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Die “samesweringsteorië” van Gwede Mantashe deur J. Brooks Spector bekyk.

Amerikaanse ambasadeMantashe beweer dat Amerika studente oplei om onrus op Universiteitskampusse te stook en om mense op te lei om behulpsaam te wees met ’n staatsgreep om van Zuma ontslae te raak.

Dit is op hierdie uitlatings van Mantashe wat Spector ’n baie siniese kommentaar lewer. Maar wie is Spector en is dit werklik net ‘n teorie? Dit dien van nader bekyk te word ten einde enersyds die waarde van Spector se kommentaar te bepaal en andersyds die oogmerk daarmee te probeer peil.

Hoewel Mantashe die witman as ’n struikelblok beskou en baie onlangs gesê het dat voedselsekerheid nie net aan die rassistiese blankes toevertrou kan word nie, behoort dit nie die helderheid van denke van die nasionalis te beinvloed nie. Swartes het hy gesê kan en moet ’n bydrae lewer maar kan dit nie doen sonder grond nie. Die implikasie is duidelik. Die uitsprake, aannames en vermetele aanmatiging van die swartes in Suid Afrika het egter hulle oorsprong uit die dampkring van denke soos wat deur Spector en sy “werkgewers” verteenwoordig word. Die werklike doel daarmee is egter totaal anders as wat die gewone Liberalis en Humanis in hulle verwarde geesteswêreld in die vooruitsig stel. Wat verstommend is, is die feit dat die huidige gebeure in Europa as gevolg van die krisis in die Midde-Ooste en Noord Afrika Waar die Amerika’s en Britte ondergronds intens by betrokke is, nog nie die waansinnige opvattings by sommige in Suid Afrika genees het nie!

Dit is belangrik om in die be-oordeling van Spector se artikel noukeurig op die inhoud daarvan te let. Dit is opmerklik dat Spector deeglik op hoogte is met al die “liefdadigheids- en opheffingsprogramme” vanuit Amerika waaroor hy en die ambasadeur van Amerika, Mantashe se oordeel belaglik maak en as blote samesweringsteorie afmaak.

Indien Spector se oorsprong, huidige affiliasies, uitlatings en styl noukeurig bekyk word, dit teen die agtergrond van Amerika se aandeel in die aftakeling van afsonderlike ontwikkeling in Suid Afrika en die CIA se aandeel in die ongelooflike geknoei in die Midde-Ooste en Noord Afrika gemeet word, kry Spector in die oë van die AVP, ’n duidelike plek in die legkaart van onbetwisbare sameswerings in Suid Afrika. Spector se welsprekendheid ten spyt, bereik hy nie die doel om Mantashe se oordeel oor die bedrywighede in die Amerikaanse ambasade as belaglik en vergesog af te maak nie. Inteendeel bevestig hy dit!

World

South African Ruling Party Accuses U.S. of Plotting Coup

By Conor Gaffey On 2/22/16 at 10:37 AM

                       

African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe answers questions at a press briefing in Johannesburg, June 8, 2014. Mantashe has said the party is suspicious of "irregular activities" at the U.S. embassy in Pretoria.MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images

South Africa’s ruling party has reiterated its concerns that U.S. diplomats in the country are attempting to stir up regime change. African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe first raised the issue at an anti-racism march in the capital Pretoria on Friday. Addressing thousands of supporters of President Jacob Zuma’s party, Mantashe said that the party was aware of regular meetings of young people at the U.S. embassy in Pretoria. “Those meetings in the American embassy are about nothing else other than mobilization for regime change,” said Mantashe.

Mantashe also made mention of a six-week program run by the U.S. embassy, which takes young people to the U.S. before they are returned to South Africa. The program in question is the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a flagship program launched by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014 to provide leadership training to 1,000 young people from Sub-Saharan Africa. “There seems to be irregular activities coming from the U.S. embassy,” said ANC spokesman Keith Khoza, AP reported on Monday, adding that the ruling party would raise its concerns with Washington through diplomatic channels.

Mantashe’s comments sparked a sarcastic reply on Twitter from U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard. The ambassador claimed that he had told Mantashe about the leadership program:

 According to the U.S. State Department, the two countries have enjoyed a “solid bilateral relationship” since 1994, when South Africa ended its decades-long policy of apartheid. Relations were strained recently in a row over importing chicken: The U.S. threatened to throw South Africa out of a preferential trading deal worth more than $170 million per year to South African farmers—known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)—because the country was refusing to allow the importation of American chickens. South African Trade Minister Rob Davies said in January that the issue had been resolved amicably.

J. Brooks Spector

Daily Maverick - ‎Tuesday‎, ‎February‎ ‎23‎, ‎2016

PROFILES

J. Brooks Spector

 

Spector settled in Johannesburg after a career as a US diplomat in Africa and East Asia. He has taught at the U. of the Witwatersrand, been a consultant for an international NGO, run a theatre, and been a commentator for South African and international print/broadcast/online media, in addition to writing for The Daily Maverick from day one. He says he learned everything he needs to know about politics from ‘Casablanca.’ Maybe he's cynical about some things, but a late Beethoven string quartet, John Coltrane’s music and a dish of Pad Thai will bring him close to tears.

SLiPStellenbosch Literary Project

For general enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For content enquiries contact Dr. Wamuwi Mbao To donate or translate contact Pieter Odendaal

SLiP, or the Stellenbosch Literary Project, was set up in February 2011 by Leon de Kock and Pieter Odendaal as a media and events platform to fast-track issues in South African literature and culture. The project is rooted in the Department of English at Stellenbosch University. Since our inception, we have gradually built up public literary-cultural platforms, both in the digital and analogue spheres. We believe that these platforms are an essential tool for those writers and performers that work at the creative edges of an emerging democracy. We therefore see ourselves as creating much-needed discursive platforms where creative literary practices can be shared and engaged with, where writers and performers can serve as mirrors for society.

The InZync sessions have decisively broken down language and race barriers (the very obstacles which so perniciously taint the history of Stellenbosch) by becoming a hotspot for transgressive literary-cultural engagement. Our audience is decisively intercultural and we have established a regular InZync crowd which is about 250 people strong and includes everyone from locals from Kayamandi to Stellenbosch students and international visitors.

J. Brooks Spector

Daily Maverick - ‎Tuesday‎, ‎February‎ ‎23‎, ‎2016

Analysis: Gwede Mantashe's conspiracy theories

Secretary General Gwede Mantashe’s recent outbursts about those nefarious Americans and their regime changing tools in such programs as the Mandela Washington Fellows program begs for a closer look. J. BROOKS SPECTOR obliges.

Last week Friday, the African National Congress marched against racism and they handed over a memorandum that was essentially from themselves to themselves, calling on themselves to prevent themselves and other selves from doing such things to all their selves.

Around the climax of this curiously omphaloskeptic endeavour, the party’s secretary general, none other than Gwede Mantashe, rose to inform the crowd about how best to combat racism.

His remarks may well have conveyed useful ideas needed to wipe away the scourge of racism (and by no means should anyone attempt to minimize the importance of dealing with any such deep-seated behaviour or to underplay its lasting social or economic effects on contemporary South African life). However, from that speech, what especially caught the SA media's attention was his idiosyncratic interpretation of a troubling thread in contemporary US-South African relations. Well, okay, this wasn’t a totally unique interpretation. In fact, it was pretty much in line with how significant numbers of South Africans believe the world works.

OPinion: When the ANC marched against Racism, and railed at The Great Satan

In essence, the Mantashe-ian logic was that his party, having achieved the nation’s liberation and, subsequently, gained a persistent majority in every election since that time, stands as the only effective guardian against racist backsliding - and even the possibility of the re-imposition of a apartheid-style political life. In contrast to their efforts, all those other political parties wandering about are either the very forces of

that backsliding or – even worse – represent the forces of chaos that would destroy the progress made up to the present.

But, if the secretary general’s worldview is to be appreciated fully, standing in the wings, in some particularly threatening, dangerous shadows, stands, who else, but the United States, now apparently bent on “regime change” in South Africa. The mechanism of this campaign is one of the US government’s official exchange programs. As Mantashe is reported to have said, “As we mobilise our people, we must say, be vigilant. You must see through anarchy and people who are out there in a programme of regime change.

“We are aware of the meetings taking place regularly in the American embassy. These meetings in the embassy are about nothing else other than mobilization for regime change. We’re aware of a programme that takes young people to the United States for six weeks, brings them back and plants them everywhere in the campuses and everywhere.” Mantashe also linked this activity to the various non-violent, so-called 'colour revolutions' in the past several years. These movements gained their common label because of the way activists in whichever country have fastened upon a particular hue to represent their ideals and activism for greater democratic freedoms, such as Ukraine’s orange revolution.

Related: US coup threat no joke - ANC

Now, if the secretary-general’s thoughts are taken seriously, the particularly subversive program under his baleful gaze is the Mandela-Washington Fellows program, the local name for the Young African Leader Initiative, launched several years back as part of the Obama administration’s recognition that Africa is a particularly young continent demographically. Consequently, an important locus of social, economic and political evolution on the continent must come from among the ranks of younger professionals, business leaders and academics that no longer slavishly are willing to accept the tired old habits of so many African leaders who usually fall back on authoritarianism and corruption.

Or, as the program’s website explains: “The Obama Administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a long-term effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders and strengthen partnerships between the United States and Africa. This wide-ranging effort has been led by the White House and the U.S. Department of State, in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Peace Corps.

“The next phase of YALI will develop a prestigious network of leaders across critical sectors, cement stronger ties to the United States, and offer follow-on leadership opportunities in Africa, with the goal of strengthening democratic institutions and spurring economic growth. The Department of State has supported the Initiative through

a series of high-profile forums with youth leaders including the President’s Young African Leaders Forum (August 2010), First Lady’s Young African Women Leaders Forum (June 2011), and Young African Leaders Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership (2012) in addition to more than 2,000 subsequent youth programs in sub-Saharan Africa.”

These overall goals were similarly built into many different programs that were crucial in maintaining ties between the US Embassy/America and South Africans working for a democratic, non-racial society back in the bad old days. Back then, hundreds of people participated in such programs in the 1970s-80s and 90s – including many still actively engaged in South Africa’s political, social, academic, media and economic life.

One recipient of such grants, Ismail Mahomed, now artistic director of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, wrote in response, after he had read Mantashe’s remarks, “Like all the young participants in the Mandela-Washington Fellowship, I too was a beneficiary of a US Embassy exchanges programme (the International Visitors Leadership Programme -- IVLP). I spent six weeks in the US, meeting with professional counterparts to pursue my interest in arts management.

“That exchange programme had a profound impact on the rest of my career. From 2003 to 2008, I worked at the US Embassy as its Senior Cultural Specialist. Amongst my responsibilities was to identify promising South African candidates whom my principals [the US diplomats serving in South Africa] could put forward for exchange programmes such as the IVLP, Fulbright, Humphreys, Fusion Music project and many other exchange programmes. My South African colleagues and I took great pride and diligence in identifying young South Africans for these programmes because we recognized and respected their intellect, individuality, passion and commitment to build a better South Africa. We believed that many of these grantees would play a powerful role in South African society….

“If one has to look at the exchanges alumni list one will be blown away by the number of South Africans who are making a positive difference to South African society because they have been beneficiaries of such programmes. Participants in the Mandela-Washington Fellowship are young South Africans who inspire hope.”

Queried about the specifics of a program the ANC secretary general is now, suddenly, deeply concerned about, the American Embassy noted, “In 2013, right here in South Africa, President Obama announced the ‘Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.’ In 2014, 46 young South Africans took part in the Fellowship, which was renamed the Mandela Washington Fellowship. In 2015 another 40 South Africans took part. This year, we expect even more to

participate. They are all extremely qualified candidates in three areas: civic leadership, public management, and business and entrepreneurship.”

And as far as those meetings at the embassy are concerned, it should be noted that these events are partly social, partly networking, and partly opportunities to meet visiting American worthies from various fields and professions. Hardly the stuff of spy novels, espionage, fifth columns and covert regime change. And hardly the kind of bloody shirt to be used to frighten tens of thousands in a rally against racism.

In fact, in one of the tweets American Ambassador Patrick Gaspard sent out in response to the secretary general’s remarks, Gaspard noted he had personally asked Mantashe to recommend individuals from within his party structures for these very same Mandela Washington Fellowships. But perhaps with the pressures of the upcoming local elections on his mind so much these days, maybe Mantashe was unable to recollect that particular conversation before he spoke to the crowd at the Union Buildings last Friday.

The problem is that rhetoric such as Mantashe’s is not particularly uncommon in South Africa, perhaps because a visceral belief in the power and ubiquitousness of political conspiracies remains strong within both the ANC and its alliance partner, the SACP. Maybe this is in recognition of the impact of various conspiracies in South African history - and within the history of their movements. The leadership in those two parties, over the years, has often seemed worried about the possibilities sleeper “apartheid agents” were left hiding in government offices and that they were there to undermine the legitimacy of ANC rule. Certainly comments about third forces come out frequently in South African political discourse, a harking back to real efforts by the previous regime to disrupt the liberation struggle and create serious conflict within it in the waning days of the apartheid regime.

A significant amount of this feeling is directed towards the US, either subliminally or, sometimes, more overtly. Much still is made of President Ronald Reagan’s constructive engagement policy and his opposition to sanctions back in the 1980s. And, of course, former President Thabo Mbeki often seemed convinced the American anti-HIV/AIDS assistance program, PEPFAR, was an American conspiracy to create huge profits for American pharmaceutical companies on the backs of hapless, sick South Africans. And some in government circles assumed the US Department of Justice/FBI’s relationship with the Scorpions was interwoven into plots against various domestic political enemies. Then, too, there was that rather prominent cabinet minister who, some years back, publicly argued a key justification for the arms deal’s submarines was to ensure South Africa could fend off an American amphibious assault on the isolated East Cape sea coast.

More generally, with a mind-set already primed to see evidence of conspiracies, it can be relatively easy to find the trail. American-supported efforts to build up civil society in Africa, via grants from the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, with the assistance of various private philanthropies and NGOs, and even in the work of international NGO activists such as Srdja Popovic (head of the Centre for Applied

Nonviolent Action and Strategies) can all be seen as consistent with the goals of regime change throughout Africa (a view no doubt nourished as well from the American invasion of Iraq and bombing campaign against Libya's Muammar Gaddafi .)

Still, at least some of this wilder talk is not totally out of any deep conviction or from the weltanschauung on the part of those who preach it. Pretty much everywhere in the world, and South Africa is no exception, decrying the efforts of groups who are the cat’s paw of the CIA is usually good for a quick cheer from the crowd. Curiously, this operates pretty much along the lines of that red meat, dog whistle rhetoric so beloved of the looney right in American politics, even if the punch lines and villains are very different.

This may become increasingly difficult in future, however, if political fortune seems to be moving against the ANC and its current leader even further than at present, going into those upcoming local elections. Then, supporters of the party and Jacob Zuma may well see further, new opportunities to decry programs like the Mandela Washington Fellows – and to look for ways to tie such programs to the ANC’s political opponents in the 2016 election. Could be a difficult season, this one.

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