By Dimo Mariri
There used to be a time when I used to hold Andile Mngxitama in high regard.
As a young university student, I used to be impressed by his consistent and insightful critique of the way in which the post-apartheid South African society is organised.
Through the tools of analysis borrowed from the Black Consciousness theory, Andile used to expose the sad reality that the ANC’s socio-economic policies and its CODESA concessions have helped to maintain white privilege at the expense of Africans.
But Andile has since degenerated. This started when he seemingly began to view himself as the sole authority on the legacy of Steve Biko. He attacks anyone who dares mention Biko’s name, be it Malaika wa Azania, Xolela Mangcu or Julius Malema. This earned him the derogative nick name of “Vice Biko.”
However, it is his defence of the Gupta family that causes me to confront uncomfortable truths about the “comrade.” His reaction to the alleged “state capture” by the Guptas has left me wondering if Andile is just unintelligent or unscrupulous or both. What of the allegations that he has been financially “captured” to defend the Zuma government?
In Andile’s conspiratorial thinking, the Guptas are just a deflection from the real enemy, which he describes as “settler colonialism that gives rise to white monopoly capital.”
According to Andile Mngxitama, the white business owners in South Africa and London are threatened by the influence that the Gupta family seems to be having in South Africa’s economy and politics. He claims these whites have decided to use the EFF and some individuals in the ANC to fight their battles with the Guptas.
Let’s pretend for a moment that Andile’s “illuminati” theory is true: Why does that matter to him? If Andile is indeed a socialist whose loyalties lie with the downtrodden black masses of South Africa, why does it matter to him what the more established white capitalists are doing to another emerging, albeit Indian capitalist? How is taking sides in a conflict between two capitalist classes going to advance his socialist cause?
Kwame Nkrumah teaches us that in the post-colonial world, the new African elite simply moves into the place left by the old colonial master. The new elite continues with the exploitation of the African labour and resources in the same way that the colonial master used to. Why does Andile suddenly seem to think that situation is okay?
Is he singing for supper at the Guptas’ table? What a loss to the Black Consciousness Movement should that be the case!