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“Ruud Gullit"
 Soccer, Racism and Apartheid
“I am also an anti-apartheid supporter and I
dedicated my World and European
Footballer of the Year award to Nelson
Mandela, the imprisoned ANC leader.”
- Ruud Gullit
Copyright@ Neo Lekgotla laga Ramoupi
I DEDICATE this paper to Hosea Ramasimong (Jazzman & Heavyweight)
I am the sixth and last male born in my family of seven, four brothers and two sisters. My parents’
first born and my eldest brother, Hosea, was a professional soccer player in the 70s when I was
growing up as a boy at home. He played for Moroka Swallows Big Fifteen and Witbank Black Aces.
He was my role model, I wanted to be like him: a professional footballer. My role models were not
Steve Biko, Bob Marley, Malcolm X, or even Robert Sobukwe and Nelson Mandela.
Me and you
Who am I as I write this Paper?
I am not a neutral, objective scribe conveying the objective results of my research impersonally in my
writing. I am bringing to it a variety of commitments based on my interests, values and beliefs which
are built up from my own history as a black young man who was born, bred and educated under
apartheid rule. And who witnessed its eradication and now attempting to write in the New South
Rudi Dil is the name that appears on Ruud Gullit’s birth certificate. About the time that he realized that he was going to be
a footballer, he decided to change his name to Ruud Gullit because he didn’t think that Rudi Dil sounded like a professional
soccer player, and he felt that Gullit suited a Dutch footballer much better. But on his official documents, such as signing of
contracts, he still writes Rudi Dil, his official birth name.
See this quotation on the cover of Nelson Mandela’s book, No Easy Walk To Freedom, (London: Heinemann, reprint
During the late 1980s I began my academic career
in 1987
at the University of Bophuthatswana (Unibo), now
renamed, and rightly so, University of the North West. There in Mmabatho---capital cit y of Bophuthatswana, I
purchased Nelson Mandela’s book, No Easy Walk To Freedom. I then used the above picture of Ruud Gullit as a
cover-up of my copy of Mandela’s book. I was disguising this book because at the time the apartheid government(s)
of South Africa had banned the Liberation Movements in and outside the beloved country. Those that were deemed
terrorists were also banned. Literatures about them were illegal. Shortly after going through No Easy Walk to
Freedom, I saw the film, Cry Freedom, there in Mmabatho. Cry Freedom is a story that supposedly was about
Bantubonke [all the peoples] Steve Biko, but became in practice more and more about Donald Woods! Nevertheless,
both Woods and Biko, on different levels, moved me so much in this film because each defied racism/apartheid! Then
I bought a novel copy of Cry Freedom: A True Story of Friendship, by John Briley, London: Penguin Books,1987.
Now as I look back, these two books were the very first literature I bought consciously to learn about the country of
my birth. And writing this peace from Robben Island, I cannot help but view my personal readings of the two
Freedom bookMandela’s and Biko’s
as an awakening of my consciousness that began my long walk to Robben
Island Museum,
thirteen years ago
. As I was editing the final draft of this paper, I noticed that Donald Woods new
autobiography, Rainbow Nation Revisited: South Africa’s Decade of Democracy ( 2000) is dedicated to: “STEVE
BIKO who died for the dream and NELSON MANDELA who made dream come true.” It’s about consciousness.

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Africa [adapted from Writing and Identity: The Discoursal Construction of Identity in Academic
Writing by Roz Ivanic, 1997].
Preface : I’ve been working on this project all my life
“Like many youths in my township, Ga-Rankuwa (30km north-west of Pretoria)…. Soccer was a
major part of my growing up. At the time, however, little did I know how big a role soccer would play
in influencing the person that I would become.
My passion for this game kept me away from undesirable extra-mural activities such as drinking and
smoking, and turned me into an avid reader of soccer magazines such as Shoot, an English soccer
magazine imported from Britain through the Central News Agencies (CNA). So soccer not only kept
me out of trouble but it inspired me to want to be somebody one day. And what I wanted was to
become a soccer player of the professional standards one read of about the teams in the English
Premier Soccer clubs, such as Manchester United Football Club (MUFC). Bryan Robson, who
captained MUFC and England in the eighties and early nineties for about a decade was my role
model. I wanted to be him. And I knew that, as MUFC player, it would be obvious for me to be a
Bafana-Bafana (South African National Soccer) team member. In fact, at the time when this dream
was burning so deep inside me Bafana-Bafana was not yet born because of the Apartheid policies
which made a beloved country to be isolated from global challenges of almost all sorts.
It is largely as a result of this boyhood dream to be a professional soccer player that I am presenting
this paper. I did not make it to MUFC, my compatriot, Quinton Fortune, Cape Town’s Cape Flats,
made it to that Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford. I did not fail to get there. I made a choice, or rather
destiny chose for me to go somewhere else. Some place that when I was dreaming as a boy to go
Manchester United never even occurred to my boyish mind that any one in her/his right mind would
want to work there. Robben Island:
“The Memory of what happened there must be preserved. Robben Island should be developed
as a museum where the people’s history is preserved … a place for archives… It is too important to be
turned into a mere tourist resort” Nelson Mandela [Voices From Robben Island].
Role of Sports:
Sport played such an important part in the daily lives of Political Prisoners on Robben Island from the
late 1960s when they won their negotiations with the Prison Authorities to allow them engage
themselves in recreational activities.
During the Apartheid era, sports divided the people of South Africa. Further, sports was used as
weapon to fight apartheid South Africa through the Sports Boycott Campaigns.
“Sport is one sector of our social life that has stood out in performing a unifying role in the years of
transformation. Some of the most vividly remembered moments of celebration of our emergent new
nationhood were those connected with the achievements of our national sporting teams. South
Africans of all backgrounds and persuasions shared in the triumphs, such as the brave performances
of our Protea cricket team, that famous World Cup victory of our Springboks rugby team [in 1995], or
the glorious lifting of the African Nations Cup by Bafana-Bafana [in 1996], our national soccer team”
(Nelson Mandela, Madiba’s Boys: The Stories of Lucas Radebe and Mark Fish, South Africa: New
Africa Books, 2001, p.5).
I feel we can keep our deferred dream burning inside ourselves by using our love and passion for
sports and particularly soccer for me, to research, write and tell our hidden histories. These histories

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were left---consciously and unconsciously---out of our formal education curricula, from pre-tertiary
schooling to graduate and, astonishingly in some cases, also to postgraduate levels of study.
"The tragedy of Africa, in racial and political terms [has been] concentrated in the southern tip of the
continent - in South Africa, Namibia, and, in a special sense, Robben Island"(Oliver Reginald
Robben island history, particularly of political imprisonment, which sweeps about 40 years –1960 to
1991 – is, without doubt, one such untold chronicle(s). Soccer
my dream deferred
is, for me, a
powerful vehicle to narrate, not only the accounts of anti-apartheid struggles. But perhaps more
fundamentally for our generation, to write and re-write the histories of our birth country. Because it is
certain that a lot of work still needs to be done to close this gap. And particularly by the African
people themselves who “are desperately in need of access to histories about themselves---written in
clear, unspecialized, demystifying language---that confirm their humanity and show a more balanced
picture of [themselves] in South Africa. But also [they must be] convinced about the possibilities of
conducting historical research from an African-centred perspective” (Atkins, Keletso E., The Moon Is
Dead! Give Us Our Money! The Cultural Origins of an African Work Ethic, Natal, South Africa,
Shula Marks is right "it is a curious irony that while probably more has been written about South
Africa than about any other country in Africa, very little has been written by historians of South
Africa about the history of the majority of its population"
(Shula Marks, “Historians of South Africa”,
in ed. J. D. Fage, Africa Discovers Her Past, London: Oxford University Press, 1970).

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“Ruud Gullit: Soccer, Racism and Apartheid”*
I was introduced to RUUD GULLIT by my passionate reading of my favourite British soccer
magazines, Shoots.
At the time I did not know his name. It was this quotation that aroused my interest in him:
“I am also an anti-apartheid supporter and I dedicated my World and European Footballer of the
Year award to Nelson Mandela, the imprisoned ANC leader.”
The year was 1987. The quotation was inserted into a picture of a dreadlocked male singer with a
microphone situated just in front of his mouth. His left hand was raised in the form of a fist, which
had, over the years, came to represent and be associated with the ‘amandla ngawethu’ (‘power
[belongs] to us’) signature and salutation of the African National Congress (ANC). Something about
this singer caught my attention. It was not his dreadlocks:
“I am aware that many people dislike the name “dreadlocks” because they assume it’s
negative. I like, even enjoy, the word “dreadlocks” because whenever I use it I find myself in bemused
dialogue with African ancestors on several continentsæthose of our people who grew to dislike their
own hair because its uniqueness was unappreciated by the flat-haired people who conquered them
and who decreed their own physical characteristics the norm.”
But the writing in white and capital letters that was on the front of his black T-shirt: "STOP
Oupa JazzMusic Makhalemele, my Research Unit colleague wrote the Abstract and edited the Preface of this
paper. Ke A Leboga Authi! Helen Moffett, our Research Unit Editor, has been very helpful in critiquing my
thoughts. I continue to grow from new perspectives that you’re bringing to my attention. Liz Holden, our
Computer-Assistance, has been giving valuable lessons about the management of our information, as well as
Power Pointing this paper for me--- always with a smile. Thanx. Our Research Unit coordinator, Dr Harriet
Deacon is responsible for bringing this team together, and for the facilitation of our Unit’s presence and
participation in this Conference – Burden of Race: Blackness and Whiteness, Wits University, July 5-8 2001.
Lastly, I am thankful to all my colleagues at the Robben Island Museum for their constructive criticisms, which
I have found very helpful. And to Chunku, Chomi ya ka, Nkosi, for being so crazy to join me at Wits for the
presentation of this paper.
I am mailing them from home, Ga-Rankuwa in Pretoria, to Robben Island at the end of the Conference “
Burden of Race?: Blackness and Whiteness” , University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa , after
spending one and half years contemplating about my future on the island, which is such a complex environment
to work. My decision is to stay and make it my career: all that we love can be saved.
See footnote number 1 above.
Alice Walker, Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism, New York: Random House Inc., 1997, p.175
See this photo, which appears as the first picture on my hand-made poster, and see also the same photo covering No Easy
Walk to Freedom. This picture has become such a significant symbol for me and I think also for this Burden of Race
Conference paper.

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I found this a very bold and striking statement.
I mean, having grown up under apartheid, there was no way I could avoid being struck by that
pronouncement. Perhaps another reason I found it so powerful and influential was the fact that I,
despite my burning desire to be a professional footballer, had undertaken a decision to go to an
institution of higher learning, with history, and later on with political science, as my majors.
At the time of seeing that picture
in 1987, I did not know who the dreadlocked person was. I just
assumed he was a singer because of the manner of his posing and appearance in that photo. And mind
you, I was knowledgeable, thanks to the Shoot magazines, about the British footballers, such as Bryan
Robson, who was at the time both the captain of his club, MUFC, and his country, England.
Later on, after some years, I got to know the name behind the locks. Gradually I became
aware of the man’s impact, not only on the football stadiums of the world, but of his thoughts and
comments on what W.E.B. Du Bois considered the problem of the twentieth century, racism. I began
asking myself why I did not know him, while I knew almost all of the British soccer players. I am
going to argue here that part of the answer to that question can be found in the legacy of British
colonialism. In his Address to the Joint Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom, then - President
Nelson Mandela focused on this British colonialism, in which he “gently but firmly reminded Britons
yesterday that it was their colonisation in the 18
century that sowed the seeds of white supremacy in
South Africa.”
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) fed South African citizens with soccer
programs that highlighted English Premier Soccer League on a weekly basis, as if the rest of the
footballing world did not exist. It seemed normal and I think we took it for granted that we did not
know much about the other football-playing nations, particularly those that Britain did not colonise.
Holland for instance, and in this case study for example, Ruud Gullit has a different cultural
background to those of the English players. Ruud’s nationality is Dutch,
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and was the

Page 6
time 1987/1988 season, playing for AC Milan F.C. in the Italian Soccer League, passionately and
commonly known as ‘Seria A.’
In 1995 I registered for a MA History Research degree at the University of Natal, Durban.
1 1
same year, Gullit made a transfer move that shocked the footballing world. He left the Italian League's
Sampdoria Football Club
1 2
for England's less famous and reputable London-based club, Chelsea F.C.
He joined Chelsea as a player. And when their Manager, Glen Hoddle, was appointed to the head
coach of the English team, Glen, with the support ofChelsea Football Club, recommended that Ruud
be appointed as a Player-Manager. Gullit’s move to London was significant for me in that when Gullit
relocated to England, suddenly I had access to the guy and information about him as if he had
relocated to South Africa. The media, both print and electronic, provided more coverage about Ruud
once he was in London than it was the case when he was in the Netherlands, his country of birth, or
while he was playing football in Italy. 1996 saw the publication of his biography, Ruud Gullit:
Portrait of A Genius, in England.
1 3
I purchased it in Durban's Adams Bookshop early in January 1997,
that its reading provided me with the much needed escape from the punishing aspect of struggling to
write my MA thesis. I bought it because ever since I saw his 1987/88 “STOP APARTHEID” public
stand, there was always this fascination within me for this unique footballer. For me, he seemed to
stand out of the crowd of his footballing generation, and I was curious to learn more about his
It was through reading that book that I realised that the 1987 photograph which introduced him to me
was in fact the inception in my mind of that doctoral proposal paper.
1 4
My aim had always been to
find out what made Ruud, a footballer, make that courageous stand to support South Africa's struggle
Bryan Robson was my football hero for more than a decade when he was with MUFC. Interestingly and ironically for me is
that he happened to be the Manager of Middlesbrough Football Club when Ruud Gullit managed Chelsea FC to a historic
F.A. Cup Final victory in May 1997.
Cape Times, July 12, 1996. This Speech by President Mandela to UK Parliament, London, 11 July 1996. I am in
possession of this speech for distribution in this burden of race meeting, in case you’re interested I can just copy it for you or
even e-mail it to you’ll. Very few, I think, would disagree with my claim that it is one of the most dignified and important
speeches that Mandela had ever made.
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Ruud’s father comes from Surinam, a former colony of Dutch colonialism. I still need to read on the Dutch colonization
of Surinam to see what influences it had on the life of the native people of Surinam, like Gullit’s father. I welcome any
recommendations that would assist me in this regard.
1 1
I had relocated to Durban in 1989 as a result of being one of the hundreds of students who were expelled by the Mangope
regime, former President Chief of Bophuthatswana bantustan, after the failed coup of 1988, led by Rocky Malebane.
1 2
In 1993/4 Gullit had left Milan for Sampdoria because, amongst others, in 1992/3 season, he was left out of the side that
won the European Cup Final against Marseille. AC scored one goal. Such was his stunning return to form that Milan re-
signed him. But the relations with the AC management had gone so soar that in 1994/5 season Ruud re-joined Sampdoria
and led them to victory in the Italian Cup Final before his exodus to England.
1 3
By Harris, H. and Marcel van Der Kraan,, London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996,
1 4
The first time I put together this writing was for the Nelson Mandela Scholarship advertisement, which appeared
nationally in the newspapers in 1998. That June I had just submitted a complete MA thesis that I had been struggling with to

Page 7
against apartheid and our struggle for freedom. I was not disappointed because the reasons were there
in his biography, and here is just one that in my opinion is central.
"Gullit’s first confrontation with the hostilities against black people came when he was a 13-
year-old schoolboy. With one of his friends, he had been hanging around in a big store. Like
many naughty boys of that age, his friend had wanted to pinch a bar of chocolate. After
approaching the shelf three or four times, his friend did not have the courage and Ruud
decided to leave the shop. As they went t hrough the door, a security man stopped them and
took Ruud to the police. He was accused of shoplifting. The other boy was not even asked
what he had been up to. Only Ruud Gullit was arrested - because he was black."
1 5
The argument I am building here is that, from that tender age of 13, Gullit’s conscience was awakened
to racial prejudice in his own society, which he said:
“That was my first direct experience with racism, and I can tell you, it wasn’t an easy thing to cope
with. It was a totally bemusing experience, and I think I grew up a bit quicker as a result of it. It was
certainly a turning point for me, because I started to realise what the real world was all about.”
1 6
Here, I think, it is also worth reflecting on the composition of his national soccer squad. The Dutch
team reached the finals of the World Cup in 1974 and 1978, but did not have a single black Dutch
player in the squad. Consequently, in 1982 Ruud Gullit became the first black player to represent his
country when he made his international debut on his 19
t h
birthday. This was fundamentally important
“[I]n Ruud Gullit, black people in the Netherlands, and throughout Europe, had a successful
sportsman to look up to. A star who was prepared to fight against Apartheid and to campaign
for all the black people in the world.”
1 7
For that very reason, for many of us who were born under apartheid
1 8
, the personality of Ruud Gullit
has a very similar significance to that which Gullit himself, writing in 1996 attaches to that of
"Mandela means so much to me and to other young people in the world. He was arrested in
1962 which is the same year that I was born. It is hard to imagine that someone was in prison
almost all the time that I was alive."
1 9
complete for the past three-and-half years. As a result, the application for this scholarship was written with a free spirited
mind without feeling guilty that I was wasting some valuable time.
1 5
Portrait, p.181. The conversation on this racist confrontation is, in Ruud’s autobiography, distinctly pregnant in meanings
and since I got this material late for inclusion in this paper, I’ll debate orally during my presentation. It’s critical because it’s
a good reflection of the burden of race: blackness and whiteness. And if you are interested, see his chapter seven titled
Colour of Skin, pp. 109-117in
Ruud Gullit: My Autobiography . Updated and revised, London: Arrow Books, 1999
1 6
Ruud Gullit: My Autobiography. Updated and revised, London: Arrow Books, 1999, p.111. I am grateful to De idre Prins,
Education Department Programs Coordinator, Robben Island Museum, for remembering to look out for this much needed
autobiography on her recent trip to London.
1 7
Portrait, p.181.
1 8
Speaking for myself, at the time of my birth in 1967, Nelson Mandela had already served three-and-half years, joining
Robert Sobukwe, on Robben Island. In addition to that, for the first twenty-three years of my life, he was in prison. I
remember when we were growing up, we were told by the elders that one could actually be arrested for just mentioning
Mandela’s name or Robben Island. Now some of that generation has this unbelievable crazy opportunity to work on Robben
Island. It’s like walking on history. It is complex and painful. But above all, it is cleansing the soul and inspiring.
1 9
Portrait p.182.

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Racism and Chelsea Football Club
When Ruud Gullit chose to join Chelsea of all the clubs in the world, people within the football
community were very surprised. But Ruud described his move from Italy to Stamford Bridge, home-
ground of Chelsea, as “a decision from the heart.”
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Is it possible that this decision had anything to do
with the history of Chelsea, or was it just one of life’s coincidences?
The history of Chelsea Football Club, like Gullit's, is a very interesting one.
"... Chelsea fans were among the most notorious in the country for t heir open support of the
National Front. From the mid-'70s to the early '80s, Chelsea were some of the worst offenders
as racism and violence took over a significant section of the game and the authorities turned
a blind eye ... At the time many supporters actively refused to support black players wearing
blue shirts [Chelsea's jerseys], and those players were subjected to horrific racial abuse ...
Goals scored by black players were refused acknowledgement, even to the extent of
constructing their own league tables discounting those goals.
2 1
Given this background, it seems incredible that a black man, one with dreadlocks
2 2
, for that matter,
led the most racist soccer club of the seventies and eighties out at Wembley for the 1997 FA Cup
Final in May.
"The teams emerged from the tunnel at the opposite end of the stadium from the Chelsea
contingent, at the red end. But even all that distance away, Ruud Gullit still led out the
Chelsea team looking like a giant, looking as if he owned the place, cool and calm in his dark
blue suit, the first foreign coach ever ... The Man had pride, you could see it."
2 3
It is clear that this statement - ‘The Man had pride, you could see it’- operates on several levels. One
meaning is obvious in the quotation above, and that is pride in his team, the work they had done. And
the not-so-obvious meaning points directly to the legacy and “message of self-esteem pride: Black
2 4
2 0
Ruud Gullit: Portrait, p.29.
2 1
Total Football, October 1997, p.46.
2 2
I am aware that many people dislike the name “dreadlocks” because they assume it’s negative. I like, even enjoy, the word
“dreadlocks” because whenever I use it I find myself in bemused dialogue with African ancestors on several continentsæthose of
our people who grew to dislike their own hair because its uniqueness was unappreciated by the flat-haired people who conquered
them and who decreed their o wn physical characteristics the norm.” Walker, A., Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s
Activism, New York: Random House Inc., 1997, p.175. If you have as much interest in this hair topic as I do, you would find the
article, “Oppressed Hair Puts a Ceiling on the Brain” in Living by the Word , an enlightening read. Same author.
2 3
Downes, S., Bridge of Sighs: Chelsea’s 1996 - 1997 Season.1997, pp.197 -8. My Autobiography also stresses this pride.
See especially chapter eleven titled Precious FA Cup, pp.161-174.
2 4
Harlan Judith, Mamphela Ramphele: Challenging Apartheid in South Africa, New York: The Feminist Press, 2000,

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The Wisdom of Black Consciousness:
Biko, Mandela, Mbeki and Marley
2 5
I have borrowed a framework for an understanding of Black Consciousness. Here it is reflected in
both political and popular culture from the writings of Biko, Mandela, Mbeki and Bob Marley. Their
writings are helpful in unpacking ‘the man had pride, you could see it’ beautifully.
I Write What I Like is definitely a starting point for this awareness.
2 6
When I was a boy at home, two
of my elder brothers, Sello (Cry) and Lemogang (Awareness), were politically conscious through their
African history studying and photojournalism interests respectively.
2 7
They owned this copy of I
Write What I Like, and it was in a terrible shape, with lose pages in between. They kept it on top of
our wooden wardrobe in our bedroom which all of us shared. Every time each one was reading it and,
for some reason, forgot to put it back to where they agreed it should be placed, they came screaming
at me: “Hey wena e kae I Write What I Like! Or “Hey, wena, e kae buka ya Biko!”
2 8
Both meaning
respectively, ‘Hey, you! Where is I Write What I Like!’ And ‘Hey, you! Where is Biko’s book!’ So
from a very early age of about ten, which is what my age was at the time of this seventies decade, I
knew only three things about this book. Firstly, that it was called I Write What I Like. Secondly, that it
had something to do with Biko not that I knew that Biko wrote it! And thirdly, that it was a
dangerous book to carry it around and play with it. In fact, I was not allowed to touch it! Anyway, I
was not interested. How can a boy of my age be interested in such an extraordinarily book, worse in
tatters!? I had no reason at all to be, this book was funnily associated with gevarlek
2 9
when I did feel I
2 5
The list is endless: Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Spike Lee. And our supposedly Un-educated parents
and elders, whom, unlike us, are not diplomated, degreed, honoured, mastered, PhD-ed and post-doctoraled. And in that
sense, the sense of their self (black-consciousness) is still intact because the western education which most of us went
through taught us to question and dislike our sense of our self, which cannot be any other except that very
2 6
Biko, S., I Write What I Like. A Selection of his Writings, New Edition, Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1996.
2 7
Sello Ramoupi, 4
t h
born, compiled an album on Africa’s history and politics. I remember one time when he was
taken by Security forces from our home, they were black policemen and so careful with him in the public. Lemogang,
Ramoupi, 5
t h
born , was in love with photography that he was earning so much from taking community gatherings
pictures that he ended up paying for his school fees and whatever was required. He free-lanced for Pretoria News
while doing his High Schooling. These were the types of brothers I grew up with and were my role models. Not any
politician or consciousness-raisers like Mandela or Bob Marley.
2 8
Written in Setswana, my mother tongue. I am Motswana and proud.
2 9
‘Gevarlek’ means danger in Afrikaans. This language caused the June 16 1976 Students Riots in Soweto and
country wide gene rally. Because of that, I did not do that well for my Matric Examinations in Afrikaans subject, not
because I am stupid. No. Simply because our attitude towards learning Afrikaans, even in the early eighties, was not
still not favourable. And when the official language(s)’ issue came up with the birth of the New South Africa, there
was, I think, an unnecessary concern, among the Afrikaans’ speaking white South Africans, that the Mandela or even
the present Mbeki presidency/government are intending to do away with their Afrikaans language and all that goes
with it. And our two Presidents have said it categorically that. although the white community’s concerns are

Page 10
was not getting enough time in a day to indulge myself in our passion, playing challanse
3 0
, street
soccer tournaments.
After about another decade, I was in my early twenties, I saw that film Cry Freedom during my
formative first years at the University of Bophuthatswana. And then immediately I bought Cry
Freedom, a novel by John Briley based on the original screenplay.
3 1
This is how I got interested and
attracted to that beautifully black man, Steve Bantu Biko. In late 1988 I was one of the hundreds
students that were first imprisoned and then expelled from Unibo for our political persuasions.
3 2
then in 1989 I enrolled at the University of Natal, Durban, where this late eighties black
student generation was accommodated in Alan Taylor Residence (ATR), where the Biko generation
resided during the late sixties and seventies medical students years. It was at ATR that I first read and
bought a copy of that famous book, I Write What I Like, that my two brothers owned at home. I love
my brothers for their bizarre affection with that Biko book. As I read I Write What I Like, in Durban,
so far away from home and my brothers, I could not help but wish they could had at least told me why
their tattered copy of Bantu Biko was so captivatingly important to them. For that I am not sure I can
forgive them. A lesson for me in this is that if something is significant to you tell those around yo u,
understandable especially when you take into consideration what the previous National Party governments have done
particularly with the indigenous African languages. But it is not in their interests to do like they’ve treated us. My
mother, who’s worked almost all her life for the Afrikaans speaking families in Pretoria, is more fluent in Afrikaans
than she’s in English. Just for that reason, my beloved mother, black and beautiful as she is, would vote for and not
against Afrikaans. It’s just common sense, our mothers have that in abundance. It’s got nothing to do with politics of
race and language. Both of which my mother has no gain or interest really. My mother represents easily the majority
of the mothers of my generation, especially those who worked for the Afrikaans speaking families nationally. These
mothers, I believe, are not in the minority.
Now I am in the Cape of Good Hope. I have awakened to the fundamental significance of Afrikaans language that is
obvious here. And after having spent a decade in Durban, which is very English, and at the same period have also
been on an academic institution that is so proud to be English, I am saddened by the fact that my Afrikaans never got a
chance to improve there. If I had fooled myself about the insignificance of Afrikaans in my post-June 16 1976 period,
my migration to Western Cape province has rude awakened me of the critical importance of Afrikaans.
Moreover, Robben Island and it’s history of political imprisonment, which is my area of interest, was conducted
mainly with Afrikaans as the medium of instruction. So far, I have interviewed three Ex-Warders already, because we
cannot comprehend political imprisonment without their voices. In these interviews I found out that because their
English is so broken and my Afrikaans is so broken, we cannot have a flowing communications. And my deepest wish
is if I can go back to my post-June 16 1976 times and change my attitude towards Afrikaans so that I can
communicate fluently with these vaders (fathers)
and properly in Afrikaans and in my mother-tongue, Setswana, you
know, why not?
3 0
Challenges of street soccer where we would put money each street team and winners take-it-all type of thing. It
comes from this English word ‘challenge’ but as we were not concerned about trying to be gentlemen’s at that age,
saying challanses was just enough and right. Thanks to my partner, Chunku Chomi Nkosi
born and bred in streets of
Soweto herself for reminding me that we called those street soccer games ‘Challanses’ and that it is important that
we do not change the vocabulary of our times to satisfy others’ needs. Because, yes, All that we love can be saved.
3 1
John Briley, Cry Freedom: A True Story of Friendship London: Penguin Books,1987. I cried during the filming of
this movie. But I also laughed so much. There was so much beauty that was worth crying and laughing about, you
3 2
This generation of students need to write this history so that we stop distorting our history by putting too

Page 11
for example, the National Party Presidents, like P.W. Botha, told us and the world that apartheid was
good because it was separate development.
Since I Write What I Like is a fundamental departing point for me, I find Bantubonge
3 3
definition of Black Consciousness interesting and it is worth sharing with you:
“What Black Consciousness seeks to do is to produce at the output end of the process real
black people who do not regard themselves as appendages to white society [and in the New
South Africa, this is applicable to anyone---amongst the AfriKan people themselves---who
perceives themselves superior to another]. This truth cannot be reversed. We do not need to
apologise for this because it is true that the white systems have produced through the world a
number of people who are not aware that they too are people. Our adherence to values that
we set for ourselves can also not be reversed because it will always be a lie to accept white
values as necessarily the best.
3 4
A clip from the film Cry Freedom helps to illustrate precisely what Biko meant by Black
Consciousness producing at the output end of the process real black people:
“They [Donald Woods & Bantubonke] drove out to the clinic at Zanempilo [meaning
literally, ‘to come with health’]. It was about fifteen miles from King William’s Town, located
in arid hill country on land so dry no one in South Africa bothered to farm it. They were
followed by the two local security police, Biko’s ‘minders’, and as they sped up the dusty hill
road that led to the clinic, Woods glanced in the rear-view mirror at the police car eating
their dust and creating a second cloud of its own.
… Woods parked the car into a little space just below the clinic compound. The police car
had stopped at its usual spot further back on the road. Woods and Biko got out of the car,
Woods lingering by the door to view the whole complex. There were three buildings – long,
single storey, of wood, looking a little like military barracks – then the church and a large
outhouse. There w as a line of blacks waiting outside the building nearest them – pregnant
women, women with small babies, children, old men.
Dr Mamphela Ramphele had come out of the central door to select some patients from the
waiting queue. She was in her white clinical coat, a stethoscope around her neck, some files
in her hands. She paused on seeing Woods and Biko together – staring off at them. Even with
her hair drawn back, and her figure straightened by the loose coat, she was a remarkable
sight. For a moment she watched them expressionless, then she gave a short nod to Woods,
glanced at Biko and turned back to her patients.
Woods looked across the top of the car. ‘Was this place her idea – or yours?’ he asked Biko
challengingly. Having met her, he suspected she had more than a little to do with it.
‘It was a “collective” idea,’ Biko replied, answering the challenge in Woods’ voice with a bit
of steel in his own. Then he glanced up at Mamphela again. ‘But we were lucky to find her,’
he added.
Woods weighed it all – her intelligence, Biko’s reputation. Well, it didn’t make any difference.
The clinic was a kind of miracle whoever pulled it off. He turned to Biko again, the challenge
still in his voice, but some of the unpleasantness gone. ‘And a white “liberal” doctor doing
the same thing wouldn’t serve your purpose?’ he queried ironically.
much emphasis on our liberation struggle being won mainly by politicians, political prisoners all over and the exiled.
We have been here all our lives, young and very angry to grow up under apartheid governments that Denied Us Our
Dreams .
3 3
Translated loosely, “Bantubonge” which is Biko’s AfriKan name, means all the people. It is interesting that Biko lived
and died attempting to unite or bring all the people together.
3 4
I Write What I Like, p. 51. Chapter 9, pp.48-53.

Page 12
Biko’s voice took on a solemnity Woods hadn’t yet heard. ‘When I was a student trying to
qualify for the jobs you people let us have,’he began, ‘I was suddenly realised that it wasn’t
just jobs that were “white”, the history we read was made by white men, written by white men
… medicines, cars’ – he hit the roof of the Mercedes – ‘television, aeroplanes – all invented
by white men – even football…’ He paused for a moment, reflecting on i t broodingly. And
Woods was struck by his sombre reaction as by the thought itself. ‘In a world like that,’ Biko
went on, ‘it’s hard not to believe there’s something inferior about being born black.’
He let it hang in the air for a moment, then he glanced back at the two policemen watching
him from the shadows of the police car. ‘I came to think that that feeling was even a bigger
problem for us than what the Afrikaners and the System were doing to us.’ Slowly, he turned
to Woods to Woods. ‘I felt that, first, the black man had to believe he had as much capacity to
be a doctor - a leader – as a white man.’ He paused and Woods made his first concession,
nodding his understanding of that thought, impressed by it, and at last impressed by the man
who reached it.
Biko looked off at the clinic. ‘So we tried to set this place up,’ he said. ‘My own mistake was
to put some of those ideas on paper.’
‘And the Government banned you.’
Biko nodded and glanced across at him. ‘And the “fighting liberal editor”, Donald Woods,
started attacking me.’”
3 5
Black Consciousness was/is not about black men, like Bantubonke Biko and his generation only. It
was/is about black women too. Feminism, if you like. But what is feminism, anyway? I am not sure,
but the writing of a colleague c ould assist here:
-----Original Message-----
prince dube []
Monday, November 27, 2000 10:44 AM
Mellanie Shell-Weiss; Cheryl Dixon; Dorothea Groenewald; Graham Goddard;
Hallie Stone; Leslie James; Louis Grundlingh; Marius Coetzee; Mieta
Motlhabane; Neo Ramoupi; Paul Tichmann; Phyllis Zungu; Ronald Dorris;
Trevor Mokeyane; Carol Van Wyk; Leanne Engelberg; Diana N'Diaye; Marsha
Subject: Feminism
Dear All,
This debate is for everybody, Africans and Americans. The issue is
universal and feminism struggles against all forms of descrimination.
I think I am getting somewhere with the understanding of feminism. You
haven't had a thing about my grandmother. That was a superwoman. I owe the
respect I have for women to her too. I don't even want to start with my
mother, because you may want to vote her for presidency. (With due respect
to Americans). It seems as if I was a victim of man's sully campaign to
denigrate women's right movement to think that the outcome of feminism is a
familyless society.
It is therefore not bad at all to be a feminism from my perspective. I
3 5
Briley J, Cry Freedom. Based on his original screenplay, London: Penguin Books, 1987, pp.35-6. I intend to use this film
clipping for the presentation of this paper at a Conference at Wits titled The Burden of Race: in July 2001. It is this film (of
the life of Donald Woods), and not my formal education at school and university, that started this awakening for me. I saw it
in Mmabatho (North West province) in 1988 when I was a student at Unibo. It made me cry. But I laughed too.

Page 13
didn't want to bring the goddess of life, my mother uNjomane, in this
subject, but it is impossible to write without touchimg her. It might be a
strange thing that when my brother and I grew up we were not read any
bedtime stories. But my mother would read us a book in the morning. You may
thing of all the books your parents read you when you were small, I guess
none of those books was my mother's choice. She read us biography of John
Fitzgerald Kennedy, former US President. My brother was 3 and I was 5 years
old by then.
When we grew older I had learnt from school that work at home is divided
according to sex. I refused to do some work on the grounds that that was
for women. I will never forget the way my mother washed that theory from my
mind. From that time I learnt to do anything without categorising it. She
also proved that women are better than man in all the years she raised us
without saying a word about it. In fact I should be writing a book about
her and my grandmother.
I think the idea of oppressing women is learnt from school. My grandfather
never went to school and he didn't oppress his wife, but my father went to
school and he forced my mother to leave her profession and become a house
wife. That is why she had time to read us book in the morning. She finaly
decided to defy my father and went back to work, indeed with her
mother-in-law's backing (umaMwandla). My grandmother loved my mother mo re
than her own biological children. I sometimes became jealous because my
mother would spend more time with my grandmother than us.
The other issue that we need to address to finalise women's emancipation is
the patriarchal system, in both the family and the state. In the modern
families we have surnames which we didn't before. (Dr Zungu must please
correct me if I am wrong here). When a feminist chooses to marry a man, man
domination is sustained through surname. Before we used our father's names
(although this was also patriarchal) as surnames, and a married woman would
keep that name as her name. My mother's surname is Mhlongo (supposed to be
called umaMhlongo), but is called Mhlongo by my grandparents and the
community because of respect she is commanding in the family and the
community due to her hardiness. What should be done? The struggle shouldn't
take so long.
Since I have decided to marry (a woman) soon, I realy don't know what to do
to eradicate the remaining oppresive practices. I want my wife to be as
happy and free as my grandmother. Your help will be appreciated.
3 6
Prince Dube is an artist and he works for the Johannesburg Art Gallery. We met in Michigan State University
last July when we were a group of South Africans attending a Workshop on Culture, Arts, History, Research
and Museums in the USA. We have been keeping contacts and our intention is to co-write a book from the
perspectives of this Feminism letter. Because we believe all that we love can be saved.

Page 14
In this letter I am attracted to “[b]ring the goddess of life, my mother uNjomane, in this subject.” I
think it’s actually more relevant because, and for her principle that she adopted when she raised
her children, which is clear in this paragraph:
“When we grew older I had learnt from school that work at home is divided
according to sex. I refused to do some work on the grounds that that was
for women. I will never forget the way my mother washed that theory from my mind. From that
time I learnt to do anything without categorising it. She also proved that women are better than
man in all the years she raised us without saying a word about it. In fact I should be wr iting a
book about her and my grandmother.”
uNjomane, Prince Dube’s mother, I believe, she was talking about women of the stature of Mamphela
Ramphele, who challenging Apartheid in South Africaæwhen, according to her son, Prince, said
‘women are better than man.’
3 7
This clinic, Zanempilo, “was also a chance for black South Africans to prove ‘what their own people
could do’, explained Mamphela’s friend, Father Aelred Stubbs, in his memoirs. The clinic was run by
black South Africans for black South Africans, and the medical care was top-notch. As it turned out,
the clinic also raised the consciousness of both patients and staff, but not through political discussion.
It inspired people because it was an example demonstrating what blacks could accomplish. ‘The spirit
of Zanempilo … proclaimed the gospel of Black Consciousness far more effectively than any
“political talk” could have done’, wrote Father Stubbs.
Zanempilo reflected Mamphela’s ideals; it was dynamic, dignified, and responsible.
3 8
This seventies d ecade was a time of hard work, with high hopes, and joyous gatherings. In addition to
directing the clinic, she also began managing Black Community Programmes in the Eastern Cape. She
was at the hub of a movement, surrounded by excitement, and busy every day with work toward
South Africa’s liberation.
3 9
If this movement of Black Consciousness is what produced current World Bank’s Director for Health,
Education, and Social Protection, Dr/Professor Mamphela Ramphele, is it too much to request to
revive and cease to distort its real mission and message?
Before Mamphela left for Washington DC, for this Directorship, ‘she told Chronicle of Higher
Education that she sees this as an important opportunity for a South African women “to put on [the
bank’s] agenda issues that are of importance to those of us who living in the developing world.”
4 0
It’s proper that to conclude
Black Consciousness is about black women too. Feminism, if you
I reiterate the last paragraph of her Challenging Apartheid in South Africa’s chapter:
“Mamphela’s work in the Black Consciousness movement is rewarded today as young black
South Africans find their way to self-confidence and embrace Black Consciousness ideas as their
own. She has come a long way, long way from her childhood in apartheid South Africa, from the day
when the domineer of her village told her that a young black woman becoming a doctor was a pipe
3 7
Harlan Judith, Mamphela Ramphele: Challenging Apartheid in South Africa, New York: The Feminist Press, 2000.
3 8
Mamphela Ramphele: Challenging Apartheid in South Africa, p.63.
3 9
Challenging Apartheid in South Africa, p.63.
4 0
Mamphela Ramphele: Challenging Apartheid in South Africa, p.99.

Page 15
dream. She made it past many ‘gatekeepers’ along the way who tried to fence black students, and
especially girls, out of white schools. Today,
4 1
as vice-chancellor of a top South African University,
she has become a gatekeeper herself. But as she sees her job, it is not to keep the gates closed, but to
keep opening them again and again until opportunity is open wide to all.”
4 2
In 1989 F.W. de Klerk took over the leadership of the ruling party, National Party, and the political
mapping of South Africa took a radical turn. Amongst the many, was De Klerk’s announcement that
all political organisations were to be unbanned.
4 3
In that significant year, the University of Natal, Durban’s (UND)most famous students residence,
Alan Taylor Residence (ATR) was closing down. The generation of Mamphela, Biko, Gomolemo
Mokae, Dr Ben Ngubane, Dr Barney Pityana, Mamphela and many others
4 4
all except Pityana, resided
at ATR during their medical studies years. This residence was located in a formerly Coloured
residence, Wentworth, just next door to the Oil Refinery, and far away from the main campus of the
UND. This separation was as a consequence of apartheid legislation which segregated residential
areas according to races. Zanempilo was actually conceptualised at ATR during their medical
practitioners’ training and trials.
4 5
In October 1989, these spirits of Zanempilo gathered at ATR when
all medical students of the sixties and seventies were invited to close a horrible and important chapter
in the history of Natal University and ATR respectively.
4 6
The generation of black students that enrolled at UND and were accommodated at ATR, were the last
to enjoy the privilege, opportunity and fortune of being in the hub of the reminiscence of the ‘ spirit of
Zanempilo.’ What most thought was a reflection of the generation of Biko, Prof. Malegapuru W.
Makgoba, Dr Gomolemo Mokae, Dr Ben Ngubane, Dr Barney Pityana, Mamphela and many others, I
am one of the students who got to UND in 1989. Retrospectively, it was for me a question of bearing
4 1
Today she is at the Headquarters of the World Bank in Washington DC.
4 2
Mamphela Ramphele: Challenging Apartheid in South Africa, p.99.
There’s been a lot written on this period. I’ve enjoyed Talking with the Enemy, chapter ten of Long Walk to
Freedom, pp.502-548, because Nelson Mandela takes you through some of the craziness that occurred in the
early 1980s and what preceded De Klerk’s change of heart, if that was the case.
Biko was assassinated in 1977 September. His spirit lives on. Prof. Malegapuru W. Makgoba is President of the
Medical Research Institution here in Cape Town. He taught all of us a lesson as vice-chancellor of Wits University.
See his book for these lessons, titled Mokoko: The Makgoba Affair) Dr Gomolemo Mokae is my hometown (Ga -
Rankuwa) brother, and is a respected Medical Doctor and Script-Writer for the South African Broadcasting
Corporation (SABC). Dr Ben Ngubane is Our National Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. And
Dr Barney Pityana is the Chairperson of South African Human Rights Commission, as well as Prof/Dr Maphela
Ramphele currently one of the Directors of World Bank in Washington DC. The list is endless…
See Mamphela Ramphele’s autobiography,
Mamphela Ramphele:
A Life.
Horrible because how can an institution of higher learning dump its future medical doctors, Ministers and
Directors of World Bank in such a terrible place as ATR. And important in so many ways. First, because look
what these medical students have become today. Second, it has never been about living in posh surroundings
that nurtures what we are and what we want to be. Thirdly, and which is a fundamental lesson for those who
were in government then and now, you cannot fool all the people all the time (Bob Marley), which I think
apartheid was about.

Page 16
witness to black culture.
4 7
Stayed there for a decade and proudly earned myself MA in History
Research degree at the cost of enormous student loans, which we are struggling to repay with
abnormal interest rates.
4 8
Mamphela’s ideals, her dynamism, her dignity, and her responsibility are all, like the health care she
provided at Zanempilo, found in the “message of self-esteem and pride: Black Consciousness”.
4 9
Songs of Freedom: Bob Marley
5 0
This message of self-esteem and pride is all in the name and life of Nesta Bob Marley. Even after his
death, that message continues to ring in our conscience because of his legacy contained in his Songs
of Freedom.
Every country has its own Freedom Songs.
Baleka Kgosietsile-Mbete, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has this to say about our own ‘south african
freedom songs, inspiration for liberation’:
“In the struggle, music has played a role that I just don’t see how one would have got through
the many years of struggle at home, in exile, in camps, all over the world, without being sustained by
music, song. You had to sing to keep yourself alive.”
5 1
This past weekend, June 22-24, 2001, our Heritage Interviewing crew was hosting the
‘Khulukuthu’/B-Section Ex-Political Prisoners as part of the museum’s preparations to open the
Exhibitions of the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island Building on the V and A Waterfront.
4 7
Borrowing the title of Michael Eric Dyson’s book, Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black
Culture, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. My gratitude to my colleague, Inez Stephney for interesting me in
the title of this book.
For example, since I began working on Robben Island Museum at the beginning of last year, I’ve been paying
Stand Bank R1200, which is Stopped Ordered directly from my salary to their Bank. As recently as April, Stand
Bank is summoning me to the Courts because they want me to increase that amount to R3500 monthly as if I am
earning this 4X4 salaries that is becoming the norm in the New South Africa! Now the big question that I want
to ask these Banking institutions Managers, whom 99% of them are white s till, is what role is these Banks
playing in the Presidential program of African Renaissance? You must not misunderstand me, I am not for the
cancellations of these Students Loans because we are about building our beloved country.
4 9
Mamphela Ramphele: Challenging Apartheid in South Africa, p.53.
5 0
Songs of Freedom is a compilation of Bob Marley’s work, from the beginning – Judge Not, which was the song he
recorded, to the end - Redemption Song, a song considered the very last he recorded, in Bob Marley Foundation, Island
Records Ltd., 1992. Three years later (1995), a book was also produced with the same title Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom,
by Boot, A., and Salewicz, C., with Rita Marley (Marley’s wife) as executive editor. USA: Viking Penguin.
5 1
This comes from the first page of the booklet which is a part of the two CD compilation of 25 songs of the South
African Liberation Struggle, titled South African Freedom Songs Inspiration for Liberation, for Mayibuye Centre and
Robben Island Museum. At the time (year 2000), they were separate institutions. Celebrating 25 Anniversary of June
16 1976, on the June 13 2001, Deputy President and former Robben Islander for a decade, Jacob Zuma, official
opening the Union of Mayibuye Centre with Robben Island Museum. We are one organization now in two diverse
locations---on the island and on the mainland, at the University of Western Cape. This makes our historical archiving
a difficult task, for instance, I am within the Research Unit and our Collections Unit is at Mayibuye Centre with its
staff. All two Units belong to one Department, Heritage.

Page 17
The ‘Khulukuthu’ terrorists for others and freedom fighters for us is the early 1960s and early 1970s
prisoners of conscience in South Africa. They moved us when they sang some of these Freedom
Songs inspiration for liberation for us a generation that was not born yet when they were their
consciousness imprisoned them.
5 2
So Bob Marley’s Songs of Freedom is, I think, more universal than it is Jamaican. A good example is
the Zimbabwean Independence in April 1980, when newly appointed President, Robert Mugabe, had
invited Marley to come and sing his songs of freedom with the Zimbabweans in Harare. When Bob
sang his ‘Zimbabwe’ Song, it is recorded that almost all the Zimbabwean freedom fighters sang in
unionism this liberation song with Bob Marley and the Whalers so much that they wrote it with Bob
5 3
Who would not love this beautiful song:
Get Up, Stand Up, Stand up for your Rights”?
It is such a simple but powerful statement to make and Marley was exceptional when it came to that.
Amnesty International found this song too influential to ignore. The result was that this global
organization used ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ song as their anthem.
5 4
Ruud Gullit, in his battles, could not resist the message that is present and carried in this song:
“The more you stand up for your rights, the bigger a player you are, the more hostility you will face. I
just said to myself during these trying periods, ‘Okay, Ruud, when you stick up for yourself you know
what happen.’ I haven’t changed my attitude: I’ve always done what I felt had to be done, what was
5 5
The importance of Bob Marley is, for me, in the role that he centrally occupied as a human being who
was so passionate about
“giving the poor a voice in the international arena of ideas. His message was that the
individual has intrinsic dignity and e ver shall. Meantime, thanks to the politicians Marley
never trusted, the sufferahs in the shantytowns of West Kingston are barely subsisting in
squalor twice as horrendous as that which the Tuff Gong [Marley] knew. So when these
downtrodden say, ‘Send us a nother Bob Marley’, they are not asking for another musical
superstar, or even another candidate for the Order of Merit. They are simply seeking a
kindred spirit of the kind who would believe like Bob. They want a leader who needn’t run for
office, so long as he has the integrity to fulfill his true dignity. They need a person with the
courage to act on hope, a role model whose own voice is the mirror of his conscience.”
5 6
What was the conscience of Bob Marley?
5 2
Amongst them those who managed to defer their busy scheduled were our chairperson, Ahmed Kathrada, Namibian
Labour Minister, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, Botswana’s Opposition Party member, Kitso Michael Dingake, Wilton
Mkwayi, Lulamile Clarance Makwetu etc. it’s meetings like this that no cash prize can buy.
5 3
Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom
5 4
See Bob Marley Foundation, p.28.
5 5
Black and White, Issue 56, p.32.
5 6
Bob Marley Foundation, p.45.

Page 18
The reformation of the Wailers in 1974 after Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston (later Wailer) had left
saw the new-look Wailers fusing so many elements of the black experience. The elements of this
high-powered team created the album that stamped Marley’s name indelibly on rock consciousness,
and set the seal on the psyche of a generation of black youth.
Natty Dread was the album and he talked about “I! Rebel music!”
5 7
For many black youths, Marley came just in time. There had been no inspirational movement to
identify with since the Black Panthers. What Natty Dread presented was a forceful, positive image of
Rasta, burning with righteous anger and determination. It was serious music, reality music, dealing
with their own everyday degradations and petty brutalisations that Marley was also experiencing as an
anti-social dread in Jamaica, played in a roots reggae.
5 8
This was significant, for
“Rasta gave black youth a new, dread way of walking, with head high and proud, and an
incentive to check their roots. For some people, that meant changing their accent to sound more like
visiting Jamaicans. For others, it meant learning Amharic. Changing your name to lose the colonial
slave label and re-claim a new, African identity.
The idea of a place where you belong is seductive, if where you are conspires constantly to
make you feel unwanted, by harassment and rejection on every level.
5 9
In Natty Dread Marley sang:
A dreadlock congo bongo I
Children get your culture.
6 0
Marley was out there, indomitable like a lion ruling in the jungle, beautiful, speaking the truth and
actually making a fortune doing so. The fact that a black man could retain his dignity and integrity
and still be an internationally respected star, was an inspiration.
6 1
Black youth and some white youth
globally started to break their combs to grow their hair into dreadlocks and consequently faced mis-
educated and mis-informed criticisms from their families and communities. Armed with a MA
History degree in 1999 I went for I-don’t-know-how-many job interviews with my long dreadlocks
proudly and neatly falling over my neck, and invariably, the panels’ attitude centred on my locks and
what they assumed (mis-education and mis-information) it meant. Some even were so ignorant to tell
me to my face that I would lose myself a
Job! [Sunday, 18 February 2001: 18h00 E-tv News bulletin reported on Rasta’s fight for dreadlocks at
schools and use of marijuna. I pressed the record button on my VHS! ☺ How Lucky Can Obe Get?]
And again, because I am black, I believe that this is what Bob Marley, like Bantubonge Biko and
Malcolm X, did for the oppressed majority:
“Bob Marley was the one man who raised black consciousness among the youth of our
generation. He helped us understand a little better the problems that blacks around the world
are faced with.”
6 2
And just a less than a year before he died, Marley performed at the Zimbabwe’s Independent Day in
1980. He sang for the first time a song titled Zimbabwe. In the lyrics of Zimbabwe Marley’s
consciousness, which is black and African is visible and clear:
5 7
Boot, A., and Goldman, V., Bob Marley: Soul Rebel – Natural Mystic, Auckland: Hutchinson Group, 1981, p.13.
5 8
Bob Marley: Soul Rebel – Natural Mystic, p.14.
5 9
6 0
6 1
6 2
Bob Geldof. I cannot find the source, but I am looking.

Page 19
“Every man is got the right to decide his destiny
And in this judgement there’s no partiality
So arm and arm we’ll fight this little struggle
‘Cause this is the only way we can overcome our little trouble
Whether you’re right or right so right
We go fight, we’ll have to fight, fight for our rights
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
Africans are liberated Zimbabwe
No more internal for our struggle
We come together for our struggle
Soon we’ll find out who’s the real revolutionaries.
6 3
Then in the last concert he performed in the US, Marley made his audience aware that the mission and
purpose of his life was all in his name, Nesta, which means, messenger - Messenger of a people’s
consciousness. In that concert he recorded the extraordinary acoustic song, Redemption Song live,
which was to conclude the “Uprising” album. “There was a feeling of a whole era coming to a
climax. Everyone felt he knew something was going to happen.
6 4
A universal tune, another Marley song that has become a standard, Redemption Song is like a final
statement in a career, a summation of all the themes and thought that had created it.
6 5
While it is true that many things contributed to the formulation of Biko’s Black Consciousness, it is
not a far-fetched claim that the lyrics of Redemption Song was one of those things that played a role.
Considering just these two lines:
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds.”
6 6
It is definite that the period of this emancipate yourself was a time in which young black men and
women asserted their dignity, self-love and independence in a radical new way.
But it would be erroneous and short-sighted if one is not going to look into the preceding periods for
the rootedness of this awareness.
In fact, more than fifty year s ago, Mandela had summarized this consciousness during an address that
was titled ‘Beyond Renaissance and Awakening: 1950s South Africa and Drum’:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?”
6 7
A decade later, Rolihlahla Mandela gave a speech during that famous Rivonia Trial in 1964 at his
defense. That speech is, for me, epitome of not only his own conscience, but also an awakening of a
generation of that time as well as future generations. I mean here was a black man, who faced an all-
6 3
I just listened to Zimbabwe from my Songs of Freedom collection and copied the lyrics.
6 4
Rita Marley. Wife of Bob Marley, in Bob Marley Foundation, p. 56.
6 5
6 6
In His Own Words: Bob Marley, McCann, I.,London: Omnibus Press, 1993, p. 23.
6 7
In/sight African Photographers, 1840 to the Present, Guggenheim Museum (1996).

Page 20
white justice system, and looked them straight in the eyes without blinking, and told them boldly and
with pride that “… if needs be it’s an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” He concluded his
defense, “The struggle is my life.”
6 8
I still have to meet a person who would dispute the fact that it was as a consequence of this
consciousness that Biko died so unnecessarily in September 1977. That brilliant minds of men like
Mandela, Sobukwe
6 9
, and the hundreds of other men were imprisoned and wasted in that hell-hole and
the Island of the Damned,
7 0
Robben Island between the decades of the sixties and early nineties.
Thabo Mbeki Presidency:
I Am an African
7 1
This speech, I argue, is the brainchild of this consciousness. Thabo Mbeki, it is important that we
remind ourselves, that he’s a generation of Biko. That’s why we are not surprised when the focus of
his presidency is the eradication of racism. That was what Biko preached and that’s what he died for.
This consciousness runs so deeply and visibly in his speeches. One very good example was in his
Opening Parliament Address at the beginning of this year, President Mbeki told us:
“We have entered the twenty-first century having resolved and declared, to ourselves as
Africans, and to the rest of the world, that primarily, none but ourselves can extricate us and
our continent from the scars of poverty, underdevelopment and marginalization.”
7 2
Winning Chelsea the FA Cup
I see clearly a connection between this history of Black Consciousness thinking with Ruud Gullit’s
“pride” when he led his team out on the field in Wembley Stadium in London in May 16 1997:
“It was certainly a proud moment as I walked out of the Wembley tunnel at the head of my Chelsea
team. It is a long and interesting walk to the centre touchline, and I enjoyed it very much.
I was told a week before the final that I was the first foreign coach to lead out a team at Wembley for
a domestic cup final.”
7 3
6 8
Rivonia Trial Speech, 1964.
6 9
The scarcity of literature on Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe is frightening. But this is changing, though still at a snail pace.
Our Department, Heritage on Robben Island Museum is conceptualizing projects around the hundreds of sites that are on the
island. One important site is the Sobukwe House where Sobukwe lived separated from other Ex -Political Prisoners (EPPs)
during his incarceration on Robben Island.
7 0
Tokyo Sexwale, former 1970s generation of EPPs who were incarcerated on Robben Island. Visit us at: http:www.robben-
7 1
Mbeki, T., Africa ~ The Time Has Come, Johannesburg: Mafube Publishing , 1998. Presented in Parliament during the
adoption of South African Constitution, Cape Town, May 8 1996. See pp.31-36.
7 2
Opening of Parliament Address By President Thabo Mbeki, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) 2. A Live
Broadcast, February 9 2001.
7 3
Ruud Gullit: My Autobiography. Updated and revised, London: Arrow Books, 1999, p.170. I am grateful to Deidre
Prins, Education Department Programs Coordinator, Robben Island Museum, for remembering to look out for this
much needed autobiography on her recent London trip. Bookstores in South Africa are still continuing to purchase and
sell literatures as if we are still in those banning-of-books decades of apartheid rules! I looked for this book in all
bookstores, including the elitist ones such as Exclusive Books and all of them in the V & A Waterfront Mall. Some of

Page 21
That Saturday afternoon, Ruud won Chelsea the FA Cup and commented
that “lots of people told me I did not realise what it meant for Chelsea fans to win a trophy after 26
years---they are right---but I am very happy for the fans now.”
7 4
This long-awaited victory meant the name of Gullit was written in the annals of history by becoming
the first black manager to achieve that milestone, not just in England, but in the entire Europe. Gullit
has fully shown his commitment to campaigns against racism, not only in football, but in South
Africa's struggle against apartheid. It is as a result of his own personal experience that he is so
conscious of the pain that racism can bring and do to people. Thus, it did not come as a surprise to
those who had been following his campaigns when, in 1996, the Dutch Sports Ministry honoured
Gullit with the role of “European Ambassador” for the campaigns against R acism and Violence in
7 5
Others Sports Personalities Tortured by Racism
Ruud Gullit is not the only sports star who experienced racism. There are other sports superstars
whose lives have been made miserable by racism. A few examples here would not be a digression, but
rather supportive of the theme under discussion.
One is former Arsenal F.C. and England International, Ian Wright, who wrote:
"The first time I pulled on an England shirt should have been one of the proudest days of my
life. Instead it was spoilt for me in a terrible way by racism. The great memories I have of that night
are overshadowed by the fact that I was targeted for abuse just because I was black, and the most
sickening thing for me was that it happened virtually in my own back yard at Millwall."
7 6
Another important figure is Arthur Ashe. The first black tennis player to win a Wimbledon
Championship. Prior to his death, a white reporter from People magazine interviewed him regarding
his Aids disease, which was caused by Aids (as a result of a blood transfusion).
She asked him these questions:
“Mr Ashe, I guess this must be the greatest burden you have ever had to bear, isn’t it?”
Ashe responded:
“No, it isn’t. It is a burden all right. But AIDS isn’t the heaviest burden I have had to bear.”
“Is there something worse? Your heart attack?”
them would be so arrogant to tell me that they do not sell those kinds of books. But when an English Premier League
soccer player, like Bergam, publishes an autobiography, it is all over the stores.
7 4
Quoted from (Chelsea Mailinglist), May 18 [Sunday], 1997.
7 5
Portrait, p. 109.
7 6
Wright, I., Mr Wright: The Explosive Autobiography of Ian Wright, London, 1996, p.104.

Page 22
“…You are not going to believe this, but being black is the greatest burden I have had to bear.”
7 7
President Mandela Honoured Gullit
It amazes me that in June 1997, when Gullit was here in South Africa on a Presidential State visit,
none of our newspapers carried an extensive interview with him. Mind you, it was just a month after
Chelsea won the FA Cup, so the argument that he was known does carry weight. Was it because
Gullit, like his idol, Mandela, is radically outspoken on the matters that attempt to “solve the problem
of the colour line, moving beyond merely identifying racism as a persisting challenge to unite in
action completely to eradicate it together with sexism, xenophobia, ethnicity and all other forms of
7 8
Although I am not condoning it, I can understand why national newspapers that are mainly targeting
white readership might ignore Gullit. But in the case of leading Black newspapers, such as the daily
Sowetan and the Sunday’s City Press, both of which have a predominantly black readership. I still do
not understand it.
Manchester United and Arsenal Football Clubs visited South Africa in 1993 and all the
both nationally and provincially
lined up for these giants of English Premier Soccer
League. Still dreaming to play for Manchester United, it was a dream to see them performing in your
own country. And it felt good to be pay all that costly ticket to watch them play.
7 9
The most comical aspect, I think, is that on March 9th 1997, City Press ran an article which reported
that: "renowned Dutch soccer superstar Ruud Gullit has been invited to visit South Africa in June
1997 - to receive a special award from President Mandela." It went on t o say, "[t]his tribute will be
for his outstanding contribution to football development world-wide as well as his selfless dedication
to the struggle against apartheid." And the title of that article was:
"Get Ready, For Gullit...!
But after all this media anticipation and advertisement, City Press itself did not bother to ‘get ready
for Gullit!’ One wonders what they meant by that. They must have known how much the footballing
community, especially those who felt that Ruud was a representative of their struggle and a role
7 7
Ashe, A., Days of Grace, New York, 1993. This interview appears in the chapter titled “The Burden of Race”, pp133-78.
Bold is my emphasis.
7 8
A quotation extracted from President Mbeki’s Speech on the 25 Commemoration of June 16 1976.
7 9
At the time I was studying in Durban, UND, and I traveled all the way to Ellis Park, Johannesburg, just to see their
first game, which unfortunately we/they lost. My “Captain Marvel” hero, Bryan Robson was red-carded! And as he
walked disgusted off the field, I also marched out of the stadium, with the hope of meeting him down the tunnel for a
chat or autograph. Securities stopped me.

Page 23
model, was anticipating his arrival in South Africa.
8 0
Gullit had made a promise that he would never
dare to visit, or play football in South Africa, until apartheid was dismantled. He is a man of his word.
He kept that promise.
Black newspapers ignored Ruud Gullit. My question is why?
Is it because we were about to clinch the negotiated settlement and consequently we required no
“troubleshooter [because] Ruud Gullit is no ordinary footballer. He has a mind of his own – and for a
start that puts him apart from most of his fellow professionals!”
8 1
Is it because Black Consciousness is still a controversial issue in contemporary South Africa?
8 2
In closing Ruud Gullit: Soccer, Racism and Apartheid, I find critical to quote Gullit himself in his
Colour of Skin chapter:
“Maybe I never had any role models in football, or even in sport generally, but I did have one hero in
my life – Nelson Mandela. When I lived in Holland I used to contribute to a programme on a station
called Radio Vara which supported the work in South Africa of the African National Congress
(ANC), particularly its Free Mandela campaign. I did guest spots on radio show with a whole lot of
other celebrities who were committed to the cause.
What I couldn’t really understand was why Nelson Mandela had been in prison for so long – around
the same number of years as I had been alive. I felt the obvious injustice of it, and when I won the
World and European Footballer of the Year awards in 1987 I dedicated those honours to his name.
Considering I’d been associated publicly with the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, I never
imagined the impact such a gesture would have around the world.”
8 3
The impact for me was so profound that I used Ruud’s picture and his quote about “STOP
APARTHIED” to cover Nelson Mandela’s book, No Easy Walk to Freedom. I had purchased this
book in 1987, which is the year that began unconsciously my own long walk to Robben Island
Museum for the documentation of this anti-apartheid history.
8 0
City Press is our black community bulletin. I still purchase my weekend edition every Sunday, even from such an
isolated place as Robben Island, because they know the interests of their readership. But the non-follow up to the Get
Ready, For Gullit …! Affair is inexcusable.
8 1
Portrait, p. 108. This chapter seven in Ruud Gullit’s biography is actually titled The Troubleshooter, pp. 108-124. It is
interesting that in both books, Portrait and My Autobiography, chapter seven discusses his awareness with racism and
8 2
Mac Maharaj, Reflections in Prison, Cape Town: Robben Island Museum, 2001. Mandela’s chapter on Black
Consciousness is a fascinating, titled Whither the Black Consciousness Movement: An Assessment, pp. 21-64. Written
while in prison and smuggled out when Maharaj was released.
Ruud Gullit: My Autobiography, p.116.

Page 24
The second quote relates to Gullit visit to South Africa in 1997. It was a State Visit, and Mandela
bestowed upon Ruud the highest accolade in South Africa by making him a Commander of the Order
of Good Hope at First ational Bank (FNB) Stadium, outside Soweto, where Bafana-Bafana was
playing against Holland.
“When I went on stage to be presented with this prize, I’ve never felt so proud in all my life.
Also on stage that day was Miss South Africa, and the real compliment Mandela paid me was when
he turned to her and, pointing at people like me, said, ‘These are the real warriors who have worked
so hard and relentlessly against apartheid, and they are the ones who have succeeded. Now that it’s
gone there are so many people who want to join the fight, when it’s too late.’ And he looked at me
when he added, ‘These guys dedicated themselves to the real struggle.’ Well no one could have paid
me greater praise, and that includes my European and World Footballer of the Year awards.”
8 4
The third quote, and which I am convinced is directly linked to this burden of colour - blackness and
whiteness conception:
I admired Nelson Mandela for many reasons, but not necessarily just because I’m black. My mother
is white, I am her son, and I’ve met a whole lot of white people I ’ve admired too. And I would have
the same feelings towards Mandela whatever our colour – because it’s just as much injustice, which
can take many different forms, as it is about race. Nelson Mandela is an easy man to admire because
he just has lots of natural charisma, and few people in this world have such qualities. Princess Diana
was one, and she is a person I admired greatly too. People who possess those qualities are always
greatly loved.”
8 5
I remember Princess Di’s Wedding in the early 1980s, I was still in high school, when my entire
family members glued at the television set to view it live in apartheid-designed township match-box
house. It was so admirable and loveable. It was never about colour.
Also I remember when Lady Di died in that terrible car accident in Paris in August 1997.
8 6
Most of us
were deeply hurt by her passing because she was such a humane and charismatic person, despite all
the negatives that were attached to her name. Again it was never about colour.
But it’s for us
alwaysæabout fighting injustices. That is why I agree with Khwezi ka Mpumlwana
that “the story of the struggle and the story of the anti-apartheid struggle is already not being told. It
Ruud Gullit: My Autobiography, p.116.
Ruud Gullit: My Autobiography, pp.116-17.
Date of Lady Di’s car crush was in the early hours of Sunday morning, August 29 1997. I would never forgot
that weekend because it was the very weekend I was dumped by my girlfriend.

Page 25
would be a shame if we do not tell those stories.”
8 7
I believe that I can use soccer (not to massacre
8 8
) as a vehicle to narrate those stories. And the truth is that President Mbeki is right that “our
own blessing is our capacity to think and act, to understand our reality and to change it.
8 9
Just telling those stories would not be enough; writing them with our backgrounds, our own
perspectives and our personal experiences, and presenting them as papers in forums like this Burden
of Race: Blackness and Whiteness Conference one is where, I think, the challenge(s) for my
generation lies. From here, we can gain the strength and courage to want to publish these papers for
the future generations that will not have had the fortune or misfortune of being born under apartheid.
Living to bearing witness to its dismantling, and the collections and documentation of the painful and
educational memories of the graduates of our University: Robben Island.
Comments and criticisms are welcomed: Ke A Leboga/Thank You:
“Until we can criticize ourselves, and feel safe doing so, there is no hope of molding better values in
our children, or of increasing the respect we feel for ourselves.” (Alice Walker)
NB: Opinions expressed in this paper are mine and do not represent views of any organization,
including Robben Island Museum.
By Neo Lekgotla laga Ramoupi: , Robben Island Museum, Heritage
Department, Research Unit, Robben Island, 7400, Cape Town, South Africa
“None but ourselves can free our minds…” Bob Marley (Redemption Song)
8 7
Khwezi ka Mpumlwana is the Manager of Education Department, Robben Island Museum. He was speaking to the
History Teachers in Cape Town on Women’s Day at University of Western Cape, August 9, 2000.
The recent Ellis Park Tragedy which caused the lives of 43 soccer loving people, including an eleven year old
boy, Rosslyn Andre’ Nation, during the Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
8 9
President Thabo Mbeki, speaking at the second Oliver Tambo Memorial Lecture at Bramfontein Civic Centre,
Johannesburg, August 11, 2000. City Press, August 13, 2000.