Political Analysis South Africa


South Africa – Re-imagining Democracy In Its State Of Decay

South Africa - Re-Imagining Democracy In Its State Of Decay

Unlike other African countries, South Africa had to endure a long, muscled-grip of white domination; a process that was predominantly aided by the long-term objectives of neoliberalism and colonialism. This was as a result of its unique natural resources which were considered to be of considerable importance to the exclusive development of the white race, in its macro-political experiment of racial hierarchy which was anchored firmly in the policies of the apartheid regime; policies that regulated a racially flexible social structure, which was simultaneously pro-white and anti-black, acting as its input to deepen the propaganda scheme of white supremacy under the supervision of a conservative government. The latter conceived an undemocratic state polity of authoritarianism that explicitly endorsed ‘white racism’ as its tool of white empowerment.

This state driven racist-authoritarianism continued to function unabated up until in the early nineties, when negotiations paved the way for changes in the climate of South African politics and ushered the transition to democracy. A new democratic nation composed of a libertarian Constitution was now formed. Accordingly, the country moved towards erecting a pluralist democracy at the base of reconciliation. Almost immediately, the popularity of the concept of ‘white supremacy’ was now replaced with a deceitful concept of a newly found collective identity – ‘rainbow nation’, which is nothing but a political myth that is slowly becoming irrelevant in solving a deepening rift between black people and white people in South Africa. A myth whose crucial mission has been to persuade black people to forgo their identity agenda for the sake of being included as part of the fraternity of racial integration.

Unfortunately, twenty three years deep into democracy, the establishment of racial relations never fully purged the grim reality of black economic subjection, which is a functional consequence of apartheid legacy. Let alone to make whites disown their mentality of superiority; white people are still romantically intimate with their racist behaviours in the democratic dispensation. In large measure it failed to eliminate the oxygen of white racism and white privilege which is white supremacy, that is currently flourishing in our society. Largely because in the initial stages of transformation, a systematic ‘racially flexible social structure’ that serves the best interests of white domination has not yet been altered by the democratic government. And this most clearly indicates that South Africa is still institutionally racist and it has never been colorblind despite the regular published propagandist assumptions of ‘rainbow nation’. However, it is very sad though that black people have absolutely nothing to show for this democracy of ours.

It is evident that our democracy has allowed itself to be a prostitute of capitalism and neoliberalism — the two major forces whose interests are the antithesis of democratic objectives. The growth of capitalism depends on its strength to create class division, and the installation of a cheap labour market in the labour space which enforces the conditions of exploitation. Thus, lying underneath the bloody massacre of innocent mine workers in Marikana, is our government’s commitment to protect the greater interests of neoliberal policies of transforming labour in South Africa. Where, instead of addressing the economic needs of the workers, the government chose to kill them, in protection of what was in danger. In, and of itself, this is a revelation that the current government has largely compromised the principles of democracy, in its priority to secure the needs of neoliberal hegemony that is pushing a new, sweeping wave of global capitalism in exchange of suppressing social justice. Therefore, our duty as a nation is to re-imagine our democracy in its state of decay, in order to grasp fully the meaning of the rising unemployment, poverty, poor education system, poor healthcare, white supremacy etc. Because, if we do not do anything about it we are soon going to approach a phase where political incompetence will import patterns of dysfunction, that would drag us back where we had come from. A turning point that reflects the trajectory of underdevelopment.

Bukelani Mboniswa



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