If we are to acknowledge the present South Africa, the Now South Africa we will have to take into consideration the behavior of the Center of Power through its State Apparatuses. By State Apparatus I mean to use the term in situ with Luis Althusser’s writings on Ideology in mind.
Today South Africa is part of the global village in terms of its participation in Trade, Sport and Arts and Culture. It posses a proper infrastructure in terms of access to world knowledge and it is a contributor as well. On other levels of media it is importing as well as exporting its own content to the rest of the world. It is wired. It is a player in Mass media domain. However, like the so called developed world, it faces challenges of economic development. It also posses a surplus of educated young people both black and white but unfortunately unemployment is a major challenge.
What was entrenched at the demise of separate development (Apartness) – the Rainbow Nation, sought to unite the country into a homogeneous entity. Unfortunately today the Ideology of the Rainbow Nation finds it self wrapped by the disparities that continue to exist between black and white South Africans. It is a Now against which we have witnessed an emerging black-geoisie (neo-bourgeoisie) marred by a selfish attitude towards the ruled or lower class. There has not emerged a culture of plowing back into the society from those who have conquered poverty. There is a lack of intra- and inter- communications as far as social commitment to the country is concerned.
In its true original sense, the Rainbow Nation, when it was engineered and entrenched post-apartheid it was an attempt to rally towards a united South Africa, when the world’s gaze dreaded a reversal of racial separateness – which could’ve been a social catastrophe. It was put in place as a unifying modal, and it worked in purging dis-harmonic tendencies as far as race is concerned but for a short period as the various demagogues preempted further evolution of it as an ideology.
Today its euphoria seems short-lived when one take a closer look at our society. Why has there been a decline in the zest of the Rainbow Nation Ideology witnessed a decade or so ago? In order to begin to construct an answer as to what went wrong as far as the social unrest that we see today taking place in our country are concerned we will have to dissect the idea of the Rainbow Nation within the paradigm of Ideology itself.
Let us acknowledge firstly that the Rainbow Nation is an Ideology. Our short democratic rule proves that it is a viable Ideology. Unfortunately like any other Ideology in the face of lack of ideals it has suffered an anomaly of a shortage of discourse. As our country evolved into a democratic country post ’94 the Idea of a Rainbow Nation was not continuously molded in order for it to continue to define and express the Identity of our changing society.
The point of opportunity is inherent in the political domain in that in any society political affinity, like culture itself, shapes the prism through which we perceive the world and interact with the other members of the society concerned. If the present leaders in toto will like to retain the decorum of the country that transcended separation – they themselves should see it compelling to act in a unifying manner towards the present Center of Power and other oppositional parties. One can understand that they all have different policies and agendas as far as the direction the country should be taking is concerned.
But what is it that is unifying South Africans today and what is dividing them? Unemployment with its twin Illiteracy strikes an arrow of disunity in our country. Unfortunately on the level of unity nothing substantial is visible. In 2010 the FIFA Soccer World Cup will be a short unifying element, like Rugby did previously, and then comes the aftermath, however pre its staging the high pricing of tickets have demonstrated the location of South Africans as far as economy is concerned, inequality continues to exist. Although it was later resolved but not entirely. An anomaly in our structures was also reflected by the imbalances of schedule of artists to perform at the opening concert of the tournament has demonstrate that the various Ideological State Apparatuses involved in the Arts and Sports did not properly consult with all relevent stake holders as the basis on the planning of the concert. It took protest from CWUSA (Creative Workers Union of South Africa) to rethink the eve of FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup concert. Protest is the lingo franca of dialogue in our country.
A unified South Africa is possible when the fundamentalist attitudes of those in the power struggle start acknowledging that their actions inevitably fetter down to the ruled. That there should be a viable two-way communication between the ruled and the rulers. In any social sphere the vehicle of communication is change for the better not for the worse.
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2010