Whose SA is it anyway?

2013-04-22 16:12

The Democratic Alliance's newly launched Know Your DA campaign has been the topic of discussion for many South African's for the past week. This follows the official opposition's decision to go on a "education" drive about the blue machine's past and current leaders who played a role in the struggle as anti-aparthied activists.

Helen Suzman is a famous name is this country as she was the founder of the Progressive Party(now apparently known as the DA) and an anti- aparthied politician and parliamentarian. Capitalising on this the DA published a brochure of Suzman embracing former president Nelson Mandela much to the African National Congress' surprise. This got the attention of mainstream media and set social networks trending about the DA's struggle credentials. Which got this question in my mind "In 2013 is this sort of campaign really necessary?"

There's nothing wrong if the DA wants to familiarise it's members and supporters on it's roots but if they go down that path they must provide a detailed account of it all and not only highlight certain sections of it's history. In 2013 one would think they would be focusing on outlining clear strategies and policies on establishing itself as a formidable ANC challenger and alternative governing party rather than focusing on what was or wasn't.

While aparthied and the struggle will for a long time be a factor in SA's politics, our politicians need to start providing real solutions for the current challenges we face. Rehashing the past everytime they go on the campiagn trail might be effective to an extent but to move on this country needs progressive, critical and decisive leaders. Instead of throwing struggle credentials at us everytime they want our votes, political parties should clearly elaborate how they plan to tackle the stumbling blocks SA faces every day.

"We can never do enough for Africa, nor can we ever love her enough" once said the late Pan Africanist Congress founder Robert Sobukwe. That kind of patriotic conviction, dedication to see SA succeed and understanding what it means to be a true South African is key to establishing a cohesive and inclusive society. After 20 years of freedom it is up to us as citizens to make the politicos realise that they need us more than we need them. As the electorate we have a duty to hold them accountable and demand that they look after our interets while they are in office.

Being South African should not only be about who did what and when, rather it should be about accepting that after a tumultous history, we have a duty to build this country together for the better. Challenges such as racism, unemployment, poverty and education are not only the responsibilities of those elected into office but need each and everyone of us to play our part in providing solutions to these problems.

To borrow words from the late ANC stalwart Chief Albert Luthuli "The task is not finished. South Africa is not yet a home for her sons and daughters. Such a home we wish to ensure. From the beginning our history has been one of ascending unities, the breaking of tribal, racial and creedal barriers. There remains before us the building of a new land, a land for men who are black, white, brown, from the ruins of the old narrow groups, a synthesis of the rich cultural strains which we have inherited...

Somewhere ahead there beckons a civilisation, a culture which will take its place in the parade of God's hisory, beside other great human syntheses. Chinese, Egyptian, Jewish and European. It will not be necessarily be all black: but it will be African."

This is the kind of thinking that we need to adopt in order to propel SA to the lengths that fallen heroes such as Chief Albert Luthuli, Robert Sobukwe and Chris Hani once thought she could reach. While it is important for us to know where we come from, who were are and where we want to be it must not take precedent over doing what is right for this country.

Lindiwe Mazibuko current DA Parliamentary leader was quoted in an interview saying "Race will never be irrelevant, but it doesn't have to be a stick which to beat each other." Profound words yes but politicians must also move away from the kind of politics that box us into racial categories. While this might appeal to our emotions following an oppressive and brutal history- the danger is that we shall always focus on our racial divde instead of looking beyond it and truly embrace what it means to be a South African.

History is important and as a developing nation- we simly cannot airbrush the ramifications of it out of the picture. But what we can do is know who we are, realise SA is for all who live in it and stop using the struggle as an excuse for mediocre politics by complacent politicians.

You can catch me on twitter @BongaDlulane...

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