Defend Truth


In loss, the ANC justifies decision to vote against it

Siya Khumalo writes about religion, politics and sex. He is the author of ‘You Have To Be Gay To Know God’ (Kwela Books, 2018), which won the Desmond Tutu-Gerrit Brand Literary Prize. Follow him on @SKhumalo1987 (Insta and Twitter), or like his Facebook page With Siya Khumalo.

Bless whichever lucky stars spared you the annoying musings that have flooded my Facebook timeline, worded introspectively along the lines of, “The people have been trying to tell us. We might lose these metros if we don’t act.”

Though doing too little too late, the ANC and its supporters still depict the ruling party as negotiating for Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni from a position of strength. This is the definition of arrogance: having an inflated sense of one’s indispensability.

Many in it refuse to see the ANC’s love affair with Number One as its defining weakness or that it must do more than “listen” to voters and “scrutinise” results to recover. They know what they have to do. Shannon L. Adler speaks to this analysis-paralysis:

The more you talk about it, rehash it, rethink it, cross analyse it, debate it, respond to it, get paranoid about it, compete with it, complain about it, immortalise it, cry over it, kick it, defame it, stalk it, gossip about it, pray over it, put it down or dissect its motives it continues to rot in your brain.

It is dead. It is over. It is gone. It is done. It is time to bury it because it is smelling up your life and no one wants to be near your rotted corpse of memories and decaying attitude. Be the funeral director of your life and bury that thing!” (my italics)

I’d hasten to add it not only rots in your brain, but it rots your brain. Given the economic status quo, I would expect it to be DA supporters who reflexively call all talk of race racist. But it’s ANC supporters’ blaming black people’s failure to “appreciate” the importance of voting that truly demonstrates the senility that’s come to characterise the 104-year-old party. It’s the ANC that hasn’t appreciated black people’s votes, not black voters who haven’t appreciated the freedom to vote.

Moreover, thinking black people are eternally beholden to the ANC for being at the forefront of the struggle, that this gratitude should convert into votes until Jesus returns, nullifies the nature of freedom itself. Once bestowed, freedom is in a sense irrevocable and unconditional. For black people, this means gratitude may or may not be felt, and where felt, may remain a matter of sentiment but not necessarily convert to an unconditional, automatic vote. The Constitution the ANC helped bring us counts political autonomy as one element of this freedom; the ANC’s attempt to coerce people to forget this point corresponds with its coercing people to forget everything else that’s in the same Constitution unless it serves the ANC’s interests.

This turns black people into second-class citizens: ever free, white people are expected to be fickle with their votes, going wherever their demands are fulfilled (this has been called “voting with your head”) while black people are seen as duty-bound to vote ANC no matter how they feel about its leadership because they were liberated by it (this has been called “voting with your heart”). Enslavement to the ANC becomes the new oppression, and the South African population is falsely segmented into free white voters and enslaved black ones.

Either for freedom the ANC set us free, which gives us the legitimate option of voting as we see fit, or we must still seek out a party that can accomplish this liberation once and for all. By claiming the black vote on the basis of liberated blackness, the ANC undermines the historical basis of its claim to the black vote. It’s an absurdity.

The party’s cowardice on Zuma, state-owned enterprises and the tenderpreneurship/patronage network is why the ANC will remain behind the curve of its own death until it’s fully suicided, waking up once it’s dead. Its people haven’t got the courage to stop defending the indefensible.

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality,” observes CS Lewis:

A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”

The ANC no longer has the prerequisite courage (and by extension, the virtue) to lead a people as valiant as the four women who staged the silent protest during Zuma’s speech.

The “Remember Khwezi” protesters have been belittled and dismissed by even the ANC Women’s League. Their protest has been reduced to a politically motivated plot against their leader. The ANC looked at four embodiments of what it no longer can be, and, envying the eminence it has squandered, tried to defame and distort in their protest action the courage it no longer has in itself. Hating the light, it resorted to mudslinging the sun, yelling, “It is really darkness, not glory!”

In that untimely moment, in that uninvited light, the ANC revealed most clearly and tragically the profit it gained in exchanged for its soul. It squandered courage and with courage, all virtue and worthiness to govern so great a nation. The mudslinger who’d yell, “It is really hollow politics, not a noble anti-rape message!” or snuff out this sun with its revealing light would gouge out your eyes if that’s what it would take to stop you seeing how badly he has uglified himself. That is censorship.

With every new word with which the ANC and its supporters respond to the local election results, the clearer it becomes to more of us that they would be a liability in political coalitions in the metros. DM

Please follow and retweet: @SKhumalo1987


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