It’s a tired old t-shirt slogan, but imagine the shock when it was worn, read and
understood for the first time: when history repeats itself, it takes tragedy and
turns it into farce.
Historical comparisons can be lethal. To balance one evil deed with a repeat exercise
is pointless. The death of one human being because of careless politics should be
enough to fuel the anger of a nation. During and after Apartheid, it was tempting
to equate National Party brutality with the horror of Nazi extermination. Just because
we did not kill six million blacks, it does not make us better than those who killed
six million Jews.
Hitler is always the obvious touchstone for forewarning of a similar future. He is
also the theatrical role model for those who do not look further towards his evil
legacy, but at his inventiveness in convincing the masses to support his skewed vision
of a better future. Adolf Hitler was democratically elected by the voters in Germany.
He did not seize power. His promises to a degraded populace roused them to optimistic
hope, not clinical analysis. He promised land for those who needed more — Lebensraum.
He demanded economic control of the wealth of the nation to be in the hands of the
people, and not in the foreign grasp of the enemy, the Jews. His rousing hysterical
rhetoric even inspired an amateur fascist in Ventersdorp to threaten an AWB-led civil
war in our country. And most of us believed Eugene Terre’blanche, because he was
so convincing. Luckily sex raised its timely head, or was it a sexy blonde called
Julius Malema is not an enigma. He is what you see, what you hear and what you get.
If he has managed to conquer the mysteries of his Google and study the past monsters
of political bullshit, it shows. If his spit-splattered rhetoric is instinctive,
it terrifies. He speaks for a majority that has no hope of redemption from poverty
and voicelessness. After 20 years of promises they are still waiting. They have no
enjoyment of the African rain sent by the Gods, to remember one of Malema’s memorable
images. Why? Because of no municipal drainage, the rivers will drown their children.
They have no food, no medicine, no cars, no BlackBerries. Julius has all those props
of Bantu-bling, but it only makes his glibness more believable.
And so in carbon-keeping with his historical and often hysterical mentors — those
glorious lethal gasbags called Führer, Stalin, Mugabe, Gadaffi and Bart (Simpson)
— our clown prince Juju leads red-beret’d onslaughts via national TV, promising logical
needs. You will be redeemed if you follow my lead. We will take the land (Lebensraum);
we will reclaim our economy from white control. (Jews). Adapt your party leadership
to our needs, or we will get rid of you! As made clear to the dithering German leadership
from a soapbox in Munich’s local beerhall full of swastikas, not red berets. (If
in doubt, Google Weimar Republic and Adolf Hitler 1929.)
Statistics deaden the spark of renewal. How do we educate millions of youth still
half-taught and furious that their dreams are fading? How do we wrestle the stagnant
earth from the tired, useless white farmers who are more attached to whisky and Sewende
Laan than feeding a nation? Huge percentages unemployed, uneducated, unfocused and
unhappy. Happy Birthday, Rainbow Nation.
Our greatest concern was that those young voters who were born after Nelson Mandela
kicked official Apartheid into the toilet of history, will not register to vote in
the upcoming general election. We were right. Most shrug and see no point in getting
involved. One has to agree with them when the leadership of our land has become corrupt,
inept and careless. We are also selling the election incorrectly, with adverts and
prompts underlining the importance of voting ‘for the community’, ‘for the country’
and ‘for Madiba’. No one is honest enough to point out that voting is the most selfish
act we are allowed in a democracy: to vote for ourselves. Say to the born-frees that
it’s not about the rot at the top, or the pointlessness of involvement with a corrupt
political game. You are voting for your future, your life, your dream. Take that
vote as the key to your door to the rest of your life. If you don’t bother to open
it, you will be left behind.
Democratically-elected governments worldwide are finding democratically-acceptable
ways to destroy democracy. So do not be surprised, shocked, offended or deceased
when the Commander-in-Chief from Limpopo sooner than later becomes the democratically-elected
Führer of the Nation. It happened before and was a tragedy. It hasn’t got long to
go to become our farce. There is a simple birthday message that could carry our rainbow
beyond the next minedump: South Africa? Don’t boo. Just vote!
Professionally known for his character Evita Bezuidenhout, Pieter-Dirk Uys writes
here in his personal capacity.