Friends & Friction: Poqo salute to African pride

2014-05-14 10:00

I did not recognise the leader of the party I wanted to vote for on the ballot sheet on Wednesday, so I voted for the ANC.

Suddenly, I felt like I had not come to elect a representative but to bury the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). I even forgot to perform my ritual – to do the Poqo salute in the voting booth.

The name Poqo, which became synonymous with the PAC militia, comes from the Ndingumntu word ‘poqo’, meaning: “I am a true human being.”

The first time I voted for the ANC, I felt like a prisoner of war. I had to because I was in Western Cape, a hostile place to blacks at the best of times, and we had to wrestle it from the DA.

An appeal was made to all Africanists in the province via a stealth SMS campaign to leave aside their narrow political leanings and vote for the ANC.

We won in a coalition with the Independent Democrats, led by former PAC member ­Patricia de Lille. At this election, I didn’t feel so bad.

The last words cadres of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army heard before they set off on missions to infiltrate the country were: “Go well, loved one. Go well.”

But now, for the last time, doing my Poqo salute, I say: “Go well, loved one. Go well, Poqo. uPoq’akabethwa [The spirit of a true human being is unconquerable]. Your dream of a United States of Africa has eluded us.”

I fear in the absence of Africanism, which is only pro-Africa and anti nobody, antiwhite racism will thrive, and those who oppose it will be branded white apologists.

The vehicle to a nonxenophobic Africa has crashed and has been written off. Small wonder Africans call each other amakwerekwere and burn each other alive.

Isn’t it sad black executives are the worst when it comes to implementing employment equity? There’s black-on-black violence on the streets and in boardrooms. Everywhere.

No, friends, I am not trying to criticise our heroes who have passed, I am trying to wake us up from a slumber as our country burns.

The idea of the Positive Action campaign of self-love and self-respect is now officially dead, but I appeal to you to never let others define who you are, and never allow them to define your character by the colour of your skin.

Hate no one, a country of people who hate each other will soon disintegrate. Believe in yourself and believe in the people who shaped you and the land that gave you sustenance. Invest in its future.

Never treat an African as a foreigner on ­African soil, but as your guest. That is what will make trade grow among Africans and ­create jobs.

Finally, with a salute, invented by Kwame Nkrumah, with hope more than anything, I say: “The spirit of Africa is unconquerable.”

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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