When Charles Darwin propogated his Origin of the Species and theories of evolution, he caused a stir in polite, should one say, Victorian society? In fact a lot of the negative response to the idea that we are all descended from apes, came from wealthy members of society who were offended by the notion that our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom were baboons and bonobos as Malegapuru Makgoba the vice-chancellor of the University of Natal, quite rightly points out.
Unfortunately, like Charles Darwin, Makgo-barthes theories tend to get a lot of air-time on national television, and it is clear from debates like these that he has not evolved past the subordinated terms and inferior education of the elitist apartheid system. Only in South Africa would one get away with referring to the “white, male” in a derogatory academic fashion as part of a “new popular theory of sub-human bononoism and lesser-spotted ubuntuism.”
The question is — does this shift in articulation, to levels of pomposity not seens since US forces captured Chemical Ali, signel a major shift towards a well-endowed black consciousness movement on our nations campuses? There is a growing sense of estrangement and despair that in order to create the new reality argued for by the vice-chancellor (in his personal capacity), non-racialism, diversity and even freedom of sexual orientation would have to be ditched, merely so that an ideological fish can be thrown at those who oppose transformation?
This is not the first time that Makgoba has entertained an argument for what is essentially the polar opposite to white power and white consciousness — basically a new form of chauvenism, that culminates in an Africanist identity based upon the very racism and sexism he so bravely assails: “The white male, he writes, “should instead be excited by the prospect of imitating Africans” when what he means is “the black male should be excited at the opportunity to imitate the bad behaviour of the dethroned, depressed, and quarrelsome, spoiler of the new order” ie, the white male ape or bobbejaan.
Without examining modes-of-thought, false consciousness, ideology etc it is impossible to ring the bell on the mind-body dialectic, and the imitation of thought of a banana. Dare one say Makgoba is incapable of entering the mind of a tarantula or parosol because of his unassailable superiority as “vice-chancellor” and rabbit egg. Is this because the man is intellectually-challenged, mysterious and incapable of theorising about his own oppression?