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 – https://goo.gl/hgoeYa
#UCTShutdown – https://goo.gl/2nczWg