We did it in 1910 when the Union of South Africa was birthed by the British. We did it in 1948 when our new apartheid laws turned us into the most unethically dressed nation in Africa. We did it again in 1961 when the National Party declared South Africa a republic, free from the British Commonwealth. Our newest outfit, the dress from our historic Autumn/Winter 1994 collection, is now 21 years old, and evidently in tatters.
Unfortunately, South Africa has never fundamentally changed over the years, we simply changed clothes.
The greatest problem we face as a nation is not our neo-liberal imperialist economy that favours US and British capitalist endeavours. It’s not that the police criminalise and sometimes kill people for being poor or that miners, farmworkers and domestic workers are still grossly underpaid. It’s not that we have an inadequate education system, which mimics the structures of colonial conquerors or that we are importing instead of producing basic foods. Our biggest problem is not even crime, South Africa.
Our biggest problem is the unwillingness and inability to address the common denominator between these problems: the white supremacy that has never conceded its creation or the imbalanced South Africa of yesterday and today.
The system that created these problems has never been put on trial, nor were its architects.
As long as the recipients of charity for Mandela Day and other such initiatives are poor, needy and black it means the white elephant is at large.
by Milisuthando Bongela