Denford Magora is a Zimbabwean writer and blogger. His last post appeared on 10 February 2010. Magora is a spokesman for Simba Makoni’s Mavambo Kusile Dawn. Simba Makoni was Minister of Finance and Economic Development in President Robert Mugabe‘s cabinet from 2000 to 2002. The story of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn is complicated!
Back in 2003 this letter appeared in the Zimbabwe Independent.
Why I listen to Magora
Friday, 29 August 2003 02:00
ABOUT Denford Magora, who features regularly in your paper, there are good reasons why Ihave decided to pay attention to this man.
I remember he was the first to call our attention to the shortcomings of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). He was abused in your pages by some of the very people who have now realised that the MDC is wasting people’s time, waiting for a miracle to liberate the suffering majority of our country. I dare say he has been proved right.
I also remember how Magora expertly disassembled the elections in Kenya in your paper. He correctly observed that the new Kenyan government was no better than the old one. He predicted that the people of Kenya had shortchanged themselves. Look what is happening now.
I am now very worried about civic organisations and the opposition MDC, who have set their dogs on him yet again. Are these people really after democracy or just power? How different are they from President Robert Mugabe, who brooks no criticism and believes he is always right? He shuts out dissenting voices from the state media and prefers cheap propaganda.
Civil society as well as the opposition seem to want to operate the same way as Mugabe. Why else would they want Magora to shut up?
Animal Farm anyone? Which is the regime and which is the opposition? Keep up the good work, good sir.
I have found Denford’s blog informative and hope the pause there is not ominous.
Meanwhile there is also Sokwanele: This is Zimbabwe. That’s their latest post which includes this story, which chimes with discussions we have also probably witnessed.
Many, many years ago I encountered another amazing young woman from a high density area where most of the people had zero prospects of a positive future: I’d been invited to attend a workshop in South Africa (this was a little while before the ‘new’ South Africa was born). The workshop was on addressing violence in the area. I remember being very tired and disengaged from the discussion, until, that is, the talk moved to the issue of violence against women in particular.
My friend, who had asked me to come along to keep her company, was talking to the group about how language used by some men in relation to women was not cool and could lead to violence. Before she could fully finish, a young man at the back of the group stood up and almost exploded with rage: his face was twisted with anger and he was pointing at her while leaning forward aggressively shouting. His rage boiled down to this very simple premise: “Don’t tell us how we should behave towards women, it’s not your culture and in our culture we do things differently”.
I was fully alert at this point: the whole group had been stunned into silence and my friend, I could tell, was struggling to find the right appropriate words to say – words that effectively did the right thing in the context of the workshop, but also respected this man’s culture. I was alive with interest, wondering how on earth she was going to navigate this minefield of fundamental human rights colliding with right-on political correctness. She couldn’t find a thing to say; the guy’s argument had led her into a cul-de-sac: if she insisted his culture should change to respect the rights of others, she would in theory be proving his thesis that she didn’t respect his culture. And that’s why that argument seems to carry weight, not because its valid or true, but because it carries with it wheelbarrow-loads of emotional manipulation.
The heavy silence that ensued was eventually rescued by a black woman in the group who quietly stood up – with an air of drama – and walked slowly over to the still-angry man. She started talking very quietly, but loud enough for us all to hear:
“I’m wondering which culture you are talking about?” she asked rather ominously and slowly. Then she raised her voice: “… because in MY culture, everything you have just said is rubbish!”
Here is another promising site:
Voices for Change