Category: Minority Review – Damon Leff

Peter Hammond on ‘Mass Marketing the Mandela Myth’

DAMON LEFF. Peter Hammond, conservative Christian missionary and director of Frontline Fellowship (associated with African Christian Action), has published his personal review of the recently released film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom entitled ‘Mass Marketing the Mandela Myth’. In his badly constructed polemic Hammond does what he does best – he projects his own internal racist cognitive dissonance about a man the world has come to know and love as ‘Madiba’ through “hyperbole, hysteria and deception” (to quote Jacques Rousseau).

Your Christmas lights offend me!

DAMON LEFF. This silly season once again parades politicians from every political party wishing their constituents – their Christian constituents only that is – a merry Christmas. ANC and DA run municipalities alike are again dipping into state coffers to pay for lavish Christmas parties, street lights (including the electricity bills), and public functions, in celebration of a single religious celebration – the celebration of the mythical birth of Jesus the Christ.

Facebook hate groups erode confidence in community standards

DAMON LEFF. According to Facebook community standards, safety is Facebook’s top priority. In practice however enforcing community standards on hate speech and credible threats of violence on Facebook falls well below any reasonable benchmark for priority action. Obviously Facebook aught to replace its automated indifference to hate speech with an empathetic and reactive human being in order to give real meaning to the words ‘top priority’.

Witchcraft is not harmful, but accusations of ‘witchcraft as harmful’ are!

DAMON LEFF. A recent conversation with a British anthropologist and a prominent British neo-Pagan on the definition of ‘witchcraft’ in relation to Africa, revealed the extent to which modern Witches; actual practitioners and adherents of a religio-magical belief system and practice identified as Witchcraft, [0] are deliberately marginalized by academia and modern Pagan society in general, in favour of a distorted and prejudicial historical bias against Witchcraft. Our British friends require from us that we challenge the human rights abuses of witch-hunts and witchcraft accusations, but not question the beliefs that engender them.

Pagan Politics

DAMON LEFF. A recent public letter written by South African academic (and neo-Pagan) Dale Wallace has been circulated widely amongst neo-Pagan covens, groups and individuals in an attempt to incite active opposition against positions of principle taken by the South African Pagan Rights Alliance on a number of advocacy issues currently on SAPRA’s agenda, including advocacy against witch-hunts and Satanic Panic.

Trees, tides and other animals

DAMON LEFF. Recent conversation in Pagan communities in both South Africa and the U.S. turned to issues of freedom of speech, intolerance, Pagan leadership, and scapegoating.I thought I’d wade through the conversations from my own perspective…

Why some Pagans are defending the right to religious freedom for non-Pagans

DAMON LEFF. The time has come for South African Pagans to extend a hand of friendship to alternative religious minorities and to engage with members of these faiths without prejudice or judgement. Those who choose to maintain their personal prejudices against what they still incorrectly perceive as “dangerous religious practices”, prejudices based on nothing more than false media speculation, are in my personal opinion, no better than the fundamentalist Christians who continue to impose their own prejudicial bias against Pagans and Witches.

His spear continually divides the nation

DAMON LEFF. Encoded in the political rhetoric of restoring African dignity and promoting traditional African culture (code for support of South Africa’s traditional Leadership and conservative morality), the President appears obviously to be appealing not for the assimilation of common constitutional ideals and values, but for the separation of cultures and the dominance of traditional African culture over “minority cultures”. That’s how Ubuntu works in Nkandla; some are simply traditionally more equal than others.