Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
21 June 2007

Now Mangcu puts in the boot

Xolela Mangcu has a scathing column about the new Thabo Mbeki biography in today’s Business Day entitled, Roberts’ shallow ode reflects obsessions of the age of Mbeki. He hits Roberts where it hurts most, accusing him of being obsessed by what whites think. In effect, he says Roberts is a prisoner of colonialism and therefore not a free man. Ouch!

Money quote:

The problem of course is that Roberts is spending so much time convincing white people that he ignores the people who really think his subject is not fit to govern — the natives within the ANC. I suppose white people will always be a convenient diversion for racial populists.

I always feel heart sore when people misappropriate and distort Biko’s message to defend their racial chauvinism. It was perhaps in anticipation of this that Biko wrote his thoughts down.

Biko had a message for black people in his brilliant essay, Black Consciousness and the Quest for a True Humanity. This is what this intellectual and political giant said: “Blacks have had enough experience as objects of racism not to wish to turn the tables.

“While it may be relevant now to talk about black in relation to white, we must not make this our preoccupation, for it can be a negative exercise. As we proceed further towards the achievement of our goals let us talk more about ourselves and our struggle and less about whites.”

Interestingly this mirrors the critique both myself and Johnny Steinberg has leveled against Mbeki himself.

SHARE:     
BACK TO TOP
2015 Constitutionally Speaking | website created by Idea in a Forest