Unpacking the divergent voices against Rachel Dolezal’s choices!

 

Introduction

Rachel Dolezal’s life story was recently made known to us in bits and pieces of what I shall call newsworthy advantage clips. We are not introduced to Dolezal at an organic level, we are introduced to Rachel Dolezal at a political level, political for the fact that identity as a racial construct is thrust upon us obscuring the human being and thus politicizing her only because the subject of race is so alive in our global discourse.

Hers is not a biography in which we are gradually taken into confidence of her life, her times and her activities which may portend a summation of what I shall call natural progression and sharing.

What we read in the newspapers, and see on television is not the memoirs of Dolezal a life path, we read in snapshot version and blips of this ‘white’ person and female on top of it – who had the nerve to cheat her way around.

We are introduced to Dolezal as an identity cheat, we are made aware of Rachel Dolezal as a betrayer a fake – cum black and an angry person who could not even maintain good relations with her ‘white’ parents. Her story has as epicentre as relayed by the media personal aggrandizement, self-centredness and a crude sense of someone who attempted to beat the system for her own advantage.

Let us than attempt to understand those who in this season find it opportune to comment and vent their anger towards Dolezal. It is perhaps important to unpack the groups who have proven vocal in interpreting Dolezal even denigrating her.

It is important to appreciate Dolezal is not condemned from one corner; she is condemned from a variety of what I shall choose to call enclaves. Enclaves because as much as these articulate a position on Dolezal, very few honestly allow Dolezal to speak, their departure point is their personal anchored interpretation of identity ONLY understood from a race and confined to a political premise.

The question thus before us, as we engage those who flag the red card for a Dolezal, remains the departure point for identity appreciation as only limited in race theory context and only understood in political power.

It is a given that identity as a research theme and topic assumes various methodological interpretations. I will for the purpose of understanding Dolezal consciously apply my mind to the classic cultural studies interpretation and articulations of identity. Yet before we do that let us first hear Dolezal’s critics:

We will attempt to hear her critics, interpret what they say and conclude in summary on a paradigmatic reality they share.

Those who critique and even judge Dolezal are made up of essentially three distinct grounds.

White supremacist – secluded and open enclave

On the one hand we have those who fundamentally share a mind on ‘whiteness’ as a pristine distinctive superior notion. These castigate Rachel Dolezal for her betrayal of her ‘white’ identity for a subservient black identity. For them it is an insult for any born ‘white’ to ever reject the white identity in exchange for a far lesser ‘black’ identity.

These in 2015 reintroduce us to the out-dated eugenics model of racial identity which was declared defunct out of sink and dead by the end of World War 2. We therefore must understand that when they exact this judgment on Dolezal it is from a dead and buried reality of the racial superiority of white identity notion. We will consider this as their premise, which uses the argument of phenotype definition of race construction and identification.

The case against Dolezal for them is a betrayal, almost in a sense of high treason, for this her rejection of the denotation of white for her personal human agency is inconceivable for any ‘white’ anywhere to even consider.

Therefore, their case against Dolezal is one of high treason, she sold out to the enemy, that selling out to an enemy is her charge, the enemy is ‘black’ or the otherness if not the antithesis of a ‘white’ identity. These reject the fact that there exists no scientific evidence for a biological defence of race. They have ill regard for the fact that race is and remains a discredited enterprise at a scientific level.

This group consciously must hold on to race as means for identity description because their extinction and existence in supremacy warrants this paradigm to stand. The collapse of this paradigm will dictate a surrender of ownership when race the myth is now proven defunct.

Dolezal’s conscious choices for them spells shame, an utter embarrassment and it renders whiteness soluble as a make-belief reality that can be surrendered at any time by anyone.

Rachel Dolezal for them deserved an exacted worst penalty for this her betrayal, she is not human, she has no right to live, and is the scum of the earth. They will oil on her the worst of vile attacks. Until Dylann Roof can attempt to kill Rachel Dolezal.

Black Power / Consciousness enclave

The second group of people who in this season took it upon themselves to judge Dolezal’s choices are those who share in contradiction to the first group, the pure ‘black’ identity notion.

Their attacks on Dolezal are also anchored in the betrayal – cheat notion. They accuse her for having played the fool with their supreme ‘black’ identity.

These argue that Dolezal became black out of convenience, in a sense of latitude to be black without accepting the deep scars of blackness as wrought by the hands of white slave masters, a colonial system and a segregated state as system.

Their epistemology has Dolezal accused for cheapening their identity of black. She simply don’t have the  black experience and  can never share in that.

In attempt of locating this particular group, we must prove cognizant of the Black Nationalist historical trajectory as a USA-based reality, yet they essentially are located in the important but historic Black Power-Black Consciousness epoch of the mid to late 60’s. A time when those with the denotation for the human agency black rose in academic and literature and philosophical if not psychological revolt in responding to how black was interpreted by white supremacists and even those who comfortably enjoyed white privilege.

Their case against Dolezal is she violated their identity – that which proudly belongs to them informed by an accepted notion of race classification in which white and black stands paramount wherein one has earned the right to judge the other in accusation of entitlement.

They judge her for having infiltrated reserved space, space reserved for only blacks, thus to the exclusion of white. Therefore when this group exacts a judgement on Dolezal it is because they consider themselves the uncontested repository of the black identity, blackness and they therefore alone have carte-blanche on the black experience at the hand of an acknowledged white supremacy.

It is thus inconceivable for those denoted as white to even come across the proverbial railway line of divide and naturally if not consciously become black. As in the case of the first group they come from a clear paradigm, theirs however is not eugenics but black consciousness era.

The challenge with this group is their failure to contend with the fact that Rachel Dolezal lived out her blackness as her choice of institutions attests. Secondly they cannot question her authenticity as an activist the programmes she ran and the sterling work she did under the NAACP an institution of veneration and unassailable prestige.

Their castigation of Dolezal is that she proved blackness as penetrable by anyone, the black identity as susceptible and the claim of a repository as questionable. At perhaps a narrow level they ask ‘how could we have been so naïve?’ yet that is perhaps a wrong question, a better one should be, are we not getting it wrong on this black identity?

 

White liberal– even conservatives’ enclave

As if these two groups were not enough we soon discovered a third group entering the fray of dissecting and accusing Rachel Dolezal.

This group on close examination includes the liberal notion. Yet their claim of liberalism is not without contest. As we know the South African  liberal tradition has an undeniable element of embedded conservativism because it is located in a colonized space.

The English ‘liberals, are in some instances as conservative as the Afrikaners. They are separated from their land mass and have become the custodians of this society.

I have identified these as ‘whites’ who are equally experimenting on different levels at a theoretical and practical level on the idea of non-racial identity. They make up a cross – breed of those constituting people who share a denotation of white for their human agency. Yet their foothold is a liberal, feminist egalitarian ideological parenthesis in which they do not deny their white privilege, and claim to work for a better society.

This group however do not forego their accepted if not entrenched ‘white’ identity; they equally do not nay-say a ‘black’ identity. Thus they really share a multi-racial diaphragm for their interpretation of identity.

Unto theirs is given the almost inalienable right to analyse the trajectory of whiteness and its complicity to the destruction of others. They enjoy the privilege to educate others out of a history of European – first democratic systems of government frame, although they are the colonialist in a foreign land, where they feel duty-bound to give meaning to the governance system they left behind in England.

It is important to understand that the epistemology of race for this group is uncontested. They intellectually engage on the mythical aspect of the race notion, yet they comfortably identify themselves as ‘white’, whiteness not in perceptible equal narrow claim of superiority but a claim out of the guilt of white privilege they share.

This group thus represents the liberal enclave, who purportedly engage intellectually on the subject matter of a flawed and untested fulcrum of race as a means to define humanity, however that does not translate into a complete and utter rejection of race with whiteness as its base, but they regard the acknowledgment of race as a means to emphasize the contradictions of class and economic disparities.

They therefore act as custodians of the cause of the suffering black in which they perhaps unconsciously have become the surrogate wombs for owning up to what white privilege did. They consider it their fiduciary responsibility to keep whiteness accountable on behalf of black pain. Meaning they gatekeepers and almost in a strange sense feel dutybound to defend helpless blacks against whites.

Fundamentally this group will tell you they white, their whiteness is phenotype informed, equally they will tell you others are black and that has phenotype reality too. They will tell you they white because they share white privilege and can never fully identify with the black experience. Critical for this group is their conscious awareness that any attempt to identify with blackness on their part would prove fallacious for only ‘blacks’ can truly know what it is to be black.

Their fundamental case against Dolezal is that Dolezal betrayed blacks, by cheating on her identity. Their secondary case if my analysis bears out is they consider Dolezal as having betrayed a white identity, though they will not state this in a categorical sense depending how conservative the so called liberals prove. They will lament  how Dolezal stole the jobs and opportunities of blacks. Clearly a vacuous claim but in their self-righteous crusader mind they will invoke this claim.

They furthermore assert Dolezal did so because white privilege afforded her the right to do so. Dolezal is for them a shame, because she cheated with make- up and altering her appearances. Nowhere in their minds do they leave room for a plausible genuine claim of it was Rachel Dolezal’s conscious choice.

At best this group is known for attempting to straddle the divide of race reality for they accept race as a practical reality that should not be obliterated whilst they comfortably enjoy over the proverbial cup-of-tea quotes on race theories as a myth.

I think the true challenge for this group is Rachel Dolezal’s choice to cross her personal and their collective Rubicon in which she rejected a white identity for a black identity, this is very inconceivable and practically impossible for any white to do, unless they not real, summarises this group in epoch definition.

It is difficult to pen a specific epoch for the group, yet they share lost colonial power, lost in economic power to Afrikaners yet they have their hands still firmly on white capital, and has to negotiate in a new world where political power is defined as black.

They feel upstaged by Rachel Dolezal, because their theoretical experimenting with non-racial identity as often evidenced in the adoption of children denoted as black, even marrying men denoted as black could never see them becoming black, this when Dalozal was raised with four younger siblings that share the denotation of black for their human agency, and confirms in pride that her heritage is black.

Of all the groups the latter is perhaps the angriest at Rachel Dolezal for the reasons I had attempted to advance.

It is perhaps time to ask what it is we can learn from these specific groups for our discourse on readiness for acceptance of a non-racial identity, both in South Africa and in the USA who equally wrestle on this subject.

We will conclude and look at what these groups agree on in regards to Rachel Dolezal

We found that these groups in collective sense have more in common than whatever they will ever claim  or even want to be reminded:

We therefore conclude:

  • Rachel Dolezal is attacked and dissected by the ruling elites across the racial divide. They share the benefits of the ruling class as meted out in education and economic class definition and therefore are benefactors of this class definition embedded in race.
  • The stated groups herein contained consciously depersonalize Rachel Dolezal denying her, her rightful personhood and choose to reduce her to a phenomenon.
  • All three groups fundamentally embrace and acknowledge the presence of racial identity as departure and arrival points for their castigation of Rachel Dolezal.
  • Equally they struggle to free Rachel Dolezal from their own trapped prisms, thus keeping her accountable for their incarceration to race, racialized language and race confinement.
  • They embrace race not as mythical, though some will theorise on it they are trapped in it and cannot see modalities for non-racial reality of race freedness.
  • All three groups represent a specific epoch in historical time, which defines the bedrock of their analysis of Dolezal and attest a trapped state of that particular epoch.
  • Those who seek to judge Dolezal do so from a morality that argues honesty, yet they have determined the content, meaning and efficacy of the honesty claim and prove less willing for the questioning of that morality.
  • They collectively critique and butcher Rachel Dolezal ONLY because she in my assessment successfully transitioned race, a stuck reality for them, and inconceivable only because it is believed it is not possible, if not an unpardonable sin.
  • Thus, we can conclude they are envious of Rachel Dolezal that she becomes the evidence of the myth of race.

 CNSR 

 

 

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Identity Double- Speak: The Case of the Davidsonville Primary School !

Identity Double-Speak: The Case of Davidsonville Primary School What does the ongoing Davidsonville School claimed racial experiences tell us about where we are in our journey of giving content to the dream of a non-racial society for South Africa? A non racial society clearly articulated in Section 1(b) that commits to such society.

Maybe I should in the beginning make it bold that I hold no brief to speak on behalf of anyone other than myself therefore what is contained constitute my own surmising.

The race issue as a lived experience refuses to let go and manifests in jolts in the Gauteng education context. It is also an increasing polarized context that simply cannot assist us going forward in our question for non racial identity as our constitution articulates it. Today we awake to the news that the MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi, a celebrated and very visible member of the executive of the Gauteng government has again shut the Davidsonville, Roodepoort Primary. The brief historical background to this second coming of school closure stems from an earlier similar action in April when the community accused the Principal Ms. Nomathemba Molefe of fraud, corruption and mismanagement of funds.

Key to this claim which was refuted through a forensic test, is the fact that the community in question carries the denotation Coloured for a identity of their human agency. The school is now closed allegedly due to another claim of racism. It is reported that the School Management Team is virtually collapsed because there has until now not been any duly constituted SMT, meeting. It is reported that currently black HOD’s attend the SMT’s but Coloured HOD’s are boycotting these meetings rendering the SMT dysfunctional and inoperable. A functional School Management Team is crucial for the schools academic success if the intentions of basic education, a constitutional right pupils share.

We learn the school in its finishing of its annual curriculum is at least 3 months behind. Some of the acts reported to occur and reduced to racist behaviour claims community members to be influencing the learners to make inappropriate accusatory remarks in screams and shouts at the principal. It is further said that the community is up in arms and will be staging a march to even have black police officers removed from the station. Not only is the community considered racist but even 14 teachers have been served with letters of disciplinary procedures for their involvement in the destabilizing of the school. According to an unconfirmed report the claims of racism comfortably leveled by the MEC against the community cannot be substantiated for their claim is they want competent educators not race based educators. The claim of the community, learners and HOD’s and Teachers defined as Coloured as relayed against the principal appears to be as stated that of fraud, corruption mismanagement which is dovetailed with the common ‘pay back the money claim”.

Let us pause in unpacking the claims. Close examination of these claims leveled against the principal sounds so familiar and common in South Africa. It has been the collective experience of the South African society that in democracy it has become so easy to level claims of these (fraud, corruption and mismanagement) against people the apartheid ascribed the denotation black (African). From my understanding an independent forensic audit cleared the principal of all wrong doings and therefore that paved the way for her reinstatement as a cleared administrator of the school. The claim thus says less of the crime on the part of the Principal but of an attitude and belief system that confirms a legitimate racist claim.

It is here that South Africa in development of non-racial society evidences a manifestation of clear race discrimination coached in claims of accusations against a particular group or people denoted as black from the apartheid identifiers of identity. This is not new, neither is it dissimilar for we have seen how these claims are made without relent – when it really is an accusation laced in racism.

It is my submission as advanced on several platforms the challenge for identity will increasingly manifest because the 1994 State is yet to define its client. With client we refer to its people in identity configured and reconstructed context away from the apartheid definitions for identity. The 1910 Segregation State and 1948 Apartheid State defined its clientele until the 1913 Land Act attests and Act 30 of 1950(c) defines people as Coloured.   When we advance that it is incumbent on the State to identify  its client, we no asking for the state to define people for the state to afford a open engagement on the subject of identity in a non racial context.   To have the ideal of non racial identity stand as enshrined in the constitution warrants an opportunity for the people of South Africa to engage in defining themselves free from the apartheid identifiers.  

What we currently have is at least what I will call identity-double speak, we have a State that claims to work for a non racial society but addresses the very people of its society in ontological sense along the very contaminated race identifiers. It appears the real debate is therefore located in the double-speak as a lived experience in racial sense and within racialised language. Furthermore this doublespeak of the State enables some racist elements in society (like Currow and Davidsonville) whose agenda it is to maintain these racialised apartheid talk. It is my assertion that the positions are hardening and the right wing regardless to where it manifests are being entrenched in this season aided by this very ambivalence immanent in identity- doublespeak.

The twist in the tail is this, if the State embraces and endorses racial classification it cannot argue for a non racial identity neither can it claim it. If it is adamant to claim a non-racial identity notion it is obligated to take South Africa into its confidence on when and why it believes the time for such is possible.  Equally the State must indicate when it anticipates the moment of non-racial identity will take effect. Not only is the State obliged to articulate an unambiguous stance but it also is equally compelled to identify the evaluation criteria for the arrival at a non-racial identity.

This at best suggests the State is in identity crises when it is suppose to lead South Africa into the ideal of a non-racial identity. Perhaps at another level what we see in the Davidsonville Primary and Currow Schools is but symptomatic of the States’ identity crisis in regard to its clients, therefore leaving opportunity for those who have a clearly opposite agenda of racialising South Africa to come to reassert themselves and gain traction.

Having focussed on the state, I am now compelled to turn my attention to the face of the state, the MEC, Panyaza Lesufi in presenting some unsolicited advice:

  1. MEC, Can we categorically state the community name as Davidsonville, people take pride in their areas of location irrespective as to how these under apartheid like all other communities for example SOWETO came about. We must therefore attempt respecting the community to be Davidsonville instead of giving the city area name of Roodepoort. Is the community name deliberately not mentioned as Davidsonville and replaced by a greater Roodepoort?
  1. Perhaps one of the clear distinctions the current MEC must emphasize is that a small group of community members are driving this instead of a blanket claim covering the entire community. It is important for the MEC to articulate the community is not racist but elements of the community could be. Winning back this community for the aims of the education may prove challenging if the community is painted as racist.
  1. The fact that normal learning cannot take place is naturally a cause for great concern and such is duly appreciated by the Gauteng Education Department, yet the presence of this recurring problem suggests something bigger than a school principal dislike is at play. Something plausibly bigger than even education is potentiality manifesting.
  1. The critical question to ask, is there any reason to believe that the subject of identity has muscled itself into the school community. If its true we may assert that the identity-double-speak conversation is responsible for the loss of 3 months of learning, suggesting even if this subject is resolved by tomorrow, the backlog remains a full term of learning that must be regained. (this undeniably constitutes a crisis)
  1. I want to suggest this is a much bigger conversation beyond Davidsonville and the local school. It is important that this issue is considered for escalation to the appropriate higher level. The MEC perhaps is to register that this anomalous situation is bigger than just a mere education related issue thus rendering it unfair for the MEC to handle this alone.
  1. MEC Lesufi perhaps feeds into the cycle of the latent cause of this confusing situation thus compromises the ability of the state to deliver learning as is his function, when he volunteers as interviewed by Tebogo Monama and captured in the Saturday Star the following information: “actually I have reliable information that that they want to march to the police station to kick out black policemen there and say they will be taking over their jobs”. This may or may not be the case. It is rather unfortunate that the MEC of Education pronounces on this matter, for it may well confirm the perception that he views the whole community of Davidsonville as racist. That would be unfortunate.
  1. Perhaps my unsolicited caution to the MEC is not to run the risk of gradually painting himself into a corner of an-us-and-them scenario in which he is not able to deliver education to the Davidsonville as is his mandate.
  2. I have heard the MEC’s slogan in paraphrased sense ‘forward with non racialism, backwards never, no one will stop us’ yet the language we use when we speak of ‘black’, ‘white’ and ‘Coloured’ denotations for a politically free human agency are necessarily race informed and race based if not racist. How than do we make this claim of a non racial society stand when we engage in what i call Identity- Doublespeak which polarizes instead of unites?

A continuance along this trajectory can only harden positions and that does not help the cause of the learners who may very well be pure pawns in this racialised talk and battle for control.

Lastly, the sterling work done by the MEC on many fronts in particular the digital footprint of transforming education at a fundamental level, runs the risk of being made undone through the perpetual challenges around this unidentified issue of identity as exemplified in both Davidsonville and Currow schools.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Commentator

Unpacking Identity as understood by the Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma presidencies !

What can we learn from our democratic presidents and their understanding of identity for South Africa?

 

The problem of race is not going away and apartheid racial classification appears stubbornly immortalized in this claimed non-racial society. South Africa despite having made bold a celebrated egalitarian constitution that points to non-racialism and the non-racial identity in future of pursuit, have held on since 1994 and all post-democracy presidencies to the very race descriptions in claim of necessary economic redress.

 

I have deliberately sought to understand the subject of identity in this note with the Presidential Leadership as base. We therefore look at our three elected presidents namely Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma to see if we can understand their interpretation of race in our long walk to a non-racial identity as contained in our constitution. The primary reason for this is to learn lessons and to see how the discourse on race even identity beyond apartheid is shaped, articulated, reasoned, modelled and perhaps made a lived experience for these presidents.

 

Looking back through our shaded lens of 21 years of democracy and political freedom, it is perhaps time to understand the subject of race as experienced in definition of our presidential leaderships.

 

  1. Nelson R. Mandela, iconic one-nation reconciler pragmatist

 

No one will falter one for arguing the Nelson Mandela era of presidential leadership imbibed the idea of reconciliation and nation building. So dramatic was this era that we quickly became defined by the mouth of Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the ‘rainbow nation’. Efforts during Mandela’s tenure were essentially about building a common nationality defined by an acknowledged and reconciled past. The symbolism of this era comes exemplified in what some consider watershed moments such as off cause our first democratic elections (national in 1994 and municipal in 1995). The act that gave rise to the establishment of the Truth Reconciliation Commission. On the sporting front the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 1996 African Nations Cup. Mandela’s visit to Betsie Verwoerd, wife of the architect of apartheid in Orania.

These moments attempted hegemony of unity in euphoria and the birth of a one nation although one can easily tear this apart as a unity for some at the expense of others. Yes, reconciliation at the expense of truth and a euphoric oneness in challenge of a real dividedness underpinned by race consciousness evidences for identity.

It is difficult to distinguish Mandela in his post-prison epistemology on race. Mandela though acknowledges race as a defining reality for identity but he does so as an apartheid sin. It does not appear that he spends much time as president on focusing on the chasms of this race classification as an experiential reality for he is persuaded that South Africa is one nation weaved together in proverbial quilt of diversity.

 

His aim thus is to locate the race classifications in the toolbox of diversity, yet a diversity of necessity, suggesting South Africa needs this diversity if we have any hope of a future of living together.

 

He therefore as a pragmatist is comfortable to accept Tutu’s ‘Rainbow Nation’ cliché for it bodes well for his prism of diversity in oneness. It can thus be argued that if Mandela ever defined the South African society he led, he did so with an epistemology of a diversity and not an emphasis of race classification of ‘black’ and ‘white’ overt sense. It was therefore possible to be convinced that we had under his presidential leadership touched the intangible of a non-racial identity though in my assessment in a superfluous way and on white terms. Less critically engaged, not consciously deconstructed wrapped in a romanticism given content in euphoria.

 

If those with the denotation of white for their human agency today bemoan that era, it is because they felt they got away and were no more guilty for either colonialism or apartheid, the latter the second coming of the first in what Joe Slovo called ‘colonialism of a special kind’.

 

Mandela was clearly pregnant with this one nation in diversity making it work society notion. The symbolism of Mandela as a beyond race president is the venerated place he assumed in global sense. It was thus not possible for him to be overtly race conscious in descriptions of ‘white’ and ‘black’ when these celebrated him with the same almost dead-beat contesting intensities.

 

We must also hasten to add that Mandela was an iconic global leader and thus did not spend much time with SA as its president. The world thus becomes the proverbial theatre for this Mandela miracle of careful choreographic display – the glue that keeps together what in apartheid could never be kept together. I have elsewhere dared to contend we have never had a domestic president until the current incumbent.

 

The sum total of Mandela’s utterances is perhaps best articulated in his own words not in 1994 or beyond but in 1963 at his famous Rivonia Treason Trial when he categorically asserts, ‘…I have fought against white domination, I will fight against black domination, …” This historic perhaps unique articulation comes closest to Mandela on identity measurable in power of race definition.

 

This summarizes Mandela in his epistemology on race which later on became actualised when he became the first democratic president of a politically free South Africa as a pragmatist, hardly fixated on race in articulation. The acceptance of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ notion which obtained its own identity and meaning under the Mandela leadership, may in a romantic sense speak to the accepted diversity component, yet it really sandwiches the ANC’s belief in multi-racialism, from which struggles to untie, thus struggle to give direction on non-racial identity as committed to in the constitution

 

 

 

  1. Thabo M. Mbeki – the nationalist postulates a ‘two-nations’ African society

 

Mandela’s successor was Thabo M. Mbeki, who makes his introduction to what we will call his legacy not in his own time but already in Mandela’s time. When he presents his now most famous I AM AN AFRICAN speech in 1997.

 

Nothing will be more distinct in defining the Mbeki presidential leadership but his pregnancy with a long-brewed philosophical African Renaissance vision. This posits him in the same space as others before him like Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba and even Julius Nyerere to some extent.

South Africa was now violently pulled out of its euphoric dream, when Mbeki began to talk about his ‘two nations’ in one geographic space notion. He made it bold when he cites, when you in a helicopter ride over Pretoria you are confronted with the two nations that defines South Africa even at the time of its celebration of a rainbow nation status. He goes further and identifies these ‘two nations’ along clear racial identities of white and black economically empowered and those not disempowered, privileged and denied.

 

Thus he sees these structural inequalities in what I shall choose to call the dialectic tensions that continue to be associated with these identities.

 

Not only did Mbeki distinguish ‘two nations’ as that which makes up the diaphragm of the South African society but he also added a further distinction of African. This sets the tone for some to argue that he drew even a conscious and perhaps unnecessary distinction among the Biko cohort of black (African, Coloured and Indian), thus polarizing the context of this black definition, which later exposes chasms of divide, when Indians become the true signpost of economic freedom and Coloureds registers victims of a new economic oppression only because they not ‘black’ enough in this epoch.

 

To interpret Mbeki than and SA at that point in our meandering coursing of a democratic path with non-racial as the destination is to see he recognizes identity through the lens of race measurable in economic opportunity.  He consciously sees a white identity for their undue and illegitimate privileges shared under apartheid that continues uncontested in a constitutional democracy.   He registers dissatisfaction with this and throws down the gauntlet that he will work for the eradication of this anomaly. Mbeki’s tools for working will be the very apartheid economy- the means policy and a state fiscus, which becomes the means of redress.

 

He identifies the black identity in suffering, disenfranchisement and bereft of economic empowerment but he captures this identity in description of African, a distinction in being-apart-of-yet-a separate-to-distinct-from the general ‘black’ composite, which the constitution in footnote status gives content to.

 

We not sure at this point of our unfolding democracy if the aim is an attempt at a race- free end-product if and whenever that end is, or the conscious acceptance of apartheid race classification categories in which racism is isolated as the element this consciously racial society must do without.

 

This is clearly a conundrum and at least suggests a dualism, for how is it possible to acknowledge race in distinction of others yet find coherence of embrace where racism will be not present, particularly when we consider firstly that race remains a myth at theoretical level and secondly our chequered past attest the fullness of this heresy.

 

Was it therefore a fateful exercise to even attempt to argue for a non-racial future, where race is an accepted reality? Certainly Mbeki as an avid reader and scholar on wider than economics research definition must have come across the denunciations of race as true reality of being as articulated by the theories on race. For we know that race may exist in a cultural sense, however the existence of race cannot be supported by a scientific evidence. Mbeki must have known fallacy of Eugenics as an out-dated paradigm declared so by the end of World War 2.

 

One fully understand why Mbeki stood firm on his ‘two nations’ and even a African preposition, for the class divide of SA speaks directly to the past reality of advantage under apartheid in variance of racial classification leaving the African as the scorn of benefit in that historical trajectory.

 

It is than under his leadership that the first stage of black economic empowerment emerges as a conscious and unequivocal tool for redress of such historic and prevailing circumstances meted out in race of ‘black’ and ‘white’ denotations for identity. The subject of class inequality weighed heavier for Mbeki. It defines his prism of race and thus race becomes a class defined reality, that when one deals with the class disparity you would have dealt with the real divide, and therefore the race problem, the reason for discrimination will not continue to exist once the economic divide is dealt with. It appears from this my conclusion on reading Mbeki that race exists and should coexist yet so without racism which is caused by the helping hand of an imbalanced economy.

 

In resurgence of an asserted black identity akin to the late 60’ and early 70’s black began to ring loader and louder in the corridors of economic opportunity – yet whilst this was undergirded by a clear policy position of the ANC to build an undeniable and unapologetic middle class, that middle class is identified with the denotation of black. Needless to say black economic empowerment soon manifested in androgyny and distortion where the black composite articulates a real discrimination of degrees of black identity.

 

‘Black’ thus have traction, and is given content as a part of an economic power matrix with legitimate justification as speaking to the historical past of disempowerment for those who share a description in denotation of their human agency as black.

 

So unwelcoming and less palatable for some Mbeki’s analysis of ‘two nations’ society was that he never was celebrated for holding aloft the 2007 Ellis Webb Rugby Trophy despite South Africa winning the cup, unlike Mandela who is eternalized for donning the green and gold in 1995. Thus with the advent and throughout the tenure of Mbeki we saw a shift on what identity means if compared to Mandela.

  1. Jacob G. Zuma: Cultural – Traditionalist even Drumbeat Society

 

The Zuma presidency enables another shift in what constitutes identity. The ANC’s policy of Black Economic Empowerment after rethink when only a handful of close in proximity to political power benefits in continuance of kinship however defined now becomes BBEE broad based Black economic empowerment.

 

The key point here is that the empowerment remained black with and added preposition of broad. However identity for the Zuma administration takes a cultural- traditionalist notion. Therefore whilst identities as uncovered by Mbeki in his two nations state analysis still holds, Zuma drops the muddled African dynamic of Mbeki and gives identity a cultural presence if not cloak.

 

He at first does not focus on the created fissure in the collective identity of the South African society as postulated by Mbeki in his two nation state analysis. Zuma opts to consciously link back to Mandela as maximum symbol and a nation built on reconciliation, dealing with the triplets of unemployment, inequality and poverty. This he shows when he goes to the Gauteng Westrand and hand out houses to whites who are poor and destitute. Another example of this is him immediately responding to the desperate mother of a drug addict son in Eldorado Park who writes to him as a father figure.

 

Zuma articulated the ever-pervasive dream of a society free from class, race and gender description, not overtly in denotations of black and white casts.

 

Zuma for his part has not come to the nation’s presidency and became overnight cultural – no he was always a traditionalist and therefore his understanding of that traditionalist notion is cloaked in what I choose to call a cultural means. We must distinguish between the academic school of cultural studies for identity, and Zuma’s rudimentary African cultural experience that has a tribal context to it.

 

Identity thus for Zuma, in his leadership is made plain in a tribal context, not narrowly but experientially. It is then no surprise that this presidency proved brave to conclude on the challenges of chieftaincies and claims of kingships of many South African groupings. Mbeki set the commission on this in motion, but Zuma made the pronouncements. He did no different on the KhoiSan issue of identity when he made overtures to these groupings from a traditionalist cultural and tribal context. He acknowledged the Adam Kok V as Griqua King and has set in motion a number of initiatives to build on this cultural identity of KhoiSan people in South Africa. Yet Zuma does not shy away from comfortably lecturing whites on their privileges; however he makes a distinction on his prism of this white identity and contains it in an Afrikaner – Dutch description.

 

It becomes important to hear how Zuma look at the prism of Zuma’s race interpretation. It is perhaps important to note from the onset Zuma does not deny race, but he is not overtly trapped in unless it has a traditionalist context Firstly he does not deny race description for identity, yet he prefers the identity in traditional context.

 

However, he delineates ‘white’ in pockets of Afrikaner –Boer- Dutch description. He made it emphatic when he at the January 8 statement in Cape Town made bold that “South Africa’s problems started when Van Riebeek came here. It must also be said the Zuma very seldom if ever addresses the ‘white’ Anglo- Sexan or those from English description. Thus he does not address white capital unless it has an Afrikaner face.

 

Zuma’s epistemology on those who share the denotation of those defined as black is neither filled with romanticism or philosophical content, but this president identifies those with the denotation black for their identity marker as Tribal – Africans with a rural dimension of history. It as if the president has concluded there are no blacks in SA unless they come from these rural hinterlands, he is prepared to engage them not in their western attire but in their traditional setting.

 

He sees those that Act 30 of 1950 denote as Coloureds as the derivatives and descendants of the Khoi-San ancestry and thus they must find their space and claim it for he will engage them when they have made the identity marker as historical in ancestry.

 

Zuma sees Indians as from an Indian ancestry perhaps with Ghandi as maximum symbol.

 

We again saw this traditionalist cultural notion with our last instalment of very unfortunate xenophobic violence incidents where the presence of the King Goodwill Zwelithini took centre stage and ultimately exerted himself in articulating the SA foreign policy on migration. One could not help but see Zuma as a subject of the King and thus affording the Zulu Royalty to have that latitude. This again points to this presidency as one with an epicentre as a traditionalist in uphold of tribal cultural identity.

 

May, I hasten to add, is this another reason why he in South Africa is perhaps looked down upon as backward, uneducated and simply not fit for the presidency, many cannot find resonance with this traditionalist who sees identity through cultural meaning.

 

We can also say under the Zuma presidency we have seen the subjects of polygamy flourish where an increasing number of men across all class divides and from the ruling elites have opted for more than one spouse.

 

It is interesting that Zuma’s trajectory of a cultural – traditionalist spin on identity is not unique in this era, but an increasing global phenomenon. The whole of Europe is re-discovering and restating its celebration of their monarchies and dynasties. The British Monarchy has never been this buoyant and celebrated when it was at its weakest in an around September 1997, at the time of the death of Princess Diana when there were threats of the people storming Buckingham Palace.

 

However the challenge of race in South Africa seems embolden in this epoch. The challenge is these identifiers to define people are archaic and militates against the future we talk about of a non-racial identity. You know we are in trouble when my son at the tender age of seventeen upon enrolling at Wits in 2015 for the 2016 academic year intake, is confronted with an official application form that has defined him already, as either black, Coloured, White or Indian or Chinese without his permission.

 

Thus continuing the long nights of the 1910 and 1948 States defined its client. Which respectively comes embodied in the 1913 Land Act and the 193 Land Act is the embodiment of this race identifier and Act 30 of 1950 that defined people as Coloured.

 

We have a serious challenge to give content to this aspect of identity and its concomitant identifiers for construction let alone reconfiguring in a non-racial society.

 

The denotations to describe the human agency under apartheid had specific and conscious meaning. None of these descriptions stand in its own shadow neither is any free from contamination of the power and class politics of our history, present and future.

 

Recognizing the need to keep colonialism and apartheid accountable in redress and the unequivocal necessity for this redress, we cannot escape the reality of an elongated presence of race classification the same we work against and fight for in our stance of non-racialism.

 

Thus the very means by which apartheid was given life – at the hand of a fallacious racial classification – is in democracy becoming the narrow means by which redress is negotiated, expressed and made a living coursed experience.

 

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Independent Commentator

 

 

America’s Race Problem: The Case of Dylann Roof shot and killed Rachel Dolezal!

For more than two weeks the world media was agog on an insignificant almost accidental story of Rachel Dolezal. Rachel Dolezal’s story reminded us in glaring sense of the racial contradictions and misgivings in the land of the brave and the home of the free, the very USA that boasts a democracy for the last 240 years. Dolezal’s story for being parented by a Chech & Swedish marriage active in Christian Missionary work and her four younger siblings which share the black denotation for description of their human agency presented for many a severe challenge. In no time the accusations against her were levelled.

On the one hand those who uphold whiteness as a pristine distinctive superior notion castigated her for her betrayal of her ‘white’ identity for a subservient black identity. For it is an insult for any born ‘ white’ to ever reject the white identity in exchange for a far lesser ‘black’ identity.

On the other side of the fence those who believe in their pure black identity notion attacked her for having played the fool with their identity. These argued that she became black without accepting the scars of blackness thus cheapening the identity of black.

As if that was not enough a third group entered the fray of dissecting and accusing RD, these I will call whites who are equally experimenting on different levels at a theoretical and practical level on the idea of non-racial identity.

The latter group however argues Dolezal’s behaviour is an indictment to blacks and therefore not authentic for it makes small the true experience blacks were subjected to. I still do not know how they fully understand this to articulate it with such almost custodianship of certainty. Those who come at Dolezal from this group, claims she really made her white privilege count.

However, Dolezal in her own words as a conscious highly educated and very active person is on record for having stated categorically her heritage is black. It became painful to see how the fact that a combination of her being born of ‘white’ parents and her current strenuous relationship with her biological parents presented for some the fertile ground to assume she left relations because of her identity choices.

 

These are oblivious to how most families often are separated from each other and often it has nothing to do with identity. Hence, why this had to be strung together to give credence to her cheating only the clever ones know.

No one questions the natural assumption that RD’s biological parents known as from Chech and Swedish origin respectively is presenting already a challenge for this pure white notion, it merrily accepted with no resistance that there is no mixing that could alter identity from this pure naturally white acceptance. Those who opine do not see plausible mixing already here, but conveniently hold on to the idea of a solid ‘white’ identity. We must ask why and in whose interest ?

No soon has America been dealing with the Rachel Dolezal case and the evil of racial hate manifested again, this time a young man Dylann Roof hardly 22 years old who is arrested for having in cold blood murdered church goers in their weekly prayer gathering.

What makes this interesting and lends the twist to the tale is that it was a human with the denotation of white as his identity marker that pulled the trigger on those who gathered in the Emmanual AME church in Charleston South Carolina, the victims again identified as ‘black’.

It is then here that the stories of Rachel Dolezal and Dylann Roof collide with tragedy of eternal disastrous description. The difference is the celebration of a humanity expressed in what is a ‘whiteness’ and ‘blackness’ of being.

Both Rachel Dolezal and Dylann Roof are considered white if their birth certificates are the only yardstick for assessment. However, they both embolden the plight of the American race problem. For Rachel Dolezal she has made conscious choices informed by her socialisation in a family that perhaps long ago introduced her to people less in description of ‘white’ or ‘black’.

In the case of Dylan Roof, we are learning he too was exposed to both sides of the description of humanity in denotations of ‘black’ and ‘white’ for he had friends beyond his narrow meaning of a white humanity.

They both made conscious decisions, for Rachel Dolezal it is the case of her conscious rejection of ‘whiteness’ and evidenced in an equal celebration of ‘blackness’ as her studies at Howard (essentially an African American Tertiary Institution) and her work in the NAACP confirms.

Dylann Roof too made some conscious choices, his manifesto as later unravelled attests someone who consciously made a choice for ‘whiteness’ as an endangered identity in an emerging sea of ‘blackness’. Thus his choice is for ‘whiteness’ in supremacy, seeing blackness as a threat and not only a threat but a problem.

It can be argued that Dolezal’s choice for blackness is her seeing of ‘whiteness’ as the problem of America’s incessant racial diaphragm and thus she rejects this for for a black identity.

What is important here is that they both identified whiteness as the anchor tenant for their adopted divergent stances in their respective prisms of race definition. The only congruent aspect of both their distinct poles of  stances is a communality of white identity.

We therefore can assert when Dylann Roof shot the people  in the prayer meeting at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina he really shot Rachel Dolezal. We can now categorically say yes a few days ago Dylann Roof shot and killed Rachel Dolezal; he consciously attempted destroying her and thus her heritage.

He took it upon himself to fix what he considers the problem of America if not the world. This problem for the white supremacists is necessarily draped in a dark skin, which bespeaks the fear of an onslaught the terror looming with explicit intend of unleashing the virus that would cause the extinction of an endangered “white” identity. That problem is exemplified in a black identity.

Dylan Roof thus rejects Rachel DOlezal’s identity and equally feels entitled to annihilate her being only because he can. He feels duty bound to be the saviour of ‘whiteness’, a ‘whiteness’ this young mind never had dissected, questioned or critically engaged yet appropriated as non-negotiable a cast in stone construct and out of such appropriation he earned a confirmed right to exact the maximum penalty of pain. However it can also be argued that Dylann Roof could so easily have been a Rachel Dolezal, for he too was confronted by the two conflicting worlds her travelled in and out. On the one hand a world which he recognises friends beyond the racial bar,  friends who equally recognise him yet his other world from where he pulled the trigger  he sees the very friends really as the enemies of his identity.

In the terrorist-racist Dylan Roof’s mind  who Rachel Dolezal is constitutes the problem for America. A ‘black’ identity thus for those who worship an identity of ‘white’ is the antithesis of a true humanity only valued in white identity. The challenge of this primordial dualism does not befall the young saviour of whiteness to comprehend neither to grasp. For he is a Spartan in his mind.

Roof’ has more than just a combination of Apartheid and Colonial controlled Rhodesian connection as his proudly displayed flags across his chests attested a desire for this blighted history of Apartheid South African rule and English Colonialism rule over Zimbabwe confirms. When he has these flags proudly displayed on his chest it is to say ‘whiteness’ has already suffered a blow and lost control as these nations now present, thus if left unattended the stars and stripes of the USA flag runs the risk to be made extinct by the same ‘black’ problem of America if it is not dealt with.

Yes, Dylann Roof shares more than just an old Apartheid flag with SA but his last name in Afrikaans (my mother tongue) “roof” means to “to steal”, to “take away” and also “to deny”. Therefore, Dylann Roof – stole from Charleston South Carolina some of its finest confirming the human agent as bigger than a colour coded description. He stole those of dignity, those conscious of their common created state of collective humanity the same America’s Declaration of Independence in 1776 as articulated by its founders of democracy penned, …. we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

For Roof, those who gathered in the prayer meeting have no equal identity in creation, they are not endowed by a common Creator with certain inalienable rights. Chiefly these rights cannot be life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – they constitute a problem for those who are according to Roof epistemology the real human agent and those are denoted as “white”. Thus they must die in their less human state of blackness for they are the deadly virus of threat to the true identity of a  supreme white identity.

What does it say of the American society and dream of equality if an uninformed young man can walk into a church and kill informed older ones who toil for that equality even spent the night in prayer for that? It says after more than 239 years of this Declaration of Independence America has failed to let the non- racial reality count.

Dylann Roof thus entered a church building but not just any church building, he entered an institution as a frontier against racist, prejudice and injustice meted out in another epoch where the South of the USA was eternally defined as the epicentre of racial prejudice against those with an exacted black denotation for their human agency. He rips apart scab from a struggling healing wound of pain and anguish that generations of people of the South of black description had to contend with as exacted punishment for their otherness.

Dylann Roof enters the zone that RD lived and found her essential humanity, where she inhaled that which constitutes her uncontested humanity, the same for which she made conscious and costly decisions. Dylan Roof did not enter this space and comfort of a Rachel Dolezal dwelling violently, he entered camouflaged in simplicity as one seeking penitence and prayerful reflection, but with unknown to his victim vituperative evil intentions. How happy may those have been to welcome him, for his presence meant for them their prayers of  a non-racial South are answered.

By his own admission as related to police he hesitated at first, the primary reason for his hesitance was nothing but the love hospitality and kindness with which he was received as he entered the gathering of believers. Yes, a love that despite centuries of abuse stubbornly refuses to be contaminated by the same venom that is pillaged upon their being. A love some have defined the weakness of the black identity, their capacity to forgive those who had always served them with respite and agony. It is this love that Rachel Dolezal defines as her heritage her upbringing for she knew no other siblings but those she lived with who actualised this love and infused in her now contested identity.

When Dylann Roof causes blood to flow in the place of love, he not only marred a church history that revolts the very acts of his racist mind, but he without flinching reminded America how far the divide is for those who have shown a truculence to move to the centre of a humanity defined less by pigmentation or melanin distribution or lack thereof. Notice Dylann Roof knows where to find those whom he see as the problem, he does not take his fight to the hoods of Charleston, where potentially he would have met his match, no he carefully chooses his victims in a most defenseless place, the four walls of a church.

When Dylan Roof entered through the doors of the Emmanuel AME church he entered in whiteness intend on making blackness distinct, he knew where to find  the problem of America if not the world, right here in a church.

Perhaps Dylan Roof should have killed whiteness, in embracing his friends as equals and let that count, the same with no bullet is needed but a conscious decision to value others less from a supremacist notion. Maybe he should have allowed the experienced love to overwhelm him and confirm to him the sameness of identity.

When whiteness stood up and decided to blast away nine lives he didn’t just blow away nine lives but destroyed at least 4 generations of people who died at the hand of a sick-terrorist-hate infested young mind. In the aftermath and a pending bail hearing I again hear blackness speak when they notwithstanding the agony of having lost loved ones opt to forgive Dylan Roof.  (Perhaps the agony of the black identity his quickness to forgive whites for the evil they do, is it that unbeknown to them they have accepted their lot as that which must be violated?)

America’s problem of race no different to our South African problem of race, is not the fact that there exist no Declaration of Independence or a very egalitarian Constitution that articulates a pathway to a non- racial society. It is the harsh reality  that both these nations are confronted with the stark reality to have to give content to this non-racial identity of dream so often marred by the ugliness of its absence.

Perhaps it is here that I want to postulate for blackness to die, it’s reason for existence called whiteness must first go. The anchor tenant of the racial dilemma in the USA and RSA is the worship in history, present and future of a ‘white’ identity evidenced in white privilege informed by a white supremacy mind. For there is only a black identity because there is a white identity, the one feeds of the other and thus demands the demise of the other. Perhaps if more people with the denotation of black can reject this appropriated dictum of description, they too would kill whiteness which only lives and coalesce in the presence of a blackness of acceptance. 

Our insistence on holding on to either of the two evils is our looming nightmare that ensures another Dylann Roof who knows when and where.

Our obsession with denigrating a Rachel Dolezal from behind our entrenched picket fences symbolizes  the lethal weapons of whiteness and that of a retaliatory blackness in an enmeshed proverbial atom of destruction of humanity.

It is cause for great concern,  if the USA after more than almost two and half centuries of democracy in this season dismally fail to let its Statute on an equal humanity count – it does not bode well for us at the foot of Africa who are trying to shed the shackles of our colonialism of a special kind.

Ours is to consciously demand, Democratic South African State in post-apartheid sense to identify its client for the 1910 State with the 1913 Land Act did so. The 1948 Apartheid State did the same until Act 30 of 1950 (c) defined people as Coloured.

However, we must consciously forge ahead and challenge the frontier of identity construction and ask again and again for the new identifiers that will assist our reconfiguring of what constitutes identity in a non-racial society the journey we embarked upon gallantly at the dawn of democracy two decades ago.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator

Omar Al Bashir: South Africa, makes a necessary African choice !

– Fixing with this choice a history of suspicious African diplomacy –

The AU gathering organized for the eve of the historic June 16, 2015 South African student-uprise celebrations is drawing swiftly to its end. This gathering is historic for it brought together African leaders on a necessary agenda paving the way to sever the umbilical chord of colonial and imperial influences that has many tentacles entrenched in Africa even long after African countries have claimed their independence. However, this historic occasion in my assessment was hijacked  if not marred by the ICC instruction of an arrest warrant of Omar Al Bashir a sitting President of a sovereign Sudan.

As the court ruling was expected the chattering class of which I am one was debating and analyzing on the ramifications and implications of this threat of an arrest. The issue that divided South Africans along the centre split remains : South Africa is a willing signatory to the Rome Statute that gives credence to the existence of an ICC, however the challenge of what this treaty in signatory means in praxis for an enmeshed reality of ICC cases terribly skewed to have already had 40 African Leaders indicted when Europe and the West is not present in such large numbers or significance. As we all know the reality of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, who ensembles the case of treason committed by the ICC for not having indicted  both these former leaders of USA and Britain respectively.

The debates raged that South Africa betrayed itself as a signatory of this convention and thus casts a long shadow of uncertainty on its actual seriousness of the ICC.

Let me then in the beginning make it clear, I am all for the arrest of and trying of a Omar Al Bashir for the crimes he committed. However, as important as that is, we dare not confuse matters. I do not think South Africa and the AU summit should have been the place or space for this threat of arrest be actualized.

Perhaps the pertinent question question in my mind was whilst this this is a legal case which found a legal court in declaration after Bashir winged out, it was not just a legal case but a very politically loaded case. It became a very difficult choice yet a necessary choice.

Let us now therefore explore why South Africa with good conscious could have made this tough decision:

I call it the choice between present even future Western reprisal and a choice for a fragile African Unity.

  1. When South Africa decides on this choice not to arrest Al Bashir it stands in the line of a questionable diplomacy for African unity for it started of on a back-foot when our entry into African policy articulation as was evidenced with the Mandela pronouncements of the Nigerian poet Kenneth Sarawiwa. The unintended consequences of SA entering into this fray, plausibly may have sped up the process of the actual execution of the poet.
  1. In that same tradition again on the Zimbawe elections outcome there was a time when pressure was exerted on South Africa to arrest Mugabe the elected leader of a sovereign State of Zimbabwe. SA refused and opted for what is now called quiet diplomacy. We need not forget the COSATU and SANGOCO Coalition’s attempt to exert pressure on Zimbabwe when they were stopped at Beit-Bridge thus abandoning their attempt to have an observer mission in Zimbabwe. One may assert that the outcome of SA involvement in Zimbabwean elections is in this season evidenced in Mugabe as African Elder Statesman.
  1. When we make this choice today it is out of a very consciousness of the time Kenya  a Sovereign State blew up in 2007. This occasion saw Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu showing up to legitimize the indecent haste for the induction of Kibaki as president when the signing-off of the election results still proved questionable. This same moment saw the ANC delegation led by Cyril Ramaphosa being asked to leave because our model of government of national unity and negotiated settlements were found not workable. (This model however worked for us in the IRA and Britain setting which has matured into a working relation context)
  1. When South Africa makes this choice it is thus a confirmed necessary one, for we have never so glaringly been here before as with the adoption the UN Resolution 1973 that found South Africa and Nigeria lending credence to the invasion of Libya and ultimately the murder of Muammar Gaddafi. It is also not coincidental that South Africa and Nigeria at this very AU gathering was clearly reminded of this collective  African compromise by a rejuvenated and politically relevant if not resuscitated statesman none other than Robert Gabriel Mugabe. South Africa thus shares a fragile relations context with other African states notwithstanding its critical role in African context.
  1. It must be understood and accepted that the ICC lost its credibility and therefore SA registers this protest in calling the International Community to say as important as a ICC may be, it cannot be a compromised one when the measures for indicting presidents shows a clear ambivalence and truculence in charging George W Bush and his counterpart Tony Blair for having committed the same crimes for which it shows Al Bashir and other African Leaders out as having contravened  therefore  worthy of indictment.
  1. When SA chooses to ‘violate’ this treaty as a signatory it does so less in ignorance but in a clarion consciousness of the demands for the need for a non- compromised, fair, transparent and equitable International Court of JUSTICE.
  1. South Africa’s choice can thus be appreciated as one for African Unity. It is a choice South Africa makes because the Unity of Africa regardless to how fragile it portends warrants in this season to be the predominant aspect if Africa has any hope of truly untying the proverbial Mary-Mary shackles of colonialism and victimology thus accelerating an African democracy model.
  1. On another level South Africa’s choice is proving that contrary to the temptation of those who want to separate South Africa in convenience for their personal self-interest from Africa, as distinct in an only form of exceptionalism having a proverbial space above other sovereign Africa an states, that South Africa is an African State.
  1. We as South Africans are beginning to act in that knowledge whilst we claimed before yet we have never so categorically shown in worldview stance our Africanness. This moment is historic perhaps this is what was needed when we succumbed to undue pressure to an adoption of the UN Resolution 1973 that butchered an African leader and destroyed a thriving Libya leaving blood on our hands. South Africa thus unequivocally says, never, never yes never again will the unity of Africa be sacrificed at the altar of Western Appeasement.
  1. When South Africa allows Al Bashir to leave SA it cannot be assumed SA with this it is  condoning what Al Bashir did and what he must account for. However SA is aware it cannot be an extension of a colonial sheriff role to do the work of those who have shown an unwillingness to bring Bush and Blair to account for their roles in Iraq on the sophistic claim of weapons of mass destruction.
  1. South Africa thus refuses to be a part of those who disrespect as non-signatories the very ICC of which it claims a custodianship of credibility thus forcing all but themselves to adhere and obey.
  1. When South Africa proves conscious to make this choice it proves a good host for even affording the court case that sought to actualize the arrest to go ahead, confirming SA a constitutional democracy that respects the judiciary as a crucial cog of its democracy.
  1. South Africa understands that the Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir was not visiting SA on holiday or some excursion but he was here as a member of the AU representing his Sovereign State, who was called here by a gathering only hosted by South Africa. South Africa therefore cannot be jeopardising the intentions of the African Union in exerting itself as uniquely empowered to bring the legitimate gathering of duly constituted AU members in disrepute.
  1. South Africa with allowing Omar Al Bashir to leave our shores proves matured to accept that whilst it may in this season of FIFA scandal be the convenient centre of gravity for claims of corruption it dare not prove soluble but must stand its ground and take its stands in its natural African kaftans.
  1. South Africa is not raising the issue of the imbalance of the ICC as an institution in its preoccupation with African leaders as its target here in June 2015 for the first time, for that debate was raised long ago. The consequence of the justice meted out in the ICC is now culminating in a due protest as now registered by South Africa, choice in this season. It is thus the second coming of the murmuring of an uneasiness in the fulcrum of a moment of defiance and due protest.
  1. South Africa in allowing Al Bashir to board his plane, makes it emphatic that it is not in the business of making history in having a sitting president and AU member attending a AU gathering be arrested in a host country only because the host country is a signatory of ICC legal framework.

In conclusion I dare assert as difficult as the choice was for South Africa to make, it was made easier by the very ICC whose practices of an ambiguity in meting out justice seeking for the victims of those who rule with impunity proved itself not a trustworthy entity.

 

Therefore as Al Bashir arrives safe home today South Africa says unequivocally let the ICC find the necessary means to arrest him and make him account for the crimes but not at the hand of South Africa who merely hosted the AU gathering duly constituted to entertain a due agenda which was consciously hijacked by typical narrow interest.

I sleep tonight better because South Africa is an African State and finding comfort in its kaftans of Africanness attuned to make tough decisions and having learned from the outcome of the decisions now defined as the travesty of a Libyan experience.

I am a proud South African and the African Renaissance dream lives, regardless to how a lusty western media may present this.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

A Political Commentator

Blatter – Announcement: A stroke of brilliance in a time of being wounded !

Tonight, the football world is shocked, hardly five days after the FIFA elections which confirmed its serving Sepp Blatter as its preferred and elected president. This Tuesday night he announces he will step down. It is my submission that not all are reading what is happening as this moment unfold. Most are consumed with a CNN and Sky News bias diatribe of reporting that uses certain words deliberately confusing the masses less in honesty.

These report ‘Blatter resigns’, what they do not tell us is Blatter announced he will step down over a protracted period which will stretch 6-9 months. They don’t tell us Blatter remains the FIFA elected president therefore unhindered in executing his plan for reform as tabled at the last elective conference of May 2015.

It is here that I see the brilliance of Blatter the strategist, playing a master stroke. He has just won his 5th Term and less than a week later he announces he will step down. Let us therefore unpack the claim of a master stroke:

Firstly, Blatter was duly and democratically elected at the elective conference of last Friday. This means he is the democratic, legitimate, legal and due president of FIFA. No one will ever be able to argue he lost any election for the presidency. That means despite the uproar it is his determination. Even if he steps down it will not be because he lost any election.

Secondly, the announced special congress for the election where a new president may or can be elected does not exclude any current leader of FIFA including Blatter to be that candidate. Please note Blatter never said he will not stand in the next special congress where a new leader may or can be elected.

Thirdly, Blatter took a brave decision and he may appear shaken yet he proves leadership, he says with this announcement I am owning up to the state FIFA finds itself in, its leadership and FIFA members cannot but see his confirmed leadership.

Again do not forget Blatter remains the current FIFA President, and in that position he now announces the convening of a special elective conference for FIFA. It is he who calls the special congress.

In the fourth instance Blatter states the reason for his decision to step down and FIFA convening an elective congress. When he states the reasons key among that is not the financial state of FIFA, key among that is not the fact that football is embraced in the developing countries as a reality brought to them by a FIFA who had foresight to opt against the tide for this upstream intent. Upstream because it was never Europe’s aim to see football outside its control.

Blatter says I have heard them from politicians to even member-federations and regions who have murmured and vocally stated that their challenge with his leadership. He thus throws down the gauntlet, firstly to those in FIFA whom I shall call the spineless ones who ensembles the Michel Platini’s who simply do not have the capacity or courage of convictions to challenge an election but wants to influence the outcome. It is interesting that in the case of Platini, France did not even support his call to upstage Blatter, and they voted for Blatter. (it should tell you how weak Platini and his cohorts are).

In the fifth instance the period for him stepping down is crucial. Blatter before and at his election made it clear that he will work for reform and change in FIFA. He was asking for time to fix the wrongs in FIFA and they heard him and expressed their confidence in him and gave him a legitimate 5th term. Thus, Blatter with this genius stroke gets his period of fixing the wrong leading his change mandate and he will do so unfettered.

In the sixth instance perhaps the most important aspect of this stroke of brilliance is the fact in all this reporting and commenting and chattering the most important group of FIFA members (federations) and regions are quiet. We must not deceive ourselves to think anybody but these will elect its president. Or even confirm that there may be a need for a new one.

The powerbrokers regardless how powerful in geopolitical context they may portend will not decide who the next president of FIFA is. Key to this is the fact that, the 209 FIFA Members have already voted less than five day ago and they may stick to their decision come March 2016.

Blatter knows this and he must have that quiet confidence that a drastic decision in break of the last elective conference is not in the offing particularly if these along with him produce the desired change in FIFA over the next year before the special congress.

This interference of powerbrokers may just backfire when FIFA’s 209 members hardened their stance in saying you will not direct us for your interference does not bode well for FIFA as an entity and its strategic thrust.

What many who now jump around simply do not afford themselves to hear is Blatter saying: I will remain responsible as mandated president of FIFA and discharge my duties. This means as difficult as this moment is for now it needs a let -up. Shrewd leadership is to understand how a moment is deflated in impact and comment how the pressure valve is becoming functional in releasing air by the skilled hand of one who had withered many storms before. I call it riding the storm.

Powerbrokers such as David Cameron of Britain on the back of his most recent election proved brave to call for a Sepp Blatter to step down. Angela Merkel from Germany did the same although not as vocal and overt as a Cameron. These sought to influence the outcome of the last election. The outspokenness of political leaders on football, does two things it shows how far we have progressed to have people external (politicians) publicly stating their personal or nation stance. Yet on the other hand it asks if and when governments and political leaders can so directly influence the outcome of a democratic process of electioneering in the life of an independent entity such as FIFA, should we expect the same political influence to be exerted in their domestic politics contexts by external groups such as FIFA or others.

The master-stroke is that Blatter is essentially and effectively in charge of FIFA and I dare argue that. It is Blattter who needs not to convene this special conference, yet he does it, he is saying I am in charge. It is Blatter who says FIFA needs massive restructuring, it is Blatter who at the time of his election less than a week ago who said, we must work to cleanse FIFA. It is Blatter who now says we will “convene a special congress where a new leader can be elected”. He is thus not stepping down, he is not abdicating and his stepping down if it will happen is not within this moment but essentially over a year.

For the record, Blatter has not resigned CNN will mislead us to use terms like “Blatter has resigned”. Blatter is the de- facto and elected president of FIFA duly elected as the world observed. Be not confused to assume Blatter is of the scene he is in control of this scene and has just confirmed his power leverage in saying to his detractors including of a what I call scared Michel Platini and a list of Europeans ‘bangbroeke’. He knows the traction of these claims and investigations would have blown away.

What will all those do when March 2016, come and the 209 FIFA gather in recommitting itself to its present leadership thus giving absolute credence to its decision to have FIFA led by Blatter as mandated a few days ago.

This investigation is not without malicious intend as it relates to South Africa. It is alarming that SA is drawn into this in what I choose to call snapshot-analysis, we are told the centre of the investigation is the SA bids of 2006 and 2010. This we all know is a convenient point of entry for these investigations. The investigation of the FBI and even Zurich itself is not looking at how the USA and Germany bids were secured, we not sure if we to accept that these bids unlike, SA, Brazil, Russia and Qatar were attained as under different circumstance whilst Blatter’s was also in charge.

If we for a moment accept the position of the detractors of Blatter is correct, can we also ask if FIFA received its red card as issued by a boisterous FBI investigation leadership, is it not time to issue the same red card to entities such as the UN – Security Council, IMF and World Bank who no different to FIFA operates and is run no dissimilar to a FIFA in the interest of a few.

South Africa in my assessment should take this debate of reform to all the structures upheld as authoritative forward. We dare not allow others to cast aspersions on our credibility and thus must place this debate where it belongs. For too long those who claim to have civilized the world have been allowed to uphold this ambivalent practices where they act as referee and player.

We also cannot discount the most recent reconnaissance fact-finding mission conducted by a FIFA delegation of which South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale was a part. This took place since there is a proposal that the Israeli Football Association warrant being sanctioned for the conditions under which the Palestian footballers have operate. The FIFA delegation visited Israel a week before the FIFA elections of last week Friday. We dare not allow these investigations to denigrate our sovereignty and credibility with this glaringly orchestrated aim of denigrating SA as corrupt when the bids of USA and Germany among others remain not susceptible to investigation – not even mentioned in the least.

We must ask did Sepp Blatter and FIFA become corrupt because of its association with Madiba?

Tonight we again know Europe is a fragile and threatened cohort hamstrung by its own intrinsic fear of having lost the control of football to pungent developing world. The USA is prepared to be the policeman or the bullet for the interest of Europe with a promise of a bigger hand in football one of the levers it never had control over. What these do not know is that football will never again belong to Europe alone. Hopefully soon we we will say the same about the UN Security Council, the IMF and the World Bank.

We the masses from the developing world tonight again knows this has nothing to do with football, even corruption this is about the economic power of football and the loss of control of some who have always believed they will control football.

In the end, I hold this is a brilliant and strategic move on the part of Blatter, because he will be in charge at least until March 2016 and will have the opportunity to make all the restructuring and necessary change agent activities.

He will do this with less heat as is currently the case, for many other political activities in our ever shifting geopolitical context may completely overrun this current focus on FIFA and Blatter.

His announcement today evidences the fact that him stepping down over a year renders the FBI investigations into a cul-de-sac since the actual head of FIFA targeted though conveniently not implicated as yet, is effectively driving the change strategy of FIFA. It is immaterial as to who and what caused the need for change, when change is happening.

Blatter has in my view played a master-stroke, he has just given new meaning to the term -riding the storm-. This is allowing the proverbial wave to crash however at your own pace.

In the end football or soccer will win as it has been winning when Blatter decided to take soccer / football to the masses the underdeveloped world and those who have always been disenfranchised.

In conclusion perhaps the words of Sepp Blatter’s daughter are more important when she asserted as late as this past weekend, ‘this is a storm in a tea cup, it will blow over’. Yes I agree it’s a storm in a tea cup and this announcement tonight of Sepp Blatter confirms his brilliance in a time of being wounded.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Commentator.