Irate and embarrassed parent, former journalist and anti-apartheid activist Thami Mazwai has distanced himself from comments by his daughter and poet Ntsiki Mazwai against President Cyril Ramaphosa, whom she accused of wanting to “repeat the Marikana massacre with the Covid -19″.
Mazwai responded to an open letter that Ntsiki penned to Ramaphosa on Saturday about the lockdown the president imposed to fight the spread of Covid-19. In her long letter Ntsiki alleged the president ran away from the 2012 massacre at Marikana by breaking up Lonmin, of which he was chairman, to allegedly avoid accountability for the killing of mineworkers.
“The families of Marikana can ONLY remember you for how you impacted and changed their lives for the worst. You didn’t fix anything … you ran away,” Ntsiki alled.
Ramaphosa is yet to respond to the letter and his spokesperson did not reply to a WhatsApp message sent to her on Sunday.
In response to Ntsiki’s comments, Mazwai described his daughter’s letter as “disturbing” and “I am disappointed and shocked”.
“I believe that all of you are aware of the high esteem in which I personally hold our government. The efforts by President Ramaphosa and his colleagues show their commitment to our people. I thus, on behalf of my wife and I, distance us from the comments by Ntsiki. The comments by Ntsiki are not only unfortunate but uncalled for in a situation in which all of us must hold hands. I doff my hat to the president for his resolute action to save us from this pandemic, and my thanks to the Cabinet and civil service who are working day and night to stop this virus,” Mazwai said.
In the letter, Ntsiki, who is a poet and regular commentator on Twitter, further wrote: “Here we are again at the same place. In a different way but it’s the same lesson. You have a tendency of putting money ahead of your own people. You have a tendency to appease the white master at the expense of your people. You will never be able to rationalise why you’re a billionaire in such a poverty-stricken country and we can’t point to anything you have created. Mr president you are part of the capitalist problem that oppresses Africans on this continent,” she wrote.
“Your white solutions are not going to work on African people. We do not have equal footing. Lucky you, 21 days will do NOTHING to your livelihood, for the vast majority of us Africans, this 21 days is the difference between making ends meet and bankruptcy. You live in your nice big house in Sandhurst while the vast majority of us, in just one of your rooms we have to fit almost 10 people.
“You planned this quarantine from a place of privilege where you didn’t consider the poverty on the ground. Have you ever been into a Squatter Camp? That’s where a lot of your people live, because instead of getting us our land back in 94, you ANC comrades sold us for big houses in the North and German cars.”
She likened Ramaphosa to a “live version of Sergeant Sabela” in the Sarafina movie, who “harassed and killed 1976 Soweto uprising school children”.
She went on: “Mr President you have now let loose an untrained army to go play power games in the townships. I am yet to see the army terrorise the elite in suburbia. But it’s Day 2 of the quarantine and I am already seeing videos of army personelle (sic) abusing black people. You said spaza’s (sic) remain open but it doesn’t seem to be the case,” Ntsiki wrote.
In what she described as a side-note, Ntsiki said: “Mr President don’t be fooled by the silence, don’t think us women didn’t notice when you and Mr Malema protected each other when the domestic violence smoke came up.”
Ntsiki, a self-styled Pan Africanist, has had several public spats with Malema, who is understood to have declined her ambition to lead the EFF’s women’s wing.
She has also often criticised SABC television show Morning Live co-host Leanne Manas for no reason other than that she should not be on the show because she is white.