I am trying to live in the present South Africa, the one you and I are in right here and now with other 50 million people. I am trying hard to unshackle myself from being a prisoner of history with its dead past. What I am trying to do is to begin a process of Unlearning, to stop the past from dominating my mind and present. Maybe when I do that I may return to my original state of being.
When I was born in Alexandra township, I was not aware that this country was mine or that I was an African. When a child is born it does not know whether it is black or white, nor does it know the name of the country in which it is born. It was when I was growing up in the late 1960s, 70s, 80s and beyond that I was conditioned, programmed, turned into a robotic human being through socialisation and politicisation, and learned that this is MY country because I was born a black and African.
Initially this appealed to my heart and head, and gave me a sense of political belonging and purpose. I accepted this teaching without question. But now that over five decades have passed and the fifth 2014 democratic elections and voting are over, it seems the so called African majority does not really care about who OWNS the land and CONTROLS THE ECONOMY.
Remember that parties like the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and Azanian Peoples Organisation (Azapo) that were in the forefront of this radical ideology of indigenous land ownership have been abandoned and marginalised by the people. They have lost support and almost rendered irrelevant. Now more and more South Africans approach life with the moderate ANC belief that ‘South Africa belongs to ALL who live in it.’ There is something that needs to be fixed in the heads of those who, like me, believed otherwise.
Life is not fun when you are a prisoner of the brainwashing and the past. Nobody likes to be wrong, especially when they believe they are right like the PAC and Azapo. But it seems unhelpful to hold onto outdated political slogans of ‘Africa for Africans.’ In fact it is depressing and self-destructive.
The reality I live in now and the top down democracy that prevails is tells me this land belongs to the State and, largely, those who took it by the gun. But what gives them the right to take control and ownership of this land? If I’m correct, they too, just like me, were born not knowing their true identity or that they owned the land.
Nobody has ownership rights to this country. The land is sacred and belongs to no one in particular.
We have to move from the premise that this country belongs to anybody. No human being has ownership rights to the land. It is land that was here long before we came. It is a beautiful land that will still be here long after we have lived and died.
I need to stop and question the way I am, and the beliefs I held as a result of ideological conditioning and social engineering. I must so that I can return to who I truly am: someone who knows nothing about his true identity or original ownership of land and economy. If I don’t know, and all I know is that what I know is not true, then nobody owns this land.
I must Unlearn this knowledge that as an African I own this land. This is consciousness and knowledge born of ignorance and socio-political conditioning. I need to focus on things that I need as a human being, here and now. And those are things that will make me happy: to find my purpose on earth, fulfil my potential, live harmoniously with fellow human being and enjoy my life.
If democracy works, those who prevail hold the view that this country belongs to all who live in it. Even the renowned Freedom Charter says so. Who gave the black or white man the right to own land?
What I know is that I am here now and yesterday is history. It is dead and gone. And tomorrow is the future that does not yet exist. As long as I use today and the present to be preoccupied with yesterday and history, and to plan for tomorrow and the future that does not exist, I will not be a happy and satisfied person.
I can no longer afford to give up my present for memories and dreams. There are a lot of things I must Unlearn to learn new things that will help me enjoy the present. It is not like I am saying people should give up the struggle, whatever that is now. But I am tired if chasing illusions that will lead nowhere except to bring dissatisfaction, depression and suffering.
I was sold a lie and I bought it for a long time.
This beautiful land and everything in it belongs to life methinks.