The Struggle for Black Empowerment in Post-Apartheid South Africa
In a riveting episode of Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh’s podcast on YouTube, renowned South African advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, also known as the “Great Lion of Africa,” discusses the troubling state of race and law in the country. Sikhakhane dives deep into the systemic issues that still plague the nation, where black South Africans continue to be treated unfairly despite the promises of a post-apartheid democracy.
Reflecting on his experiences as a black legal professional, Sikhakhane explains, “It’s an extension of the theme that black people are inherently and epistemologically inferior… It’s because when you tell them these examples, I know colleagues who represent people who sell black girls for sex. They walk around, they’re very happy, they are conceited restaurants, but those people can.” This shocking disparity between the treatment of black and white legal professionals underscores the continuing struggle for racial justice in South Africa.
⚖️ | Ok, Here we go! 🔥 It's your favourite Advocate 😉— Sphithiphithi Evaluator (@_AfricanSoil) March 29, 2023
Adv. Muzi Sikhakhane SC unpacking the Justice system in South Africa, Politics, "Constitution" and current concerning state of the country.
The wisdom and lessons👌🏽brilliantly articulated
*Full interview (link) in thread! pic.twitter.com/fCtPZ3IEYe
The Constitution: A Lullaby Song for the Oppressed?
Sikhakhane doesn’t mince words when discussing the Constitution, which he refers to as a “lullaby song” designed to keep black people content with their limited rights and freedoms. He argues that the document has allowed white power to continue thriving, leaving the majority of black citizens in a state of perpetual misery and poverty. Sikhakhane states, “We created a political settlement whose idea was not to take black people out of misery to live a free life, but it was an idea to lull them into silence so that white power could continue.”
The advocate believes that the current political system perpetuates this racial inequality and fails to address the deep-seated issues that continue to plague black South Africans. Sikhakhane asserts, “I think it’s anti-black in outlook and philosophy. I don’t think they are aware, but I think in outlook, it’s anti-black, and it has not really theorized what exactly is black life after liberation.”
Intimidation Tactics: A Tool for Upholding White Dominance
When asked about the threats and intimidation faced by black legal professionals who take on controversial cases, Adv. Sikhakhane shares, “I understand it philosophically because what it is, it’s a component of a dominant structure, an insidious dominant structure that seeks to intimidate on behalf of a particular dominant class.”
He elaborates that this intimidation is a means of maintaining control over black professionals, who often capitulate to the demands of the powerful white class to avoid living in misery. Adv Sikhakhane is determined to challenge this status quo, insisting that it is much better “starve in dignity than eat in shame.”
Beyond Non-Racialism: Crafting a Truly Just Society
Adv. Sikhakhane emphasizes that South Africa needs a new framework that goes beyond non-racialism to truly address the root causes of racial inequality and power dynamics. The advocate calls for a fresh vision for the country, one that is based on justice, equality, and respect for human dignity.
To achieve this vision, Adv. Sikhakhane argues that South Africans must critically examine the political and legal systems currently in place and push for transformative change. He contends that this process will involve understanding the intricacies of power dynamics and how they can be challenged to create a society that is fair and just for everyone.
In his words, “We need to move beyond just looking at black and white issues because it’s more than that. It’s about understanding how power operates and how it can be challenged. And it’s about understanding that we need to work together to create a society that’s fair and just for everyone, not just for a select few.”
A Call to Action for the Future of South Africa
Adv. Muzi Sikhakhane’s powerful insights serve as a wake-up call for South Africans to recognize the systemic problems that persist in the country’s political and legal systems. His unwavering commitment to advocating for true justice and equality in neo-apartheid South Africa is a testament to the need for open discourse and action on these pressing issues.