South Africa and the Rest of Africa and the World:
By Sehlare Makgetlaneng*
Its Inheritance of Racists
May 20, 2008
Why is South Africa regarded as the leader of the African continent in terms of socio-political, economic, financial, technological, military and human resources development and transformation? Is it because it is relatively more developed than other African countries? Is this not the reason why it is regarded as the leader of the continent in terms of development and transformation? Why? Brazil is not regarded as the leader of Latin America in terms of socio-political, economic, financial, technological, military and human resources development and transformation. The United States of America is not regarded as the leader of North America and the Americas in terms of socio-political, economic, financial, technological, military and human resources development and transformation. Other countries which are relatively more developed than other countries in their respective regions are not regarded as leaders of these countries in terms of socio-political, economic, financial, technological, military and human resources development and transformation.
Why was colonialism in South Africa regarded as colonialism of special type while colonialism in other countries, which were under settler colonial rule such as Zimbabwe, not regarded as colonialism of special type? Why in the case of these countries settler colonialism and colonialism were terms used, while they were popularly not used in the South African case? What were reasons behind well-organised attempts to see to it that South Africa, ruled by Europeans, was not referred to as the colonial situation? Why was the enemy term called apartheid, the term used by the forces of settler colonialism and racism, used to deny the existence of settler colonialism and racism in the country (which was popularly used nationally and internationally)?
Some developing countries are relatively more developed than South Africa. Their manufacturing is relatively more internationally competitive than the South African manufacturing industry. Despite this reality, even some Marxists maintain that South Africa is an imperialist or advanced capitalist country. There are some scholars, some of them Marxists, who seriously maintain that South Africa is an imperialist or advanced capitalist country in relation to the rest of Africa and that in relation to the rest of the world, particularly imperialist countries, South Africa is a dependent capitalist social formation, not an advanced capitalist country. In other words, other African countries make the developing country, South Africa, a developed or imperialist country. What are reasons behind this incorrect, fallacious and degrading position?
African South Africans have become increasingly victims of racism. What is disturbing about this development is that some Africans with power and authority spend time, energy and resources complaining about racism, rather than decisively using their power and authority against racism. Is there any other African country where Africans are the decisive majority of the population where they experience the level of racism confronted by African South Africans? Why in a country which is regarded by a considerable number of individuals and organisations throughout the world as the leader of the African continent and a country which should represent Africa as the permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations Organisation, its Africans still experience this problem - the problem which was one of the obvious targets of the national liberation struggle? How can South Africa solve other socio-political and economic problems without solving the problem of racism - the problem it has inherited from its settler colonial past? How long will African South Africans complain about racism without taking decisive action against it? Despite the fact that Africans have become increasingly victims of racism in the country, some Europeans in South Africa have openly (in writing) articulated and defended racist positions on the African people and the African continent.
David Bullard, the man who is proud to state in public that he supported settler colonialism in South Africa which he regards as "the hated apartheid system", and who justified his support for colonialism and racism in South Africa to his friends in England by saying that they should not worry about his position because the country, "was changing and there would soon be universal suffrage," articulated his position on Africans in his article entitled, "Uncolonised Africa". In this article of the Sunday Times "Out to Lunch" column, he regards Africa without being colonised by Europeans as a dark continent of noble savages, a continent where "simple tribesmen would still graze their cattle in an "unspoilt" or "uncomplicated lifestyle" without roads, televisions, computers, shopping centres and cellular telephones. In this uncolonised Africa, apart from "occasionally indulging in a bit of ethnic cleansing," African ethnic groups of South Africa or "tribes" would have been happy and peaceful. "Every so often a child goes missing from the village, eaten either by a hungry lion or a crocodile. The family mourn for a week or so and then have another child," Bullard writes. The Chinese arrive in South Africa in 2008 and claimed mineral rights, water, land and cheap labour and Africans are fortunate in that they someone to blame for their problems. This is how Africa would have turned out to be had it never been colonised by Europeans? The African family having lost a child and mourning for a week or so and then having another child? He regards this in his apology to his readers and friends as the suggestion from his article after he was fired by the editor of the Sunday Times. Far from being the suggestion, it was what Jordan regards as "calculated insults." The fact that he regards his racist position on Africans as 'the suggestion' is such that he was not apologising but implying that Africans are incapable of understanding what he has been saying about them.
Some South Africans responded to the incorrect, fallacious, degrading and racist position of Bullard on Africans. Dr. Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture of South Africa is one these South Africans. He pointed out in April, 2008, that South Africa has enough racists born in South Africa and it does not need more imported racists from England such as David Bullard, the former Sunday Times "Out to Lunch" columnist. Bullard was fired by Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya for his racist views of Africans in his column. Pallo Jordan criticised Makhanya for tolerating Bullard's racist views about Africans in his previous articles. In his words: "I think Mondli must have learnt a lesson about as a result of [the] Bullard incident. I was quite alarmed for a very long time that Bullard could write like that in a newspaper edited by an African." Why? Jordan continues: "I doubt if a Jewish editor would have allowed things like that to be written about Jews ... [but] this African editor allowed it. Then Bullard took it one step too far."
Jordan in his position that South Africa has enough racists born in South Africa and it does not need more imported racists from England such as Bullard maintains that "Bullard is the sort of person South Africa really does not need within its borders; we have our own headaches, with our own indigenous racists. I don't think we should import them from England. Seriously, we can't afford to import racists from other parts of the world."
Bullard had articulated his racist position on Africans to the extreme. Jordan continues that he has "the right to his silly little opinion and his negative views about Africans, but for God's sake spare us that in our own continent. Go say it in England or wherever you come from ... but don't come to Africa and insult us - that's like coming to someone's living room and defecating on their carpet."
Bullard left England for South Africa in 1981. What Jordan in his criticism of Bullard does not point out is that South Africa, because of its settler colonial past characterised by being the frontline state of the settler colonial rule in Southern Africa and a frontline miniature of the articulated combined interests of imperialism in Southern Africa, has inherited a considerable number of racists from the rest of Africa and the world.
The position of a considerable number of Europeans of South Africa on the key national issues in South Africa is totally different from that of other South Africans. Their position on these issues is different from that of a considerable number of Europeans based in South Africa who are not South Africans. What are reasons behind this socio-historical development? Is it, among others, because of the role played by the settler colonial South Africa within the strategy and tactics of imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism on the Southern African regional and African continental scale?
Bullard is one European South African who maintains that it is the task of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to solve Zimbabwe's national problems. This incorrect position has its fundamentalist supporters and defenders in the former frontline state of the settler colonial rule in Southern Africa. It is articulated in the South African national newspapers.
The Weekender in its 21-22 April 2007 editorial, questioning President Mbeki's intentions as the facilitator of dialogue between the Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Movement for Democratic Change, maintains that it is the task of President Mbeki to solve Zimbabwe's problems. In other words, he is bound to betray Zimbabweans because of his refusal to solve their national problems. David Bullard maintains the same position. Arguing in his Sunday Times "Out to Lunch" column of 22 April 2007 that the South African "government's stand on Zimbabwe is an international disgrace," he maintains that Mbeki has failed to solve Zimbabwe's problems.
Has Mbeki ever declared that it is his task to solve Zimbabwe's problems? Is it to marginalise the masses of Zimbabwean people and their leaders to maintain that it is Mbeki's task to solve their national problems? Is it correct to maintain that Mbeki has not failed to solve Zimbabwe's problems given the fact that it is not his task to solve them? Bullard maintains that South Africa under the leadership of Mbeki has basically not failed to solve these problems. Why? It has refused to solve them. They are bound to increase. He concludes that "thanks to the ANC government's spinelessness, things" or problems in Zimbabwe "are bound to get worse." According to Bullard and his colleagues, the African National Congress, not the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), not to mention the Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) which is regarded as the problem, is central not only to sustaining Zimbabwe's national problems, but also to their solution. It is obvious that this position is incorrect and that it degrades the people of Zimbabwe. Bullard and his colleagues are fully aware of this reality. The fact that this position is incorrect is not the issue. The issue is what it intends to achieve. It is the tactical means to achieve the strategic objective. Central to its demands is that the ANC government should allow itself to be used as the organisational means to effect regime change for the MDC to be in power in Zimbabwe for the advancement of the strategic interests of imperialism and its allies, of which Bullard and his colleagues are their spokespersons.
This is the position of Britain. Britain did not only colonise Zimbabwe. It also decided not to follow through on its financial undertakings towards land reform in Zimbabwe. It did the same in the case of Kenya. It did not only struggle to muster its power to impose its policy position on Zimbabwe, but on the Southern African Development Community, particularly on South Africa. It also wanted South Africa to achieve its objectives in Zimbabwe. A considerable number of European South Africans support the position of Britain in particular and the West in general that Mbeki, through omission, is responsible for the crisis in Zimbabwe. South Africa's policy towards Zimbabwe is regarded as a failure because it has not achieved their interests in the country. While some have been demanding that Mbeki should isolate Mugabe, others have been demanding that Mbeki should facilitate his removal from power through sanctions. Central to these demands is that South Africa should have effected regime change in Zimbabwe. A considerable number of European South Africans have played a key role in the process of shifting the responsibility of resolving Zimbabwe's national problems from Zimbabweans under their leaders to South Africa under the leadership of Mbeki.
Where are African South Africans on this issue? Khathu Mamaila, in his "Third Eye"column, City Press, 22 July 2007, maintains that hypocrisy or double standards of the West has helped Mugabe to maintain his grip on power. He cites some "crimes" constantly mentioned in the criticism of the Mugabe administration. These are examples of this hypocrisy or these double standards. Firstly, is the issue of the suppression of the media by the Mugabe administration. Mamaila maintains that on this issue, the Mugabe administration "is not the worst." He cites the case of two Ethiopian journalists arrested for "outrage against the constitution." They "face execution or life sentence if convicted. There is no public outrage about this," from the West and the fundamentalist critics of the Mugabe administration in South Africa. There are other "worse humanitarian crises on the continent" and throughout the world. He cites the case of the genocide in Darfur and "unending fighting" in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mamaila maintains that at issue in the hypocrisy or double standards of the West and its allies is "the need to understand the lack of legitimacy of the anti-Mugabe efforts." On the so-called invasion of the Zimbabwean land by African Zimbabweans, his position is that those who attacked Mugabe for "giving" Africans land "lacked legitimacy because they have failed to condemn the obscenity of fewer than 4000 white farmers owning more than 70% of the arable land." He concludes that for "average Zimbabwean, Mugabe was simply correcting a wrong, a colonial legacy which was the principal demand that drove people to take arms against Ian Smith." These forces lack legitimacy because, among others, they are theoreticians of the forces of the sagacious dispensation of legitimised rapacity and sanctioned organised theft on an international scale. This system structurally protects thieves or 'tsotsis' who transform themselves into legitimate owners who invoke the rule of law and order upon establishing themselves in possession of what they have stolen, including the land. Why should the native masses beg for what was taken away violently from their parents and ancestors? The issue of land must be centrally located in the policy formulation and implementation, and in the debate on the socio-economic issues in Southern Africa. Its strategic importance is directly interlinked with the fundamental and structural need for the further development of the regional political economy, not only with its agricultural sector. It applies not only to agriculture and to rural parts of the region. The land question is an integral part of the national question.
The land question is also directly interlinked with the creation of jobs, reduction and eradication of poverty, promotion of sustainable development, the achievement of food security and self-sufficiency in food production. It has been and is still the main source of wealth and means of livelihood. The ownership of the land and the disposal of its surplus produce has been the main base of social control. The owners of the large proportion of the land have been using the social control stemming from the ownership and control of land and its use to appropriate surplus produce derived from the land. This system of appropriation of surplus produce reduced and still reduces a considerable number of the people of the region particularly Africans to poverty in the midst of plenty. Land and its produce have been not only the means of social control, but also the means of creation and perpetuation of poverty. Why should the masses of the people of Southern Africa continue being marginalised from this important national and regional resource in terms of ownership, control, access and use?
On the launching of the Operation Reduce Prices, despite the fact that "the populist solution is temporary and spells disaster in the near future because the country will face a critical shortage of commodities," Mugabe is regarded as a hero by many poor Zimbabweans. What about the role of the business forces? What have those who have condemned Mugabe for enforcing price cuts done to alleviate the plight of the masses of the people? His answer to this question is that both internal and external business forces have remained in the country because they were making profit and that their operation in the country was never a "humanitarian" process. The position that the masses of the people will suffer if the business forces were to pull out of Zimbabwe is "the righteous and patronising approach." The masses of the people are already suffering. He concludes his column by stating that "the key catalyst for change" in Zimbabwe "remains Zimbabweans." This conclusion is the advice to the Movement for Democratic Change - the advice it has refused to practice or recognise in its insistence that the solution to Zimbabwe's problems is primarily external, not internal.
The position maintained by Mamaila is also maintained by Barney Mthombothi in his article on why "Mugabe still wields power?" He maintained that Morgan Tsvangirai's "diplomatic shuttle" across Southern Africa in late 2004 was "a waste of time." His point is that there was "nothing he said in person to the leaders" of Southern Africa that "could not have been relayed down a telephone line" and that "the trip" was "more about Tsvangirai - an attempt at enhancing his status, his own stature - than enlightening people on the current situation in Zimbabwe." The importance of the trip is that it exposed or highlighted "the shortcomings of the struggle" led by the MDC against the ZANU-PF. Instead of mobilising its supporters, the MDC "has been wasting time on fervent pleas to the international community." Tsvangirai and his colleagues should recognise the reality in practice that the masses of the people of Zimbabwe are "the fount of their credibility, legitimacy, power and authority" and that when "the masses are properly mobilised no autocrat, no matter how powerful or repressive, can rule them against their will for any length of time." He concludes that the MDC's "tactic so far has been to appeal for international assistance in the form of sanctions and boycotts without a concomitant intensive mobilisation of the masses within the country" and that this tactic is incorrect in that it fails to come to grips with the reality that the "home front is the theatre, the crucible, of the struggle" or that the "engine of the opposition is in Zimbabwe, not outside" the country. The MDC under the leadership of Tsvangirai is still embarking upon this programme of action. After the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission delayed to announce the result of the March 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections, maintaining that the MDC won the presidential elections and that it had obtained the percentage for it to be in charge of the political administration of the society, Tsvangirai moved from one administrative capital to another administrative capital of Southern Africa meeting political leaders of the region, asking them for support of his political party. These are some of the leaders his organisation have been not only avoiding, but regarding as central to the survival of the Mugabe administration.
Why has President Mbeki become a target of a considerable number of European South Africans? These European South Africans are against Africans of South Africa. They claim to be for Africans of Zimbabwe. This is an interesting aspect of the position of a considerable number of European South Africans. They are against Africans of South Africa and claim to be for their brothers and sisters of other African countries, including Zimbabwe.
Why a considerable number of European South Africans maintain these positions on the Zimbabwean situation? Is it because they are of the view that they will one day in South Africa face problems which we are told are faced by their brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe? It is not surprising that a considerable number of European South Africans maintain these positions on the Zimbabwean situation. The point is that a considerable number of European individuals and organisations in South Africa are self-appointed representatives of imperialism in the country, the rest of Southern Africa and throughout the African continent. The former settler colonial South Africa is not only the former frontline state of the settler colonial rule in Southern Africa. It is also a former frontline miniature of the articulated combined interests of imperialism in Southern Africa. South Africa has inherited racists who left African countries upon achievement of political independence for the former colonies particularly those in the Southern African region. When Southern African countries achieved political independence, these racists ended up in South Africa, particularly in its settler colonial era. The settler colonial regime gratefully welcomed them to increase the settler colonial population and its support base in the country. The defeat of colonialism throughout Africa particularly in Southern Africa was also a defeat of the settler colonial regime. The fear of losing control over resources of Southern African countries as a result of the victory of the Southern African progressive forces forced the West, under the leadership of the United States of America acting in alliance with the racist South African regime, to resort to tactics aimed at causing the defeat of the progressive governments, and eventually to bring their allies to power in Southern Africa. The rulers of the West and the racist South Africa viewed a victory of progressive forces in Southern Africa as a victory of the masses of the people of Africa, and as such, any further progress towards the national liberation struggle in South Africa had to be stopped by any means necessary. A considerable number of European South Africans are originally from North, Eastern, Central, West Africa, not to mention other countries of Southern Africa. They left these African countries as a result of their achievement of political independence. They left these countries, among others, because of their opposition to the achievement of the rule of Africans in these countries. They were not only strategic allies of the forces of imperialism and colonialism, but also representatives of imperialism and colonialism in these countries. A considerable number of the European fundamentalist critics of the Mugabe administration in South Africa are former Rhodesians. It is no surprise that they constitute the so-called support base of the MDC Tsvangirai or the MDC under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai. They constitute the so-called support base of the MDC Tsvangirai in South Africa because they are basically not for the MDC, but for their own interests. They have been struggling to use the MDC Tsvangirai to achieve their interests in Zimbabwe - interests which are not those of the masses of the Zimbabwean people.
A considerable number of European South Africans agree with the position that Asian and European intellectuals in Africa are theoretical leaders of the liberation movements of the African people. The Swedish Marxist intellectual, Goran Therborn, in a Marxist journal, New Left Review, maintains the position that it was European South African intellectuals within the African National Congress who formulated strategy and tactics which liberated South Africa. Therborn maintains that:
Black African culture, very distant from the Marxist dialectic of modernity has not (yet) been able to sustain any significant Marxist intelligentsia. The most important Marxist intellectuals of Africa tend to be non-blacks, like Samir Amin, an Egyptian Dakar-based development economist of world fame; the two East African class analysts of politics and law of Indian descent, Mahmood Mamdani and Issa Shivji; and the core leadership of the politically sophisticated South African Communist Party - the think tank of the ANC [African National Congress] - who are mainly white.
African Marxist intellectuals, some of whom who have contributed to the programme of action and strategy and tactics for the revolutionary change in Africa, more than Amin, Mamdani, Shivji and European South African intellectuals are dismissed as irrelevant and are cast to the margins of the theoretical and practical development of Marxism as the revolutionary praxis and placed at the bottom of the contribution of Asian and European intellectuals to the liberation of Africa. The position articulated by Goran Therborn on African, Asian and European intellectuals in Africa was not new when he articulated it in 1996. Belinda Bozzoli maintained in the special issue, History from South Africa of Radical History Review, published in January, 1990, that the founders of Marxism in Africa are European South African scholars working at the British universities. This thesis is still dominant today including in the post-settler colonial South Africa where some individuals are self-appointed representatives of imperialism, the West and institutions controlled by developed countries and other related issues, processes and developments which are obviously against the interests of the African continent and its people. Central to this thesis is the position that Africans are incapable of acting on their behalf and in their own interests. They must be led by other people in the struggle to achieve their interests. Other people are their representatives. The very questioning of issues such as African renaissance, African nationalism, African philosophy, African perspective, Pan-Africanism by a considerable number of South Africans is supportive of this reality. Why is only African nationalism and identity politics discredited in South Africa by individuals who support and defend nationalism and identity politics of other South Africans? Discrediting African nationalism, Zackie Achmat, the leader of the Treatment Action Campaign, warned in 2003 that "Both identity politics and nationalism, African nationalism specifically, have been among the most destructive influences on the continent's development." Tony Leon of the Democratic Alliance is one of the leaders of the opposition parties in South Africa who gratefully quoted this position. In one of his controversial statements, Achmat declared that "I'm going to live longer than Thabo Mbeki! I'd like someone to write on my tombstone one day, 'Here's a man who lived longer than Thabo Mbeki." Is it acceptable for one to make such statements? What does he mean by such statements? It is the first time I have come across such statements. He is opposed to only African identity politics and African nationalism, not to identity politics and nationalism of other people. Why is Achmat opposed to only African identity politics and African nationalism? R.W. Johnson, the conservative nationalist who maintains that the Treatment Action Campaign "is a perfect example of democracy in action" in South Africa, answers this question in his allegation that "Thus far African nationalism has merely multiplied the number of the black sick and the black poor." Johnson calls for the recolonisation of Africa as the solution to its problems. Herman Giliomee, Afrikaner nationalist historian who is not against Afrikaner identity politics and Afrikaner nationalism, in defence of Achmat maintains that "All the evidence points to the fact that the government only responds when confronted by a mobilised civil society that it cannot co-opt or control. Zachie (sic) Achmat's Treatment Action Campaign is a perfect example of this." At issue is not only the "Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them" or "the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long." This position on Africans is not the monopoly of those who are said to be white.
The position maintained by Goran Therborn is basically about the perspective of the place of Africans in the world. French President Nicolas Sarkoy affirmed the important intellectual role played by Georg Wilhem Friedrich Hegel in justifying the racist position on the African people and the racist perspective of Africa's place in the world, in the contemporary world and the fact that this position and perspective are still defended in his visit to Gabon and Senegal in July 2007. According to Hegel, Africa, "unhistorical" and "undeveloped spirit" which is "no historical part of the world" and has "no movement or development" not to mention ideas of freedom, justice and progress... Africa has no history and there is nothing Africans have contributed to the enjoyment of humankind. Africans are prisoners of their "wild and untamed nature." Sarkozy maintained that colonialism was not crime against humanity and that it was good for Africa. African societies, through their culture, are against intellectual and material progress.
In his address at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar Senegal on 27 July 2007, President Sarkoy maintains the position that "the tragedy of Africa is that the African has not fully entered into history. The African peasant, who for thousands of years has lived according to the seasons, whose life ideal was to be in harmony with nature, only knew the eternal renewal of time, rhythmed by the endless repetition of the same gestures and the same words." Africans live in an "imagery world where everything starts over and over again and there is no place for human adventure or for the idea of progress." This is "the tragedy of Africa" for "Africans have never really entered history. They have never really launched themselves into the future. In a world where nature controls everything, [African] man has remained immobile in the idle of an unshakable order where everything is determined. There is no room neither for human endeavour, nor for the idea of progress." He continues that "In this universe where nature commands all, [African] man escapes from the anguish of history that torments modern man, but he rests immobile in the centre of a static order where everything seems to have been written beforehand."
What is Sarkoy's solution to this "tragedy of Africa" and Africans who refuse to "really" enter "into history" and who refuse to launch "themselves into the future"? This "tragedy" is the problem not only for Africans who are incapable of acting on their behalf and in their own interests. It is the problem also for those who are leading or who must lead Africans in the struggle to achieve their interests. No wonder why Africans are regarded as children of international community! In his attempt to offer a solution to this "tragedy," the president of "an unwavering friend" of Africa maintains that:
The problem of Africa, and allow a friend of Africa to say it, is to be found here. Africa's challenge is to enter to a greater extent into history. To take from it the energy, the force, the desire, the willingness to listen and to espouse its own history. Africa's problem is to stop always repeating, always mulling over, to liberate itself from the myth of the eternal return. It is to realise that the golden age that Africa is forever recalling will not return because it has never existed.
A considerable number of European South Africans maintain that the future of the rest of Africa lies with South Africa. In other words, the socio-political and economic transformation of other African countries in the interest of the masses of their people lies not with the people of these countries, but with the people of South Africa. It is possible that they regard themselves as leaders of the South African transformation process.
Some Africans spend time, energy and resources advising developed countries on how best and effective to promote their interests in Africa. Representing Africans who render this service to developed countries, Kuseni Dlamini points out that it is:
...in the enlightened self-interest of the world's industrialised nations to invest what it takes to stabilise Africa, normalise African politics, build a robust culture of good governance and institutional efficacy with a view to ensure and secure reliable sources of energy and commodities supply in the long run.
Some Africans based in South Africa who advise developed countries on how best and effective to promote their interests in Africa often use South Africa in justifying the service they render to imperialism by maintaining that the future of other African countries lies with South Africa, not with their people. Kuseni Dlamini, in advising the corporate South Africa on how best and effective to promote its interests in Africa, maintains that:
Africa's future lies with South Africa and its companies playing a leading role in the development and processing of the continent's natural resources, as well as the development of its human capital as catalysts for Africa's long-delayed industrial revolution.
The position that the future of Africa lies with South Africa and its polite version that South Africa is the locomotive of growth and development of Africa is disputed by some scholars. Fantu Cheru disputes this position when he maintains that "a democratic South Africa should not be seen as the 'locomotive' of Africa's development" and "may even pursue policies that will be counterproductive for some of its neighbours." In his "challenge" to "those who paint a rosy picture of the future of Southern Africa's economic integration as a result of the elimination of the settler colonial rule in South Africa, Cheru pointed out in 1991 that:
Despite repeated reassurance by the African National Congress officials that a democratic South Africa will not try to dominate the region, a post-apartheid government will be forced to aggressively pursue trade relations to penetrate the African market on behalf of the business community and the social class.
Pointing out that South Africa "does not have the manufacturing and technological base to represent by itself a substantial center of accumulation on a large scale enough to propel development in its wake," Manuel Castells concludes that "the version of a new South Africa becoming the engine of development for much of the continent, through its multilayered incorporation into the global economy ... seems, at close examination, utterly unrealistic." The position that South Africa is the locomotive of growth and development of the African continent is the position that "Africa's hope" is through "the South African connection." Raising the question as to whether "Africa's hope" is through "the South African connection," Castells points out that
...on strictly empirical grounds, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the potential linkage between a democratic, black-majority ruled South Africa and African countries, at least those in eastern/southern Africa, allows us to examine the hypothesis of the incorporation of Africa into global capitalism under new, more favourable conditions via the South African connection.
This position challenges the position of Greg Mills which downgrades the rest of Africa by using South Africa. This is the long-standing position. Racists have been using Africans of South Africa in either defending, justifying, camouflaging or hiding their racist position on Africans of the rest of the continent. Africans of South Africa were used by leaders and organic intellectuals of the racist, settler colonial South Africa in justifying its rule. It compared their socio-economic conditions not with those of Europeans in South Africa, but with Africans of the rest of the continent. South Africa under the leadership of Africans is going to be used more and more by some European South Africans, particularly racists, in downgrading the rest of Africa.
Greg Mills' position of downgrading the rest of Africa by using South Africa is that South Africa bears "the African burden" because of its "geographical location and perception as part of Africa, the continent described by some as the 'Third world's Third world,' marginal in the international mainstream and incapable of solving its own difficulties" and that as "an African state, South Africa has also an additional burden to bear" which "bluntly put" is that it "is Africa's last hope and best chance of getting things right. Any failure will hasten the exodus of world interest and concern." Mills' version of the position that the future of Africa lies with South Africa was criticised clearly in no uncertain terms before he put it in writing. This position is for "the incorporation of Africa into global capitalism under new, more favourable conditions via the South African connection." This is the position of a considerable number of European South Africans.
In our critical analysis of these forces, we should not agree with the position some of them maintain that the race question is primary in relation to the class question. These forces are not for interests of the masses of the European people. They are class enemies of the masses of the European people. The race question, as the secondary issue in relation to the class question in the irreconcilable contradictions among social forces within countries must dialectically be incorporated into the struggle against oppression, exploitation and racism. The importance of the race question must be neither overestimated nor underestimated. The dynamic relationship between the class question and the race question must be viewed and examined dialectically. The reality that the race question is the subsidiary or secondary issue in relation to the class question in this struggle does not mean that the importance of the race question should be neglected or minimised.
Dr. Sehlare Makgetlaneng is a social scientist researcher specialising in governance, democracy and development issues in Africa, the United States foreign policy towards Africa, political economy and international relations based in Pretoria, South Africa.
- David Bullard, "Bullard: an apology to my readers and friends," Business Day (Johannesburg), 18 April 2008, p. 9.
- Pallo Jordan, quoted in Sibusiso Ngalwa, "Jordan climbs into 'racist' Bullard and his ex-editor," The Star (Johannesburg), 23 April 2008, p. 11.
- Khathu Mamaila, "Double Trouble: Hypocrisy helps Mugabe to maintain his grip on power," City Press (Johannesburg), 22 July 2007, p. 22.
- Barney Mthombothi, "Why Mugabe still wields power?" The Star (Johannesburg), 3 November 2004, p. 14.
- Goran Therborn, "Dialectics of Modernity: On Critical Theory and the Legacy of Twentieth-Century Marxism," New Left Review, 215 (January-February 1996), p. 78.
- Belinda Bozzoli, "Intellectuals, Audiences and Histories: South African Experiences, 1978-1988," Radical Historical Review, 46/7 (January 1990), pp. 237-63. This work is included in a book, History From South Africa edited by Joshua Brown, Patrick Manning, Karin Shapiro, Jon Weiner, Belinda Bozzoli and Peter Delius, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.
- For this information on Zackie Achmat, see, among others, Ronald Suresh Roberts, "When saints are truly sinners," The Star (Johannesburg), 28 August 2007, p. 10.
- Martin Luther King, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence," speech delivered at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned, Riverside Church, New York, 14 April 1967.
- Kuseni Dlamini, "Pressure alone will not bring peace," Business Day (Johannesburg), 23 May 2006, p. 13