“This is a Revolutionary house, Comrade.”

2012-06-28 12:34

As the big guns of the ANC meet in Johannesburg for their policy conference, where they discuss big things like the land issue, our economy and the "Second Transition", these words hastily echo at the back of my mind.

I remember the exact words that were tossed at BBC Journalist Jonah Fisher, by the ‘comrade’ himself, our forever mystifying Julius ‘juju’ Malema at Albert Luthuli House in Johannesburg in 2010.

So it’s been a while, and some may have nothing more than just an indistinct picture of how the papers and online pages were splashed with the ‘news’ for days. But who can afford to forget such a remark, in the midst of the current ‘internal’ denudation of the ruling party? As a journalist, all I can do is simply read between the lines and question.

What is revolution, if I may ask, and what does it mean? It may seem an easy one, but trust me; millions of ordinary citizens stand befuddled each time this word is thrown at them. Is it because they understand its dictionary meaning, yet not its actual itinerary when applied? They won’t retreat, though, when it is used to marshal them to the streets. Neither will they stop to use it to ‘mobilise the masses’, in the wake of ‘democracy’. Does it really work for the people, I ask myself.

This week has seen the ongoing ‘Second Transition’ talks in Johannesburg. These talks, which are simultaneously building up with the National Policy Conference, ANC is surely laying down most of its plans for everyone to see, ‘transparently’, in a step to see South Africa, and the ANC itself, smoothly settling in, into a ‘democratic’ society.

In the first phase of the transition, “Democratising the State and Society” is at the top of the list, and surely it won’t be a ‘jolly ride’ toward the achievement of this objective.

But I would like to believe, though, that the word ‘revolutionary’ has misled many, if not all, in the augmentation of South African democracy. It will probably be the same word which will crack the country from the core, if not monitored, or used rather appropriately.

“It is difficult to understand what the ANC Youth League is talking about when its talks of ‘revolutionary’, but many a times, they have used the word loosely,” says Xolani Vanda, a Journalist in Academia, during a discussion of the latest on the news. “The ANC has ultimately killed the culture of debate, interrogation and discourse, because every time its actions or policies are questioned, they call it ‘counter-revolutionary’.”

As the issue is unpacked, I would certainly like to harmonize.

Questions to ponder on: Was it not the ANC that nurtured the culture of ill-discipline within the Youth League when addressing the ‘constitution’ of former President Thabo Mbeki? Wasn’t it the ANC that gave Julius Malema a platform to ‘mobilise the youth’, in the drive to ‘re-call’ Mbeki? “This is simply ‘chickens coming home to roost’,” says Vanda. “Only the ANC can be blamed for the ill-discipline of its Youth League, and no one else.”

But surely, is this ‘revolutionary’ stance that the ANC and Youth League are taking working in the drive to democratise South Africa? Is it not because of the same ‘revolutionary’ stance that wrong-doings tend to go with impunity? Have we not seen the same ‘revolutionary’ stance bearing forth caucuses within the ruling party, and the country as a whole? How can democracy mature then, when the culture of discourse is being muffled?

Perhaps it is because of the ‘revolutionary’ criminals that our brothers and sisters are slaughtered mercilessly every day. Maybe it’s because of the same ‘revolution’ that the youngest of our children nowadays can carry a firearm or weapon to class every day. The marches, rioting and protesting that never ends. How about the piles and piles of books which are being ‘revolutionary’ destroyed in Polokwane, albeit at a time when the country seeks to educate its populace?

This needs to be addressed before this young democracy decays at the mercy of demagogues, who, when it happens, might heedlessly laugh at the sight of it. The country does not belong to an individual or individuals, but it belongs to its entire people, and it will be a pity to see it silently crumble because its great thinkers and powerhouses were ‘REVOLUTIONISED’.

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