The Boldness of Blacks

I am the black friend that features in this article. I am so proud to have a friend who is able to articulate the ugliness we often meet in this country with such grace! It is also so beautifully written!


A few weeks back a friend of mine wrote a blog, an exasperated blog, stating that she was tired of white people being seen as courageous for going into black communities. I flippantly stated that actually the blog should have been about the courage of black people going into formerly mostly white suburban communities.

• Into communities in Cape Town where we are regularly seeing headlines about white on black violent racism.

• Into communities where people earn their livelihoods – such as they are. Livelihoods being a term I use loosely as it means being paid something that most people think you should be ‘grateful for’ & yet none of the people I know who employ others express “simple gratitude for at least earning something”; instead it’s mostly about the feeling of what we are entitled to in terms of how hard we work or the effort we believe…

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SA_Flag_2_Clipart_Free                                                         The ANC’s #AMANDLACHALLENGE shows yet again why the ANC is unbeatable. Its campaigns seem effortless and yet way ahead of the pack. At first I hated it because of many dissatisfactions I have with the ANC of late. I wanted the ANC to in fact mourn and not celebrate their 103 years because they have failed the people many times. Well just the poor perhaps but those are the most important people. The #AmandlaChallenge though cannot be ignored as it has been such a successful campaign. The only other party that has been able to match and sometimes outsmart the ANC in branding has been the red EFF in parliament. The EFF regalia in parliament set them apart from the rest and anyone who wishes to change their attire will only affirm them as trendsetters.

The ANC though has more than a fist full of creativity that strikes home to even a non-ANC supporter. If the ANC president would release a music album tomorrow it would reach platinum by noon. No one wants to miss his singing and dancing. Helen Zille is a bit like the Chinese though, well, that would be insulting the Chinese. She lags behind with her DA and tries to mimic just about everything from the singing to the dancing. Then the EFF came so she mimicked the berets too. Where is the imagination in the blue team? There is nothing quite as dull as watching the DA’s campaigns on television, even a song is heavy let alone the lifting of the leg for dancing purposes. Perhaps the DA’s imagination is used more constructively in Cape Town to make the middle-class and upper-class part of Cape Town the best run area in South Africa. After that, the DA runs out of steam. If I could give a piece of advice to the DA, if the DA wanted to improve, it needs to be authentic. The ANC and the EFF are not copycats because they are the people, yes even if they are corrupt and whatever names you can think of. They are not trying to study the people through research and other distant methods. The only way it can beat the ANC and the EFF is if the DA learns to authentically love the people it seeks to rule and yet shuns.

Perhaps there is nothing truly authentic about the DA, even the logo of the DA was inspired by Obama’s Yes We Can campaign. I hope the city mimics its amazing people, majestic mountains and the beautiful oceans that are proudly South African rather than mimicking some city elsewhere far away from this continent. The DA appears to welcome visitors from other continents with open arms while it has openly rejected even its closest neighbours, the people of the Eastern Cape with distasteful names such as ‘Education refugees’. The irony is that no other province in South Africa has rejected any of its fellow South Africans. The Western Cape is not unique in absorbing populations from poorer provinces. I remember the former premier of Gauteng Nomvula Mokonyane making an announcement as she celebrated the performance of the education department in Gauteng early last year. She advertised Gauteng as a choice province for education inviting those outside of the province to take advantage of their education. This is in direct contrast to labelling children ‘education refugees’ in their country of birth. She may have apologised but the attitude of rejection of the poor persists in the Western Cape as a way of life. This attitude is evident in the ‘bucket’ system provided by the DA government for people living in shacks.

This is why I love that the ANC has chosen Cape Town as the place to celebrate the Freedom Charter and their 103years anniversary. For this reason I partially accept the #AmandlaChallenge. It is partial because I am sickened by the amount of money the ANC is splashing for yet another celebration while there is so much that needs to be done in our country. If the party has so much money to waste why can it not be used to improve cities like Mthatha or strengthen education and health in rural communities? The irony of the #AmandlaChallenge is that the word ‘amandla’ was used for the empowerment of the people. Right now the power does not belong to the people but to those who hold the seats of power. I accept the challenge because the power must come back to the people.

I celebrate the ANC’s decision to host their celebration in Cape Town since the city has been in the heat of racism of late. Cape Town needs to accept the #AmandlaChallenge just as it once lifted its fists for the ANC’s Nelson Mandela during the 46664 concerts. It is not enough to lift your fist for Mandela who believes in a non-racial society while you don’t. The current ANC’s #AmandlaChallenge may only be true because they are the people and have a pool of brilliant campaigns. The Western Cape can pick up the #AmandlaChallenge and live it, so that everyone in the Western Cape can say that they have equal power. The ANC would have nothing to point at. Right now they have plenty of reason to bring the #AmandlaChallenge to the people with the bucket system toilets because those people need the #AmandlaChallenge even though I cannot see how the current ANC would help them.

It would be a great gesture if white Capetonians would attend the 103 anniversary celebration in order to take a stand as those who are not part of racism and to defuse the racial perceptions about the Western Cape. Today will be possibly the best opportunity to embrace even those you disagree with.

The Black Man & Fear

#DearBlackMan Two weeks ago my brothers visited me where I was house-sitting.
I asked my little brother to open the gate for our older brother. It was at night. My little brother said, well, I don’t want to get shot at by some white dude who thinks I am an intruder. I laughed and said he watches too many American things. Well, there is also Oscar. But the reality is that I have felt sad for the black man for as long as I can remember.

There is probably one or two people’s cars of the fairer skin whose cars I have sat in when the driver did not suddenly decide to dramatically double lock the doors of their car at the traffic lights as a black/coloured man is about to cross the road. It happens everyday. It says because you are a black man, you are possibly a robber.

The good black man then has to constantly prove that they are not to be feared. They have to work extra-hard against the forces that have already judged them. I have watched my black male friends over time who are saints who would barely hurt a bee and watch people lock their cars as they cross the traffic lights. My heart sinks. I never ask how they feel. It’s part of the drill of being a black man in #SouthAfrica. It has been possibly ever since they were named black.

Fear is possibly the greatest hurdle in our society. Fear is not black or white. My brother’s comment showed me that even the black man is afraid for his life, it’s not just the person who is locking themselves inside who is afraid. Fear dictates your state of freedom, it sets your limits. It is in fact your god. It makes you its prisoner not necessarily the people you lock out but the person that is locked in. It is a reality that people get killed over something as silly as a cellphone in our country. That is unjust. It should not be happening. It is unjustifiable.
I am not downplaying the levels of danger we are constantly facing.

It is unjust for any of us to face death of different kinds. We can however choose to be free from fear so that we do not remain prisoners of fear. If we become free from fear, then who knows, we may overcome our greatest threats. We will not only free the innocent black man who is constantly accused just by his existence in the planet but we may free even the black man who is a threat. We may free him because we no longer fear him. When we no longer fear him, we are free and he may have his humanity back. We too will have our humanity.

(This image was taken from Facebook. It is obviously American. I have no idea who the original photographer was but please let me use it is yours.).


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