Helen Zille should be celebrated by whiteys as an anti-hero. I say anti-hero in the way the naughty kid is made a prefect or a bad guy does a good deed (think Hofmeyer accidentally rescuing a puppy while cutting down a tree for fire wood). Zille is not perfect, but she is the Chuck Norris of South African Madams.
Zille I contest: did shit and will probably continue to do things. When we feel bad we can drink pills or do stuff; reactive or proactive, we can do things. By the time we reach for the tablets, we have already lost. Marx will include the Gospel as one of those pills. Zille is an antidote to our prozac-nation.
Helen Zille took one for the team: thrice.
Many white liberals and most blacks in general got exactly what they wanted from the Madam, the Miesies. They got a statement, a verbal assertion that allowed the aforementioned to discredit an uncomfortable voice. I’ll get to the tweet soon but, before I get to the tweet I am still dealing with the twitbook world we live in where words are becoming hysterically powerful. You can do 1000 good things and say one stupid sentence and your legacy will be the sentence. Cheap advice, for social media and braaivleisvure: Don’t let your sentence be your sentence. Helen is guilty of the coffin-crime: not the stupidity to do something stupid, but the stupidity of filming, typing and broadcasting your stupidity.
Still: for me, and it’s just me, our society revealed something of itself in the way Zille was devoured like a fresh carcass by intellectual and self-righteous vultures. The very same who would now want to interject with a ‘but do you know what she said?!’ or a ‘racist BS needs to be called out’… I understand fully why what she said was fucked. I understand that a rapist can’t remind a victim that he at least left her the mattress after the deed. That is not my point so get over that. My observation is that if we are willing to reduce a life to a sentence there is something wrong with us: a lost humanity, a loss of grace. I contest that the veracity of the Zille whipping reveals more of our piranha souls that devoured ubuntu the day we gave up on each other and especially when we gave up on people different from ourselves. If you don’t have grace you can’t fight for love, if you don’t have love, you can forget about justice.
Before 94, Zille became woke, or wokeish at least. She has cred. For me credibility does not always mean you have integrity, but just that your story is not 100% fake, you might not have been in the game, but you were at least on the field. Proximity buys credibility although character buys integrity.
While most white folks withdrew into privatised lives hoping to stay on the post-94 raft Zille plunged into the dirty game of politics. Is she an angel? Probably not- but she did not hide. Hiding: the whitest of sins. She stood up to faces we only see on Facebook. Maddam or not, while the other maddams sipped tea, baked premix scones and shopped in Hyde Park, this Miesies was being brave. Perhaps even a bittereinder?
When she made her now infamous tweet Zille said something in public I have heard hundreds of times. A sentiment that is extremely prevalent amongst whites. The feeling is: surely we are not all bad? Are we not human too? This line is taken to extremes by the likes of Afriforum who is in a constant victimhood competition with all others who position themselves as victims. Some are just emotionally weak and feel bad, scared and unwanted. Whites are not fighting fit when it comes to not feeling like the good guy. We need to be the good guys. So Zille let go a sentiment that millions of whites secretly feel. Instead of being streetwise (like a pro politician should) be she spoke without thinking long enough. She spoke with her heart. If she said: Whites are also human we are not all-bad – there would be no issue. Many whites do not understand that colonialism and apartheid are not synonyms with whiteness or progress. By saying what she felt she took one for the team again. The white team that hide behind safe lives was too scared to jump to Zille’s defence. There was a few exceptions, but too many cowards betrayed their own weekend-talk leaving Zille out to dry.
Lastly, by stepping down as leader of the DA, she took one for the team again. Allowing a black person to lead the official opposition. Again, my issue is not whether she or Maimane is the best, whether it is real or if Maimane is a puppet. If there is a white face on top it gets criticised, so if that is changed with a black face it should be celebrated; otherwise you were playing games. Let’s be consistent. Celebrate small victories, don’t diminish historical gains with a yes but what is still not fixed… It was the same BS with Obama even Mugabe. You complain, it gets sorted and you don’t take even 5 minutes of posting something positive and affirming about the victory. Always ready with a new protest, a new enemy, a new problem to critique. Like first year varsity students learning to debate and then so surprised and in love by their voice and ability to make sounds that they can’t get their mouth shut again.
Skepticism seems to be the new sexy, but I pray to God or whoever is in charge of millennials, that this will also pass.