Cyril Ramaphosa versus Malema; The Politics of Xenophobia

by | Apr 1, 2019 | Africa, Editor's Muse, Politics | 0 comments

As the elections draw near, we sit by our TV screens, we sit with out phones in hand, we have our passports and tickets within reach. We also think, what if the airports are overbooked, what if there’s no way out than to run to Zimbabwe and Mozambique and the outskirts of South Africa. What if during the night, our deepest fears come true and the once oppressed South Africa turns on the weak to demand their blood? What if we have to wake up with half our cloths around our waists, cold winter mornings and the fear of death lurking, and thirsty zealots demand our blood?

Cyril Ramaphosa would have led a revolution to save South Africa from a terror that never existed. He would have made a print in the sands of time, of the day when South Africa died. Because Ubuntu itself was merely a disguise for the pain of oppression and a cry for help. The people never really loved Africa, they just wanted their own land and now they want it even if it would cost them the lives of their own brothers and sisters!

Africa from time has always hated wrong. We do not hate crime, nor corruption. Africa uses Ubuntu when he needs to jump the queue, waive a ticket, sell his drugs, steal a cow.

So listening to Ramaphosa talk, you’d understand why politicized xenophobia has become a strategy for elections. The President in his campaign subtly endorsing xenophobia has probably instigated the recent wave of hate crimes against foreign African Nationals in South Africa.

As Alexis de Tocqueville says “The will of the nation is one of those phrases most widely abused by schemers and tyrants of all ages.”

Politics is a game of manipulation, a tool that seeks out the darkest thoughts of the people and plays on these desires. And like George Washington says “It is one of the evils of democratical governments, that the people, not always seeing and frequently misled, must often feel before they can act.”

If the people of South Africa must feel to vote, then xenophobia is just the perfect political weapon. This is because when a person feels fear, hatred and patriotism at the same time, they can be taken captive to any form of political gimmick.

Julius Malema, the opposition EFF Party leaders has shown uncommon courage in his campaign. Despite the allure that is the politicization of xenophobia, he has chosen the high road. Passing up an opportunity to play on “the will of the people,” in the interest of a united Africa is a tough political call. The possibility of getting elected by non-hateful people is quite low. We all know the world is dominated by hate so it’s only politically correct to be on the side of evil even especially when it’s masked as patriotism.

Julius Malema has always been a sensation and advocate of restoring Africa to Africans. His speech at Winnie Mandela’s death has just been bested by his recent political campaign. Listening to him speak, one would be tempted to hope that South Africa would listen and not yield to the base instincts of preying on the weak and downtrodden.

Malema talks about how no one is attacking the Chinese, Americans or Whites in general. The victims of these attacks are not the criminals and drug lords. We know that those getting killed are not those selling drugs who probably have guns to defend themselves.

“We saw people in Durban beating up Africans. They hit them, some died [at] the hands of black people. We know you say they take your jobs and open spaza shops. You call them all sorts of names. Those people are … are Africans like you,” he said. It’s the white people who are hiring Zimbabweans and paying them low wages.  These borders were not created by us. Africa is not a continent, Africa is a country. From Cairo to Cape Town, Madagascar to Morocco. There is no way you can say another African is lost in Africa.”
If you say you are not going to vote for EFF because we say you must love Africans, you can keep your vote. We don’t want votes from people who are xenophobic…. Without the unity of Africa we will be exploited forever, by Europe, by America and now by China.he said.

The death of Africa is imminent if this self-loathing culture does not end. The culture that teaches Africans to prey on the weak is just an offshoot of slavery, colonization and white supremacy. This is not the Africa we want!

But what is one lone voice like that of Julius Malema, against Cyril Ramaphosa, Against Gauteng Premier David Makhura, and several other South African political leaders who have yielded to the intoxication of the mob’s cry for blood?

Remember what John Jay says of democracy. “Pure democracy, like pure rum, easily produces intoxication, and with it a thousand mad pranks and fooleries.”

This dance of shame is a political question on strategy. It’s probably easier to let the mob have their way, call it “the will of the people,” than attempt to realign the expectations of the people to noble desires and feelings. It’s definitely easier to hate than to love.

A few days back, 20 people sought shelter from a mosque in Crescent Street in Overport, Durban, after they were attacked at Jadhu Place informal settlement in Springfield Park. Many more attacks have been reported in Durban and other parts of Kwazulu Natal. One would wonder if these attacks would heal South Africa. Is this not a case of a people who have forgotten history and chosen to become the oppressors they fought against?

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu said that the African continent had contributed and sacrificed a lot for South Africans to be free and be liberated from the apartheid government. This is a fact that is forever in the political history of South Africa but which the majority have been manipulated to forget. 

There are a few people like Malema who are aware of the damage caused by Ramaphosa’s endorsement of foreign hate and fear. We must give credit to South Africans who are not taking this self-hate in silence. However, we must not be ignorant of the threats going round on the media and in townships. Foreigners may take the fall for the re-election of Cyril Ramaphosa as political xenophobia becomes a thing.

The elections will come and go, the hatred will stay because politics is what remains after election just as marriage is what is left after the wedding. The politicization of xenophobia will be described in political history as a part of the greatest challenges to humanity in South Africa. Whether to win the “will of the people,” or teach Africa to love herself, this is the struggle!

First Published on Africaontheblog.


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