Opinion

Did Ray Phiri have to die? | Ingaba bekumele asweleke? 

Written by Zama Mthunzi (Wits)| Translated by Qhamani Dapo (UWC)

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Iqhawe lomculo we Jazz walapha eMzantsi Afrika uRay Phiri nokuxatyiswa kweenkonzo zempilo zalapha.

Ngaba bekumele liswelekile iqhawe lomculo we Jazz uRay Phiri? Lo ngumbuzo endiye ndazibuza wona xa bekungena iingxelo zokusweleka kwakhe ekuseni ngomhla we 12 ka July. Iingxelo bezisithi ukusweleka kwakhe kubangelwe kukuba woyiswe kukubhatala amaxabiso onyango lwakhe, kwaye akakwazanga ukuqhubeka nonyango lwakhe. Ngaba oku kuthetha ukuba ebenokuphila iintsuku ezongezelelekileyo ukuba ebenemali yokubhatalela amayeza? Ngokuqinisekileyo. Bekukhathaza ukuphawula ukuba abantu bebengayihoyanga lonto. Endaweni yoko, bagxininise ukuba ebenomhlaza wamaphaphu baza bazixakekisa ngokubhiyozela igalelo lakhe elikhulu kumculo weJazz walapha eMzantsi.

Ngaba yinto eqhelekileyo yokuba umntu asweleke kuba engenamali yokubhatala unyango lwakhe? Kubonakala ngathi esi sisiqhelo apha eMzantsi Afrika. Ukuxatyiswa kweenkonzo zempilo kuqhutywa yimbali yethu yengcinezelo. Ngoku, sekuyinto eyamkelekileyo nangona sele yaphela ingcinezelo esemthethweni (Apartheid). Umthetho wase Mzantsi Afrika uyasimanyanisa ekuboneni ukubaluleka kwelungelo lonyango. Kodwa sisanyamezele ukusweleka kwabantu okubangelwa kukushiyana kwemigangatho yethu yokuphila emva kweminyaka engama 23 kuqale idemokhrasi.

Icandelo 27(2) loMgaqo-siseko waseMzantsi Afrika siyaligxininisa ilungelo lonyango njenge lungelo elingenakuxuthwa mntwini. Kodwa kuyabonakala ukuba abo bangamahlwempu, abaluninzi lwabantu balapha eMzantsi Afrika, basweleka kukohlulwa ngamaxabiso ezonyango nangona oku kufane kuphikiswe ngabantu.

Ingaba ebefuna ukusweleka uBra Ray? Isingxengxezo esisuka kumhlobo wakhe onsenyongweni uRIchard Mitchell siyamphendula lo mbuzo: “URay Phiri ukwi Mediclinic yaseMbombela engcungcuthekiswa ngumhlaza wamaphaphu. Sicela nimncede ngokunikela imali ngoba uyigqibe yonke eyakhe. URay uchukumise abantu abaninzi ngomculo wakhe kwaye uchukumise nabahlobo bakhe abenza umculo ngothando lwakhe lobomi. Sifuna ukwenza iphulo sibonise inkxaso yethu ngokumphungulela umthwalo wokubhatala unyango lwakhe lwesifo somhlaza, ngaxeshanye siphawule igalelo lakhe ngobukho bakhe kwabantu awayenxulumana nabo.”

Olu luphawu olucacileyo olubonisa ukuba uBra Ray wayesafuna ukuphila. Ngoko akabulawanga sisifo somhlaza, usweleke kungabi namali yozinyanga. Ukuxatyiswa kwenkonzo yempilo kubulele ubuntu bethu njengamaAfrika. Kudilize impilo njengemfuneko yokungcamla nokuphumelela njengoluntu. Ngoku, kuyabiza ukuba sempilweni eMzantsi Afrika.

Kubalulekile ukuba sichaze unobangela wale meko nokuba ngubani ozuzayo xa kunje. Ukusweleka kuka Bra Ray kubonisa isimo sengqondo esigubungele abantu baseMzantsi Afrika kule mihla esiphuhliswa kukuxatyiswa kweenkonzo zempilo. Xa sasiphuma kwingcinezelo sisiya kwidemokhrasi eluxolweni, kwaxubana iindlela zokwenza izinto zabantu base Yurophu nabaseAfrika, ezathi zakhokela emubunjweni kwemithetho yelizwe lethu phantsi koMgaqo-siseko. Inkonzo yokunikezelwa kwempilo kube yinto nje yexabiso ethengwayo, nangona nje kusithiwa wonke umntu unelungelo layo. Lishishini elihamba ngemali, elingakuncediyo ukuba awunayo imali oyikhuphayo.

Kweli xesha sikulo ngoku ugqirha ngusomashishini, ibe ingoyena mntu onyangayo othenjiweyo. Kwilizwe elithwaxwa lurhwaphilizo oluninzi, urhwaphilizo lufikelele nakwiSebe Lezempilo apho oogqirha babanjwa khona ngabomthetho ngenxa yokubiza imali engapha kwefunekayo xa betsala imali yezigulana kwi-iInshorensi zabo, enye beyehlisa ngemilenze beshiya izigulana zisweleka ngenxa yokushota kwemali yonyango. Ngapha kwale nkqubo yezonyango kukho oosomali beemkampani ezinkulu ezinempembelelo namandla okuyala inqkubo yezepolitiki neyezimali yelizwe lonke. Isebe Lezempilo eliqhutywa nelilambele imali alikwazi ukukhonza abantu balo ngokupheleleyo.

Isebe lempilo lalapha eMzantsi Afrika linecala lika wonke-wonke, elikhonza i68% yabantu baseMzantsi Afrika, Kuphinde kubekho iinkonzo zabucala zempilo (private health services) nezikhonza abantu abakwazi ukubhathala ngeMedical Aid abenza i16% kuphela yabantu balapha kweli lizwe. Sekunjalo, i45% yemali yezonyango urhulumente uyibekela eli cala labantu abakwaziyo ukuzibhathalela, kushiywa uninzi lwezigulana engozini nasemngciphekweni wokuxhatshazwa njengakwimeko ka Bra Ray.

Into ekwakufanele ibaluleke kwilizwe elinedemokhrasi kukuba kulungiswe ukushiyana kwemigangatho yobomi, kunikwe amandla abo babecinezelekile bengenanto, kususwe umkhethe kunye nokuxatyiswa kwanto yonke engazuzi sininzi.

Ngelishwa oku akwenziwa ngurulumente we-ANC nto nje lo rhulumente uqhubeka edodobalisa inkqubo yezonyango de kwaba nje, de kwafikela kwilixa lokuba abantu babhubhe ngenxa yokunqongophala kweenkonzo zeempilo.

Ukuze sibakhumbule ngesidima abantu abafana no Bra Ray kufuneka siqhubeke silwela uMzantsi Afrika ozawuthi ukhonze isininzi sabantu. Ngomculo wakhe, uBra Ray wasinika amazwi amahle nakhuthaza umoya wethu njengabantu balapha eMzantsi Afrika.

Ngaxa lithile, uBra Ray wathi: “Zange ndenze umculo ngenjongo yowuthengisa kodwa ndandifuna ukunyusa umgangatho womculo wethu apha eMzantsi Afrika, umculo wethu uhlonipheke. Ekugqibeleni, kushiyeka ubugcisa bethu xa yonke enye into ingasekho.” Inene, nakuba emkile, ubugcisa bakhe buya kuhlala unaphakade.
English translation:


Did he have to die? SA Jazz legend Ray Phiri and the commodification of Health Services

Did SA Jazz Legend Jay Phiri have to die?This was a question that filled up my mind as reports of his death came on early in the morning on the 12th of July 2017.It was reported that he died because he could no longer pay his medical expenses, he could no longer continue with his medical treatment. Does this mean that he could have lived longer if he had money to pay?Definitely. It was really sad to note that people were not concerned with this and proffered to emphasise on that he had lung cancer and went on to celebrate his massive contribution to South African Jazz.

Is it normal to die because you cannot afford Health Services? Yes it seems to be an accepted norm in South Africa. The commodification of Health Services has been inflicted by the oppressive history of colonial subjugation,Apartheid and now has been accepted in the post-apartheid period. The South African constitution binds the state to work towards the progressive realisation of the right to health. Yet 27 years after democracy,the country is still suffering from deaths that come from massive health inequalities. In Section 27(2) it clearly advocates the right of health care and that it cannot be taken away from anyone. The apparent but often denied reality is that the poor majority of South African people die due to unaffordable health services.




Did Ray Phiri want to die? A desperate plea from his best-friend Richard Mitchell can better answer this question.”Ray Phiri is currently in the Nelspruit Mediclinic suffering from lung cancer. Please help by donating funds as he has exhausted all his private funds. Ray has touched so many people with his music and to friends in the industry with his infectious love of life. We are wanting to show our support by creating the campaign that will ease the costs of his cancer treatment while also acknowledging what he has meant to all who came in contact with him.”

This is a clear indication that Bra Ray still wanted to live. He did not die of lung cancer,he died because he did not afford medical services. The commodification of Health services has surely killed the caring spirit of Africans. It has destroyed health as a necessity for human fulfilment and human striving. Million of poor South Africans remain in the horror of poor health and possible death due to the commodification of health. Its become very expensive to be healthy in South Africa.

Its very important that we say why are things like this and who benefits from things staying like this. The death of Bra Ray reflects the predominant ideology in South Africa today which strives on the commodification of health services. The peaceful transition to democracy represents a period of a mixture of European and African ideologies that guide the policies and the law of the country. Health care has become a mere commodity in this time. A commodity is product that is sold,it is not possessed by everyone. Health care has been reduced to the Capitalist economic ethos where people have become consumers of health care,it has become a market place with business ethics if you don’t have money, no health care service for you.




In this current time the Doctor is not a healer but a money maker. In a country filled with extensive corruption it has also found its way in health care where Doctors have been caught claiming from medical insurance more than once for a particular service rendered to a patient,taking all the money that sick patients need to survive on. Behind this health system that kills the majority lies the big corporate capital institutions that are powerful and dictate the political economy of South Africa and its Health system. A health care system that is highly motivated by money can never truly serve the people.

South Africa health system is broken down into public and private health.68% of the population depend entirely on public health and only 16% can afford private health care trough medical schemes yet 45% public expenditure of health services is spent on the private sector living the majority of patience in need dissipated. This system has left ill patients vulnerable and exploitable as in the case of Bra Ray.

The important task for a democratically elected state was to address the dis-empowerment,discrimination and the commodification that excluded the majority. This however has not been done and the ANC government has continued to weaken the health system to this point where people die due to the lack of health services and the commodification of Health services.

To truly honour people like Bra Ray we should continue to struggle for a better South Africa that serves the majority of its people. Through his music Bra Ray brought a positive political massage and uplifted the spirit of the country.
Bra Ray once said:
“It’s never been my objective to make commercial music but instead transform South African music into something respectable. In the end, it’s your art that remain when everything else has gone”.

Indeed, while he may be gone, his art will remain forever.

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