Jealousies derail ambition
Talvin Schultz via email
In different ways, the articles “You can’t create industrialists like magic” and “A duty to speak” (City Press, September 28 2014) point to facets challenging Pixley ka Isaka Seme’s passionate reasoning at the ANC’s founding congress against petty jealousies in the politics of civil society.
While there are many interpretations of his reasoning, the most liberal would be that presumptions about the other precludes even mutually desired opportunities.
Herman Mashaba takes issue with the state’s presumptions that industrialists could be created like magic.
Based on his personal experiences and observations, the industrial entrepreneurship ethic is the dedicated creative exploration at and beyond the boundaries of what are presumed to be limitations. It is a nurtured ethic and not a magic creation. T.O. Molefe presents a different version. He argues against his personal efficiency presumption not to waste his time and energy with those classified as other, including those who now claim conversion.
He now entertains doubts whether this presumption is not precluding him from growth opportunities.
But why do we entertain contemporary currency to these and other flawed presumptions, especially when the evidence and reason suggest otherwise? The short answer is that we presume the credibility of stereotypes and are addicted to this presumption because it justifies our petty jealousies without reason.
Despite this predilection, we made remarkable progress when we subordinated our jealousies for nobler causes. We did so by adopting the Freedom Charter and in adopting a Constitution with protected individual human rights. But noble intentions are blunt instruments to turn the surging tide of mutual mistrust created and sustained by stereotypical petty jealousies.
Only a state and organs of state are credible stereotypes deserving of civil mistrust, and the onus is on them to establish and maintain tolerable levels of trust. It is an enduring lesson built as the “separation of powers” into our Constitution and it would be challenged, especially during this most trying phase of our rehabilitation.