Achille Mbembe’s ‘State of South African Politics’ Aims to Shut Up Black Dissent.

By:  Mojalefa Murphy

Photo by: ©Sydelle Willow Smith

In this struggle, black people with any measure of credibility ought to desist from unwittingly serving the agenda of the relentless oppressors and exploiters

Achille Mbebe’s bombastic piece on the state of South Africa’s political life is a fantastic addition to the anti-black narrative, which is designed to undermine the ongoing struggle against political repression and economic exploitation of Afrikans in their own land.

It is fantastic because it is premised on the misleading white narrative that apartheid, which is a South Afrikan customized colonialism in which white settlers took charge of the political and economic assault on black people on both their behalf and that of their corporate western allies, was dismantled by the abrupt hand-over of political power to the ANC some 21 years ago.

The truth is that the ANC assumed partial political power through an unprecedented shakedown of the political administration of apartheid that left the structural framework of economic exploitation of majority black people intact, if not consolidated. Consequently, 1994 marked the beginning of perfect neo-colonialism with stepped up economic exploitation and usual plunder under the convenient cover of moral and political credibility acquired from the ANC.

Whether the ANC blatantly sold black people out or were bought over to the oppressor camp or were simply hoodwinked into buying a dead duck; will remain a matter of debate that will only be resolved by public access to the authentic information that details the hitherto secret talks about talks between the ANC and apartheid elites during the mid- to late 1980’s.

By effectively going it alone to initiate a settlement with the apartheid administrators to the detriment of black people, the ANC dropped the ball big time. This contention is substantiated by various disgruntled former ANC heavy weights, many of whom, such as Ronnie Kasrils, went public to surreptitiously admit the liberation movement’s huge blunder in offering the racist regime far reaching concessions such as the assumption of the IMF loan with structural adjustment strings attached, payment of apartheid debt and opposition to a bid for reparations.

The assumption that apartheid ended in 1994 when power was handed to black people is diametrically opposed to the black narrative, which is premised on the understanding of the vicissitudes of white supremacy the world over and its neo-apartheid manifestations in South Afrika. This false assumption is very important to the conscious or subconscious white supremacists because without it, the dominant white narrative is baseless.

The narrative of all white supremacists is identifiable by its misleading sound bites such as ‘…we should forget about the past and move on; that the huge economic gap between the predominantly black poor and the predominantly white rich is a result of the ineptitude and corruption of the ANC government…’- that the continued struggle for liberation led by black people themselves amounts to ‘…the destructive and reactionary identity politics…’

Why would any Afrikan’s academic musing bear strikingly similar features of an anti-black narrative in South Afrika at the height of the struggle of black citizens for a legitimate change that their elected government repeatedly failed to bring about?

One possible answer is to be found in the strategy of white supremacy to co-opt black people with one form of credibility or other in order to preserve itself and survive a changed environment in which its conventional methods, including outright brutality, are no longer applicable or effective.

It is a known secret that foreign blacks, Afrikans in particular, are generally preferred for employment in white managed South African outfits both in the public and private sector. This is one sensitive topic that is seldom discussed openly probably because of its great potential to spill over into xenophobic emotionalism.

One possible explanation for this preference is that the obvious white supremacists’ agenda of exploiting the economy corruptly to feather nests abroad before the seemingly expected and designed economic collapse, would be much more difficult to execute among patriotic and conscious black South Afrikans.

In white institutions of higher learning, many black academics have been overlooked for promotion to senior and professorial positions while their counterparts from outside South Afrika sail through with ease. In fact, we have witnessed resistance to the establishment and growth of academic careers of black South Afrikans in white Universities over the years since 1994.

One nasty case that riled black South Afrikans in particular is that of Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, who clashed with some 13 fellow white colleagues who wanted to unseat him from his position as deputy vice-chancellor in 1996.

In State Owned Enterprises, even the use of an undocumented and under qualified foreign Afrikan immigrant in a national nuclear entity that is designated the status of a national key point in which top security clearance is mandatory, has been made to undermine the career progression of black South Afrikans.

Whether South Afrika has yet to reach its Fannonian moment as Mbembe asserts; or it is already in its midst, is debatable. However, it is certain that many black people whose birthright it is to be of service to their kith and kin are sidelined in all manner of schemes in what appears to be part of the agenda to sustain white supremacy in general; and advance the personal interests of involved whites in particular.

Despite the xenophobic flare ups behind which is a toxic mix of political unconsciousness of the lumpen workers and unabated social decay in the economically depressed communities, the majority of ordinary South Afrikans are a friendly lot who know that theirs is a nation of immigrants from all over Southern Afrika and abroad.

The activists of Rhodes Must Fall Movement essentially agitate for the continuation of the struggle for liberation of black people from the relentless clutches of white supremacy and its inalienable enterprise of neo-liberal capitalism. They are pan-Afrikanists who are conscious of blackness and the need to unite black people in order to rid their world of capitalist exploitation and racial humiliation. This struggle was no near completion in 1994 as it is far from attaining its goals today.

Therefore, other than Negropeans who present themselves willfully as agents of neo-colonialism, no ‘foreign’ black person in South Afrika has any reason to raise the apparent preemptive concerns of exclusion from this nation’s social and economic enterprise any time soon.

An apparent lecture on the only and properly analyzed approach to the resolution of the South Afrikan conflict, which is offered within the context of a veiled rubbishing of the Economic Freedom Front and its tactics in parliament as well as black consciousness activists, notably Andile Mngxitama is hardly opaque. As if to enhance its impact, the lecturer flashes a “reverse race card” by relegating the increasing black rejection of the dominant white narrative and their struggle against neo-colonialism to a mere compulsive hatred of white people. This is disingenuous.

Incidentally, many white people and black conformists, appear to interpret the justifiable anger at whiteness  as hatred for whites. This anger is an expression of their collective psyche, which is a real human condition that arises from the lived experience that is compounded by the inter-generationally transmitted trauma of centuries of racial assault of black people by white supremacists.  James Baldwin’s words describes this condition very clearly; “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

The condescending tone with which this lecture is presented is akin to whitesplanation that has only one aim: to shut up the dissenting black voices and to derail the unfolding movement of institutional decolonization in order to maintain the foothold of neo-colonialism like everywhere on the continent.

Mojalefa Murphy is a South African born Nuclear Physicist – a skilled generalist and activist.

This is essay was lifted off Facebook as is.

Photo: ©SydelleWillowSmith_sunshinecinema_PRESS