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Bend It Like Imperialism! The World Cup 1, African Liberation Nil

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
So many Black American entertainers and luminaries flocked to the World Cup opening ceremonies in South Africa, one veteran activist was prompted to remark that "these folks are crossing the picket line." It is a line that separates South Africa's poor Black majority from the real beneficiaries of the "gold" -  "the soccer elites of FIFA, the elites of domestic and international corporate capital and the political elites who are making billions and who will be benefiting at the expense of the poor."
 
Bend It Like Imperialism! The World Cup 1, African Liberation Nil
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
"These stadiums are encased in a 'Ring of Steel' to protect audiences from 'unpatriotic citizens' of South Africa."
Today, June 16, marks the 34th anniversary of the South African Soweto uprising where thousands of African youth took to the streets and where hundreds would die at the hands of the South African police and military.  Today, June 16, also marks the first anniversary of that uprising to take place during the first ever World Cup on the African continent.  These competing, colliding commemorations and events stand in violent opposition to one another precisely because the World Cup is corporate-sponsored spectacle playing on our emotions in the hopes that we will not realize or will ignore those who try to force realization, that the causes of the Soweto uprising, indeed the very existence of a Soweto or a South Africa, remain, are even worse now than 34 years ago.  So bad are these conditions today that in response to seeing so many Black American entertainers participating in the World Cup opening ceremonies one veteran activist remarked to me that "these folks are crossing the picket line." 
No one at all familiar with the history of the labor movement can hear lightly this kind of condemnation.  To cross any picket line, that is, to become a "scab" is to betray the struggle of your kind, of your class.  And this is precisely what major events such as the World Cup demand of its participants.  And everyone did.  Hugh Masekela was there to briefly blow his once defiant horn, as was John Legend and the Black Eyed Peas fresh off their Obama inauguration performance where they omitted their lyrics about the CIA being terrorists.  Shakira was there in her grass skirt wiggling her light/white Latin Americanness before the world and from within the "Dark Continent" no less! And, of course, there was K'Naan the talented Somali rapper who foolishly accepts invitations from white liberals to bash Black Americans as not really being that oppressed while himself selling his liberation song Wavin' Flag to Coca-Cola to be used as the World Cup theme song absent, naturally, of its lyrical references to Somali suffering.  And all the while his fellow continental Africans, who he cannot dismiss as having it as easy as their American cousins, do not have their concerns addressed either.
"Since the "fall of apartheid" White income has risen 24% while that of Black Africans has actually dropped."
So no mention of the 20,000 poor removed from stadium sites into even smaller slums.  No mention that these stadiums are encased in a "Ring of Steel" to protect audiences from "unpatriotic citizens" of South Africa whose presence alone, never mind any actual protest, might heighten too many contradictions.  No mention either of the 22 million Africans in South Africa who live as squatters, and have no potable water. Or the 14 million who are unemployed, or that 43% live ith less than $2 a day.  And no mention that Black South African men earn what equates to $320 a month while White men earn $2,600 or that Whites as 12% of the population still hold 74% of private sector jobs, control over 80% of the land and all of the military.  Further, no mention can be made of the fact that since the "fall of apartheid" White income has risen 24% while that of Black Africans has actually dropped.  Of course, this is aided by the embedded model of journalism where the World Cup governing body FIFA  has right of refusal to any journalist accreditations should anyone be so foolish as to actually attempt to report any of this. This will also be helpful in preventing the world from becoming aware of the fact that most of the products being sold at the World Cup are Chinese or that FIFA owns all the merchandising rights which has led one writer to explain that, "This World Cup is not for the poor - it is the soccer elites of FIFA, the elites of domestic and international corporate capital and the political elites who are making billions and who will be benefiting at the expense of the poor."
And though few will see or hear of them protests are being organized and efforts to break through the televised façade will continue.  One such effort is coming from the Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA) whose statement in promotion of a call to join them June 16 in South Africa to commemorate the 1976 Soweto uprising says:  "Therefore, our call comes at a time when the subtle and insidious mechanism of State is used to good effect by the Capitalist Overlords to ensure the willing obedience and subservience of the working-class through a twisted vocalization of what they claim is a "universal message of equality, love and justice" wrapped up in massive sports jamborees, coupled with the subtle threat that "...if we do not believe and promote their message, then we are evil and will be dealt with in ways that we cannot begin to imagine..."
In the meantime, I like many Black onlookers, will continue to watch and root for teams along the following lines: against all teams of the West, then for the teams with the most Black players and so on down the line and ultimately only for those whose struggles continue and remain ignored.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball.  Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com
Jared Ball can be reached at jared.ball@morgan.edu

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thank you Jared for allowing

thank you Jared for allowing the complete story of South Africa. We need to support those indigenous rights including Abahlali baseMjondolo: http://www.abahlali.org/

UNTRUTH AND NON RECONCILIATION

The ANC government and its Western backers somehow found billions and billions of rands to build state of the art football stadiums for mostly overseas audiences while black people living nearby have no electricity or running water. If I remember correctly, in the old South Africa, more land was set aside for wild animals than was reserved for blacks. One wonders if that is still the case. In reality, Apartheid never actually fell, the West, its Afrikaner allies, and some members of the so-called liberation movement colluded to rebrand it. The so called Truth and Reconciliation commission was set up by the West as a means of whitewashing one of the biggest systematic crimes against humanity in history, and as as way of enabling the white perpetrators to avoid punishment and to keep their ill-gotten gains. The same White controlled multi-nationals which did so much to enable the enforcement of apartheid are extremely happy to have a permanently entrenched white minority in power in South Africa without having to bear the onus of enforcing overtly racial policies. Modern neo-liberal economics and local and global white supremacy are an easy fit. I predict that the verdict of history will be extremely unkind to people such as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela who struck a "bargain" with the devil, bought into this con and sold it to their people in lieu of genuine liberation. Decades ago, during their fight against white oppressors who had also been in their countries for many generations, the Vietnamese and Indonesians developed the right idea about how one deals with colonial subjection. One fights until the enemy relizes that you will never stop fighting them until they either cede power, or leave. Unlike blacks in South Africa and in far too many other plces, they understood that freedom and liberation are never been granted at a cnference table by ones oppressors.

The Bafokeng

 

Here is a more positive story of the struggle and actual success of the Bafokeng people of South Africa who have succeeded in maintaining their sovereignty over the years and managed to keep a hold of the platinum wealth on their lands - using it to build a successful and self-sufficient community. 

From Wikipedia:

"The nation has gained greater attention recently owing to its Royal Bafokeng Stadium, where six of the FIFA 2010 World Cup games will be played, and the Bafokeng Sports Campus, where the England football team will reside during the World Cup."

The Bafokeng ('People of the dew', or 'People of the grass') comprise roughly 300,000 people. Oral tradition suggests that when they settled in the Rustenburg valley, it captured heavy overnight dew, holding the promise that the land would be fertile and hence that the community would prosper. They struggled to buy the land, repelling invaders and imperialists as they did so. They have had the extraordinary good fortune to see the discovery on their land of the world's largest deposits of platinum group metals. And they have wisely invested royalties and dividends from mining companies on their land to establish their own civic administration and social services. 

About 160,000 Bafokeng live in an area some 150 km North West of Johannesburg, South Africa, with the balance scattered primarily throughout South Africa. The Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) has retained its unique cultural identity and traditional leadership structures and is led by a hereditary Kgosi (king), currently Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi. 

Mining companies pay royalties to the RBN in exchange for the right to mine substantial reserves of Platinum Group Metals (PGMSs) such as platinum, ferrochrome, rhodium and palladium on RBN land. Today, RBN holds stakes in a number of mining ventures as well as diversified investments. 

The Royal Bafokeng Nation comprises a number of entities, each of which has a crucial role to play in reaching the Nation’s goal of a sustainable and self-sufficient community, where people have the skills and the support to reach their highest potential: 
Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), an investment entity in Johannesburg, which is responsible for overseeing the growth and maintenance of the community’s income streams. 
Royal Bafokeng Sports, is an entity within the Royal Bafokeng Holdings and it is in charge of the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, an official venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 
Royal Bafokeng Administration (RBA) is principally a town planning unit charged with service delivery and monitoring the progress of the Master Plan across all the regions. It looks after the various wards (kgotla) within the Nation to ensure that infrastructure and services are in line with the long-term vision. 
Royal Bafokeng Institute (RBI) is aimed at uplifting the quality of education and learning in the Royal Bafokeng Nation. 
History

The Fokeng (the prefix 'Ba,' simply means 'The,') are descendants of the Sotho-Tswana people who, just over a thousand years ago migrated southwards from [North-East Africa], (present-day Egypt and Sudan) pushing south into Central Africa as part of the Great Bantu Migration (from the kingdom of Misiri, commonly known around the world as Ancient Egypt) and went all the way to Southern Africa in several stages that were dependent on population pressure, pasture availability, ethnic conflicts and climatic conditions. Some of the peoples they migrated with, settled in countries further to the north like Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Maravi/Malawi and Zimbabwe. 

A substantial portion of the people settled in the area now incorporated into the countries of Botswana and Zimbabwe. Bafokeng, however, continued to travel south before finally settling in an area known as the Rustenburg valley during the 12th century, where the community remained relatively stable. 
Diamond mining in South Africa started in the 1860s. Thousands of fortune seekers from around the world flocked to Cape Town, the capital of the British-governed Cape colony, before undertaking the 1,500 km trek north of the arid western and Northern Cape to the mining town of Kimberley. 

At the same time Afrikaner farmers (Boers), who wanted to escape British rule, started to settle in Rustenburg valley. They ignored the traditional rights of ownership enjoyed by the Bafokeng and started to survey and register farms. Kgosi Mokgatle, great, great, great, great grand father of the current Kgosi, realized that owner ship of traditional Bafokeng land was likely to be seized. In a remarkable act of foresight and collective sacrifice, he ordered units of young RBN men to walk to Kimberly to work and earn money that was accumulated in a central community fund. As funds were generated, Kgosi sought out the help of Lutheran missionaries to front the Bafokeng and buy up farms in the area. Some 900 hectares, or two thirds of the land currently owned by the Bafokeng, was acquired in this way over a twenty year period. Today, the Bafokeng continue to acquire land in the area. 
In the 1920s, geologist Hans Merensky discovered in the Rustenburg valley the surface outcrop of arguably the world's greatest ore body, a geological wonder known as the Bushveld Igneous Complex. In particular, substantial reserves of Platinum Group Metals (PGMSs) such as platinum, ferrochrome, rhodium and palladium were discovered on land owned by RBN. And thus began the pursuit of platinum. 

Over the next 70 years, various attempts were made by the governments of the day, aided and assisted by the major mining companies, to dispossess RBN of their land rights. All were ultimately unsuccessful and the mining companies thereafter agreed to pay royalties to the RBN in exchange for the right to mine on RBN land. 

For many years, RBN leadership was in conflict with the national and regional governments. The authorities retaliated by neglecting the development of the region. RBN therefore spends practically all of the royalty income it receives on infrastructure. During the past two decades, over R2 billion of communal wealth has been invested in regional infrastructure such as roads, and bridges, water reticulation and reservoirs, electricity supply extensions, schools, clinics, civic buildings and sports facilities. 
Today, the Bafokeng Nation numbers roughly 300 000 people. About 160 000 live in an area some 150 km North West of Johannesburg, South Africa, with the balance scattered primarily throughout South Africa. The Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) has retained its unique cultural identity and traditional leadership structures and is led by a hereditary Kgosi (king), currently Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi. 
. . . 
King Lerou Tshekedi Moletlegi, the 36th recorded monarch of the Bafokeng people, was enthroned in August 2003. Molotlegi holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Natal. Molotlegi's predecessor was his elder brother, King Lebone II. 
VISION AND MISSION 
Vision 
The Royal Bafokeng, the Supreme Council and Kgosi, are determined to develop the Nation to be a self sufficient Community by the second decade of the 21st century. 
Mission 
We give our full and relentless commitment to provide our community with all basic human needs. To provide continued promotion of respect and enhancement of our culture and economic self sufficiency. In all these endeavours we shall not falter in holding our respect and loyalty to our Kgosi and the community, and hold dearly our land. 
Vision 2020 
Even before his enthronement as King of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi set in motion the vital next phase in the development of his people. His brother, Kgosi Mollwane Lebone Boikanyo Molotlegi, paved the way for the initiative by proclaiming Vision 2020. This boldly challenges the Bafokeng people to reduce their dependency on their diminishing mineral assets and to become a self-sufficient community within the first 20 years of this century. Kgosi Leruo's challenge is to devise a workable plan to realize Vision 2020. 
Thus, the time has come for the Royal Bafokeng Nation, like the oil-rich Middle East, to reduce its dependency on natural resources and develop new sources of wealth. The Bafokeng, Kgosi Leruo has concluded, must diversify by securing interests in other sectors of the economy and develop a more balanced portfolio, as it were. 
The main areas of emphasis of Vision 2020 fall into the following areas: 
Investment diversification 
Economic Development 
Education Planning 
Infrastructure Development/Master Plan 
Health and Social Planning 
Crime Free Environment

 

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Bafokeng_Nation

NO PERFECT SYSTEM OF OPPRESSION

If it is true, I am happy to hear about the success of the Bafokeng people in maintaining their land and mineral rights and their culture in spite of the odds against such an outcome. Not to belittle the achievements of the Bafokeng Nation, but even under the the most oppressive systems,some groups and individuals manage to accomplish what is impossible for the majority. Just as there is no perfect system of freedom, there is also no perfect system of oppression. The whites of South Africa didn't have to squash every black culture in southern Africa in order to ensure their dominance. I am sure that they realized that the Bafokeng, being a relatively small group, were no threat to the existing racist order so long as their model didn't catch on with larger ethnic groups which had much larger land claims.

True

 

Good points. And it is interesting the way the MSM spins their story as an instance of Africans "avoiding" the traps of corruption - whereby it is Africans who are solely to blame for the situation, devoid of a historical context. 

"He is trying to break the so-called resource curse that has brought corruption and hardship to many African nations rich in gold, diamonds, platinum and other natural resources."

source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/world/africa/12safrica.html

Racial Capitalism

You are doing good work Jared, really good work. “Negotiated settlements” as they are called have always proven to produce the same result of cosmetic and superficial change while the system goes on as before.

Azanian revolutionaries such as Neville Alexander (who was on Robben Island with Mandela for 10 years and is by far one of the most talented African revolutionary socialists) and Bernard Magubane (author of such fine works as The Making of a Racist State) made the argument decades ago that the political economy of capitalism (racial capitalism as they call it) is such that the actual social conditions of apartheid would reproduce itself regardless if the legal infrastructure of apartheid was removed.

i went to “South Africa” shortly after Mandela was elected. At the time people were still looking forward to the 1,000,000 houses that brother Mandela promised to build during his election campaign. The houses never came but a draconian neo-liberalism did. i attended a Civic meeting where ANC cadres were defending the government against an understandably impatient township population. Some squatters sat on some vacant land (but owned by whites) to wait until their houses were built. White solders came and moved them out by force. That was the “great liberation” they had been fighting for; the opportunity to get brutalized by the “post-racist” army! That was then and as your article shows it is worse now. Azanians are in the same situation as New Afrikans. If We want liberation we are going to have to do more than elect Black heads of state that are not going to do anything but manage the same system under Black cover. We have to get rid of the system that spawned and maintains apartheid—in both the US and in South Africa—We have to get rid of capitalism.

Go "Black Stars!"

I'm with you brother:

In the meantime, I like many Black onlookers, will continue to watch and root for teams along the following lines: against all teams of the West, then for the teams with the most Black players and so on down the line and ultimately only for those whose struggles continue and remain ignored.

It's a crime how the imperialists remain content by masking the real crimes of colonism and racism.Their contentness is rivaled just as much by blacks, mostly from America, who will cross any picket line (real or imaginary) to secure the crumbs from the oppressor in keeping with the shackling of a learnt behavior called 'materialistic depression'.

However, we  must continue to fight for social and racial justice, and, to be grateful for the little things that help us to sustain.This includes the blessings and joy in seeing the Ghana "Black Stars" unashamedly  and beautifully dancing in victory.  Alas, of course ,because of our endoctrination, can we again share that bliss without permission?



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