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Pan Macmillan

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Prince Mashele Denounces African Nationalism in Post-apartheid South Africa

The Fall of the ANCPrince Mashele, co-author of The Fall of the ANC, believes the notion of African nationalism is used by the ruling elite to blackmail black people in South Africa.

Mashele concedes that during colonialism and apartheid nationalism was an “emancipatory instrument”, but insists that since then it has taken on a “disempowering form”, whereby citizens have their individual identity and opinions dismissed as “unpatriotic”.

Mashele also says that, “If black people allow other individual black people to misrepresent them, they must not blame racists when they manufacture stereotypes about black people in general.”

In his classic, The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon laments, ‘National consciousness … will be in any case only an empty shell, a crude and fragile travesty of what might have been.’

It is as if Fanon had post-apartheid South Africa in mind, a country where African nationalism has been used to blackmail whole masses of black people.

Have we not heard politicians utter phrases like ‘the masses of our people’, ‘we black people’ or ‘black people will not tolerate this and that’?

Once a politician speaks like this, we are all expected to shut up, lest we be accused of being unpatriotic.

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