Saturday, 21 May 2011

Together We Can Build?

This was the ANC's local elections campaign song by kwaito artist, Chomee (video complete with guest appearance from the King of Kwaito, Arthur Mofokate). It's an ironic considering that the ANC failing in public service delivery from decent housing to toilets to electricity and water services.  Here's an extract from a very powerful piece Bastards of a Dream Deferred by Lindokuhle Nkosi (recommended reading). Although it was published a few days before the election - it's still relevant and it provides a sobering contrast to the happy clappy, shuckin' n jivin' video above. 
(sidenote: Compare and contrast Beyonce's dance routine for 'Who runs the world' with this, clearly Bey's moves come from South Africa.)

“We have no water, we have no electricity. The ANC is killing us man. They killed my father. They took my legs.” I want to tell him that alcohol took his father. I want to tell him he lost his legs when the Military truck that he and his drunk soldier friends were in hit a pothole and flipped. Instead, I focus my energies on funneling the boiling water into three small teacups, whilst watching that he doesn’t steal anything to trade for alcohol, like he did last time. I’m cold and hungry. I’m thinking about the slow puncture I got trying to avoid a mound of cement the community had placed in the road when they realised the government would never get around to building speed humps outside the school. The pot slips, water spills on the coals putting out the fire that had been burning for three days now. No worries, the gas stove has arrived, and I managed not to burn myself.

I place the tray on the table next to a few lit candles. The same table my frightened cousins and I huddled under a long time ago, hiding from the police and red-clad Inkatha impis who marched down the street armed with pangas and hatred. “It would get better,” the older ones would say. The country would be free, my uncle would come back from exile. One day, we’d share in the freedoms that were currently only a privilege of the paler skinned South Africans. But there’s no electricity, and the water has been on and off since December, and I still need to change my tire. They say the sub-station burnt. The broken dreams made love to the empty promises and ignited a baptism of fire. The decaying bodies of the poor and the black blocked the pipes and the water can not flow. The desolate tears choke the voice of the oppressed and their cries will not be heard.
Jacob Zuma’s face smiles audaciously off a streetlamp that has never, in my memory, been operational. “Vote ANC!” He grins. “Together we can do more…” A tall vandal has scribbled something in black marker over the ellipses. The campaign poster now reads: “Together, we can do more crime.


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