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‘Mmusi Maimane’s intervention on race was an outstanding initiative’ – Lindiwe Mazibuko

Owning the FutureLindiwe Mazibuko has commented on DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s speech on the topic of race, which he delivered last week.

The speech in question occurred at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 19 January. Quoting from Niq Mhlongo’s novel After Tears Maimane sketched the reality of black South Africans. He called on all South Africans to ask difficult questions about these realities and “find each other again”.

In closing, the party leader insisted that “racists are not welcome in the DA” and introduced a new anti-racism pledge that every new and returning member will be required to sign when they join the party.

Read Maimane’s speech in full to see the pledge:

Fellow South Africans

Bagaetsho

Dumelang

I stand before you as a child of Soweto, a proudly Black South African, a son of the African soil.

I stand proud to live in a country that is no longer the skunk of the world, proud that out of the ashes of Apartheid a new nation could rise.

I am a product of the Group Areas Act, the Population Registration Act and the 1913 Land Act.

I was born four years after the Soweto Uprising, but the struggle that began at Morris Isaacson High School was my struggle. And the desire to break down the last vestiges of Bantu Education still burns within me.

Because I cannot be free while our people are still in chains. We remain bound together by our shared history and common destiny.

I stand before you as an individual, with the right to decide for myself how to think and how to feel. No pencil test can define me.

I’m so much more than the colour of my skin, but I will never deny who I am and the forces that shaped me. I will never forget where I come from.

In an article for Business Day, Mazibuko praised Maimane’s speech :

“Maimane’s intervention on race this week was an outstanding initiative. It would be easy to cast aspersions on his timing and see it as reactionary, but one of the vital tasks of any public leader is to read the national mood and interrupt the conversation in a way that is productive and shows leadership. Maimane did very well to begin this process on Tuesday.”

However, she called on the DA to look within where race issues are concerned, suggesting they reflect on hurtful and inaccurate internal party narratives where race issues are concerned.

“Maimane has put a bold challenge to the South African people; that challenge should be mirrored within the organisation he leads,” the resident fellow of the Harvard Institute of Politics and former parliamentary leader of the DA writes.

Read her article:

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane’s intervention on race this week was an outstanding initiative. It would be easy to cast aspersions on his timing and see it as reactionary, but one of the vital tasks of any public leader is to read the national mood and interrupt the conversation in a way that is productive and shows leadership. Maimane did very well to begin this process on Tuesday.

If, as party insiders have indicated, his speech will be followed by a series of DA policy proposals for reversing the racialised inequality in SA’s economy and society, this will be progress indeed.

The 2013 book Owning the Future: Lindiwe Mazibuko and the Changing Face of the DA by Donwald Pressly took a crucial overview of the Democratic Alliance ahead of the 2014 general elections, offering readers an unofficial biography of Mazibuko, the first black person to lead the parliamentary opposition in South Africa.

Book details

 

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