Maimane and the big flat lie about white privilege

08 May 2018 - 08:06 By Tom Eaton
DA leader Mmusi Maimane hammered home the fact that South Africa is grossly unequal.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane hammered home the fact that South Africa is grossly unequal.
Image: HALDEN KROG

When the Sunday press reported that Mmusi Maimane was facing a backlash from his party for claiming on Freedom Day that white people remain privileged in South Africa‚ I smelled spin.

After all‚ Freedom Day was also the day on which Maimane claimed that some refer to him as a “mini-Mandela”‚ a statement that prompted the whole country to picture a homunculus version of Maimane frantically humping the leg of greatness.

The DA‚ I thought‚ would be anxious to delete that image from the public consciousness‚ and a hastily arranged fight against shadowy racists within the party – a small minority the DA doesn’t want anyway – would be the perfect distraction.

I duly went in search of evidence to back up my suspicion. I read reports in which Maimane doubled down on his position‚ hammering home the fact that South Africa remains grossly unequal and that white privilege is undeniable. I read denials by senior colleagues saying that the alleged backlash was really just a debate. I read posts on the DA’s Facebook page.

And I found that I had been wrong. I can’t vouch for any acrimony between senior DA officials‚ but out on the mean streets of the Internet the backlash was real.

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