This past week has been the embodiment of perhaps the entire span of South African history: Terror, freedom, hopelessness, and excitement all in one.
The President has made great strides in capturing the National Treasury for himself and his desire to insulate himself from justice, but then again, none of us really expected anything else. The sacking of Pravin Gordhan and his replacement by a Zuma stooge was not shocking. It was a disappointing reaffirmation of what we already, truly, know to be true: The institution of government is a magnet for the deplorables among us, and the few good people in government are more often than not at a significant disadvantage, limited only by their desire to see human freedom realized.
Then the Cape High Court, seemingly out of nowhere for most of us, practically legalized marijuana use! This is something which, if it had been separated by from the President’s antics by a few weeks, would have led to great celebration. Freedom! However, great as it might be, it is still up to the Constitutional Court to confirm. If our highest court graces South Africa with its often elusive stamp of approval for good things, this country once again proves itself to not be all bad in the global struggle for liberty.
South Africans – Boer, Englishman, Zulu, Xhosa, Colored, Indian – have all experienced the worst kind of treatment imaginable at different periods in history. What is a constant, however, is the fact that the perpetrator of this oppression has been the singular institution of government. Yet, we continue, even now, to place blind faith in this institution, rather than trusting in our neighbors, our families, and, crucially, ourselves as individuals. We continue to set ourselves up for perpetual disappointment. The only way to turn the tide, save the economy, and get off the road to serfdom, is to fundamentally change our mindset. As Steve Biko once remarked, the most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed, and, despite my sincere dislike for the legacy Biko has left, he was correct on this point. The political class controls our minds, and our liberation depends entirely on our will to free ourselves from this grasp and embrace ourselves as the sovereigns in this land.