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ANC Must preserve its great legacy of #BlackExcellency by carrying on
Cape Town - 29 August 2016
When we say that Madiba was an ANC member, we are not saying that to reduce his great legacy, we are saying that to show that the ANC is capable of remarkable things. When we say that Thabo Mbeki is an ANC member in good standing we are not saying that to claim his continental vision of African renewal, we are saying that is in fact a vision of the ANC. All the documents that anchor this country, from the Freedom Charter, to Constitution, NDP, all the profound documents which have pumped life into this nation, are born out of the ANC, out of our deeper appreciation of the society we are privileged to lead. As the ANC we have always possessed an almost divine clarity about what needs to be done to give this country a leap forward.
The greatness of the ANC began right at the point of its founding in 1912. The Founding Fathers of the ANC broke the mould and exceeded the very system that was built to prove them less than human, not only receiving what has always been considered the best education in the world, they had taken that very education to its highest levels possible, threatening the world with that which has always been feared the most, #BlackExcellency.
Pixley ka Isaka Seme, one of the ANC founders and President of the African National Congress, was the first black South African lawyer. At 17 years of age Seme left to study in the U.S., first at the Mount Hermon School and then Columbia University. In 1906, his senior year at University, he was awarded the Curtis Medal, Columbia's highest oratorical honor. He subsequently decided to become an attorney. In October 1906 he was admitted to Oxford University to read for the degree of Bachelor of Civil Law. This was already enough to inspire the black nation to demand their rightful place in their own country and among the people of the world.
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, another ANC Founding Father, was a South African intellectual, journalist, linguist, politician, translator and writer. Plaatje traveled to England to protest the Natives Land Act, 1913, and later to Canada and the United States where he met Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois. Plaatje was the first black South African to write a novel in English. Again the black Nation, permanently subjected to inhumane conditioned and the conditioning that they deserved those inhumane conditions had a reason to believe differently.
John Langalibalele Dube, yet another ANC Founding Father, was a South African Essayist, Philosopher, Educator, Politician, Publisher, Editor, Novelist and Poet. He attended Oberlin College in the United States. He later founded the Newspaper Ilanga (lase Natal). Saul Msane, another Founding Father, was an African Politician and an Intellectual, a prominent member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and a newspaper editor. He served for a period 1917 - 1919 as ANC Secretary General
ANC Founding Fathers, in their advanced education, their intellect, their way about the world, and their strategic thinking, inspired the black nation to stand up and start demanding their humanity back. Irrespective of the odds black people have always faced in this country, they have always believed in their leaders, that through their dedication and their mastery of the world, we shall overcome. For over 90 years, the biggest thing the ANC ever gave to this country is inspiration and hope.
104 years later, and 22 years into a new country our fathers never lived to see, with so much that has been provided for and accomplished by the ANC for its people, It turns out, black people still ache for inspiration, for Excellency, proving that they can be great and more, and they still want their highly educated, foremost thinkers, worldly black leaders who founded the ANC and have carried it forward for 100 years, as long as there exists in the most real sense the chance of a black child being doubted and measured of less competency, such leaders must carry on.
Governing is more than providing tangible things. And this current administration has provided more tangible things than the past administrations combined;
More houses have been built, social security has been expanded much wider than ever before, we have put more piped water and more proper sewerage in the history of this country, more houses have been electrified; we have put more kids through tertiary education through NSFAS, a number that has quadrupled in the last two terms and the number of black graduates has seen a similar surge and even more support has been given to those who want to start small businesses and entrepreneurs, there is practically no group of South Africans that the current administration has not provided assistance to and given a hand-up.
In the last 22 years, the ANC has formulated and implemented some of the most progressive policies in the world, we have put in place institutions, checks and balances, effective systems that have ensured that our country have been on a rising trajectory. It is because of these mechanisms, put in place so skilfully, that we may have thought the black question has been answered. The rebuilding of both country and persons will feed into the mechanisms we have put in place.
Why then has this current administration gotten such a backlash and vote of no confidence at the polls on 3rd August? Why have commentators and South Africans alike pointed to our descent as a nation. Why have the very beneficiaries of the extensive work of this administration found this administration failing greatly in its duties? Is this administration doing so badly that these beneficiaries are willing to nullify all that has been done as of little consequence that the accusations labelled at this administration.
In an Ideal world, competency has no colour. But in a country where there has been social engineering for centuries with its vestiges still predominant today, to present black people as of lesser abilities, leaves no room for black people to be anything but the best. In other places its called 'Black Tax', to have to work double as hard as a white person just to be seen capable. This is unfortunate but a prevailing reality.
The question of why do black people disabuse whiteness by seeking black leaders to be much greater has had many interpretations. Black people live to prove they are great. When will this end some have wondered. When will black people’s greatness be an established phenomenon so that the failure of a black leader is not an indictment on blackness.
Whatever the reason for this stubborn edge for black people to be inspired by being better than whites if not as great as whites, remains and we must embrace it as a reality if we are to transcend it.
We remain a people that needs a constant reassurance over and against a world force that has consistently been telling us we are sub-par, incapable, and much earlier, not even really human, and #BlackExcellency, has been the ANC’s potent weapon through which the ANC has been able to soften even the hearts of the hardest critcs..
ANC has been the epitome of black Excellency and we cannot falter now.
Yonela Diko is ANC Western Cape Spokesperson
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