rhodesmustfall

As promised – Part 2, where I will attempt to answer the question: How do we curtail the influence of the regressive hyper-racialism of the Fallist movement? In the first section I shall examine more closely the narcissistic characteristics of the Fallist movement and in the second section, importantly, the antidote!

Narcissism 101

As I’ve elucidated in my previous article, the fundamental characteristic of the Fallist movement is its extreme narcissism. By definition, narcissists suffer from the belief that they are the centre of universe and the universe owes them! In the case of the Fallists, this is demonstrated in their demands for free university education. Now on one hand one might think that their demands are reasonable, but just pause for a moment and consider the wider context of education. We have schools that can’t even afford simple textbooks or even the most basic of science equipment.

Yet we have prominent Fallists celebrating the burning of libraries and the torching of science labs. There is a serious disconnect with reality here. In 2015 alone, R460 million worth of damage was carried out. That is the equivalent of: 2.5 million grade 12 maths text books or 350 000 basic school science kits. The burning of resources when viewed against the reality of the ordinary South African is a fundamentally regressive and narcissistic act.

One way of thinking about it is that there is a long line of people in need. The harsh reality is that the demands of the Fallists are way at the back. There are huge numbers ahead of them who are in more dire need. Yet Fallists are narcissistically demanding that everyone make way for them so that they can stand at the front of the queue.  Ordinary people don’t exist for them.

The Protester vs. the Fallist

However, I firmly believe that most protestors don’t fall into this category – most simply want financial help, better living conditions, security; they’re just ordinary South Africans trying to make ends meet. Ultimately, for them, a compromise solution will be good enough; they ‘get’ the reality of South Africa’s situation. They are grounded enough to understand that there are people in the queue who are in more need.

For Fallists, however, a compromise in the long run is impossible. As Fanon pointed out, this would mean giving up their narcissistic world view. Ultimately, everything must be about them.

If you dig deeper into their views you quickly realise that they have a strange mix of disparate, yet regressive views. It isn’t just fees that must fall. Many of them are well off enough that money isn’t an issue. There are Fallists demanding the #Fall of: black men, straight women, white feminists, Indians, coloureds, gay men, straight men. You name it; whatever obscure social category you might find yourself in, there is a whole coterie of activists wanting you to #Fall!

To put it crudely, why should we give a toss about a group that burns books, when so many more don’t have any to begin with?

The Cabanac Effect

The opposite of narcissism is altruism. Almost all cultures value altruism over narcissism. They understand the intrinsic good of acting for the betterment of others. Take the case of Solly Msimanga. By refusing a new BMW he demonstrated altruism. By that alone, most voters will probably show their approval of his altruism by re-electing him in the future. Just imagine if Zuma, once it became clear that Nkandla was a bad idea, instead of doubling down, he turned around and asked that it be turned into a children’s hospital. I’m quite confident that Jesus himself would delay the second coming in appreciation.

Which brings me around to the Cabanac Effect. Arguably one of the most potent antidotes to #RhodesMustFall was the actions of a one Roman Cabanac. When a leader of #RhodesMustFall decided to abuse a waitress, Cabanac simply started a crowd funding campaign for her. With this simple act, we see the fundamental difference between the narcissist and the altruist. The campaign wasn’t about Cabanac; it was an altruistic act about someone else in more need. The ordinary man and woman in the street recognised this and rewarded the act. Some donated money; some promoted it on social media. Fallists tried to justify themselves, paint Cabanac as racist, etc., but it didn’t work – it just made the Fallist leadership and their PR managers look even more out of touch with ordinary people. Meanwhile the crowd funding pot just got bigger and bigger. This simple, yet public act of altruism laid bare the narcissism of the Fallist movement. Like all narcissists, the public exposure of how out of touch they with ordinary people, proved toxic.

SEE ALSO: The Market Evisceration of RhodesMustFall by Roman Cabanac

There are three important lessons here. Firstly, genuine altruism trumps narcissism; people are aware of the difference between the two and act accordingly.

Secondly, Cabanac carried out the act in a way that allowed the public to contribute in their each and own way.  Fundamentally, people are good and they want the opportunity to behave in a good way, i.e. altruistically.  Cabanac provided a platform with which to share in his altruistic act.

Thirdly, in turn, this brought people together online and elsewhere. It was an opportunity for people from all walks of life, black and white, to publicly reaffirm their value of altruism over narcissism. It created a shared experience that brought people together. This is the Cabanac Effect in action.

If I were to define the Cabanac Effect: It is an altruistic act that benefits another, but also facilitates the actions of others so that they too can contribute. The outcome is a shared, altruistic, common narrative that unites rather than divides.

Conclusion

Fundamentally, the Cabanac Effect is the antidote to regressive movements of all types. It is the creation of a national unity that Fanon explained was the prerequisite for the successful liberation process. It provides a common cause that enables society to escape the trajectory of state failure and inequality. The beauty of it is that anyone can do it. The next time a regressive starts a campaign to victimise or divide, step in, and be the altruistic self that you want to be! Don’t forget to allow others to share your act; unify, don’t divide. People are good and they want to help. The rise of regressive hyper-racialism isn’t inevitable; the seeds have been planted for an alternative, more caring, altruistic and unifying narrative. Play hard, but play nice.

Anthony Stuurman (a pen-name) is an educator in the Eastern Cape with an interest in neuroscience, ethnobotany and a passion for free speech.