If this be treason, ANC breeds its own revolution
Ever since 1994 we have heard about the struggle and the danger of counter-revolutionaries.
We have had a culture where revolution has been repeatedly hammered home as our leading value, and our youth have been raised to this ideal.
You cannot raise a generation on the virtue of revolution, on the dangers of being a counter-revolutionary and then expect them not to revolt against revolting excesses.
So when FNB did a series of adverts involving young people giving speeches about their feelings about South Africa, it had a distinctly revolutionary edge.
And who can blame those young people for feeling that way?
Our president recently stated that if you join the ANC your business will multiply.
When Lindiwe Mazibuko pointed out that this sounded an awful lot like graft, the ANC spin doctors accused her of being naïve and having lost touch with African culture.
The youth are not denigrating culture because of anything the press, opposition leaders or FNB may say. They are stating precisely what they see in their day to day worlds.
And what they see is that culture is used in petty ways to defend petty evils, to paint critics as someone outside the tribe and thus their criticism as some form of elitism. They see respect for elders for precisely what it has always been - a means of maintaining authority without actually having to deal with the uncomfortable questions that come with it.
They hear about pupils who do not have access to running water, and they hear about the president’s fancy new house in Nkandla, which you had better not call a compound. They hear not only the original scandal but the spin used to try and deflect attention from it, and that spin paints culture as nothing more than a pack of excuses.
And they hear the ANC talk about being the party of the people but the only people who ever seem to fight for our youth aren’t the ANC. They are groups like Section27.
Angie Motshekga didn’t intervene in the Limpopo textbook crisis until the courts ordered her to. Before Angie there was Manto Tshabalala Msimang, who had to be taken to court to force the roll-out of anti-retrovirals.
Courts or riots seem to be the only things that will get ANC ministers off their backsides and into doing their jobs. Obviously the ANC wants the courts to stop meddling with the business of government because the courts are the only thing short of violent protests that seem to get that business done.
And violence doesn’t really work because it only deals with the immediate issue, while the stuff that led to that issue remains in place. Sasolburg won’t merge with Parys, but now that is settled, the politicians are going to go right back to making decisions for Sasolburg residents while completely ignoring them – until the next riot.
The youth of this country should be fed up, and I think they really are fed up. I don't think FNB was feeding those kids lines.
FNB is a bank, it sells the future. It makes its money through getting people to make long-term commitments. It has zero interest in promoting social unrest. Unrest means people do not feel like starting businesses or buying homes.
A bank wants stability – it wants the currency it deals in to be sure, the businesses it lends money to, to be profitable and the people it lends money to be solvent. Violent revolution kills all of these things.
But what those adverts expressed was not revolution in the sense of guns and violence. What those adverts expressed was genuine discontent with our government. The ANC will not fall to the revolution of the bullet, but ballots because it is only the perpetual revolution of democracy that can deliver legitimacy to a new government.
When Jacob Zuma became president he said that in the next elections it will no longer be enough for the ANC to say it was the party of the struggle, that people will look to what has happened in the prior 18 years and ask how the ANC has run the country.
President Zuma was right, and calling the rumblings of discontent of the present “treason” will not change that fact. This is a generation raised on revolution, and the fact that it is a bank that is bringing this to the attention of the powers that be, maybe it is time to stop evading the issues and attacking the messengers and start actually listening.
After all "How can we actually help you?"