Greater justice coming so go out and use your vote
On Wednesday we celebrate the sixth democratic election of SA’s young democracy.
It is a rare achievement for an African state.
That cannot be emphasised enough.
It is cause for celebration. The only persons who cannot get themselves to celebrate that achievement are those Afro-pessimists, racists and other types who were so terribly apocalyptic in the early 1990s.
They continue to live and prosper among us and are, for the most part, angry that the country has not collapsed and “become like just another African country” – as if SA was an enclave of European stability, peace and prosperity.
In a recent exchange with one of those types who would, now, imagine themselves as a persecuted or “bullied” minority, never mind that they continue to prosper, a fellow associated with the DA suggested that SA was indeed on its way to “becoming like just another African country”.
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Since there was never a time when SA was not an African country, I sent a quick response, and asked whether we should be concerned in the same way that Europe was flirting with the ugly fascism and nationalist pride that killed as many as 100 million people in the last 100 years or so.I was going to provide evidence of how Hungary was flirting with fascism, how Italy, Germany and Austria were drifting to the right – with some politicians openly embracing the old fascism of Benito Mussolini.There was, of course, no reply.I was going to explain that elections for the European Parliament on May 23 to 26 could shift the balance of power towards the right-wing nationalism that tore apart the continent over the first half of last century – and again, in a spasm of ethnic cleansing and genocide, in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.I was going to explain that during World War 2 an estimated 60 million people were killed (directly), with probably at least 118 million deaths when you add the impact of medical and mental stresses of the war.The official numbers of dead during World War 1 were at least 8.5 million, with up to 65 million related deaths.These were Europeans killing other Europeans (I could say white on white violence, but while that would be factually correct my “judgment” would be questioned) as a result of fascism, nazism and ethno-nationalism, and, of course, Adolf Hitler’s anti-communism and anti-semitism.But, I don’t like indulging in “whataboutism”.We have enough problems in a continent that is has been struggling to break out of the structures and strictures of, first, colonial rule, and then forced to make decisions between Western ideas of capitalism and Soviet ideas of communism until 1989.By that time the mantra was that globalisation meant that individual countries and governments were powerless in a hyper-globalised world.It’s a small wonder that African countries like Ghana, Kenya or Ethiopia are finally rising in the early years of the 21st century, now that the European world from North America, across Europe and the eastward over the Caucasus into Russia is, for once, letting the continent get on and catch up with industrialisation, modernisation, social upliftment in an ecologically sustainable way – and not rapaciously the way the Belgians stripped the Congo…Unless the populists of the EFF, Black First Land First and the Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party come to power after Wednesday’s elections, South Africans have little to worry about – other than crime and the economy.Which is what every democracy in the world battles with.For now we can be proud that we beat the settler colonialists and the racists through democracy and constitutionalism – and not by the bullet.As we celebrate, I want to reflect on a little story I will tell some day.It has to do with how privilege and arrogance is preserved by “our own people” – those dedicated cadres who were deployed to run institutions across the country.
It has to do with the white consciousness and privilege established by Hendrik Verwoerd.As much as AfriForum would have us believe that he was basically a good guy and a philosopher who was misunderstood, North West University’s JJ Venter explained that Verwoerd tended towards “totalitarian social planning” based on principles of “technocratic social engineering”.While Venter wrote comprehensively on Verwoerd, he concluded: “Like so many Europeans in the 19th and early 20th century, Verwoerd simply believed in the inherent superiority of Western culture”.Only the most odious of types across the world are trying to keep the perceived superiority of “Western culture” alive.They are among us, in SA, and carry on their nefarious ways only because of our own spinelessness, romantic idealism and indulgences in middlebrow horse manure intellectualism.All of this notwithstanding, on Wednesday we can celebrate 25 years of our democracy, and if things go as expected there will be inquiries and investigations into corruption, cronyism and jobs for pals – across the board – will be exposed.