Johannesburg – Recently, South African society has witnessed the rise of right-wing rhetoric. It has invoked, among the masses of our people, scenes of racial intolerance and a consolidation of the right-wing reminiscent of our painful past.
The very existence of the ANC was as a result of the race factor in our society.
The adventures of colonial conquests were not just intercontinental conflicts or wars, but conscious and systematic subjugation of a race believed to be inferior by the invading powers.
The consolidation of the right wing and the widening of the racial chasm in an effort to protect white privilege has taken many forms; the most recent has been a concerted attempt to undermine our history.
What recent events have revealed is that to this day, there is a persistent belief by some white people that merely on account of their race, they must have superior social, economic and political relations.
Institutions made to safeguard our democracy including the courts and the Human Rights Commission are callously used to advance and perpetuate an agenda of white supremacy.
It was within this context that colonialism and later apartheid reared their ugly heads and it is the same bigotry that spurns the fires of racism in our country, in the US and other parts of the world.
Thus the outbursts from time to time by those who have benefited from apartheid are but the frictions of the wheels of change, encountering political resistance from those whose material interests are aligned to the vision and legacy of the past.
It should not be surprising, therefore, to hear people like Zelda la Grange defending Jan van Riebeeck, even though she had to apologise under the pressure of responses to her stance, after even calling herself Zelda van Riebeeck!
What was disappointing were the expectations by some that her close working relations with the foremost iconic hero of the struggle against apartheid did nothing to help redeem her from the bigotry of her forefathers.
Given the acclaim of the founding president of our republic, many would not have faulted her had she called herself Zelda Mandela because then she would be making the firm statement that she associates herself with the grand ideals of Madiba for a non-racial society.
Contrary to that, she took a firm stance castigating the current president for putting into perspective the adventurism of colonialism and apartheid and its impact on our current body politic.
But many would not have been surprised by La Grange, not only because she herself claims she was opposed to ending apartheid, even voting “No” in the 1992 referendum, but because they would have known that the emergence of democracy in South Africa had the façade of a conscious choice to end apartheid by the National Party, while in fact it was imposed by the local and international conditions.
The sustained pressure by our people towards the decisive decade of the 1980s when former president of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, urged the youth to render the country ungovernable had much say on the eventuality of our negotiated settlement.
Similarly, the international pressure led by Tambo himself helped to render apartheid being declared a crime against humanity by the UN.
The apartheid government led a pariah state, a true skunk among free nations.
Precisely because of this, many among us knew there were people like Zelda out there who would wish to revise our history and cast apartheid as something that was not as bad, with its architects having to be lined up for hero status in the various landmarks of our country such as roads, public places and facilities.
While FW de Klerk is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, a co-laureate alongside Mandela, there was never doubt about the actual course of history culminating into the 1994 democratic breakthrough.
Today, remnants of the National Party find expression in parties such as the DA and the Freedom Front Plus, whose mission is to advance the interests of the white minority.
The DA has tried to put up a façade of a non-racial organisation by window dressing its leadership, hoping this would dupe black voters to vote for their own oppression and socio-economic marginalisation.
Helen Zille has made it clear that Africans are “refugees” in the Western Cape where they occupy the lowest ebb in the socio-economic outlay of that province.
Africans are treated with the disdain of unwanted “aliens” without access to basic sanitation such as water, garbage collection and toilets. It is the policies and conduct of the DA that reveal its true character, not its posture.
That is why the DA exists on the sole ticket to oppose the ANC at all costs, even if it means degrading the most supreme platform of our democracy, Parliament.
The biggest enemy of a non-racial society and the vision of the ANC is the continued propagation of racial stereotypes that relies on the subjugation of the black majority as guarantee of white privileges.
That is why, in spite of due processes to deal with the issues pertaining to the expenditures at the president’s residence at Nkandla, the DA and those it seeks to use to advance its racial interests would want nothing except the destruction of the ANC.
African people in South Africa took a formal decision 103 years ago that they would fight racism head on through the ANC. Throughout the struggle for liberation, Africans, Indians, coloured and white people fought side by side knowing without a doubt that the ANC was the foremost champion against racism in the last century up to the present.
The ANC has a vision for South Africa, which is a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous society.
We must isolate and reject among us those individuals and organisations still embracing apartheid and racial division.
The convention in Kliptown in 1955 during the Congress of the People to adopt the Freedom Charter marked such confidence for a non-racial society as people of all races participated in that historic event.
The ANC will continue to champion human rights in South Africa, continentally and globally and combat racism, sexism , tribalism and all other such bigotries.
Article by Zizi Kodwa, this article first appeared in the star News paper.