News / Opinion / Columns

Sydney Majoko
3 minute read
25 Jun 2019
9:35 am

Zindzi holds up a mirror for us to look into

Sydney Majoko

The only way to disempower the effects of phrases such as 'land thieves' is to revisit our history, genuinely look its effects on our social and political fabrics, and accept that history.

Zindzi Mandela. Picture: Twitter.

Twitter was abuzz with Zindzi Mandela’s tweets on land. The first of her series of tweets was “Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs”.

Looked at in a simplistic manner, the message she tried to convey was a controversial one, not because it contained untruths, but because it could be regarded as provoking a section of the population. It didn’t help that she followed that up with: “Whilst I wine and dine here … wondering how the world of shivering land thieves is doing #OurLand.”

It came as no surprise that Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor responded quickly, urging Mandela to “remember that you’re an ambassador” and must carry herself as such.

It is interesting that Nelson Mandela’s daughter chose to air her views on land while still an ambassador, as her current term is about to expire. It’s still anyone’s guess whether or not she’ll be seconded to another country.

The real question, though, is whether her views on land hold true and if they should be taken seriously. Her current office and the fact that she’s the daughter of South Africa’s Father of the Nation, an icon, suggests that we should take her seriously.

If you want to get SA hot under the collar, express your views on social media about racism and land.

People are always in fight or flight mode regarding these two issues. While huge strides have been made in past years to address the land question through the passing of the Land Expropriation Act, the national dialogue has not moved forward.

In an ideal situation, the passing of the Act should have acted as a way of cooling down national temperatures with regards to the issue. But, as usual, the discussion that should have happened across colour lines has not happened.

The festering wound that continues to threaten to burst through the small Band-Aids is still there and it’s as though no one wants to rip the plasters off for fear of the sickening puss that lies beneath.

Zindzi ripped off some of the Band-Aids and some of the toxic puss came gushing out, with the usual suspects like the EFF jumping onto the bandwagon with the “#HandsOffZindziMandela social media campaign.

Despite the crude manner in which she raised land, Mandela must be seen to be continuing the work that her dad started more than two decades ago: that of continuing to force the South African nation to look at itself through the mirror that she’s holding up to our faces.

Yes, as an ambassador, she needs to be clearly articulating the views of the current administration on land.

The only way to disempower the effects of phrases such as “land thieves” is to revisit our history, genuinely look at the 1913 Land Act and its effects on our social and political fabrics, and accept that history.

It is not pleasant. But the more we delve into that discussion, the more the feelings of guilt and anger will disappear from our national radar.

Mandela said what she said, but it’s not impossible for us to distil what we need from her words as a nation.

Sydney Majoko.

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