One of my main goals the past 4 years has been to make people think for themselves. It’s been an enormous challenge, understandably so because most of us were born into a divided South Africa. It’s ingrained in us to look at different races differently. Bigotry and generalisation comes to us far too easily. Blaming others, instead of ourselves, is the repeated, great impracticality.
A powerful modern element of that quagmire is fear intermingled with hope against all odds. That finds people able to hide from glaring truths so that they can cope with the tough world they are living in. Effectively, they hand their lives over to political parties in the convenient belief that they must be doing the right thing… but it’s surely more a desperation of ‘they have to do the right thing’.
People in power, in my observation, don’t do the right thing because it’s human nature to serve oneself. It’s why democracy and government requires checks and balances. An integral part of that is us, the Public, but, at large, we’ve gone missing, not in action but in inaction.
This reflection resurfaced after reading Eddie Maloka’s article, ‘Mmusi Maimane: Leader with a Small “l” ‘. From having previously blogged ‘Mmusi Maimane: The DA’s Pawn Star’ and shared ‘Dear Mmusi Maimane: Don’t Be Like Jacob Zuma’, i’m fully aware that DA supporters, particular white folk, did not appreciate Maimane being criticised because, effectively, that criticises their political party and the illusions they’ve built to protect their hopes and hide their fears.
Those illusions oft resort to Bushian stupidity of “if you’re not with us, you must be with them”. The Democratic Alliance (DA) that is supposed to be liberal, transparent and open to debate is represented as anything but that by its followers. What the party is meant to stand for all gets forgotten in that moment someone cries that the critic must be “ANC”.
I get that a lot. Never mind that i’m not and reserve a special place of contempt for ANC greed that eats our country. Never mind that i’ve criticised Jacob Zuma harshly. Never mind that the most relevant reality is that i live in the Western Cape where i’ve witnessed dark lies and crimes under DA rule. Never mind that the DA is anything but their image as they seek to silence me (i will not be silenced). Never mind that good criticism is important to democracy and that it doesn’t matter if it arrives from the DA, ANC or Suzelle.
What matters is if it’s relevant and promotes thought.
Mmusi Maimane talks big… but is he true… are they his own words… is he his own man? Is blindly supporting Maimane the right thing for the DA?
Most white folk i know embraced Mmusi Maimane as if he had always been in the DA and their lives. The marketing team certainly deserves compliments for a job well done but does their product, Maimane, also deserve such? Maimane may be a puppet or he may become a great leader. It doesn’t matter which for him to deserve criticism. He carries the title of the Leader of the Opposition. That demands criticism as it does for all politicians. Maybe, down the line, Maimane will sound like he’s answering his critics with his own voice.
Here are excerpts from Eddie Maloka’s article. I hope you click the link at the end so as to read it all:
“[Helen Zille] tried to repackage the DA as the mini-me copycat of the ANC, even looting the liberation movement for its struggle songs and heroes. The search for a model African was a top priority. Mazibuko was found, made and then thrown out when she tried to assert herself and raise an independent voice. The attempted marriage with Mamphela Ramphela was as brief as the show that was staged for public consumption. With the Mazibuko and Ramphela experiments having failed, a solution had to be found.
Maimane is not where he is as a result of his own efforts or talent. He just happened to be at the right place at the tight time. The elephant in the room in the DA and its predecessor, the Democratic Party (DP), has always been how to attract Africans into the party without threatening the core character of the party as the representative of white minority interests. This issue was a source of divisions in the DP in the early 1990s to the extent that some of its members broke rank to join the ANC.
Zille was ready to handover party leadership but, alas, only to herself! She’s gone but still visibly present in how [Maimane] is run and directed in the front seat he occupies in parliament. His speeches are clearly not his and are rehearsed likely in front of a mirror. He doesn’t come across as his own voice. He’s not convincing at all. He’s not inspiring. His public speaking demeanour reminds me of my debating society days in high school.
He doesn’t seem to believe a word of what he says. The evangelical priest in him gives him skills to pretend to be genuine but his history of having voted ANC before plus his Soweto background, give him away. He just can’t stop praising Thabo Mbeki or Nelson Mandela. His heroes are not Helen Suzman, Colin Eglin or Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert.
Will he one day turn into a capital L? Maybe. But this will be a tall order. DA leaders are normally very strong and commanding. They lead committees and even set ideological direction for the Party. Leon did this exceptionally well. Zille was as powerful. But M2 doesn’t even command his Caucus in parliament. From time to time, his colleagues there have to come to his rescue in a paternalistic and embarrassing manner. I don’t wish to be in his shoes…”
Read the full article at ‘Mmusi Maimane: Leader with a Small “l” ‘.