user preferences

New Events

Southern Africa

no event posted in the last week
Recent articles by Malaika Mahlatsi
This author has not submitted any other articles.
Recent Articles about Southern Africa The Left

To vote or not to vote: Should it be a question? May 07 14 by Shawn Hattingh & Jonathan Payn

Numsa wary of ‘capitalist’ Malema Jan 03 14 by Shanti Aboobaker

Mandela e a lição para o Brasil Dec 15 13 by Bruno Lima Rocha

South Africa: The Real Threat to Black Consciousness Today

category southern africa | the left | non-anarchist press author Saturday April 13, 2013 17:57author by Malaika Mahlatsi - Rhodes University Report this post to the editors

A critique of the collapse of the BC tradition into an authoritarian personality cult

A critique from within the Black Consciousness tradition in South Africa of a collapse of a faction of that tradition into an authoritarian form of politics.

On a cold afternoon in July 2010, a group of us met in Newtown to distribute pamphlets around the Johannesburg CBD and hotspots of the 2008 "xenophobic" attacks, such as Diepsloot etc. We were only about twelve, so we had to break into groups of four.
Three people would distribute flyers and one person would engage people to explain the cause we were fighting. Our campaign was called "Singamakwerekwere sonke", meaning "We are all foreigners". Basically, we were protesting against the deporting and the violence against our Afrikan brothers and sisters, whom our system calls "foreigners" and our people call "amakwerekwere". Our group was called SNI. We were young people whowanted change and we wanted it NOW!

Three of my colleagues and I were deployed to Noord Taxi Rank, which is now known as MTN Rank, in the Jo'burg CBD. It was myself, Marechera WaNdata, Katlego (surname forgotten) and one of my closest friends at the time, Andile Mngxitama. We began to distribute the pamphlets to commuters and taxi drivers, with myself and Andile speaking to people one by one, telling them why it was wrong to attack and kill Afrikan brothers and sisters. Most of the people listened, but some told us to go to hell. One taxi driver came to me and said: "The reason why you want us to not kill these people is because you are being fucked by Nigerians..."

At this, Andile and Marechera ran to my defense. Not long after, the three of us were grabbed by the collars of our t-shirts by armed men. We were dragged up the stairs to some room near the taxi rank vicinity. Our pamphlets were conviscated and we underwent interrogation for what felt like decades. They swore at us, intimidated us and threatened to assault us. Eventually they let us go, but still kept our pamphlets. I was 18 years old, terrified beyond measure, hungry, cold and feeling dejected by the refusal of our people to understand the importance of our cause.

A few days later, we put into motion the plans to have a national conference where we would converge BC activists and design a program of action that would annihilate the nervous and heinous condition of Blackness in a country where Black life is cheap. I left my home to stay with one comrade Ncesh and for the next two weeks, herself, myself and Andile wrote discussion documents that would be used at the first ever September National Imbizo (SNI). It was exhausting. We never slept for more than four hours at a time. Everyday Ncesh and myself would walk all the way from Marshalltown to Braamfontein to use Internet facilities and then go to Andile's offices at the Foundation for Human Rights and have a debriefing. This went on until the documents were completed. From then on, every waking day of our lives was dedicated to mobilising and organising young people for this conference. I was registered with UNISA, trying to juggle academic work with SNI work, often neglecting the former. I was determined to give my all to the SNI, because I believed with every part of me that it was a struggle worth fighting.

A few months later, after an ideological disagreement with Andile, I was out of the SNI. I was not even told decently that I had been suspended or given an explanation as to why. I was simply told by a comrade that there was a Steering Committee meeting which I, as the Secretary General of SNI at the time, was not even told about. I was told that "the committee feels uncomfortable with you and feel that it is best if you stop being part of it". I was told this by my comrade, my friend, the person I had run around Jozi with late at night and early mornings. Comrade Ncesh. The SNI did not want me. Me, who had sacrificed my life for the SNI, me who had stood by Andile when he was being attacked by the entire BC bloc. Me who had fought his battles with Mazibuko Jara, his sworn enemy. I was devastated. Sure, I was not innocent. I had contributed to the conflict in SNI by befriending "enemies of Blacks", which included Jara himself. But my defense at the time was that these people were not our enemies, that we could still unite with them. Comrades were being purged from the SNI. Anyone who disagreed with Andile was out. Genuine comrades like NtsikaGogwana, Lola Bam, the late Mzimkhulu Nyeka...any and everyone who was not Andile's "yes boy" was being purged and some of us were fighting against this.

We were labelled as 'traitors'. Our families were under attack from Andile and his bulldogs. We were accused of being agents of the ANC. We were no longer the same people who had been detained and harrassed with him. We were no longer foot soldiers of the Blackwash Dream. Everyone was taking sides. For those of us who had given our lives to SNI, the world became extremely lonely. I had no friends outside the SNI, and no-one in the SNI wanted to associate with me. I was alone, terrified, perpetually in a state of weeping. Eventually a ray of hope emerged, an opportunity to get out of Gauteng to continue my activism elsewhere. It came from the least expected person: Mazibuko Jara. The same person I had fought with for Andile. The man I had insulted and humiliated. He was saying: "Malaika, you are still young and you can still make a difference".

I left for Cape Town and never looked back.

Today, Andile is under attack and we are being asked to fight for him. Today, when it is convenient to do so, we are being asked to mobilise against "liberals" who allegedly want to destroy Andile. Today, the BC and Afrikanist bloc is asked to defend Andile when he stands to face criminal and civil charges. Who was being mobilised when Andile was purging all of us? Who was defending us when his bulldogs were relentlessly attacking us and our families? No-one. Today Andile and his remaining followers claim that the BC bloc is under threat from "liberals". Liberals? Liberals like Aubrey Mokoape and the Unemployed People's Movement?

And what is the real threat to the BC bloc? It is not people who have distanced themselves from Andile's public threats of violence to a journalist. It is not people who are disgusted by Andile's publication of lies, racist lies, about grassroots BC activist Ayanda Kota. The real threat to the BC bloc began when, in 2010, debate was silenced with purgings. It began when comrades Ntsika, Lola, Noxolo and others were removed for refusing to be narrow nationalists. It began when the late Mzimkhulu Nyeka was being called a "bitch" by Andile's bulldogs. A man above 50 being called a "bitch" by little children because he questioned Andile's absolute authority! That was when the BC bloc was being destroyed, not today when legitimate questions are being asked about Andile's authoritarian personality cult.

BC was never about a personality cult. It was never about the crude anti-whitism in which whites are called 'pigs' and 'dogs'. It was never about trying to use intimidation and slander to crush any person or organisation that questioned the absolute authority of The Leader. Andile Mngxitama is not the new Biko. He is a thug who is only concerned with building his own power as a media personality.

There are many organisations and individuals that are seriously trying to build on the legacy of BC. Some of them are at the coalface of real struggles that aim to build real confidence and power in black communities.

Never again will I sweat and fight battles of individuals as if defending them means defending the revolution. Let the revolution itself decide who its heroes are!

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
E

Southern Africa | The Left | en

Fri 01 Aug, 15:48

browse text browse image

zacfront_symbol_1.jpg imageThe “Democratic Left”: A Small Step Towards United Working Class Struggle 01:46 Wed 23 Feb by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 0 comments

From 20 to 23 January 2011, working class and revolutionary militants from throughout South Africa, including a ZACF delegation, gathered in Johannesburg for the Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL). The gathering ended in the launch of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) as a loose alliance of organisations and individuals in struggle.

In explaining our relationship to the DLF, we will here summarise our reservations, while explaining why they are outweighed by the genuine achievements of the CDL. The reservations cover three main areas: attitudes towards the state and elections; leadership structures; and the DLF programme and demands. (We are also less than enthusiastic about some new terms that have become popular in the CDL and DLF, such as “eco-socialism”; but this is largely a matter of language, which we will not discuss in detail here.)

textIn Solidarity with Cosatu and the Workers of the World 19:26 Fri 16 May by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 0 comments

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) recognises that the crisis in Zimbabwe, ongoing xenophobic attacks and rising food prices are of great importance to the working class, both in South Africa and internationally. Resolving these crises in favour of the poor and working poor will require mass direct action and solidarity. [ Italiano]

textZACF statement on the "racist anarchists" of Potchefstroom 17:10 Wed 27 Jun by Jonathan Payn 3 comments

Right-wingers in the South African town of Potchefstroom removed street-signs with the names of liberation figures and replaced them with those of Boer leaders. But the Potch City Council attributed the actions to "racist anarchists".

textSWAZILAND: Rush hour for liberation movement 18:08 Thu 07 Dec by International Secretary ZACF 0 comments

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation statement on alleged armed struggle tendency of Swaziland pro-democracy movement.

textPower corrupts the left in South Africa 21:26 Fri 19 Aug by Zabalaza 0 comments

Even sitting on the government council at a local level puts a person on the other side of the line between oppressed and oppressor / exploiter and exploited and that is why we say that it is only when we fully control our communities and workplaces ourselves will we be able to provide decent food, clothing and housing for ourselves and our families

textSouth Africa: COSATU & Social Movements 22:15 Fri 12 Aug by Michael Schmidt (International secretary) 0 comments

COSATU has remained an ANC loyalist organisation - despite the 1-million job-losses under ANC rule but a survey by the human sciences research council shows that while 75% of COSATU members still consider themselves ANC loyalists - 25% of its 2-million members have lost confidence.

imageNelson Mandela Dec 10 by Michael Schmidt 6 comments

A frail multimillionaire dies peacefully in bed at the grand old age of 95, surrounded by a coterie of those who love him and those with an eye on the inheritance, an event that would in the normal course of events be seen as natural—but the man concerned has been treated internationally as more of a supernatural entity than an ordinary man. The unsurpassed hagiography around Nelson Mandela, who died in the über-wealthy enclave of Houghton in Johannesburg last Thursday night, the famous prisoner turned global icon on a par with Mohandas Gandhi is upheld by most observers of South Africa as a necessary myth of national unity, and not least of the triumph of racial reconciliation of over the evils of segregation.

imageTowards a Truly Democratic Left Dec 27 by Jonathan Payn 1 comments

Failures of democracy have been a big part of the history of the DLF. We in the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) have had to raise such challenges several times (see “DLF structure: concerns and proposals” by ZACF). We have long been troubled by the lack of proper democratic structures, by a leadership that consists far more of middle-class intellectuals than of grassroots militants, and by a programme that seems to be determined in advance by the academic and NGO interests of these intellectuals instead of by the immediate needs of the workers and the poor.

imageWhat Anarchism and Syndicalism offer the South African Left Sep 02 by Lucien van der Walt 0 comments

This article outlines the core features of the anarchist/ syndicalist vision, strategy and relevance to contemporary struggles. While of general interest, it is also directed to South African militants on the left, as part of the larger debate on the future of the left project.

textZACF Analysis of the 2009 South African National and Provincial Elections May 15 by nestor 3 comments

The following analysis was presented by a member of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) at the Khanya College organised Seminar on the 2009 Election Results, held in Johannesburg on Sunday 10 May 2009. The topic of the seminar was “What do the 2009 Election results mean for the South African working class?”.
There were speakers from the following organisations present: Bolshevik Study Circles & Che Guevara Film Club, Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF), General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (GIWUSA), Soweto Concerned Residents (S.C.R–A.P.F), NKUZI – Fieldworker of Farmworkers' Programme and Kathorus Concerned Residents (KCR)
It should be noted that - owing to the constraints of time allocated for this presentation - this is by no means a complete analysis of the 2009 elections, and what the ANC victory and Zuma administration means for the poor and working class of the region. It serves only to raise some of what we believe to be important issues for consideration going forward. [Italiano]

textPassive Voting or Active Boycott: The True Question of Elections Dec 01 by Jonathan P & James Pendlebury 0 comments

This article argues that active abstention is the only strategic and tactical approach to the 2009 South African elections which is consistent with revolutionary anti-capitalist politics. It was written for a forthcoming issue of Khanya: A Journal for Activists, which will present a range of different approaches that social movements may take in response to the 2009 elections.

more >>

imageThe “Democratic Left”: A Small Step Towards United Working Class Struggle Feb 23 ZACF 0 comments

From 20 to 23 January 2011, working class and revolutionary militants from throughout South Africa, including a ZACF delegation, gathered in Johannesburg for the Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL). The gathering ended in the launch of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) as a loose alliance of organisations and individuals in struggle.

In explaining our relationship to the DLF, we will here summarise our reservations, while explaining why they are outweighed by the genuine achievements of the CDL. The reservations cover three main areas: attitudes towards the state and elections; leadership structures; and the DLF programme and demands. (We are also less than enthusiastic about some new terms that have become popular in the CDL and DLF, such as “eco-socialism”; but this is largely a matter of language, which we will not discuss in detail here.)

textIn Solidarity with Cosatu and the Workers of the World May 16 ZACF 0 comments

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) recognises that the crisis in Zimbabwe, ongoing xenophobic attacks and rising food prices are of great importance to the working class, both in South Africa and internationally. Resolving these crises in favour of the poor and working poor will require mass direct action and solidarity. [ Italiano]

textZACF statement on the "racist anarchists" of Potchefstroom Jun 27 ZACF (southern Africa) 3 comments

Right-wingers in the South African town of Potchefstroom removed street-signs with the names of liberation figures and replaced them with those of Boer leaders. But the Potch City Council attributed the actions to "racist anarchists".

textSWAZILAND: Rush hour for liberation movement Dec 07 Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation 0 comments

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation statement on alleged armed struggle tendency of Swaziland pro-democracy movement.

© 2005-2014 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]