How do you search for the missing soul of a nation without its emblematic leader?
More than 25 million South Africans, (SA) a majority under 40 will tomorrow May 7 2014 vote in general elections the ruling ANC is widely expected to win. It will be the first post apartheid elections that SA’s first black president, anti apartheid activist, long time prisoner and emblematic “father of the nation “ Nelson Mandela will not be taking part in. He died last year at the ripe old age of 95.
Something might have also died and was buried with Mandela last year; the fate, the dreams and aspirations of a people. However, life must continue after that symbolic death. Somehow, South Africans must look for its’ missing soul and forge ahead. The country will be doing a disservice to the memory of Mandela if they don’t continue his legacy of bringing together a tortured, confused, abused people on the same table so they can eat and celebrate like one family.
Cracks are already appearing in the ranks of the ANC. The emblematic anti apartheid party is still expected to get an overwhelming majority in the pools but is now being seen as being power drunk and some analysts even compare it to ZANU-PF in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is now above 90, claims he still has the stamina of a 9 year old boy and thinks he can do anything in poor Zimbabwe that like South Africa, was once ruled by white people in black Africa. Like Zimbabwe, South Africa has a weak and divided opposition and in Jacob Zuma, SA has its own version of Mugabe, a streetwise man who will wrestle anyone he thinks stands on his way o keep and maintain power. Zuma does not have the vitriolic tongue of Mugabe or he chooses not to be as confrontational as his Zimbabwean counterpart. However, the way he unceremoniously kicked out young upstart Julius Malema from the ANC is a measure of his ruthlessness.
Malema is now one of the typical angry blackmen/women who think they have been unfairly treated by the ANC and its arrogant majority. He represents a threat to the power of the ANC but is still too young and inexperienced to pose any significant threat to the ruling party now. if Malema is not thrown in jail for corruption or even that eventually happens, he will spend a few years in prison and come back a bitter and angry middle-aged man who could still inflict some long term damage on the ruling party. He is not alone though in his anti anti ANC rhetoric. There are millions of other South Africans who have not benefited directly or indirectly in post apartheid SA. They have no jobs, no houses no husband/wives and nothing to look forward to. They are a ticking time bomb and some are responsible for the alarming rising crime wave in Africa’s richest economy.
During campaigning for the elections, Jacob Zuma said if elected, the ANC will give minority white South Africans a stake in the new rainbow nation. That might sound interesting considering that millions of black South Africans were basically treated like second class citizens in their own country under aparhied for many decades. Some whites have since emigrated while some now believe the tables have turned so badly against them that they want to create an all white community inside South Africa. The ANC cannot allow this to happen.
Corruption, cronyism and mismanagement have dogged post apartheid South Africa and the ANC but until a Nigerian professor tinkled with statistics, South Africa still had the largest economy in Africa. When white former hero Oscar Pistorius accused of killing his white girlfriend addresses a black judge “my lady…”, it tells you how far the country has progressed in the last 20 years.
Nelson Mandela, Brenda Fassie, Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba and thousands of other South Africans might have died naturally or through the barrel of a gun in post apartheid SA but there is still a lot of hope in the rainbow nation. South Africa became the first African country to host a world cup finals in 2010 and they still have a certain 82 year old Desmond Tutu…
The country can only rise and rise…