of life, humanity and justice).

Being a Comrade demands of you to be principled such that you can denounce wrongdoing and call for harsher punishment even if it is your own girlfriend or brother who must face the music. Hence the adage “without fear or favour”.

So fellows, let’s not liberally bestow this progressive title on charlatans and acquaintances who pretend to be Comrades.

Calling someone a Comrade must go with the recognition that he or she who is called a Comrade is capable of empathising, of acting in the best interest of the majority, of sacrificing and of advancing a struggle to liberate the people from all forms of oppression.

Corrupt people are not Comrades. They show no regard for the poor.

Factionalists are also not Comrades for they divide the people using pettiness and narrow interests. Neither believes in human solidarity, a key characteristic of a Comrade. They are in fact as counter-revolutionary as the incompetent, the anarchists and the murderous.

Just as well, those who divide us racially and ethnically can’t legitimately lay claim to the honour of being called Comrade.

So, next time you call me Comrade, think again, and ask yourself: Am I capable of joining you in a struggle against racial injustice, inequality and patriarchy, or will our union end with slogans and single malts?

Good morning, comrades. DM

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