Maybe being an astronomer is really getting to my head now, but I really feel as though I am living in a parallel South Africa to that which I see on television. Simply because on television I see a South Africa with a “good story to tell” as the ANC puts it, but I seem to be living with a very heartbreaking story to tell still for the black man 20 years after this so-called “freedom”. I kid you not, after these observations I have since concluded that South Africa is the archetypal evidence of quantum phenomena taking place in large-scale systems; because this country seems to be in a superposition between two possible states of existence... we have a South Africa that I see on television, one that is free, democratic, with equal opportunities for everyone. A South Africa that hosted the FIFA world cup in 2010, one that has the most progressive constitution in the world, and its own Dalai Lama in Nelson Mandela. Then you have another South Africa, one that I seem to be a resident of; this South Africa is ravaged by crony capitalism, poverty is the order of the day, corruption is the modus operandi, freedom is an illusion, riots and protests are everywhere, and oh well... the wails carry on to about as far as the extension of pi digits after the decimal comma. Seems like this country has become Schrodinger’s cat, it is both free and not free at the same time, the story to tell is both good and bad, all depending on your place observation. I would imagine an overnight millionaire from dubious tender processes looking at South Africa from a villa in Table View, Cape Town has a far different observation to a shack dweller of Khayelitsha; so the observations that inform my question: “what freedom are they talking about?” are from a South Africa that I and the Khayelitsha shack dweller live in, they are our reality in this seemingly ‘many worlds existence’ of South Africa.
In this state of existence of South Africa nothing much has changed for the ordinary black man, 1964 and 2014 are still presenting the same old challenges of survival. More than 25 million people (>50% of the population) today still live below the breadline of US$ 2 a day, and more than 24 million of those are black. The income gap between the black household and the white household is wider than ever, while the average salary of a black male lingers at R2400, the white male boasts an average of R19600 take home monthly income. The land is still demarcated as per the 1913 land act, with more than 80% of the land still owned by whites, while blacks who make up 80% of the 50 million strong population, squeeze themselves like sardines in the remaining land. So much for freedom...
In this state of existence South Africa we have greedy, askari politicians who have perfected the art of demagoguery; appealing to the life and death needs of the people, like shelter and food. They give people dog kernels in form or RDP houses and give them social grant handouts to dilute their anger. Never hesitating to exploit people’s ignorance, they’re always ready to deliver convincing speeches on why things will take time, a broken record they have been playing since 1994. Their slogan prior to elections every time is: TOGETHER WE CAN MOVE SOUTH AFRICA FORWARD; but the day after the election it changes to: VUK’UZENZELE (wake up and it for yourself). You would imagine people should have seen through this by now, but because the electorate of the ANC is composed mainly of the 25 million South Africans who live below the breadline, food parcels in weeks leading up to Election Day are enough to sway votes their way, because they promise people more after the elections secure them into “power”. Alas, after all the demagoguery has landed them what they want, they forget about all the poor and focus on building themselves R250 million estates – with cattle kraals and chicken coops costing more than suburban houses – using public money, getting dysfunctional farms worth R600 millions for companies belonging to their children and wealthy family friends, and misusing or embezzling what could be 50% of the fiscal budget through their hyper-corruption in government.
In 1987, when Margaret Thatcher said that the ANC was a typical terrorist organisation that would never govern South Africa, she knew exactly what she was talking about; after all she had worked with many of these “terrorist organisations” herself and must have understood their modus operandi well to make that daring statement. A terrorist organisation fights to be given slice of the pie to satisfy greediness of its leaders, and not for the liberation of the people it claims to represent. Imperialism has long devised means of dealing with these pseudo-revolutionary organisations; it brings them to negotiations and cuts them a small slice so they are happy while the mass exploitation continues unhindered. This is precisely the story of the ANC; they were taken to CODESA by the chief agitators of imperialism in South Africa and they agreed that as long as they would be included in the gravy train in the form of BEE they are happy with whites keeping full control of the economy. Today 97% of the economy is still in the hands of the very same people who held it before 1994, what changed is that you have overnight billionaires and millionaires through the BEE project because of allegiance to the ANC. Not even one 100% owned black company that actually produces or manufactures a certain product exists in South Africa, the only black billionaires are all connected to BEE.
What is worse is that the ANC benchmarks itself with Apartheid conditions for black people; but any fool knows that the Apartheid government was clear on its position where black people are concerned. So in actual fact, juxtaposing statistics of pre 1994 conditions for blacks with those of today is utter madness, but rather the ANC the ANC should’ve compared the conditions of white people under apartheid, and worked towards taking black people to that level. Unfortunately, everything that the ANC done in the name of black people is comparable to and even surpassed at times by what the Apartheid did for blacks; from schools, to free housing, to any other infrastructure you find in townships. So in actual fact we can reach a deduction that the ANC is an extension or continuation of the Apartheid government as far as conditions of blacks and whites are concerned, because the status quo of then and now is still the same. Same project, different faces... Whites still own the land and the minerals, and about every sector of the economy just like the Apartheid government wanted it to be. So I ask you again: what freedom are they talking about?
Freedom is simple – land! All revolutions are about land and a landless person can never be free. Without land you are disenfranchised, and are subhuman; you have no ownership of anything. Nelson Mandela knew this, and this is why in February 1990 after coming out of prison he reiterated with reassurance that nationalisation of mines and monopoly sectors of the economy are still going to be done by his ANC, but then 4 years later he denied point blank that he had ever said such. He was to be the initiator of an ANC of future broken promises that could never be fulfilled because the original sin of the ANC was to deny the people dignity which would have come by giving the land (along with its minerals), that millions died for, back to its owners. Instead he opted to sell a 350 year old struggle for next to nothing; leaving the economic status quo that was in Apartheid in tact and unscathed. The ANC government was founded on deceit in 1994, and sooner or later it will catch up with them. You can postpone a revolution, but you can never cancel it; it will happen eventually.
In state of existence South Africa we still want to know what freedom they are talking about. We are landless; we are slaves in our own motherland. Or is there a quantum tunnel that can take us to this other state of South Africa where seemingly this freedom and good stories they talk about on TV and billboards exist? What do we do to get ourselves on the favourable version of this Schrodinger’s cat that is South Africa? Skin bleaching? Grass eating?
Yamkela Fortune Spengane