The Rise Of ANC And The Decline Of Black Excellence

2014-09-05 11:47

From a historical prospect, the ANC has always symbolised Black progress in the struggle against Colonialism and Slavery, towards ultimate freedom and independence. The movement has as a result always flaunted in its leadership iconic black intellectuals, who were legendary men and women of both courage and insight.

Nelson Mandela, whether one agrees with his viewpoints or not, is an impeccable specimen of an excellent black professional in a White World, so to speak. He and his type are instrumental portrayals of survival and prosperity over and against despicable odds of other men’s making.

Like many black people of his era, Nelson Mandela defied the limits of sub-human conditioning, and went on to study in a foreign language till he acquired professional qualifications. Mandela was not only a native freedom fighter who articulated himself in the British language, but was one of the greatest orators of the 20th Century, in global standards.

Proud Origins

A long and proud line of ANC leaders since its formation boasts some intimidatingly well-read men, who were vested with impressive knowledge of global affairs and philosophy. These men arose out of the pit of slavery and effortlessly stood alongside white intellectuals and began to contend against them in their own laws, which the latter were seriously violating.

Greyed and tarnished antiquated portraits of black scholars of the early 20th century with expressive hair styles have always filled me with awe and intrigue. Intellectuals like Sol Plaatjie and fellow founder member of the ANC (SANNC) John Dube were explicit symbols of black excellence in an age where blacks were supposed to be precariously brute savages.

Sol Plaatjie was probably the first native to translate Shakespeare into his native Setswana language, even establishing and running two Setswana newspapers, in Mafikeng and Kimberly respectively. He is said to be the first black man to write a novel in English, in 1919. According to Wikipedia, Sol Plaatjie also wrote a Boer War Report, which was only published 40 years after his death.

Enoch Sontonga is another exemplary historical black figure during oppression. He was a prolific black professional regardless of the status-quo of his time, and went on to compose what has become our national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica - a haunting song which not only resonated the native’s longing for freedom, but also his deep religious and spiritual conviction. The song and tune has been adopted in both Zambia and Tanzania as a national anthem.

Exemplary Black Figures

There are countless other black women and men we can cite from the past century, who proved beyond doubt that black people, given the chance, were as capable as their white counterparts, if not slightly better. Names like Miriam Makeba, Albert Luthuli, Hugh Masekela, Don Mattera and Steve Biko are but stark and persistent reminders of everything that is adorable about black history and black identity.

Through Soul Music, Poetry and Hip Hop, black people have gone on to provide therapeutic solace and reassurance for both themselves and their disgraced oppressor. The Black Power movement that characterized the 70’s was not only a soothing ointment for our wounded African heritage, but it likewise brought some form of breather in the dominant, apathetic Western Culture.

As much as black people have generally been severely affected by the psychological consequences of slavery and colonialism, our fighting zeal - not our slavish conditions - has always defined our outlook. As much as we were given inferior learning conditions in what was called Bantu Education, we were educated by proficient self-respecting black professionals, who took their work solemnly.

Even during apartheid, some of our local municipalities and services were run by black professionals and workers, who did not degrade their occupations regardless of the discrimination they faced from their conquerors. We still produced successful black business owners who excelled in a world that did not wish them to. Men like Richard Maponya (Maponya Mall), Herman Mashaba (Black Like Me Cosmetics), Mohale Mahanyele (National Sorghum Breweries), Kaiser Motaung (Kaiser Chiefs FC)and Dr Nthato Motlana (Lesedi Clinic)are but a few of many we can refer to in this regard.

Failure and Insignificance

There was even a classy magazine called Tribute in the late eighties and early nineties, which celebrated black excellence in business, politics and more. I feel like the current crop of ANC leaders would not qualify to grace the covers of this now defunct prestigious black magazine. Everything that has come to define the current ANC leadership blatantly spells total ineptitude – an adversely arrogant ineptitude at that.

Regardless of the fact that former presidents of the ANC Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki were quite professional and articulate in their own individual respect, they have nonetheless been encircled by a multitude of incompetent, lethargic and acquisitive comrades who have since slithered their way to the high realms of power, to disastrous effects. Even the ANC itself can occasionally be found inadvertently bemoaning over its former glory, when proficiency and excellence were but governing standards.

Our country now hangs on the last string of hope in its black majority, who by default take the blame for the ruling party’s futility. It would have been sensational to use the power at our disposal to disgrace the stereotypes which erroneously suggest blacks by nature are brainless, lazy and greedy savages, who cannot manage and govern their own nations without the condescending intervention of Whites.

As much as there are some notable achievements to list in the past 20 years of ANC rule, my overall assessment would suggest utter failure and insignificance. There has been a terrible decline in the quality of public services and overall Black Nationalism by the common South African, which gives weight to racist assertions by our former oppressors that black people were perhaps not ready to govern. ©

(Follow My Blog on Twitter: @JustSmartRage)

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