Yes, We Can

A special toast to the man who proved to America and the world that as a human species, ‘WE CAN’. Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America stands at a pivotal moment to undo most of the damage done by his predecessor George W Bush in devaluing the brand United States. (Remember the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan’s 44?)

Unbeknown to him Obama has already inspired so many black people all over the world to believe in themselves and their ability to rise above the tiny confines erected around them by greedy politicians and religious dogma to keep them in check. He has motivated young businesspeople across the colour divide to go out there and sell their visions, wares and ideas to the highest bidders in a hope that anything is possible – Coca Cola can become your client.

Well, indeed, we have known this for many years that anything is possible. One of those possible, if you’ll let me say it is that South Afrikans are also capable of putting a white person in the Union Buildings. Maybe Obama’s victory is a cue to many South Afrikans that the much-dreaded Democratic Alliance is not out of contention yet because the few darkies who detest the DA do so due to the constant reminder of the African National Congress’ role in the liberation struggle from whites and not because of some concrete sin that the DA has committed against blacks.

Obama’s victory might say it’s time for democrats all over the world to stand up and be counted. It might galvanise the DA to a much improved election campaign and result next year provided Jacob Zuma clamps down on his violent supporters who disrupt meetings and those who make some areas no-go zones. Given the mess going on in the ANC right now whereby both presidents of the mother and the son seem to put less emphasis on personal empowerment through education there might just be miracles coming from the new party of Mbhazima Shilowa and Terror Lekota.

Look, when the president of the Youth League Julius Malema seems to be such an underperformer and sweeps his shortcomings under the carpet and the president of the ANC proudly addresses crowds bragging about ‘thina asifundanga’ (‘we are not educated’) it is time to worry about the future of a country that should pride itself on intellectuals. When Gauteng MEC for Education and ANC Women’s League President Angie Motshega downplays the role of education in society it’s time to worry about the number of questionable characters in positions of power in South Afrika. Where are the critical voices?

Obama makes us proud because, not only because he came from the bottom but went to school and can articulate without people willing to kill for him but because even his wife Michelle is somebody to be proud of as well. She’s a lawyer you know, not just a flabby comrade.

The US works because their lawmakers and congressmen are college graduates with law degrees and MBAs. South Afrika fails because the lawmakers are friends of comrades with teacher’s diplomas and no formal education at the most. They are just a bunch of people who through a mistake of history found themselves having befriended someone who chairs the deployment committee. And we wonder why fourteen years into our democracy the ANC is spit into half with no chance of a make-up. Patronage is the undoing of our democratic dispensation. You can fill halls and stadiums with numbers to lie to yourself about the level of your support but at the end those people don’t eat speeches.

Obama says ‘WE CAN’ since we all, as children of God have a common destiny, it is only a wish that South Afrika can have such quality leadership which has the ability to rise above petty partisan interests and espouse the spirit of tolerance, respect for justice and reconciliation that Obama extended to supporters of Senator John McCain just minutes into his victory. We don’t need to hear references to people as ‘dogs’ just a few months after they were called ‘comrade so and so’.

What Obama did to McCain supporters is something the victorious ANC faction should have done to the supporters of Thabo Mbeki post-Polokwane. I doubt if we’ll see purges in the next two months in America at municipal, district, state and national level. Obama will be inaugurated on Janurary 20, 2009.

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