Independent Online

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

From pariahs to profits: Lamenting the missing role of the black prophet

Lorenzo Davids writes that we need a generation of brave prophets who will condemn corrupt practices and who are willing to be crucified on pariah crosses all over the country for speaking out. Picture: Pexels

Lorenzo Davids writes that we need a generation of brave prophets who will condemn corrupt practices and who are willing to be crucified on pariah crosses all over the country for speaking out. Picture: Pexels

Published Feb 28, 2022

Share

When the 1913 Land Act was passed, a young black editor named Sol T Plaatje used his newspaper “Tsala ea Bathohe” to go to war against the dehumanisation of blackness in South Africa.

He travelled the country on his bicycle to study the effects of the 1913 Land Act. His research was published in his book Native Life in South Africa in 1916.

Story continues below Advertisement

The opening words have become immortalised: “Awaking on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.”

The fight to free black people from their pariah status and regain their rightful place in the world had begun in earnest. In 1994 that freedom was achieved through a political settlement.

Almost immediately, however, the duty to rebuild the dignity of black people from near slave conditions to nationhood was torpedoed by the vast amounts of money the liberators extracted for themselves from every step of the process.

The willingness of the liberators and their consultants to do the work of transforming pariahs into dignified, free citizens was determined by the amount of money both liberators and consultants were able to extract from the process.

There was no longer a moral duty to liberation in the consciences of the liberators post-1994. There was only a financial transaction on the table.

I talked to a black entrepreneur last week who had successfully gone through the first phase of a business grant approval process at a government office to launch his international business, for which he had a licence.

Story continues below Advertisement

He also completed the next phase of the application process to be approved to receive a financing loan. He was stymied at every level. Despite fulfilling all the application criteria, he got turned down.

From audiences with the minister, public servants and ministerial aides, he was eventually told, “unless you walk in here with someone with clout – that we know – on your team, you won’t get anywhere with us. Don’t even try.”

His company was going to create 50 jobs within the first year. It was no longer about the merits of his business. It was about who in the political firmament he would be willing to give shares to – even though he was fully BBBEE compliant.

Story continues below Advertisement

Post-Zondo, nothing has changed. The same corrupt enablers are still in office, committing the same crimes – seeking a share of every business contract for themselves and their party of everything that comes across their desks for approval.

We need a generation of brave prophets who will condemn these corrupt practices and who are willing to be crucified on pariah crosses all over the country for speaking out. We should not forgive the continued offences committed against the prosperity of our country.

These false prophets tell us it is not a crisis. And all the while, another illicit profit is made on the side. Making profits and ignoring the freedom-making of our pariah people has been the main order of business for this government.

Story continues below Advertisement

If Sol Plaatje were to get on his bicycle today and interview people, he would be appalled at what he would have to report. Everywhere people are still in chains to the landless, homeless, jobless and hopeless conditions apartheid foisted on them and their children. He would have to state that the South African government’s distress grant is $0,76c a day – not the global $2 a day.

The poor have been given the vote but not the opportunity to free themselves.

The prophets have become accomplishes in this profit-making. They bless the profiteers and they are paid for their silence.

In honour of Mr Plaatje: Awaking on Monday morning, February 28, 2022, the South African native finds himself not actually a pariah, but a victim of corrupt profiteering over every step he takes to regain his dignity in the land of his birth.

* Lorenzo A Davids.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

Do you have something on your mind; or want to comment on the big stories of the day? We would love to hear from you. Please send your letters to [email protected]

All letters to be considered for publication, must contain full names, addresses and contact details (not for publication).

Share