If ever there was a book that should be compulsory reading for every South African school kid (not lenna, but school kid), it is Animal Farm. Nearly everything in the book can be compared with the events that have taken place in this country.
Nowhere is the coming into power by the ANC explained with such simplicity and clarity, as in this little jewel by George Orwell. In short, it tells the story of a farmer, Mr. Jones, and the animals who took possession of his farm, Manor Farm.
I have put just some of the hundreds of similarities between Orwell’s story, and that of the ANC, in brackets and italics.
One night, a pig, old Major, (Sol Plaatje) secretly called all the animals together, and, addressing them as “comrades,” told them that he had a dream of rebellion in which Jones (apartheid) was overthrown. Some weeks later, (1994), the animals (ANC) rose up and took over the farm; driving Jones, his wife, and the workers away (white migration).
The animals then got together and it was decided that the pigs would be in charge of the farm. The name of the farm was changed from Manor Farm to Animal Farm (ANC’s numerous name changes) and the animals adopted the Seven Commandments (Freedom Charter):
1. Whatever goes on two legs is an enemy.
(Whoever does not vote for the ANC is an enemy.)
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.)
(Whoever votes for the ANC, or is from a communist country, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
(No ANC official shall wear clothes unless it is by Armani, Gucci, or Versace.)
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
(No ANC official shall sleep in a bed unless it is in a luxury hotel.)
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
(No ANC official shall drink alcohol unless it is Johnny or Jack.)
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
(No ANC member shall kill any other ANC member, but you may sing “Kill the Boer.”)
7. All animals are equal.
(All ANC voters are equal – to sheep!)
The animals also had a little song, which they constantly sang: “Four legs good, two legs bad (Dubul' ibhunu).” The pigs (who were incompetent and corrupt) did not actually do any work, but directed and supervised the other animals. The pigs moved into the farmhouse (hotels and mansions) while the rest of the animals slept in the barn (squatter camps).
From this point onwards things just got progressively worse for the animals; the pigs organised them into Animal Committees (Trade Unions). The Egg Production Committee for Hens (ANC Women’s League), the Clean Tails League for Cows (Black Sash), the Wild Comrades’ Re-education Committee for Rats and Rabbits (ANCYL), the Whiter Wool Movement for Sheep (Joe Slovo and Kasrils’ SACP), and various others, as well as classes for reading and writing. (Adult Basic Education and Training, ABET.)
The pigs had vicious guard dogs (bodyguards) to protect them from the animals. The young piglets received special schooling (private schools). A devious little pig, Squealer, (Mac Maharaj) was appointed to placate the animals; with fabricated stories when they started grumbling about unfair treatment (service delivery and corruption).
In the end, however, the animals (ANC voters) were living in far worse conditions; and their lives were much harsher, than when Jones (apartheid) was in charge.
I couldn’t help laughing at the coincidence, when deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, in proposing a toast, told the crowd that those who did not have champagne glasses (and he knew that none had) should just raise clenched fists.
"The leaders (pigs) will now enjoy the champagne, and of course they do so on your behalf, through their lips," Motlanthe said before downing his glass of imported champagne (milk and apples). And the dry-mouthed crowd of sheeple looked on.
In our story, when the animals found out that the pigs were drinking the all milk and eating the apples, they became highly upset. Squealer, the devious little pig, (spokesperson or spin-pig, like Maharaj) quickly came to the rescue.
"Comrades!" he cried. "You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing
this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike
milk and apples (imported champagne). I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the
well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and
organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over
your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those
apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones
would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades," cried
Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his
tail, "surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?" (“Apartheid will come back! Surely there is no one among you who want to see Apartheid come back?")
Now if there was one thing that the animals were completely certain of, it
was that they did not want Jones back. When it was put to them in this
light, they had no more to say. The importance of keeping the pigs in good
health was all too obvious. So it was agreed without further argument that
the milk and the apples should be reserved for the pigs alone.
Yep. I thought so.
PS For those of you who have similar anecdotes on the parallels between Animal Farm and ANC Farm, please post it here so we can all share in the fun.