The DA’s policies may sound good on paper but won’t win my vote. This message is lost to the DA leadership. Identity politics are more important than policies or personalities.
People like Mbali Ntuli who are pulling the party away from the right to the centre are a minority. Their voices are drowned by the right-wing ideology. The core values of classical liberalism as advocated by Alan Paton and John Locke have been replaced by conservatism. You sometimes get the feeling black people in the party are accessories to improve aesthetics.
The new DA is divorced from my reality. Is it a party I can identify with? No.
James Baldwin, in his essay No Name in the Street, writes “no-one knows precisely how identities are forged, but it is safe to say that identities are not invented: an identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience”.
Prof Richard Jenkins a sociologist at Sheffield University defines social identity as “our understanding of who we are and of who other people are ... other people’s understanding of themselves and others”.
My lived black experience forms my identity, the second-guessing, frustrations, daily humiliations, invisibility, criminal suspect, betrayal by former freedom fighters and so on. Can the DA understand the experience of being black?
My problem with the DA is the pretence it pays to the black question. To have black members who are uncomfortable with their blackness and who would rather wear masks than reveal their true colours.
The real Mmusi Maimane became visible when he left the party. Was he really in power or a pretender to the throne? He reminded me of invisible blacks of Ralph Ellison.
But I understand why Maimane chose to suck the lollipop of power than speak out. Look at the way his so-called comrades thrashed him when he left. If they can treat their former black leader like a condom, imagine what they will do to me. His usefulness has expired.
To those of us who are tired of the ANC philosophy of “Me First”, we were hoping the DA will unite this country. The early days of Helen Zille transcended race and offered hope of a better tomorrow. They identified my powerlessness at the hands of looters.
Unfortunately Zille’s colonialism tweets underlines the DA’s ignorance of identity politics and why voting for the party will be an insult to the memory of Neil Aggett.
How did the party whose post-1994 vision was far ahead of the ANC is today be on the road to nowhere? The policy documents cannot correct their dented image. Please bring back the DA that share my lived experience.
Dr Lucas Ntyintyane
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