On #ZumaMustFall, white appropriation, and the protection of white capital

#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.

Meditation… on whiteness?

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.

“The police is shooting white people with their cameras” – Wandile Kasibe

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.

While I am not a fan of Zuma… some of the subtle racism and objectification underlying a lot of the criticism towards him is galling

9 thoughts on “On #ZumaMustFall, white appropriation, and the protection of white capital

  1. You are living in the past. Stop looking to the past, look to the future and join people that are trying to build a better life for all. Bring people together rather than being devisive.


  2. This is not a race issue. It is an economic issue and I promise you that blacks, whites, coloureds, indians and any other culture or race in the country will suffer if our economy continues to take unnecessary knocks like that of last week. Simply because the rich whites will lose more doesn’t make it a white issue. Simply because people wore masks and rocked up with ironic t-shirts and Mandela posters does not make this a white parade. Let’s say that whites have less experience in marching so this is how they do it – ah bless. The point is that you are making it a race issue because of your own prejudice friend. I agree that there are still massive gaps in terms of ownership and capital, but we have had a “black” government for quite some time now so they obviously aren’t acting in the interests of the general masses but rather in their own interests. So one must conclude that #ZumaMustFall


    1. Sorry but concluding that #ZumaMustFall because the “Black” government has failed the masses is problematic, the white government before this didn’t even acknowledge the majority of people in South Africa as human.

      Secondly, the fact that white masses are marching now, but didn’t join the marches of wakers striking when Marikana happened, when majority black students were protesting to have access to education, etc shows that only when their capital is hurt, they will march. This is self interest, first and foremost. I am not saying the economy is a white issue, but that addressing the economic issues without including proper redress, land reform, economic justice to fix what is still economic apartheid, is disingenuous… ultimately such a narrow approach serves the white domination of the wconomy more than anything.

      Besides, without a change in the actual system, there will always be a next “zuma”… when the DA’s aim is not to upset white capital in South Africa


  3. Please note, if you comments are:

    1) ableist (using words such as “moronic”, “crazy”, etc.) i will simply remove them; there is no need to be ableist in disagreeing with me. If you need to read up on ableism and ableist language: http://thoughtcatalog.com/parker-marie-molloy/2013/10/15-crazy-examples-of-insanely-ableist-language/

    2) if your are deliberately insulting or racist, same thing.

    These are not things I tolerate here. Discuss, disagree, critique, strongly disagree, condemn even… but no need to perpetuate ableism, racism, or to be insulting.


  4. What are you going to replace white capitalism (or play ole capitalism) with, Black Capilatism, maybe communism?? !!! Get real, friend. WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER!!!! One single race can not make this work. Did you not learn the lesson from the Apartheid regime or were you busy toyitoying when the lesson was done? Only a fool (most of the times, educated fools) think otherwise. South Africa will never move forward if one race places itself above the others. The solution is pretty simple: Vote with your head,not with your heart. The future of SA and all who live in it depends on our next vote. People, we really only have one chance at getting this right. Do not let your own racism get the better of you. Yes, it will be a bitter pill to swallow but did medication ever taste good? But it sure made you feel better.

    We do not need to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya”and think that therein lies prosperity. It will require hard work to the glue together, just like boy/girl relationship or gender/gender relationship (without wanting to sound politically incorrect).

    Like I said: WE NEED EACH OTHER.


    1. The fact remains, there is still “one race above the other”; if you look around SA, the spatial divisions, ownership of the economy, etc. has barely changed. In fact the economic gap between the average white persons and average black person has only increased. To deny this, to claim that racism does not exist, is factually untrue. Furthermore, voting is not the only part of a democracy, the ongoing engagement is part of this, and therefore the lingering white supremacy, the continuing legacy of apartheid needs to be called out. At this point, “black capitalism” doesn’t exist, there is a small number of black people who have gained middle-income status, there is an even smaller number of black people who have managed to breach into a capitalist system that is still white dominated (i.e. people like Cyril) that have gained millions; to use these exceptions to the rule (as they still are) to deny who still owns the economy is a denialism ever present in this “rainbow-nationism”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So your proposal is, what? You complain about the march being too white but what is the solution? The country is protesting a leadership that is clearly not actively combating all of the problems that you have identified, which I agree are problems. There should be equality not division. So tell me how your article is promoting that?


      2. My proposal is that to dismantle white dominance of the economy, proper economic redress & land reform need to be an integral part of addressing this issue. Sure Zuma is problematic and bad leader, but focussing only on the individual is not providing a long term solution.

        On the march being to white, well when white privilege is flaunted, even people attending dress in apartheid masks, when there is underlying racism in a lot of the critique that is leveled against Zuma, when such marches don’t closely address the prevailing inequality… what do you expect?


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