By: Philela Gilwa
In this very same atmosphere of having honest discourse on Race, Reconciliation, Freedom and other matters of national interest that beg to be engaged fervently and unapologetically without any fear of controversy and not finding sweet resonance with the firm sentiments that most people dearly maintain on the 1994 victory that has eventually turned out to be monumental falsehood. As a response to the current trajectory and some of the events which have become a daily occurrence of late, thus compelling us to resuscitate social dialogue to frankly address contradictions. It is imperative for our generation that, after defining our struggle in a rainbow nation that was never there and after all the necessary criticism we level against the inherently anti-black economic system that continually sucks the hope out of our hearts, We must, through a culture of self-criticism, having dialogues, convening platforms for heated discussions, debates, and favorable atmosphere for the contestation and consolidation of ideas, shoulder the herculean task of providing feasible economic proposals so as to combat and counter the harsh realities we are subjected to.
More so, to counter the jack-boot of structural/institutionalized racism (white supremacist matrix), through sharpened ideological weapons/groundbreaking tools of analysis,we must iron out the contradictions amongst us. We must also guard against being bamboozled by any hogwash, against being caught up in useless demagoguery rhetoric, and populists slogan(eering) which bears no fruits but we must encourage robust engagements that are rationally channeled towards squaring against our collective plight.
To the current ‘democratic’ dispensation, History will surely have its say. It will not tell a story of genuine reconciliation (restorative justice/ retribution) and a born free generation. It will not tell a story of democracy and equality. History will tell the story of young people born at the dawn of a democratic dispensation who were filled with optimism about an idealistic rainbow nation that never was, a bandwagon and delusion that was championed and spearheaded by statesman (Nelson Mandela) and religious moguls (Desmond Tutu). History will tell the story of black children whose humanity is destroyed by the brutality of life in the marginalized and under-resourced apartheid settler’s regime constructs called townships, modern day concentration camps where Africans remain hopelessly downtrodden economically, living in sub-standard houses, to top that, time and again used to maximize votes and election’s number games by power mongers, reduced to an animalistic existence and forced to dig their flesh for survival under the merciless white-monopoly capitalist system. It will tell the story of what it means to be black in a democratic south africa; that poverty, destitution and hunger continue to have a black face. History will tell that democracy is just a word when millions of blacks are starving, unemployed, subservient and landless.
De-racializing government does not translate or amount to the restructuring of the economy. It was Biko’s depth and range of thought that cautioned against the meaningless political breakthrough marked by co-option of elites into a rotten system, when he observed that in South Africa there is such an ill distribution of wealth that any form of political freedom that does not touch on the proper distribution of wealth will be meaningless.
Needless to say, South Africa as we have experienced it, is but a tale of two worlds where blacks live in hell whilst their counterparts live in heaven of an undeserved privilege accumulated through the sweat and victimization of black bodies, but mostly it has taught us that, democracy is impossible without political freedom but political freedom is not the ultimate objective of the revolutionary struggle. The ultimate objective is economic freedom, the emancipation of our people from clutches of economic bondage. Political conquest and subjugation has, arguably, been partially lifted, now the struggle for economic freedom continues till the vast majority is emancipated from the economic subjugation and exploitation that defined the pre-1994 period.
We are our own liberators!
Freedom Next time Mzala!
*** Philela Gilwa, born on 20 December 1993, met his death on 15 July 2017 in Cape Town . At the time of his death, Gilwa had been suspended at the University of Free State for incidents relating to the infamous Shimla Park pitch protest and the burning of the statue of apartheid president Charles Swart during the Fees Must Fall protests. He had been involved in what GroundUp has described as the biggest land occupation in Cape Town’s recent history. His killers are yet to be brought to book. This article was originally published on the Face Of Thinks blog. May his soul rest in power.