WHERE WAS BLADE NZIMANDE DURING THE STRUGGLE AGAINST APARTHEID?
When Blade Nzimande was reported to have said that the Economic Freedom Fighters should be killed, we promptly and correctly dismissed him as an opportunist intellectual dwarf who do not have any sensible ideological and political programme to confront the EFF. What we did not do was to politically expose the nature, character and content of Blade Nzimande, reveal who he truly is. As will be seen through the exact historic schematisation of his political life, it is evident that Nzimande is a blatant opportunist who staff rode the liberation movement with empty and often confusing rhetoric which lack substance.
Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande was born in 1958 to an African who had economically migrated from a country that was later called Mozambique, and like me he is a descendant of Tsonga/Shangaan speaking migrants from Mozambique, only that I am a descendant of migrants who relocated in the early 17th century to the political territory called South Africa from 1910 onwards. There is completely no trace of his political activism and involvement in the struggle against apartheid, despite the fact that when the youth rose in Soweto and all other parts of South Africa against apartheid, Nzimande was 18 years old.
The paternal and ancestral origins of Nzimande should be revoked because the socio-economic conditions that led to the brutal xenophobic attacks of mainly Mozambican migrants are a direct consequence of the incompetence of a government he praises, and deceitfully refer to as progressive. As a matter of fact, if there were adequate jobs, houses, sanitation, water, and access to education for all in South Africa, xenophobic attacks against our blood brothers from all parts of Africa would not happen.
Now coming back to the mysterious political life of Nzimande, we should state the obvious reality that the conditions of apartheid repression and suppression of apartheid laws in the 1980s had ignited the consciousness and moral obligation of all progressive youth to confront the apartheid regime, because they had nothing to lose but their chains. A substantial majority of the youth who confronted the regime in 1976 and joined UmKhonto WeSizwe and African People’s Liberation Army (APLA) were between the ages of 12 and 17, and where was Nzimande?
Many activists from KwaZulu Natal and those in institutions of higher learning in KwaZulu Natal, including Steve Biko were at the height of their political activism in the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO). Where was Nzimande? Solomon Mahlangu is two years older than Nzimande, and never had the opportunity to attend post-secondary education, but understood more than Nzimande that the major struggle was against the repressive apartheid regime, and understood that public administration and industrial psychology in a sick society had to come after liberation or infused in the struggle against apartheid. Where was Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande?
In 1976, Nzimande was accepted at the University of Zululand to study Public Administration and it is patently evident that the public administration he was studying was to prepare him to administer the Bantustans, not a post-apartheid South Africa because in his consciousness and conscience, there was nothing wrong with the apartheid South African society and administration. What was the curriculum content of public administration in a Bantustan University, which saw nothing wrong with apartheid laws and order?
Post 1976, youth activism rose dramatically in South Africa as South Africa’s youth rendered the apartheid machinery unworkable and ungovernable. All townships and towns had their own Youth Congresses, such that the biggest affiliates of the United Democratic Front were youth formations. Where was Nzimande? The United Democratic Front (UDF) was officially launched and founded in 1983 when Nzimande was25 years old. Was Nzimande in Cape Town when civil society and all progressive formations said no to apartheid?
As a matter of fact, in 1986, there were more than 600 Youth Congresses across South Africa, which mobilised all youth behind the banner of people’s liberation and the Freedom Charter. In all these Youth Congresses, the question is where was Nzimande? The South African Youth Congress went to its National Conference in 1987 in a secret location to fight for the freedom of all South Africans. Where was the 29 year old Nzimande?
From 1976, particularly after the Soweto June 16 massacre of defenceless youth, thousands of the youth from all across South Africa left the country to go join UmKhonto WeSizwe and APLA. Was Blade Nzimande part of the June 16 Detachment? No! The youth of Nzimande’s generation sacrificed their lives, dropped out of school, left their parents and homes to fight against the regime, but where was he? For someone who was a student in a University, studying social sciences, there is completely no way that he was not aware of the political turmoil that defined South Africa during his times, yet he never was part of the struggle against apartheid.
Proper class analysis reveals the obvious fact that in any class war, there can never be neutrality. As a matter of fact, even remaining silent and uninterested represents assumption of aclass position, and because he was not part of the struggle against the oppressive and exploiting class, the logical conclusion is that he was a collaborator in the same way Bantustan leaders were. After all, it is a fair political observation to define and categorise as charlatans and staff riders all of the so called Freedom Fighters and so calledRevolutionaries born after 1950, yet were never arrested, exiled, banned, banished, tortured, and terrorised by the apartheid regime, which regarded children as young as 12 as their enemy.
To his credit, perhaps we should state that the only political activism recorded of Nzimande during that period was when he partook in a hunger strike in the University of Zululand, fighting for tastier food. He recurrently recalls this ‘revolutionary’ strike because he was part of those whoprotested against the leaders of the strike who announced that even the newly offered food, still did not taste good. In 2015, students in institutions of higher learning he is supposed to lead as Minister of Higher education are not fighting for tastier food, they are fighting for basic food because they go lectures with empty stomachs, and do not even have money to buy books.
Many activists younger than Nzimande, including EFF Commissars Mlungisi Rapodile and Phillip Mhlongo joined UmKhonto WeSizwe at very early stages of their lives because they understood that the enemy had to be fought by all means possible. The absence of Nzimande in the struggle against apartheid does not define him only, but almost the entire leadership of the SACP, such as Senzeni Zokwana (National Chairperson ), Thulas Nxesi (Deputy National Chairperson), Jeremy Cronin (Deputy General Secretary) and Joyce Moloi (Treasurer). This explains why the SACP Central Committee Leaders’ faces glow in admiration and fascinationwhen the its 2nd Deputy General Secretary Solly Mapaila, a novice MK soldier who went to the camps in the late 1980s(when talks before talks for the dissolution of the MK and negotiated settlements were almost at the tail end), speaks about his less than three years military experience and how he was named Rush Phakisa.
When all signs were pointing to the end of apartheid, and possible political take over by the dominant African National Congress, Nzimande staff rode the liberation movement and acted as if he is a true revolutionary and communist. Staff riding is real in many liberation movements across the world.Nzimande joined the African National Congress in 1991 (after Mandela was released from prison), not because he was critical of its political and ideological posture, but because his consciousness and political awareness meant that he should be a member of another organisation, founded as a cultural organisation.
The disastrous assimilation of Communist Party cadres into the neo-liberal project and agenda in the mid-1990s opened space for his election as General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, a calamity which has reduced the SACP into a faction inside the ANC fighting only to join the gravy train of the degenerating ANC. The differences between the ANC and SACP under Nzimande have never been on concrete and clear ideological and political questions, but onthe entryism formula which counts the number of quasi-communists that should be deployed to sites of power, meaning cabinet, mayoral and provincial executives’ positions.
This explains why after their Special National Conference, the major political issue on the agenda of the SACP is that the Economic Freedom Fighters, which is a Marxist-Leninist political movement, should be killed. How on earth can an organisation whose name suggests that it is in a class struggle suggest that a movement of the working class should be killed? We will never know, but those who fought against apartheid learned through experience the revolutionary skill and capability of identifying and characterising the enemy.Charlatans will never know, and almost always confuse political and ideological opponents as the real enemy.
Unfortunately, the SACP lacks the experience, the depth and revolutionary ideological capacity to identify, define and characterise the enemy. This fact we fearlessly articulated in the 2009 SACP Special Conference when exposing the ideological directionless of the Party under Nzimande. If they knew, they would know and understand that the enemy of progress in South Africa is white monopoly capital, which is using them (the governing Alliance) as nothing but an instrument to rule, exploit the class which a Communist Party is supposed to represent.
Of course, those dining under his table will rush to defend him and mention the fact that he was elected General Secretary of the SACP in 1998 and in all Conferences thereafter without contestation. Unfortunately, history always produces electoral disasters, and like Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and many others, Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande is an electoral disaster and history will prove us right. The EFF will never be killed by electoral disasters. It will live forever and will legitimately take over political power, capture the State and deliver economic freedom for all. The hashtag is #WhereWasNzimande?