How dare I suggest that South Africa is being re-colonized? No one’s spotted the British.
To talk about de-colonization and re-colonization, I feel that I first need to talk about colonization. Colonization can hardly be summed up in one sentence. With its various complexities I cannot simply give a definition that paints it as black or white, because it is neither. It is more of a grey mixture. For me, colonization loosely refers to imperial colonialists invading a foreign land, and installing imperial and foreign ideals. These instilled ideals then filter through generations soon becoming a society’s norm.
In 1910 the Union of South Africa was established and later in 1961 the country became the Republic of South Africa when it gained its independence from Britain. So if South Africa is independent, how could I suggest re-colonization? To somewhat answer this I first need to ask and wonder about another question. For a country to be re-colonizationed, de-colonization first needs to occur. And has that truly happened in South Africa?
How I see it: South Africa had British colonial rule. Then Apartheid which favoured ‘whites’. If looked at this way, was colonization not simply given a new face and called Apartheid as it perpetuated the idea that “white is better”?
Now you’ll say that South Africa was liberated. Yes true. But was the entire nations mindsets and ideals also liberated when we had our first democratic elections? I’m going to guess and say your answer is no. Today we still live in the aftermath of Apartheid. As much as we wished we didn’t, the reality is that we do. Whether it be in society’s mindsets, the social status of people, the elevation of the minority or the majorities inability to remove themselves from current circumstances due to various factors, there is a reminder.
So can we therefore say that we truly have been liberated from the notions instilled during colonization or is ‘The Republic of South Africa’ simply rebranding and is our core still broken and polluted with false ideals of what should be considered ‘better’? The more I try to unpack the current state of the nation the more questions present themselves. But I didn’t start out to question the political state of my country or undermine the rehabilitation the country is still going through, so I won’t do that. I will however question the concept of re-colonization.
Did you know that the world’s largest chain store retailer, WALMART has bought 51% stocks of our South African company Massmart, which is home to local brands such as GAME, Dion Wired and Makro? That means that an international company now owns majority shares of our household brands. That’s all good and well you might say, an international company is interested in our small fish. But what does that mean for our local business?
Here’s the way I see it; WALMART buys GAME. Keeps the name and shareholders. But in a few years our local shareholders are no longer there and then what? The shares stays in the WALMART family of course, and they eventually ‘buy us out’.
GAME will no longer be purple and black but white and blue. And eventually GAME changes to WALMART and the once local business in everyone’s household becomes a memory, and WALMART is where everyone shops.
This led me to thinking, for re-colonization to occur, do we really need a British invasion and someone teaching us a new language? Or for re-colonization to occur do we just need an international brand taking over a local one and a company selling us products which they think is best?
Think about it…
So I’m a Cape Town local, still dreaming about ice-cream cones, but today contemplating company stock and shareholders.