Mbali Ntuli pays tribute to DA and gives a strongest signal that she is jumping ship. Is DA incapable of handling Black Female leaders?

It has been quite the year. I think I can successfully say after this year that there isn’t much I haven’t done in the DA. From student activist, recruiter, branch chair, Young leader, youth chair, researcher and assistant, youth leader, committee spokesperson, councillor,mayoral campaign spokesperson, legislature spokesperson, MPL, constituency head, constituency election manager, provincial training coordinator, Young Leaders mentor, campaign manager for 12 internal campaigns and only lost 2 thus far, and most recently Provincial Campaigns Director.

It’s been a long 13 years in the DA. Some damn tiresome. I’ve seen a lot of changes in this party, some good some very bad. I’ve seen a lot of faces change, I’ve been shocked to see a lot of people change. I’ve learnt money is synonymous with integrity for some and power with lies for others.

I’ve been deeply disappointed at my treatment at the hands of some and very motivated by the support and encouragement of many others to counter that disappointment.

I’ve made some lifelong friends, lost a few friends along the way and made some lifelong enemies in this party.

Most of the time I’ve tried to be fair and honest in my dealings even at significant personal cost but it would be a lie to say I haven’t given as good as I’ve gotten when the chips have been down. There’s nothing that would keep me from sleeping but I have lamented being pushed far enough to retaliate for retaliations sake. I’d like to believe I retaliated in defense of a greater good or in defense of others more than myself but I have no doubt we all weave narratives that help to make our actions/thoughts more palatable to ourselves.

The one thing I’m very proud of is I’ve never been afraid to tell anybody to their face what I think of them or situations happening around us. It hasn’t made me very popular but it has made me sane and very aware of where I stand with a lot of people. It’s a far easier life to live and navigate than the double speak people are so fond of in politics.

Having grown up in very multiracial environments and with access to both extremes of the socioeconomic environment in SA, I have never experienced as much tension between the two as I have in this political party. It has been fascinating, infuriating and sometimes disgusting to witness but an ever lasting reminder of these being the exact tensions held everywhere in our deeply complex society.

Not sure what is going to happen in the next 13 years but I realized a long time ago that parties take the shape of their leaders at the time, they can be swayed and moved to adapt to the changing nature of the times, internal dynamics can be captured and molded by groups with no legitimacy and change trajectories of fate of an organization WHICH is why it has always been better to see oneself as working for a cause not a party. This is a far sturdier navigation tool than the changing whims or direction parties can take. If you believe in justice then it doesn’t matter when a party is being unjust you will see it and say it. Similarly with any other characteristic that defines the cause you’re fighting for.

In short, fight for a cause not a party. Parties abandon their causes all the time, the world over. Sometimes they can self correct and it’s a choice every individual must make whether they stay and help it do that or whether they leave and fight for the cause in another way. Sometimes parties don’t and can’t self correct and I suppose the nub is when to know when that time is to get out. A cause though can be fought for in millions of different ways even without a vehicle of a political party. It’s mainly the way you conduct yourself around others in the world, if the way you do that is incongruent to how you behave when in a political party or in a position of power than you’re likely just in it for the show than the cause. That’s also not a diss some people don’t even realize they do that, cognitive dissonance is a strong tool for denial and inability to be self aware.

By Mbali Ntuli

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