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Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions

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The de-Africanisation of the African National Congress, Afrophobia in South Africa and the Limpopo River Fever

Malesela John Lamola

Abstract


This essay highlights the root causes of the pervasive discomfort with Africanness common among a significant portion of the South African population. It claims that this collective national psyche manifests as a dysfunctional self-identity, and is therefore akin to a psychosocial malaise we propose to name “the Limpopo River Fever”. The root cause of this pathological psycho-political culture, we venture to demonstrate, is the historical process of a systematic self-orientation away from Africa, perceived as “Africa north of the Limpopo River”. This psychosis as presently manifesting as what is distinctly an Afrophobia, and not mere xenophobia, I argue, has principally been nurtured since the 1950s by the ascendency of an anti-Africanist ideology within the national liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC), which has subsequently been the governing party since the defeat of the apartheid regime in 1994. It is concluded that even historic efforts at redirecting the South African body-politic toward a pan-African consciousness which evolved around Thabo Mbeki during his presidency could not achieve the aspired re-Africanisation of South African society.

Keywords: Afrophobia, South Africa, Xenophobia, Pan-Africanism, ANC




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