‘Political jealousy’ tears us apart as the youth

'Political jealousy' tears us apart as the youth
GREEN-EYED: Former Cosas treasurer Bethuel Zunguza says the youth must liberate themselves from political jealousy. PICTURE BY SABC

It should also be mentioned that ANC members should understand that not all of them will be eligible for election in a conference or deployment in the government – because there is always one leader at a time.


Our fledgling democratic dispensation is approaching 30 years since its birth in 1994.

It is common cause that we have made some remarkable strides in the process but indeed, it should be appreciated that more still needs to be done to achieve total liberation for the formerly oppressed and subjugated African masses of our people.

The great Steve Biko observed correctly that ‘the greatest weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed’.

His philosophical observation emphasised the importance of mental emancipation of the oppressed people as a critical imperative in the broader struggle of national liberation.


The main objective of colonialism and the Apartheid ideology was to keep black people in perpetual political bondage through mental manipulation.

This was done in many ways, including the introduction of Bantu education – which was inferior compared with the education provided to the white population of South Africa.

In actual fact, Bantu education was aimed at the general miseducation of the black populace of South Africa in order to sustain the Apartheid ideological system.

Among other destructive consequences of the Apartheid ideology was the instillation of inferiority complexes and self-hate amongst black people in general and this is manifested in the manner in which we still treat and view one another even to this day.

The phenomenon of self-hate and jealousy expresses itself when people fail to admit that one amongst them is gifted in a particular field of human endeavours.

Instead of admitting, recognising and having appreciation for each other’s gifts and talents, we tend to find reasons to denigrate and demonise the person with an aim of trivialising their giftedness.

Jealousy becomes more intense and aggressive in a situation where the gifted person is an individual whom you intimately know and you grew up together – and you know his or her family background.

'Political jealousy' tears us apart as the youth
Former Cosas treasurer-general Bethuel Zunguza writes about “political jealousy” that other comrades experience while participating in the life of the ANC

In our political milieu, the jealous person often argues that the gifted individual cannot be a leader because they know them from the past and further judge them on their family background.

This jealousy is expressed in different forms and in the case of extreme forms, they escalate to serious hatred which often lead to serious infighting and its resultant threats to the lives of others the jealous is directed against.

The contestation in the political arena has been extremely contaminated with personal hatred, than ideological expressions in a mass democratic movement that is supposed to unite society and usher it towards a prosperous South Africa.

Young people in the ANC are suffering from this demon that I will call “political jealousy”, which is rearing its ugly head in many ways.

This carries on to even a stage where your own comrade doesn’t want you to speak to another of your own comrade from a factional grouping, labelled as a traitor in corridor gossips.

The situation is very ugly in other places where councillors are killing one another and other leaders are booed by supporters of others within the very same movement.

The culture of the personalisation of the ANC politics is a very painful reality and it is not a joke that you can lose friends, lose your job and at worse, even lose your own life – just for supporting one faction over another.

It should also be mentioned that ANC members should understand that not all of them will be eligible for election in a conference or deployment in the government – because there is always one leader at a time.

Young people in the ANC have tasted political power and all its manifestations such as access to financial resources, mostly through government tenders and the social status through which the influence of ANCYL positions give and they tend to feel others don’t deserve such so-called ‘privileges’, if I may call them.

I think a political schooling should entrench the culture of meaningful collectivism.

We should also encourage positive dialogue and positive engagements in resolving differences and intensify the preaching of the gospel that differences do not mean that we should be enemies, and our elections to positions of political leadership should not create this ‘political jealousy’ that is seriously encroaching in our environment.

The Pan-Africanist thinker Amilcar Cabral puts it like this: “There is no group of people that has the monopoly of beauty, intelligence and power, but we all have a room in the rendezvous of victory”.

*Zunguza is a young former Tressurer-General of the Congress of South Africa Students (Cosas) and currently the President of the Black Youth Business Council. He writes in his personal capacity.