THE sad truth of South Africa’s second decade of democracy is that racism has prevailed. You see it in the vindication of those who once fought for white supremacy – to date not one apartheid general has been brought to book – you see it in the slur against Asian-Africans – so-called Chinese of South African descent, who by some weird twist of fate have now been reclassified “black” only to be scorned for not conforming to the original apartheid system which labeled them “coloured”. The list continues, as fellow South African’s fight each other over the meaning of these terms – black or white, African or not. For some, only those who belong to the two dominant Nguni clans – Xhosa and Zulu – deserve to be accorded status as black Africans. Those from minority groups, whether black or white, are now surely the next target of racist attacks, of the kind which has lead to the burning of human flesh in public.
There is nothing heroic in attacking ones fellow South African, and to call it Xenophobia only elevates the crime which is racism outright, plain and simple, finished and klaar. Others would call Xenophobia sheer stupidity, the inability to contemplate the South Africa of today in any other terms besides newspeak — a country in which so many have become mixed-up from birth. A place in which cultural affinity rather than tribal affiliation is what should identify us, as lovers of particular soaps, readers of certain books, listeners of particular radio programmes, all tellers of tales.
Take the countless children of the multitude – immigrants, refugees, jobseekers, those fleeing famine, war and oppression as well as those seeking opportunity – surely a familier democratic mythos, but one which still rings true, for are we not all entitled to South African citizenship by virtue of our birth? Are we to cast our progeny out along with the neighbours, our own people, and merely to satisfy the insane racist ideology now being concocted by the likes of National African Federated Chambers of Commerce (Nafcoc) president and Business Unity South Africa (Busa) VP Buhle Mthethwa. Must we all call it a day, throw in the towel, and give racism the upper hand, merely because there are some who believe it is impossible for those who identify themselves as “black” to be racist? Those who still espouse the hatred of race consciousness? When last did you witness a human being asserting his humanness in the face of abstract ideology, or a South African, a person being held in high regard for the fact that race no longer defined a particular trajectory?
Racism belongs in a museum, along with apartheid. Unfortunately it would appear it is here to stay, in our country’s institutions, in our political parties, in the public sphere and mainstream media as a one-sided dialogue in which those who were once the victims, slowly become the perpetrators. This blog therefore urges its readers to muster the strength, fortitude and the willpower to root out racism, by any name, whether it be black racism or white racism, pink hatred or hatred of the colour brown. Only then can we embrace a non-racial future, — a country that can embrace more than just its own, difficult though this may be – to embrace all people’s of the world. South Africa, it must be screamed from every rooftop, shack and settlement, belongs to everyone, and no-one should be excluded merely because of the pigment of their skin, or the sweat on their brow. Let us welcome the world and make the most of it.