Friends & Friction: Wintry wind of greed has killed our revolution

The golden anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution passed by unnoticed last week, with that country’s government tacitly discouraging its people from celebrating it.

Like most grand programmes, Mao Zedong’s revolution had its excesses, and he used them as a cover to exterminate his political opponents and expunge any dissenting ideological views.

There is no denying that he remains the most influential Chinese leader this side of the Christ curtain. He provided the stilts that made China a modern superpower.

Our feeble revolution, sadly, could not withstand the wintry winds of greed.

The presidency of Jacob Zuma will be looked at as the most divisive in our short democratic history. While he was at the helm, the 20th anniversary of our freedom passed by without a single firecracker exploding, because he was already paranoid.

The conditions for a real revolution are ripe in this country.

There are just too many things to revolt against. The #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements are but the whirlwinds before the hurricane.

We have a president who is a symbol of all that is wrong, and who has a voracious appetite for money. We have exhibitionist Cabinet ministers who are not shy to parade their privilege in front of the poor.

The official opposition (the DA) is perceived to be a haven for apartheid interests, making it an amoral choice.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which is the more vocal opposition, is falling into what I call the Green Party Trap.

When the environmental revolution finally swept across Europe, about two decades after Rachel Carson had planted the seed with her seminal book The Silent Spring and after Marvin Gaye had awakened the world with his roaring hit Mercy, Mercy Me, the Green Party was elected into Parliament.

Young and crèche-like, it was distracted by the limelight. It enjoyed the theatrics and confused decorum with the status quo, and so it rebelled against the traditions of Parliament instead of the tradition of greed.

Soon a perception was created that it had no agenda and no manners. Thereafter, the voters left it. Likewise, the EFF cannot be the “babes of the people” forever. Soon, it will have to offer an attractive alternative beyond looks and song.

There are three factors that work against the current government.

First, the rate of unemployment is too high, which provides ample foot soldiers for the revolution.

Second, our sporting teams aren’t winning – when the flag of a country flies high, it creates a sense of pride among the people.

Third, our arts and culture department needs to go beyond showing us the loot and shaking a booty.

If the ANC wants to retain its majority, at least until Jesus Christ comes back, as Zuma once suggested (and, by the way, there are democratically elected parties around the world that are well on their way to achieving that), it needs to nominate an inspiring president and a strong minister of trade and industry who has a whole new perspective on enabling businesses to create employment.

It also needs to attract cadres who are selfless, who love the people, have no tolerance for corruption and understand that if you want to be the richest person alive, you go into business and not politics.

If you can find such people in our country – if you ever meet someone who is still prepared to make great sacrifices for posterity and the good of all – please mark that spot so we can build a shrine there, because that is the sort of person who will save us from hell next time.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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August 2020

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