DA Election Advert: Mandela appropriation or Mandela censorship?

2016-07-05 15:12

The latest DA election advert, which uses a clip of Nelson Mandela’s voice in it, has received much frivolous attack from Mandla Mandela; who called the advert “deplorable” and an appropriation of Nelson Mandela by the DA. As such, has asked the IEC to act against the DA.

Mandla and Pinky Khaobane agreeably argue that, Mandela was “a faithful member of the ANC in his lifetime and remained so at the time of his death. He famously said that the first thing he’d do when he got to heaven was to ask for the nearest ANC branch”. As such, Mandla argues the DA’s use of Mandela’s voice as “the desperate lengths to which the DA will stoop to dupe [black] voters […]”. Likewise, Pinky diagnoses the DA as “symptomatic of a party that is out of touch with the black majority which it seeks to woo in the elections.”

Additionally, she argues “the DA, like many white people in this country, suffers from convenient amnesia but the tragedy is that it has come to believe the entire country has also forgotten history and its role in it.”

Overall, the pair is telling the DA; HANDS OFF MANDELA. YOU’RE WHITE. HE’S BLACK. HE BELONGS TO THE ANC!” Pinky even asks the DA “what will take for this party to grasp the fact that its appropriation of the late icon’s name to bolster its credibility is offensive?”

But, dear Pinky, offensive to whom? To you? Mandla? Black people as a whole? Or the ANC?

Secondly, is this DA advert simply concerned with appropriating Mandela other than their own ideological predecessors?

Thirdly, does this advert drive no election message?

Lastly, is this advert another DA history revisionism?

ANC numerously recasts Nelson Mandela as a shining example that has ‘delivered’ democracy and continuously protected South African democracy. This has left an indelible imprint on South Africa’s landscape.

The DA’s advert, a direct attack advert, seeks to highlight that Mandela’s vision and legacy has been deeply compromised by the ANC. The advert guides voters to walk the journey to introspection (voting) with the young lady, and propels voters to evaluate if Mandela’s vision made in 1994 has been honoured by the ANC. The young lady choosing not to vote ANC echoes John Pilger’s assertion that “Mandela's greatness is assured, but not his legacy [within the ANC].”

Of course, this introspection is detrimental to the ANC just a few weeks away from the municipal elections. As such, reflecting on the ANC's poor service delivery record is inappropriate. Therefore, little of this inconvenient reality is up for discussion. As a result, the narrative is changed by Mandla by invoking ‘Mandela appropriation’ by the DA. This narrative diversion conveniently dismisses the DA’s advert’s message. Furthermore, it invokes the #KnowYourDACampaign animosity and conventional ‘wisdoms’ about the DA (i.e. DA is sooo white, They’re stealing Mandela again, they lack struggle credentials etc).

Indeed, the 2014 #KnowYourDACampaign had issues and bringing it up reduces this advert to that campaign; consequently, displacing any true debate on the ANC’s poor delivery record. This narrative diversion of ‘Mandela appropriation’ acts as a ‘safe story’, more like, an escape goat of the ANC from accountability, while avoiding more awkward questions about its poor service delivery or corruption etc. The Mandela appropriation obscures the ongoing struggle against the ANC’s poor service delivery, youth unemployment, and government corruption etc.

Ironically, the DA, by its response of: Mandela belongs to all South Africans not the ANC; he was the president of the whole country, is valid. However, it simply plays into the ANC’s trap it traps the DA into public outrage of who the DA belongs to.

The DA’s advert is simply threw shade at the ANC- not appropriation.

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