DEMOCRACY, MY 20 YEAR OLD BABY
By: Winston Sibanda
Celebrating 20 years of democracy has become an anthem in South African spheres and yet very few know the real taste of it.
Founder of Indoni, Dr Nomncebo Mthembu, once questioned the reality of democracy during the Indoni Third Lekotla.
She said, “have we attained true democracy or democracy is just a horse we are riding on and yet it is not ours?”
Mthembu said for a country to attain full democracy, people need to know their identity.
It is essential for people to de-colonize their minds and practice the spirit of “Ubuntu” which is the essence of being African.
Foundations like the Steve Biko Foundation are still in place, pushing the idea of Black Consciousness, but the message seems to be falling on deaf ears.
Chairman of Mayibuyi Youth Organisation, Siviwe Benya, said racism is still evident in this democracy. He is a victim of it.
Benya said, “I was assaulted and my elbow was broken when I was attacked by Indians in Phoenix for rescuing my fellow black man. They said I don’t belong there and I should move to a community with other black people.”
Benya expressed great disappointment in the justice system.
“My case was sabotaged and I have lost faith in the Phoenix police because nothing was done about my case- instead they tried to protect the criminals because they come from influential families,” Bhenya said.
Managing Director of Four Rivers, Lebohang Liepollo Pheko, said, “Biko started a journey of liberation and the road ahead is still long. We have to do our part and the next generation should pick up from where we will leave the work.”
Nation building goes beyond political spheres. It’s about the best interests of the people. Its values should be in line with empowering people in a bid to create a better environment for all.
Pheko said, “let us strive for Azania. Let us be Africans and view other Africans as brothers and sisters.”
According to her, African unity and empowerment of black people is the true definition of democracy.
20 years into democracy, many still view themselves through colonial eyes. Blacks have lost their own identity and hence the spirit of “Ubuntu”. Yet we say we are free.
Dr Gift Mheta once said it is essential for Africa to educate within the African context. He published an English text-book which had African names and local examples, bringing learning closer to home.
Today South Africa brags about democracy yet it hasn’t had a full meal of it.
Political Analyst, Veli Mbhele said, “we should ask ourselves- what is democratic about 20 years of our democracy?”
The idea of a rainbow nation doesn’t seem to be working for the black South Africans.
Perhaps this is because there is no black in the rainbow. Most of them are still drowning in poverty and they cannot afford decent education.
The road is still long but a little light shines at the end of the tunnel.