Malaika wa Azania, political commentator and author of Memoirs of a Born Free: Reflections on the Rainbow Nation, recently took part in a fascinating debate on Power FM.
The debate centred around a recent article by Maynard Manyowa titled “Economic Freedom: An Obsession With Black The Ignorance of Precedent”, in which he concludes:
South Africa progressed well under Nelson Mandela, under Thabo Mbeki, but faces a very uncertain future today. For those of us who have seen it all before (The precedent), the problems in South Africa, and the desires of The EFF, and some sectors of black community are a painful de ja vu.
It is as if we are in that place again, confronted by the same evils. Blaming the white man for a problem we voted into government, allowing the real culprits to roam free, while simultaneously cheering at the prospect of a bleak future, one that is shaped by racism, hate, irresponsibility, and self-harming economic aspirations.
The lack of prevalent economic empowerment, and indigenization is an injustice which must be addressed now. But have we not learnt enough from the damnation in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, etc.
Have we not learnt from the wonderful example that is Zambia, and Botswana, how we can work together, black, white, or otherwise, to create powerful economies?
Or is it that we are so obsessed with black skin? That we are willing to die from self-inflicted hunger, as long as the leader and perpetrator in chief is black?
Wa Azania takes issue with some aspects of Manyowa’s argument:
“We walk very dangerous ground when we make arguments that are ahistorical,” Wa Azania says. “Especially on issues that have to do with the transformation of the South African economy and the South African society.
“What I mean by this is that we cannot begin to speak about questions of redress, questions of economic or even social transformation in South Africa, without taking into consideration that South Africa is a country with a particular history. A history deeply rooted in the disenfranchisement of black people. A history deeply rooted in constructs that have ensured that black people have remained economically and socially disadvantaged.
“So when we want to seek redress, be it through policy or what have you, the narrative must always, always, always be about ‘how do we ensure that these historical injustices that have subjugated black people over the years are addressed?’ We can’t do that unless we have radical pro-black policies.”
Listen to the debate, in two parts:
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