Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
27 Dec 2021
10:41 am

‘Your anger is unmatched’: Twitter reacts to Zille saying ‘Ubuntu is bogus’

Citizen Reporter

'Just because you are personally devoid of it and others manipulate, abuse and pervert it, doesn't mean it's necessarily bogus', one netizen said.

Helen Zille during an interview at Woordfees in Stellenbosch in 2020. Photo: Gallo Images/Jaco Marais

Helen Zille is tweeting again, much to the ire of ordinary South Africans who happened to stumble upon her ‘Ubuntu is bogus’ tweets on Monday morning.

It started off innocently, with Zille penning a few thoughts about 2021 Booker Prize Winner Damon Galgut’s novel The Promise.

Zille’s ‘The Promise’ review

Zille said she rarely has time to read novels, and prefers to “save them for the Christmas holidays”.

“I always read reviews first, so that I make considered, enriching choices. I read a review of Damon Galgut’s The Promise and initially decided to give it a miss.”

Zille said the review “made it seem like one of those caricatured novels about the racist Afrikaners vs the virtuous rest – the kind of ‘four-legs-good-two-legs-bad’ race essentialism that dominates current thinking in the Anglosphere”.

‘Bogusness of notions like Ubuntu’

She decided, however, to read The Promise after a friend “rated it an excellent book”. Zille said the writing is supreme, and she found herself “reading sentences over and over again”.

ALSO READ: SA writer Damon Galgut wins 2021 Booker Prize

And instead of concluding here, Zille said she’s looking forward to the writer who is “great and brave enough” to write the novel that will expose the myths we believe about South Africa.

More specifically, a writer to “truthfully examine why they turned to dust, including the sentimental bogusness of notions like Ubuntu”.

South Africans react

This last tweet, of course, didn’t sit well with many South Africans.

One netizen, Palesa Morudu Rosenberg, said it is a mystery how Zille “switched from that great book to ‘the bogusness of Ubuntu’.”

Zille responded: “Shouldn’t be a mystery. The candy-floss confected use of the concept of Ubuntu is bogus. And we need a brave book exposing all the sentimentality that blinded us to the great unravelling. That is all I am saying. That novel remains to be written.”

Another netizen, @DavidNavaya the ‘sentimental bogusness of notions like Ubuntu’ is “equivalent to saying the sentimental bogusness of love or of respect”.

“Just because you are personally devoid of it and others manipulate, abuse and pervert it, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bogus”, Navaya added.

Another said Zille’s “anger is unmatched”.