08/15/2014 01:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Part 3: South Africans Celebrate 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy: A Reflection on Nelson Mandela's Legacy

Sixth interview with Duma Ndlovu


Photo credit: Gallo images

Joy Ngoma: South Africa is celebrating twenty years of freedom this year- what does that mean to you and fellow South Africans?

Duma Ndlovu: Well, I think it means different things for different people. I just can't talk for fellow South Africans because as we mark the 20th year, we see South Africans at various places psychologically. For me, it's part of the journey; It's not like Wow!, we wake up and its twenty years. It's been a development of an ethos of an ecstatic. It's a journey that we started long before 1994. So for me, I think if I were to have it my way I'd say South Africans need to be reflecting and looking at how far they've come and how much more still needs to be done. I think the mistake we are making as a country is to say, It's been twenty years now and what has been done so far?

South Africans for some reason....maybe it's because they have not lived in other countries seem to expect the twenty years to bring a box and say this is exactly what happened over the twenty years.

For us who have lived in other countries - who saw Nicaragua being freed, who saw the Philippines changing governments, who saw the Shah of Iran living, we know that it is a process; we know that it's going to take a significant amount of time for the fruits of our democracy to be born.

Interestingly, I had a conversation this morning during my radio interview where we were talking about democracy. South Africans are realizing and asking themselves is this what we fought for? Because democracy as a word and as a concept is one thing but when you now live in a country whereby people are just insulting their President, at any time they stand up to say and do whatever they want to do then you start saying democracy without responsibility is not really what we were fighting for. I have a sense of saying if we can change the mindset of our people for them to take stock and understand the enormity of the word that is at hand to transform our society.

Joy Ngoma: Being the creator of Muvhango, one of the biggest television series in South Africa which has an all-black cast and broadcast in African languages. Do you feel you have contributed to South African society in terms of diversity?

Duma Ndlovu: The soapie that I do Muvhango is one of the stories that still need to be told and that have been told minimally. I think it is an interesting prototype of what should have happened in our country starting small and growing big over time. We started off saying that we want to concentrate on these marginalized people; the Venda people and give them a platform. Today we have a soapie that is the second biggest soapie in the country and growing very fast but we also have a soapie that is an amalgamation of various South African languages. It is creating unity in a way that nobody had ever thought it was going to. If South Africa had been on the same trajectory, I think we would be a lot better for where we trying to go to.

South Africans can learn that we need to accommodate one another, we need to acknowledge each other's diversity and we need to celebrate our unity and I think those are the lessons we should be getting.

Do I think I have contributed? I think every one of us every day is an opportunity for us to contribute to change. I will be very happy the day I will see a mind-set change in our people, where our people will start looking at each other and themselves in a much more progressive and positive way. I don't think we are there yet and I think it's going to take a long time and one of the reasons is because we fought for democracy and during that fight for democracy we lost a lot of our humanity and our Ubuntu. As people had to step into the zone of losing their loved ones and conflicts and riots and all kinds of struggle.

We lost a layer or two of our humanity, how then do we get it back?

And that's the battle that I would like to embark on to try and persuade and convince our people to go through a mind-set change.

Joy Ngoma: A lot of people all over the world have been voicing their opinions about Nelson Mandela's legacy since his passing last year. What is a Nelson Mandela legacy? Does such a thing exist? And in terms of this country what is the legacy that Mandela left behind?

Duma Ndlovu: There is a tension and that tension is the embodiment of the kind of person that Dr. Nelson Mandela was on one side and the expectations from him for us as a society and society at large, on the other. Here is a person who kept saying I am a loyal member of the African National Congress (ANC). I am a humble servant of the people and I will do whatever the people want me to do and here is us propping him up to be this larger than life a person.

So, maybe there is no legacy because Nelson Mandela was too busy trying to be normal in an environment that did not want him to be normal.

Nelson Mandela's dream of South Africa was a rainbow nation and everybody's punching holes in the dream of a rainbow nation because they are saying that we can't just jump and be a rainbow nation, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. He is not here now to carry that legacy and frankly speaking ...may his soul rest in peace, and I respected him quite a lot... but frankly speaking, I don't think that without him around anyone will care for that legacy as much as he would have, that's number one, and number two, he did not spend time creating that particular legacy that would have been everlasting for us to remember him by because he was too busy trying to say to us, I am just a normal person like you and I .

What is Nelson Mandela's legacy? I am not sure and sadly so....Nelson Mandela did not write, he was not a scholarly in that way, Martin Luther King wrote, he woke up and wrote, even Malcolm X wrote, Steven Biko was not allowed to write but he left some kind of legacy, maybe I am not the right person to express a Mandela legacy because there is that tension. For me, I want to look at myself as a scholar, as an academic, and as a cultural nationalists. I expect of us more than what we are giving, I expect of us to write, to write over and over again so that by the time we live this earth we live a body of work upon which our legacy could be measured.

Joy Ngoma: Where would you like to see the country in twenty years?

Duma Ndlovu: My son is twenty years old this year, in 2044 he will be 40. I would like to see a new vision creeping in that has nothing to do with the baggage that I carry because I lived under apartheid. In 2044, you will not find a lot of us with a voice who lived under apartheid, you will find children of our children and I am praying to God that our kids are not going to take, pass on the bitterness, the anger and the resentment that sometimes we pass on to them. As revolutionists we always talk about the Jewish community and the fact that 50 years, 60 years, 70 years after the Holocaust they still have not forgotten. I don't think that should be our legacy as black people. I don't think our people should do that because Jews found a way to use the legacy of the Holocaust to bring them together to make them more productive. We have not. We have not found a way to make our legacy bring us together instead we are at each other's throat. In twenty years' time I would like to see a South Africa were no one props up apartheid for no any other reason. Our children are always going to remember that their grandparents were part of apartheid. For instance, African Americans still today will tell you that my great grandfather was a slave, you could never forget that but you can't take it to dinner table and to concerts, to everywhere saying my grandfather was a slave. Imagine if Steve Wonder the first thing he did when he went on stage was say "my grandfather was a slave" and started singing slavery songs, Quincy Jones, Belafonte, Michael Jackson....damn, the way Michael Jackson danced and sang you can't even remember that his great grandparents were slaves. We should use it as a reference to never forget where we come from but we should not carry it as an albatross around our neck that is going to stop us from becoming bigger than what we can be. We should not let it enslave us.

Joy Ngoma: Has South Africa truly become a free and democratic society/ country or is that just an illusion we are meant to believe?

Duma Ndlovu: Democracy is a fallacy. I think we were wrong to think that we can be a democracy. Democracy without responsibility is like coming home and saying to your kids here is 1 million Rand, go and do whatever you can do without having properly raised them and given them values. So, when you have these kids who don't know what values systems are, who don't know what ethical goals and moral goals are and you give them a 1 million Rand they are going to go and be crazy. Democracy has to be based on moral values and principles that are saying here is our responsibility. Democracy is saying I need to respect the next person's rights. That's it, it ends there and doesn't extend beyond that.

Democracy says I need to acknowledge the fact that you and I, as far as humanity is concerned, we are equal so I have to respect you, end of story, there is no other story, anything else is an abuse of democracy.

Just because there is democracy it doesn't mean then I can just have my freedom to do whatever I want, it does not and that's how our people are interpreting democracy. That they should be rich as well. In a scheme of things not everybody can be rich, only 5 or 10 percent of the population can be rich so how come we wake up and think that all of us need to be rich just because there's democracy. That is democracy without responsibility; somebody did not sit us down and explain to us what it actually means.

Joy Ngoma: What has been our greatest achievement as a people of South Africa?

Duma Ndlovu: Transformation of a society that was going to the dogs. Teaching white people that they needed to understand that we were all the same and teaching black people that they did not have to kill white people in order for us to live together. We achieved that, hence the whole world is inviting us to their golf tournaments, tennis, to their dinner tables, to the Olympics, South Africa is the most celebrated African country because we showed people the impossible. That we can transform this society from this massive brutality of apartheid to people who are living together, and who are dancing together (chuckle) And let me tell you...South Africans love to dance.

Joy Ngoma: What does freedom mean to you?

Duma Ndlovu: For me freedom is an ability to be with my family and teach my children that the sky is the limit, and that the universe of possibility is out there for them and knowing that when they go out they will be judged just like everybody else on merits. However, I cannot send an uneducated child out there and tell him that he is going to be treated equally like everybody else because he is not going to be treated equally. So, freedom to me means responsibility of understanding that I have to raise my children well and make sure as a parent that I am there to raise them so by the time they go out into the world to be treated like everybody else they have got equal opportunity. That's freedom.

Joy Ngoma: What would you like you legacy to be for South Africans?

Duma Ndlovu: I am teaching right now, what you just saw me go through I have adopted that. There is no theatre teacher in South Africa and I am going to be that theatre teacher. I want to make a difference within theatre as a man who took it upon himself to train young South Africans in theatre. I then also want to live a body of work that will define who I am theatrically. In the next three years I have to publish my own ten plays because I have to live a body of work whether you guys buy those books or you don't, whether you study them at universities but I would have left that body of work hundred years from now some young kid would be doing research at some university and would stumble upon those books and they will republish them and for me, if I have a sense of that I will have a smile on my face.


Duma Ndlovu is a filmmaker, poet, playwright, journalist, and TV producer and creator of South Africa's second biggest television drama series Muvhango. He was professor of African history and African-American literature at New York's Stoneybrook University in the eighties and between 1996 and 2004 he was chairman of the South African Music Awards (SAMA).

7th interview with Lungi Morrison

Photo credit: Lungi Morrison

Joy Ngoma: South Africa is celebrating twenty years of freedom this year- what does that mean to you and fellow South Africans?

Lungi Morrison: One of the most important and rudimentary tenets of democracy is that it fosters key value systems for and among its citizens across all groups and socio-economic strata.

Democracy is principally about ensuring citizens share and appreciate a sense of value, worthiness and respect, that their basic human rights are prioritized and overtly protected. In turn, citizens must respect and uphold the values of respect for others and the rule of law.

However, the past twenty years has witnessed a variety of what have evidently become superficial attempts to building a cohesive nation state, to the benefit of a few minority interest groups (the new elite), overlooking the inevitable risks associated with blatant marginalization of the needs and sacrifices of the vast majority. What is apparent is that the livelihood of many in South Africa still remains fundamentally unchanged twenty years on and so they ask, and I ask- "what democracy?"

The 7th of May was yet another day when the state would place burden on the shoulders of its citizens to go and vote, 'make your mark' yet many have little to show for what the past four events of this nature have brought. Simply put, twenty years have gone by and we are yet to scratch the surface for what it means to be an active citizen, to live in a democratic South Africa. In fact, we are only now beginning to feel the real contractions of a nation in labor yearning for the 'birth' of its long awaited 'being' called 'freedom'. Gestation has been long and significantly uncomfortable for the majority who remain resilient in spirit, heart and mind given, the promise of 'new life' ring aboard everywhere. Flashy cars, homes and lifestyle of some (the new elite), attests to the scrabble to self-actualize via material procession whilst others harbor the resentment hollowness and dissonance that comes with the reality of a lack. The paradox of a nation devoid of a sense of identity and understanding of its common purpose, yet with so much promise at first glance. It is almost as though, by virtue of the innate resilience of our people, the 'birthing' process seems even more elusive with 'delivery' an ever-moving target. Needless to say, whilst no process of transformation is ever perfect, and it is indeed through contrast (and appreciation of what is NOT desired) that we are etched further towards the desired outcome, it cannot be that the most basic requirements for 'change' - the development of a set of shared common values and principles to which all are conversant (not only the Constitution or fiduciary system predominately only accessible by a minority) is prioritized. Violence, abuse, corruption, non-delivery of basic services ought not to have been tolerated over the past twenty years given so many still bear the scars, trauma and onslaught perpetrated by the apartheid government. Yet, none have been held accountable for such injustices as was seen at Marikana ( a small town in the North West Province in South Africa), for the brutal killing of a taxi driver dragged behind a moving police vehicle, the shooting of protesters and ongoing rape and violation of infants, children and the elderly.

The injustices of the past cannot be allowed to persist as the 21st century unfolds, two decades since South Africa's first democratically elected president took office. Accepting the inequity that prevails as a result of inheriting a scared nation, true democracy in my view beings with inculcating shared values systems anew, ensuring these are accepted by all citizens and enforced with a sense of consequence where particular values and principles are transgressed.

True democracy begins when those tasked with leading the nation are held accountable and serve with integrity, discipline, commitment and compassion. The past twenty years has been a far cry from those values espoused during the liberation struggle - diligence, resilience, discipline, justice, respect, accountability and above all self-belief.

When the likes of Lee Kuan-Yew transformed Singapore or the highly criticized Robert Mugabe in his early years as leader, ensured almost every citizen in Zimbabwe received basic education, why does it seem overzealous to expect more for and of South Africa, a nation that brought the world such promise and hope? Why is it that South Africans seem more comfortable with the culture of mediocrity, but that this perhaps serves to reinforce belief systems of the past that, black people (in the majority) are not worthy and incapable of achieving excellence?

Yet against all odds, we have birthed the likes of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Desmond Tutu, Steve Biko, and Miriam Makeba and so on.

We have clearly only just begun with the stakes now higher than ever before.

Joy Ngoma: A lot of people all over the world have been voicing their opinions about Nelson Mandela's legacy since his passing last year. What is a Nelson Mandela legacy? Does such a thing exist? And in terms of this country what is the legacy that Mandela left behind?

Lungi Morrison:

Madiba's legacy is fundamentally as unique and deliberate as the system of apartheid that he stood against and eventually overcame.

To the world, apartheid was a brutal and horrific system that denigrated and oppressed black people in South Africa like no where else in Africa and the world. In South Africa, apartheid is a belief system engrained in people's minds across hues and class groups and will take two to three more generations to completely eradicate. For many South Africans, Mandela was and still remains the embodiment of the process required to dismantle apartheid both physically, by living to see the day he would be set free (and in fact rule as head of state) by those that incarcerated him and psychologically, by transcending the very system set up to ensure people like him remained permanently oppressed. Whilst he was by no means perfect and there were several other champions of freedom who stood alongside Mandela during and post the struggle. However,

Madiba's persona; his warmth and charisma remain etched in people's hearts and minds, the world over. As such, Mandela's legacy does exist in that his story is the peoples story, his pain was the peoples pain, his ability to overcome against all odds continues to bring the people of South Africa's hope to 'overcome' their individual and collective struggles long after Madiba has gone.

Sadly, whilst Madiba's legacy resonates among individuals across racial religious and class barriers, in South Africa today less than a year since his passing, it is evident that not enough is currently being done to ensure the flame and light of his positive and transcending spirit. His selflessness determination burns brighter and stronger for generations to come. The legacy left by Madiba for South Africa's leaders is to continue to strive towards achieving 'true democracy' where, every individual is free to walk the streets, has access to adequate education, healthcare and can compete in the market place as a whole and confident citizen, appears to be diminishing more quickly than anyone ever expected.

The legacy left behind by Mandela is then perhaps akin to that of a child in its nascent years orphaned before it is able to fully appreciate its parents or fend for itself, South Africa; the child and Mandela; the parent.

Joy Ngoma: Where would you like to see the country in twenty years?

Lungi Morrison: In twenty years I will be 61 years old. I hope to live to experience a highly progressive nation - a nation that so many look to for inspiration. In twenty years or sooner, South Africa ought to regain its position as Africa's leading economy recently overtaken by Nigeria, and positively impact other African economies towards a collectively stronger and more resilient African Continent. South Africa, a BRICS member, Africa's last bastion point, ought to in twenty years champion the process of reflecting to the world positive stories about our continent as a powerful global economy and economies (open for business and corruption free trade that benefits its local communities first).

Fundamentally, I would like to see South Africa having won the major battle of undoing the generational damage 'bantu education' and the poor access to education still experienced today, by many young people continues to present. Education and good education at that, is our only hope, Madiba believed in this, stood for this as an example himself reflected the principle that, with education and discipline can people truly thrive.

Joy Ngoma: Has South Africa truly become a free and democratic society/ country or is that just an illusion we are meant to believe?

Lungi Morrison:With democracy comes responsibility at all levels of society. Democracy does not equal entitlement nor should it tolerate corruption. Whilst the world is yet so see a perfectly functional democratic state, South Africa has achieved the first important step towards becoming a functional democracy and that is the abolition of Apartheid with the change of power in 1994. Relative to achieving this first step, twenty years later it is deeply saddening to note that the process of growing in a positive democratic trajectory, which some may argue was the case in here for the first decade since independence, has been drastically reversed.

One important indicator of this drastically disturbing change of course in South Africa's democracy is the divergence in views about the extent to which this is indeed a free and democratic society. Whilst there will never be absolute consensus on most issues, South Africa of all places ought to by now have began the process of fostered among its people what it means to live in a democratic society, what active citizenship means in this context and the importance of ownership and responsibility by every citizen of maintaining a free society. If a poll where taken by random selection on the streets anywhere across the country today, the levels of variance on these rudimentary issues of civic responsibility, ownership and duty would be alarming. How then does this democracy ever truly exist when there is no real locus and center of gravity when it comes to what freedom means at a minimum in a country that paid such a hefty price to achieve it? The consistent response in general then is that freedom and democracy are an 'illusion' largely because there has been little to no effort to mobilize citizens around a particular centre of gravity as was seen for instance, during our hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. That same ethos of belonging to one safe and functional democratic society where, visitors could arrive and enjoy the football extravaganza, stay at the best hotels and travel between venues freely, ought to be sustained here among South Africans from all walks of life long after the event left our shores. Alas, true to form, South Africans only seem to embrace democracy when there is something tangible to rally behind such as the FIFA World Cup, elections, mourning Madiba et al. Outside of these occasions the nation appears to loose its sense of focus and direction as to what and how a democracy feels, breaths and tastes like.

Joy Ngoma: What has been our greatest achievement as a people of South Africa?

Lungi Morrison:

Our greatest achievement has essentially been ushering in a new state and democracy without civil war. Furthermore, the swearing in of Mandela as our first ever democratically elected president.

Needless to say, the incidents of violent protests and tragic loss of lives; the xenophobia attacks as well as, Marikana surface twenty years since Mandela was sworn in.

Joy Ngoma: What does freedom mean to you?

Lungi Morrison: Freedom is an enabler to growth. Freedom allows each of us the God given right to live to our full potential without fear or inhibition. Freedom encourages us to reflect through critical appraisal, which highlights our points of parity versus our points of difference, all of which are celebrated when there is true and lasting freedom.

Joy Ngoma: What would you like your legacy to be for South Africans?

Lungi Morrison: True FREEDOM - Emancipation from mental slavery, healing at the soul level, freedom and happiness.

Ms. Lungi Morrison is a humanitarian by nature, a social development strategist and communications executive whose depth of experience and skills amassed over the years renders her best place to traverse both commercial and social/public service/development landscapes. Her academic qualifications including a Masters degree in Anthropology & Sociology from the University of Auckland - New Zealand, informs her extensive involvement in development as well as, cause related marketing/advocacy and communications initiatives in both local and global contexts. Ms Morrison has lived, studied and worked in a number of different countries, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Brazil, New Zealand and parts of the United States. She is currently at Harvard University graduate school, attending a management summer programme in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Emerging markets (BRICS).

Lungi has played a pivotal role in social development and policy implementation of South Africa's post democracy anti-HIV/AIDS initiatives. Returning home from exile in 1998, Lungi worked with the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation (which also meant later engaging The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID & PEPFAR as support donors) to develop innovative youth-responsive initiative called loveLife. Through qualitative & quantitative research, branding, media & communications, a youth HIV/AIDS campaigns and intervention programmes - loveLife was born. Appreciating the importance of working with local government, via cause marketing youth HIV initiative - loveLife, Lungi also engaged South Africa's Medical Research Council to support the Government's Khomanani campaign.

8th interview with Stan Joseph

Photo credit: Stan Joseph

Joy Ngoma: South Africa is celebrating twenty years of freedom this year- what does that mean to you and fellow South Africans?

Stan Joseph:
To be entirely honest I'm not sure about the significance of the number 20. But every year that passes in South Africa as a free and democratic country is a milestone worth celebrating and marking. In that vein of thinking,

twenty years represent 20 anniversaries for me of a brave people who have swung with the punches and come up fighting with hope still very much alive.

So twenty years is a cause for celebration because the essence of the fight for freedom in South Africa is still being nurtured and kept alive despite the many disappointments we experience on the journey.

Joy Ngoma: A lot of people all over the world have been voicing their opinions about Nelson Mandela's legacy since his passing last year. What is a Nelson Mandela legacy? Does such a thing exist? And in terms of this country what is the legacy that Mandela left behind?

Stan Joseph:

Nothing in life is the work of one being, I firmly believe in acknowledging the role of the wider community in any great or memorable outcome. Having said that, Nelson Mandela, I believe, was the proverbial exception to the rule.

South Africa today is still trading with its fellow citizens and the global community on the legacy he left behind. In that regard I think it is poor indictment of South African leadership (political and civil society) that there has been no further contribution since his active departure from politics that matches the scale of his contribution. He delivered the "game changer" contribution to a great team, and there has been none since. His legacy straddles all the touch points - but to me he gave South Africans the map for tolerance that was critical if they were to succeed, and self-confidence that theirs was a noble victory. Joy Ngoma: Where would you like to see the country in twenty years?

Stan Joseph: There are economic clichés about Africa being the final frontier of growth and opportunity, and for what that's worth I hope South Africa claims its rightful place at the top of the league of such nations. What I hope for the most is that it delivers its original promise to its own people that it will be a fair and compassionate nation and together they will finally reap its natural riches in an equitable manner. And to the world it stays true to its post '94 revelation that it's possible to forgive.

Joy Ngoma: Has South Africa truly become a free and democratic society/ country or is that just an illusion we are meant to believe?

Stan Joseph:

Freedom and democracy are complex values and I don't believe there is a perfect model.

It would be churlish to suggest that South Africa is not a free and democratic society, however until we achieve the ideals of equal opportunity, a non-racist and non-sexist society - all of these pillars of the freedom struggle, you cannot say with certainty that true democracy has been achieved. In that sense I would say that there is still much to be achieved.

South Africa and its people have swam the treacherous tides of a world outside of their making but still striving for a world that they believe in. It's a work in progress but the greatest achievement is that they are still in the running to deliver on a society that they believe in.

Joy Ngoma: What does freedom mean to you?

Stan Joseph: The technical concept of freedom in terms of a right to exercise my thoughts or values have never been threatened in my life, so in that regard I have never had to evaluate it from a position where it was at threat. Philosophically it is a right to live the values I believe in unencumbered by the social structures I am part of but it also obliges me to act responsibly and not use freedom as an excuse for self seeking outcomes.

Joy Ngoma: What would you like your legacy to be for South Africans?

Stan Joseph: I am an immigrant to South Africa and it gave me the opportunity of my lifetime to achieve my dreams. I need to acknowledge the great collaborations that has made it possible to build Ochre Media company as a successful content business that has excelled both locally and on the world stage. As a company we will always be a home for South Africans to find their voice and tell their stories. But in addition I want us to be a place where people can learn to hone their skills to be entrepreneurs and job creators because I believe that if we are able to nurture the spirit of enterprise combined with a social conscience I would have paid forward in my small way the opportunity that South Africa gave me.

Stan Joseph, Executive Director, Ochre Media

Stan Joseph was a founding partner of Ochre Media and prior to his role in Business Development was the CEO, of Ochre Media till March 2006. Graduating with a Masters in Media Studies from The New School in New York, he spent the early part of his career in London. Prior to moving to South Africa, Stan was Head of Operations at Financial Times TV in London, a subsidiary of Pearson Plc the British Media group. Financial Times TV produced 16 hours of live daily European business news for CNBC. In 1995 he was responsible for launching Business Tonight on SABC 3 in South Africa created
through a joint venture between Financial Times TV and TimesMedia Ltd (TML).

Stan's television career in South Africa as the CEO of Ochre Moving Pictures has included Executive Producer credits across a wide genre of programming. These include fashion series Elegance, Youth chart show Sprite Rush Hour, popular educational programmes such as Take 5, Get Real and Takalani Sesame, drama's such as Gaz'lam, and reality series Kwanda. Stan is currently Executive Producer of eTV's popular daily soap Scandal.

My last interview was with Mbizo Mzamane, Founder, Chair and Manager of Pryde Football Club, Final Year BCOM Sport and Recreation Management University of Pretoria
Photo credit: Mbizo Mzamane

I sat down with this charismatic young man for a brief chat. Mbizo is a young football player who currently runs his own football club in South Africa. This is what he had to say about reflecting on the country's twenty years of freedom and democracy.

Joy Ngoma: South Africa is celebrating twenty years of freedom this year- what does that mean to you and fellow South Africans?

Mbizo Mzamane: I believe it means exactly that, twenty years since we were doctrinally freed from systematic oppression.

Joy Ngoma: A lot of people all over the world have been voicing their opinions about Nelson Mandela's legacy since his passing last year. What is a Nelson Mandela legacy? Does such a thing exist? And in terms of this country what is the legacy that Mandela left behind?

Mbizo Mzamane: I believe more than anything the legacy Mandela left behind - or rather more accurately, tried to to leave behind - is one that asserts more than anything that discrimination of any kind and alienation are some of the most destructive forces on earth. Unity, of a people, of the human race, has been and could be the remedy to infinite societal and social ills.

Joy Ngoma: Where would you like to see the country in twenty years?

Mbizo Mzamane:

I would like to see a country where the first descriptor of a stranger is not the color of his skin. I'd like to see African languages spoken by all races and creeds. I'd like to see a profitable country that opens doors and opportunities for its people - A place where we feel privileged on the basis of affiliation.

Id like to see a country where people care just a bit less what you look like and what you are, and more who you are.

Joy Ngoma: Has South Africa truly become a free and democratic society/ country or is that just an illusion we are meant to believe?

Mbizo Mzamane: Certainly it is free in the most basic sense of the word. This is to say that legally, and legislatively, the people of South Africa are free, to reasonable degrees to go where they want and pick who they want to be. It is certainly not free in the truest sense of the word. It is a society where social strata and race still firmly dictate behaviors and perspectives.

There is always an unspoken understanding or undertone that we all have our place, we should not reach too far beyond our stations.

"If you're black, you can go to the Afrikaner bar if you want, we just won't talk to you". Have you noticed that the young white lady in front of you in line at the cash register just received fantastic service, but it has since changed for you?. So no, South African "freedom" and "democracy" is an illusion, one that people propagate, as though if they wish hard enough, everything will be better. They duck and dive open, honest and deliberate dialogue to truly become as we could be in favor of multi-racial commercials and temporarily unifying sports events that continue the charade, or distract us with materialism to have ever cared about our social state. Joy Ngoma: What has been our greatest achievement as a people of South Africa? Mbizo Mzamane: The greatest achievement has been making and maintaining such enormous infrastructural standards, particularly as compared to our unfortunate neighbors on the continent. To have become a leading influence on the continent both socially, technologically, financially and even culturally - and to have now began to influence the world is incredible.

Joy Ngoma: What does freedom mean to you?

Mbizo Mzamane: Freedom is obviously physical. Yes, but it is more importantly psychological and intellectual.

It only takes a piece of paper at times to free a man physically, a signature perhaps. But to free his mind from self-hate, ignorance, violence, loss of identity and other such pivotal mental and emotional deficiencies it takes much more deliberate effort much more time.

To be in a place where people are truly considered, treated and living equally - or as close as possible to it. That is freedom.

Joy Ngoma: What would you like your legacy to be for South Africans?

Mbizo Mzamane: My legacy would be difficult to describe in a few words. It would be multi-faceted. It would be the idea that the world and all its contents can be and are a part of who we all are. We should never be afraid to learn, to change, to discover, to believe, to fail in order to grow and achieve. That means opening up to the world and deliberately try to be better for it. Open up to one another, black, white, mathematician, athlete, domestic worker and company president. We should all strive for knowledge, experience, unity and understanding, to better inform our indiocencracies so that together, as Mandela would have liked, we find the best way forward as a people.

Special thanks to: Mfundi Vundla, Elinor Sisulu, Gita Pather, John Allen, Kerry Kassen, Stan Joseph, Lungi Morrison, Duma Ndlovu and Mbizo Mzamane.