POLITICS

MARIKANA MASSACRE A SIGN THERE IS NO ECONOMIC LIBERATION IN SOUTH AFRICA

Marikana Massacre of 50 African workers and 78 injured at the platinum mine North-West of Johannesburg under ANC government on 16 August 2012, illustrates the absence of economic liberation for 80% of the African people who were supposedly “liberated” in April 1994. Azania (South Africa) is home to 80% of the world’s known reserve of platinum, a very precious metal which competes with gold in value and price.

The price of platinum fluctuates between $1650 and $1800 per ounce. Miners at Marikana platinum mine as all other mines where minerals are dug from the ground; do very dangerous work. Some miners have described mining as “graves” as the mine can collapse at any time bury them, never for them to come out alive. The Marikana platinum miners went on strike demanding an increase on their wages. They are paid R4000 a month. This is about five hundred American dollars. Many of these miners have families to support.

They were massacred in what the media has described as: “Another Sharpeville,” “The Hill of Horror,” “Bloodiest Security Operation Since Apartheid,” “Bloodbath,” “Killing Field,” “Mine Slaughter,” etc. Three thousand miners took part in this mine strike. It involved talks with mine company unsuccessfully. The platinum bosses are some of the leading controllers of the economy in this economically colonised African country.

“NEW AFRICANNESS” – A RESPONSE!

On the 3rd June 2012, a columnist of the City Press newspaper wrote, “There are many ways of being African in South Africa.”

Are there many ways of being a British in Britain? Are there many ways of being a Chinese in China, many ways of being a German in Germany or many ways of being a Russian whose minority dictate to the majority population?

The misconception about national identity in South Africa stems from a falsified colonial history. It is exacerbated by the 1955 political manipulation by which a certain section of the leadership of colonised African people abandoned the anti-colonial struggle for a civil rights movement. They claimed that their country belongs equally to the colonisers and the colonised, the dispossessors and the dispossessed owners. This is tantamount to saying that stolen goods can equally belong to the armed thieves and their rightful owners. It is not magnanimity. It is betrayal of the dispossessed.

Where has this happened anywhere in the world, except where British imperialism seized this African country at gunpoint, consolidated its colonialism through the Union of South Africa Act 1909 and allocated its 349,837 colonial settlers 93% of the country and left five million Africans with 7% through the Native Land Act 1913 and additional 6% through the Native Trust Land Act 1936? This 13% has now been entrenched in section 25(7) of the present Eurocentric constitution misleadingly called “the best democratic constitution in the world.”

EFFECTS OF COLONIALISM ON AFRICA

Programme Director, Comrades, Brothers and Sisters, The effects of colonialism past and present are visible all over Africa. It is not an overstatement when Edem Kodjo, author of AFRICA TOMORROW describes the condition of African as “torn away from his past, propelled into a universe fashioned from outside that suppresses his values, and dumbfounded by a cultural invasion that marginalises him. The African… is today the deformed image of others.” On this year’s anniversary of Africa Liberation Day, African people all over Africa and wherever they may be on this planet, must reflect deeply on their history as it relates to their present life conditions and to their future. History is a clock that tells a people their historical time of the day. History is the compass that wise people use to locate themselves on the map of the world. A peoples’ history tells them who they are. What they have been, where they have been, where they are now, but most importantly, where they still must go. True African History is a powerful weapon against colonial history that has been used for mental enslavement and colonisation of the African people.

Programme Director, Africa is the Mother of Humanity. Africa is the cradle of the first human civilisation. The First Renaissance on this planet was the African Renaissance. Africa was “the first world” economically and technologically NOT the “third world” of paupers robbed of their lands and riches. Our ancestors built the pyramids which even in this 21st century no one can reproduce. Egyptian civilisation was a Black civilisation. The pharaohs were Black people. That is why that great African Egyptologist, Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop has written: “The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in the air and will not be written correctly until African historians dare connect it with the history of Egypt. The African historian, who evades this, is neither modest nor objective or unruffled; he is ignorant, cowardly and neurotic.” The Zimbabwe Buildings that Africans built have been attributed to “foreigners” who vanished into thin air and cannot be found! The stubborn historical fact, however, is that these magnificent buildings were designed by Zimbabweans.

The Azanian civilisation which stretched from Eastern Africa to our country is a historical fact. The people of Azania whose country colonialists called “South Africa” through the British imperialist Union of South Africa Act 1909; mined gold and copper in Mapungubwe as early as the 9th century. That was centuries before Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Azania on 6th April 1652. He and the other settlers brought no land here on their ships. Our ancestors fed them and housed them. They knew not the intentions of these pale strangers.

The Rev. J.H. Soga was contemporary of Enoch Sontonga, the composer of Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika. He has made reference to how Africans in what is called South Africa today came to be called “Bantu” instead of their old name Azanians. Soga explained in 1928 that the name Bantu was of modern application. It arose when Dr. Bleek a scholar of Azanian languages used the word “Bantu” as a comprehensive term for all the dialects of the inhabitants who formed a large section of the people of Southern Africa. He had no intention of applying this term to the people themselves. (THE SOUTH EASTERN BANTU pages 2, 6 and 11 WITS UNIVERITY PRESS, KRAUS REPRINT MILLWOOD, NEW YORK 1982).

ANALYSIS OF THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

Landscape is the artistic architecture of natural scenery. Politics is a natural phenomenon which has observable structure and form. It is the duty of every citizen to study and observe complex composition of political elements and their combinations in society.

In modern times, elements of political landscape operate within a political party or organization in a given space. A political party or organization is an interest based institution. The combination of abstract parts in political party defines its character and behaviour. The behaviour of a political party or organization is not accidental. The manner of conduct flows from the ideological and political designs of the political institution. The fundamental political factors are philosophy, ideology, governance doctrine, strategy and tactics. The dynamic interaction between these five characteristics determines party ability to acquire and maintain power.

Party governance doctrine, strategy and tactic determine cohesion and performance whereas the clarity in philosophy and ideology crystallize party policies and programmes. Philosophy is a theoretical basis of understanding knowledge, ethics and existence. It is personal belief on how to approach situation. It is spectacle through which a world is viewable. All parties have attitude, which is informed by its interest group.

POVERTY, POLITICS, AND THE 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP IN SOUTH AFRICA

Why is it that governments can find billions of dollars for global sporting events and little to deal with the grinding poverty that affects impoverished populations? Canada applauded itself for the $135-million in aid and disaster relief it sent to an earthquake ravaged Haiti while spending nearly $6-billion on the two-week long Vancouver Olympics. A similar contradiction is revealing itself in South Africa, where massive amounts of public and private spending on the upcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup are expected to salve a faltering economy and crippling poverty. Most South Africans, however, will see little direct or sustained economic benefit from the games let alone muster the funds to even purchase a ticket.

What is trumpeted as a branding and investment remedy to South Africa’s economic woes may very well become another Greek tragedy – where the legacy of the 2004 Athens Olympics has contributed to an economic meltdown. These global games offer dual incentives to both local and foreign business elites and little to a frustrated local population. On the one hand, investment, sponsorship and tourism opens new markets to foreign capital while local business elites profit from a heightened global image. At least, this is the story sold by both the state and World Cup planners. Central to this strategy is selling South Africa as a marketable and consumable brand.

The transition from apartheid to democratic rule in South Africa has been well documented. During this period, the pressures of both domestic and foreign capital forced the emergent African National Congress (ANC) government to follow the economic paradigms of the past and encourage foreign investment. The sanctions that once crippled the economy gave way to a period of increasing investment and relatively stable economic growth. Promoting a comfortable and gentrified image of South Africa perfectly serves the ruling African National Congress’s redistribution through growth policy that is intended to drum up foreign investment while selling off government owned assets. The Soccer World Cup effectively opens these economic and political spaces necessary to further neoliberal policies and development.

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