“The Ego, however, is not who you really are.
The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask;
it is the role you are playing.
Your social mask thrives on approval.
It wants control, and it is sustained by power,
because it lives in fear.” – Deepak Chopra
Over the past few weeks, for the first time in years, we saw young South Africans stand and make almost everyone listen. It was clear that the powers that be were never ready for the wave of agreement that was about to spread across the country; probably because many (even those with no power) believe(-d) that the youth have no direction but when the dark clouds of the storm came to rest above their heads fear echo’d in the empty corridors of corruption and deceit. We saw many responses to this overwhelming call for accountability- some fled, some danced in the rain and some walked on by. Then there were those who tried to use this opportunity to feed their social masks, little did they know that there are NO EGOs ALLOWED!
The first ego busting moment to remember was at the beginning of this movement; when there was an attempted assassination on the female presence, not just in the leadership but in the movement as a whole. Too many (including myself to some extent) were quick to praise the work of males, sharing photos and articles of these revolutionaries- These strong, loud, MALE revolutionaries. Well that was shut down really quickly. The women hit the streets the next day (and all the days to follow, as they had done the days before) in full force. Though this creeping up of egos may not have been driven by the people who were being praised, it was definitely driven by collective egos- the need for approval, control and power… but there are NO EGOs ALLOWED in the revolution.
The second major ego busting moment was at the march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Leading up to this moment there were whispers about this movement only being taken seriously because of who was taking the lead. A few were disgruntled by the fact that when they objected their voices fell on deaf ears. These whispers- driven by the need for approval, control and power- were picked up by the wrong people. Unnecessary chaos broke out at the Union Buildings and many tried to use this to discredit the movement but they clearly underestimated the peoples’ abilities on social media. Word spread fast that the disruption was caused by a SMALL group who allowed their egos to blur the bigger picture. On this day, in a matter of hours, it was made very clear that there are NO EGOs ALLOWED in the revolution!
The most recent ego busting moment came after the first rainbow. The President announced a 0% increase and members went home to rest, understanding that this was just the beginning. The fees had not fallen but rather frozen and there was a second part of the initial mandate that fell off at some point, the issue of outsourcing. Conversations were had both in private and in public; Similarly formal meetings were had in private and in public but as we all know people get offended when they are not seated at the “winners table”. We saw CRAZY kinds of accusations sweeping our social media feeds about selling out and bribes. People were so quick to change their display pictures from the (s)heroes they had been marching behind to cartoons and dry memes. Then the cracks in this ego driven move began to show; Some accusations did not make sense and could not be justified; timelines were given to discredit the claims of weak leadership and once again people’s need for social acknowledgement was shut down because NO EGOs are allowed in the revolution!
In a time that requires us to stand together- remembering that this is bigger than me and it is bigger than you- it is important for us to shut down these ego driven moments and remember them (just in case the ego’s start feeling strong again). There is no space for egos in a movement this big.
THERE ARE NO EGOs ALLOWED IN THE REVOLUTION!