Pedro Mzileni: Women come second in ANC

The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) believes the election of the top six ANC officials, with five men among them, is a betrayal of the gender struggle in the ANC and in the country.

It argues that the rejection of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by delegates is a manifestation of “patriarchy raising its ugly head”.

In addition, it submits that Ace Magashule and David Mabuza “used” Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign to selfishly ascend to the higher echelons of office at the expense of “women emancipation in the country”.

Not only are these statements laughable and outrageous, they are also a miserable cry of admission by delusional people in an ANC which, unfortunately, has never and will never be a feminist organisation.

The ANC is an uncompromising masculine animal built over a century of male domination and female humiliation.

Its life story is a narration of male triumphalism and female invincibility.

Listen to any historian or any ANC leader who reminisces about the apartheid struggle.

The sequence of the summarised storyline is the same. Men met in 1912 and formed this Goliath. Men led the Defiance Campaign in the 1950s. In the 1960s, men were sentenced in the Rivonia Trial and incarcerated on Robben Island.

Other men went into exile, where they formed a violent and masculine military wing called Umkhonto WeSizwe.

A man led the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1970s. Men started negotiations in the 1980s. When the male-led negotiations called Codesa concluded, a male global icon became president in 1994. Then, doors opened into a democracy. Entering through the doors of democracy, we sang a male-composed national anthem that is embedded in black masculine Christian theology and white male supremacist chauvinism.

When we tried to display our “rainbow nation” to the world, we sang Shosholoza, another song associated with a masculine gathering, the Springbok rugby team.

White people escalated the “rainbow nation” decoy by trying to sing Nkalakatha, a song composed by the late kwaito misogynist, Mandoza.

In the political atmosphere, the songs that remind us of our history are about Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani and Walter Sisulu.

All this pandemonium is referred to by the ANC as the social cohesion and nation-building project.

In the life of the ANC that has shaped the leadership patterns of our country since 1994, the battles for leadership have literally been all about men.

The 1991 ANC conference was a contest between Hani and Thabo Mbeki.

In the 1994 ANC conference, the battle was between Cyril Ramaphosa and Mbeki. In 2007, it was Mbeki against Jacob Zuma. In 2012, it was Kgalema Motlanthe against Zuma. In 2017, it was, honestly, Zuma against Ramaphosa. Men, men, men and men. That is the architecture of the ANC. That is the fibre of its so-called “internal democracy”, an old boys club who sit and occasionally re-arrange their chairs in the tavern. Women are just guests. All presidents of the ANC have been men. All current provincial chairpersons and secretaries of the ANC are men.

Ramaphosa has been promoted from deputy president to president, but Jessie Duarte did not get promoted from deputy secretary-general to secretary-general.

Instead, they took a man from provincial level straight to the position in Ace Magashule.

In the Eastern Cape ANC, Oscar Mabuyane was promoted from being provincial secretary to being chairperson, but Helen Sauls-August was not promoted from deputy secretary to provincial secretary.

Instead, they took a man from regional level straight to the position in Lulama Ngcukaitobi.

The ANC does all this since it is an organisation with deep-seated patriarchy.

One of the evil deeds of patriarchy is that it somehow manages to devalue powerful positions when women hold them.

Hence, these patterns of men holding a good grip on ANC positions of chairman, secretary and president altogether.

The public enterprise ministry was a powerful post when it was occupied by Malusi Gigaba as compared to Lynne Brown currently.

The defence ministry was a powerful position when it was occupied by Joe Modise and Charles Nqakula, as compared to Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula currently.

The position of national chairperson in the ANC was powerful when it was occupied by Mosiuoa Lekota as compared to Baleka Mbete recently.

Government ministers in the portfolios of finance, trade and industry, economic development and planning commission are men. The list goes on and on. It is all just blatantly clear that in the ANC, when a powerful position happens to be occupied by a woman, it loses its power and, therefore and as a result, power and manhood become a default.

The ANCWL was an instrument formed by the fallen blood of our heroines to destroy patriarchy in the ANC and ultimately in society, a historical task that it has dismally failed to execute.

During Khwezi’s rape trial, the ANCWL was found supporting a [alleged] rapist to advance its factional political mobility in the ANC.

On the battle of ideas, it has failed to articulate the legacy of its heroines outside of their husbands.

The ANCWL leadership is just unable to articulate the political legacy of Albertina Sisulu outside Walter Sisulu, Winnie MadikizelaMandela outside Nelson Mandela.

The recent attempt to articulate Dlamini-Zuma outside Zuma was its latest foul among an army of fouls – a depressing and dismal failure of note.

In addition, it does not vote or campaign for a female candidate to lead the ANC unless men instruct it to do so.

The support of Dlamini-Zuma was an instruction from Zuma to the ANCWL to campaign for her to be president and keep him out of jail. The future of the ANC on the gender question looks dark too.

The deep-seated patriarchal social structure that entails its entire organisational machinery is the same disease its youth structures are suffering from.

The ANC Youth League, Sasco, Cosas, Young Communist League and university SRCs, structures where the ANC gets its future leaders from, are also locked in the crisis of male domination and the devaluing of powerful positions when occupied by females.

In addition, females in those structures are in a daily struggle of fighting to lead while also trying to avoid the sexual demands that their male counterparts make on them.

Unfortunately, the current leaders of the ANCWL, who are supposed to be colossuses of the gender movement in the country and an inspiration to these young women, are themselves a failing group of power mongers entangled in self-interest masquerading as feminists of the congress movement.

It is young women in particular who will rescue the ANCWL, swell the ranks of the ANC to change its direction or possibly invent a new innovative alternative. Nature does not and has never allowed a vacuum!

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