Syncing the Mthwakazi movement with the Mthwakazi public opinion must be our priority. It is crucial for the sustenance and survival of the movement that we effectively describe, to the public, the vision in our minds.
Right now, it is hit and miss when it comes to the Mthwakazi agenda and public reception; for various reasons, the movement is struggling to market itself. On a positive note, I believe our people are ready and will be prepared to mirror the Mthwakazi movement step but only if the movement is itself ready to help them figure out where it is heading.
A review of our communication techniques, tactics and targets is required if the movement is to effectively enlighten the public on its focus, and that calls for a reframing of communication expectations. What it is that we want our communication to achieve?
How ideas are communicated lies at the core of the survival of any enterprise, the Mthwakazi movement is no different. Intelligence, experience and desire are vital for us to draw up manifestos, but effective communication skills are what will get the message through to the public.
We will have to be mindful in the words we use within our political space; let us bear in mind that the words we use go beyond sending a message, they also reveal our character, and that influences people’s opinions about the movement.
A good balance needs to be maintained in the content of our message; we need to appreciate that rightful as it is, our communication of anger, of disappointment, of regret, of pain, of sorrow and of suffering will not be enough to turn people’s heads our direction. Such communication equals preaching just to the converted; we need to reach out even further. Space for a creative, positive and progressive message needs to be created and maintained within our communication medium.
Successful communication is dependent on the clarity of the message; Mthwakazi citizens must be able to receive the movement’s agenda without undue effort. Lessons must be learned from previous mistakes when our message delivery methods have been highly politicised, tribal, elitist and tended to side-line the majority population. Let us get back to basics, communication is a means of getting through to the people, it is not just giving detail, that is ‘information’.
Let us transform our communication space. Consider how we use social media, we have seen its effect in recent election campaigns in the USA, France and the UK. At the same time, we have noted how poor management of that space can easily compromise the legitimacy of individuals and organisations. We must think carefully of how we can utilise the social media for the benefit of the movement.
We need to establish a progressive and open communication space where individual differences are appreciated and mistakes tolerated. Mthwakazi movements must realise that within our political space communities and groups are all different in the way they perceive the world, and this understanding must be used as a guide from which we draw relevant communication skills with the public.
Our communication needs to clearly describe to the public the vision in our minds so that we can talk at the same level, and more significantly, walk together from the onset. Let us only speak when there is something to say and not just because we feel we have to say something; we must take time to listen and understand what people are saying in order to develop mutual valuing between communities across Mthwakazi and the political movement.
All communities must feel a part of this movement not merely support acts of what may be perceived as a Nguni uprising. There is no reason why a pamphlet cannot be produced in Kalanga, Tonga, Shangani, Sotho, Venda, Xhosa, etc. The target must be promoting locally inspired solutions and being able to smoothly integrate these into a coherent network.
We will not take communication for granted; we need training to sharpen our style, enhance clarity and ability to appeal to the right emotions to affect the Mthwakazi public. A wrong speech tone or wrongly chosen words can put off the listeners from an otherwise relevant and important speech content.
It is vital that the Mthwakazi movement remains aligned with the people, and professionalism in the communication of our organisation goals is central to that. While important, it is not just the ideology and policies we espouse that will turn Mthwakazi people’s heads towards the Mthwakazi agenda but how we express our feelings about what we stand for.