Creating Own Value Chains

Where are you from?

I am a 2012 Activator. My name is Mxolisi Vilane. I grew up in Empangeni, in a historical township which was well known as Esikhawini, but was recently renamed to Esikhaleni. I grew up in a house with both parents and three siblings, but ironically we have never been a family of six, because my cousin, niece and nephews also live at my place. With all these family heads, my father was the only bread winner. So my primary and secondary schooling was completed here, in Esikhaleni.    

Where do you live now and work?

Currently I live in Westville, Durban and occupy campus residence as a postgraduate student in Development Studies (MA).

However I work for a coastal FET College, at their Enterprise Development Unit, as a District Cooperatives Facilitator. We are an implementing Agent for the Department of Economic Development in rolling out trainings for cooperatives in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.   

What does my job entail?

My job entails providing cooperatives with business management skills, which include: Cooperatives Concept, Governance and Leadership, Book-keeping, Marketing, Costing, Operations and more. Business mentoring and monitoring is an after-service that we offer linked with financial institutions like SEFA and Ithala.   

What gets my blood boiling?

What gets my blood boiling is continuously witnessing the ignorance and arrogance of white people not accepting realities of their capital benefits in the previous regime. Even how the capital oriented system still favours them. On the other hand, I get entangled with fury when I see the lack of collective leadership commitment from our political leader in liberating the black nation.  The emerging culture and nature of protest that leaves community assets burning down… my tenants fail to identify with too.

What conversations are you having (subject)?

My conversations revolve around what constitutes the economy, and how black people can create their own value chains to ensure that their goals are realised through their own sweat and not through handed lunch. It is primarily in my conversations that we understand that the economy is land, water, natural resources, mineral resources, and education (meaning our education levels). Therefore the “#FeesMustFall” and free education… is an economic issue. I speak of Township Economy.

Land reform administration –  this is a primary conversation as a country to need to confront; we do not want money, but our wealth in a form of wealth that will look after generations. Therefore, on this subject of land particularly we should attempt to answer the question of ‘how’ do we go about it, not whether we should have it back or not.

Another missing conversation that dominates my private space is the role of religion in our education system. Ever since the recognition of a creator God in schools through prayer was forgone, we have witnessed a rise in malicious and uncalled for behaviours. Intellectual education without spiritual and moral guidance is futile. As a nation, we are doomed to produce professionals that are corrupt and without moral accountability if the creator God is not acknowledged by his creatures.

What would you like to say to young people?

Our generations have greater opportunities than a generation before us. Yes, our economy still needs professionals in different fields and, moreover, qualified and dedicated civil servants. But young people need to realise that not enough employment will come from the industrial sector, or the government (who is currently the highest employer). Global competition has become technological and less dependent on human capital.

What would you like to say to your future self?

To my future self, I want to say, ”When that time comes, you must able to look back and tell a story of how you contributed to the current social, economic and racial construction and the shaping of ideological space in this generation.”

What has you excited at the moment?

It is to see the generation that were previously labelled as free, born at a time in the fallacy of the rainbow nation, realising that race construction and institutional racism is still alive and well and needs to be confronted. We cannot be visitors in our own home. Being a visitor is a character. Therefore, especially seeing (even) those who were privy to attend ‘white schools’ rising up to speak against the system of education oppression is moment to realise, because now the child in the rural areas can identify with pupils in the Model C schools.

Would you like people to follow you on social media? If so provide details.

Facebook account: Mxolisi Vilane

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