04 April 2010

The death of ET and immaturity of our democracy

In today's Sunday Independent there is an interesting article by Mcebisi Ndletyana, which which he offers a defence of the song "Kill the Boer", which a high court judge recently declared was "hate speech".

Unfortunately I (or Google) could not find a version of Ndletyana's article on the web that I could link to, which is a pity, because it it worth reading for the historical background.

Ndletyana points out that the song is not racist in the sense of being anti-white, because the late Joe Slovo, who was white, used to sing it with great gusto. The song was not in my political repertoire, but I used to sing one that had similar references:

Mayibuye, mayibuye,
mayibuy' iAfrika
eyathathwa ngamaBhunu
sisasebumnyameni.

(Let Afrika return, which was taken by the Boers when we were still in darkness)

And, lest I be suspected of "Boerehaat", there was another verse that referred to "amaNgisi" (the English), in the same context.

But I nevertheless agree with the judge, and disagree with Mcebisi Ndletyana, in that I think that singing such songs now is an anachronism, and a sign of political immaturity. But maturity never was the strong point of the likes of Julius Malema.

Back in the bad old days of apartheid "amaBhunu" referred, pretty clearly, to the National Party government, alias the Apartheid Regime. And such songs were directed at encouraging people in the struggle against a hated and oppressive regime.

There are some paranoid people who believe that there is a deliberate campaign of genocide against white farmers in South Africa. Singing such songs at political rallies now tends to fuel such paranoia, and some appear to believe that the recent murder of the notorious white supremacist Eugene Terreblance (ET) is further proof of the exiatence of such a conspiracy.

Malema's political idiocy also extends to attempting to hijack the Sharpeville massacre for the ANC, and to downplay the role of the PAC. His public utterances continually remind us that we no longer have people of the political stature of Robert Sobukwe with us.

The fact is that after 16 years of democracy, struggle songs like "Shoot the Boer" no longer mean what they once did.

But there are other, more serious indications of political immaturity.

That can be seen in the tendency to destroy buildings and damage property in protests over lack of "service delivery". Pretoria station was burnt down by angry commuters because trains were late. In another instance, Soshanguve commuters burnt trains because the trains were late, and then complained that there was no train service, when they themselves had destroyed the trains.

Back in the 1980s the apartheid regime erected the showpiece township of Ekangala, north of Bronkhorstspruit. Half of it was run by the KwaNdebele government, and half by the East Rand Administration Board, and which half one lived in made a big difference to one's right to live and work in urban areas. Residents burnt down the administration offices, which destroyed the records of who lived where. It was a direct attack on the system, and made political sense at the time, because the people concerned had no vote.

But now people do have a vote, and so it makes no sense to burn trains and public libraries and other public or private property. Local government elections are coming up, and if people are dissatisfied with service delivery, or with the performance of their municipal councillors, they now have a democratic remedy -- to organise people to vote them out. That is the way democracy works -- not by burning down libraries and stations.

Burning buildings and singing provocative songs made sense when there was a government did not have to listen because most of those it was oppressing had no vote. In fact part of the struggle was to ensure that everyone had the vote, and the political freedom to organise to toss self-serving politicians out. We've had that freedom for 16 years now, and it's time we began to use it.

4 comments:

The Western Confucian said...

Thanks for your insight. With the recent news, I came to your blog looking for a local perspective. I vow to offer prayers for your homeland, which seems to me a beautiful place God's creation.

Steve Hayes said...

Peter Matthaei commented on my Facebook announcement of this post, and I thought it worth sharing:

"Very eloquently stated. I just hope that ET isn't made a martyr due to the unfortunate coincidence in timing of Malema's strange crusade and ET's (almost certainly unrelated) murder. Under almost any other circumstances, most whites would have his murder down to "you reap what you sow". Now Malema has earned the ANC a completely counter-productive ... See morebacklash from many Afrikaners who would otherwise be quite moderate. Malema should be silenced by his party because the ANC *is* better and more mature than that. The ANC stands to lose its identity if it insists on refusing to clamp down on elements inside itself that run contrary to their values. When you rule, you cannot pander to everybody's taste. The New Struggle is against the disillusionment from the realisation that freedom for all does not necessarily equal a better life for all."

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Well said. And Peter Matthaei too. Yet voting is seen as an expression of loyalty and solidarity rather than a way of bringing about change. You have expressed the confusion in people's minds well. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It is with sadness that I as a white South African male has to witness and live through the degeneration of what was once a prosperous and growing country. As in so many cases before, many people (from other countries and nations) have limited (and sometimes distorted) information regarding the political situation in South Africa since independance in 1961, and then the change in government since 1994.
The ANC has always been and still is in a struggle about their own identity as a movement (refer Cope break away) and every so-called-leader is trying to secure firstly his/her own power base and his/her financial status (refer questions about millions of rands owned by Julius Malema and other leaders).
It is also a known fact that currently most provinces and municipalities are bankrupt because of large scale fraud and corruption which has been going unchecked since 1994.
The ANC leadership preaches about unity but the only unity is in the way White South Africans are being robbed, attacked, killed and raped, and (since 1994) pushed out of their jobs by a 'black preferred' system of BEE.
Even in our education environments the 'system' is being manipulated to advance black people - young white students are frustrated with the lies and hate being propagated against whites in the schools. The heritage and history of our nation is being 'trashed' and made exinct - refer the many towns, cities and street name changes (costing millions of rands)being made.
The Julius Malema saga is a sad occasion for South Africans (Black or White or other coloured) as it seems that he is the chess piece by which others advance certain 'unsavoury' issues (ie landreform and nationalisation of land and farms); his retoric and songs are a direct instigation of further hate against the Whites as a whole of this country (evident from so much anti-white comments by Blacks on various internet hosted venues). Most White people in this country has been tolerant of many changes in our societies to date (many to our detriment), but how long will a tolerant people stay quiet?

If nothing is being done to instill overall mutual respect for other cultures and peoples, even the most docile will rebel at some point in time.

For this country to have lasting peace and prosperity, the likes of Julius Malema and others who act and think as he does have to be removed and replaced by credible and capable leadership.

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