Those who know me, will know that I don’t usually rant about the goings on of the world, as such please allow me to drop a few words into this miasma of perfunctory speech we find ourselves in. Firstly I am a black female South African. So the barrage of constant unsavoury rhetoric aimed at my race, gender and nationality are forever present in this world, we live in. And like a ninja turtle I carry these descriptors that are part of every strand of my DNA proudly, and with a little bit of burden.
Once again my fellow South Africans we find ourselves debating someone – of a particular social and political stature – diving head first and foot in mouth causing a public furore over things she has said. What I find utterly and maniacally bewildering are the many South Africans who have jumped up and said “but there is nothing wrong with what she said”…really? In what world? This one it seems.
In a recent post, on the same matter, on Facebook I asked one of the commentators, who jumped up in protest protecting Ms Zille, to replace in the places where she had written colonialism and in its place put – holocaust; genocide and homophobia to illustrate whether her utterances would still be acceptable.
It is with sadness and total shock that I see every single day ordinary South Africans casually brush off and take in their stride; racially directed utterances as normal everyday exchange. It should be noted that these utterances are vile, derogatory and laced with malice and disregard for those who have an understanding of what the utterances actually mean.
Worse still should it be a white person who has said these things it is somehow justified and there always seems to be an issue of context. But people, and yes I mean white people will be quick to tell you about farm murders and crime. Ps: these things are not endemic to the colour of your skin, black people are victims of crime too, but somehow the colour of your skin places some kind of amplified significance.
For how much longer will this country be circling the drain on racial issues before we realise that these things are unacceptable and totally untenable, and should not be acceptable under any circumstances.
It should be noted that black people tend to quickly correct each other when we find our own peers talking shit out the sides of their mouths that proves to be anti-progress.
However my fear is that black people are far too accommodative, we talk and accept less than sincere apologies for the sake of ‘let’s get along’. We need to stop wearing forgiveness like vaseline. We need to interrogate and not let up. Apologies must be sincere, but there should be no situation that leads to a point where forgiveness should be sort. Yes we have a bill of rights that assures freedom of speech, but not to this point. It is utter ludicrous to plead for forgiveness when you have created a national storm in a tea cup; furthering racial divides.
There are so many underlying and unsaid issues that still need to be actively engaged on. The underlying scars in this country need to be torn apart and allowed to bleed, so that proper healing can be achieved. We have a long way to go.
Photographer: Khumbelo Makungo