Howard Feldman

SA has been re-colonised and we don't even know it

2017-07-10 08:19

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Greater than I have fallen on the Colonial Sword. Party leaders lie bleeding from self-inflicted wounds gashed out in fewer than 140 characters. There is no chance of recovery. Understandably no one wants to go near the subject. Not with a 10 foot sabre.

And yet, to ignore the fact that South Africa has been colonised (once again) is to ignore a vital part of the story that will be documented as a pivotal point in the country’s history. In addition, avoidance of the conversation will result in us missing out on some of the most spectacular cases of irony this nation has seen.

Colonialism is “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically”.

South Africans, along with most of the African continent know well what this means. It was a ubiquitous system that by its very design exploited the wealth of the colonised country and denied the people the right not only to self-determination but also to material wealth.

Money or goods were exported out of the colonised country and were used to sustain powers that saw the country simply as a means to an end.

During the 19th and 20th centuries this might have been the behaviour of many European nations. But in the 21st century in South Africa, it is an Indian family who have colonised.

The country has been re-colonised in a crafty and genius plan that has had the ANC give up control of one government department after another after another. It has squandered billions of its resources for the wealth creation of the Gupta family and spread the riches according to the demand required for the purchase of relevant ministers and government officials and contracts.

The recent Gupta-leaked emails give only a sense of the magnitude of the looting and one wonders if the billions lost to corruption will ever even be quantified.

But the true “genius” was not only the rampant pillaging and short period in which the country was captured. Rather, it was the tactic that resulted in South Africans looking in a completely different direction – all whilst this was taking place under their noses.

Whilst the new colonialists were screaming, “white monopoly capital!” they were, at first quietly, and then not so quietly “acquiring full or partial political and economic control” over the country.

It gets better. Or more ironic, if possible.

Who did the Guptas employ to assist them with this campaign? None other than the most British of public relations firms that boasts about being one of the eldest of its type in the United Kingdom.

After all, who better to understand the sensitivity and the nuances that are required to stoke the flames of racial hatred, to play into the insecurity and fears of a people who have just emerged from years of oppression and denial?

The strategy was callous one. By designing a campaign around “white monopoly capital” Bell Pottinger knew that they would stir painful reminders of racism and rip open hardly healed wounds. They would divert attention away from what was really at play and could sit back and watch while their clients continued to destroy what was left of the country.

They didn’t handle the “public relations” of the Guptas. They simply manipulated us into looking elsewhere.

They issued an apology this week. It seemed as unimpressive and insincere as their campaign. If ever there was a PR firm who needed a PR firm, it is Bell Pottinger. Reading their apology, one had to wonder if they couldn’t find better copywriters – especially given with what they charge their clients.

The statement lacked the very soul missing from the Gupta strategy. Both lacked any form of humanness.

The list of ironies continues. Those screaming “white monopoly capital!” have not understood that they have now been re-colonised and their assets freshly stolen; the ANC Women’s League refuses to comment on the horrific sexism being revealed in the #GuptaLeaks emails and President Jacob Zuma has announced that we need to tackle corruption.

It’s like we are living in the twilight zone. 

But at least one thing has become clear. South Africa has been colonised. And we need to talk about it.

- Howard Feldman is the author of Carry on Baggage and Tightrope and the afternoon drive show presenter on Chai FM.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


Read more on:    guptaleaks  |  gupta emails  |  colonialism  |  bell pottinger  |  guptas


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