Mulder’s argument makes Mugabe a hero

When Jacob Zuma was inaugurated as president in 2009, the loudest cheer from the elite of the new South Africa inauguration went out for his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe who attended.

Mugabe had a year earlier unleashed a frightening spectre of violence that forced Morgan Tsvangirai to quit the race, allowing Mugabe to be the only horse on course and therefore the “winner” of the election.

Many could not understand why such a man would be regarded as a hero. This week, they hopefully got the answer to why so many South Africans held Mugabe in high regard. For all of ­
Zanu-PF and Mugabe’s faults, a Zimbabwean equivalent of a Pieter Mulder would never as much as imagined pitting the indigenous people against the descendants of colonialists to contest Africans claim to African land. Mulder said this week “Bantu-speaking” people had no historical claim to up to 40% of South Africa.

Mugabe is a megalomaniac and a dictator who does not know when to call it a day. But he and his government have been better than South Africa’s in helping address the formerly oppressed’s psychological scars of living under white racism and the unwillingness to accept that they have visited untold harm on black people by denying them their political and human rights.

A lot is said and written about how the likes of Julius Malema are a threat to racial peace and harmony. Truth is, it is the Mulders of this world who are a greater threat to national cohesion.

Mulder best personifies why many black people believe that their white compatriots have spat on the hand they extended in the name of building a non-racial society.

Mulder – son of Corne Mulder, the co-founder of the white supremacist Conservative Party?– is a junior minister in a government popularly elected by those his father’s party had decreed were defective human beings and therefore fair game because they were not white. Every opportunity Mulder gets, he uses to carp at the state or, as he has now done, venture an ahistoric statement he can live with rather than accept the truth he cannot handle: that African people’s claims to Africa is unquestionable.

For as long as there are arrogant denialists like Mulder in our midst a Robert Mugabe?– or even worse, an Idi Amin?– who has the gumption to “put the oppressors or exploiters in their place” will be appealing to some.

If Deputy Minister Mulder cannot appreciate the governing party’s efforts, often at the risk of alienating its own constituency, to show it harbours no ill-intentions, then South Africa has more problems than it is ready to admit.

With the willing-buyer-willing seller having failed to deliver a fair land restitution regime; employment equity figures showing that it will take 126 years before there will be a fair reflection of all of South Africa’s talent in the workplace; and up to 98% of the poorest being black, Mulder and his type test the patience of black South Africans.

They bring to question whether the Nelson Mandela-Desmond Tutu approach to nationhood is worth the indignity visited upon them. Failure to appreciate the role of land dispossession in the material and psychological subjugation of black people makes the Mulders a real threat to the nationhood the likes of Tutu and Mandela were willing to stake their legacies on.

They are the incubators of the Idi Amin or Hitlers, indifferent to the niceties of nation-building and only interested in their narrow understanding of how a historic wrong is corrected.
Fascists and strongmen tend to materialise when a people who have endured degradation and oppression decide they’d rather live in dignity than in a democracy that perpetuates their dehumanisation.

The dispossesed have stomached more than their fair share. Mulder should not try their patience. If he does he should be prepared for “war veterans” who ignore the rules of engagement.

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