The “Woke” Rubicon
We have heard that Cyril is a “Frog Boiler”, well this article explains how close to “boiling” we are, and the choices we as South Africans now face.
In South Africa, we have gone through extreme anxiety and stress; a sense of an unknown future, as we have transitioned from watching the pandemic in Wuhan and travel to Italy, France, and Spain. As we entered lockdown in South Africa, the pandemic had jumped to the USA and UK. Our president delivered a statesman-like address and suggested a course of action that gave us a purpose, meaning and understanding of what we needed to do to be safe.
During the first two weeks of isolation, a holiday feel pervaded, but at the same time we were trying to translate our existence into an online presence. This continued working environment was only if we were lucky, the less fortunate were looking for a solution to their financial future, some were even more directly affected by the sudden termination of livelihood, housing arrangements and food on the table.
Concurrently, sleeping patterns went out the window, interpersonal relationships came under pressure, as we were thrown into more than intimate contact with our family unit in a single household. Those on their own got lonely. Disparities in our society became starkly apparent. Those in the suburbs did not suffer real hardship with the house arrest, those in the township environment or rural setting became obvious in the collective consciousness as unable to isolate and protect themselves.
The financial uncertainty caused panicked planning. By now we were all epidemiological experts. We had been subjected to more than one piece of fake news curtesy of social media. We would have had exposure to various conspiracy theories. Principal among these were being fed by Donald Trump calling it the Chinese virus, the Wuhan virus, and his lashing out at the WHO.
Binge watching “Tiger King” and other mindless series soon paled, news watching became repetitive, and the worlds experts still did not know much about the virus. Our attempt at online working was plagued with distraction. We found ourselves anxious about the devolution of petty rules, injustices against our personal freedoms, and a constant barrage of information about the virus, its morbidity and means and rates of infection.
Karen’s had been identified as the uppity middle-class women calling out the lockdown rogues, reporting them to the various levels of authorities, with endless “Stay safe”, “Protect Yourself”, “Stay Home” non sequiturs.
Senseless rules were being promulgated and enforced, brutality was becoming obvious, the first police/army instigated deaths had been recorded. Resistance to what was happening was beginning to build up within our psyche. All the time, early on, there was still uncertainty about our own morbidity potential, and yes! We took the lockdown quite seriously.
Once it became evident that the ANC led government’s focus was not on saving lives, and the warning signs were plain to see right from the first speech, and the “Social compact” statement and the radical transformation objective started to play out, social media and the public debate was buzzing with these stressors.
Gareth Cliff’s letter to the president was the first real test of this tension in our society. Racism chants appeared, taunts of white advantage were thrown, and genuine concern for feeding the poor was thrown into disarray by the blatantly political move of banning NGO’s from distributing food.
The smoking reversal undermined the confidence in Cyril, suddenly the command council was no longer trusted, the ANC was vilified for its blatant use of the pandemic for ulterior motives was moved front and centre into the national debate.
The DA, long time marginalised opposition politicians, started various court actions to reverse some of the senselessness we were seeing around us. And Winning!
From then, sensing the change in the mood of South Africans, the ANC has instead of being sensible about their lost opportunity, reverted to type and commenced a hardened approach to achieving their transformational aspirations. By this time, people were hungry, we had woken up to our country being in serious economic trouble and South Africa was in this position because of the ANC and their policies.
Polarisation appeared in the media, with the mainstream deriving their position by alignment to the ruling elite, where they were accused as the apologists for the situation and the government. Independent media seized the opportunity of growing their following, crystallising their thought processes, and they introduced many different but credible and well spoken commentators on all the ills in our society.
As the pressure has built up against the government by court reversal of their objectives, demonstrating plainly the indifference they have for the ordinary citizen, their use of racial tension has underlined how fragile our society is.
The victim mentality, claimed by the extremes of both black and white, has been used to racialize many of the debates. One the one hand this has transformed into the realm of “racism only applies if you have endured it for hundreds of years”, legitimising the attack of the white minority as advantaged and therefore irrelevant.
From the other perspective, the liberal intentions now trivialised have devolved into “hang on, financial bailout support is not available to us due to race” and therefore the minority whites are being subject to inequality. This is seen as justifiable, and to this end, our courts have no option but to interpret the law of the land, which includes these racially biased policies.
The mantra of saving the economy has been attacked as saving white minority capital. Thuli Madonsela tweeted an example of this. Imagine playing monopoly, she said. The pink team gets to go around the board many times, accumulating money and property, before the blue or green team even start playing. Although the example is trite, it is hard to understand that the change and economic empowerment failure should have begun addressing this, as its not just one eternal game, but a number of different ones, each started by different players, at different developmental steps.
Elliot Jaques, author of Stratified Systems Theory and the Requisite Organisation said: “Every organisation is perfectly designed to deliver the results that it does.”
The economic and social tragedy that is the South Africa of today is by design, not accidental. It is with this intent that the ANC led government has conducted the social engineering in South Africa to effect the change it desires. So the march toward communism continues.
Considering that our current plight in South Africa is on purpose, its fiscal and social policies were made with the specific intent of bringing the country to its knees. Imagine if you would, the want to transform the country as you assume power following the inaugural democratic elections in 1994, faced with an economy in the hands of a minority group. The majority, whom you represent, being largely poor to lower middle class at best.
Faced with such headwind, you would be presented with two options. The first option was followed by Nelson Mandela, first president of the Democratic South Africa. He engaged with the established order to co-opt it into changing itself, given that there was a groundswell of goodwill and intent. He used sport, and the 1995 Rugby world cup to forge a unified patriotism, and at that time you would have had the support of most South Africans looking for a sustainable change to the country’s course.
As this flowed into the presidency of Thabo Mbeki, frustration with the pace of change was rearing its head. In fairly short order, BEE legislation, a new mining charter, affirmative action and other racially based policies were entrenched, but the sanctity of South Africa Incorporated had not yet been threatened.
Simba Dziwa, a South African blogger, wrote: “True equality implies equality before the law, equality of access to resources and equality of access to opportunities. Thus, in my view, I don’t see any reason for white people to knowingly and willingly dismantle a system that gives them power and control over resources.”
Through the Zuma years and now into Ramaphosa’s reign, we have seen the dismantling of the old economy. We have cried “State Capture” and accused the ruling party of kleptocracy. But you can see the end game here.
The ANC objective as we all now realise, is the transformation through socialism into fully fledged communistic principles of a command economy, central control, with the citizens beholden to the state for their daily bread.
As we go into this pandemic accelerated moment, racialism, and the division it brings, is being politically driven. This will, if it continues unchecked, deteriorate and undo all the goodwill throughout the spectrum.
The only way to change this is to change the paradigm. Stop fighting the racism as a symptom and focus on eradicating the causes of this racism. Inequality, poverty, and a lack of true leadership. This is our true Rubicon.