Let it be plainly said,
I’m well aware of South Africa’s history of racial prejudice. Where not only the citizens hated each other’s guts on the basis of race, but fueled by the institutionalised racism that introduced laws in the country that supported this hate.
I’m also not so naïve as to believe that our current democracy could escape the effects of such a racialized past in 20 years.
Thanks to many of my much older, apparently “more black conscious” and sensible friends, I can re-tell the vital role the ANC played in the liberation of Black people, perhaps far more succinctly than most of its card-carrying members, and in some cases veterans of the struggle. And leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling!
Despite all this, I still dream of ANY political party swooping in and leaving the ANC consigned to a dark corner, where I’m sure they could use the introspection. Perhaps because I still value the power of democracy.
Wiekus Kotze was the latest example of how the social-media army of critics will seize any stick to beat down dissident views. Even much more recently, he was the topic of every fuckin’ publication under the headline “Afrikaner EFF member arrested”, following his alleged fraud involvement.
In both the media and Twitter instances, it became apparent what his selling point and subsequent mistake was. Kotze’s primary offense (other than endorsing the EFF’s impractical manifesto) was being a WHITE member of such a movement. Cue public outrage.
Being all too familiar with that line of criticism, he was called a ‘traitor to his own race’, ‘a political prostitute’ and ‘a garden-boy desperate to please his master’. Okay, okay! So that was me, but you get my point.
Not once did his critics stop to think that maybe Kotze is just as sick as most South Africans are of the ANC’s false promises, or the possibility that the EFF is the only party that shares this man’s future vision for the country, both economically and politically.
And for Piet’s sake, surely someone’s race is the last thing I should learn when reading a news story, one particularly published in post-apartheid SA!
Clearly the double standards of the ANC (and by extension its supporters) to try and divide our maturing society on racial lines has transcended to the media, especially the social media platforms where people fail to construct criticism without venturing on the racial question.
Several other commentators, even fellow News24 bloggers (Hi Esethu) have been guilty of this. Most can’t seem to wrap their yellow heads around the fact that a black person could be an active supporter of the DA.
“I can’t understand Black DA voters” goes their war-cry. This polarizing approach isn’t one meant to encourage or maintain discussion. Its a divisive tactic aimed at delegitimizing ones political views purely because it seems racially inconsistent with the norm.
A technique most supporters of the ruling party like to pretend is the flawed logic of the opposition, by their constant reminder of what the “DA does to Blacks in the Western Cape”. Oblivious to the fact that this the reality of most Black people under Zuma’s ANC and to go even further, in far worse conditions.
The ruling party looks away when some among them make the assertion that voting another party other than the ANC will be a referendum to return Apartheid. They do not correct this myth because it suits them when they know for sure that our water tight Constitutions can never allow for such.
Simply put, it symbolises how our liberators are stuck in their own form of thinking, concerned with past achievements at the expense of those disenfranchised today. An excuse I have no time nor the patience for.
I certainly check my privilege all the time. I can study anywhere I want, I can live anywhere I want. Thanks to the brave and selfless leaders who fought for a democratic country. I’m aware of the Constitutional inclusion of my right to vote any party I want. If that party were to chronically fail me, I know I have the freedom to vote differently.
I will NOT be made to feel guilty and forced to give into the anti-democratic reasoning, racist and dog-whistle politics I’ve been subjected to for weeks. I only hope Kotze and countless voters of the opposition won’t either.** This piece was first published on News24 Voices.