Years ago while reading Political Science at university, a lecturer said that part of colonial philosophy was to embed within the colonised psyche, a sense of inability. The idea was to ensure that the colonised needed to believe that European intrusion was required. Thus it would be unpatriotic to blame lack of progress on current leaders as this would exonerate the nefarious intent of colonialism.
At university the idea of freedom was a shared activist mantra. Ironically there was a palpable resolve for a victim and victor status to exist, as this would ensure that victimhood could be preserved, even when the victim eventually resorted to betrayal of principles.
Twenty years later and the mantra of blaming history is wearing thin as the media shines light on issues that are difficult to ignore. The colossal levels of corruption, wastage and ineptitude in government have blunted the patriotism of even the most stalwart of former activists.
Since regular folk can identify the issues without the need for political analysts, it has led to anger. This disturbs all classes who witness a handful of people living extraordinarily wasteful lives at taxpayers’ expense.
It now transpires that activists, who see the rot, are rallying around issues of ethics and values while lesser activists and newbie chancers are rallying around “political party before nation”.
An example is an activist like Ahmed Kathrada, who has been honoured by the City of Cape Town with the freedom of the city for his work towards non-racialism.
In the words of the wise, since nobody is perfect, if the voices of principal are minimised we fortify those folk who use our democracy for nefarious self-enrichment. If they succeed, then we all lose.