OR Tambo: “We Are Not Fighting Against People, We Are Fighting Against A System”


Kobedi writes another piece in which he clarifies issues emanating from his original piece http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/need-whites-united-front-fight-poverty-inequality-unemployment-socio-economic-ills/which has generated a fair amount of reaction including an article from Bongani Ngcobo http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/blacks-really-need-include-whites-finding-solutions-socio-economic-problems-affecting/

Just to provide clarity on my initial article. My article is purely about Numbers. It’s about crafting messages that have a wider appeal to more people in our society INCLUDING WHITES. The more South Africans of all races and social classes buy into a particular issue affecting Black people, the more likely it will win the support of everyone including those who have the resources.

At no point does my article portray “whiteness or whites” as a condition for Black success. On the contrary, I portray “whites” as stakeholders in our social discourse just like Indians and Coloureds. We cant afford to be enemies. In fact we don’t have the time and space for that. We are running out of time to be bogged down with that kind of battle.

The example I made about #feesmustfall talks about how Students managed to attract- again numbers to their cause, numbers that included students from all races firstly, but secondly, students from difference social classes.

All the questions Bongani Ngcobo is asking are answered in the article itself hence I have to wonder whether he really read the whole article or he scanned through it. Or perhaps we could have coined the headline differently to avoid misconceptions.

If a particular campaign does not attract wider support it will soon wither and die.

We have many white people championing the course of Black people already. The likes of David Van Wyk, Kim Heller, Carl Niehaus, just to mention a few. Are we brushing them with the same brush then? There are many like them.

My apologies in advance if I appear to be defending white privilege but I’m not.

OR Tambo said: “We are not fighting against people, we are fighting against a system.” At what point in our struggle did these words lose meaning?

“Blacks solving their own problems”

It is the statement above from Bongani that is actually one of the reasons I wrote the article in the first place. It’s the connotations that underpin his reasoning that I have a problem with – whether I interpret it correctly or incorrectly.

The statement suggests rightly or wrongly that Blacks have some kind of a “Black Volkstaat” where they live and exist in a world far removed from white people’s involvement.

It cannot be right. We live in an integrated society. White people live in that integrated society. It’s an inseparable bond whether we like that bond or not. We are part of the same ecosystem and the same value chain.

There is no such thing as “Blacks solving their own problems” without any contact whatsoever with white people. It only sounds good on paper.

There is only South Africans solving their own problems. Whether we form Black industries, Black Banks and Black-led stock exchanges, THEY WILL ALL FUNCTION WITHIN THE COSMOS of this matrix that includes white people. And what I am saying is that when that happens, the nature of such contact shouldn’t be adversarial. It will not work for anyone.

Hence I reiterate, unemployment and poverty is not a Black problem but a South African problem that needs all South Africans to solve. Of course poverty and unemployment affects Blacks more than other racial groupings but the entire society suffers from it’s secondary impacts of high crime levels borne from unemployed people who resort to crime.

Our Fight Is Against The System

We need to adjust our mindset around who the real enemy is hence the importance of Bongani’s question: “who is the assumed enemy?”. Bongani wants an enemy with flesh and blood but unfortunately that’s what keeps us from moving forward.

We are dealing with systems. The system feeds on those who are at the bottom of the pyramid regardless of their race and colour. Black elites behave exactly the same way as their white counterparts because of the system they inherited. Instead of changing the system, Black elites sat down to enjoy it’s benefits to the detriment of the rest.

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  1. It is indeed the system that we fighting against.

    I also felt that Bomgani didn’t really read the whole article in the correct context but simply scanned through it.

    However in my view the example of fees must fall was a bad choice, while in terms of numbers I agree it was succesful…

    Kobedi your comments are always valuable in this platform, keep doing what you do best.

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