Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Marching (dancing) to beat of the old drums

Today's March and shutdown of SA's big cities shouldn't fool us. It's the ANC-COSATU-SACP, at war within itself. But its not a real war, they're just playing tricks on our eyes. You see, (or you don't), some time ago Julius Malema lashed out against the Union leadership (Vavi and others), one week or so ago he was kicked out of the ANC, today he marches with Vavi. But let's assume Juju is just a side-show, who opportunistically gatecrashed Vavi's party (no surprises there); Vavi still walked side by side with the Youth League's office-bearers in the march. Which brings me to the point of the youth of our nation, which should be the heartbeat of the Youth League; the beat of the future.

Today this new configuration of power will call all and sundry to the war, to sacrifice a day, teachers included. The consequence will be that children, mostly from black township schools, will roam the streets, yet tomorrow the same 'leaders' will lament the dismal results of these black learners. You see (or you don't) its all a game you know-a game of 'who's fooling who', a game of using black bodies as ammunition in a bigger war, the war of who sits and eats at the table. Tonight, after the march, these men will continue to slap the backs of Zuma and his ilk, calling each other 'comrade this' and 'cadre that' and the teachers will pick up their kids at the 'Model C' schools. But before you say it, let me deny it: I am I am not cynical. What is playing out here is a struggle at a deeper level, where the unions are not the keys to social change anymore. They are part of the problem. The game has changed. 

I've recently started to delve deeper into Emmanuel Kantangole, after studying Steve Biko and Frantz Fanon the last few years. They help me to understand the drama of post-colonial nation-states. Katangole makes it clear that this sacrificing of black bodies, of the black future at the hands of the new post-colonial political leadership (including unions) are simply the mirror of the old colonial imagination.They dance (toyi-toyi to the old beat). Yes, they've learnt from the best of colonial practice on how to dance to the beat of power, the 'politics of eating', thus perpetuating the ongoing sacrifice of Africa. With the 'masses' being socialized into this drama, they see no contradiction; they are foolled into believing that COSATU is really playing on their side. But they are being offered as a symbol of Vavi's power. The more fans you can show the more powerful you are. Part of the reason is the fans of Vavi and Juju have become used to the idea of having a player playing in 'our team' for a few months just to be sold to our arch-rivals in the next season. Then we all join in the calling for his blood, because, after all, it's just a game, you know. The key is how do we understand the real game and play it.
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