See through the white nostalgia for apartheid


The #ZumaMustFall campaign is just an excuse to flaunt racism and fascism, write Andile Mngxitama and Zanele Lwana

The #ZumaMustFall campaign is a racist response by white people to perceived threats to their interests by the ostensible incompetency of President Jacob Zuma.

The campaign is an initiative of white right-wingers, the corporate media and other reactionaries – from the DA to the (former Cosatu boss) Zwelinzima Vavi support groupings – under the pretext of fighting corruption. The ideology and agenda of the campaign are racist and pro-capitalist, and therefore fascist.

It is no surprise to see apartheid flags waved in the march and racist messages on the placards.

It is not the first time Vavi has made an alliance with self-declared racists. We saw how he joined hands with AfriForum during the “anti-corruption march” earlier in the year.

The organisers of the campaign hope to manipulate the genuine anger the black majority has against the failures of the ANC and Zuma, and turn it into a strategy to defend white interests.

Black people have to be extra careful not to be used in programmes to bring back apartheid under the guise of fighting corruption. Whites have neither participated in nor supported any of the struggles of black people against the ANC and Zuma, from the Marikana massacre to the #FeesMustFall campaign.

What is happening now is the appropriation of the fruit of black struggle that has been gained from suffering tear gas, smoke, imprisonment, police beatings, suspensions from university, etc. The hashtag MustFall is a product of difficult struggles; now whites have stolen it to further their nostalgia for apartheid.

The campaign shows the paradox in South Africa’s politics. The racist right-wingers are opposing Zuma because they feel he is not providing enough protection of neoliberalism.

The march was in defence of the JSE, which lost close on R200 billion in a few days after the markets’ reaction to the dismissal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

In South Africa, the JSE is synonymous with white interest – 20 years after democracy, blacks own only 3% of the JSE-listed companies. It therefore makes sense for whites to be upset with anything that upsets the markets. But the same markets exclude blacks.

The ANC and Zuma have failed black people. Zuma has done nothing to change the neoliberal policies that are anti-black, which started under former president Nelson Mandela and were perfected under his successor, Thabo Mbeki.

The ANC is the last to complain that the march is racist because they have kept racism alive for the past 20 years. The ANC and Zuma must indeed go, but it will not be done under the command of whites in service of their apartheid agenda.

The struggle for change must be principled, hence we will not join hands with racists under any circumstances. Those who choose unprincipled alliances of hate, wittingly or not, are working to maintain white power.

Black First Land First (BLF) rejects Zuma and the ANC’s neocolonial and neoliberal policies that put markets before people. Equally, the BLF rejects the fascist campaign under the #ZumaMustFall protest. These are two sides of the same bloody neocolonial and neoliberal capitalist coin. One is not worse than the other. Only a black-led and controlled struggle will bring real change.

Mngxitama and Lwana are the national convener and national coordinator, respectively, of the Black First Land First movement

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