Over the last few months, being a revolutionary has become the new cool. We live in times where Biko is used as a pick up line, Fanon is cited willy-nilly to show a certain level of intellectual muscle and “the look” is about Blackness. You must look Black, talk Black, and behave Black.
Exaggerated, acted out, ‘Comrade Black’. Nothing genuine about that Blackness.
My worry with all of this is not that as young Black people we are finding and living in voices and skins that are authentically ours, but is that some among us have decided that they will use things like #FeesMustFall for popularity and to further their political careers.
To some people, wearing a doek or a beret, and putting on their best comrade stage voice is far more important than doing the necessary and very important ground work that all of these student movements are built around doing.
I have heard for the last six weeks straight, stories of students that don’t have money to return to varsity, students who’ve had to do some really heart-breaking things to raise registration money, students who at this very point have nowhere to sleep and struggle to find money for food every single day.
Yet there are people who masquerade as leaders. People whose Twitter accounts are the only place where they can claim to do this revolutionary work.
Revolutionary work, in my humble opinion, is making sure that these students that have been pushed to the sides, as life at Wits continues “normally” are taken care of. Its making sure you use your massive Twitter following to try and get help for financially needy students, its making sure you use this platform of leadership you have been elevated to, to negotiate with the powers that be to organise accommodation for the many students that sleep in libraries.
I mean, you are the prominent faces of student movements right? Then use your star power properly. You gained popularity because you were what many students thought they needed in a leader, someone who will still remember them, even when they start working towards those future political aspirations.
I have no problem at all with people seeing themselves one day in political leadership. I have a huge problem though, if you’re going to politic with people’s lives.
You walk around with highly inflated egos talking about how the students that you claim to serve have “entitlement issues” and need to “humble themselves” and come to you. Hayibo. Khanthe, what did you think your new position of relevance meant? Can you get off Facebook long enough to do what you’re supposed to do? Preaching Marxist theory doesn’t mean you are putting it into practice.
I know that these days no one does anything out of the sheer goodness of their hearts, and I am okay with this. But I am however demanding that while doing your social media activism and being about that revolutionary lifestyle, you remember that these people you are using to further yourself, need your help. I think that’s a fair trade.
O ke o re tlhohele ka bo popstar bo. Shape up, or step aside.