The black middle class has sold out,” a friend announced after returning from a ward meeting where there was apparently not enough sympathy for the Marikana miners from those present.
Instead of being outraged at the killings, many people who attended the meeting apparently tried to logically piece together what had happened, and how it had happened. I found this very interesting considering expelled Youth League President Julius Malema had said exactly the same thing a few days before.
Have we sold out? Have we completely removed ourselves from the experiences of the majority of South Africans who still live in poverty? I asked myself this question several times and each time the answer was “No way”. It is impossible to do so.
It will take at least a few generations for the majority of the black middle class to move on. Like many black professionals, I can’t seem to escape poverty’s firm grip. I look after a recently orphaned niece and nephew, am responsible for my brothers’ education, support my mother-in-law who lives in an Eastern Cape village, deliver groceries from time to time to cousins and uncles . . .
So how, I keep asking myself, can we possibly have sold out? If we don’t support our community we’d be allowing certain situations to continue, such as that of the gogos and destitute children (see page 12) who might no longer be eligible for foster care grants.
The same however can’t be said about the ANC as Julius Malema points out on page 14. Today’s ANC is facing its biggest crisis with leaders and members who have seemingly forgotten the people who put them in power in pursuit of their self-absorbed interests.
Interestingly, just days after these assertions a group called The Defenders of the Revolution (DOR) made a bold declaration: “Anyone but Zuma and Julius”. This is music to many people’s ears as these two have done everything possible to tear each other apart, and as a result the ANC celebrates its 100th year in tatters.
We don’t know how successful the DORs bid will be, but until Mangaung it gives us something to think about.