In all our conversations with our continental friends, my understanding is that there is a general failure to grasp the complexity and uniqueness of South Africa’s history. The “obsession” between black and white as they tend to call it, is not easily understood.
After all, our situation can only be closely akin to the American situation where by In America you have slave descendants fighting for a right to be part of the society their former masters built (on the backs of their ancestors) and in South Africa having descendants of colonialists refusing to give back the natives what their forefathers took violently.
The issue of race and racism as packaged in apartheid, was centered around benefits. The constant push from our continental friends to “move on” is rooted in their somewhat, limited understanding of Freedom. To them, apartheid ended, and the architects of apartheid are no longer, so we have freedom from oppression, and therefore can no longer validly blame apartheid for our current ills and surely the current crop of white folk are vindicated. They tend to support their arguments with the fact that they too were born poor (or not rich) but do not blame it on their former colonialists but the present “corrupt governments” whom rule over their nations.
If you as a Black South African, encounter such rhetoric from any of your friends, do explain to them that as much as you attained freedom from oppression, you did not attain freedom to self-determine and self-rely. That you can be anything you want to be, as long as you can afford it. Do let them know that there are critical actions that were not done when apartheid was said to have ended. Such things as returning of the land. The payment of reparations. The jailing of people who committed apartheid crimes (especially economically). The release of political prisoners. Throwing out of all capitalistic institutions and replacing them with socialistic ones. Such things as free education, free health care, & decolonizing our schooling systems, both basic and higher education.
Do let them know that South Africa as it was under apartheid, is still largely the same today. Tell them that Azania is still occupied, maybe not politically so but economically and otherwise. Tell them that, as much as moving on seems a good thing to do, there is nothing to move on too for all that we had, all that stands in the way of what we are supposed to be, as prophesied by our ancestors, is still in the hands of those who violently took it, and there shall be no moving on without that which belongs to us, without that which our life depends on in order to “Make Africa Great Again”. Remind them that for many years wars were fought, some won and some lost to resist the imperial project as brought to our shores by the European and that a “moving on” betrays all of the blood spilt over 350 years.
Tell them that if we do “move” on, then the recolonization of Africa, by those whom are called Africans due to South Africa’s compromise in 1994, as it has already begun, shall accelerate. Tell them that for South Africa to be called “The Gateway to Africa” by other Nations outside the continent, is because of the uncorrected mistakes that the natives in South Africa conducted in 1994 when they opted for a negotiated settlement with their 400 yearlong oppressors instead of leading Africa’s last born nation to perpetual freedom. Tell them that they shouldn’t look at South Africa’s great buildings and the flood of American, European and Chinese Multi nationals as a sign for inclusive growth.
Tell them that the black person in South Africa still largely serves the same role he/she has been serving ever since the advent of 3 ships making a stop at Cape Town in 1652, which is the role of offering cheap labour. Tell them that when they read of great architectural projects that happen in South Africa, before they stand in awe and get mesmerized by the developments being built this side, such as your Steyn City, your Waterfall Estate, your Nkandla presidential Complexes, they should know that these are not built for the masses of this land but rather portray to the world the mighty great exploits that the capital agents are expanding their territory on our land.
Tell them of how in 22 years of democracy, the young black male child of South Africa who was meant to have been a pioneer of innovation in industries by now, has been structurally denied all manners of social mobility and has been relegated to being high on drugs, engaging in crime and the likes. Tell them that the future mother of this nation, that young black and beautiful African daughter, instead of leading industries, pushing boundaries in placing her family and the black women on the map, has also been structurally denied all forms of social mobility and has been led to find other means to survive which range from prostitution, giving herself up to sex driven patriarchal old males for bursaries, or just spending the rest of her full of potential life as a teller, cashier or cleaner at a white firm.
Moving on, is to concede defeat. Moving on is to hammer in the last nail in Mother Africa’s body as she lays there, crucified for over 500 years and counting. Tell them that we are Africa’s last resistance movement, that our struggle has not yet ended, that we fully bear the words of Samora Machel – “Aluta Continua” on our hearts, that although our enemy has increased his defense by using our own people as a barrier, we take heed of Amilcar Cabrals words, of never “claiming easy victories”, and soldiering on to realise Robert Sobukwes dream, which is to call “our Souls our own”.
Do tell our African brothers and sisters, that this fight is not ours alone, that it belongs to all of us. That when it intensifies and the global capital forces move in to fully unleash their wrath on occupied Azania just as they economically did to Zimbabwe and militarily did to Libya, the space between our extinction and our victory, will be Africa’s solidarity, and if left vacant as we have seen our current (& past recent) leaders do with Zimbabwe, Libya and the Congo, then Africa shall never be free. Make sure you let them see that if all moves to unite Africa have failed before, then the fight to liberate Azania, is a great opportunity for Africa to rise up together, and present to the world, a united, continental front for the freedom of one of their own from the global capitalistic, white supremacist parasites. This can only be done through their help and replacing the words “move on” with, “how can we aid your struggle?” will go a long way
They might ask you, “why must we stand in solidarity with you guys when you are the ones who kill us when we seek refuge in your country?” do reply and let them know that maybe a similar question was asked before Libya was bombed, that surely the same question was asked when Zimbabwe was sanctioned. A call for solidarity is never an easy one, putting aside certain differences, grudges, past mistakes, is a very difficult journey but a very important precursor to a united front. This might greatly sound disingenuous coming from us but tell them that a free Azania shall stand in front of Africa and be held accountable for its atrocities, since no one should be allowed to kick and kill their own siblings and nothing is done about it.
Let them know that they shouldn’t look to us for leadership, we are Africa’s last born and as our elderly siblings, we only hope for their solidarity.
Lastly, let them know that the increasing number of people, especially amongst the youth, who reject Mandela, have valid reasons to do so and they should interrogate this point further if they wish to walk down the journey of understanding why Africa’s so called, most developed economy, at the centre of cries for the return of Land, sits Mandela.
In closing, Please let our African brothers and sisters know that what they see as South Africa today, is not #TheAfricaWeWant and definitely not the Africa our forefathers wanted to bequeath to us, especially when the Land, the most important of all, hasn’t been returned to the people. Remind them that our call, our cry and our plea is that they should never forget that, Africa is for Africans and her Land should benefit her people.
“Thousands of years ago, civilizations flourished in Africa which suffer not at all by comparison with those of other continents. In those centuries, Africans were politically free and economically independent. Their social patterns were their own and their cultures truly indigenous.”
– Haile Selassie
Africa is Azania & Azania is Africa.
About the Contributor
The Good Elephant is one with the African people. From Cape to Cairo & beyond the seas, He helps shape and bring change to the African, through every word uttered & every act taken. With Pan Africanism being his backbone, his trumpet only sounds the call for African liberation.