SOUTH AFRICA is burning and teetering on the brink and this week’s 20th anniversary of the International Day of the African Child came at a unique time in Southern African politics especially in the context of what the region is trying to do in terms of achieving massive economic growth that will foster greater peace, unity and development for its people. While there is no doubt that today’s reflection on the the ghost of apartheid in South Africa, where the majority of that country’s population still wallows in poverty nearly two decades after attaining its independence raises more questions than answers on the direction that Africa is taking in overturning the socio-economic and political deficits that colonialism brought about to the continent. It is baffling to note that the region’s biggest economy has more than 50 percent of its citizens living way below the poverty datum line. This is because while on the surface it would seem that everything is going on well in the Rainbow Nation, what with the fast cars, the fashion, the jewellery and the expensive mobile phones, beneath the horizon lies the stark reality that many South Africans are finding it hard to come to terms with reality as they continue to wallow in poverty. The stark reality that many South Africans are slowly coming to terms with is that all that they have now by way of owning and controlling their land and natural resources is not what they fought for during their war of liberation. It is nothing but a hoax because very few black people are playing a meaningful role in the economy which is dominated by whites. They are confronted with the stark reality that real and total independence is what the 176 students who perished on June 16 1976 during the Soweto uprising lost their lives for. South Africa is burning because its children are suffering while few are enjoying and if what the official statistics on the state of affairs is anything to go by, then one will side with President Mugabe and the youth leader of the ruling African National Congress, Julius Malema, who has been calling for the nationalisation of mines and the implementation of land reform in his country. It is disappointing to note that there is stiff resistance towards the implementation of land reform in South Africa because of the oft-peddled clumsy excuse that it will chase away investors when about 85 percent of the country’s economy is controlled by only five percent of the total population. The situation is the same on the land issue because 95 percent of the country’s land is owned by only five percent of the country’s population and yet Malema is seen as a threat to the continued growth of the white people’s empire. With 58 percent of the population living below the poverty datum line in an economy that had a Gross Domestic Product of US$277, 4 billion in 2010 South Africans have every reason to have boiling temperatures over their alienation and relegation from their country’s political economy equation. The people need land, they need to have a stake in their country’s economy and this is what they want their history to be so that the sacrifices of the children whose dedication to ending oppression is the reason why South Africa joined hands with the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of the African Child. White people do not want this, they do not want this story to be retold, they do not want Africans to be in charge of their political and economic destinies because that would mean the end of their reign of economic exploitation, manipulation and bullying in Africa. To have a clear idea of this assessment one needs to look at how they have treated Zimbabweans, particularly President Mugabe and his ZANU PF party over the heroic and historic land reform and resettlement programmes of 2000 when Zimbabweans decided to take back their land. President Mugabe and ZANU PF have become the West’s sworn enemies for the simple reason that they led Zimbabweans to take back their land in 2000 and now total control of their abundant natural resources and economy. The West, using their media, try to dismiss these noble and people-oriented programmes by presenting to the world President Mugabe as a criminal who has presided over the destruction of the country’s economy. But history tells us the economy that they allege President Mugabe destroyed was a minority economy much like that of South Africa whose inequalities are reflected in the shocking ownership and control statistics highlighted above. Malema who is calling for the indigenisation of the South African economy is now being referred to as ‘another Mugabe’ so that South Africans will not have anything to do with him and what he is trying to achieve in their country so that the existing economic inequalities can be dealt with. What the whites and those who are vehemently opposed to Malema are not seeing is that South Africans are slowly waking up from their deep political slumber and are ready to regain control of their land, natural resources and economy. They are both angry and hungry because for too long they have waited for the day they will take charge of what rightfully belongs to them and the day is fast beckoning and not even Western propaganda will stop that because they are ready for the battle. We saw it in Zimbabwe and we might soon see it across the Limpopo.