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Businesswoman and former Black Consciousness Movement activist Mamphela Ramphele is set to join the political fray and start her own political movement. Next year will be perhaps the most important elections in South Africa since the end of minority rule nearly two decades ago. It will be because the post-Apartheid generation will vote for the first time, and because South Africa needs change and badly. But is Ramphele the person to bring change? Is this something we've seen before?

The last thing South Africa needs, it would seem, is Yet Another New Party. This kept happening in the Apartheid era and it keeps happening under ANC rule, because many things really don't change. After all, the left-liberal crowd's utopian ideas of a post-Apartheid South Africa hasn't been realised, and more and more South Africans are quickly waking up. Nobody can sweep away the division that do exist, and "equality" is a myth anyway - just walk into the townships and see it for yourself. The ANC has failed South Africa dismally in so many areas, yet they command loyalty from a great part of the population, which does make it easy to be cynical about democracy - after all, why do people keep voting for them when their failures are so obvious? But what about those who don't vote at all?

Perhaps Ramphele is trying to tap into the class of voters who do want to move on, and want something and someone without the baggage of the Apartheid era, which almost every other group has. And that's the point - there are no saints, and a truckload of legacies, legacy groups and cliques. Most opposition parties represent regional, religious or ethnic interests even if they don't explicitly say so. The Democratic Alliance (DA) as the descendant of Apartheid era opposition parties, is often perceived as a "white" party even if it may be grossly unfair and inaccurate to do so, despite the record of it and its ancestor parties, and being one of the few groups never associated with violence (you know, necklacing, tar and feather, etc). Cliques formed during that era have proven indissoluble - why else do we have former National Party members even joining the ANC? Democracy cannot conform to a single model everywhere after all and this is the reality. Ramphele would frankly do better if she brought her movement into any united opposition, which will be the only way the ANC can ever be unseated.

I'm also not sure if "Agang" (Northern Sotho for "build") is going to be used or if it will be as alluring as other opposition party names.

Ramphele needs to articulate a sensible vision - a sane economic policy and sincere commitment to reconciliation. The ANC is failing particularly badly on the latter. And Africa as a continent ought to know better than anyone the failure of socialist stupidity. And scrap BEE (Affirmative Action), for it's not as if poverty is eliminated is it?

Thus it is up to the opposition to unite under the common goal of changing government and changing the country for the better. Even irreconcilable ideological differences and interests must be put aside here, for the good of democracy - namely, uniting behind a common vision and common goals to defeat the ANC and enact meaningful reforms. It can be done. Even if it means the parties, without losing their individuality, are essentially in a subordinate status.
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