Thursday, February 14, 2008

Xolela Mangcu , To the Brink

In a very interesting article, in The Star (13 Feb 2008), an extract from his book, To the Brink, Xolela Mangxu, Executice chair of the Platform for Public Deliberation, rips apart, the kind of 'racial nativism', that he finds currently in the political imaginations of the ANC, but also currently in South Africa.

What is this nativism ? He writes 'By its very nature racial nativism is exclusionary and inevitably leads to political intolerance, which has manifested through the racial labeling of political critics as traitors...'
This position he juxtaposes against, what he calls 'the long traditions of racial syncretism that have always characterized South African political and intellectual history'. Here 'natives' are all the people born in the country, irrespective of their struggle history or where they stand in relation to government. This sentiment echoes in the Freedom Charter, which unambigiously states, 'South Africa belongs to all who lives in it, black or white'. He describe the Pan Africanist leader Robert Sobukwe or Steven Biko as 'never racial essentalists'. Sobukwe states, 'When I say Africa is for the Africans I mean those of any colour, who accept Africa as their home....'

This book is indeed an essential read for all of us....


leccese said...

I read "To The Brink" with a lively interest. Mangcu's temperament as a writer commands attention. In faraway Italy and in ignorance of his country, I have to suspend judgment on his pointed criticism that, nonetheless, sounds like good sense. But I'm touched by the fact that he's written elsewhere on my native city of Chicago. I wish he would do another version of "To The Brink" that would incorporate the points made in the columns he cites and also suppress many of the quotes from thinkers and analysts. That would make for a more running and absorbing narrative line.

Reggie said...

I agree, it felt at some points that he is merely presenting a the columns with running commentary on it. His analysis, however remains penetrating and relevant.