South Africans remain racially divided – Vince Musewe

via South Africans remain racially divided | The Zimbabwean 05.11.13 by Vince Musewe

South Africans, both black and white, must appreciate more what they take for granted.

A brief visit to South Africa last week to launch my book “Black Hope White Fear”- reflections on economic transformation in South Africa, which I co- authored with a white South African male, confirmed my fears. Despite the obvious infrastructure development that I saw, the country remains economically and socially divided on racial lines. The legacy of apartheid still breathes to this day.

As a Zimbabwean, I have vested interests in a stable, prosperous and racially integrated South Africa. After all, an estimated 3 million of my brothers and sisters live there.

I keep getting rather dim-witted comments from black South Africans that as a Zimbabwean I should not comment on South Africa issues. I reject that narrow view because whether they like it or not, I am an African.

The white suburbs are serene and clean while black neighbourhoods are lively and rather hectic. But the economic divide is obvious. Added to this are the millions of people from the rest of Africa who seem to dominate the public markets with their wares – mainly imported from China.

Economic transformation is very slow and racial integration is not happening. In my opinion, this continues to diminish the potential of such a blessed and beautiful land.

Participating in radio debates gave me the feeling that black South Africans are an angry lot as they continue not to see any significant economic progress, while whites are still hiding in their prejudices of the past. There is of course an educated and very articulate black middle class emerging, but they are locked in consumption debt and are not creating personal wealth. This does not bode well for their future economic emancipation.

South Africa faces the very challenges that Zimbabwe faced in the past: high expectation of change and an entrenched white capitalist class that is resistant to change.

White capital in South Africa must embrace change and deliberately ensure that middle class blacks begin to create wealth. All will benefit from this. The private sector must not continue to isolate itself in gated estates and continue to blame government for its failures – especially in education. They must come to the party and be the change they want to see. It is in their interests that poor black South Africans are lifted from poverty. If this does not happen, white capital will create space for radicalism from the masses.

I implore whites in South Africa not to underestimate Julius Malema’s appeal within the black population, both marginalized and professional, who are frustrated by their lack of personal progress. Most I spoke to openly said they wouldn’t support him in an election. My position continues to be that Malema does not have the answers to build a racially integrated and prosperous South Africa.

I keep saying that South Africa must learn from Zimbabwe. Half hearted attempts on transformation and integration will result in an anxious black population that may run out of patience and resort to drastic solutions to the detriment of all. This will have a huge negative impact within the region.

There is no doubt that South Africa must still go through some growing pains with regard to racial integration. South Africans, both black and white, must appreciate more what they take for granted: a good and working infrastructure with a large population that can be trained and unleashed to the economic benefit of all; freedom of speech and a vibrant and creative community; technological development and adequate resources in the treasury to accelerate its use for economic transformation; an independent judiciary and a professional military.

These are some of the things that we Zimbabweans, and indeed most Africans, would die for and are working hard to create.

As elections in South Africa come next year, I think we are going to see a vibrant political contestation and much intrigue, but unfortunately, after all is said and done, blacks will return to their poverty and whites to their gated communities and complain why things never change. What a pity!

Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 27
  • comment-avatar
    Africanson 8 years ago

    Did you learn all this in that brief visit? Why do you doubt Malema? Is it because he is black or because he is campaigning for the poor? That could be the reason why you were advised to comment about zim not sa. You can be an african but you are a zimbabwean not a south african. Dont try to draw paralles bwtn the two countrirs, they are worlds apart in terms of challenges. Malema has not said anything against their freedom charter. There is a lot of issues that the gvt decided not to do or talk about for social harmony. This is working to the advantage of the white man in sandton and not the blackman in Alex. The gvt is to blame not the people or malema. Whites in sa are racists and blacks are tolerent

    • comment-avatar
      Jrr56 8 years ago

      You are the worst type of person Africa has to offer. Such a racist statement to make “Whites in sa are racists and blacks are tolerant” Such ignorant comments should be a criminal offence as it is in Europe.

    • comment-avatar
      Mthwakazi 8 years ago

      Malema has stolen from the poor through abusing government tenders for his own benefit, so he can not be campaigning for the poor by any stretch of the imagination.

      Where on earth have you seen a person who earns a monthly slary of R50 000 building a R12 million mansion; buying a farm; owning a Breitling watch worth R200 000 and numerous of other properties and cars?

      I can never understand why some people allow themselves to be used, cheated by politicians; could it be a case of low intelligence levels – I wonder!!

  • comment-avatar
    Africanson 8 years ago

    Remember that zimbabwe is blessed too.

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 8 years ago

    RTHNICALLY DIVIDED NOT RACIALLY , THERE IS ONLY ONE HUMAN RACE!

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 8 years ago

    ETHNICALLY

  • comment-avatar
    ZimJim 8 years ago

    The WORLD is Racially/Ethnically/Religiously divided.

    Always has been, always will be. Get over it.

    There are only two types of people, good and bad.

  • comment-avatar
    msizeni silwelani 8 years ago

    Well, you lost this one Musewe. Gated estates is all what you saw in your stint visit to your white co-author and want to draw parralels with undeveloping Zimbabwe.

    Your article is inflamatory. What do you say about Strathaven and “Borodari” as compared to Glen Nora and Mpompoma? These areas are occupied by people of same race. Their economic well being are worlds apart, tell us if this is acceptable.

    “Vince, a new beer in the market, locally produced by Mugabe, one musewe, you are zanufied”, will make for good jingles at ZBC.

    Broaden your creative analysis when it comes to this race/ethnic/tribal subject or else you find yourself repeating the tired theorem of sun rise and sun set in relation to residents where a majority of us leave.

  • comment-avatar
    Zvakwana 8 years ago

    Malema is in it for himself not for the people,greed is his nemesis.

    • comment-avatar
      Takalane 8 years ago

      FYI Vince has lived in SA for too long than most of yu who went in 2005 when economy went down.
      He used to write articles on Moneywebb and he used to have a huge following.
      But anyways what can you expect from Zimbos? We are a jealous lot, kuitira mumwe muZimbo majerasi, always pulling each other down

  • comment-avatar
    farai 8 years ago

    Vince, To say Malema has appeal but no votes is stupendously misguided. Read the facts Vince don’t superimpose your personal bias on them. Malema does not need to have the answers to build a racially integrated and prosperous South Africa. He has the answer to dislodge and dismantle the entrached interests that make the attainment of such a status impossible.

    The challenge for Malema is to turn that appeal into votes. True to history, just watch white capital interests and the ANC team up to fight against him!

  • comment-avatar
    farai 8 years ago

    Vince worked and lived most of his adult life in South Africa, to pretend his observations are based on the short visit is being economic with the truth. I suspect he has property and business interests there too. Vince is also a bit detached from reality and taken to espousing academic theories that don’t work for social transformation. He fails to see that throughout history there has never been social transformation without civil strife. The reason is simple, the cake is just not big enough and those who have it can’t share it without creating a significant reduction in their wealth and lifestyles.

    South Africa’s apparent wealth and development is a mirage only made possible by the fact that millions of it’s citizens are not at the table and are not allowed to eat the cake. With all the will in the world, it is not the responsibility of white South Africa to create a wealthy black class. Meaningful black wealth can only happen at the expense of white wealth. Rational human beings would learn from history and see the potential pitfalls of the race based inequality in South Africa. But our creator forgot to install the Chip of rationality in us, such a rational person is a theoretical construct.

    The bottom line is Whites will try every trick in the book to keep their wealth and retain their privilege and blacks will gradually move towards the only option that works in these situations, radical civil strife. It’s the practical way of life proven to work time and time again. Can’t be avoided and can’t be short-circuited. Consider this Vince, for Sandton to be, there must be Alex and Sandton can never be without Alex. Mark my words, South Africans will fight, whites to retain their privilege and blacks for a seat at the table and partake of the cake they have been denied for so long. No amount of theorizing will change that trajectory. At that point, we will receive the refugees in the spirit of humanity.

    There is an oft peddled but never substatiated stat about there being 3 million Zimbabweans in South Africa. What’s your source Vince? Many yes, 20% of our population, I think not, that’s a lie! As an economist I expect a more intellectual use of stats from you.

    • comment-avatar
      Mthwakazi 8 years ago

      Wena farai, what makes you think that black wealth can only occur at the expense of white wealth? That is nonsensical – which white wealth was expensed when Richard Maponya of the Maponya Mall in Sowetho got rich during and after apartheid?

      Each and every human being can get rich if equal conditions are created for this to happen for everyone. You dont have to bring down the rich to bring up the poor. This is what you tried doing in Zimbabwe and today the country is a wasteland.

      South Africa is actually on the right track with its BBBEE, affirmative action programs. Their only problem is the failure to implement these programs properly and corruption. Black Empowerment programs do not disadvantage whites or ruin their wealth in anyway if properly implemented. They simply equalise the economic playing field.

  • comment-avatar
    msizeni silwelani 8 years ago

    Our contributions are not based on the knowledge of one’s background. Neither is it based on our educational qualifications. We do not hold “PECLIST MBA” hence we never disputed the”pre-school dropout” tag.

    Ours is based on natural wisdom coupled with natural understanding of our social, political and economic history. It might be a fact you know the writer of an article but that does not make it socially correct. Vince lied, he impressed that his was a visit. Thanks.

  • comment-avatar
    Fallenz 8 years ago

    It seems that much problem comes because there’s a desire for cake instead of bread… and those who go about shouting that I should not be satisfied with bread, when others have cake… and that I must make the cake-eaters give me some cakes.

    This world is my beginning. And if it were to be my end, then give me the cake, and the rest of you be hanged. But, it is not. I will eat bread… my cake lies beyond, and I savor the thought.

  • comment-avatar
    Pastor 8 years ago

    What is sin?
    Sin is the state that resulted from mankind rejecting God. Sins are the acts that people do as a result. Sins can include exaggeration, lying, jealousy, stealing, murder, adultery or sexual perversion. Everyone sins by nature, as the scripture says: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

    What is God’s reaction to it?
    God says that sin results in separation from God. God hates sin and His anger with sin will mean that people are eternally separated from God. However God is also a compassionate God and in His mercy has provided a solution to the problem of sin and the sins of each person.

    Why does He have this reaction?
    God’s holy nature cannot abide sin. Sin has separated man from God. In his pride man wanted to be independent when God had provided all that he needed.

  • comment-avatar

    Zimbabwe is a cursed nation.South Africa is a better nation than us by far because they did not chase away the white people.

    • comment-avatar
      farai 8 years ago

      White people were chased away? By who and under what program? Must have missed it. Is it possible to be racially integrated? Where has this ever worked?

  • comment-avatar
    Kalusha 8 years ago

    Zimbabwe is also racial and tribal divided,we are worse than south africa.

  • comment-avatar
    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    Vince Musewe, I think you will do everyone a favour by writing about the tribal divide in Zimbabwe, especially in its politics for starters, instead of venturing afar.

    This is because, if you look closely most of the underlying causes of the racial divide in South Africa are very much similar to the tribal divide in Zim. They are the follwoing:

    1. History of conflict between tribes;
    2. Domination of one by another;
    3. Imposition of one’s culture, and language on another;
    4. Belief in the right to rule/govern over another;
    5. Belief in being the legitimate owners of the land to the exclusion of the others; and
    6. Distortion of history for the benefit of one section of the population and disadvantaging the other population groups.

    All these are a replica of the South African society either in the historical context or the present.

    The problem we have in Africa, Zimbabwe in particular is that we find it very very easier to debate, discuss race but we are too damn scared to discuss tribalism. And in most cases, it is those who are the perpetrators of tribal domination and discrimantion who dismiss and discussion of the subject – accusing the victims of tribalism, should they try to raise the issue!!

  • comment-avatar
    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    Vince, there are no “white suburbs” in South Africa; apartheid is long gone. What you have are white-dominated suburbs and black-dominated townships. The same is the case with schools and many other institutions, for obvious historical reasons.

    There are no places that are a preserve of one race in South Africa. So please use the correct language and stop misinforming the piblic!

  • comment-avatar
    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    @farai
    What makes you think that black wealth can only occur at the expense of white wealth? That is nonsensical – which white wealth was expensed when Richard Maponya of the Maponya Mall in Sowetho got rich during and after apartheid?

    Each and every human being can get rich if equal conditions are created for this to happen. You dont have to bring down the rich to bring up the poor.

    The idea of competing and equalising your economic status with that of your neighbour by breaking up your neighbour’s new bicycle, instead of you getting econmicall ahead of him by buying yourself a motorbike or a car is primitive to say the least. Its typically a black thing; that is why blacks never progress.

    This is what you tried doing in Zimbabwe and today the country is a wasteland.

    South Africa is actually on the right track with its BBBEE, affirmative action programs. Their only problem is the failure to implement these programs properly and corruption. Black Empowerment programs do not disadvantage whites or ruin their wealth in anyway if properly implemented. They simply equalise the economic playing field

  • comment-avatar
    farai 8 years ago

    I will simplify things for your benefit. A Rand that used to be spent at Sandton Mall does not grow the economy if it is now being spent at the Maponga Mall! Do you comprehend? Theoretically, all can get rich “if equal conditions are created.” In a world of infinite resources and opportunities maybe. In this world? Get real man! You don’t necessarily have to make white people poor to get black people rich, just encourage whites to share some of the cake a bit more.

  • comment-avatar
    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    farai
    Besides the policies of BBBEE, affirmative action, employment equity, legislated land redistribution and reviewing of the 1913 land act that the ANC govt has put in place what other “sharing of the cake by whites” do you envisage?

    Clearly you seem to believein grabbing from the rich and that is a receip for economic disaster as the Zimbabwean experience has shown. All the policies for sharing the cake are already in place and they can and do work but only if the blacks themselves implement them wholeheartedly and properly.

    They are currently sabotaging these policies by agreeing to being fronted by white owned companies in false BEE deals,; corruption in tenders that are meant to benefit and uplift the broad black population; favouritism and excluding the less connected blacks in job opportunities and climbing the corporate ladder; and greed and self loathing by favouring foreigners at their own people’s expense, hence the growing xenophobia.

  • comment-avatar
    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    Farai
    I repeat, the idea of competing and equalising your economic status with that of your neighbour by breaking up his new bicycle, instead of getting economically ahead of him by you buying yourself an even better mode of transport in the form of a motor bike or a car is indeed primitive to say the least. Its a typical African and its backward. Please stop promoting it!!

    EQUALITY IN POVERTY has never made for national progress anywhere in the world!

  • comment-avatar
    without strong roots 8 years ago

    Not living in Zimbabwe any more I follow this debate from a distance. I fear you guys are heading for a new Bosnia or Rwanda. Ethnic cleansing is a very blunt and unjust way to bring a new order. Come on!! Southern Africa needs to rise above your very basic instinkts, seeing colour, tribe and race as the dividing line. Stop ruling along these lines. Take impression from India and get on building the future.

    Guys like Mngxitama has dangerous simpliications of history and economy with strong parrallels to Hitlers understanding of the World.

    Growing upp in Zim to progresive parents I early saw the divide in wealth between White and black. The answer is no Quick fix.
    1.Fix the tax system and local goverment.
    2.everybody with freinds belonging to a different Group needs to be cheered at instead of questioned. Brazil can in some ways be a model.

    Although the rest of the world also is struggeling with xenofobia I feel that Southern africa is having the biggest problems with the mindset.