Will Zuma finally "Africanize" South Africa?

Publié le par hort

Will Zuma raze Orania, a white enclave, in South Africa to the ground.? It is an insult to South Africans and to African people everywhere, to allow whites to continue to practice apartheid in South African under black rule. Our people did not lose their lives to maintain white supremacy. Hort

http://weekly. ahram.org. eg/2009/945/ in1.htm

Come dancing

Gamal Nkrumah believes that South African President-elect Jacob Zuma, the redoubtable Zulu war dancer, deserves credit for his stage combat act

Suspension of disbelief, an unquestionably ubiquitous term first coined by the celebrated poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Colderidge, succinctly conjoins to the stage combat choreography of South Africa's charismatic President-in- Waiting Jacob Zuma. The audience, in this case the South African electorate, tacitly albeit provisionally, accedes to suspend judgement on the ANC leader in exchange for the promise of an impressive performance. The South African voter has elected to suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the nationalistic narrative of Zuma precisely because of the genius of his Zulu war dance. He does love to dance, and it is in political terms a breakdance of sorts. Now Zuma is no Robert Mugabe, but the white newspapermen of South Africa have painted him so. The result of the 22 April general election in South Africa was ample proof that the vast majority of the country's people support Zuma and the ANC in spite of the
eight-year old graft charges that dog him.

Zuma understands all too well that the suspension of disbelief in the South African electoral context is a quid pro quo. The Western media, in conjunction with the white South African press, have tarnished Zuma's image and portrayed him as the bête noire of the South African political establishment. Yet, the predominantly black South African electorate has pronounced him innocent and paid allegiance to him. He, in turn, has not shirked from besmirching those who stood in his way.

Colderidge noted that "human interest and a semblance of truth" sustained suspension of disbelief. Indeed, how apt in the South African case. To his African supporters, Zuma is a contemporary Shaka Zulu, the legendary king of the Zulu people, South Africa's most numerically preponderant ethnic group. Not only are the Zulu of South Africa the most populous, but they are also the most politically influential. Zuma, of course, is Zulu. But Zuma's popularity extends far beyond the confines of Zululand. He is popular in KwaZulu-Natal, with its large Asian minority and cosmopolitan, urban Durban.

Long forgotten are the bloody internecine fighting between supporters of the ruling ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) that hoisted the flag of Zulu jingoism and nationalistic zealotry. Today, Zuma, ingeniously embodies the very notion of traditional Zulu national pride and progressive militancy and radicalism. He is a leader of all South Africans. "The ANC, against all the attacks on it, has done extremely well," conceded IPF Chief Whip Koos van der Merwe. Such a statement, coming from der Merwe, personifies the New South Africa, so to speak.

South Africa has come a long way. And, Zuma manifests the country's dramatic change. He has been lambasted by his detractors as a polygamist, a misogynist, and worst, a rapist. He lashed back, and is suing those who continue to suggest that he is, or was, a rapist since he was acquitted of the charge in a widely publicised court case.

And as for the twin charges of polygamist and misogynist, Shaka Zulu had a considerable seraglio even though historians often cite seditious whisperings about the revered Zulu despot's supposed decrepitude in that department.

Shaka's manhood, for lack of a better term, has never been in question, and neither has Zuma's. By all accounts Shaka Zulu was a natural born leader, a man of men, and so is Jacob Zuma. On this particular prickly question white and black opinion diverges. Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known in South Africa as Zapiro, illustrated Zuma as a bestial monstrosity making ready to rape Lady Justice who was horrifically held down by South Africa's new black political bigwigs. He identified them as Julius Malema, the ANC Youth League leader; Blade Nzimande the South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary; and Zwelinzima Vavi, the COSATU (the country's largest trade union) general secretary. Zuma promptly sued Zapiro.

Zuma is far from being conscious-stricken. He accused those who charged him with having the cloud of corruption hanging over his head as "spin". He made it clear that he will bring the spin doctors to book.

There is no love lost between Zuma and the Democratic Alliance (DA), the one party that has secured a toehold in the Western Cape Province with its mixed-race majority. "I just think it is spinning by those who love the DA," Zuma confidently remarked upon hearing that the DA managed to retain the Western Cape as the only South African province not to vote overwhelmingly for the ANC and therefore not to be run by the ruling party.

Zuma is widely perceived to be a man of the people. "We will not ride roughshod over the rights of the people, or bulldoze other parties into submission," he pledged. "I am one of those who believe interaction is a good thing."

The bottom line is that South Africa's fourth democratic election last week was a good thing, too. "I respect the choice of the voter to vote for the political party of their choice," said the opposition Independent Democrats' leader Patricia de Lille. At last week's polls, the Congress of the People (COPE), a splinter group from the ANC disgruntled by the political demise of former president Thabo Mbeki, fared badly. COPE trailed behind as the poor third, certainly no match for the dynamic ANC.

"A large group of black women told me that they wanted to vote DA, but that the ANC told them I would send them back to the Eastern Cape," claimed DA leader Helen Zille, former mayor of Cape Town, who is white and therefore still stigmatised as a colonial mistress. The insinuation, I presume, is that the ANC caters essentially to a black male electorate, a most dubious incrimination, indeed.

Another accusation by opposition parties in South Africa is that the ANC is riddled with corruption. "Most South Africans are fed up with the ANC's ineptitude, its inability to fix things and the corruption that goes with it," warned Philip Dexter, the spokesman for COPE on the eve of the elections.

Such appraisals are so conjectural that they had virtually no effect. South Africa's recent elections proved to be a historic landmark for the country. It has been a real success for the African National Congress.

South Africa under Zuma's leadership is shaping up to play a wider global role. The country is considered a paragon of democracy on the African continent, and its multi-racial and multi- cultural makeup renders it a vital vinculum to the Western world with its 15 per cent white minority. Which many analysts consider the conduit for the neo-liberal agenda and its caving to the dictates of the Bretton Woods institutions, following the collapse of apartheid. At the moment Zuma is still an unknown quantity in this respect.

Even so, the single most significant achievement of the South African opposition parties, we are told, was that they were able to stave off a total ANC victory in the sense that they managed to stop the ANC from achieving the magical mark of 66.7 per cent of the vote. The two-thirds majority for the ANC would have effectively turned the country into a one-party state.

In 2004, the ANC snatched nearly 11,000,000 votes of 15,863,558 voters at the national level. This time round, the ANC captured no less than 11 million of the 17 million votes.

Neither piece of data is great cause for celebration as far as the opposition is concerned. Even with a two-thirds majority, political parties will continue to flourish in South Africa. What is interesting is that the body language, the non-verbal communication and social interaction of Zuma won the day.

Velocity, acceleration and displacement are traditional features of African dance. Zuma masters the art.

Actions, after all, speak louder than words, but getting the words right still matters. What matters the most, however, is whether Zuma and his ANC will fulfill the aspirations of the South African masses. This will not be easy to deliver.

"I cannot pretend to be looking forward to having him as president," lamented Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Labour unionists were quick to criticise the Archbishop. "We do not share his ultra-pessimism and dismissive attitude of the views of the majority," a COSATU statement read soon after Tutu's incredulous declaration was voiced. "The National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) concurred with COSATU, describing Tutu's remarks as "misplaced and unfortunate


Zuma has five wives, an undisclosed number of paramours, and at least 18 children. That is the last thing that South Africa needs, the whining voices moan. That is his personal business, his champions insist. The unspoken fear among whites and the West alike is that the rise of Zuma equals the disdainful "Africanisation" of South Africa, the continent's economic powerhouse. Jitters have captured the headlines both at home and abroad. Still, the ANC leaders speak as the voice of the people. Now they need to put those words into practice.

Publié dans contemporary africa

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