ANC-DA led GNU a betrayal of our Africanist founding

Published Jul 3, 2024


By Mphumzi Mdekazi

Once upon a time South Africa had been made up of four different parts, namely The Cape Colony and Natal which were ruled by the British, and the Orange Freestate (OFS) and the Transvaal were Boer Republics.

In 1910, the two British colonies (Natal and the Cape) joined up with the two old Boer republics, the Transvaal and OFS. These four areas became the Union of South Africa. The Boers and the British governed the country together, and South Africa became part of the British Empire.

By this time Black people were angry because they were not allowed to vote in this new country. A lawyer from Natal whose name was Pixley ka Isaka Seme had an idea. He spoke to many African Chiefs, and said that although they were from different tribes, they should fight together for their rights, they should fight “as one nation, not as different African nations”. This is a view that was once shared in the words of Pandit Nehru, quoted in classical work of Robert R Edgar, he asserted that:

“African Nationalism then aims at a united progressive respectably African nation; its forward march is inevitable and irresistible, and to defend the status quo is to surrender.”

The then government of the Union of South Africa was led by Louis Botha, who had been a Boer General in the South African war, his statue is still there in front of our Parliament in Cape Town, seated on a big horse. Not only did Botha ignore the newly-formed South African Native National Congress, which later became the ANC, but in 1913 his government passed a new law that made many ANC members very angry.

This law, the Natives Land Act gave 93% of the land to white people, and Black people were forced to live on the remaining 7% of the land. Many of them lost land that their families had lived on for hundreds of years, and now the only way for these Black people to earn a living was to work for white farmers, or on the mines. Hopefully, the newly appointed minister of land affairs and the PAC President (Mzwanele Nyhontso) under the ANC/DA led GNU understands the implications and significance of that Natives Land Act, this is an opportunity for him to do what is expected of him. Now is the time.

This is happening at the time when very disturbing observations are unfolding right in front of all of us, chief amongst these is to see highly educated ANC members such as Sihle Zikalala with post-graduate education deputising a white Minister who only possesses a matric certificate. This is sending a very bad signal on both the importance and respect for education. It says a lot about the psychological make up of a person who made this kind of a decision to our educated African brother and others in similar situations. I am also told that even the newly appointed minister of agriculture has got a mere matric with no prior government experience.

There can be no excuse for the appointment of illiterate ministers in this complex economy and complex portfolios, not today.

In fact, this takes me back to what Mrs Mkoyana (a teacher at Xolobe Primary School/Tsomo). Mrs Mkoyana taught Nontsikelelo Thethiwe (who later became Albertina Sisulu); when she said to her in (Albertina’s) class: “People learn more from what you do than from what you say.”

Maybe Cde Sihle Zikalala’s situation could have been avoided had the ANC respected and considered a genuine consultation with its structures from the nine provinces. In fact that stakeholder political consultation/engagement was going to cost them a mere 36 hours if they wanted to do it, just to check how their structures feel and view the DA/ANC led GNU, rather than going to the structures after the fact. So it’s purely a top-down approach (disguised as democratic centralism), buttressed with “censorship and intimidation” of independent critical thinkers from within the ANC through threats of DC, to manage targeted dissenting voices on the DA/ANC led GNU.

This is sad because what use to underpin intellectual dynamism and African unity in the ANC has always been informed by not only selfless commitment to national liberation and a concerted collective effort to dismantle all structural instruments of colonial apartheid domination in South Africa, but also by encouraging and managing different erudite view points on all matters of serious ideological and sensible contention. It would seem, it’s no longer at ease.

Social justice and the restoration of the dignity of African people after many years of brutal colonial bastardization upon African people was what informs these robust debates.

By the way, contrary to the dominant white supremacist narrative of the so called ‘30 years of ANC misrule’ propagated by the DA and its mainstream media mouthpieces. The post-apartheid democratic transition has been fundamentally different to the satanic, criminal, barbaric, unjust, colonial apartheid misrule order that preceded our democratic transition. Ironically, no single media house is prepared to reflect on what use to happen in this country pre 1994.

It is also not to be oblivious to the fact that for the first time since 1994 elections the ANC electoral support has nose-dived below 50% in the 2024 National General elections. The ANC leadership and its African constituency have taken this electoral setback with a high level of humility and dignity that embodies our cultural values as Africans. Equally, the grace and poised that the African oriented political progressive parties displayed in the aftermath of their electoral performances puts to shame all the post election predictions of violence propagated by the apartheid mainstream media and various proponents of white supremacy in our body politic leading up to the elections. Such vile statements were nothing, but racist connotations of projecting African people as been prone to violence, and anarchy.

It is important to remind the white supremacist adherence and brown envelope journalists in our media and body politic that the level of privilege, comfort, development and security that they now enjoy is a product of conquest, oppression, exploitation, structural, systematic and physical violence and instability that was inflicted by the various Western settler colonial regimes towards African natives since 6 April 1652. The white ruling class and its propagandist in the media have little to lecture Africans about peace and stability when they have so much to atone for the destruction of African life in South Africa.

The ANC leadership in its objective of leading a coalition government must draw inspiration from not only Pixley ka Isaka Seme on the idea of uniting Africans to fight from the same corner, but also listen to the wisdom of its late former president Oliver Reginald Tambo in his closing remarks in the ANC 48th National Conference in Durban 2nd July 1991, and I quote: “before I sit down, I wish to make a few observations, we did not tear ourselves apart because of lack of progress at times, we were always ready to accept our mistakes and to correct them. Above all we succeeded to foster and defend the unity of the ANC and the unity of our people in general. Even in bleak moments, we were never in doubt regarding the winning of freedom. We have never been in doubt that the peoples cause shall triumph.”

It is my hope that much respect will be given to the message of this great son of the soil of our national liberation by not allowing fragmentations of the African unity due to fatal bloated egos, and also that leaders won’t forget where we come from, for the sake of African people at large by wantonly servicing the white apartheid ruling class policy capture, and its economic hegemonic interest objectives facilitated by some pre-paid ANC leaders who are beholden to white masters because of their insatiable greed and economic seductive entrapments, in cahoots with its political instrument the DA, especially the careerist who easily get offended more than Helen Zille when the truth is told about what the DA actually represents.

At best, this phase did illustrate to us who are those of our leaders are pro DA, we now know them. It distinguished principled and value based leaders from pliable stomachists, as the latter ones are always prepared to tear each other apart for bread, as well as it was demonstrated through black hatred of the progressives in protection of their political careers at all cost. By now, with a beautiful benefit of hindsight, the political grassroots and rank and file ought to know who their true leaders are and where to place their trust going forward.

Otherwise as Gandhi would say: “If you continue to elect an idiot into a leadership position, you can’t complain because it means you are well represented.”

Since history doesn’t lie, the current president is reflected as someone conducting the “renewal” of his party through the DA; he is also a willing enabler of the DA’s attempts to weaken Anton Mzwakhe Lembede’s African Nationalism and that is likely to slowly vanquish the aspirations of African people. Maybe this is to prove and validate Hendrik Verwoerd’s assertion about us as Black People or to “keep” FW De Klerk’s proverbial promise, since they nurtured him.

The truth is that, the DA is driven solely by the group interest of white people, its interest is diametrically opposed to the historical mission of the ANC and of African people. A classical example is the Blackman’s life in the Western Cape where they govern.

If it is so easy to forgive and make peace with white people who hanged and guillotined Vuyisile Mini, Solomon Mahlangu, killed Steve Biko and assassinated Chris Hani; Is the leadership of the ANC shunning of the MKP and EFF a reflection that the ANC is contemptuous towards its own political offsprings such as EFF and MK as they are reluctant to make peace and forge a united front with them, since they serve similar constituencies-come service delivery time?

I still believe we must draw from the wisdom of the late ANC Youth League President Anton Muziwakhe Lembede when he said:

“We have to go out as apostles to preach the new gospel of Africanism and to hasten to bring about the birth of a new nation. Such minor insignificant differences of language and customs etc will not hinder or stop the irresistible onward surge of the African spirit. This African spirit can realise itself through and be interpreted by Africans only, foreigners of whatever brand can never properly and correctly interpret this spirit owing to its uniqueness, peculiarity and particularity.”

It will be worse if they are not well educated with their mere matric certificates, but survive only through pigmentation of their skins to be ministers.

The president has defiled the spirit of all African heroes and their toil and sacrifices who resisted white colonial domination over Africans and may the wrath of all African ancestors fall on all other native traitors who abated this anti-African coalition.

The question remains: Is it that seriously bad that we are so prepared to tear each other apart like this to please the oppressors? Where have you ever heard of a liberation struggle successfully facilitated by western capitalist domination to free Africans in their home soil? Or is it a matter of bloated egos from within such that we must be so crass on black hatred? It is delusional to believe that we will ever recover from this calculated fragmentation by these western market forces.

I mean why would you take a black vote and hand it over to the DA un-mandated by the black voter to do so on his behalf? Is that not a clear defiance of what Pixley Ka Isaka Seme was trying to avoid when he mobilised Africans? Is it not the time that we look at our leaders through the lenses of Mrs Mkoyana (Albertina Sisulu’s primary school teacher)?

With the same chagrin, is our ebullient African sister crooner; Thandiswa Mazwai unfair when she quizzically probes:

“Nizilibele na ukuba nizalwa ngobani?”

* Mphumzi Mdekazi is a PhD candidate at (Stellenbosch University), writing in his personal capacity.

** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of IOL or Independent Media.