Darkest before the Dawn: Part I

I have been asked with increasing frequency regarding my outlook for SA, set against what feels to be a wave of negative sentiment for the country’s future. Coincidently, I had the privilege of giving a speech in Cape Town on March 31st, 2017. It was the day after Zuma had enacted his ‘night of the long knives’ on his Cabinet. The mood amongst the ‘white tribe’ was very dark indeed. I would go so far as to say the darkest collective sentiment I have ever witnessed. What interested me was that this darkness was not really a reflection of current events. Instead, it was a collective sub-conscious response to a series of events that began with the break-up of Rhodesia and the end of Apartheid, and is now being fuelled by discrimination against them under Zuma. They have had enough and feel that their country is‘going to the dogs’. However, I spoke to them from a different perspective, and one that is based on the situation in South Africa being at the point of “darkest before the dawn”. Naturally, my prognosis is based on the principals of the Five Stages of Empire and South Africa’s position on that curve. My conclusions may well surprise many readers.

South Africa: its position on the curve of ‘The Five Stages of Empire

South Africa became independent on May 31st, 1961, and quickly fell under the rule of Apartheid, which oppressed the black population. The result was a regional civil war that lasted decades as the black population struggled for freedom. Similar to all such civil wars at the end of regionalisation, the winner of this Darwinian selection process was always going to be the leadership that enfranchised the largest sector of the population, in this case the black population. The timing for the end of this civil war, however, was not dictated internally, but rather by external forces in the form of the Cold War. The greater global conflict of the Cold War added to the complexity and caused this struggle to become a proxy conflict. This was simply due to the importance of the Cape trade route, which strategically forced the Western powers to support and maintain the Apartheid government against the communist-backed African National Congress (ANC), despite its values being in opposition to those of democracy. Only when the Cold War concluded, did Western support end and the Apartheid regime collapsed.

In the majority of situations following a regional civil war, the first leader of the nation is a dictator. This style of leadership is demanded due to the force of will required to recombine the warring factions into one nation. Cromwell, for example, was a powerful dictator as was Mao. Nearby in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe certainly fits this description! And meanwhile, so does certainly Prime Minister May in the UK . In SA, the role of dictatorship was filled by a benign and visionary Nelson Mandela. Rather than the force of arms, he used the power of his intellect and magnetic personality to rebuild the rainbow nation. As such, he stands as one of the towering examples of outstanding leadership in history. It is primarily because of him that I believe the world remains interested in the fate of SA as his longstanding legacy.

The hallmark of the post-regional civil war stage is a national desire to accumulate and grow wealth. Or, to put it another way, the key requirement of the nation is to grow as a collective organism.

Comments

I have some connections to SA, so I have a small understanding of things there. With respect, the prospects of SA not going in the same chaotic, corrupt direction of every other African nation seems very slim. Where in Africa is there a civil society, an organised society, a safe and democratic society? Billions in AID and charity gets poured into Africa but nothing changes except the Mercedes showrooms and weapons spending. Dambisa Moyo made all of this clear in her book 'Dead AID' but white people won't listen because they're terrified of being called racist, so they keep throwing money and turning a blind eye to the appalling behaviour of African leaders. It's time someone said 'Hey, Africa, sort your bloody mess out, stop blaming everyone and everything else'.