Of Birthdays and Marches to the Union Buildings

2017-04-12 04:03

If you have power, albeit temporary power, the temptation to crush people's dignity without apologies, or just ignore them with a big laugh is real. A real leader, a genuine leader make sure this does not happen. The real leaders of character rise above this temptation.

Two events are happening today and they loudly tell the sad story of  the current state of South Africa. The first event is the big spectacular birthday celebration of the president taking place in Kliptown, Soweto. The second event is the big march taking place in Pretoria leading to the Union Buildings.

The birthday party will be a spectacular gigantic display and pourings of praise. This is a familiar road - check Zimbabwe.

It is a reality - South Africa has become the ultimate country of the big man. So you have these two camps, those who celebrate the big man and those who do not want - refuses. Simple society, two camps, no middle ground. That is the nature of the hunter - gatherer society.

We have been erecting a society of the strong man over sometime. The current state of the country that many people are lamenting was not event, it took some time, building up slowly and slowly until it has become an unbreakable monster - a super structure hard to demolish. The mindset of power has set in “Who are you to question the president, the president has the prerogative”. And in that context the citizens become the subjects. The welfare of citizens do not matter. But the deception goes that they matter. The narrative is written with large letters that they matter, just to keep them quiet.

Citizens are compelled to promote the welfare of the big man. Sometimes this is done subtly by manufacturing consent, making public displays that falsely demonstrate that "the people are with me". There is huge scramble to manufacture the consent of the poor. For more information about how "leaders" manufacture the consent of the masses to promote their own personal glory, read Noam Chomsky's book, Manufacturing Consent. Those who are suffering under crushing poverty are rounded off and put into some venue to sing and chant the praises of the big man as the ultimate savior, drums beating and choirs singing in celebration of the man and "the role he has played in bring freedom to our society".

People are socialized to praise their own demise by appealing to their immediate problems of hunger. And how do you do it? You give the people a meal and free music festival, a party to dance in enjoyment. And so the people become happy for a brief moment. And the liars for hire seizes on the moment, they take pictures and video clips of the poor dancing in happiness and the clapping of hands. And the narrative goes on social media that says "you see people are with us". That is heart breaking abuse of the poor, and yet people are enjoying inflicting that abuse.

The reality that has set in and cannot be denied is that our political elite have a hunter – gatherer mentality which makes it difficult to see beyond private immediate personal interests.

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