Kim Heller: Media and political strategist

Lead Opinion

CORRUPTION: I have been offered many bribes. To share information. And to not share information

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X

Speaking truth is hazardous. It can even result in death.

This week marked the 52nd anniversary of the assassination of great revolutionary leader, Malcolm X, who said “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it’. Malcolm X was shot 15 times at close range during a speaking engagement in Manhattan, in the United States, on 21st February 1965.

Speaking truth is harrowing. And often very lonely. I know, I have routinely alienated family, friends, colleagues and bosses, with my relentless ‘principle before principal’ refrain. But I simply do not know how to exist any other way. 

In my life-time, I have been offered many bribes. To share information. To not share information. To censor and to hide. One day is one day and these stories will be told.

But back to the present, and the cossetting of those implicated in bank corruption.  Mainstream media has behaved like a frantic mother, desperate to defend the honour of a virgin child who has long strayed.

In particular, the media’s gentle caress of Maria Ramos over the past week, and her ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word to say’ apology on behalf of ABSA for collusion and price-fixing, is unpalatable.  This week, while Ramos was cocooned, insults on Brian Molefe flowed as readily as expensive whisky at recent veteran activist gatherings.

Truth is black and white. It cannot blend into grey because of personal or political prejudices. It must not. Pedestals of privilege should never  influence the pens of journalism.

Malcolm X warned “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

I have never met Ramos. Some of my former best friends speak very highly of her. I can’t judge. Wine Estates have never been my playground and the company of monopoly capitalists make me as almost as nervous as I make them. But, in fairness, she is strikingly bright and attractive so it is not surprising that she stole the heart of our Former Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel.

She is the darling too, of many mainstream media, business and politicians, who have yet to raise their voice to her on corruption allegations. This selective abandonment of consciousness exposes those who claim to be anti-corruption crusaders as fraudulent. The current spin-doctoring is collapsing truth, and shielding promiscious systemic rot, by presenting ‘rogue traders’ as the poster boys of corruption. The DA together with some shrill anti-Zuma stalwarts have asked for the law to be allowed to take its course, without fear, favour or prejudice. A sober response, perhaps, if the very same people had not rabidly attacked Brian Molefe, in spite of no evidence of any misconduct on his part.

Now, Brian Molefe is a man I would like to meet. To the horror of whites and their white props, I have sided with him previously against what I believe are horribly biased assaults to stop him from dislodging the root system of white economic domination and apartheid era tenders, which today, still hold black economic transformation hostage.

Malcolm X spoke the truth when he said ‘I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.” — Malcolm X

We must prepare for such a clash. For attacks by those who uphold a system of white domination which trademarks corruption as the handiwork of black business and government, while failing to recognise the grotesque exploitation by rich white business. and governments. 

I for one, will never accept the whisper of an apology for deep seated corruption from those who have benefitted from a system that has exploited and oppressed. Perhaps it is just me – I have not acquired a taste for white whine, especially when it is not fragrant with real remorse and reparations for the economic crimes of colonialism and apartheid.  

Askies. The truth, she hurts.

– Kim Heller, Media and Political strategist

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