It’s a tired old t-shirt slogan, but imagine the shock when it was worn, read and understood for the first time: when history repeats itself, it takes tragedy and turns it into farce.
Historical comparisons can be lethal. To balance one evil deed with a repeat exercise is pointless. The death of one human being because of careless politics should be enough to fuel the anger of a nation. During and after Apartheid, it was tempting to equate National Party brutality with the horror of Nazi extermination. Just because we did not kill six million blacks, it does not make us better than those who killed six million Jews.
Hitler is always the obvious touchstone for forewarning of a similar future. He is also the theatrical role model for those who do not look further towards his evil legacy, but at his inventiveness in convincing the masses to support his skewed vision of a better future. Adolf Hitler was democratically elected by the voters in Germany. He did not seize power. His promises to a degraded populace roused them to optimistic hope, not clinical analysis. He promised land for those who needed more – Lebensraum. He demanded economic control of the wealth of the nation to be in the hands of the people, and not in the foreign grasp of the enemy, the Jews. His rousing hysterical rhetoric even inspired an amateur fascist in Ventersdorp to threaten an AWB-led civil war in our country. And most of us believed Eugene Terre’blanche, because he was so convincing. Luckily sex raised its timely head, or was it a sexy blonde called Jani?
Julius Malema is not an enigma. He is what you see, what you hear and what you get. If he has managed to conquer the mysteries of his Google and study the past monsters of political bullshit, it shows. If his spit-splattered rhetoric is instinctive, it terrifies. He speaks for a majority that has no hope of redemption from poverty and voicelessness. After 20 years of promises they are still waiting. They have no enjoyment of the African rain sent by the Gods, to remember one of Malema’s memorable images. Why? Because of no municipal drainage, the rivers will drown their children. They have no food, no medicine, no cars, no BlackBerries. Julius has all those props of Bantu-bling, but it only makes his glibness more believable.
And so in carbon-keeping with his historical and often hysterical mentors – those glorious lethal gasbags called Führer, Stalin, Mugabe, Gadaffi and Bart (Simpson) – our clown prince Juju leads red-beret’d onslaughts via national TV, promising logical needs. You will be redeemed if you follow my lead. We will take the land (Lebensraum); we will reclaim our economy from white control. (Jews). Adapt your party leadership to our needs, or we will get rid of you! As made clear to the dithering German leadership from a soapbox in Munich’s local beerhall full of swastikas, not red berets. (If in doubt, Google Weimar Republic and Adolf Hitler 1929)
Statistics deaden the spark of renewal. How do we educate millions of youth still half-taught and furious that their dreams are fading? How do we wrestle the stagnant earth from the tired, useless white farmers who are more attached to whisky and Sewende Laan than feeding a nation? Huge percentages unemployed, uneducated, unfocused and unhappy. Happy Birthday, Rainbow Nation.
Our greatest concern was that those young voters who were born after Nelson Mandela kicked official Apartheid into the toilet of history, will not register to vote in the upcoming general election. We were right. Most shrug and see no point in getting involved. One has to agree with them when the leadership of our land has become corrupt, inept and careless. We are also selling the election incorrectly, with adverts and prompts underlining the importance of voting ‘for the community’, ‘for the country’ and ‘for Madiba’. No one is honest enough to point out that voting is the most selfish act we are allowed in a democracy: to vote for ourselves. Say to the born-frees that it’s not about the rot at the top, or the pointlessness of involvement with a corrupt political game. You are voting for your future, your life, your dream. Take that vote as the key to your door to the rest of your life. If you don’t bother to open it, you will be left behind.
Democratically-elected governments worldwide are finding democratically-acceptable ways to destroy democracy. So do not be surprised, shocked, offended or deceased when the Commander-in-Chief from Limpopo sooner than later becomes the democratically-elected Führer of the Nation. It happened before and was a tragedy. It hasn’t got long to go to become our farce. There is a simple birthday message that could carry our rainbow beyond the next minedump: South Africa? Don’t boo. Just vote! DM
Professionally known for his character Evita Bezuidenhout, Pieter-Dirk Uys writes here in his personal capacity.
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