Last month, at a Brics youth summit in Durban, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the ring-mistress of RET resentments, went global in her full-frontal assault on the West, the World Bank, World Trade Organisation, ‘’five South African banks” and “dominant Eurocentric narratives of the world”.
We can leave aside the irony that South Africa has this 74-year old — unblushing in serial failures in her five previous ministerial offices stretching back to 1994 — as its “minister of youth”.
It’s less of a cruel joke than the presence — as “a programme highlight”, according to Jane Flanagan of The Times (London) — of a discussion on protecting children’s rights at this week’s Vladimir Putin-hosted African leaders’ summit in St Petersburg, attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
That talk will be chaired by Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian children’s rights commissioner sanctioned as the apparent hidden hand behind Moscow’s child abduction programme in Ukraine, which led to Putin’s International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment as a war criminal.
Dlamini-Zuma’s Durban speech, peppered with rancorous bile against “Western interpretations of our nations aimed at reproducing old patterns and control of the world at all costs”, and other jejune denunciations suggest next month’s (adult) Brics summit will be a circus of anti-Western calumnies and ahistorical elisions.
Front and centre of the Dlamini-Zuma diatribe, and beyond the funding needs of the ANC from sanctioned Russian oligarchs, was the clear explanation for the costly — to the country, not the ruling party — Russian embrace by the ANC.
As she explained it: “The history of Brics is fundamentally a history of resistance against colonial conquest and imperial abuse.”
The difference between her sentiments and the facts on the ground in various Brics countries and beyond is all of a piece with the “Soviet machine’s instinctive lies”, as novelist Ian McEwan terms it.
Just ask the Tibetans and Uighurs in China about the “colonial conquest and imperial abuse” they’ve received from their Chinese overlords. Or the serial discriminations and worse against India’s large Muslim minority at the hands of the BJP government in India.
In the world according to Dlamini-Zuma, doubtless speaking to ensure her former husband continues to enjoy a featherbedded stay in Moscow, the crowning purpose of Brics is “the quest for self-determination”.
Try telling that to the Ukrainians at the receiving end of a Russian invasion of their country. Or to the suffering populations of the Sahel countries in Africa. Their despotic and vicious governments are propped up by Russia’s Wagner mercenaries and their natural resources are plundered for foreign export and the enrichment of Yevgeny Prigozhin and his henchmen.
As for her denunciations of the “Bretton Woods system”, which, according to her, was “imposed on us” in pursuit of the dastardly “neoliberal world order”, perhaps she should have a quick chat with the Chinese. That country’s accession to the World Trade Organisation led to its 20 years of growth and development. The World Bank, where her ministerial colleague Ayanda Dlodlo serves as executive director, disbursed $12.6bn (now about R221bn) in lending to western and central Africa in 2022, at favourable rates, just as South Africa obtained $4.4bn (now about R77bn) in emergency relief from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the 2020 Covid emergency.