Dashiki Dialogues: To vote, and who to vote for, is the debate

2013-07-22 10:00

Some of my friends are clear about where they stand on the upcoming general elections, at least for now.

It’s a long way to 2014 and passions can certainly mutate.

Anyway, their position often comes loaded with a dilemma I believe is faced by many young black voters in the land of kwaito and koeksisters.

It was after a long chatter about Nkandlagate and other scandals that one friend piped in: “Look man, I love the ANC but I can’t stand the idea of another five years with Jacob Zuma and his clique.

And I won’t be caught dead voting for the DA either, so you can add another braai day to my calendar, boss,” he said.

The statement unleashed a wave of affirmative grunts agreeing with him. It appears this is a dilemma that could be symptomatic of a much more dangerous condition than is understood.

Also telling were the statements made by that Xhosa king with a taste for insults and mind-bending smokes.

Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo concluded his recent bouts of verbal diatribes against the ANC and Zuma by announcing that he has joined the DA.

I wasn’t interested that much in his talk of the voters he will take from the ANC as much as by how he described his move.

Dalindyebo likened his joining the opposition as something akin to jumping out of the frying pan of the ANC into the fire of the DA.

His statements loosely went something like this: “Knowing the heat of the pan, we’d rather take our chances with the fire,” the king said.

I read two things here. One, he is obviously unhappy with the Zuma-led ANC and two, he understands that joining the DA is something likely to burn him.

Now, let’s assume these are the decisions Dalindyebo made before he had his regular fix of the hocus-pocus.

In that way, he can be a useful subject of this reading.

It shores up the reasoning behind many black voters who move from the ANC to the DA not because they are at home with Helen Zille’s politics.

It is an emotional decision birthed out of a legitimate disillusionment with ANC corruption and administrative ineptitude.

But little of the DA’s neoliberal values and their stance on affirmative action, which often run counter to the ANC’s ideas, are ever discussed.

Meanwhile, many others remain in an ideological wilderness owing to an apparent absence of a more viable party with a real capacity and interest in restorative justice.

Is this the fertile ground Julius Malema hopes to harvest? His dashiki remains a tad too shabby for a dialogue on ad hoc constructions of mass dignity.

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