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Title: Mawere vs Mupasiri: A Battle of Ideas on the Power of Civics Literacy – Unleashing Change through the JLI Convergence Campaign

Caroline Du Plessis



In an age characterized by sensationalism, a profound dialogue emerges between Mutumwa Mawere and Mupasiri, shedding light on the intricate connection between institutions, personal narratives, and the essence of active citizenship. This discourse unveils the challenges and promises embedded in the realm of civic literacy – a vision deeply resonating with the essence of Section 7(1) of the Constitution of South Africa.

Navigating the Intersection of Institutions: Catalysts and Barriers

Within Mawere’s skepticism towards institutions resides a pivotal question: Are institutions agents of transformation or barricades to innovation? Mupasiri introduces a nuanced perspective – institutions hold the latent power to ignite change through collaborative endeavors, as manifested in platforms like JUROL and JLI. These platforms serve as beacons, converging voices into a symphony of influence.

However, institutions are not monolithic; they can either nurture diversity or obstruct progress through rigidity and corruption. The crux lies in nurturing institutions that empower individuals while cultivating an environment that fosters collaborative inspiration.

Personal Narratives and the Essence of Civics Literacy

Mupasiri’s emphasis on personal narratives resonates as a call to arms for civics literacy. Every individual’s story interweaves into the fabric of collective transformation. His assertion that individuals must be architects of their experiences aligns with the heart of understanding institutions and participating in civic life.

Embracing Equality and Collective Empowerment

Subtly nestled within Mupasiri’s message is an unspoken inquiry – does he inadvertently acknowledge a sense of inadequacy compared to Chris Maroleng? His hesitation to lend his voice to a cause he ardently champions hints at an inner struggle. Yet, Section 7(1) of the Constitution of South Africa reinforces that “Everyone is equal before the law.” It serves as a reminder that each voice carries equal significance, dismantling the notion that some voices hold greater weight.

Unleashing Collaborative Potential: Personal Empowerment and Collective Action

Mawere and Mupasiri’s dialogue amplifies the potency of collaboration. Their contrasting viewpoints converge on a harmonious approach – personal empowerment amplifies voices, while collective action magnifies impact. Rather than relying solely on external forces, Mupasiri could catalyze change by synergizing his narrative with collective endeavors.

Section 7(1): Guiding Principles of Active Citizenship

Section 7(1) of the Constitution of South Africa stands as a guiding light: “This Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality, and freedom.” This mandate surpasses governmental spheres, embracing each individual. It calls us to honor our voices, safeguard our right to be heard, and fulfill our collective duty to engage actively with society.

Conclusion: Embracing the Path to Civics Literacy and Active Citizenship

Mawere and Mupasiri’s discourse unveils the intricate interplay between personal narratives, institutional dynamics, and collective endeavors. This exchange, reflective of humanity’s broader quest for metamorphosis, captures the essence of active citizenship. As we navigate the complex landscape of institutions, personal narratives, and civic literacy, let us champion the equality of voices and embrace the collective responsibility to propel change – a commitment echoing the spirit of Section 7(1) and propelling us toward a realm of informed and active citizenship.

This is the chat between Mawere and Mupasis of this morning, August 19, 2023, on WhatsApp:

[8/19, 7:52 AM] mdmawere1: Morning
[8/19, 8:15 AM] Prof Mupasiri: Good morning.

How can this Maroleng guy be a vuvuzela on our matters?

I was thinking of writing him to highlight that he is not alone in being a victim of public power abuse as a way of introducing the SMM matters and indicating that with the kind of lawlessness exhibited by those in power, not even a single person in Sadc is safe if we don’t collectively act to put an end to unlawful behaviors.

Gwede was also deported some time back via road when he had come to be in solidarity with students during his time in the workers union.

[8/19, 10:34 AM] mdmawere1: Thanks for the message. You ask pertinent questions. Your question – “How can this Maroleng guy be a vuvuzela on our matters?” With respect to the “How” question, I have no idea, but most people have gotten where they are because they have stepped up to the plate, and as such, they may not have any recollection of experiences that have been caused by others and where they became objects of others in being who they are or destined to be.

No one stops me from telling my own story in the best way I want it to be told. Chris is Chris, and what he chooses to do with his time is his sovereign choice for me and you to worry about.

He chooses which stories best move him where he wants to be. Instead of us worrying about how, should we not worry about when? As individuals, we worry less about a dog barking than our own barks. No one is waiting for another to be the change.

[8/19, 11:01 AM] mdmawere1: You then state to me as follows: “I was thinking of writing him highlighting that he is not alone in being a victim of public power abuse as a way of introducing the SMM matters and indicating that with the kind of lawlessness exhibited by those in power, not even a single person in SADC is safe if we don’t collectively act to put an end to unlawful behaviors.”

My response will be as follows:

1. You are unique, and your experiences will never be shared with another person.

2. You are the best storyteller of your own experiences and insights. Chris will never be another person, but he started with no one knowing and recognizing him. He has earned his trips to be listened to and to make headlines. Why can’t you start converting what you know into what others know? If you do anything consistently, the public is always ready to listen.

3. You suffer no burden to think about what needs to be done by another but do what you can with your time.

4. If what you think ought to be known by the public is already known to you, be the first volunteer to give it expression with the time given for free.

5. Never wait for someone else to do it because no one is waiting for you.

6. By telling another what you think should be done, you would be burdening the person who was told what must be done by you.

7. Take note of s. 2(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states that it is the constitution and not any man of flesh that imposes binding obligations to protect and promote the constitution. Whatever you have done, no other person can do it like you have.

8. The creator is the one who endowed humans with unalienable rights, i.e., life, liberty, and happiness, or the right to property, and no one should think that collective thought and actions can exist. Do what you can as a sovereign person and not as a group. A group of 10 oranges will never be one orange. The idea that human beings would come together to form a single mind with shared common sense, logic and reason is a bad one. It undermines the need to build institutions as platforms to share ideas, insights, experiences, and knowledge, and through sharing, others may be independently provoked, inspired, and ignited to be the precedent setters, as it is the case that we all walk on the same untrodden ground and like George Washington, the first President of the USA stated – “every step I make may be considered a precedent.” This truism applies to all of us. ASK NOT WHAT JUROL CAN DO FOR YOU BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF USING A GROUPING LIKE JUROL. Be its personality and character, the rest will follow.

9. You are correct in asserting that we are all not safe in silence for silence is the greatest betrayal to inclusivity and accountability. Never outsource your voice. Always be the VOICE IN THE INVOICE. Never bury your experiences but be the ambassador of your experiences because you have the spirit to tell them as you have experienced them rather than defer to a person like Chris who like you and me is a person of flesh with only 24 hours in a day like you.

[8/19, 11:07 AM] mdmawere1: You then state that: “Gwede was also deported some time back via road when he had come to be solidarity with students during his time in the workers union.” Good point but what should turn from this statement shared with me rather than with the world wide web to provoke, ignite and inspire problem-solving one may be tempted to ask why you are sharing this insight with me when Gwege is a person of flesh and should never be the reason why people say THINK GLOBALLY BUT ACT LOCALLY and the difference will show through your own actions as the MAN IN THE MIRROR you look at every day but with no shared understanding that a next step must be yours and others may choose to follow. If a fly can visit meat without human agency, so can humans live up to the promise without the agency of others like Gwede.


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