The rallying cry by Pixley Seme for unity of the African people followed the demise of their kingdoms at the hands of the invading colonial regimes. The enactment of the Union of South Africa Act in 1909 was the last straw that demonstrated white supremacy had arrived and become the legal system. Africans were legally denied the right to vote and that cast them into the periphery as second citizens, not even worthy of using the word “citizen”.
The ANC was therefore formed first to restore the citizenship of the African in 1912.
However, the political alienation of the African soon gained momentum as Africans were cast further into the periphery through the 1913 Land Act.
For the decades leading to 1994 when democracy finally dawned, many laws were passed that pushed the African into the periphery and solidified that as their permanent habitant.
When we speak of the legacy of the past, we speak of a system that took more than 300 years of colonial occupation and more than four decades of apartheid oppression. It was clear that the 1994 democratic breakthrough was a mere door towards correcting the wrongs of the past. The constitution instructs us to correct the legacy of inequality, unemployment and poverty, all defined predominantly by race and gender. This was apartheid's design.
Atrocities were committed against the majority as they fought back against their own oppression. The atrocities seem to have been at the heart of drawing sympathy from liberals such as Zille, who must have concluded that they were inhuman and against the grain of justice. Therefore, there was the Struggle against white supremacy which alienated the African in particular and the black majority in general, from their land and the economy. This was the core of the Struggle against colonialism and apartheid. But then there was the Struggle against what could be deemed apartheid’s excesses, wherein brutality was visited on the African masses by the security establishment. This became the face of apartheid.
As Steve Biko was brutally murdered, Solomon Mahlangu hanged against international calls for clemency and young Hector Pieterson mercilessly killed by an over-ambitious security force, all these became the face of the Struggle.
It is wrong to think the black majority fought against apartheid simply to vote. The typical liberal such as Zille would say: “Give them the vote but not the economy.” That is why she has dedicated her political life in the DA to defend white apartheid privilege.
This misguided perspective makes her think her race, the white supremacist race, has benefited the black majority over the years of colonialism and apartheid. Zille chooses to be oblivious to the fact that colonialism and apartheid caused the challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty that is defined by race and gender.
In her misguided narrative, the African could not have developed without white supremacy. The technological advances South Africa made are attributed, in her opinion, to white supremacy. What she chooses to forget is that no country in the world is an island with regard to technological advances.
Zille chooses to be ahistorical, for if she had cared about history, she would have known that civilisation started in Africa. Had she bothered to think critically, she would have known of the many strides the black population of the world, including the African, have made in spite of the wicked system that her white supremacist race visited on them.
Her thesis is premised on putting people in jail, exile and the periphery of the economy and thereafter concludes that they are incapable of innovation and advanced development. What she chooses to forget is that her party is a continuation of the legacy of Afrikaner nationalism which in 1948 rose to power on the basis of the swart gevaar (Fear of the black majority). On the other hand it was a quest to protect the Afrikaner from market competition against the English and black communities.
What is tragic is not that Zille has articulated these views, but that these are DA policy positions for which she was reckless in their articulation. Zille in fact embarrassed the DA for letting it walk naked in public for all to see what it really stands for. The fear and embarrassment is that this defeats the plot to give the Africans who join the DA the vote, while the beneficiaries of white supremacy keep the economy.
The DA will pretend to be acting against its own, to present the fallacy as truth that it stands for the socio-economic emancipation of the black majority. The evidence of this fallacy is loud in the Western Cape in general and the City of Cape Town in particular. Go to Gugulethu, Nyanga, Langa and all the black residential areas to see the meaning of poverty, inequality and unemployment, the legacy of the white supremacy that Zille wants us to believe benefited the black majority.
The tragedy is also that some of our people believe in Zille, hence they have voted her party into power in some municipalities. The epitome of this tragedy is Mmusi Maimane, who has been granted a façade as leader of the party. Again, it is because the party is a machinery for the mobilisation of the vote and not the economy, which Zille defends in favour of the beneficiaries of white supremacy.
* Zizi Kodwa is the ANC national spokesperson.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.