Maimane and the big flat lie about white privilege

Tom Eaton Columnist
The Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane.
The Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane.
Image: ALON SKUY

When the Sunday press reported that Mmusi Maimane was facing a backlash from his party for claiming on Freedom Day that white people remain privileged in South Africa‚ I smelled spin.

After all‚ Freedom Day was also the day on which Maimane claimed that some refer to him as a “mini-Mandela”‚ a statement that prompted the whole country to picture a homunculus version of Maimane frantically humping the leg of greatness.

The DA‚ I thought‚ would be anxious to delete that image from the public consciousness‚ and a hastily arranged fight against shadowy racists within the party – a small minority the DA doesn’t want anyway – would be the perfect distraction.

I duly went in search of evidence to back up my suspicion. I read reports in which Maimane doubled down on his position‚ hammering home the fact that South Africa remains grossly unequal and that white privilege is undeniable. I read denials by senior colleagues saying that the alleged backlash was really just a debate. I read posts on the DA’s Facebook page.

And I found that I had been wrong. I can’t vouch for any acrimony between senior DA officials‚ but out on the mean streets of the Internet the backlash was real.

-For more on this story‚ please visit Times Select. 

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