Whose opinion is it anyway?

It was on one of my usual perusing through a second hand book shelf that I came across an interesting collection of books hidden away in a dark corner (it was literally a corner in the end of the room with stacks of books so high I thought it would fall on me!).

Out of it came what I thought was the greatest joke I have ever seen. I picked up these two books:

nelson-mandela-by-himself

jacob-zuma-in-his-own-words1

I thought it would be the funniest thing to read these books concurrently, Mandela’s ground breaking and profound words compared to the ramblings of South Africa’s cringe-a- minute, dancing president Msholozi. Unfair for me to do so but hey, I humour myself in the driest of ways.

Reading through the books, I read of how Mandela once said,

“I will remember this experience fondly for as long as I live. Running like a golden thread through the decisions that we have taken is a reaffirmation of what the ANC has always stood for: to bring fundamental change to the lives of all South Africans, especially the poor; to recognize the actual contradictions in our society and to state them boldly, the better to search for their resolution; to avoid steps that further worsen social conflict; and to build our new nation by continually and consciously exorcising the demon of tribalism, racism and religious intolerance.”

Followed by the words of Jacob Zuma,

“When you vote for ANC, you are choosing to go to heaven. When you don’t vote for the ANC you should know that you are choosing that man who carries a fork….who cooks people. When you get up there, there are different cards used but when you have an ANC card, you will be let through to go to heaven.”

I swear you cannot make up such!!

Seriously though, I think you see the problem here. Sure enough I chuckled to myself, more than a couple of times in comparing the words of the two leaders, but it quickly became apparent to me just how biased these two books are. One painted Mandela as a faultless saint, speaking NOTHING but melodic words that even the angels listened to in awe, whilst the other made Jacob Zuma look like a blithering idiot with no ounce of intelligence.

Now this blog is in no way meant to compare the two guys. I would have to have downed a whole wine cellar to attempt such (it’s a week night, have only had the customary one glass). What I intend to do however is expose the glaring bias of perception that we have in the world we live in today when it comes to opinions. Nelson Mandela could have said anything and because he was, well….. him, we would laud it as profound. Our friend Jacob Zuma, however could recite the quantum field theory in Mandarin and we would still find a way to completely ridicule him.

The two men share a lot of ideas. Mandela spoke of how “I am a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC. I will carry out whatever instructions they gave me.”

“I am a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC. I will carry out whatever instructions they gave me.”

Zuma, not as eloquently as the great Mandela, said practically the same thing: “What is a person, if not for the ANC?”

“What is a person, if not for the ANC?”

He of course was accosted for being so dedicated to the party. Mandela was applauded for his servitude and loyalty.

They also are both highly traditional men who respected their cultures. Jacob Zuma has spoken of “Let us not be influenced by other cultures…………………Let us solve African problems the African way, not the white man’s way.”

“Let us not be influenced by other cultures……Let us solve African problems the African way, not the white man’s way.”

Nelson Mandela echoed these sentiments “I say that if the development of the African people in this country was not interrupted by the advent of the whites, they would have developed just like Europe and reached the same stage, without any contact with anybody.”

“I say that if the development of the African people in this country was not interrupted by the advent of the whites, they would have developed just like Europe and reached the same stage, without any contact with anybody.”

Are these not the same words of two men trying to encourage Africans to not be afraid of doing thing the African way?

 Like I said in the beginning of this is not a post to compare Mandela and Zuma. These two books of quotes however highlight just how opinions are made or broken depending on WHO said them? What huge blinders we have on! One need not go further than social media to see this phenomenon. We mobilise Twitter and Facebook in a heart beat for support and prayers after attacks in France and Orlando yet keep dead silent, criticize even, capsizing boats carrying migrants from Africa. Where were they going in the first place right?

This also reminds me of a conversation I once had with the lovely ladies of this book club. Beyonce came out with her song Formation and suddenly made it very much ok, tres chic in fact, to be referred to THAT BITCH- “You know you are that bitch when you cause all this conversation” (cue ladies getting in Formation). But woe unto Amber Rose for calling herself a “bad bitch right”? Oh the double standards. Insert the biggest eye roll ever here…in fact:

I realise have an article that compares Beyoncé to Mandela to Amber Rose to Jacob Zuma. Can’t help but laugh at myself. But sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to bring home a point. I hope this has set off a whole explosion of thoughts in your minds, or affirmed what you have always believed in. Opinions are only as good as who gives them, not the cold hard facts they are based on, apparently.

Let hard facts be the only currency that you deal with when it comes to opinions.

As always would love to hear your thoughts and opinions (lol) on this. Nothing gets me going more than dialogue and sharing ideas. And I promise, my perceptions of you are totally unbiased.

By Siphathi

Siphathi is an extroverted introvert. When she is not injecting a little humour into the world she is an engineer trying to pay her bills. Lover of sport, soccer and formula 1 to be exact. But most of all she is an avid reader who loves getting lost in books with a glass of wine by the side. 

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