Super friends #Kagiso Mnisi

Posted: August 10, 2011 in Super Friends
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Thought Leadership Or Bruhaha? by Kagiso Mnisi

If one Soothsayer to have let the alarms ring during Caesar’s tenure as office bearer about the Ides Of March knew that his successors in the 21st century would forge an industry of foretelling, he would surely demand deity status on whatever cosmological plain he finds himself at. Thought leadership especially at hands of many an analyst, celebrity twitters or even geeky bloggers is quite a peculiar alchemy to observe. No day fails to dusk without hordes being glued to a TV Set in aim to witness the odd Eusebius MacKeiser waxing well versed verbatim about an impotent Judicial system or the lightning fast updates on twitter by Khaya Dlanga about his not so contained reverence for the Mbeki administration.

What one wonders is to what extent are these details an extension of ego more than substance and what is there to be said about those in consumption? In the age of brand trajectories and positionings nothing is truly what it seems, this mentioned the very person one hopes to reap knowledge from in whatever particular sector is after all representative of an agenda if out-rightly put! They are part of an establishment selling an ideology.

So called opinion or thought leaders are anointed by the ordinary man whose conscious/conscience has need to be padded, somebody whose attention is bartered for a piece of information from the all knowing expert. This dynamic serves to be in the same league as celebrity adoration only more principled since its ‘serious stuff’ we are dealing with here right?

This is not to say all channels that link us to various power bases should be rendered obsolete, we are in grave need of whistle blowers and watchdogs to keep an on eye pot-bellied men in suits officiating fraudulent multi million rand leases on buildings at the expense of tax payers money.

The disservice comes with the entrusted hogging the spotlight at whim to lay on thick their countless years in lecture halls absorbing obscure text and then rub it in our noses. The folly lies with the commentator who is quick to be thespian on my set/desktop without giving me substance I can use. Hell none of them could forecast the global financial crisis!What the man on on the street needs are genuine solution models and not long winded diatribe.

Just as leadership should be held to account albeit non existent here at home, those supposedly reporting on and analysing it should be questioned just as well. They should also be put took to task in their motives. I mean is this all for show to prove how distinguished one is in verse or do they genuinely have our backs?


Kagiso Mnisi is a Jo’burg based  journalist and creative writer

He currently writes for Jhb live and





  1. Well put! I suppose the question: who will watch the watchdogs? is pretty obsolete in a global culture where hyper-visibility is so celebrated. But when our channels of expression become nothing more than circus rings and prime-time shrines to eloquent individuals, we have to find a means beyond these channels to express our discontent, or else we simply enter into a dizzying spiral of redundant monitoring and criticism.

    I am not arguing that the analysts, writers and critics who give us insight into our political context are useless in affecting change, I am arguing that their channels of expression are. When an apathetic celebrity obsessed social-networking audience receives the oh so relevant and poetic analysis of our government’s (or any other government for that matter) latest unjust shenanigan, they may be moved to shake their heads in dismay, but they are certainly not moved to arms. I mean when was the last time someone’s twitter feed made you grab a panga and run out onto the highway with the outraged victims of poor service delivery? NEVER.

    And while I support Kagiso’s notion that these channels are not obsolete (they offer food for thought and provide a record of our political and social context) i have to assert that they offer no real means for the mobilization of a society against the evils that they criticize. I am waiting with bated breath for the educated, dictionary-eating, thought leader to take his ideals to the burning streets of Orange Farm, or Standerton and show us the true power of independent thought and self expression at a physical, grass roots level.

    Sigh! I suppose I subscribe to my own quasi-religious myths of revolution and am quietly awaiting the humble, but educated messiah, the next Kwame Nkrumah or Che Guevara to hitchhike his way through our lives and inspire a people to overcome this injustice. So let me know when the first Facebook revolutionary mind manages to get the white English speaking upper classes to use public transport for a week, or inspires Premier “mang mang’s” teenage children to testify against him when he’s subpoenaed for dodgy financial dealings and property purchases in their names- and I too will bow at their virtual alter with that little “thumbs up” button- LIKE!

  2. Quaz says:

    So true Nat.I think all socially and politically conscious “Comrades” should realize one thing. Standing on your soapbox will not bring change. It might plant an idea or raise the level of awareness, but the actual change will only happen once they roll up their sleeves and put action to their words.Philosopher Herbert Marcuse said “Art cannot change the world, but it can contribute to changing the consciousness and drives of the men and women who could change the world”
    So yes!! The wooh hah and blah blah is cool,but the action is worth so much more….Oh yeah, I know a white girl(wink wink) that can testify and encourage the white and black upper class that public transport is not so bad.

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