new middle ground in South African politics

August 9, 2008

OK, I’m not the countries best political analyst, and doesn’t often write on politics, but had a very interesting conversation last night with my old friend Weber, so let’s share some thoughts.

First, some background. We’ve been friends when on highschool, but I lost contact with almost everyone I were friends with back then when I went to university. By my fourth year I started really wanting to reconnect with everyone, but never got around to it. A short conversation here, and a visit there… but not much. So we took some time to sit and chat. I don’t think Sundowner, a bar in this little town of ours, has ever heard such deep philosophy…

OK, back to politics. Way back then Weber’s dad was into the more conservative Afrikaner politics (not AWB type, he is part of VF), and my dad was the missionary to the Swazi’s. Time has changed little, but maybe more than I thought. Weber is following VF politics, and myself, oh well, can’t say I’m following politics that much, but in conversation I’m always defending the more liberal positions.

How I see it, conservative Afrikaners lost there voice with Apartheid. No one is really taking them seriously, and they live with a lot of baggage. If you have a white-only voice, you basically have no voice at all. But liberals have problems of there own. I saw it in myself and some friends, we really lost the ability to critique the government. The ANC just had to work for us. For myself, liberation came the day when I had some conversations with black students, and I heard them deliviring critique on both Mbeki and Zuma, talking about an alternative, talking about justice…

I remember saying to myself that if they may critique the ANC, then so can I! And a lot need to be said against the current government, although I’ll be the first to admit when they are doing good, because I really want them to succeed.

At some point in our conversation Weber talked about how the ANC were united because of their common enemy, Apartheid. Maybe we can learn from that. I was reading Alan Roxburgh’s The Missionary Congregation, Leadership, & Liminality yesterday (brilliant and short little book, on which I might say some more later). He make the comment that churches of the West in liminality could learn from how black churches thought previoucly, because they were in liminality (or something like that). Many of us are now where the ANC was 30 years ago. I’m not yet sure what the common enemy is. It’s not the black people, many black people have the same problems I have. Maybe it’s a corrupt government we are against!

Can we learn from the ANC, and unite against this common enemy? But then bright political minds in the conservative Afrikaner community need to open themselves up to black voices with which they can take hands. Conservatives need to realize than liberals is able to critique when it is neccesary, and liberals that convervatives is willing to acknowledge mistakes of the past and the good things of the present when neccesary. And in this a new voice might arise.

Is it possible? Well, early on in the conversation Weber said he doens’t really want to talk politics with me. Why? Probably because he thought it’s gonna end up in a bad argument. But we talked politics for about 2 hours, and we found a lot of common ground. Many of it was when talking about postmodernism and new forms of organization which we envision. But still, we found possible ways on talking about a middle ground.

And the church? Well, if we are to be the alternative comminity today then I believe the church need to be the place that provide the example of where this is already happening, where these different groups of people are already taking hands, becoming a united voice against injustice in South Africa!

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5 Responses to “new middle ground in South African politics”

  1. Bill Kinnon Says:

    Interesting that you would write this whilst Roxburgh is in Lusaka with a number of Southern African missional leaders.

  2. cobus Says:

    I wasn’t aware of this! But yes, interesting.

  3. Johann Weber Says:

    Jy slaan die spyker op die kop!

    Weet jy dis eintlik snaaks, ek lanklaas so lekker gesels soos vrydag aand! Ek dink ons het iets beet. Maar dit sal ‘n lang proses wees todat ons ‘n oplossing kan vind wat vir almal beskerm.

    Cheers boet!

  4. Tiaan Says:

    Interessant dat Weber die woord “beskerm” gebruik…sou ons strewe na iets anders gewees het as die geweld/misdaad situasie in die land anders was?

  5. cobus Says:

    Kom ons wees eerlik, wat ons van gepraat het is dat ons ervaring van liminaliteit (dit kan of die feit dat ons nie ANC is nie wees, of die feit dat ons deur misdaad bedreig word, of ekonomies) ‘n motivering word om saam te staan TEEN iets. So ja, as dit nie vir geweld was nie sou ons strewe na iets anders gewees het. Hierdie is nie die ideaal nie, maar vir die wat committed is tot hierdie land moet ‘n weg vorentoe vir die volgende paar jaar gesoek word.


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