Category Archives: Change

Freedom Front Plus new mission – a step in the right direction

The Freedom Front Plus launched it’s campaign for the 2014 election last week. The launch focussed on the “new” direction that the FF+ will be taking going forward. This minor shift in their approach can only be described as a breath of fresh air for conservative politics in South Africa. You can read about the launch here: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71654?oid=401838&sn=Detail&pid=71616

One of the major issues that we have had with conservative politics in SA, is it’s exclusivity. The FF+ is the exclusive Afrikaner party, the IFP is the exclusive Zulu party, and the ACDP and UCDP are exclusive Christian parties. Through this exclusivity, all the conservative parties have been losing votes. It’s not necessarily that voters do not agree with the exclusive values, but they believe that victory can only be obtained through unity, and thus start voting for the DA (which is a misconception, as described in my previous post). Now here is where the new direction of the FF+ comes in. Here are parts of their launch speech: “… will also fight for other minorities to obtain it …“, and also “There is a place for every one of us in this country. The FF Plus’ reworded mission does not only want to motivate the Afrikaners, but also other minority groups.“. And herein lies the crux of what excites me about the “new” FF+ mission: it is inclusive. The FF+ commits itself to fight not only for one “nation”, but for all “nations” in South Africa to have it’s full right to existence. Resulting in “a nation of happy nations“.

Now as always, there are liberals who try to play down what conservatives are doing, or are trying to do. Gareth van Onselen (self proclaimed liberal) wrote an aritcle in Business day live, stating basically that the reworded mission statement is just a new layer of paint on an old car that is the FF+. So nothing will change. I respectfully disagree with Mr. Onselen, and I believe he selectively read the article that he referenced, because he somehow missed this part in the article: “Equally loud applause for a strong delegation of Khoi and San leaders and their supporters was simultaneously an indication of the hand which the supporters of the FF Plus had extended to other minority groups in South Africa, which share a common goal of bringing about a new dispensation in South Africa.” – OK, in case you missed it, I will emphasize: “a strong delegation of Khoi and San leaders and their supporters”. Here we have “the white Afrikaner party” cheering on a delegation of Khoi and San leaders and their supporters. This is fascinating stuff, it shows openness, it shows real commitment to change. The FF+, through fighting their battle for Afrikaners, have (intentionally or unintentionally) become the main voice for the Khoi-San people in South Africa. The “white” party is fighting for the rights of the “coloureds”.

So in spite of what the liberal media wants everyone to believe, the conservatives in South Africa are not just old dudes sitting in churches, discussing “the youth of today”. The conservative South African is willing to adapt, and work with others to accomplish their mutual goals.

Will this be enough to save the FF+? Will they stop decreasing in votes, as they have done since 1994? Can change internally change the external perspective of the “Afrikaner Party”? I will not put a verdict on it yet… it is obviously a massive battle for them to change voter’s perspectives. What I will say is this: Well done FF+ for taking a step in the right direction. May this be the first of many.

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I have a dream


Today, 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic “I have a dream” speech. Now while King is not necessarily so well known in South Africa, he still stands out as one of the most celebrated political leaders in the past century. I will gladly pay homage to King today by writing a bit about what he did, and more importantly – how.

According to me, King was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, and he might be in my top three civil rights leaders, along with William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln. The manner in which King tackled his challenges, and handled his adversaries, is worthy of boundless praise.

Martin Luther King never initiated violent protests or riots, in fact he strongly condemned violence. He rather caused revolution through peaceful protests, shaming the oppressors. Now I know many people will want to hang me for saying this, but in my opinion, the South African struggle heroes fade in comparison to Martin Luther King and what he accomplished. He was a true hero in every sense of the word. He was never seen as a terrorist and never resorted to violence or intimidation – but yet he was successful in what he attempted.

Rather than focussing on King and who he was, I would like to focus on some of the specific “peaceful protests” organized by him, as I believe that in this, we as South Africans have much to learn. I did not write the following text, but got it from an article in the Christian Science Monitor:

1. Montgomery bus boycott, 1955-56

Lasting just over a year, the Montgomery bus boycott was a protest campaign against racial segregation on the public transit system in Montgomery, Ala. The protest began, on Dec. 1, 1955, after African-American Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. The next day, Dr. Kingproposed a citywide boycott of public transportation at a church meeting.

The boycott proved to be effective, causing the transit system to run a huge deficit. After all, Montgomery’s black residents not only were the principal boycotters, but also the bulk of the transit system’s paying customers. The situation became so tense that members of the White Citizens’ Council, a group that opposed racial integration, firebombed King’s house.

In June 1956, a federal court found that the laws in Alabama and Montgomery requiring segregated buses were unconstitutional. However, an appeal kept segregation intact until Dec. 20, 1956, when the US Supreme Courtupheld the district court’s ruling. The boycott’s official end signaled one of the civil rights movement’s first victories and made King one of its central figures.

2. The Albany movement, 1961

The Albany movement was a coalition formed in November 1961 in Albany, Ga., to protest city segregation policies. Dr. King joined in December, planning only to counsel the protesters for one day. Instead, he was jailed during a mass arrest of peaceful demonstrators, and he declined bail until the city changed its segregation policies.

The city made several concessions, and King left jail and then Albany. But he returned the next year to find that little had actually changed. Upon his return, he was convicted of leading the prior year’s protest and sentenced to 45 days in jail or a $178 fine. He chose jail. Three days into King’s sentence, an Albany police chief arranged for his release. The movement eventually dissolved, with few substantial results after nearly a year of continued peaceful protests, but the campaign tested tactics that would shape future protests in the national civil rights movement.

3. The Birmingham campaign, 1963

Lasting about two months in 1963, the Birmingham campaign was a strategic effort started by Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference to end discriminatory economic policies in the Alabama city. Some of the protests included boycotting certain businesses that hired only white people or that had segregated restrooms.

When businesses refused to change their policies, protesters held sit-ins and marches, with the aim of getting arrested. King encouraged these nonviolent tactics so that the city’s jails would overflow. Police used high-pressure water hoses and dogs to control protesters, some of whom were children. By the end of the campaign, many segregation signs at Birmingham businesses came down, and public places became more open to all races.

Of the tactic used in the Birmingham campaign, King said, “The purpose of … direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”

4. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963

Perhaps Dr. King’s most famous act as a civil rights leader came during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, on Aug. 28, 1963. The largest political rally ever seen in the US, it drew between 200,000 and 300,000 police and participants, to whom King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Among other things, the speech advocated racial harmony and economic rights for African-Americans. Observers estimated that nearly 80 percent of the marchers were black.

5. Bloody Sunday, 1965

Dr. King and several other civil rights leaders organized three marches from Selma, Ala., to the state capital of Montgomery, in a bid for voting rights for all.

The first, on Sunday, March 7, 1965, involved nearly 600 protesters who marched east from Selma on US Highway 80, led by Jon Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Rev. Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King was not present because he had church duties. But days before, King had met with government officials to try to ensure the marchers would not be impeded. Even so, mob and police violence caused the march to be aborted on that “bloody Sunday.” When film footage of the police brutality was broadcast around the country, it sparked widespread public outrage and helped to boost support for the civil rights movement.

Of the event, King later wrote, “If I had any idea that the state troopers would use the kind of brutality they did, I would have felt compelled to give up my church duties altogether to lead the line.”

King tried to organize another march, but protesters did not succeed in getting to Montgomery until March 25. The speech he delivered that day, on the steps of the state capitol, has since become known as “How Long, Not Long.”

Bloody Sunday was a turning point for the civil rights movement, building public support and clearly demonstrating King’s strategy of nonviolence.

6. Chicago, 1966

After successful demonstrations in the South, Dr. King and other civil rights leaders sought to spread the movement north. They chose Chicago as their next destination to take on black urban problems, especially segregation.

To show his commitment to the northern campaign, King rented an apartment in the slums of North Lawndale on the city’s West Side. One Friday afternoon in August, King led about 700 people on a march in Marquette Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side, a white enclave, to protest housing segregation. Thousands of white people gathered, taunting King and the other protesters. At one point, a brick hit King in the head, but he continued the march as onlookers hurled rocks, bottles, and firecrackers at the marchers. Thirty people, including King, were injured.

Of the Chicago protest, King later said, “I have seen many demonstrations in the South, but I have never seen anything so hostile and hateful as I’ve seen here today.” He continued, “I have to do this – to expose myself – to bring this hate into the open.”

———-

I would like to conclude by giving my own little spin on the Martin Luther King speech:

I have a dream, I have a vision.
A dream of a South Africa where the color of your skin does not determine the opportunities you receive.
A dream of a country where all men are treated equal in every sense of the word.
I have a vision of a South Africa where black and white children can play together in the streets, 
without fear of abduction or rape.
I have a dream of a country where the most vulnerable and innocent are the most protected,
where a baby will be safe in the womb of it’s mother.
I have a dream of a corruption-free government.
I have a vision of a country where foreign nationals are safe, and can work their way to legal citizenship.
I have a dream of equality, where there is no discrimination against the rich, or the poor.
I have a vision of restored pride in being South African.
I have a dream of a country where people obey the law, fear God, and honor their leaders.
I have a dream.
– – – Nico Smit

Something is astir in the ACDP

Last night I went to my first ACDP branch meeting. I had a couple of preconceived ideas as to what the meeting would be like, but what I found there was not what I expected…

So let me start off by iterating a bit more on the challenges that face the ACDP at the moment. From 1994 until 2004, the ACDP was the fastest growing party in South Africa (some of you did not know that), they were at an all-time high in the 2004 general election. But after that, they fell quite dramatically in voter-share to where they are now. Even though they still have a larger voter-share than in 1994, the current picture is not looking good. I have been in discussion with a lot of people over the years who support the ACDP, but don’t vote for them. When I ask people why they don’t vote for them, the response is always the same: “They don’t do anything” – and in this lies the current challenge for the ACDP.

ACDP President: Kenneth Meshoe

ACDP President: Kenneth Meshoe

Now to clarify, the issue is not that the ACDP is not doing anything, in fact they are doing a lot! They are championing the conservative cause in all levels of government. The issue is that the ACDP has failed to communicate to their voters and other conservatives about what they are doing. They have been doing their job diligently, but silently. Unfortunately, the average voter does not do research before voting, he/she simply has a look at what the media and his/her community is saying, formulates an opinion, and vote. This is why the DA nearly consumed the ACDP vote in full, because the DA is “in your face” about what they are doing, and the media is continually writing about them. If you do your research, you will see that the DA is not fighting for conservative values, whereas the ACDP is. But alas, “my people perish for a lack of knowledge”.

Wayne Thring: ACDP Deputy President

Wayne Thring: ACDP Deputy President, MP

So now we finally get back to my first branch meeting. I thought that I will find a group of people, good people, but good people who have stagnated into passivity. Almost like an old, super-conservative church with no youth and no “loud noises”. What I found there, was in fact refreshing. In stead of “old people” who became passive, I saw a group of mature vibrant community leaders. In stead of stagnant passivity, I saw a group of people, working hard to win back the youth of their time, formulating plans to “change and adapt” to be more relevant. In stead of a lack of communication, we were briefed by the provincial secretary general on how the ACDP should change, and how they are changing to bring the message across of what they are doing. I heard of all the people who are joining the ACDP, how the party is growing in members, how the community is responding positively to the ACDP, how they are now reaching out to the media and other communication channels.

After the meeting I was refreshed and inspired. I no longer felt like one person who joined a party to change it, I now felt like one of countless South Africans who heeded the call to stand up for what is good and right. In my previous post, I mentioned that by joining the ACDP, I may be joining a sinking ship. But it seems like the ACDP might just change this sinking ship into a submarine.

Grant Haskin: Western Cape MP, ACDP leader in the Western Cape

Grant Haskin: Western Cape MP, ACDP leader in the Western Cape

To conclude:
Whether the ACDP will once again rise to it’s former greatness of the fastest growing party in South Africa, I do not know. Will the average conservative voter have a change of mind when it comes to placing their vote? Will the “new ACDP” make a large enough impression to regain what they have lost? Who can say? I for one can not put a guarantee on what the future will bring. But I know this:
The ACDP is on the right track, and they are going to make an impact in the 2014 general election either way. If this is their last stand, then it will be glorious. And I for one, will be proud to be a part of it.

So DA, ANC, Agang and all other players in this game, beware and take note: Something is astir in the ACDP!

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