Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Highlanders is not in the same league with Mzilikazi

As a way to justify a means, my ancestral historic act of bravery gets abused every now and then to justify a means to an end. Fighting colonization, unaware and disregarding technology, the strong army of the black Africans would charge at the gun-powder gun wielding enemies only armed with spears and cow skin shields. As a war cry, they would encourage each other to block the bullets with the monkey skins worn as underwear, their only garment anyway. This is the ‘Vala ngebhetshu era’. Your grannies may have told you how they ducked and dug themselves in sands on hearing automobile cars arriving in their villages for the first time.   
Ever since, some African blacks understood and embraced the gun and prefer it in bed to women. Many drive the luxurious German made cars that cost millions. The embrace of technology has expanded tremendously and that evolution will not be ending soon. With that, came social media, once greatly criticized and viewed as a young generation tool meant for immorality and evil. There is an African saying that the pig that moves slowly suffers the attack of the vicious dogs.
Highlanders Football Club lags behind in using such tools for its growth in club membership and financially. There is not much benefit that the club can attribute to the ‘new world order’. Caution is one thing but knowledge another. Many entities have grown from nothing to huge successes through social networks or social network marketing. Anything has potential for bad and needs control.
At the Highlanders Annual General meeting a few weeks back, the club Chairman, Mr. Peter Dube, is said to have expressed concern of the supporters’ use of social media. It is not clear of whether the reference was particular or general. The Bosso supporters have a platform through which they interact on Facebook. Several times, they hatched plans that raised cash for the club indirectly due to the uneasy way the club viewed these actions. Less than expected number of donors in these campaigns came forth and paid cash as the majority were concerned about the club’s attitude towards the Facebook Group. According to reports, Dube said some these platforms were destroying the image of the club.
What is unclear is whether Dube has a Facebook profile himself and who advises him about such issues. The whole thing is likely to have been taken out of contest anyway. Let us make believe that is his genuine personal opinion, he could have refunded the money that the group members raised and donated through some other doors. Now that he did not, I take it he sees the benefit unless he is still unaware of the source of that small sum. The group has been very active and forthcoming, at one point ‘getting a car for the coaches which the club rejected.
The latest news has been somewhat of a turn-around as the vice-chairman of the club, Mgcini Sibhalo Mpofu has been reportedly asking the social networks club supporters to raise $10 000 towards turning the Bosso clubhouse into a fully-fledged sports facility. If this is anything to go by, it is an encouraging step. The first position could be Dube’s personal opinion and Mpofu’s stance could be the club position. It could be the other way round, in which case Mpofu will have jumped the gun.

However, Mpofu, is in charge of the Highlanders Sports Club and Manwele Beer Garden and he appealed to Highlanders supporters through the Highlanders FC - Bosso supporters' Facebook page requesting to help him raise the money, which he said would help in Phase One of sprucing up the facility in terms of fencing, borehole drilling and sourcing irrigation pipes and maintenance of the clubhouse which the Bosso auditors have said is a major source of funds.

"I invite you to help me raise $10 000 through this page and I know it's possible. This is to turn the clubhouse into a sports club and it is a phase one of the project. Instead of waiting for sponsorship that might take long to come, (we should raise) $1 800 for fencing, $3 000 for the borehole and PVC irrigation pipes and $5 000 for stocking and general maintenance. You did it for Mpilo, why can't we do it for Bosso?" Mpofu wrote.

If the club has changed heart about social media and electronic media, we can only believe that their threat to have a functional website could be a reality soon. They have officially said that due to financial constraints, the official launch of the club's official website and other media social platforms is on the cards but behind schedule. They appreciate that it would enable members and the club to keep abreast on club matters. This was Dube’s comment which sounded a little contradictory to his utterances. It is not clear whether he was uncomfortable with the supporters’ pages or individuals in these groups when he said that there is ‘abuse and damage caused by the self-styled platforms that purport to be club mouthpieces’.

A point to ponder on at this juncture is that if there is no club position and mouthpiece, one will rise with good or bad intentions to fill the vacuum. At that point, do not blame the social media or those ‘representing the club’. It is imperative that the club leads the way and leave no room for imitators rather than lag behind. We have made this 21st century challenge before and it seems it will not be taken by the club anytime soon. As a result, we shall not be perturbed or intimidated, and sit and wait. Life goes on and technology is rolling out every moment and is not waiting for us to weigh the pros and cons. It has been proven that there is nothing greater than social networks and electronic media nowadays.
One day, the club will wake up and smell the Coffee. My ancestors could have been using cellphones to plan attacks on the whites and probably could have a Facebook Group page for the warriors. I am sure Shaka and Mzilikazi could have been the first to use ‘Cow-Horn’ formation Apps on their Smartphones and effectively use GPS to conquer their enemies. Just because they were raw, brute and brave, they did not need to do that and conquered the world without such. Highlanders cannot afford that. They are not in the same league.