[Excerpt] Unimportance by Thando Mgqolozana

By Vanguard Reporter

Based at the now burning University of the Western Cape (UWC), Unimportance – published in April 2014 – is the gripping account of twelve anxiety-stricken hours in the life of Zizi, a university student and candidate in the upcoming SRC presidential election, and his struggle to balance his pristine public image with his darker private life.

unimportance cover

The comrade I was eyeing for the position of Deputy President, and possibly my successor after I completed my term in office, as has become tradition in the entire movement, appeared so thoroughly drunk, she seemed incapable.

I’d spotted her from the section of The Barn that resembles a goat kraal, open roof, stench and all. She had been sitting in a corner with men I didn’t recognise at first, but who I now saw were the twins who had graduated in the nineties.

They were the self-indulgent ex-comrades who found it impossible to outgrow the campus, even with their elephant-size pockets as businessmen in the “real world”. They used to dominate our meetings as part of the organisation’s convocation, and they were among the instigators of the New Tendency.

But that was before I was Chair of the branch. I’d never seen them in my meetings. They had been counting on Sindane to be elected Chair, and later President of the SRC, so that they would get the student service tenders for their businesses. And their mistake was to dismiss me. They stopped attending meetings, but I was aware that they were always lurking, and sometimes you could hear their corrupt voices transmitted through the likes of Sindane and Congress, and other weak-willed comrades.

They are always trying to infiltrate our ranks. On any random evening, you could find their BMW X5 parked outside Chris Hani, and there’d be fly girls buzzing around it.

Now here they were, propping up my Deputy, taking her out of The Barn. I reacted instinctively and approached them. They were practically stealing her.

She wasn’t going to be their victim on my watch. She was my responsibility, and it was a presidential thing to do.

It is unsurprising that Jacana Media author, Thando Mgqolozana, is part of the Fees Must Fall movement at UCT, which is vigorously agitating for Free (Quality, Afro-centric) Education and end of the exploitative Outsourcing of labour at universities. Mgqolozana is the author of Unimportance, an authoritative vignette on black student activism at a Historically Disadvantaged Institution (HDI).

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