South Africa? you wonder out loud. Didn’t I say that South Africa started all this almost twenty years ago? [Yes] Haven’t I often hailed the new country’s constitution as nearly perfect? [Yes] Didn’t I write that its domestic policy was nicely redistributing wealth [Yes] and that its foreign policy particularly towards its neighbors was deftly professional?
It could be that South Africa is trying to be such an exemplary modern society that the last vestige of nondemocratic states will be swept away by the Twevolution. And this last vestige is the authoritarian if not autocratic power held by the majority party in the government, the ANC (African National Congress).
And this nearly impenetrable wall of power (the ANC has continually held two-thirds or more of Parliament since Nelson Mandela first became president) might just be cracking by some of the most juvenile political pandering ever imagined.
It’s hard to fault Mandela for anything, much less astronomical majorities in the government he brought to power. But Mandela was not without his own political nasties. The relationship (or not) that he held (or not) with his wife, who at the time was almost equally powerful, we now recognize as tools to constrain the masses.
By most accounts Winnie Mandela would have been right up there with the Mubarak thugs that stormed Tahrir Square on camels. Winnie was convicted of murder and kidnaping but never served a day in jail.
And Mandela’s favor placing went unchecked for a long time. His close revolutionary associate, Cyril Ramaphosa, was set up in new South African businesses
with a patent disregard for either skills or capital once it was clear he would never become president.
Mandela was followed by another ANC miracle worker, Thabo Mbeki. Thabo was less star-strutted than Mandela so less scrutinized, but whatever good he did will forever be eclipsed in history by his paramount achievement: discovering that AIDS was not a virus.
Mbeki told his fellow countrymen to shower well after sex to avoid AIDS. Some claimed this was so he could more easily adjudicate claims against international insurance companies but I think it was to please the masses, develop their support. Whatever it was, it was criminal.
But today we have the biggest oaf of all: Jacob Zuma. Number Three President is famous for having ten wives, but the fact is it may be eleven or twelve. Protocol officials around the world never know what the state dinner place cards should read.
Zuma hails his ancient culture, but I’d put it otherwise: he hails vote getting.
And now Zuma has topped the charts . Last week while Egypt was readjusting world power, Zuma was creating his own eternal life.
“When you vote for the ANC,” he told a rally near Cape Town last week, “you are choosing to go to heaven. When you don’t vote for the ANC, you should know that you are choosing that man who carries a fork… who cooks people.”
Pardoning (or not) a powerful wife, setting your cronies up to be billionaires, denying the science of the disease AIDS that’s killing your people, flaunting culture and preaching eternal life only to those who follow you … none of these juvenile if neurotic acts has managed to derail South Africa’s basically good trajectory into the modern world.
But Twevolution is youth driven, and youth in Africa are incredibly intelligent. You can take just so much nonsense before realizing how distracting it can be from dealing with the pressing issues at hand.
Twevolution may not topple the South African system, but there are growing sounds that it just may topple the idiots at the top