Lindiwe Sisulu is the spiritual leader South Africa needs
All hail South Africa’s RET Kween!!
Dearest Most Honourable Minister Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu,
I trust this email finds you decolonised.
Please do excuse my timing; I have no doubt it’s been a busy week for you since your opinion piece was published on 7 January, from the home of the #Tembisa10, IOL. I would like to personally thank you for taking the time to put your many many, oh so many, thoughts down for us to read. That you had so many thoughts so early in the year is nothing short of inspirational. Your words were a spiritual revelation for me.
However, I must confess that at first, I almost missed said spiritual revelation. I had heard around the office that you were into something called RET, and after reading the opening paragraph of your opinion piece, challenging the validity of the very laws of our country, I suspected that this RET might be some sort of illicit substance.
“Apartheid was ‘legal’. Jim Crow laws in the United States were ‘legal’. Colonialism was ‘legal’. Even the Nazis were ‘legal’. So, what does it mean to have the rule of law? And whose law is it anyway?” you wrote. Later, in the final paragraph, you drove your point home, as you asked: “We have a neo-liberal constitution with foreign inspiration, but who are the interpreters? And where is the African value system of this constitution and the rule of law? If the law does not work for Africans in Africa, then what is the use of the rule of law?”
RET is one helluva drug, I thought, and I want to try it at least twice. Still, I was baffled by your words and I found myself asking out loud: “What in the Julius Malema circular reasoning am I reading? Has this person not been a minister sworn to uphold the law since 1994? Has she not held a ministerial post every year for the past 27 years? What kind of plot twist is this? This really must be the season finale of the South Africa show”.
But slowly, as I continued reading your word-thingamajig-compilation, I began to realise my mistake, that RET was no mere street drug, but rather a spiritual path. The epiphany came to me as I read the more confessional parts of your letter, as you seemingly came clean about what life has been like for you and your class over the past 27 years, writing: “What we have instead witnessed under a supreme constitution and the rule of law since 1994 has been the co-option and invitation of political power brokers to the dinner table, whose job is to keep the masses quiet in their sufferance while they dine caviar with colonised capital (CC). After dinner, many things take place under the table and around the table. Some call it stomach politics. The politicians take care of themselves and their families while those who put them there go to bed hungry, waiting for crumbs from the table.” I wept. And a couple of paragraphs later, I could imagine the tears of mascara rolling down your ministerial face as you sat in a Carrie Bradshaw pose and typed: “What happened to us?”
Once I had accepted that, indeed, I was reading the enlightened words of a fellow spiritual traveller, rather than the words of a pampered member on an incompetent governing class riding on the coattails of their parents’ good name and snorting too many lines of RET, your words grew in my estimation and in their sagacity.
This line in particular spoke to me, healed me: “The most dangerous African today is the mentally colonised African. And when you put them in leadership positions or as interpreters of the law, they are worse than your oppressor. They have no African or Pan African inspired ideological grounding. Some are confused by foreign belief systems.”
I felt this Sis, I felt it deep in me like a lost condom. You nailed it and you’ve given me such great inspo for my New Year’s Resolution. I typically don’t like setting myself up for failure by participating in practices rooted in foreign belief systems, such as making New Year’s Resolutions, but I am currently on holiday in the rural Eastern Cape and I’ve run out of my Decoloniserex® pill prescription and the nearest pharmacy which is an hour away has no stock. So my mental situation is feeling a touch colonised. I’m not sure if you’ve been to these parts but the infrastructure here is a bit of a mess, probably because our government’s only had 27 years to do something about it. Ag shame, poor things.
Anyway, about my New Year’s Resolution; I’ve been feeling lost of late, and in desperate need of spiritual decolonisation. I still meditate regularly; I continue to practice numerology; my collection of crystals continues to grow; I keep an open heart and remain acquainted even with misguided old friends who’ve chosen to move to Noordhoek, Kommetjie or Scarborough. Yet, even as spiritually superior to most as I know myself to be, I find myself overwhelmed by a feeling of spiritual homelessness, a spiritual bergie as it were. But as I read your various musings, my chakras were progressively decolonised and I came to realise that the Church of RET had indeed transformed you into a being of exceptional spiritual enlightenment. I want this for myself in 2022. I want a conversion as Damascene as yours. Lead me to the enlightened path of the RET.
As one who doesn’t keep up with the news, up until I read your piece I still viewed you through the lens of that awkward 2007 drama, when you were Minister of Housing, and you had a bit of an apartheid-y moment where you wanted to forcibly remove some 6,000 residents from Joe Slovo informal settlement in Cape Town. I believe it was reported that you wanted to move them even further away from the city centre, which was being refurbished and gentrified for the 2010 Soccer World Cup at the time, all the way out to infamously dangerous Delft township, so you could build 1,000 houses for people you said “were higher up on the housing list”. I remember the reports of how they blocked the N2 and protested outside parliament and demanded that you at least come meet and consult with them and hear their ideas about the “land”.
Back then you refused to hear these landless Africans out, you accused them of being “unwilling to accept that communities of the future would cut across race and class.” And in Parliament, you said that “If they choose not to cooperate with government, they will be completely removed from all housing waiting lists.”
And now look at you, a champion of the masses! A RET Kween! Honestly, at first, I was surprised when I read your 2022 thoughts on land and property ownership: “When it comes to crucial economic issues and property matters, the same African cosies up with their elitist colleagues to sing from the same hymn book, spouting the Roman-Dutch law of property. But where is the indigenous law? It has been reduced to a footnote in your law schools. Where are the African value systems and customs of land, wealth, and property?”
At first, I thought your fresh new outlook on land and property might be a side-effect of the vaccine, but eventually, it became clear that I was witnessing a true RET miracle. Give me that RETex® or whatever it is they feed you for communion at the Church of RET, my mentally colonised brain is in desperate need!
I’m a huge proponent of alternative ways of knowing, and the path of the RET and perpetual discourse about colonialism is obviously one to follow. It is the only spiritual path that makes sense for a country such as ours. Personally, I don’t think it would be good for the nation’s perception of well-being for us to view ourselves as a post-colonial failed state, a failed African state whose leaders are corrupt, and whose voters are daredevils.
Through the Church of RET, and by following the Path of the RET, we can realise that the real problem is not just corruption, crime, greed, incompetence and spectacular failure to lead. But rather as you say in different parts of your ‘Greatest Discourse Hits’ compilation: a poorly conceived constitution, Roman-Dutchy laws, “black politicians [who] have become black assets for colonised capital.”, “mentally colonised African[s]”, “House Negroes”.
I thank you my RET Kween. I now realise that the path of the RET tells us to ‘look over there’ as a caring gesture, for the sake of our spiritual and mental well-being. That sure beats taking a long look at the material truth of our country, our present-day reality, and the pampered ministers who’ve been in power for all 27 years of a progressive march towards abject failure and broken promises.
Yours in #RETlife