The era of ‘doublespeak’ has arrived


By Werner Human

In George Orwell’s famous book 1984 he sketches a dystopian world in which the totalitarian state of Big Brother controls all aspects of the citizens of Oceania’s lives with an iron fist.

Orwell masterfully demonstrated the true aims of revolutionary movements through the contradictions between the intention of Big Brother – the big state that only rules in the best interests of citizens – and the real aim, namely to maintain power over people by determines what they think, what they read, what they say, and even what they do.

That is why the Ministry of Truth was established to supervise people by spreading secret agents across Oceania to follow, eavesdrop and indoctrinate people to worship Big Brother – the big state – in a religious manner.

But what if people want to think for themselves, or disagree with what Big Brother is feeding everyone, or even challenge Big Brother? Well, then it’s up to the Ministry of Love, the bloodthirsty police force of Big Brother, to kidnap, torture and even kill people.

On the one hand there is the control over information and communication that pollutes people’s thinking, and on the other hand military forces to murderously force them to do as Big Brother wants.

One can write a book about the book 1984 write. Orwell offers deep insights into the tendencies that totalitarian states, and even totalitarian states in the making, follow.

There is one tool that Big Brother has used effectively, which the ANC slavishly follows. This is what Orwell calls doublethink. double talk (doublespeak) which follows from doublethink is the deliberate attempt to twist the meaning of words so that it fits the message the speaker wants to convey.

In short, this amounts to a gross distortion of reality and the truth.

In the book 1984 there are numerous examples where Big Brother practices doublespeak. For example, across Oceania the slogans: “War is peace”, “freedom is slavery” and “ignorance is strength”. And the famous “2+2=5”.

Other examples of doublespeak are where the population of Oceania is plunged into poverty and starvation, where the Ministry of Truth loudly announces on the loudspeakers that the food, clothing and drink rations are increasing, and that Big Brother is reaching these milestones because the state takes care of its people. This while there is less and less to eat.

It can be argued that the ANC only practices doublespeak. When was the last time they uttered a touch of truth?

In the past week, the ANC’s doublespeak has reached its extreme.

We had to speak from pres. Ramaphosa hears, with reference to the tragic fire in a building in Johannesburg, that apartheid is to be blamed for the shortage of city planners, engineers and financial managers. This while in 1994 there were working towns and cities with competent and professional staff. However, the truth is that the ANC has destroyed skills by chasing away competent officials.

Lindiwe Zulu, the minister of social development, believes apartheid must bear the blame for the fire in Johannesburg which led to the death of 76 people. This while the ANC knew about the problems at this building and other buildings for at least eight years, and did nothing.

Then there are other ministers who are not waiting for them to jump on the blame bandwagon either.

There is Sindisiwe Chikunga, the minister of transport, who blames apartheid for the decline of rail services while this year there were 46 million fewer train journeys than ten years ago. Furthermore, Transnet recorded a loss of R5.6 billion in the previous financial year.

This is all complete under the ANC government.

Referring to the poor state of municipalities, Thembi Nkadimeng, Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, blamed the “evil apartheid system” for poor service delivery. This while the auditor general attributes poor service delivery to the shortage of skills, the failure of government, and the absence of accountability in local government.

There are many more examples that could be listed that the ANC continuously cites. For example, that it is considered an achievement that more than a third of the population is dependent on state grants, that apartheid is to blame for the poor quality of education in the country, that the unemployment rate is so high, and that the economy is so doing poorly Still, Ramaphosa believes over the weekend that the glass is “more than half full”.

Doublespeak in its extreme form.

Why would the ANC want to distort the truth so blatantly? An obvious reason is of course the national election in 2024. But Orwell offers further insight into the question.

In a poignant section of the book where the protagonist, Winston Smith, speaks directly to a Big Brother official after being arrested by the Ministry of Love, Smith asks: “I understand how you keep power, but I don’t know why. ” The Big Brother official answers briefly and forcefully, and without the use of doublespeak: “It’s simple. Power is not the means, but the end. The purpose of power is power.”

And this is ultimately the core raison d’être of the ANC – to acquire, retain and expand power, and in the process to enrich themselves on the backs of the citizens, and especially the poorest and neediest people.

The era of doublespeak is in full swing, and while the ANC works relentlessly to establish an Oceania, there are positive signs that the citizenry is organizing itself and in a variety of ways to build a new reality.

The meaning and driving force of the “Ons Sal Self” slogan is the best counter to the doublespeak that aims to appease people and try to keep them united behind the decaying state.

  • Werner Human is the operational head of the Solidarity Movement.