PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
tobiasmuller
 
Comments: 4
Article views: 0
 
 
Latest Badges:


 
View all tobiasmuller's badges.
 

Learning from Zimbabwe: the Failure of Liberation Politics

18 September 2012, 10:42

Thabo Mbeki was inaugurated for a second term as South Africa’s president in 2004. I remember seeing the televised spectacle on my first visit to the republic after ten years abroad. There were cheering crowds at the Union Buildings as the dignitaries arrived. The adoring multitudes roared as Madiba made his entrance, but the most rapturous applause was reserved for one Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his entourage.

Later on, I asked an acquaintance from Mutare (in Manicaland Province near the Mozambique border) about the apparent strength of support for Zimbabwe’s president from South Africa’s youth, despite him being a figure of derision and contempt in much of the world. He replied that no matter what cruelties Mugabe visited on his people, he would forever be seen as the champion of Black Africa. This is central to understanding how the overwhelming majority of people in Zimbabwe and South Africa think, regardless of their level of education. Post-colonial politics in both countries does not mean that we have entered an era of post-racial reconciliation. The ruling parties in both countries have a vested interest in maintaining a racially polarised atmosphere, something that they have managed to do quite successfully.

There is a fear among Black South Africans that White people will bring back some version of apartheid if given half a chance to do so. I do not believe that this fear is justified. Most South Africans just want an opportunity to live decent lives and secure the future of their children. However, the dream of a rainbow nation was short-lived, and as a consequence, there are many angry and fearful people out there. It thus becomes easy to resort to stereotypes and finger-pointing on all sides. White people are exasperated by the continued strong support for the ANC despite its obvious failures. In feeling so, they are unable to grasp the significance of the party as a liberation movement for their Black compatriots. Recently there have been a number of articles by prominent Black commentators lamenting the state of their communities so many years after liberation. So one can argue that the issues have nothing to do with race; rather they are the consequence of those age-old human failings of greed and vanity.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. In order to hold themselves together, people deny the reality of what is happening. We can lie to other people and sometimes even get away with it. When we lie to ourselves, it always leads to disaster. There are many Zimbabweans who today cling to the mythology of a post-liberation paradise, despite the ugly truth before them. Likewise, there are many South Africans who desperately grasp for the threads of a torn and shredded dream. These are the people who become very angry when reality presents itself, as it must do. They look for scapegoats, who could be anything from foreigners, farmers, White people, poor people (mostly Black), artists, Coloured and Indian people, gays and lesbians, crime victims to innocent women and children. The result is the normalisation and acceptance of the most appalling acts of violence and cruelty.

Will South Africa become another Zimbabwe? I doubt it. This tragedy will have a unique and distinct character all of its own. Moeletsi Mbeki, the Arch, and columnists Simphiwe Dana and Thabo Seroke, are just a few prominent people who have spoken out recently. There are many more (Black and White) who have courageously given voice to what is happening in the country. However, the louder and more powerful voices belong to the politicians, and in the end they know how to manipulate a desperate and angry population. There are no heroes anymore to save South Africa. When Mandela dies, his dream will die with him.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Rhowen Van Der Heever
Sculpting diversions

A Statue is hardly to blame for the failures of South Africa. Read more...

5 comments 138 views
Submitted by
MikeFraser
Cecil John Rhodes the scapegoat

Let's hope the real issue for the lack of transformation will be addressed as speedily as the decision by UCT Senate to remove the statue of CJ Rhodes. Read more...

8 comments 165 views
Submitted by
Julian Faasen
UCT too white

Unpacking Institutional Racism and White Privilege at UCT. Read more...

76 comments 2838 views
Submitted by
Fired up
The End of Utopia- A Perspective ...

French-American anthropological philosopher René Girard argues that modernity is the end of history, in effect it’s the apocalypse foreseen by the Book of Revelation, if not in a literal, yet still in a Biblical sense.  Read more...

36 comments 1243 views
Submitted by
Alex
Are celebrities responsible for t...

The massive outpouring of pain that was the result of Zyn Malik leaving the musical group One Direction and the level of disturbing behaviour that has resulted from it is pretty unbelievable. Read more...

9 comments 750 views
Submitted by
Mark Peach
An ode to silence, and peace

"Seek peace, and pursue it" is an injunction from the Good Book. It was, I gather, something King David once said. And who better to wish for it, given his tumultuous life.  Read more...

6 comments 136 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.