The ANCWL's march into irrelevance

2015-10-30 07:54

The ANCWL’s march into irrelevance

The past two weeks have been marked by unforeseen breath-taking  revolutionary acts from students around our campuses. We saw young people rally in unity to fight against a strategically oppressive system in the form of financial hikes and outsourcing. For years, financial exclusion has been employed to ensure that only the rich are afforded an opportunity to get educated and this kept the vicious cycle of economic inequalities in motion. Outsourcing also ensured that the poor stay poor, that our parents keep working hard but are exploited and have nothing to show for their hard work. We relentlessly fought against this. We fought against an apartheid legacy and we did well. We saw progressive movements supporting our students and the ANCWL was nowhere to be seen.

Our sisters and mothers from the Women's League could not support their children in this important fight yet a week later they are up in arms to protect something different, something or someone they deem important. At first glance I could not believe the news until I remembered that it has happened before. The ANCWL once marched for president Zuma during his rape trial. They also marched in his support during his corruption case. They also marched for him during the first painting a couple of years ago and today they are marching again, in his defence, like they have done before.

There are a lot of things that are fundamentally wrong with this march. If anything, this march that is supposedly against an art piece is in itself painting a picture of ideological contradiction. First of all, the ANCWL has for years been in idleness. They have also established a reputation of escaping this idleness only during elective conferences and it has to stop. More often than not, they also get more vocal and active when they have to defend a figure, which is normally the president. This they do in a country known for gender injustices and abuse, issues they should be prioritising yet they don’t.

The ANCWL’s idleness is a problem but their irrelevant programmes and misdirected energy appears to be a bigger one. This movement is slowly becoming a tool used to fight personal battles and to loud hail songs of praise. The ANCWL of Winnie Mandela is slowly becoming a tool of personality cult. They appear to be consumed by adulation of figures than real struggles. The ANCWL of Charlotte Maxeke has never been this irrelevant.  The ANCWL that was once radical is being reduced into a choir of praise in green and black uniform. The revolutionary consciousness of this structure is being watered down by lack of vision and purpose.

The ANCWL needs to reflect. Our mothers and sisters need to re-introduce purpose in the league. This march is not only irrelevant but poses a serious ideological threat to the WL. It sends a wrong message. It makes more sense to march for gender equality, abused women and children than for a drawn penis.

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