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Saturday, 06 November 2010 02:00

Inspired by the energy of ordinary folk

By  Hennie Van Vuuren edited by Mehita Iqani
Describe your perfect day.

Perfect is the moment that I accept that my imperfection is allowed to have its place. Those are guilt free days. Its always about the people around me - those who find ways to breach mistrust.

What project or activity captures most of your energy and passion right now?

Right now its largely the Right2Know Campaign - a civil society initiative which is campaigning to stop the South African Protection of Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill). Its a law designed by Securocrats who intend to make it easier to classify public information, making it difficult for civil society and the media to hold the powerful in the public and private sector to account. The corrupt, venal politicians and spooks all have a vested interest in seeing this law implemented. We have educated, activated and marched. I am inspired by the energy of ordinary folk to fight for our freedom. They create a space for politicians to do the right thing - not the other way round. Sign the statement

What makes you smile?

The gentle smile inside - so much. The beaming smile - recognising the insecurities of the powerful.

Show us a picture.

 Patrice Lumumba, Kinshasa, 2008.
Patrice Lumumba, Kinshasa, 2008.

Almost 40 years since his murder and the DRC government is still trying to erect a statue to Lumumba. The irony is that I doubt he would have condoned such idolatry, even if he lived to be as old as Mugabe or Bush. It was also one of the few state/political structures that did not have a soldier with a gun giving a lazy 'shoot-and-I-will-shoot' stare at a passing tourist taking pictures.

Do you have a 'life philosophy'?

I try / fail / try: Integrity. Passion. Compassion. Humility.

How would you cheer up a sad friend?

No emoticon, real time, space for raw emotion if needed. And. Chocolate.

Do you use emoticons? 

:) I love and loathe you. I use them with friends to take the edge off the edge in short messages. They serve a purpose in complex personal spaces which always surprises me because :) strikes me as superficial. Sometimes I regard :) as a con for real emotions and other times I thank it for making me feel ok. I worry that one day we will awake to the spin machine having discovered the power of the emoticon-con. "you have been fired :)", "your community will be forcibly displaced by 6am tomorrow :)". Until then... :)


One of a series of short interviews with people that Mehita Iqani (ITCH Editor) knows and likes a lot.
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