history in the making

history is in the making in our land – yet again – and it is fascinating to be a part of it.

 

it’s funny, i didin’t enjoy history at school much – mainly because of all the essays we had to write. but that has changed, and i remember clearly the moment that it did.

 

december 1991. new york. the united nations.

 

the minute i walked into the building, the history i had been taught, came alive. and since then i have enjoyed “modern” history. i am still not partial to the tales of grecian and roman times, but even that could change if i was in the right place.

 

since then i have been aware of the times in my life that history has been made – and i am excited to be aware of it at the time that it happens.

 

this is the time that i usually confess to people that i have 2 large boxes of old newspapers stashed under the bed in the study… complete newspapers from the 90s onwards, documenting historical times. and because i get such a thrill out of looking through old newspapers, i have made a point of keeping the complete newspaper, so that in years to come someone else may see what the price of milk was when we had our elections in ’94, or what else made news at the time of 9/11.

 

and so here we are making history again. the anc has asked president thabo mbeki to resign  – or “we recall comrade mbeki from the position of president of the republic of south africa”. it is a momentous day, and full of mixed feelings for so many people.

 

i am by no means a political analyst, but i do have a few points that i have been thinking about in the midst of all this:

 

  1. in the press conference today, the anc referred to itself as a “revolutionary movement”. this is fascinating and bordering on worrying for me. the anc has been the ruling political party in this country for the last 14 years – as a direct result of its revolutionary activities. therefore i no longer consider is a revolutionary movement.

 

surely the anc should have “grown up” into a fully fledged political body now? who is the revolution against? what are we fighting for? doesn’t a revolutionary movement have different priorities to a ruling government party?

 

2. how can a political party ‘recall’ someone from a position it did not put them in? stay with me here for a second:

a. the anc is the largest party in the government, and it did put thabo mbeki forward as their leader and nominee for president at the last 2 elections

b. parliament, as a body, consists of members from several political parties.

c. parliament, as a body, votes for a president

d. yes, the anc does have a majority, and therefore their candidate is most likely to win. but, it is a vote from all parliamentarians. not just an anc appointment.

e. mbeki is not the president of the anc anymore.

f. therefore, a political party cannot recall their member from a position that s/he was elected to by a multi-party process within parliament (am i still making sense?)

g. therefore, while the anc would like to suggest that mbeki, as their member steps down, it should not have the same immediate effect as if someone from the da or id or acdp stands up and asks the president to resign.

 

yes, it is a technicality, and yes some friends of mine would say i am just stirring for the sake of stirring, but it is an important point to remember i think, in the bigger picture of things.

 

parliament is there for a reason, and in a multi-party democracy its authority needs to be respected by all parties – with or without a two-thirds majority. only parliament can receive the resignation of the president, and parliament has a process for this, as defined in the constitution.

 

  1. right now i am feeling a little apprehensive – nervous – about how this may be received on the international stage. because we are vulnerable, and this is the moment when people will begin to worry if we are heading the way that other parts of africa have gone. i doubt we will, but perceptions can cloud decisions.

 

i love how the universe works though…

 

last night i got some music from d & c, but this afternoon i realized that it had not copied from the flashdrive onto my computer – so i got in my car and drove the 15km to their place to collect the flashstick again, to do it properly this time. i was assured it was there.

 

of course, as i got there, we discovered that the flashstick was with c at a friend’s graduation… d got upset, but i told her to chill – because if i had not got into my car to drive there i would not have heard about the press conference, and we would not have seen this momentous occasion live on tv. i had not been listening to the radio at home. so it was all good J

 

and now, i have final preps to make!!

 

 

what bugged me today: coming back from the shops, and remembering at that point that i had forgotten this or that.

 

what i learnt today: that the universe does work in mysterious – and marvelous – ways.

 

what i am grateful for: the anticipation & preparation for a party at your own home – love it.

 

 

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