Time to take a stand against ugly racism
17 February 2010
BRUTAL : A Special assignment video footage SHOWS AN East Rand SAPS dog unit MEMBER torturing AN alleged illegal immigrant as part of a training exercise. The video is littered with racist REMARKS . PHOTO: SABC
ENOUGH: Panyaza Lesufi
Bid to put racists in their place launched
IT IS time to ask why racists continue to treat us so badly and to reflect on whether the freedom that we fought for is the freedom that we experience today.
We need to reflect on whether the negotiated settlement entered into with our oppressors is yielding the desired outcome. It is time we pause and ask whether this agreement has been honoured by the one section of the society only and ignored by the other group who were also signatories to it.
Racism is rife in our country. The indignity our people go through every day has reached disturbing proportions. In one part of the country, the racists (whom we have forgiven) feed our parents with urinated food and then film them and make it a joke.
In another corner of South Africa, a group of racists build toilets without walls (the top structure) for our people, forcing these poor people to relieve themselves publicly.
Elsewhere they open fire on our children only to say they mistook them for baboons, they chain our brothers on their bakkies and drag them on tarred roads, and they destroy the graves of our ancestors from the farms and dump the corpses on the roadside.
These racists, and many others lurking in the country, have chosen to hammer us and make us feel inferior daily.
They are selfish, arrogant and they bully us without any sign of remorse. Recently, in a survey conducted by an Afrikaans daily, 72percent of its readers say they prefer to stay alone in their “homeland” away from black people. They revealed this when they were asked about their feelings about the historic speech of former president FW de Klerk.
A few weeks ago, a Pro-Afrikaans Aksiegroep convened a meeting in Vegkop in Free State urging their members to demand a third of South Africa from Witbank to Pretoria East including OR Tambo Airport, Free State to Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay.
Former president Nelson Mandela became a victim of racial insults at Sun City where it was reported that the lyrics of our national anthem had been changed on a CD to refer to our
iconic leader as a baboon.
AWB leader Eugene Terre’Blanche is on record as referring to the statue of King Tshwane as an “apie” while his supporters openly refer to Africans with the “K” word.
Right now, we cannot even change the name of Pretoria to Tshwane because racists are challenging us.
If you go to any newspaper blog and check the views expressed by racists , you will be shocked . If you read or listen to the text messages on radio talk shows and television shows, the racist attitude and the arrogance is blatant.
We cannot honestly continue to ignore this racism and say these are isolated incidents.
When we debated the name change of Johannesburg Airport, racists and ignorant people questioned who OR Tambo was and said if we changed the name inbound aircraft would get lost as they would not be able to locate OR Tambo Airport.
As a matter of fact, some domestic airlines still refer to the airport as Johannesburg Airport. This is sheer disrespect.
The increasing racism manifests itself in many forms and in many places where people find themselves.
In the workplace the racists are ruthless, heartless and cause emotional and untold trauma to our fellow Africans .
Strangely, if they find themselves in a minority they behave as though they are progressive and supportive of the initiatives aimed at nation building.
We are told our country has skills shortages. But how many skilled African professionals are today unemployed because they could not tolerate racists at their workplaces. How many of us are today suspended from work by racists because we dared challenge them while our companies are turning a blind eye on our cases?
Some whites speak against crime in this country with passion but look away at racist actions and behaviour simply because Africans are the only victims of racism.
We cannot tolerate this any longer. The economy of this country is built on top of the bodies of black people. And those living continue to earn slave wages and have been condemned to perpetual poverty if they are lucky to survive another day.
This must stop. We have complained about racism, it has not worked. It is time to stand up and do something.
It is within this context that we have established the Social Movement Against Racist Tendencies as a tool to put racists in their place.
This is a movement that will mobilise our people to have a single voice to confront racists but also use our collective muscle for economic emancipation. SMART will be the voice of the voiceless, the downtrodden masses of our people, who suffer pain and misery in the hands of racists who take advantage of the goodness of Africans.
The writer is the founding leader of SMART. To join SMART email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Social Movement Against Racist Tendencies on Facebook