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24 February 2006 07:37 PM
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LETTERS February 24 - March 02 2006
Desai is our Sartre I read with horror the bile spewed by Malegapuru Makgoba against Ashwin Desai in your last edition (“Truth is often less sexy than sensation”).
Makgoba uses innuendo to name the alleged unaccountable “mafia” that abused public resources and kept no records. He names Saths Cooper, under whose management records weren’t kept. Then, under the cloak of condemning the racialisation of the Desai matter by the media, he promotes his own dangerous, narrow and reactionary Africanist chauvinism.
He points to a pro-Desai campaign by unnamed Indian journalists, with the implied corollary that African journalists would be on his side if only they had the same access to information, which they’ve been denied.
In the same vein, he mentions the names Cooper, Desai, Govender and Habib next to a throwaway comment about an Indian cabal. Very little is left to the imagination. This is intellectual gangsterism of the highest order.
It’s a sad day that UKZN, which helped birth one of the most potent liberation philosophies -- Black Consciousness -- is now turning into a den of tribalism promoted from the top.
It’s sad indeed that an intellectual and academic of Desai’s calibre, who has inspired a whole generation of young thinkers to side with the poor and speak truth to power, has to be subjected to such slander and victimisation.
Desai is our Sartre. Instead of persecuting him, Makgoba should say, like Charles de Gaulle when it was suggested that Sartre be jailed for his pro- Algerian independence activities against French colonialism: “You do not arrest Voltaire.” The French are richer for it. -- Andile Mngxitama, Johannesburg
In your last edition, I believe Makgoba presented the facts of the Desai case, as opposed to the selectively processed garbage we have been fed through obscure internet petitions and partisan media coverage.
P O I F
H O F N I
D S L W M
ZAPIRO MADAM & EVE NEWSLETTERS BLOGMARK FORUMS NOTES & QUERIES LETTERS
I was alarmed by his account of ethnic cabals who perpetuate corruption and abuse the integrity of the university’s leadership.
Cooper’s leadership and legacy will be recorded in the annals of university history as disgraceful. For him to have used his position and university resources to cut deals for sidekicks is nauseating.