Mmusi Maimane – Is he the one?

<img src="Mmusi Maimane.jpg" alt="Mmusi Maimane" width="300" height="184">


                                   … and remove molehills

Whatever else, the landscape of South African politics has changed irrevocably. We thought that would happen when Mamphela Rampele, the respected academic, threw in her lot with what is still seen as a woolly white liberal party, the Democratic Alliance. But that was one of the most short-lived collaborations in history; and one of the most embarrassing. Try as she might to wrest some dignity from the debacle, Zille’s human insight and political nous took a huge knock, and Ramphele’s credibility (and that of all thinking South Africans) has been damaged irreparably in the eyes of the world.

But, 35 year old Maimane rushes to the rescue … we hope.

Rhetoric rules the day!

The growing suspicion that Barak Obama is a bit of a spineless figurehead does not alter the fact that Middle America still voted him in; and forever after American red neck consciousness has altered: It is a little more open to the possibility of critical thinking about stereotypes and prejudice. But in our case, the consciousness is speeding backwards at a dizzying speed. Nobody seems to realise that racism is not something whites do: Xenophobia is racism! Discrimination against whites in the workplace and job market, academic bursary availability and housing/health/ municipal rate paying and child benefit payments,  to mention but a few, is racism. When we start justifying discrimination in any form, the next step is not far away: burn the books, ban freedom of speech, take their property and round up the Jews/gypsies/handicapped/ Tutsis/ Serbs/ Communists/ French Royalty/ albinos/Protestants /girls/homosexuals/etc.


Biased attitudes may alter yet

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger.”
[William Shakespeare, Henry V]

Let’s face it, Zille couldn’t win: If she doesn’t dance African style at a function she’s too white; if she does, she is just sucking up pretending to be black. If she succeeds in certain areas she is just doing it for the white electorate; if she fails in some she is just doing it for the black electorate. She, unlike any other leading politician, is not allowed to fail at all. Her lack of corruption and her work ethic is resented for being too white. Her failures are resented for being willfully selective.

MAIMANE – May he be given the chance

Hopefully Maimane will be free of these suspicions and able to get on with the job: the job of meeting real needs for real people in spite of (because he won’t be allowed to do it because of) being a member of the DA. Maybe people will finally assess the fruit (“By your fruit will you be known,” says the Bible) not the Party that authors it.

Imitate the action of a tiger – it will make everybody pull up their socks!

Image courtesy of  suffragio