Esteemed academic, author and anti-apartheid activist Mosibudi Mangena, who has contributed to uplifting the nation by serving the country in various fields, urged communities to establish as many book clubs as possible to share knowledge, information and skills to lead the nation on the right path.
Mangena is the author of seven published books, including A Quest for True Humanity, A Twin World, My Grandmother is Permanent, Let the Patriots Stand Up and Apartheid Fault Lines and other short essays. Speaking at the meeting of Timbuktu Book and Reading Club at Capricorn District Municipality’s council chamber last Thursday evening, he indicated that the books consist of speeches and his lifetime experiences and reiterated that he was attempting to write another book in which he is trying to say ‘colonial mentality is so prevalent and in fact we are deteriorating as a people that if we are not careful we will not recognise ourselves in the near future’.
The now retired Tzaneen born intellectual holds a Honorary Doctorate in the field of Applied Sciences from Vaal University of Technology, Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Stellenbosch University, Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Kwazulu-Natal, Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Science degree from the University of Venda while the University of South Africa conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his contribution to mathematical knowledge and advancement of science and technology in the country.
He is currently serving on different boards such as the Mapungubwe Institute For Strategic Reflection, MTN South Africa Foundation, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study and Masifundesonke Reading Campaign. Mangena received several awards such as the Order of Luthuli in Silver in April 2013 in recognition of his role in the struggle for freedom. He also served in various political positions such as being the Chairperson of the South African Student Organisation (Sasa) in Pretoria, national organiser of the Black People’s Convention, Chairperson of the Botswana region of the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania, the founding Commander in Chief of the Azanian Liberation Army. Mangena became President of the Azania People’s Organisation, he served as Deputy Minister of Education and he was Minister of Science and Technology.
When addressing the issues of publishing, he said in order to write and get your book published one has to go through many hoops and loops because you have to get your material approved and agreed upon by those who own publishing firms. “Self-publishing is extremely expensive because you have to cover reading of the manuscript, type settings, proofreading, printing and distribution which is the most difficult task. You won’t get your book in stores if you don’t come from a reputable publishing company. Black publishing companies that have tried have more or less collapsed because they failed in getting the finished product in book stores. As black people we are not in a good place, we don’t own anything. We don’t own the land, banks and the economy of this country. We are almost 90% of the population but what we own is less than 1%. This also covers the area of books because white people have cornered the publishing, distribution and ownership,” Mangena stressed.
He further reckoned that black consciousness as a way of life and attitude of mind was needed. He added that the situation is such that even if he wrote the books in Sepedi nobody would read them or publish them to start with. Mangena was concerned with the situation in the country as he emphasised that black people have political office but they don’t use it to help themselves. He reiterated that Africans still trust the Boers to teach their children because they don’t respect themselves as a people. This gives black children a mentality that black people are not good enough and that there is nothing they can do without whites, Mangena explained.
“Seemingly the only thing we know how to do is stealing as a people. There is no shame in stealing any more. Attacks on foreign nationals and women is basically because we have lost our humanity. I have been in exile in Botswana and Zimbabwe. These countries control immigration properly. They won’t accept you if you say you are a refugee but we allow people from other countries to roam our streets claiming that they are refugees. We are failing to control migration as a country. There are camps for immigrants in other countries and an immigrant is not allowed to build a shack or become a street vendor as we see in South Africa,” Mangena stated.
He added that nothing was being done correctly in South Africa and pointed out immigration control, education and crime control as some the concerning factors. According to him, South Africa is a lawless society and foreign nationals take advantage of this. Mangena highlighted that South Africa was a middle income country which is blessed with minerals but it was a pity that the resources are not benefiting the majority. He concluded by saying a huge dose of black consciousness was needed so that the majority can start working.
Story/photo: ENDY SENYATSI