The curse of Anti-Blackness

Thousands of marchers make their way to the Union Buildings calling for Zuma to step down. PICTURE BY EPA/Cornell Tukiri.

“They, too, are out looking for their immediate interests and benefits; they stand to lose from the cronyism, nepotism and wanton looting that has come to characterise the Zuma administration”.

Lavittude Ramphomane

The massive uproar generated by Zuma’s recent cabinet reshuffle is the logical reaction to the twin axioms of egregious allegations and counter-allegations of ‘State capture’ initiated by Zuma’s opponents on the one hand, and that Zuma’s agenda is informed by a desire to usher into the country “radical economic transformation”, as propounded by Zuma sympathisers on the other hand.

In recent months, aficionados of political intrigue in this smoke-and-mirrors tale have littered every media platform with analysis with regard to how a Zuma-less south Afrika bodes well for the economy on the one corner, while others counter by positing that support for Zuma’s political direction is the panacea towards that elusive Promised Land.

What is also key to highlight is that, in a racially polarised country like south Afrika, any major skirmish between high notables in the economy and politics, ineluctably assumes and reflects that reality. The truism of this racial dichotomy is manifested by the anti-Zuma camp being predominantly white and the pro-Zuma camp being predominantly black.

This is not to say that there are no blacks from across the socio-politico-economo-ideologo spectrum who do not openly support the agenda to oust Zuma, however it is an attempt to headline this grandiose tendency of whiteness opting to initiate political programmes  which labour to arrest the fall of the rand, the decline of “investor confidence” and the now much-hyped junk status all in the “name of our country”.

The curse of Anti-Blackness

This phenomenon points to the undeniable fact that, in a country where the overwhelming majority of the pauperised are blacks and the rich are whites, there exists a band of blacks who are imbued with the same political and economical interests as white people.

Such reinvigorated, robust, white political gestures and activism were virtually non-existent in both the aftermath of the Marikana massacre and the subsequent unjust conclusions reached by the commission of enquiry which looked into the massacre.

In cahoots with a white-owned multinational company, government forces mowed down thirty-four black miners with military precision and the white world went about it’s daily business without perturbation – no vociferous calls to petition the government for heads to roll and that justice and reparations be considered for the deceased black miners and their widows and orphans!

It is this pellucid moral relativism and selective political ethics by whites in south Afrika which serve as a rebar that the white positionality is inherently parochial and insular in nature, and by extension anti-black, and thus lacks integrity.

That is to say, the petition to oust Zuma is in the interest of whiteness and not that of black people, and the multi-racial face and the mosaic representation of political voices we are witnessing is yet another effort at fortifying the almighty programme of white self-preservation.

So what do we make of black people who give currency to the self-serving white political gestures and activism which labour to facilitate white social life and ipso facto black social death?

The curse of Anti-Blackness

They are no better than dorks and hired dancers who piously follow the Pied Piper’s tune in order to secure a happy meal. Most black politicians’, intellectuals, analysts and public figures’ ability to secure a meal depends of the status-quo which favours whiteness to remain firmly in place, hence the unquestioned and counter-intuitive allegiance.

To lay bare the bad faith often sutured with the collective white psyche apropos to matters of “national importance”, in a country where bliss has a white face and dereliction bears a black one, is neither to sanctify Zuma’s politics nor a tacit call to defend him, however.

The biggest event which trumps all other events which have been elevated to crisis proportions is the Marikana massacre, which has been euphemistically dubbed a “tragedy” by the media, and we need no reminder that it happened under the watch of commander-in-chief Zuma.

Add to that the facts that no justice was served in the aftermath of the massacre, and that the plight of black miners which precipitated Marikana in the first place remains the same.

The curse of Anti-Blackness

At a personal level, Zuma has been twice found in compromising positions. Manifested by the conviction of Schabir Shaik for “having a generally corrupt relationship” with Zuma, and the court’s findings that the circumstances surrounding the construction of his Nkandla palace were shady.

Needless to say, whoever steals from State coffers essentially steals from the poor, unemployed and homeless because it is them who need help the most…and we all know who the poor are in south Afrika!

So what do we make of blacks who are in support of Zuma now that it is clear that he, too, is the beneficiary with the proclivity to perpetuate black poverty?

They, too, are out looking for their immediate interests and benefits; they stand to lose from the cronyism, nepotism and wanton looting that has come to characterise the Zuma administration.

The curse of Anti-Blackness

Within the ANC, even those who harbour a wish to have Zuma recalled cannot do so because their political connectivity and survival intricately but eventually rests with Zuma’s incumbency.

These two factions, however, are only the big players in this game of self-serving white and Indian billionaires; black millionaires; black politicians; black tenderpreuneurs; and black intellectuals who are on the payroll of the giants fighting for the cake.

It’s a dog-eat-dog jungle were poor blacks are perpetual victims. That is to say, the shenanigans have nothing to do with the betterment of the lives of the suffering.

Accordingly, what becomes curious is the involvement of an ordinary black man on the street who all the politicking is neither about nor in his benefit – he is only needed for his manipulated and cooked opinion… his body for toyi toying in this game to wrestle the State coffers.

Black people’s proclivity to sing the praises of and preparedness to give their all to politicians who treat them with disdain points to a neurosis of some sort.

Unlike the case of the Jewish Holocaust survivors, this neurosis cannot be templated under Post Traumatic Stress Disorder apropos to the black positionality because black suffering never ceased to exist.

We are such a sick people that we elevate to Olympus heights and sing the praises of Zuma and Pravin Gordhan when their politics and policies benefits whites, an Indian business family, and some black elites except us.

We marvel at how Gordhan steadies the economy white stories of black hunger, homelessness and poverty are being narrated within earshot.

After reading about how thousands of black squatters lost children and their meagre belongings to raging squatter camps infernos, we hit the social media to joke and gloat about how Zuma is “a master chess player who fools his enemies”; mind you, this is after he built himself a R250 million castle using funds earmarked for the poor.

The curse of Anti-Blackness

Most black folks who aspire to assimilate to whiteness believe that they have “made it in life” once they can afford to eat and drink at white establishments, and it is usually from here that they extol the system and it’s protagonists which impoverishes and kills millions of hapless black people!

Do we need to offer an olive branch to Zuma because he has perhaps underwent an epiphany, and that he truly means good this time?

But shouldn’t we also consider pulling our weight behind white political gestures because, they too, have developed an overnight inclination to end black suffering?

No. This is not what we need after more than a century of entrusting our liberation to white and black demiurges created by the media.

What is needed today in south Afrika is a new way of thinking, a new way which compels blacks to look and search beyond what the media bombards us with!

Poor blacks need to recognise that they are and were never parts of a Rainbow and the Magic, and therefore, have no friends and representatives within this political framework.

We need to understand that the white world emerges out of black suffering, and that poor blacks today are worse off compared to under apartheid because black politicians and the so-called black intellectuals have joined the scramble for self-preservation by trampling on our pained bodies!

The curse of Anti-Blackness

We need to embrace and throw our weight behind re-igniting the Fees Must Fall Movement because this is our truest platform to (1) expose the true anti-black nature of all these factions in the Gordhan/Zuma brouhaha, and (2) to spark a revolutionary moment by the wretched black people of this earth, sans the patronising and hallowed presence of self-serving black politicians and black political parties!

Ramphomane is a student of Black Studies and Afropessimism.