#ZumaMustFall is white… and when I say that, what I mean is that the #ZumaMustFall rhetoric has been about the protection of white capital. The months and months of #Fallism in 2015, from Rhodes Must Fall to Fees Must Fall has given rise to a decolonial project; this project seeks to undermine “whiteness” – “whiteness” being a system of white supremacy, white privilege, white arrogance, white fears, and white fragility. It has been especially galling to see the Must Fall tag appropriated for exactly the opposite of this decolonial agenda.
Especially in Cape Town, in marches to parliament, whiteness was flourishing – in all the wrong ways. Mandela quotes, T-shirts, and even masks, were out in full force, and the presentation of Mandela as the “good black” vs Zuma as the “bad black” being the prevailing narrative put forward. Yet there lies the inherent issue I have: it is in fact the removal of Minister of Finance Nene that sparked this, a falling rand that would threaten capitalist interest; in an economy that is still dominated and owned mostly by white people, this is thus a direct threat to white capital. It was not the massacre at Marikana, not the lives of students that faced police brutality, not the prevailing legacy of apartheid that still means poverty to those classified as lesser during white rule… it was the threat to a white dominated economy that moved masses of white people into action. Of course there were not only white people at #ZumaMustFall marches… Yet especially in Cape Town, the racial makeup was very specific… and very white. And of course not only white people will be affected by a struggling economy, but we must be clear as to the different interests for white people: for them it is a threat to the continuing hold they have on the economy, to the profits of colonial rule that they still reek in to this day.
To see those marches has been triggering… because it shows how much whiteness is a shield against even police brutality. How many were arrested? How many stun grenades did they have to dodge? How did they have to shield themselves from teargas? How many injuries from batons and shields descending down on their bodies in sheer aggression? How many did they have to bail out from jail? How many interdicts against SAPS for police brutality did they have to seek out? How many were charged for High Treason? And in terms of the last one… did they not literally seek regime change? Something Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall were accused off and targeted for… It is a painful reminder of whose lives matter and whose don’t in “post-apartheid” South Africa. It is what makes the appropriation of the Must Fall tag all the more galling… If those who have moved forward for decolonisation, if those masses who mobilised for Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall had demanded that Zuma Must Fall in such visible and such clear voices, we all know what the response would have been when they would show up in numbers at Parliament.
However, what today has shows is that the decolonial project that has spread around the nation over the course of 2015 is a viable and strong movement… And it shows that even the powers that be understand that it is a project that will upset the balance, and challenges the white capital that still runs this country. The focus on Zuma as an individual, ascribing all ills to this one person, means that the system that allows someone to do what he did remains unchallenged; this regime change they seek, even if it would put the DA where the ANC currently is, would not challenge the prevailing economic power dynamics in this country, rather it would only further entrench them.