Wally Serote on the International Monetary Fund, Fox News… and your life

“I will therefore not allow myself to be trapped in Western thinking, which has presided over thought and ideas and has dictated to the world what to think.”

Wally Serote’s article in the Thinker 31 poses serious questions:

“We can no longer be professional students of the west.”

I hope that magazines like the Thinker will help in the debate on the path forward. We need to change the “terms of trade” as Best would say and we need to develop solutions that fit our reality.

The crisis in the Caribbean economy finds little debate within the region and all that is proffered is the failed mantra from the IMF and other Western sources.

Can we not do better?

Is it that the we allow CNN and Fox to fracture our thinking and believe all that is offered by them as gospel?

Where are the critical thinkers? All we are hearing is the voice of the right trying to prop up a failed model.

We must and can do better.


Godfrey J. Martin

We Hope to be in Time for Dialogue

by Wally Serote

The issue here is, since I believe that the Western sun is setting, most of the answers we seek for the 21st century exist outside of the West and among people of the South. Wherever we are, although belatedly, we have to search for a paradigm shift to survive during this century and set the basis for the survival of future generations.

“We have, from an African perspective, to make a decision that we can no longer be professional students of the West.”

Africa is in a position to play this role, given its cultural diversity, historical experiences and continental resources, human and natural. It will therefore be necessary to think outside of boxes, but not re-invent wheels. I will therefore not allow myself to be trapped in Western thinking, which has presided over thought and ideas and has dictated to the world what to think.

“Still, we depend on the benevolence of the poor. We depend on their patience. We depend on their goodwill. We depend on their wanting to wait and see…”

I am sensitively aware of the fact that humanity now lives in a global village, and as we do, I cannot call it the safest space to be in. We have, from an African perspective, to make a decision that we can no longer be professional students of the West. We must venture into new paths and revisit old ones, which we create and which were created by Africans. It is not only Africa which is awaiting this change, it is all of humanity including those who live in the west. We must come up with answers: what is it that we must do to change the circumstances of the world and make it a habitable, livable and peaceful place.

“Is there a possibility that Africa has its own solutions to its objective problems which are different from those of the West?”

Read the entire article in September’s The Thinker: We Hope to be in Time for Dialogue (PDF)

The Thinker magazine, South Africa

Thanks to an old friend for passing on the email to BFP

Mongane Wally Serote (born 8 May 1944) is a South African poet and writer. He was born in Sophiatown, Johannesburg and went to school in Alexandra, Lesotho and Soweto. He first became involved in Black Consciousness when he was finishing high school in Soweto. His presence in that town linked him to a group known as the “township” or “Soweto” poets, and his poems often expressed themes of political activism, the development of black identity, and violent images of revolt and resistance. He was arrested by the apartheid government under the Terrorism Act in June 1969 and spent nine months in solitary confinement, before being released without charge. He went to study in New York, obtaining a Fine Arts degree at the Columbia University, before going to work in Gaborone, Botswana and later London for the African National Congress in their Arts and Culture Department. (Wikipedia: Mongane Wally Serote)


Filed under Africa, Barbados, Consumer Issues, Culture & Race Issues, Economy

12 responses to “Wally Serote on the International Monetary Fund, Fox News… and your life

  1. Green Monkey

    Wherever we are, although belatedly, we have to search for a paradigm shift to survive during this century and set the basis for the survival of future generations.

    In that case when the sales reps from Monsanto and their agents come calling to sell their Roundup herbicide and patented Roundup-ready GM seeds, may I suggest you “politely” tell them to go have sexual congress with themselves.

    Busted: Monsanto Abusing Illegal Workers in ‘Slave-Like’ Conditions

    Monsanto’s disregard for human health is evidenced by their hazardous GMO crops and herbicides, but a shocking new report has revealed the company’s illegal ‘slave-like’ working conditions.

    Forcing slave workers to work the cornfields for 14 hours per day and buy their food (most likely GMO) at highly-inflated prices from the company store, Monsanto has been running these slave rings for an unknown number of years.

    What’s more, is the company not only ‘hired’ all of the workers illegally, but prevented them from leaving the farm premises and withheld their salaries.

    The information came to light following a raid by Argentina’s tax agency known as AFIP, where it was revealed that the farmhands were being forced to work almost twice as long as legally permissible and given no compensation. Amazingly, AFIP says that it will hold Monsanto responsible for the slave-like conditions.

    Unsurprisingly, Monsanto failed to respond to the story.

    Monsanto: A Corrupt History of Inhumane Abuse

    This is not the first time Monsanto has abused workers, or even farmers dedicated to using the company’s GM seeds. In fact, Monsanto’s previous crimes against the human race are arguably even more despicable.


  2. Jack Bowman

    Dear BFP folks,

    Interesting to see that Wally Serote’s article is published in a full-colour magazine that also features the following:

    Page 2: a full-page ad for a Bellagio watch.

    Page 8: a full-page ad hawking the services of a plastic surgeon in Hollywood, featuring models in lingerie.

    Page 59: a full-page ad for an international corporation whose entire business is a matter of global trade.

    Page 71: a full-page ad for a television service that seems to specialize in broadcasts of preposterously over-paid young men who are quite good at playing a game with a ball.

    Page 74: a full-page ad for a luxury car that is, essentially, a military vehicle masquerading as a normal form of conveyance.

    The question naturally arises as to whether interested readers in Barbados would even be able to consult Mr. Serote’s article if the global economic system was arranged in such a way that it stifled human ingenuity and potential to the point that “The Thinker” magazine was a financially unviable enterprise because of the absence of advertising revenue.

    The immediate subsequent question, of course, is whether Mr. Serote’s article would even need to be written if the global economic system were to be arranged in the way that he seems to be advocating.

    This is a conundrum about which I will think. I thank the BFP folks for inciting the thinking.

    Might post again if my thinking spurs any conclusions worth considering. First, I have to read Mr. Serote’s article again. Wasn’t much impressed on the first pass.

    All best for 2012,

  3. Jack Bowman

    Dear BFP folks,

    I appreciate that it’s unfair to make a comment on an article before I’ve read it at least twice. But I’m going to be unfair because Mr. Serote’s article, half-way through my second reading, is causing me a great deal of irritation.

    What is this “South” of which he speaks? Just one, tiny example. A point that BFP itself has labored to death, far beyond the point of tedium …

    If you, as a sovereign country, utterly cripple your development potential by denying HALF of your ENTIRE population any right to a productive life, and thus your sovereign nation is ghastly, how is this the fault of someone in Oslo? What is this “West” of which Mr. Serote speaks? If you, as an independent nation, have no rule of law, how can the blame for this possibly be laid at the feet of someone in Copenhagen or Ottawa or Dublin or Canberra?

    One of the dirty little secrets of human development, a secret that nobody talks about, is that if you want your country to be as developed as Sweden, you have to act a bit more like Swedes.

  4. Jack Bowman

    Dear BFP folks,

    Gulp. I’m about to challenge the master Mr. Serote. In my dojo, even the white-belts gulp at that kind of thing.

    I anticipate an avalanche of low blows, perhaps even Mr. Bourne with the face furniture will visit, but gedan berai always helps below the hips.

    When you’re reading someone who writes, in the first paragraph, “It will therefore be necessary to think outside of boxes, but not re-invent wheels”, you know you’re reading someone who thinks inside boxes. The war against cliché is endless, of course, but it always has to be fought. If you write in clichés, you think in clichés. And if you think in clichés, you’re not to be taken seriously. Not ever. No matter what your personal experience is. Given time and inclination, BFP, I could regale you with personal experience that you can’t even imagine.

    This was really a pretty bad article. I don’t have the time to list all its tiresome clichés. I only have the time to note that this kind of thing is spectacularly counter-productive to poor people in Africa and Latin America.

    But hey, we’ve got mangroves to worry about. Right? Plants in, er, Barbados. So let’s worry about the plants in some tiny little bit of the world, rather than dying humans in Africa.

  5. 32535834/24346-C66

    Maaaan, doan mind he!

    He mean de black people in underdeveloped countries
    versus de white people in developed countries who have their act together.
    It’s the old Marxist-Leninist hatred of the successful capitalist.

    That type is yet to get it thru their heads that Mother Russia is no longer the font of socialist empowerment
    something Barrow’s Barbados is presently having some trouble coming to grips with
    now we have inculcated our brilliant electorate for 46 yrs. to assume their entitlements as a human right, with absolutely zero concurrent responsibilities.
    Witness Mother Africa, that most successful of all the continents,
    cut up into about 729 little tribal countries -and loving it all the way!

  6. robert ross

    Nice one, Mr Bowman…well three. Yes cliche and rhetoric – so facile – but no substance. If only……..

  7. Green Monkey

    A self-described former “cutting edge, “advanced technology” American farmer fed GMO corn to his pigs; they all became sterile forcing the farmer into bankruptcy.

    A couple of interesting quotes by farmer Jerry Rossman taken from the Youtube video linked below:

    @7:28 – I was put in connection with this work done out of Baylor (i.e. Baylor University /GM), and I mean it said right in there that this is what would happen; this is the concerns; they had isolated these compounds off of food products they had gotten out of grocery store shelves already – that this was already out here. The humans were eating it, and they had identified it as being an estrogen mimicker. That is what we’ve been working with here.

    @8:17 – But as we went along through this, we come to find out that basically the seed industry is not testing – they’ve done absolutely no long term feeding trials with any livestock, and they absolutely resist even the idea of doing it.

  8. Green Monkey

    Trying again to post a link to the Youtube video of the interview with farmerJerry Rossman as the first attempt above does not appear to work. If this link still doesn’t work, you can go to Youtube and type in the phrase “Farmer feeds GMO corn to his pigs: they all become sterile” in the search bar.

  9. Jack Bowman

    Dear Green Monkey,

    Please stop doing this. You embarrass yourself. For some time I’ve observed you on this blog and in the Other Place.

    This is your entire schtick, right? Posting tendentious little bits of video from YouTube. Am I correct? That’s your whole act.

    Have you ever put together an entire paragraph, full of cogent sentences, and have that paragraph lead logically to the next paragraph, and thus fill a page? Ever?

    If you have an opinion, write it and publish it. For anyone who isn’t a dunce, watching your wearying little YouTube videos makes the eyeballs glaze over like crockery.

    And the very fact that posting bits of YouTube video is precisely ALL you do … man, that’s a bit sad.

  10. Green Monkey

    Jack Bowman, Kiss my A55 (figuratively speaking of course). You don’t own this site. You don’t like what I do. Don’t read it. BTW, did you see that BFP created a separate thread out of this particular post you are complaining about on their main page? Go read it. You might learn something.


  11. Son Of Spam

    LOL go GM, that Bowman needs a Gramoxone enema

  12. Jack Bowman

    That’s the spirit! You actually squeezed out a written paragraph, Green Monkey.

    Let me be the first to congratulate you.

    Is this your first? Why not call that paragraph Jerry? Or Charlotte?

    Whatever the case, I’m just going to love it for ever.