A stone is always a stone
The impact Charles Darwin has had on the development of natural and social sciences can never be understated. Just about everywhere in the world, from a very young age our children are confronted with his theories of evolution.
Naturally, this causes more than a bit of tension with creationists who view evolutionary theory as the antichrist in academic garb.
Of interest is that Darwin initially embarked on a career in the Church but ended up giving the world a thesis that would rock the very foundations of religion.
Evolution is presented to us as a science, with its founding text being Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”. What few people do not know today is that the full title of Darwin’s work is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle of Life”.
Quite telling, hey? It is Darwin’s thesis that can be credited for the growth in institutionalised racism, giving rise to the lie that one race is better than the other – or to use his own parlance, how one race is “favoured” over the other “in the struggle for life”.
Apart from the blatantly bigoted premise for his work, creationists also come up with at least 14 key issues that throw doubt on the veracity of evolution theory. Two of them are particularly interesting to me. The first is that inorganic matter cannot transform itself into organic matter. This simply means a rock cannot become a human being just because of the effect of time.
The second is that no species can transform into another species. Again, to put it simply, a cat cannot evolve into a dog.
Indeed, in the 4 000-odd years that humankind has tried to preserve knowledge in written/engraved/painted form, there has been no record of a stone coming alive, or a cat becoming a dog.
So in essence, evolution suddenly stopped at some point – which is quite a hard-to-swallow proposition.
These are arguments that can also be applied in criticism of contemporary social theories.
Matter that was never alive can never become conscious, and a species will never become a different species.
Consider President Robert Mugabe’s words after the 2011 decision by Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa to naively go along with the France-US push at the UN Security Council to create a “no-fly zone” over Libya.
He said of the West’s interests in Libya in particular and Africa in general: “Once an enemy, once an imperialist, always an imperialist. Is it not (Kwame) Nkrumah who said an imperialist is never a good friend? He's only good when he is dead – the only good imperialist is a dead one.”
This is not to say whip out your guns and shoot any Westerner who comes near you.
No, rather it means be ever ready, ever aware of the wiles of those who would seek to subjugate you because they believe they are the “favoured race in the struggle for life”.
There are many examples across Africa of leaders – be they business, political or cultural – who naively think that because we now have our own flags and national anthems, the former colonisers are now our bosom buddies and should be allowed into our homes and treated as special guests.
The examples are too many to list. So, I will just consider one.
This past fortnight, details emerged of the collusion between government, black politicos and white capital in the deaths of dozens of people at Marikana in South Africa.
For those who may have missed this, among the shareholders of Lonmin, the company that digs for platinum at Marikana, is a British trade union and – believe it or not – the Church of England. Another Lonmin big shot at the time of the Marikana massacre – the worst by state agents in South Africa since the years of official apartheid – was ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is in some circles touted as Jacob Zuma’s anointed heir.
Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently said there was close co-operation between Lonmin, the South African police and the ANC in the events leading up to the August 2012 massacre.
The investigation shows, among other things, that:
· Lonmin and SA police plotted to break the strike after first discussing the “political connotations”;
· Lonmin’s 500-strong private security personnel supplied CCTV surveillance, helicopters, jail cells and ambulances to the police operation;
· Lonmin executives lobbied politicians and police bosses to increase police presence at the mine; and
· Lonmin was more concerned with its financial health than the livelihoods of workers.
One transcript of a meeting between the conspirators has police chief for the area Zukiswa Mbombo saying they need to “kill this thing”, and a Lonmin vice president, Barnard Mokwena responding: “”Immediately, yes.”
Mbombo then says if workers carry on with their militant strike “then it is blood”, adding that maintaining peace at the cost of bloodshed are one and the same thing.
Mokwena then tells the police chief, “I must tell you, the ones that impress me (are) these snipers,” in reference to the police units that will be deployed to crush the Marikana strike.
Three days before the massacre, Albert Jamieson, Lonmin’s chief commercial officer, wrote to Mines Minister Susan Shabangu saying, “I have spoken to the CEOs of Implats and Anglo (fellow platinum diggers) and we are all concerned … if the various organs of the states are unable to bring these repeat situations under control.”
In a nutshell, the ANC government and its arms collaborated with a private company that was carrying out exploitative practices to kill workers.
The government will tell you that they acted out of the interest of the economy.
But really, what makes them think that white capital, which is based in London and has British shareholders, cares about South Africans?
These same people who made billions under apartheid are still the same species: today they make a killing – literally – with our very own co-operation.
We have people like Ramaphosa, who made their names in the struggle through mine worker unionism, today siding with the same capital they fought against to crush the aspirations of poor citizens.
It is a lesson for Africa, but one which the continent seems reluctant to learn: nothing good has come out of siding with the former colonisers because they have not morphed into a different species.