THE SHATTERING OF THE RAINBOW NATION AND OF THE DREAM DEFERRED.

2015-04-09 16:25

AS Fanon put it that “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”

I think we have to accept that the dream of a Rainbow Nation is based on an artificial belief thus this generation will write its own history!

This month marks the 21 years of South Africa's first non-racial democratic elections since 1994, as our country received its liberation and its people from a long period of colonialism and white minority domination. On the 27th April 1994 was a hallmark of peace, unity, the preservation and the restoration of human dignity to South Africa and her children. Following a series of tense negotiations and years of liberation struggle, despite much opportunistic violence from the right wing and its surrogates, and in some instances sanctioned by elements of the state, South Africa's first democratic election was held in April 1994 under an interim Constitution.

The road to democracy was a long and difficult one. Since the arrival of the White man at the Cape in 1652, the indigenous peoples of South Africa came under White control and domination. Soon all peoples of colour were denied the vote and hence a say in the running of the country. South Africa was never truly independent nor democratic. The exclusion of the majority of South Africans from political power was at the centre of the liberation struggle and resistance to white minority rule.

Despite much opposition to White rule to halt white encroachment on black land in South Africa, blacks were systematically herded into restricted areas and homelands and their rights to equal opportunity denied.

Notwithstanding what people think they know but South Africa's history starts more than 100 000 years ago when the first modern humans lived in the region. From the early colonial period, the British colonial era, the mineral revolution, The Anglo-Boer/South African War (October 1899 – May 1902) and its aftermath, the Segregation, Apartheid System until the end of apartheid up to the first and second Decade of Freedom.

Let me take you through to some significant historical events from the small, mobile bands of Stone-Age hunter- gatherers, who created a wealth of rock art, were the ancestors of the Khoikhoi and San of historical times, to 1652, the year of Jan Van Riebeeck and the Dutch East India Company (VOC) which set up a station in Table Bay (Cape Town) to provision passing ships and as we travel to 1657, were the European settlers were allotted farms by the colonial authorities in the arable regions around Cape Town, where wine and wheat became the major products. In response to the colonists' demand for labour, the VOC imported slaves from East Africa, Madagascar, and its

possessions from the East Indies.

As they intruded further upon the land and water sources, and stepped up their demands for livestock and labour, more and more of the indigenous inhabitants were dispossessed and incorporated into the colonial economy as servants. By the early 1700s, the colonists had begun to spread into the hinterland beyond the nearest mountain ranges. From the 1770s, colonists also came into contact and conflict with Bantu-speaking chiefdoms. A century of intermittent warfare ensued during which the colonists gained ascendancy, first over the Khoisan and then over the Xhosa-speaking chiefdoms to the east. It was only in the late 1800s that the subjugation of these settled African societies became feasible. The principles of segregationist thinking were laid down in a 1905 report by the South African Native Affairs Commission and continued to evolve in response to these economic, social and political pressures. In keeping with its recommendations, the first union government enacted the seminal Natives Land Act in 1913.

This defined the remnants of their ancestral lands after conquest for African occupation, and declared illegal all land purchases or rent tenancy outside these reserves. The reserves ("homelands" as they were subsequently called) eventually comprised about 13% of South Africa's land surface. Administrative and legal dualism reinforced the division between white citizen and black non-citizen, a dispensation personified by the governor-general who, as "supreme chief" over the country's African majority, was empowered to rule them by administrative fiat and decree.

The government also regularised the job colour bar, reserving skilled work for whites and denying African workers the right to organise. Legislation, which was consolidated in the Natives (Urban Areas) Act, 1923, entrenched urban segregation and controlled African mobility by means of pass laws. The pass laws were designed to force Africans into labour and to keep them there under conditions and at wage levels that suited white employers, and to deny them any bargaining power. In these and other ways, the foundations of apartheid were laid by successive governments representing the compromises hammered out by the National Convention of 1908 to 1909 to effect the union of English- and Afrikaans-speaking whites. After the Second World War in 1948, the NP, with its ideology of apartheid that brought an even more rigorous and authoritarian approach than the segregationist policies of previous governments, won the general election. The state became an engine of patronage for Afrikaner employment. The Afrikaner Broederbond co-ordinated the party's programme, ensuring that Afrikaner nationalist interests and policies attained ascendancy throughout civil society.

When South Africa was liberated both the oppressor and oppressed were liberated and we made a pledge that "Never again would a minority government impose itself on the majority". It is against this background that we should recognise as a matter of conscience that there have been many faults and errors in our action whether political or otherwise because history has dealt with the black man severely, stripped him of his pride, stripped him of his dignity and most of all stripped him of his integrity and intelligence. The white man has seen to it that he still continues to do so under the disguise of artificial Rainbow Nation.

Thus I am reminded by the words of a Pan Africanist Patrice Lumumba when he said “Our wounds are too fresh and too painful still for us to drive them from our memory. We have known harassing work, exacted in exchange for salaries which did not permit us to eat enough to drive away hunger, or to clothe ourselves, or to house ourselves decently, or to raise our children as creatures dear to us.”

Patrice Lumumba’s words made me to rearticulate his words by saying “Indeed our wounds are too fresh, too painful and too fragile for us to keep Colonial Settlers Memorial Statues as sovereign. Our memory is still fresh of a struggle of tears, of fire, brutality, massacred, of enslavement and of blood, to the humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force”.

Black people have known scorns, insults, injustices all because we are. Who will forget that we have seen that the law was not the same for a white and for a Black, accommodating for the first, cruel and inhuman for the other. We have witnessed vicious sufferings of those condemned for their political opinions or religious beliefs, exiled in their own country, their fate truly worse than death itself. How will ever forget the massacres where so many of our brothers perished, the cells into which those who refused to submit to a regime of oppression and exploitation were thrown?

Before South Africans can express their disappointment towards to the Colonial Settlers Memorial Campaigns, we should ask ourselves if are we not being hypocrites as well as being in denial of the past and the fact that we are indeed still colonised and mentally enslaved. The Colonial Settlers Memorial Campaign must be an illustrious campaign that you will keep indelibly engraved in your hearts, a campaign of significance of which you will teach to your children, so that they will make known to their sons and to their grandchildren the glorious history of our fight for decolonisation of mind. South Africa and her children should be told that the history of this country is a brutal and evil one and of a people who freed themselves from foreign domination thus the future is beautiful as long as it can be corrected and that it expects for each South African, to accomplish the sacred task of reconstruction of our nation and our dominance.

The recent racial mayhem across South Africa that was sparked by the desecration of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town is by no means an accident. The racially uproar just shows how deeply the scars of colonisation and the subsequent Apartheid system of governance have ravaged the psychology of the nation. It simply affirms how false and pre-mature the proclamation of the so-called “Rainbow Nation” has been and it further proves that South Africa has been deceiving herself by glorifying the superficial unity that was created in 1994 through the Government of National Unity (GNU).

The unfortunate thing is the fact that the black people have suffered the most, because of the inhumane ideologies and government systems that perpetuated hate and discrimination generation after generation. In South Africa today, we face unrest due to lack of transformation and commitment to better the lives of the poor, which is the black majority of the country. This is a problem. Institutions do not transform because decision makers are dealing with the same problem America is dealing with.

As a Black Conscious South Africans we should realise that we afar from this rainbow nation ideal which they tried to use to keep us silent. As Young Africans we are burdened by the legacy of enforcement of white supremacy in academic institutions, in a workplace, in religion, Sport federations, and in society. We aspiring to build the new South African history based on the gains and sufferings of our struggle martyrs and so we should all work to dismantle this Colonial legacy, and bring to the forefront the voices of our people in building our nations.

Thus we are inspired and reminded by the UCT Rhodes Must Fall movement to boldly question the current systems and demand inclusion of Black voices in all parts of society, be it political or socio-economical. If indeed South Africa belongs to all who live in it, and ownership of South Africa’s economic resources and access to opportunities should reflect that indeed South Africa belongs to all who live in it. The Rainbow Nation ideal must be reflective of the population and the environment it finds itself in.

One thing that a white man must understand is the fact that we have accommodated them in a land of our birth right even though they have once dehumanised us, and made us foreigners in our motherland and brutally killed us for our land. A White man has to be reminded that they enjoy all this wealth through inheritance of Black Blood, from their forefathers who stole our livestock, enslaving us, selling us and raping of our mothers and took our land which was the only source of belonging. Today we have white people who do not understand why a Black Man continues to fight against inequality, discrimination and transformation in the land of his birth. We have to realise that we can never expect nor believe a white man whose fight is against White supremacy, Never. How can one fight against a System that feeds him?

As South Africans, we need to re-study the history of this country. Especially the economic history of this country coupled with the injustices of the indigenous people of this land and their exclusion from socio-economic and socio-political spheres for all these years. We then need to decide whether we want this country back or share it or just live in it. That will determine the kind of action we need to take. The intentional exclusion of black people within the economic, academic and judicial spheres has hampered our growth as a people.

As I put down my pen I ask you unconditionally to respect the life of Black child, let a Black child to be at peace in his ancestral land of birth rather than to live in submission and scorn of sacred of an unashamed and unremorseful white supremacist principle.

South Africa do not weep for our forbearers who suffered so much, as my generation will know how to defend your liberation achievements and its freedom. May God Bless Africa and Her children!

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