Youth: For EFF-en's sakes!

2013-06-13 13:49

As we approach June 16th, which serves as a painful reminder of the direct South African struggle for equality in education and sound youth protest against apartheid by students in 1976, I wonder how different the struggles fought then are when compared to now.

History it is said, is the biography of great men. It is also the biography of great movements and institutions, such as the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and the vocal formation of the South African Students Organisation (SASO), which played a great role in mobilising students and scholars against an oppressive government.

Fast-forward to 2013. Earlier this week, Julius Malema announced his plans to start such a movement or political platform, dedicated to the struggle for 'economic freedom in our lifetime'. The Economic Freedom Fighter's (EFF) will 'restore the dignity of blacks' and 'reduce inequality between rich and poor'.

Many young people I've spoken to this past week have welcomed this formation and as a democratic nation, we all should. It is always better to add onto democracy than to reduce it.

Personally my support isn't about whether or not I believe Malema will even get a single seat in parliament, but more about upholding his right and freedom to attempt to do so.

However, his reputation isn't the easiest to defend. His almost kleptocratic nature, which hardly acts in alignment to many of his professed utterances already undermines the cause which he claims to advance.

I also think that on his path to restoring the dignity of black people, he should also focus on recovering the faith of many poor young South Africans. I've always held the view that we are a forgiving nation, but how far is too far?

Firstly, you cannot defend freedom by abusing it yourself. The infamous 'ungovernability campaign' by some alleged ANCYL members is a mere symptom of this abuse of freedom. The likes of Andile Lili and Loyiso Nkohla are simply at the bottom the long chain of abuse of freedom and the acts of violence and vandalism receive the ANC's tacit approval.

These are the lessons that Malema attended when he was still sympathetic to senior leadership. That the aggressive suspension of reason, misguided cause and the uncritical devotion to maintaining corruption and self-interest are the only ways to gravitate lucrative government tenders and business to yourself and cadres. How then will he speak for the poor?

The difference between Lili-Nkohla and Malema is the dominance of the degree of a shared view of a Black VS White reality.

This is a pathetic ideology that knows it is on the brink of defeat. Discussing the ways in which the ANC is complicit in 'white monopoly capital' is far more productive that simply tabling fifteen reasons why they aren't focused on the interests of black people and never will be.

The second is particularly concerning. The fact that in many communities of all races, Malema is seen as threatening social order; his far-right view of land distribution, nationalisation of mines and the perception that black people preaching cohesion are traitors to the economic struggle is frightful. This pitiful approach when confronted descends into further levels of hypocrisy and ignorance.

Despite the economic impact, many impoverished people will know that these points are a distraction and that most thinking people will recognise how bigotry and self-interest have disguised themselves as economic liberation.

Distraction, bigotry and corruption are a few ways that democracy dies through gradualness. This illness has infected government departments and its seriousness is measured by how little by little, citizens are no longer the masters of the republic but its servants.

The reasons may differ, but the threats are the same. The Economic Freedom Fighters are not immune to this disease but will however 'shake-up' things in opposition to a complacent government.

Do follow me on Twitter : Thabo_SerokeY

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