The DA’s Political Airbrush


Today we get “serious”

With the next general elections less than a year away political parties have began in earnest trying to wrestle us (the voters) away from each other, so to prove to everyone that we are some what of an intellectual blog I’ve decided to drop starvingcreatives’ first political article. In this first edition I’d like to discuss the DA’s very interesting campaign coined as “Know your DA.”

It’s one of the most ambitious political campaigns in post apartheid South African history for it seeks to do the unthinkable, wrestle the ‘struggle credentials’ away from the ANC.

This campaign was launched about a month ago and has received stern criticism from surprise, surprise the ANC. To complement their campaign the DA has also launched a video which it seeks to show to one million South Africans (check video above or on this link). Before I give my very knowledgeable opinion on the matter a bit of background is necessary.

The legendary suzzman

The legendary suzzman

The video begins with white letters on a black background (to drive the point that the DA believes blacks and whites belong together) the subtitle reads “For too long we have allowed ourselves to be defined by our opponents, this is the story they don’t want you to know.” The story begins in 1959, when the Progressive Party by Jan Steytler was formed, and moves to 1961 when Helen Suzman was elected as a member of the National Assembly and the voiceover pays tribute to her fight against Apartheid laws and how she did the work of the entire opposition.

Helen fought alone to save Mandela’s life in a water-logged cell – Winnie Mandela

Then interestingly testimonials from ANC stalwarts such as; Winnie Mandela quoted as saying: “Helen fought alone to save Mandela’s life in a water-logged cell.” Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying; “She was the first and only woman to grace our cells”. A letter from Albert Luthuli to Suzman describes her as “a bright star in a dark chamber”. Let’s examine the latter for a minute, why are ANC stalwarts in the DA’s campaign?

Do these people (all card carrying members of the ANC although with Winnie one can never tell) add merit to their narrative? If so, does that mean their narrative is so weak it needs external backing? Back to the video (yawn),  fast forward to 1977 and a young newspaper reporter exposes the truth behind the murder in detention of Steve Biko. This young newspaper reporter is no other than Helen Zille. She was pursued by the Press Council for the story and present day Zille states that it was “quite routine”  to get death threats. Like all good struggle heroes she was arrested for being in the Cape Flats without a permit. Some other boring stuff happens highlighting Zille’s struggle credentials but for the sake of time and my own sanity I shall not go into that. Finally the video shows us the DA today, which is showcased as a merging of people brought together by shared values. Some with roots in the ANC, PAC, UDF, or trade unions, (with no mention of the white people from the National Party poor sods). Zille says, “the DA is growing because people understand that the DA’s one big idea is the open opportunity society”. A concept opposite of the ANC’s favours for pals tendencies.

What the creative eye see's

What the creative eye see’s

In the closing minutes of the DA’s film, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille (ex-PAC), Nosimo Balindlela (who was at COPE then the ANC now DA tomorrow your guess is as good as mine), Breede Valley (ex-Umkhonto we Sizwe) and former DA federal chair Joe Seremane (ex-PAC) all express their belief that the DA is the future of the country due to its diversity, dynamism and inclusive attitude. The DA is the fastest-growing party in South Africa, the film concludes:

Election 2014 will see this growth continue until the DA becomes the party of national government.

This 12-minute film will be translated into nine official languages for broadcast around the country (so that you can be bored to death in a language you understand).

Ok wait a minute. Video done! What about all the other DA leaders mainly white males? Remember a guy called Tony Leon?

Too white maybe?

Too white maybe?

Are these guys too white now for the DA’s narrative? Is their contribution wiped clean because they don’t fit the struggle image? I understand to a certain degree why the DA is embarking on the above-mentioned campaign. There is still a perception that the DA would bring back Apartheid if elected into power amongst very naïve black people . But is trying to convince us that the DA is somehow a liberation movement by showcasing a loop-sided history lesson devoid of all ‘whiteness’ really the right way to go about fighting this invalid perception? Truth is, as a young black youth (the person the DA is trying to win over) I don’t exactly care that Helen was arrested because she didn’t have a permit in the Cape Flats. I’m far more interested in finding out what you will do for me now. Do the DA believe that we are that naïve? Is a one sided history lesson enough to win us over?

Battle for Tata's legacy? Who sdoes it belong too?

Battle for Tata’s legacy? Who does it belong to?

Perhaps (here comes my highly considered opinion) the DA should stop fighting over Nelson Mandela with the ANC for it’s a fight they cannot win, stop trying to look like a liberation movement and start behaving like a forward thinking party that promotes equality, that is inclusive of all people not just model C’s (as Mr Blade) would say. The reality is the DA isn’t attractive amongst rural blacks and these people will not view them as a liberation movement anytime soon, no matter how many videos are made about Helen Suzman.

That’s our piece and tell them you heard it from Mat “The Rat” Mkhize right here on Starving Creatives.

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