Outspoken, and proud of it

2010-12-15 00:00

I RECENTLY received an e-mail from a black South African who accused me of being too critical of blacks in general and South Africans in particular. This man labelled me a “nigger” who is dancing to the tune of whites. This is not the first time this has happened and my response to all who have had that thought, particularly black South Africans, is very simple.

For far too long, blacks have accepted sub-standard lives and political leadership because we dare not stand up and speak loudly about what is going wrong. As blacks we should not wait for whites to criticise us but critically look at ourselves and what we seek to achieve without bringing race into it.

Yes, I happen to be black and will continue looking critically at our African leadership and its shortcomings in creating the future we desire. That to me, besides being democracy in action, is our responsibility if we are to contribute meaningfully to a new African dispensation whose leadership is not only accountable but is forced to serve those who need help most — the poor majority who may not have a platform from which to speak as some of us do.

It is fact that when a black points out what is wrong, he or she is called an Uncle Tom or anti black, while a white who may dare to do the same is called racist. This to me reflects a fundamental inability of most of us to focus on the issue and not from whence it comes. Politicians are good at that, especially when they do not have a credible answer to explain their incompetence in doing what is expected of them: looking after the interests of those who voted them into power. They shift the burden of their responsibility to racism, imperialism, neoliberalism and to the so-called black “Uncle Toms”, while forgetting their role in creating the circumstances we wish to change.

It is also a fact that opposition parties are looked at with the same attitude. To all those blacks out there, what then should we do? Should we keep quiet and hope things change? Obviously not, for we all know that they will not change and in most cases our silence will be viewed as consent.

Personally, I detest black African politicians for what they have become — selfish in nature, short term in their approach, uncaring of the poor and arrogant at times. If Africa is to rise, it is obvious to all that we must see some changes in governance and the experience of democracy for the majority of our brothers and sisters who have no hope for a better future. Yes, most claim to represent the interests of the poor but we know that their core business is selfish ambition.

Africa needs a new economic order. An order that is fashioned to address that which was fought for by many. A new order of an enabling economy that is not fashioned to meet the needs of a few but addresses the basic needs of most. An economy that is grounded on the principle of service to many and not the selfishness of a few.

In my opinion, the truth is always inconvenient and revolutionary in nature, and those who attempt to peddle it, like myself, cannot seek affirmation specifically from other blacks but rather seek to cause discomfort. It is through this discomfort that new thinking can emerge and, hopefully, new behaviours that seek to create new economic and social systems resulting in the economic development of Africa.

Our economic future remains bleak, not because we have chosen it, but because most of us choose to keep quiet when we should speak out. I certainly choose to speak out.

— Moneyweb.co.za

• Vince Musewe is an independent Zimbabwean economist based in South Africa. He is founder and chairperson of Truth2Power. He is also spearheading the establishment of the Patriotic Movement of Diaspora Zimbabweans (Pamodzi). He can be contacted at vtmusew­e@gmail.com

If black people wish to play a role in the economy and improve their lives they should speak out

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