said, watch out for Bafana Bafana, but the South Africa team
played the one game and that was it. Watch out for
played one more game after its win against the U.S.
It was okay! The World Cup is still in South Africa! Listen to the vuvuzela! In the meantime,
debated the future of its team. What happened to its
team in the World Cup? The BBC asked every one it
could about the low representation of African teams as
if to suggest the African nations can come up to the standards
of the soccer teams of Latin America and Europe. The World Cup is still in South Africa was the response of South African
responders. The World Cup is still in South Africa!
part of me was proud to see the World Cup come to South
Africa. Mandela’s South Africa! Steve Biko’s South Africa! Dennis
Africa! I could imagine Miriam Makeba
smiling on the country.
is this victory? What does South
Africa win for hosting the World
Cup? I remember as a teenager apartheid South
Africa at the same time I was studying
Jim Crow United
States. In 1990, Mandela is released
after serving 27 years in Robben Island. Twenty-seven years imprisoned
because he refused narrative that ordered social relations
to favor white South Africans. Twenty-seven years Mandela
served so that Black Africans could be free.
is this victory South Africa celebrates
radio, night after night, disseminated the voices of South Africa’s Black public official and middle
class. Peppy, elated voices praised themselves and the
victory they achieved by hosting the World Cup in Africa.
The people of South
Africa are proud of this accomplishment!
days leading up to the opening of the World Cup, South
African fans, government officials, and business representatives
reminded BBC hosts that South African is part of the world!
Africa wants to present itself in
the best light! South Africa can show the world it can do it!
does not know that the world to which the leaders
of South Africa are referring consists of white citizens
and corporate shakers in the U.S.
and Europe. We are not subhuman
because we consume too! We want the U.S. and Europe to recognition
that we, too, have desires to compete as a world powerbroker!
wanted to live in South Africa’s victory:
the world cup on African soil. But how do you ignore the
voices of the poor and working class, for years now, telling
the world that very little has changed in their lives?
Millions of Black South Africans still live in shacks
and still have no access to water or electricity. In fact,
South Africa, in its desire to show the world
it “can do it” - yes, we can! - moved, displaced,
pushed from view of the world the undesirable:
the poor and the working classes. Moved them, the Black
South African government did from shantytown to shantytown
out of sight. Black women, market women, who have been
market women since the beginning of time, became unsightly
entities government officials did not want the world
to recognize - and no, it was not McDonalds.
South Africa welcomed the corporations with open arms.
to Black leaders in the U.S. who do not just drink the
Kool Aid but who purchased stocks in it 45-50 years ago
and, as a result, have become multi-millionaires by confessing
to the U.S. that they can do it too - the Black middle
in South Africa are the newest doers on behalf of capitalism.
Applause from the BBC and the capitalist West! South Africans
are quick learners!
each year, in South Africa a massive class of people are
partitioned deeper and deeper behind apartheid roads,
schools, jobs, hospitals constituting a division between
the have and have nots that is just as institutionalized
as the racial apartheid town borders.
The 34 billion rand (4.6 billion) spent to host the
World Cup in South
Africa, will bring relief to the
more than 40 million adults without employment!
multi-million dollar stadiums replaced shantytowns. The
people who lived in poverty when Mandela and the ANC came
to power and who are still living in poverty watched from
afar as foreigners from the West, admiring the
ingenuity of South Africa, pay $200 to $500 or more to
see their Bafana Bafana and other soccer teams play at
10 multi-million dollar stadiums where shantytowns once
existed. So good of the government and FIFA to put aside
$20 tickets for 120,000 poor folks sent to live in other
shantytowns away from the World Cup venues. How would
the poor arrive at these 10 stadiums, stay at these new
hotels, or eat fancy or fast foods at new restaurants
or at McDonalds?
But the future of South Africa begins now!
the Western visitor to South Africa, the majority of Blacks
South Africans know that the World Cup will enrich the
already rich South African, political officials, and their
partners - corporate sponsors. But the BBC does not
want to hear from them - and the people know this too.
The government, the Black leadership guiding this capitalist
venture to victory does not want to hear from them, steaming
with anger in their new shantytowns.
will show the world it can do it - just like the West!
hear myself saying sometimes, I do not know what has happened
to us Blacks on this planet. I do not know why too many
of us turn away from the values that sustained us through
enslavement and colonialism. But,
then, I do know. It is a difficult space to be in when
witnessing the behavior of Blacks who, responding to the
dehumanization and demoralization of our people, opt to
lie to themselves and others. Thanks to the capitalist
production of death, we live in a world that criminalizes
any response other than collaboration.
despots are not the only ones willing to be seen offering
the shameful handshake to Masters of capitalism (the IMF,
the World Bank, Wall Street, corporations, U.S. and Western
governments) who have proven again and again that the
only good Black anywhere on the planet is spiritless or
just outright dead - and capitalism accomplishes both
realities for Blacks globally. The handshake and the money
passing from the lighter to the darker hand and the massacres
of farmers that follow is as well crafted as the narrative
featuring African corruption and cronyism.
capitalists, even the so-called “democratic republics”
accomplish the same goals.
host a capitalist venture such as the World Cup after
we have been educated through experience about the sheer
brutality of capitalism and its history of destruction
is to admit defeat, to confess that the unsightly are
us, Black people rather than the system, the game
- manipulated to serve the interests of the Masters.
It is to say, in suits, grinning, okay - we have to play
their game, but we intend to play it well and win!
But this is not a game to Masters who play to the death.
It is not a game that South Africans, Blacks, humanity
- should even think playable, let alone winnable. The
game is rigged.
To play is to forfeit your humanity, not prove your
everywhere, not just in South
Africa, the Black leadership and
the middle class gives up its solidarity with the majority
of humanity on the planet is part of the game - the power
game. “Power,” the philosopher Michel Foucault, in Discipline
& Punish: The Birth of the Prison, explained “is
not the ‘privilege’, acquired or preserved, of the dominant
class, but the overall effect of its strategic positions
- an effect that is manifested and sometimes extended
by the position of those who are dominated.” It
is worth repeating - that this power is “manifested and
sometimes extended by the position of those who are dominated.”
Every time I see one of us parroting the lingo of the
corporate world, conforming is necessary to get ahead,
I have to ask - conforming to what? What is it in my cultural
history that has to conform, and to what? I see in these
personal victories the mechanism of that power
Foucault defines - and a spiritless person embodying it.
witnessed the African continent in the 50s and 60s become
explosive with the fever of freedom. The colonial powers,
he said, did not want to leave; they did not cease “wanting
to exploit the Black man of his natural resources” (“Not
Just an American Problem). With the spirit of independence
burning in their hearts and minds, he said, the African
“no longer would allow himself to be colonized, oppressed,
and exploited.” The African was willing “to lay down his
[or her] life and take the lives of those who tried to
take his, which was a new spirit.”
is this spirit now?
the colonial powers, as Malcolm observed, actually never
left Africa. And Malcolm explains
that when a basketball player from the opposing team is
trapped, he does not want to throw the ball away. He has
to pass it, and he passes it to someone in the clear.
“[S]ince Belgium and France and Britain and these other
colonial powers were trapped…exposed as colonial powers…they
had to find someone who was still in the clear, and the
only one in the clear as far as the Africans were concerned
was the United States.” So the European powers “passed
the ball to the United
States” who “picked it up and ran
like mad ever since.”
is nothing natural about the shift toward favoring
partnerships with corporations rather than building and
maintaining solidarity with the poor and working class.
friendly, cordial, appeasing foreign face of the
U.S. corporate cabal with
its shipload of goods and cash and charming Africans with
its idea of freedom and democracy has positioned Africans
as subservient people willing to forget and offering to
become walking, portable confessionals, confessing to
the crime of Blackness. What are the structural adjustment
programs all about? What spirited people agreed to
the capitalist narrative that poverty would be eliminated
in 40 African countries when poverty still exist and is
growing in the U.S.? Globally, the numbers of the world’s first
peoples living in poverty is rising while Wall Street
bankers and corporations are racketing up the highest
profits ever. In the U.S., where the government
facilitates corporate growth, the sovereignty of the nation
belongs more and more to the bankers and corporations.
South Africa’s leadership existed under a rock
to a power that is both anti-democratic and, in the end,
destructive is certainly Black South Africa’s history,
but, in desiring a partnership with that power, South
Africa dare not say to the multi-national capitalists
- you must rise to our standards, accept our qualifications
for doing business in our land. You must contribute to
sustaining our freedom, life. South Africa’s leadership could not do this -
and eagerly, desperately desire to prove it could “do
it” too - just like the old and new Masters. So
forget that history and denounce that ultimatum.
Excellent, South Africa! Now
conceal and control the unsightly criminals in your society.
stratification of South Africans along class lines is
inevitable. That the poor recognize they have become poorer
is a good sign but a dangerous predicament for the capitalists.
Their corporate partners in the media highlight the criminal
element in South
Africa. Blacks are killing Blacks!
During the day, words flow from the government claiming
democracy and freedom while, at night, its police force
tends to the criminal elements in the shantytowns.
does not take long before the poor and displaced in South
Africa begin to identify the foreigners not as
those corporate suits from the U.S. and Europe or those
Black leaders and Black middle class embodiment of the
foreign and unsightly. No. For to “do it”
capitalist style, is to live in this world of deception
and chaos. It is to expect the unraveling of solidarity
among the poor and working class. That the long suffering
people of South
Africa see other African immigrants
as the foreigner, the unsightly, is an example
of capitalism’s globally strategy to control the movement
of power. Zimbabweans in search of employment in South
Africa “are perceived to be taking jobs away from locals,
since they will work for less money” (Comment Factory,
July 12, 2010). Fifty crimes a day, the article reports,
are committed against other Africans by South Africans.
South Africa’s poorest communities are “approaching
African immigrants with formal letters or verbal warnings:
go home now - or face vigilante violence after the World
Cup ends on July 11” (The Daily Beast).
Excellent, South Africa! Well
done! You are doing it!
Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has
been a writer for over thirty years of commentary, resistance
criticism and cultural theory, and short stories with
a Marxist sensibility to the impact of cultural narrative
violence and its antithesis, resistance narratives. With
entrenched dedication to justice and equality, she has
served as a coordinator of student and community resistance
projects that encourage the Black Feminist idea of an
equalitarian community and facilitator of student-teacher
communities behind the walls of academia for the last
twenty years. Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American
Literatures, with a specialty in Cultural Theory (race,
gender, class narratives) from Loyola University,
Chicago. Click here
to contact Dr. Daniels.