On #BlackMonday and the division of South Africans

2017-04-03 14:10

In the wake of South Africa’s latest cabinet reshuffle beckoning an inevitable junk status downgrade, South Africans on social media have once again divided themselves between which, and who’s justice takes precedence.

This comes in the wake of #BlackMonday calling for all South Africans to shutdown the country and take to the streets in protest against Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle. The president’s indulgence of his self-interests (with Gupta and Russian affiliates in tow) versus the historical injustice of native South Africans (including various minority groups) seems to have diverted potential energies at uniting people across boundaries of class and race.

The middle class once again finds itself castigated for rising up when it supposedly suits them and their perceived interests (according to the social justice warriors). Be that as it may, there’s still opportunity for uniting South Africans from various strata in common struggle. Being conscious of historical struggles and sympathizing with those who contend with these lived realities on a daily basis requires greater vigil than simply focusing on one man and his criminal allies.

South Africa’s economy is cajoled and looted at various shades, with emphasis generally placed more on political than corporate and banking sectors. Even though misdeeds and maladministration in government is more common, corporate misdeeds go unseen and unchecked simply because the sophistication with which they conduct their affairs makes them less susceptible to run of the mill investigative journalism. Discrimination against black workers in all sectors of work remains a hushed yet quietly acknowledged commonality. Reports surface here and there with little to no recognition or uproar, even if the agency publishing the findings is of reputable standing. Some research agencies with misconstrued/misleading names belie their purpose if one digs into their ideology and funding sources (SA institute of Race Relations and the Daily Rational among others). Think tanks like these have played their part in forging ideas of the middle class as removed from South African society.

Our subjective opinions informed by media, political and ideological subscription, economic privilege and all other areas of interest are, and always will be relevant. The length of time Jacob Zuma’s managed to stay in office however, only highlights how fragmented South Africans are and have been since his occupation in office. Addressing historical imbalances and privilege remain the utmost priority for building the nation we desire, but this cannot be achieved if elite classes remain in a state of bicker and finger-pointing. The chance to build solidarity in common struggle is most opportune right now, this I’m sure most can agree with. Maintaining sustainability after this battle is won, where we can meet the war against poverty, discrimination and economic marginalization is where we will test our humility, and ourselves as a people.

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