YOUTH DOUBTFUL ON MAIMANE’S NON-RACIALISM
By: Bongani Gema
It was hugs, kisses and cheers last Sunday. Not only because it was Mother’s’ Day, but also because the much anticipated Democratic Alliance’s Federal Congress had come to an end, with Mmusi Maimane emerging victorious.
Maimane audaciously challenged the powers that be in his acceptance speech, warning Jacob Zuma that the DA is “coming” for him.
However, Maimane’s speech was not empty of controversy as he rubber-stamped his ‘firm’ belief in non-racialism as the core-value of the DA and the only future for South Africa.
Young people have now questioned whether non-racialism is possible in South Africa, given the divisions of the past that were based on race.
Although he doesn’t follow politics as much as he would want to, Sabelo Mpanza, 23, said he rejects Maimane’s non-racialism statement as a blatant lie.
“They are brainwashing us with this non-racialism nonsense. When I see a person, I see their skin colour first and I feel hopeful when I see a black person,” Mpanza said.
Mpanza, who voted for the first time last year, said his decision to vote for the Inkatha Freedom Party was to please his father who had recently died.
“It is not just skin-colour that informs our decision on who we vote for. But it does play a huge role, “said Mpanza..
Maimane clarified his stance on race during the speech. He said although he believes the DA should continue to stand for non-racialism, it doesn’t mean they are ‘colour-blind.’
He emphasised that if a person looks at him and doesn’t see that he’s black, then that person is not seeing him at all.
He said what the DA is against is dividing and mobilising people on the basis of race.
S’thembiso Dube, 26, also opposed Maimane.
Dube defines racialism not just as a matter of dividing people according to race, but also as a mental attitude.
“Even Nelson Mandela tried and he didn’t succeed because it’s in our mentality. It’s even in our history books and our parents tell us daily of how they were oppressed by the white government, so we grow with it,” said Dube.
He said although he believes that a non-racial South Africa is possible, there are still many issues that need to be dealt with before it becomes a reality.
Andiswa Ntanzi, 23, said that although she’s conscious of the “appalling” state that most black South Africans still exist within, it doesn’t make sense to her that there are those who still persist on classification based on race.
“The struggle in South Africa was a non-racial one. To neglect that now will hinder our progress as a country,” she said