Citizen Reporter
4 minute read
30 Apr 2017
6:44 pm

Zille says a new philosophy turns whites into scapegoats to avoid real issues

Citizen Reporter

Zille wrote an opinion piece for the Sunday Times in which she unpacked her views of this new set of ideas which she said had emerged 'from the epicentre of our universities'.

Helen Zille. Picture: Supplied

Western Cape premier and former DA leader, Helen Zille, said a new set of ideas have emerged from the “epicentre of our universities” that “regards ‘whiteness’ and ‘whites’ as the key obstacle to the progress of black people in South Africa”.

She said a “tectonic shift” in South African politics had occurred in recent years and said the Mandela era had ended.

Zille wrote this in an opinion piece for the Sunday Times in which she answered two questions posed to her in another opinion piece by Professor Charles Ngwena in last week’s Sunday Times. She answered the first question saying the Sharpeville massacre was among her earliest political memories and was one of the reasons she spent her life working towards an equal democracy. Secondly she answered “an unequivocal no” to the question of whether she wanted to become “South Africa’s Donald Trump”.

Zille then, in turn, asked the professor to answer some of her questions regarding, the “eruption” after stating, what she called, “a much milder point” that “the legacy of colonialism was not only negative”.

She described how some colonies had become inclusive while others were divided and she said it was necessary to understand why, and she pointed to Singapore as being one of the countries which had been “particularly successful in this quest” and said she had written reports, articles and reflective tweets on the subject, and that it was one of these tweets which she said “was decontextualised and distorted”.

In an interview with EWN, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Zille’s controversial tweets about colonialism had dented the party’s public image. “Surely, that tweet speaks about reputational damage ahead of elections, there is no question about that.”

READ MORE: Maimane disappointed by Zille’s colonialism tweets – report

In her opinion piece, Zille wrote that there was something bigger was at play for why “it became the focus of a major controversy”, she wrote, and it is at this point that she speaks of the shift in South African politics.

Quoting Zille directly, she wrote, “Over the past few years, a tectonic shift has occurred in South African politics. The Mandela era has come to an end. Emerging, from the epicentre of our universities, is a new set of ideas rooted in Frantz Fanon’s writings and codified in ‘critical race theory’ that regards ‘whiteness’ and ‘whites’ as the key obstacle to the progress of black people in South Africa.”

She calls it “the virus of anti-whiteness” which she says is “rooted in the negative legacy of colonialism” and she believed it had spread through the born-free generation, and she pointed specifically to the “young, educated elite” and said that it was an “attractive philosophy” which “turns ‘whites’ into an easy target, a scapegoat to avoid facing the real issues that prevent progress and economic inclusion in South Africa.”

She said that the new face of racism in South Africa was “the condemnation of a whole category of people because of their (white) race” and warned that she believed it had consequences of reversing the progress of the struggle for inclusive democracy and said she would continue to fight for such a nonracial democracy.

In March, Zille also referred to the trend of “scapegoating” in her responses in the provincial legislature on her social media posts, according to a report by eNCA. Zille was quoted as saying that the ANC was “scapegoating minorities in order to conceal their failures to govern this country honestly and efficiently without consequences.” She was reported as saying that that was why they blamed “some white monopoly capital”, the report said.

Taking to his social media platforms on Sunday, author and radio host Eusebius McKaiser shared his analysis on Zille’s opinion piece in the Sunday Times, saying, “she continues to defend her romantic dalliance with colonialism” and he pointed to the possible political consequences.


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