The Amandla Blog

by Jul 4, 2012All Articles

 

blog-image-001“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.”

Frantz Fanon

 

The South African crisis: Post-apartheid South Africa can only  be described as in a continuing state of crisis. After nearly twenty years of jobless growth, increasing inequality, failing unemployment, corruption, a failing education system and a general inability to translate the ideals set out both in the constitution and the freedom charter into reality. South Africa’s youth are perhaps the primary victims of this crisis, over half are unemployed, our education system still reflects the racist colonial legacy of bantu education and recent disastrous experimentation: the fact is the majority of black youth are still being trained to be little more than unskilled cheap labour. The political class appears either unwilling or unable to provide a serious answer to this remarkable betrayal of the so-called ‘born frees’; other than the cynical attempts to turn the unemployed youth into a weapon to batter at organized labour in the form of such faux solutions. The youth are dismissed as surplus, lazy, lost, attempts to build a politics based on tackling the youth crisis are dismissed as a form of barbaric populism.

The economic and spatial foundations of the apartheid state are still largely intact, despite the transformation of the country into an electoral democracy. The neo-liberal policies introduced by the ruling party and embraced by our ‘official opposition’ have failed to provide a future for millions of South African, despite the existence of a supposedly uniquely progressive constitution codifying a set of basic social and economic rights. The ruling party has failed to adequately address this oppressive reality. It itself has entered a state of crisis; increasingly it has been devolving into a variety of forms of petty and grand corruption, while employing authoritarian traditionalism and increasingly outright repression in order to maintain its hegemony, even against its own members in a increasingly hostile response to internal dissent . Economic power remains entrenched in the hands of the Apartheid era white owned monopolies capital, which sucked the milk of the Apartheid state’s teat until their profits were threatened. In essence the role of the private sector in blocking real change has been largely written out of the official narrative.

 

South Africa’s crisis continues to occur in the context of the ongoing global economic crisis and the new waves of resistance struggles from Greece to Cairo to Quebec which have emerged since 2008.South Africa’s own rebellion has mostly taken the form of so-called ‘service delivery protests’, as they have been termed by a largely hostile media, which is almost entirely dominated by a small clique of corporations.

 

The starting point of this blog; is that any post-apartheid emancipatory project needs to be driven by South Africa’s youth; it needs to take on new, vibrant and creative forms, utilizing both politics and culture. South Africa has a rich history of struggle through music, art and theater, from hip hop to jazz, from Athol Fugard to Abdullah Ibraham to Zapiro, any new emancipatory project cannot limit itself to a narrow focus on politics alone. It needs to embrace other forms of resistance and the changing mediums through which this resistance takes place. This blog will attempt to engage seriously with youth culture, instead of falling into the trap of dismissing anything that does not necessarily take the prerequisite orthodox leftist political forms. In this we embrace a spirit of subversion, of fun and even satire. In this, we will not only be aiming to provide critical commentary, but also reflect some of the marvelous absurdity of South African politics, from Helen Zille’s attempt to toyi-toyi, to a national debate over the presidential genitalia to the fact that our national debates seem to mostly arise from various random celebrities sharing their wisdom through twitter. In this, part of our aim is to document the absurdities of what I term the age of ‘post-Malema’ politics as well as provide an alternative to the banalities of a mainstream debate built largely upon primitive fantasies of a messianic private sector and the limitations of our media class.

 

This blog aims to tackle this crisis, through recording working class South African struggles in a critical archive of reportage on social movements, protest and the lived realities of South Africa’s poor with primary focus on youth and youth culture. We furthermore aim to situate South African struggles within in a global context by including contributions from comrades from across the globe, in this we embrace the emerging spirit of a new internationalism from Cairo to Santiago. We aim to provide a critical space for grassroots activists, young intellectuals and writers to contribute and inculcate a culture of rigorous left wing debate which is missing from our popular discourse, ‘civil society’ and especially from our media. We aim to record struggles which either don’t merit media coverage or earn little more than a paragraph in the mainstream media when they are deemed worthy of coverage.

 

 

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