The biggest lie in South Africa right now

Many people are made to believe that the ANC and President Zuma’s administration are the cause of most if not all of South Africa’s problems. That’s a lie, his administration resembles a continuation of unresolved problems and the development of new ones – new problems we as a nation have never faced before, such as #feestmustfall, #genderparity, #equality and #economic_inclusion.

So to voluntarily think that the ANC and Zuma are the cause of it all or to be made to think like that is to assume that the manifestation our many social ills began in 1994. This is being ignorant to many facts and realities namely, South Africa was economically and socially a failed state from the 80’s right up until the end of Mandela’s administration, because of the Apartheid administration. This was not just an overall national perception but a global truth. But even more so the failure to comprehend that our present realities are the consequences of dragging South Africa into what was worse than the recently feared junk status – a failed state.

And so believing that the end of an ANC administration would somehow propel us forward is a lie. We have to face ourselves as the electorate. If the DA has failed to address the needs of non-white communities accordingly in the Western Cape, how will they address the concerns of an entire nation without fear or favour?  I won’t say much about the EFF because they still so much to prove. Yes, the ANC has lost sight of the country in many ways that one.

In fact, my view is that apart from a vacuum in real political opposition, the ANC suffers from an identity crisis. The party has not reconciled into one, its two personalities, one the glorious liberation movement and two the political party in power. You may disagree with me on this but that is how they present themselves on a consistent basis – unsure of self but cognizant of their worth and capabilities. The training for excellence the present leaders received was for the purposes of liberation movement activities, and the ANC still sees itself that way – a liberation movement even after two decades since realising the advent of democracy.

Some argue that the party needs to split. Some say they need to give women a chance. While some believe the ANC needs to lose power altogether to learn humility once again. But whichever thought you side with, one thing is certain, the ANC is a reflection of who we are as a nation.

The aforementioned identity crisis now runs in the DNA of new leaders, the ones we hoped would reflect less on past victories and write a new history by solving today’s problems. The liberation movement genes do not seem to allow the party to morph into a political party of the future, in the now. That’s why most ANC public lectures are reduced to media briefings on internal issues, doused in late freedom fighter stories instead of talking to the realities of the people, with the people – with the intent to find solutions together – leadership!

However, it’s a lie to believe that the ANC  is responsible for economic seclusion, cultural disdain, heritage bleaching, racial apathy and the continuous promotion of class societies through an unreformed education system, which is what breeds the belief that some are inherently human whilst others have to first graduate from sub-human status before their value of life is considered worthy of acceptance. It is ignorance on the part of civil society if we dare assume that all these are the ANC’s shortcomings. And all the points I’ve mentioned and more are not juxtaposed but instead are siblings stemming from the same evil, the promotion structural inequalities.

Our democracy is counted amongst the youngest in the world and problems like racism are generational and cannot be solved by a political term in office. Political parties promote what civil society perceives to be true, especially in a democratic dispensation where they are voted into power and must please the electorate to stay in power. With that said, problems like government corruption and private sector corruption are administrative and can be addressed in one lifetime.

But it is particularly important to note that corruption has been rampant in all our government administrations, from the days when South Africa was still referred to as the Union of South Africa, not a republic. I find it important to mention this because the style of reporting often perpetuates an old stereotype label which generalises Africans as weaker managers of state resources and also lacking leadership prowess, without taking the time to differentiate dexterity from greed. This is not to say, “pity me I am black”, no! People need to be held to account but at the same time, I’m highlighting the fact that prejudice in society is subliminal and manifests without words.

See, the only difference between society then and now is that in today’s political environment the press is a little free to document evidence as they see it and not how the state wants it to be. Today individuals can do the work of the press using various public platforms, again without fear of government reprimand or social retribution. I have come to learn that, past segregation deprived both the oppressor and the oppressed the freedom to think and be human without fear. Today we have a generation of people who cannot come together because they are living the fears they learned instead of enjoying the temeritous pursuit of a prosperous destiny, together in the spirit of patriotism and brotherhood.

But then again who is my brother?

This week’s two main protests- #Blackmonday and #UCTshutdown – actions prove all that I have already mentioned. Today as you read this know that, a black female UCT student was dragged naked and unconscious into a police bakkie, by black female police officers. Her crime, protesting for the University to recognise that suicide and murder rates amongst black students are on the rise – dramatically. The same police officers who were on “statue holiday” during Monday’s racially branded illegal protest, which disrupted school exams at matric level and tertiary and negatively affected economic activity temporarily.

I can tell you now police will never, ever drag her counterpart – except for coloureds. The value of life in South Africa is class based not because you are human. I am not invoking hatred nor I am I purporting injustice or inflating truth, I am just stating the realities of others as they are.

And if you’re reading this and thinking that she shouldn’t have been protesting in the first place then you are part of the problem in this country. Suppressing people’s values for the sake of silence and ‘order’ is like saying, the farmers who were injured on the freeway during Monday’s protest when a truck drove into them, shouldn’t have been protesting there, to begin with. Learning to put the shoe on the other foot is compassion. Our apathy towards one another as a society will not be cured by removing the ANC.

I am a father to an opinionated two-year-old girl and for a moment I imagined, how I would feel if my child was dragged naked into a police van in front of her peers and the nation, for standing up for justice and for speaking against structural inequality. If it was your child, how would you feel?

Where are the calls for unity when we have to feel for those who wear a different hue? Where are the valiant civil society organisations to say, “my child is your child”, like they said, “Don’t kill the hand that feeds you.” Where are the prayer groups who mobilised and prayed the problem?

We should not let positive nostalgia to fool us into believing that blame shifting unresolved Apartheid structural inequalities to the ANC will solve the problem. Our poor judgement as civil society will not be cured by simply changing governments. That’s covering them.

The euphoria from the Mandela era is over, we are all sober enough to see each other now. To be honest its a scary sight sometimes – to see you for who you are (not what you say you are) and to be seen in the same light as well. But it’s time we recognised one another and the strands of history weaved into what made us who we are and how that affects the next men. We cannot embrace racial extremism just because an apartheid flag reminds one community of the “good old days,” – good to who me, you – us? Like we should not sing struggle songs like, “kill the Boer.” How will an obsession of a time past help us move forward? We die when we stop believing and we go blind the day we lose vision.

I feel that even though we are a young nation under construction, we as civil society still hold each other to senseless cold class based militant standards of pretending that the world is a sunny day and everyone should be alright because we have an umbrella when in reality we are all standing in the way of a flood. Ignorance is not kind and the old school principle of social apathy to the plight of others is built on ignorance.

Democracy is a constant conversation among equal human beings and protest whether peaceful or otherwise is a necessary part of the dialogue. There is no democratic government that is free from protest, uprising and revolution. We cannot expect to grow a nation blessed with diversity such as ours, without stepping on each another’s toes. But we can choose how we respond when our foot is under another man sole, and who we are is what we become when we  realise we are the ones stepping on others.

As I wrap up this thought, (thank you for reading up to this far). Talk is cheap. That’s why anyone can afford to say, “unity in South Africa” even when they don’t know the cost of action. We cannot be one another’s fellow man if our concept of democracy is based on “them, they, others, us and not we.” If you are my countrymen you will share in all my struggles and you will embrace me in our terms, not yours or mine. We will deal with what troubles us in our terms not yours or just mine.

What are your thoughts?

#BlackMonday –
#UCTShutdown –



7 thoughts on “The biggest lie in South Africa right now

  1. Awesome!
    On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 5:37 PM, Anele Nele Matshisi wrote:
    > justnele posted: ” Many people are made to believe that the ANC and > President Zuma’s administration are the cause of most if not all of South Africa’s problems. > That’s a lie, his administration resembles a continuation of those problems > results in the development of new o” >

    • Thank you for your insights, and it touches many, many truths. To further add to these truths, my point of view is as follows:
      Its true that the history of South Africa is part of the problem we face today, but then, the majority of us entangled in this problem, didnt live in the days that the Apartheid regime saw the light, so why do we keep on blaming each other for the past? The past is what it was, it involved people with different circumstances (an era in which humankind was exploring territory, fighting for their lives, and the victorius side hold the power) And what was BEHIND the solutions they found for the circumstances they faced then? FEAR and LACK OF RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING for each other as a human being. Therefore oppressive systems were put into place for preservation of their “hard fought rights” disrespecting the other parties ” right of belonging” And they found solutions based on the mindset of the time, which shows FEAR for their differences, A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING of their similarities (different ways of engaging, organising society and views on life based on their individual cultural inheritances) and DISRESPECT for human beings. So, how can we blame the past, if we still very much live inside it today? Now, just imagine if all of us that inherited the past, can wrap our minds around the fact that instead of blaming the past as a bad thing, we can look at it as a positive thing. We can say that reflecting back on the past, we learned that our diverse society gained nothing from trying to preserve their differences, to try and proof that one is better than the other, for trying to hold onto grievances and for pitying ourselves for the situation that we are facing. Why cant we wrap our minds around the fact that if we were to put all the energy that we are currently putting into blaming the past and each other, to change ourselves to want to understand and take stock of where we are as a nation now, what we need and want to change and start working towards a common goal? The first step in my view is to change our view that ZUMA is a bad thing for the country, because he is exactly what this country needed to UNITE us. Since 1994, it was as if the whole country took Panado to make the pain feel better, but Panado doesnt heal, and now we all have full blown fever.Now, that all of us, black, white, coloured, indian and other minority groups start to feel the pain of losing any possibility of what could have been a free and propserous future for all, due to a president not adressing the symptoms of the ills of our society, but rather inflaming it, now is the time where we should all CHOOSE to learn lessons from the past. The lesson that oppresion, self preservation, corruption, fear of each other, disrespect of our differences and a lack of understanding of each other, SERVES NO ONE! I mean, we are a country that has 4 Nobel Peace prize winners (D. Tutu, N. Mandela, FW de Klerk and A. Luthuli) and yet no piece among ourselves.

      The words of Mohatma Ghandi, put into action by each and everone of us on a daily basis, can surely change our future!
      1. Change yourself.
      “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
      “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
      2. You are in control.
      “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
      3. Forgive and let it go.
      “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
      “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
      4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.
      “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
      5. Take care of this moment.
      “I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”
      6. Everyone is human.
      “I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
      “It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
      7. Persist.
      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
      8. See the good in people and help them.
      “I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”
      “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”
      9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.
      “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
      “Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
      10. Continue to grow and evolve.
      “Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

      And if we ALL follow the 10 pieces of wisdom above we will all be in a much better place in the near future, and you Anele, might just be our next Nobel peace prize winner 🙂

      • Thank you Janine for the wonderful insights and perspective. But I like said, democracy is a constant conversation. Part of that dialogue demands that we facilitate places of contact. At the moment we live in cultural, social and economic silos. As a result we end up talking at each other and to one another. I appreciate the feedback.

  2. As a young person just still growing up in a Democratic county I’ve also seen and mainly believe that there’s still so much to be done by political leaders in resolving all of the social,economical and financial injustice that the country faces and it startles me just to think of the kind of future we as post 1994 youth onwards have.Thank you for this blog👌

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