Fezekile Futhwa 

Revolutionary Relay - Write What You Like


This work is really the story of my life, the word biography just happened to be the one I am familiar with. I have not bothered to look up its meaning in the dictionary.

Have you ever wondered why black people do not write biographies?

I have sat and pondered this question for a long time and the answer simply evades me. Even accomplished black writers do not write biographies, including their own. Could it be a cultural thing closely linked to black peoples belief about recording ones life events? Or could it be that black people generally don't see value in biographies?

It is partly due to this lack of interest in biographies that black people struggle to find credible work on the lives of upstanding black citizens. Our heroes and heroines are simply not covered in the main stream media. To make matters worse, even finding information about them on the internet is very tricky as there is no one source where this information is available.

In recent memory, I began to place my hopes on the booklet "The Little Black Book" for the most basic information on black leaders. Unfortunately the recent editions of the book have become rather dissapointing. Less and less information is published in the book and the lastest edition covers even less of African people! The site "Who's Who's in SA" also suffers the same shortcomings.

As political or prejudicial as this might seem, it is the way I feel about published work. I also happen to think that not much is being written about black history and success, our media is obssessed with our shortcomings and always dismisses our achievements. Maybe this is due to our horrible past of apartheid and racism, although one would have thought we were past that era.

If you ask me, I will dare say most black people are accomplished. With the exception of the generation born after 1994, almost every black person suffered the injustices and prejudices of apartheid and white rule before then. For people to have grown into whatever careers they chose under these circumstances is beyond miraculous and heroic in my eyes. We even have great leaders who are not educated nor hold any professional career, these must be celebrated also.

Why not start by honouring and celebrating our parents? Most of us have a great life, despite our past. The fees our parents paid for tertiary education are way beyond anything they have made in their entire lives. We all come mostly from stable families. They ensured we ate everyday. We were clothed. Despite all their mishaps. Folks, that is something to celebrate, at least for them.

They take pride in seeing their children doing better than they did. Khumbula ekhaya.

Every black child knows of highly successful people back home, most of whom do not have any education. There exist many empires started, run and owned by black people back home. The first time I saw a Ferrari I was a young boy in Qwaqwa. It was owned by a black business person. As much as uneducated people may be looked down upon, there is a beautiful history that must be remembered and appreciated. This is the context within which I would like to see writings about great people, mostly black because I am black.

That is my humble opinion.