Black South Africans Economic Freedom Ridiculed by National Anthem

2015-04-24 18:41

There is something about South Africa’s national anthem that insults the intelligence of the black majority. The other day I attended a church service, while the congregation sung the national anthem, as a form of a prayer for our beloved nation. However, I was not prompted to hymn the final English stanza. As they chanted: “Let us live and strive for freedom in South Africa our land”. Ironically I began to question myself. Which land are they referring to? Although the nation may have strived for political freedom nevertheless reality began to sink in that majority of South Africans are not liberated economically. This land South Africans passionately sing about to whom does it really belong to?

Celebrating 20 years of democracy is not as merry as South Africans portray it to be to the world. Inequalities of land ownership across racial lines remain the key contributor that prompts racial division among South Africans. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was set up to reconcile South Africans, it only managed to reconcile those who were a part of the commission and dismally failed to reconcile the broader society. Although combining both national anthems, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and Die Stem van Suid-Afrika was a step towards reconciling South Africans, the national anthem still remains a controversial issue. This freedom the writers of the national anthem were referring to was political freedom however; they overlooked economic freedom which was never strived for in the first place. Given the inherent sensitivity of the land debate that is deeply dividing the South African society it is vital that this issue is addressed.

Although South Africans might voice their opinions about moving forward as a nation and refrain from always shifting blame to apartheid concerning every challenging situation that the country encounters. However, this is rather impossible since majority of black South Africans long for economic liberation caused by the brutish history and legacy of apartheid. Since the white elite were granted the privilege of transferring all the wealth they had accumulated in the apartheid era thus resulting to economic inequalities across racial lines.

I am by no means suggesting that apartheid is the only factor contributing to the dilemma faced by the majority of black South Africans today. It is unfortunate that the inhumane system of apartheid was replaced by the inhumane politico-economic system. This nation is led by the African National Congress (ANC), a government that only reflect an organisation with individuals who utilise immoral and devious methods to acquire riches at the expense of the poor.

In fact, one of the things that went wrong in the post-apartheid economic transformation is that, although blacks should have benefited from policies launched by government such as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), only a minority group has been economically empowered. Therefore its evident that that there is an alarming gap between the minority of the black elite and the majority of black South Africans who are still living in impoverished conditions.

The recent xenophobic attacks and looting of foreign national shops is evidence of the type of citizens the ANC is governing; frustrated thieves who would rather steal from someone who earns an honest day’s wage. Since South Africans living in impoverished conditions have gotten so used to the lavish lifestyle of getting everything handed to them on a silver platter, courtesy of the ANC government. This has led to them not be free from the bondage of living in poverty therefore they are neither productive or efficient while foreign nationals make opportunities for themselves and take on jobs which South Africans are reluctant to take because of laziness. Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s remarks at the Durban University; he stated that: “We are the ones who remain without land. Once we own the natural and mineral resources we can afford everything.” This to me is an individual who is power-hungry and has an extravagant get-rich-quick mentality. This behaviour instils a belief among his supporters that as long as they have the land they want to claim, this land is crucial factor for them to live flourishing lives without earing an honest day’s wage therefore creating a generation of takers.

Through observation in terms of economic liberation of black South Africans, I might as well be pessimistic because there is a vacuum of leadership in the country. Instead of the South African government ensuring that its citizens are productive and efficient therefore contributing to the economy, this government is too focused on creating better living standards for themselves rather than improving lives of those who vote for them. South Africa is desperately in need of strong leadership of which the ANC government and the ANC in particular have dismally failed to provide. As a matter of fact neither does opposition parties got what it takes to govern South Africa.

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