Friday, July 30, 2010

War of Words with Ndaedzo Nethonzhe

Tshepo Tshabalala

So came another exciting evening of debate organised by Cool Politics. The venue, the intimate Kaldi’s Coffee and this time around, the guest speaker was Kaya FM journalist and former TUT graduate, Ndaedzo Nethonzhe.

As always the evening began with live music from up and coming artists. This time around we were dazzled by the sounds of Edd and Adam van Veen (from Our Heritage) and Bongiziwe and the Fridge, but this time Bongiziwe was without the fridge. Nevertheless he did not disappoint but instead he put on a performance that had most people chanting for more at the end of his set.

The topic for the evening was about the future of South Africa after the World Cup. We talked about the impact the World Cup has had on the country; negative and positive, our expectations from government now that it is all over and what the World Cup has meant for our country. Ndaedzo opened the floor by asking about our experiences during the world cup. For many in the room, we concurred that we as South Africans were great hosts and we put on a spectacular show. There were many positive reports about the country, both from international and local media. Bronwyn of Cool Politics commented by saying that the World Cup showed us that our government, that has been in power since 1994, has the capacity to deliver what they have promised. They showed this by putting together a great world cup, within the deadline that was given by FIFA. One needs to ask the question, if the government could render such world class service, from infrastructure, tourism, security etc because the whole world had their eyes on them… will they be able to maintain the excellence they have displayed without the pressure from Fifa and the rest of the world? Will they remain loyal to their own people who put them in power?

We surfed on the motto ‘Alive with possibility’ by hosting a World Cup set on tight deadlines, why can’t the same government that built great stadiums, build houses and schools of the same caliber as the stadiums, to the poor people of this country. It is believed that the country received an amount of R93 billion from Fifa, of which is not the profit but has to cover the debts from constructing stadiums, roadworks and other major developments that were made from the World Cup. Ndaedzo truly believes that whatever the profit South Africa makes from Fifa, 60% of that money should be spent on education. He believes that the ‘1 Goal’ initiative that was advertised throughout the soccer spectacle will not benefit anyone. “A great PR exercise” is what he called it.

“South Africa needs to reach a point where we move to a phase where we want to be”, said Ndaedzo. We need to think and act like a developed country. A war of words erupted when the debate touched on the recent Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in the country. The floor seemed to be split between those who believed that the government has handled these threats exceptionally well and those who argued that our government is far too reactive. They wait for problems to spiral out of control first before they take action.

The evening came to an end with many unhappy and unsatisfied debaters. This showed that there needs to be dialogue at the very bottom to work on the challenges we face as a nation and how we can move forward. There is a need to teach the nation on how to use the media to their advantage and to become a ‘no-nonsense’ type of a society.

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