Home Opinion and Features Renegotiation of notion of democratic SA needed

Renegotiation of notion of democratic SA needed


The white man worked long and hard at convincing the black man that he was not a worthy being

File image

Our experiences are mediated via the colonial encounter or, as some would have it, the colonial contagion. Nothing we say or do or think can ever be free from that assumption.

Ngugi exhorts us to decolonise our minds, that is, think about ourselves on our own terms.

The white man worked long and hard at convincing the black man that he was not a worthy being.

It was done with such conviction and single-minded muscularity, such soul-scorching arrogance, that critical theorist Frantz Fanon’s assertion about the blacks’ condition in Africa being a nervous one rings more true even after we have achieved a semblance of freedom.

The pale ones have arrogated very strong opinions of their own place in the sun.

When we question this, we are met with the incredulous: Good God, do you expect us to re-invent the wheel?

We wish to re-assure the colonial that we do recognise this invention as useful to mankind. But we need not abdicate our humanity.

We are on a downhill ride into a cess-pit that includes the HIV-crisis, power outages, inflated home-prices and limited potable water.

Add massively unrealistic salaries for inferior service delivery in the face of burgeoning unemployment.

The last thing I need under my sorry ass right now is the wheel you are so proud to have invented.

Let’s collectively apply the brakes right here and now.

Our own home-grown heroes are presented as struggle icons. That is, dyed-in-the-wool terrorists.

The myth is created that the negotiation for peace included white preconditions that we forswear violence, agree to a strategic divorce, and a semi-conceived undertaking to be patient about asking for that which is rightfully ours.

So the land question had dragged on for years. When we point to land that was purloined, the bureaucrats move in with gentrification so that the land is priced out of our reach. And our hospitals, schools, clinics, indeed, all our amenities are of a standard that subliminally reinforces our inferiority based on our darker pigmentation.

Could you imagine whites moving into government RDP houses? Or populate a Blikkiesdorp, albeit with free solar panels?

It seems that the double-standard of “us/them” is still very much in place.

We need to lift our history out of the quagmire of mediocrity. Our heroes shouldn’t be remembered by our mantra “Long leeeeeeve”

Rewrite the stories that will justify name-changes and the awarding of home-grown public accolades.

All people in this country were struggle heroes. Being on the island is not the only qualification for recognition. Nobody enjoyed racial discrimination or inferior status.

We must retell our stories. When the hunter tells the tale, the lion always comes off second-best.

Produce texts that are fair, then get the children to read them.

Renegotiate the notion of a democratic South Africa nation.