So, once again this has become a debate on my Twitter and my Facebook. No doubt posting a blog on this will cause the same issue. Basically, although I never wanted this to become a political blog, I feel the need to unpack my statements of “Serious LOL to anyone who believed the ANCYL ‘making CT ungovernable’ today. White Fear at its best. You guys be cray.”.
I’m not denying that the ANC or the ANCYL are two organisations with massive power and massive support bases. I’m not denying they have a vested interest in trying to destablise the DA’s control of the Western Cape in order to gain power here in the forthcoming elections. I’m definitely not saying that they’re not problematic organisations. There definitely needs to be some kind of shift in the South African political terrain. But the point of this post is purely to focus on the story of the Western Cape being made ungovernable by the ANCYL and the reactions I personally witness on Twitter and Facebook.
For reference, this is the initial report on IOL and this is the follow-up on News24.
The originally report references The Voice (lol) as its source. A tabloid. When they report alien babies no one pays attention. Saying something on the ANCYL, it must be true! Sad fact! Anyway. It is a scary article, sure. Threats of violence, burning traffic lights etc, but you have to take a look at the source. A tabloid. No major news house managed to get this story from the horse’s mouth, they all quoted The Voice (if I’m wrong, please correct me and send me the links!), which makes me suspicious about the validity of all the statements if no one else was able to get their own report on this story.
This in turn caused panic on Twitter. If we’d had it back in the day of ‘When Madiba dies, black gonna kill all whites’ we’d have had the same hysteria levels. Now, what follows next is my assumption of the views of some friends and people I follow on Twitter, so it’s definitely not the view of every (white) South African. But there seems to be, in the mass consciousness of (primarily white) South Africa that ANC = ANCYL = all poor black people = a group of totally angry, tire burning, window smashing people who unreasonably hate whites. Therefore an ANCYL protest of the sort pointed to by The Voice, would result in (mostly white) people baring the brunt of the anger of the poor, or as we like to say here, ‘the previously disadvantaged’. This is where it gets complicated for me to explain as it overlaps with white resentment over being blamed for Apartheid – especially among the youth who did nto actively participate – and the need for the upliftment, enrichment and empowerment of the black majority. I won’t go into that here, that’s another blog and linked to an even further debate on a white girl’s place to discuss race and its consequences in current day South Africa.
Back to my point (I’m bad at hanging onto it), the level of hysteria reached on social media (linked into the thoughts above) was ridiculous. ANCYL has never managed to destabalise anything. They’ve marched, they’ve protested, but they haven’t even managed to destabilise their own father/mother party – the ANC – when their leader Julius Malema was expelled. Therefore, their power to make Cape Town “ungovernable” seems largely questionable. So why panic so severely? Why freakout? Worse still were the overtly and subtly racist comments that came out of it (which links back to (some) white South African seeing all blacks as ANC). No, we shouldn’t ignore the ANCYL and their potential power, but we should take a look at it in the context of their own history, the source of the story and our own personal fears.
Yes, we should be concerned over our political future. But no, we shouldn’t be flipping our lids every time the ANCYL says something (guys, after all Julius’s threats, how much did he ACTUALLY follow through on?). Frankly, I see this hysteria and panic as a failure on the news houses in South Africa. More often than not, they’re more than willing to run with a sensational story ANC/ANCYL to whip up fears, no matter how baseless they are. Which is shameful in a country with a baby democracy that’s struggling to find it’s way. Fear mongering and divisions are the last thing we need.
So yes. It is a major LOL to me that people panicked over the ANCYL march. They gave in to a fear that’s constantly being perpetuated by media houses. But few stopped to question how real the possibilities of this action were.