I’ve been mulling over this column for almost a month because I know that sometime in August last year, UnCensored went live. Anybody who knows me knows I struggle with dates. Such is my disability that I once lost a job opportunity at FNB years ago when I couldn’t remember when I matriculated. It was in my CV & I kept asking the interviewer to just look it up. He refused. In retrospect, I’m happy I didn’t get to work there.
And so given that I couldn’t quite figure-out the exact date this platform became officially live, I thought I would leave it to the last day of August.
I conceived the idea for an alternative news platform which I decided I would call UnCensored some four years ago. I approached a former editor and sub editor of white monopoly controlled and owned media to join. They were sick and tired of spewing news that they didn’t believe in and were quite happy to be part of the project. I also approached a computer scientist who built the site. He’s a brilliant young man who had great dreams for the site. He wanted people who couldn’t see and those who couldn’t read to have an option to press a button which could read back the stories for them. We were excited. A young man designed the logo. And all of this work was done through sheer volunteerism. And as we were working on the site, an email dropped with the subject: Look at What Vodacom is doing to a black man. It was the story of Nkosana Makate and his invention which was stolen by Vodacom. I initially thought it was one of those online scams. It turned out to be true and we had one of the biggest stories with which to start our publication.
In the days leading upto the launch, everything unravelled and we had to shelve UnCensored until last year in August.
I approached two Tweeps (The Maytrix and Mxolisi ka Nkomonde) to be part of the project. I’d noticed their thinking and I thought we could deliver educational and enlightening articles. I was completely right. Im eternally indebted to these two young and exceptionally talented individuals. Their research skills and thinking ability (and this is outside the confines of what society tells us we should be thinking) are at another level.
In time we had readers who contributed articles. And this has been extremely heartwarming. Sean Goss, Jeff Koornabally, Khotso Molekane, Devine Hadebe, Adil Nchabeleng, Magatshana Ntuli, Tiisetso Makhele, Greg Mashaba, Kim Heller, Carl Niehaus, Les-Ma-Ada, Zamo Madlala and Mlungisi Myeso. We’ve had progressive economists like Redge Nkosi and Stephen Goodson giving us an alternative view to the world of economics.
For a long time I approached women on Twitter who I thought could be part of the team and they always promised to submit but never did. And in the last two weeks, a young woman Shandu Ka Ndaba came through and wrote two brilliant pieces. I’m excited to have another woman on the team – not for purposes of political correctness that everybody is so obsessed with these day – but because women are generally socialised to not have an opinion.
In the past year we’ve built a community of readers who also write in the comments section. You make me wake up in the morning knowing there are people who will read….and respond. Siyabonga.
It hasn’t been easy for all of us. White Monopoly Capital owned and controlled media have hunted us down in unsubstantiated smear campaigns and going as far as to hack the site, our emails and computers. Some of you have responded by way of lending and buying us computers. I think of Jeff Koornabally, one of our explosive contributors who we had to mute for fear of litigation – sending me money for data. A small contribution to ensure we continued to work – thank you Jeff.
Many of the contributors who are also on Twitter have stopped writing because they suddenly were “followed” by what we call Trolls on social media. They also fear losing jobs if they are discovered. One of them told me how difficult it is to pretend he wasn’t part of UnCensored every time his colleagues excitedly came to him with one of the articles – sometimes his own. He uses an alias you see.
It’s not all of us in the world who can stand up in the face of these racists and bullies. One of the readers sent me an email explaining why he wanted to help in anonymity and told me it was because the price of associating with an alternative media platform like UnCensored was too high. I explained that I know the price – I lost everything for challenging the anti-black media narrative in this country and trying to expose white corruption.
I absolutely understand and respect those who dont want to be seen to support what is termed “radical” and “controversial” in South African terms. I always wish I had never put my children through what I did and continue to do.
It’s a path I’ve chosen. Our ancestors did the same for us.
I applaud all the people who contribute to this platform by way of reading, giving us tip-offs and the monetary support they’ve given us. I’ve in the past year met very brave human beings – who fight daily to expose the big corporations – and do this out of their own pocket. People like Emerald Van Zyl who represents almost 23000 black people who were ripped off by FNB. Niel Esterhyse whose brother committed suicide having tried to have a book on SA’s children’s views of former President Nelson Mandela published. His former live-in lover stole the manuscript and published it under her name supported by Nedbank. For over two years I followed this story and poor Neil has lost everything in the quest to expose how the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and everybody around that project pretend they dont know his brother and his manuscript. Sheer corruption.
One of the key things was putting a face to white monopoly capital and white corruption. We have successfully ensured all of you now know Africa’s richest man and what he owns – Johann Rupert. We’ve given you the facts – hard research which cannot be debunked.
We’ve isolated Rupert’s stooges – in media and in the most influential part of government – Treasury.
We’ve shown you corruption which would otherwise go unreported because it’s done by white companies – SAA, Eskom and Treasury. Our work has impacted on Parliamentary oversight structures like Scopa. We pleaded – call these people to account and our calls were heeded and South Africa got to hear about corruption which had been hidden.
We’ve tried to show you what the real state capture probe is about – closing financial taps to the Gupta family so they couldn’t fund Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and upstage Cyril Ramaphosa in the ANC presidential race. This is not to say Guptas have no case to answer – Im particularly concerned about allegations of that Free State farm project which supposedly ended up funding the Gupta wedding. All of us at UnCensored wish for the Commission into the emails, state capture in the broad scope suggested by the ANC to commence as soon as possible so that we expose all those corrupt.
We ask those who read this platform and can afford to donate to keep it going to please help us.
Re leboha haholo