Of course, that would depend on who gets to define “white interests” and “apartheid”.
If you’d argue that the DA would create a South Africa in which anyone could succeed, it would be pointed out that this success would be on “the white man’s terms”. The most curious of those western terms is the word “corruption”. It is western insofar as it tells us what the terms of western success should not be.
Black people share a history in which looking out for one’s people’s interests was prioritized over rule-keeping. We therefore have a higher tolerance for corruption. That’s not the same as saying we are more corrupt. It is to generalize, rather loosely and anecdotally, that we put “ugazi” (“blood” – shared humanity and heritage, robust Ubuntu, compassion, longsuffering and forgiveness) before technical and legal correctness.
By this standard, whoever admits the paradox that rule-keeping levels the playing field for everyone, and is therefore more in line with universal “Ubuntu” than an unlimited “forgiveness” that stands by watching the country go to waste, will be declared anathema.
I suspect our reluctance to call the ANC out has less to do with the fear that “the white man” will bring back apartheid than it is out of spite for him bringing apartheid in the past to begin with. Knowing better or choosing not to, we’ll lump the DA with “the white man” and proclaim a plague on both their houses. Of course we know that the DA emerged from some progressive party during apartheid. “Bajikela abakubo”, one ANC supporter pointed out to emphasize that when white people fought against apartheid, those white people “turned against their own” – an unthinkability that nobody should ever dare, not even in the name of principle. I’ve sensed a bottomless hatred in many black people for “the other”; that this hatred is held back by the same “Ubuntu” that stops them from calling out black corruption. Also, I’ve sensed a choice to fear the mostly black leaders that have been put into power.
The DA thinks it’s the DA’s job to sell itself to black voters; many analysts, commentators and critics agree that the DA should be doing more to make itself more appealing to black voters without looking like it’s trying too hard to get black votes. But then a double-standard arises that allows the DA to have absolutely no imperfections (and it has them!) while allowing the ANC and all other parties to get away with blue murder.
In view of existing evidence, saying that the DA should do more to appeal to black voters is as absurd as saying it’s the government’s job to create jobs. If it’s the DA’s job to sell itself to black voters, then what’s the voters’ job? It is a very passive democracy wherein voting citizens are not expected to think. Someone has to chew it up and spit it in our mouths for us, I see.
I’d have imagined that when the ruling party is not upholding the Constitution, the opposition party should not be bending back-over-backwards to get me to vote differently. The DA might not convince me to vote for the DA, but it shouldn’t have to convince me to vote for something other than the ANC. That I won’t vote for today’s ANC should be a given. I am puzzled, if not offended, that anyone thinks the DA would have to help me see that, just because I’m black. Is there something about my blackness that leaves me unable to make an objective assessment of the varying parties, seeing their strengths and weaknesses (which they all have)? Is it because I’m black that I’m expected to be blind, deaf and dumb to what’s happening around me, and an extra emphasis has to be placed on influencing my vote, beyond crossing the language barrier?
“Many black people have rational reasons for voting for the ANC”, I’m told.
Have we now reached a point where I have the right to speak my mind and say that’s bullshit? I was a wedding that was interrupted by load-shedding. My whole weekend has been thrown out of synch by load shedding. Do I have a right to speak my mind, now? Here it is: there are many reasons to vote for today’s ANC, and many of them are noble and beautiful. But they’re not rational. They’re not about ensuring the best interests of the country. I say this in view of the evidence at hand and unless the ANC changes.
Could it be that the reason the DA is not attracting scads of black voters is that many of those black voters don’t want to be attracted? Let’s be honest, now. Has this thought crossed anybody’s mind? A great number of black voters are not tired of ruling party corruption: many of them have accepted it as inevitable and are scoping the system out for how they can also benefit. They are simultaneously annoyed and amused by the “white man” aka-the-DA jumping up and down yelling, “It’s not fair!” to corruption because it’s so similar to black people’s jumping up and down yelling, “It’s not fair!” to apartheid 20-odd years ago. This idea that black ANC voters are waiting for some magic day when the ANC will improve is rubbish. The majority of black people gained nothing from apartheid and stand to lose nothing from government corruption. A great number of white people, on the other hand…
If the 62% really wanted a good South Africa, they would come to the table. They won’t because, as my acquaintance pointed out, that would be turning against one’s own.
What? Don’t shoot the messenger. I just speculate and observe.
“What do you think you’d get if the DA got into power? Do you really think they’d allow you to thrive in their white world?” I’m asked.
Sure. Because the ANC allows me to thrive in its world. Mixed feelings.
“Zuma has gotten Nkandla out of his system”, someone pointed out to me. “If we replace him with someone else, that person will have to build his or her own Nkandla and the drama will start all over again. So we might as well keep Zuma and bear it out.”
God, I think, handed his resignation in when he heard these words.
There was nothing left to save. Sorry, Tata. You fought against white domination. You fought against black domination. You cherished the ideal of a democratic South Africa in which all are equal, and you were prepared to die for it.
And I now think that we have failed you. Some dreams are just too lofty for mere mortals.