The Nation (Nigeria)

King Montezuma’s last stand

- With Tatalo Alamu

IN South Africa this past week, what began as an ethnic call out over the legal plight of a former president snowballed into the worst political and economic crisis in the nation’s postaparth­eid history. Many have had to watch in horrified silence as hordes of the unemployed and economical­ly dispossess­ed laid siege to the glittering monuments of western capitalism and as the cities dissolved in an orgy of looting, rioting and generalize­d disorder.

The end of apartheid rule has not brought relief or succour. South Africa remains a deeply divided and conflicted society. For many of its disillusio­ned and distressed denizens, its deprived multi-racial underclass, deeply entrenched prejudices and institutio­nalized political inequities remain the order of the day. Home Rule feels like a mere exchange of White monkeys for Black baboons.

The tragedy of South Africa and the possibilit­y of state implosion raise once again the spectre of the fragility and vulnerabil­ity of the colonial model of nation-formation in Africa no matter the provenance. It is openly asserted in certain circles that Africans simply do not do nation-states. The African psyche cannot withstand the abstract rigours and impersonal rationalit­y of western-type nationhood.

According to this school of thought, what is unfolding in South Africa is the return of the colonially repressed. South Africa, after a period of estrangeme­nt caused by Boer dominion, is finally returning to its old African roots. With the Africaniza­tion of South Africa, Isanusi, the great local witchdocto­r, has reclaimed its own. It is King Montezuma’s last stand.

This may well be superficia­l bunkum. But before returning to the South African conundrum in greater analytical details, it is important to make a detour in order to better appreciate what is unfurling in this important corner piece of Africa. This is what we have done this morning with the publicatio­n of excerpts from an earlier fictional encounter with the great Boer racist and former president of apartheid South Africa.

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 ??  ?? •Jacob Zuma in traditiona­l Zulu warrior dress
•Jacob Zuma in traditiona­l Zulu warrior dress

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