Over the decades the ideals of Nelson Mandela who encouraged the idea of a “Rainbow nation” has been relegated to oblivion. With the end of Thabo Mbeki, the architect of the “African renaissance” the notion of a stable and progressive Africa perished. The decline of Julius Malema saw the end of “Economic freedoms in our life time”. The “Home for all” vision of Ebrahim Rasool was short-lived. Overall, it was fellow “revolutionaries” that were responsible for the ostracism of these philosophies.

The visions of these persons may not have been equal in importance but at least these leaders had a mission with which people could identify. Leaders without vision, a plan and the resolve to do what is required, have no value. In North Africa, those who inspired the revolutions that saw the overthrow of dictators are considering if they did the right thing.

According to Robin Wright the author of “Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World” the egos and ineptitude of revolutionaries have tragically sabotaged the historic uprisings that swept North Africa two years ago. Parties are multiplying instead of consolidating and squabbles are stalling reforms needed for the rule of law. Meanwhile economies are in free fall spawning deadly labour strikes. Criminality and corruption is even worse than they were under the dictatorial regimes.

Among the new political elite the culture of me, threatens to destroy the embryonic spirit of us which fuelled the uprisings. Wright suggests that democracy is only sustainable when individual rights are balanced by a sense of the common good. Example, in Egypt, liberal and secular parties are failing as alternatives since liberals are not necessarily democrats and democrats are not necessarily liberals.

What all this means for suffering Africans is anyone’s guess, what is certain, is that with current African leaders at play, democracy and genuine progress remains an elusive and distant dream.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress