Mosiuoa Lekota: Despite the hurdles, our new party is optimistic for South Africa

Share
Related Topics

The announcement of our intention to form the Congress of the People (Cope) has affected our people's lives in many ways – both positive and negative.

I am, however, sad to report that at times the negative looms as large, if not larger than the positive. That intimidation and paralysing fear is now gripping sections of our society – and I mean fear identical to that of the PW Botha era.

Public servants now talk in whispers when they discuss Cope. Men and women with whom we worked and shared jokes now look the other way when we chance upon each other in state buildings. They explain when we meet elsewhere that they risk their jobs if they are seen to befriend us. Both on the shop floor and at community level, tales of spying on who attends Cope meetings (as under apartheid) abound.

Briefly, in the short period since we announced your intention to explore the possibility of setting yourselves up as an alternative political choice for the people of South Africa, democratic practice has eluded the rulers of our country with alarming speed. President Nelson Mandela's profound early teachings in democracy have forgotten or jettisoned overnight.

But, there is another side to this coin. Today the people of South Africa declare in increasing numbers that, where they were daily getting disillusioned with the [ANC] government of the day, the advent of the Congress of the People has revived their hopes – hopes that were first ignited by the release of President Mandela.

Where some had already lost such hopes, they declare that we have given it back to them. Where many had lost the energy to go and register to vote, they declare that they are on the comeback trail. Many who had never voted before, say Cope is the reason they will now vote. Men and women of conscience, who yesterday hung their heads in shame as they pondered the so-called leaders chosen for them now, look their counterparts in the eye as they engage with them in lively debates on the moral issues of the day.

South Africa has discovered afresh its confidence, voice and energy, and it is now clear to all realists that as Yeats once declared, "a terrible beauty is being born".

Mosiuoa Lekota, the first leader of new South African political party Cope, was speaking at its inaugural conference

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

 

Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace

Gabriel Sassoon
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen