0 48 mins 6 yrs

“To carve out a place for itself in the politico-social order,” V. O. Key, Jr. wrote in Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups, “a new group may have to fight for reorientation of many of the values of the old order” (p. 57). This is especially true when that group is composed of black people in the American society—a society that has for centuries deliberately and systematically excluded them from political participation. Black people in the United States must raise hard questions, questions which challenge the very nature of the society itself: its long-standing values, beliefs and institutions.


To do this, we must first redefine ourselves. Our basic need is to reclaim our history and our Identity from what must be called cultural terrorism, from the depredation of self-justifying white guilt. We shall have to struggle for the right to create our own terms through which to define ourselves and our relationship to the society, and to have these terms recognized. This is the first necessity of a free people, and the first right that any oppressor must suspend. (Kwame Ture in Black Power, my italics)


Legal discourse is a creative speech which brings into existence that which it utters. It is the limit aimed at by all performative utterances blessings, curses, orders, wishes or insults. In other words, it is the divine word, the word of divine right, which, like the

intuitus originarius which Kant ascribed to God, creates what it states, in contrast to all derived, observational statements, which simply record a pre-existent given. One should never forget that language, by virtue of the infinite generative but also originative capacity – in the Kantian sense – which it derives from its power to produce existence by producing the collectively recognized, and thus realized, representation of existence, is no doubt the principal support of the dream of absolute power”. (Pierre Bourdieu pp 42)


“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all. (Black Power, my italics)

Every man has a right to his own opinion. Every race has a right to its own action; therefore let no man persuade you against your will, let no other race influence you against your own. (Garvey p 10)


This paper critiques the preamble of the constitution. I use the term “constitution” with a small letter (c) deliberately, as a way to effect a “conceptual revolution” which dethrones the supremacy of the constitution. Most scholars who use the term the” Constitution” give the impression of idolising it as if there is a legal hierarchy in which African jurisprudence and law should be subservient to Western law and jurisprudence which are positioned in this fictional legal hierarchy as the apex of all law and reign supreme. This according to me is to defend the current colonisation of African law which is said to be “subject” (one should not fail to notice the colonial connotations attached to the word “subject”) to the constitution. It is through this colonial “subalternisation” (the term I borrow from Spivak) of African jurisprudence and law that the conquered are legally “silenced” in their endeavours to attain historical justice of the restoration of their land, humanity and dignity. This argument is predicated on the Eurocentric proclivity to write the Western God differently from African Gods who are traditionally written as “gods ‘with the small letter (g) implying the supremacy of the Western God with a capital (G) which is a form of “conceptual colonisation” we have to extirpate.


The main target of the critique is the opening statement of the constitution which I posit is redolent of the so-called Freedom Charter. The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate the enduring White power to define which as I demonstrate is the discursive dynamic of White Supremacy. To expose the power to define is to show the limits of every political system of domination. Underlying all systems of oppression is the power to name which is at the same time the power to create. Ultimately the power to name is the power to create and most importantly to own and control that which one names.


Bourdieu corroborates my postulation by stating:

Specifically political action is possible because agents, who are part of the social world, have a (more or less adequate) knowledge of this world and because one can act on the social world by acting on their knowledge of this world. This action aims to produce and impose representations (mental. verbal, visual or theatrical) of the social world which may be capable of acting on this world by acting on agents’ representation of it. Or, more precisely, it aims to make or unmake groups- and, by the same token the collective actions they can undertake to transform the social world in accordance with their interests by producing, reproducing or destroying the representations that make groups visible for themselves and for others. (Bourdieu p 127)


The opening statement of the preamble of the constitution states that “we the people of South Africa”. The most pertinent question at this early stage of the critique is; what is the intention of the drafters of both the preamble and the constitution itself? This is what the preamble states in its own words:

We, the people of South Africa,

Recognise the injustices of our past;

Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our


Respect those who have worked to build and develop our

country; and

Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in

our diversity. (The Preamble to the constitution 1996, my italics)

We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:

that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. (The Freedom Charter, my italics)

The opening line “we the people of South Africa” is patently reminiscent of the so-called Freedom Charter as I have already alluded to. Philosophically speaking, both the Freedom Charter and the preamble of the constitution assume the existence of a “constituted body-politic” which consists of individuals designated “south Africans”. Who are these “south Africans”? I wonder if I am correct in saying that both these documents assume the existence of an already “constituted body-politic”.

“We the people of South Africa”….is what is designated a Performative utterance in the ideological sense. This is what Bourdieu has to say with regard to the power of a Performative utterance:

The act of social magic which consists in trying to bring into existence the thing named may succeed if the person who performs it is capable of gaining recognition through his

speech for the power which that speech is appropriating for itself by a provisional or definitive usurpation, that of imposing a new vision and a new division of the social world: regere fines, regere sacra, to consecrate a new limit. The effectiveness of the performative

discourse which claims to bring about what it asserts in the very act of asserting it is directly proportional to the authority of the person doing the asserting (Bourdieu p 128, my italics).

….. the performative utterance, the political pre-vision, is in itself a pre-diction which aims to bring about what it utters. It contributes practically to the reality of what it announces by the fact of uttering it, of pre-dicting it and making it pre-dicted, of making it conceivable and above all credible and thus creating the collective representation and will

which contribute to its production. (Bourdieu p 128)

In other words by saying “we the people of South Africa…” the main intention is to instil false consciousness in the minds of both the descendants of the coloniser and the colonised, the dispossessed and the dispossessor and the conqueror and the conquered. In this regard we can say with Bourdieu that: [t]he power over the group that is to be brought into existence as a group is, inseparably, a power of creating the group by imposing on it common principles of vision and division, and thus a unique vision of its identity and an identical vision of its unity (my italics).


In other words the statement “we the people of South Africa” performs a historicide. It does this by dissolving the historical distinction between the dispossessor and the dispossessed, and most importantly the conqueror and the conquered which is accentuated by Sobukwe in The Nature of the Struggle Today. The dissolution of this historical distinction is responsible for the illusion of post-apartheid in its characteristic form of the fiction of non-racial rainbow nation. As Sobukwe posits:

These “leaders” consider South Africa and its wealth to belong to all who live in it, the alien dispossessors and the indigenous dispossessed, the alien robbers and their indigenous victims. They regard as equals the foreign master and his indigenous slave, the white exploiter and the African exploited, the foreign oppressor and the indigenous oppressed. They regard as brothers the subject Africans and their European overlords. They are too incredibly naive and too fantastically unrealistic to see that the interests of the subject peoples who are criminally oppressed, ruthlessly exploited and inhumanly degraded, are in sharp conflict and in pointed contradiction with those of the white ruling class. (Sobukwe p 24)

A constitution fundamentally speaking constitutes a body-politic. Each constituted body-politic is imbricated with its past, most importantly its memory which is the source of its identity. We know that at some point in history what is now called south Africa was designated Azania. Now back to the opening lines of the constitution. Were the drafters of this constitution representing the Particular Will (i.e. the will of the white and black elite), while masquerading as the legitimate representatives of the General Will of the conquered and dispossessed Africans?

Kwame Ture postulated that the fundamental objective of the oppressor is to make the oppressed to identify with the oppressor’s culture, history, interest and identity. Historically speaking the name south Africa was invented by White Supremacists whose sole intention was to make Azania a “white man’s country” in 1910 through the Union Act. What happens when the oppressed identify with the oppressor’s culture, history, identity and interest? The answer is self-evident which is that; the development of the revolutionary consciousness and its maturation are delayed. In other words, there is a temporary deprivation of the historical revolutionary agency of the oppressed.

The drafters of the preamble were endeavouring to interpellate (i.e. to constitute Africans as subjects of White Power) the dispossessed Africans. They attempted to mould the dispossessed blacks’ into subjects of a well-disguised White Power through white coloniser’s legal discourse. Did the dispossessed African hail the ideological call by the drafters? In order to answer this question correctly we have to analyse briefly the relation between identity and land. John Henrik Clarke posited that a people’s name and identity must relate to their culture, history and most importantly their land. What is now called south Africa is historically speaking Azania.

According to Motsoko Pheko and other sources such as Basil Davidson Azania, just as Cheik Anta Diop has demonstrated with regard to Kemet, Azania means “the land of the blacks”. Both semantically and historically, this name excludes white people who are now, by some strange logic, called “white south Africans”. While there may be such a thing as a white south African, in the sense envisaged by the White Supremacist founders of the Union of south Africa, there is certainly no such a thing as a white African at least from the perspective of Pan-Africanist Black Power as envisaged by Garvey and Lembede’s Africanism. The historical relation between “white” and “African,” is one of conquest, dispossession and genocide. As Garvey states it himself:

The attitude of the white race is to subjugate, to exploit, and if necessary exterminate the weaker peoples with whom they come in contact. They subjugate first, if the weaker peoples will stand for it; then exploit, and if they will not stand for subjugation nor exploitation, the other recourse is extermination. (Garvey p 11)


By strange logic I mean the White Supremacist exercise of the “right of conquest”, as Ramose calls it, or White colonial Imagination, that is naming himself and that which he conquers in accordance with his image of whiteness and the interests of White Power. Thus the aim of my critique is to de-constitute the “south African body-politic” which is constituted by the opening lines of the preamble of the constitution. The main fount of motivation is Garvey’s words which are:

All of us may not live to see the higher accomplishment of an African Empire: so strong and powerful, as to compel the respect of mankind, but we in our lifetime can so work and act as to make the dream a possibility within another generation. (Garvey p 13)


And Hannah Arendt captures my sentiment when she states that:

His occasional, and sometimes violent, antagonism against the Constitution and particularly against those who ‘look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched’, was motivated by a feeling of outrage about the injustice that only his generation should have it in their power ‘to begin the world over again’ (Arendt p 233)


My fundamental objective of the de-constitution of the “south African body-politic“ which I posit is constituted by the opening lines of the constitution, is to create an “Azanian body-politic”, which is conscious of itself as such. But this kind of self-consciousness must be informed by an African-centred historiography, which serves as a fundament of the indigenous people’s power to define their land and themselves in relation to their land. In other words, it is only through a politically self-conscious indigenous counter-discourse that the Azanians or the indigenous people can exercise their power to define and thus create an indigenous counter-discourse with the sole purpose of negating White colonial hegemonic discourse of south Africa and south Africans. The authors of Black Power posit thus, in this regard:

Black people must redefine themselves, and only they can do that. Throughout this country, vast segments of the black communities are beginning to recognize the need to assert their own definitions, to reclaim their history, their culture; to create their own sense of community and togetherness. There is a growing resentment of the word “Negro,” for example, because this term is the invention of our oppressor; it is his image of us that he describes. Many blacks are now calling themselves African-Americans, Afro-Americans or black people because that is our image of ourselves. When we begin to define our own image, the stereotypes—that is, lies—that our oppressor has developed will begin in the white community and end there. The black community will have a positive image of itself that it has created. (Black Power)


And Bourdieu on the other hand states that;


Heretical subversion exploits the possibility of changing the social world by changing the representation of this world which contributes to its reality or, more precisely, by counterposing a paradoxical pre-vision, a utopia, a project or programme, to the ordinary vision which apprehends the social world as a natural world: the performative utterance, the political pre-vision, is in itself a pre-diction which aims to bring about what it utters. It contributes practically to the reality of what it announces by the fact of uttering it, of pre-dicting it and making it pre-dicted, of making it conceivable and above all credible and thus creating the collective representation and will which contribute to its production. (Bourdieu p 128)


Africa including its southern tip which is now called south Africa belongs to the indigenous blacks by ancestral right, despite the existence of the myth of the “empty land”. It is historically self-evident that whites are not indigenous to Africa or Azania. When they arrived in Africa as conquerors they called themselves Europeans who are here to ‘civilise’ the natives; the crude ones even called us kaffirs. This is how Sobukwe explains it:

Early European settlement of Africa, especially of its southern tip, was a direct result of the rise of European commercial capital. Wave upon wave of European settlers came to Africa and their penetration of the interior involved the loss of sovereignty by the indigenous peoples and the alienation of more and more portions of their land. With the rise of the industrial capital of Europe and its increased search for raw materials and more markets, the partition of Africa went apace and the doctrine of “effective occupation” was enunciated, a theory calculated to “sugar coat” the bitter pills of land robbery and political subjugation. More and more settlers came into the country, until today there are 5,000,000 Europeans who up to the dawn of African liberation had constituted themselves as a ruling class over the 250,000,000 indigenous peoples. Africans had been successfully robbed of Africa. (Sobukwe p 22)

In the light of this brief analysis of the relation between identity and land, my answer to the question whether or not the indigenous dispossessed people have hailed the ideological call by the drafters is in the negative. Baipei and Matyotyombe reflect a refusal to be interpellated as subjects of White Power which continues to dispossess them and entrench conquest of their land and mind. This is what Ramose has to say in this regard;

For the indigenous conquered peoples “democratization” and the deracialisation of South African society are a limited success because they exclude the reversion to unencumbered and unmodified sovereignty to the same quantum and degree as at conquest in the unjust wars of colonization. The matyotyombe phenomenon is a manifest reminder to the political leadership that the liberation agenda is incomplete. It is a Xhosa word designating conditions of squalor. It signifies a situation of extreme poverty, dirt and moral degradation. It speaks to conditions unbefitting to human habitation and derogatory of human dignity. The problem with matyotyombe is that they proliferate relentlessly in all directions. They penetrate any area and freely fix themselves. They even fix themselves on no man’s land which subsequently turns out to be another’s “private property”. The latter then defines matyotyombe dwellers as squatters. Both the legality and the justice of the claimant’s right to “private property” are assumed to be valid. But this assumption is not necessarily valid from the point of view of the so-called squatters. The injured party then seeks a remedy through the courts. The latter invariably hand down eviction orders. These evoke defiance instead of obedience from the dwellers. The reason for this may be found in the Sotho term for the same matyotyombe, namely, baipei. The latter is descriptive of people who have fixed and settled themselves into a particular place. The idea of being fixed to a place in the sense of belonging to it as of right underlies the meaning of moipei being the singular of baipei. Baipei does not fix themselves at any place as though they are in search of any space: a void without any history. Baipei assert their right to a place and not a space and the whole of South Africa is this place because it is space which has historical meaning, where some things have happened which are now remembered and which provide continuity and identity across generations. Place is space in which important words have been spoken and which have established identity, defined vocation and envisioned destiny … a yearning for a place is a decision to enter history with an identifiable people in an identifiable pilgrimage. The pilgrimage for the restoration of title to territory and the reversion of unencumbered and unmodified sovereignty over it is spearheaded by the Baipei. (Ramose p 24-24)

One must bear in mind the implications of a successful interpellation, in other words, the acceptance of the identity “south Africans”. If both whites and blacks, correctly speaking the conqueror and the conquered and the dispossessor and the dispossessed, accept the identity “south African”, then, they both become the rightful owners of the land that is “south Africa”. In this regard one must understand the relation between what, in terms of the white conquerors jurisprudence, are called Acquisitive and Extinctive prescription. In terms of Acquisitive prescription one comes to acquire something over the passage of time if one is in possession of something in an uninterrupted manner, while in terms of Extinctive prescription one loses ownership over something as a result of the passage of time if one loses possession of the thing.

Let us try to apply both these conquerors’ jurisprudential categories to the current context. As a result of colonial conquest and the exercise of the “right of conquest”, the white coloniser in 1910 through the Union Act decided as result of the power to define to acquire the identity of a south African by naming the land he dispossessed from the indigenous blacks “south Africa”. In other words, through having conquered the indigenous people for over two centuries and having possession of the land of the indigenous people, the white conqueror decided to endow himself with identity “south African” since he called the land “white south Africa” which he regarded as the white man’s land or country due to colonial conquest. One must bear in mind the historical fact that the white conqueror was never in possession of the land of the indigenous people in a peaceful and uninterrupted manner as a result of wars of colonial resistance waged by the indigenous people in order to restore land.

We must recall that in 1652 the white coloniser did not designate himself a south African but a European on a civilizational mission. It was only after 200 years of wars of resistance waged by our ancestors which culminated in 1906 with the Bambatha rebellion as well as after the two European tribal wars (the so-called Anglo-Boer wars now the south African wars) on our land, that the British, the European tribe which won this war, invented the identity “south African” through the Union Act of south Africa.

Contemporaneous with the acquisition of the identity “south African” as an expression of the “right of conquest” we have Extinctive prescription. According to the conqueror’s jurisprudence, since the indigenous people lost possession of the land as a result of colonial conquest, over time they have lost the ownership of the land of their ancestors. Thus, the white coloniser is now the rightful owner of the land due to colonial conquest. So now we have the identity “south African” as well as “south Africa” as land or territory. It is very important to bear in mind the fact that the 1910 Union Act of South Africa excluded the indigenous people who were dispossessed of their ancestral land. In other words, in the beginning the indigenous were excluded from both the identity “south African” as well as from the land “south Africa”.

The indigenous people were confined to the so-called Reserves and Bantustans which were regarded as outside “white south Africa”. In other words, the indigenous people were not citizens of “white south Africa”, thus were “foreign natives“in the land of their ancestors. The exclusion of indigenous people by the white coloniser has a long history. But it began properly in 1652 when Van Riebeck demarcated a piece of land in the Cape to the exclusion of the Africans (by Africans I mean the Khoi Khoi, San and Bantu people).

This marked the beginning proper of the conqueror’s logic of indigenous exclusion and land dispossession which is the basis thereof. The 1910 Union Act excluded the indigenous people; the 1961 Afrikaner Republic excluded the indigenous people as well as the 1983 constitutional order. The indigenous people were only “included” in the Interim constitution of 1993 after the dissolution of the Bantustans and the creation of the Unitary State system on the basis of provincial division. This is the culmination of White power in the form of the project of what Biko called Integration, the conqueror integrating the conquered.

The inclusion of the indigenous people in “white south Africa”, which is a white settler colonial State, means that, strictly speaking, there was no State succession but government succession during the so-called Transitional period. State succession implies that the indigenous people should or must restore sovereign title to territory, but since they don’t own the land what they have is a black government of the black elite under a white settler colonial State. Thus, we have a paradox of the indigenous people who are now called “black south Africans” but don’t own the “south Africa” they are named after, and “white south Africans” who actually own the land they are named after.

This paradox received legal legitimation in section 25 of the constitution, which states that when you expropriate you must compensate. In other words, this section assumes incorrectly that because you have “south Africa” you also have both “black south Africans” and “white south Africans”. But we know that the correct historical and factual description is that we have “south Africa”; the indigenous conquered people and the white conquerors and their descendants, who Ramose aptly designates successors-in-title to territory (the conquered territory).

My main point is that when you accept the opening lines of the preamble and section 25 of the constitution, you also accept that all “south Africans” are the rightful owners of the land now called “south Africa”, thus any “south African” who expropriates land from another “south African” must compensate this “south African”. What this means is that when the indigenous people (the so-called “black south Africans”) identify with the white oppressor’s identity, called “south African”, they mis-identify with their ancestral land and, as a result thereof, accept white settler colonial conquest both in the form of the white power to define and impose the definition as well as land dispossession and loss of sovereignty.

The whites who have accepted the interpellation by the preamble’s opening lines and its already stated implications have chosen to “publicly” exercise the “right of conquest”. In other words, since they are “white south Africans” and have accepted that “south Africa” is a white man’s country, they have arrogated to themselves the white master’s right to tell blacks who visit beaches of their forefathers how to behave. (In other words, to entrench Basskap or White Supremacy)

Biko warned the black-conscious Azanians not to forget that what is now called “south Africa” is a black man’s land and to destroy the arrogance of whites who travel all the way from Europe to shift us around……. And you cannot destroy this arrogance by merely “finding it unacceptable that whites can still be racist in the so-called non-racial democratic south Africa”. But you do so by restoring sovereign title to territory and thus Black Power, and expelling these arrogant white conquerors and their descendants out of Azania.

Consequently the most dangerous people are blacks and their white counterparts who defend both the so-called Freedom Charter and the constitution. These are the blacks whom Malcolm X in his famous speech called Message to the Grassroots designated house-negroes. These are negroes (as it is clear from my analysis so far I don’t subscribe to the name negro, I am only using it as used my Malcolm X) who identify more with their white slave-masters than with themselves and the dispossessed blacks like them.

In the Nietschean sense they have what in the Genealogy of Morals he designates slave-morality. Because they eschew the historical categories of the conqueror and the conquered; they want the indigenous people to accept the Hegelian master-slave dialectic. In other words, they accept conquest by denying it, thus facilitating the control of the conditions of life of the indigenous people by the white coloniser who has land and what is on the land (i.e. mineral wealth) which are the sources of White economic power which is “managed” by the black elite government who don’t have power. Sobukwe posited:

Following the ‘Capture’ of a portion of the black leadership of South Africa by a section of the leadership of the white ruling class, the masses of our people are in extreme danger of being deceived into losing sight of the objectives of our struggle. This captured black leadership claims to be fighting for freedom when in truth it is fighting to perpetuate the tutelage of the African people. It is tooth and nail against the Africans gaining the effective control of their own country. It is fighting for the maintenance of the status quo. It is fighting for the “constitutional guarantees” or “national rights” for our alien nationals.

It has completely abandoned the objective of freedom. It has joined the ranks of the reactionary forces. It is no longer within the ranks of the liberation movement. (Sobukwe p 24)


On the other hand the authors of Black Power state:

This process of co-optation and a subsequent widening of the gap between the black elites and the masses is common under colonial rule. There has developed in this country an entire class of “captive leaders” in the black communities. These are black people with certain technical and administrative skills who could provide useful leadership roles in the black communities but do not because they have become beholden to the white power structure. (Black Power)


And most importantly they capture the essence of what Nkrumah called Neo-colonialism, by stating that real Black Power;

does not mean merely putting black faces into office. Black visibility is not Black Power. Most of the black politicians around the country today are not examples of Black Power. (Black Power, my italics)


The great Chancellor Williams in this regard once said:

What, then, is “the view from the bridge”? The outlook is grim. For the black people of the world there is no bright tomorrow. The Blacks may continue to live in their dream world of singing, dancing, marching, praying and hoping, because of the deluding signs of what looks like victories-still trusting in the ultimate justice of the white man; but a thousand years hence their descendants will be substantially where the race was a thousand years before. For the white people, still masters of the world, do not have to yield. They have never changed their real attitude toward black people during all the passing centuries, and there

is absolutely nothing upon which to base the belief that they will change in the centuries to come. Concessions on some demands, yes. Expediency dictates this. Noting that the black masses accept as leaders any and all “Negroes” who hold important positions, the whites, who control these positions directly or indirectly, actually determine who the leaders of Blacks shall be as independent black organizations emerge. The dangling attractions of government and foundation grants are there to quiet the outspoken but money-hungry “leaders.” Indeed, some of these leaders were quick in discovering that the most certain route to a handsome grant or “loan” is pretended outrage and shouting “militancy.” The whites know this all too well. (Williams p 301)


This is the great Williams again in his own words:

They, the whites, on their part, have no reason or inclination to do more than make token concessions from time to time, thus quieting noisy “leaders,” but never changing the inferior situation of the masses. They still own and control the wealth of Africa, directly and indirectly, and from it, along with that from other areas of the world, they have developed technologies and a world commerce-all fully protected by governments, also under their control, that assure them of continued white supremacy. This phenomenal success, this unquestionable “position of strength,” derived from their conquests of other peoples and their wealth, has led them to believe that they are, as a matter of fact, the superior people and, therefore, the rightful rulers of this planet. Why, then, should they be expected to yield? “Human Rights?” “Equal Justice?” What are these but narcotic slogans for the masses…..

(Williams p 305)

As John Henrik Clarke posited, what makes one a slave is lack of self-determination or the lack of control of one’s destiny and not poverty and hard work. The indigenous people can only restore self-determination and control the conditions of their existence only if they restore historical title to territory and sovereignty as Ramose posited. Without the restoration of land, the indigenous people will be victims of the Biblical myth of the hewers of wood and drawers of water for their white slave-masters (.i.e. white conquerors and their descendants).

The restoration of historical title to territory and sovereignty will change what Amos Wilson calls the constant fundamental relation of power between whites and blacks; which is one of white master and black serf/slave working to enrich his white master in European multinational corporations which are nothing but contemporary slave plantations. In other words, the relation of servility of blacks to the white masters will be ended when blacks restore their ownership and control of the means of production, land, mineral wealth, mind and labour of the indigenous people to themselves.

They must control and own land and its mineral wealth, and use them solely for the advancement of the interests and biological survival and prosperity of the Africans; and only for the Africans – to restore Black Power without white supervision or trusteeship as Anton Lembede posited. When I state that only for the African, this is in line with PAC’s slogan of “Africa for the Africans” and Lembede’s concept of African Nationalism which he describes as follows:

Every Geographical Region is different from other regions climatically, topographically etc. Each region is geographically peculiar and unique. All plants and animals must adapt themselves to a particular region in order to survive. This includes man. In other words plants, animals and man must breathe the spirit of their environment in order to continue living. A region may be a continent. Africa is a region. Now from time immemorial Africa has developed her own peculiar plants, animals and man the African Native or Aborigine.

The African Natives then live and move and have their being in the spirit of Africa, in short, they are one with Africa. It is then this spirit of Africa which is the common factor of co-operation and the basis of unity among African tribes. It is African Nationalism or Africanism. So that all Africans must be converted from tribalism into African Nationalism which is a higher step or degree of the self-expression and self-realisation of the African spirit. Africa through her spirit is using us to develop that higher quality of Africanism.

We have to go out as apostles to preach the New Gospel of Africanism and to hasten and bring about the birth of a new nation. Such minor insignificant differences of languages, customs etc. will not hinder or stop the irresistible onward surge of the African spirit. This African spirit can realise itself through, and be interpreted by, Africans only. Foreigners of whatever brand and hue can never properly and correctly interpret this spirit owing to its uniqueness, peculiarity and particularity. (Lembede in African Nationalism)

Sobukwe complements this by stating:

The African people, therefore, are awake! They are waiting; waiting eagerly and expectantly; waiting for the call; the call to battle – to battle for the reconquest of the Continent of Africa which for over 300 years has been the prostitute of the philanderers and rakes of western capitalism. “Mayibuye i Afrika,” that is the cry ringing throughout the Continent. Africa for the Africans! Izwe Lethu – i Africa! Those are the words that spell the doom of white supremacy in Africa. (Sobukwe p 17)

Because as Garvey states:

Power is the only argument that satisfies man. Except the individual, the race or the nation has power that is exclusive; it means that that individual, race or nation will be bound by the will of the other who possesses this great qualification. (Garvey p 18)


When you fully identify with your oppressor’s interest and identity you become powerless; in other words, when you identify with White power you abandon Black power. The White man has chosen to exercise what is called epistemological power, which is the power to define reality in the image of whiteness and have blacks accept this defined reality as if it is their own creation as Wade Nobles posited. As a member of the conquered indigenous people I choose to exercise counter-epistemological power by defining a counter-reality which restores the image of Azania and proud and powerful indigeneity, or proud and powerful Africanity and Africans.

We now know as a result of what people like Mandela and Luthuli said that the Freedom Charter was drafted by Whites who called themselves communists, whom Sobukwe called a “bunch of communist quacks”. Thus “we the people of south Africa…“is a discourse of white epistemological power to entrench white hegemony. Hegemony  in the form of “consent”, that is consent to the identity “south African”, thus acceptance of “south Africa” and colonial conquest implied by this name.

What is needed is black epistemological power. Blacks must reject the name “south Africa” and the identity “south African”, and then create their own reality which is anti-white and seeks to overthrow and transcend White Power. A simple starting point would be the lines used by Sobukwe during the launch of the PAC status campaign. Sobukwe used lines such as ‘sons and daughters of Africa’. I have already commented on the impossibility of a white African, so there is no need to repeat the obvious. This line together with the name Azania, which Sobukwe subscribed to, should be anti-colonial counter-discourse against white power hegemony in the form of “south Africa” and “south African”.

Why “untimely”? A philosophical synopsis is the following. For those who read philosophy books, I have already alluded to Nietzsche. But my main intention is to awaken Africans from their “dogmatic slumber” of south African Liberal constitutionalism; which envelopes the contemporary colonial law of “south Africa” and encapsulates the south African “legal mood”. But most importantly these meditations or more aptly reflections are “timely” as they represent my intention to pledge my allegiance to the awakening of the “black-consciousness” of the Azanians who are ignorantly and foolishly accused of “land invasions” of the territory of their ancestors since time immemorial. As Sobukwe puts it again;

The African people, therefore, are awake! They are waiting; waiting eagerly and expectantly; waiting for the call; the call to battle – to battle for the reconquest of the Continent of Africa which for over 300 years has been the prostitute of the philanderers and rakes of western capitalism. “Mayibuye i Afrika,” that is the cry ringing throughout the Continent. Africa for the Africans! Izwe Lethu – i Africa! Those are the words that spell the doom of white supremacy in Africa. (Sobukwe p 17)

I fully support their extra-constitutional project of restoring their historical title to territory which was initiated by African-warrior-nationalist, such as Sekhukhune, Shaka and Moshoeshoe. This was in order to extirpate white settler colonial conquest, in the form of land dispossession through unprovoked, unjust and immoral wars of conquest by White Supremacist criminal savages. The extra-constitutional project of the “black-consciousness” Azanians is in the spirit of these African-warrior nationalists who left a great heritage of African revolution as accentuated by John Henrik Clarke in Who Betrayed African World Revolution and as well by Cedric Robinson in Black Marxism who regards this heritage of African revolution as the source of the Black radical tradition or African Nationalist tradition. This is also in line with the African concept of community which consists of the living-dead, the living and the yet-to-be-born, which Ramose designates Triadic Ontology. Politically speaking the living Africans who are now attempting to restore the land of their living-dead ancestors recognise their moral duty, historical necessity as well as the political and economic imperative of continuing the struggle for National Liberation. They comprehend the important fact that the struggle for National Liberation is intergenerational. They are heeding Garvey’s advice that;

All of us may not live to see the higher accomplishment of an African Empire: so strong and powerful, as to compel the respect of mankind, but we in our lifetime can so work and act as to make the dream a possibility within another generation. (Garvey p 13)


I would like to posit in conclusion that what is needed is the restoration of land and sovereignty, and the creation of a Post-conquest home-grown constitution, which should be fully grounded in African political philosophy, culture and value system which will constitute an Azanian Black Power Nation based on the black radical thought or African Nationalist tradition of the likes of, Garvey and Lembede. In other words, an indigenous constitution which will as Ramose puts it; serve as a mirror of the indigenous people, their culture, ideals and aspirations as opposed to the current “non-racial” white colonial legal document which in actual fact reflects the ideals, values ,philosophy, culture and interests of the white conquerors and their descendants.


This will be a great honour to the “Living-dead African-warrior nationalists” who initiated the restoration of Black Power through African-conscious (.i.e. based on the culture and thought of Africans, such as Ubuntu, through which white conquerors were dismissed by African-warrior-nationalist as not-Abantu because colonial conquest demonstrated their lack of Ubuntu or Botho, which some black south Africans still foolishly ascribe to these white south Africans) political praxis of negating White Power which is still with us today in “south Africa”.


In the final analysis:

We can only state what we hope will be the result, given the fact that the present situation is unacceptable and that we have no real alternative but to work for Black Power. The final truth is that the white society is not entitled to reassurances, even if it were possible to offer them. (Black Power, my italics)


And finally what should never be forgotten is that:

‘Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man, among which he counted the rights to rebellion and revolution” (Arendt p 233)


By Masilo Lepuru






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *