Dan Moyane is the author of a book titled I Don’t Want to Die Unknown published by Tracey McDonald Publishers. In this interview with EW Blog’s editor, the media elder, as Moyane is affectionally known talks about writing the book, why he always wanted to be famous, and why he believes Mozambique founding father, Samora Machel was assassinated.
Question: First of all, congratulations on your new book. Why was it important for you to write a book about your life journey?
Nankhensa swinene Ezekiel for this opportunity to respond to your questions. Believe me it is an opportunity which I do not take for granted, hence my sincere gratitude. This book is part memoir, part legacy. I decided to write it because I believe it is essential that we tell our stories ourselves about who we are, where we come from, and how we got to the place we occupy today. Sharing our lived experiences may enrich, inspire, and uplift others. I thought it was very important to narrate my story, which may resonate with many other people and hopefully contribute to a repository of documented lived experiences in our country, both under apartheid and after the dawn of democracy. Our written stories will ensure that future generations will have access to accurate narratives of our lived experience with all its valuable lessons.
Question: The title of the book, I Don’t Want to Die Unknown, is a very catchy title and straightforward one. Why did you decide to go with that title?
I chose the title because it aptly describes a deep desire that I have had since I was a boy to leave a footprint in this world. I imagined that to have been born, live and die known only to your immediate and close family, relatives, neighbours, and friends would be sad. I imagined that the world is big enough for me to leave a mark.
Question: In the book you mention how in your childhood you always wanted to be known or famous. Why was it important for you to be famous?
To me becoming known would enable me to make a difference, no matter how small, beyond my immediate circle. I believe that we are all born to make a difference. But not all of us are afforded the opportunity. So being known for me would certainly create opportunities to make a difference. Just to be known for its sake would be shallow. For me it was not the end but a means to an end, as the saying goes.
Question: Take us through some of the emotional stages you undergone in revisiting some of the stories you shared in the book?
Inevitably delving into the recesses of my memory brought up a mixture of emotions.
Mostly it was an uplifting process. Gratitude dominated because I realized that I have been blessed and fortunate despite the difficult past. There were tearful moments when I reflected on some of the hardships and losses. I appreciated the fact that I am who I am today because of the contribution of so many amazing people at different stages of my life.
Question: You reflect mostly on your stay in Mozambique, your political engagements, how you started your broadcasting career, and your relationship with President Machel. When you look back at that specific event that saw President Machel assassinated in that plane which you were supposed to be in, how do you now reflect on that event?
I still maintain that the plane crash was no ordinary accident. It was a well-planned and sophisticated assassination. The Machel family, the people of Mozambique, Africa and rest of the world deserve to know the truth. For me President Samora Machel evokes emotions of courage, inspiration, and purpose. The stuff that leaders should be made of. As the founding President of an independent Mozambique, President Machel was a major influence in African liberation politics and the struggle for freedom and social justice. As a result, he had enemies inside and outside Mozambique. Among them the apartheid regime which orchestrated the Mbuzini plane crash.
Question: The book touches on your political engagements in Mozambique as a freedom fighter. Having worked closely with freedom fighters such as Tom Moyane and Jacob Zuma in Mozambique. Are you now disappointed that the same comrades you served with in the ANC structures are now accused of stealing from the very same people they fought for freedom?
It is a tragedy that in less than 30 years of the advent of democracy in our country, the lofty goals of our liberation struggle have been toppled by the disease of greed, selfishness, and accumulation. Of course, it is very disheartening that some ANC members and leaders have been implicated in allegations of corruption and looting of public monies, some have been charged in our courts while others are under investigation. During the struggle against apartheid, we used to discuss how the lives of our people would change for the better after freedom, under the leadership of the liberation movement. Sadly, poverty and inequality have also increased because of the growing mismanagement of public monies. We need more accountability and good governance which are cornerstones of any democracy.
Question: You were among the journalists who covered the first democratic elections in 1994. What was one most significant moment you had when covering those elections?
27 April 1994 itself was a significant moment, a day that heralded freedom. It was a day when people from all walks of life came together to cast their ballots to end apartheid. There were countless moments on that day that stood out. The fact that it happened was a kind of a miracle considering the violence that had engulfed the country for months ahead of the election. In fact, on the eve of the election day, there were bombings by right wing Afrikaner elements who were determined to stop the historic vote. But they failed to derail the firm march of the will of the majority to freedom and democracy.
Question: As a media elder, who has worked as field reporter, anchor, and in management, you are more familiar with the tension that exists between management and reporters/anchors. Do you think that those who are in management positions in the media houses should have been journalists before?
There is no guarantee that a former journalist would make a good manager. But if a former journalist chooses to go into management, he or she would bring the required understanding of the intricacies of editorial decision-making into the newsroom, and assist greatly to ensure fair, accurate and balanced reporting. However, while the integrity of a newsroom is critical, it is equally important that the media house is run on a financially sustainable basis so that it can remain independent and withstand external commercial and political pressures.
Question: Some readers were disappointed that you just touched the surface about the level of racism that you suffered at Talk Radio 702. The station to this date still has many listeners who are racist in some ways. As a media elder, what do you think that the station, especially management should do in order to educate their listeners about tolerance and acceptance of other people and their views?
The media has a vital role to play in promoting diversity and inclusivity. This means that the media should engage with all views, challenging racism wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head. Media should actively promote inclusivity as this would go a long way to ensure that racist views are not tolerated anywhere.
Question: What is your advice to young people who want to be broadcasters/journalists?
If that’s what your inner voice is telling you, listen to it and follow your dream.
Question: Should we expect more books from Bra Dan in the future?
I will let my inner voice guide me as to what the future holds in this regard.
hank you for your time, Bra Dan.
Answer: I am the one who is thankful. Nankhensa Ezekiel!