Whilst South Africa started 2016 with a bang…not of fireworks but of social media displayed racial slurs, we hope you started your year on a more positive note. Amidst the heavy, dark racial discussion on social media, a Facebook status I did read that stuck with me in reference to racism and apartheid in South Africa was: “Apartheid only ended because it was no longer economically sustainable and not because white people (the oppressor) stopped being racist”
Apartheid, a system that operated South Africa between 1948-1994 (46 years); now, 1994-2016 (22 years) later, the remnants of the apartheid system still linger. Perhaps even more than linger, they are still deeply entrenched in the hearts and minds of some people who believe their existence is more valuable than others.
Now, how different is a person who refers to other humans as “monkeys” to those who exploited the life of Sara Baartman?…Sara Baartman was taken away from her family in South Africa, shipped to Europe and “displayed as a freak because of her physical features”. When you have a group of people, at different stages of history, perpetually thinking they are better than, above, superior to others, that is a serious problem, a problem singing “Nkosi’sikelela iAfrica” in unison, will not solve. It is therefore crucial that we read, ask questions and have constructive discussions that will (hopefully) lead the human race forward. A key start would be to understand the meaning of the term White Supremacy: ‘White supremacy or white supremacism is a form of racism centered upon the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial backgrounds and that therefore whites should politically, economically and socially rule non-whites.” An interesting article titled: “Why white people get so defensive about their privilege”, although based in America context, is still relatively applicable to the menace happening in South Africa. It is important to a) understand, b) call out non-progressive behaviour. Non-progressive behaviour has the potential power to hold up the progress of the sapiens species.
It is a new year; South Africa and the African continent at large are dealing with legacy issues. “Be the change you want to see in the world” is amongst the most overused quotes on planet earth, and yet, how true, how relevant, how deeply it still resonates. President Magufuli of Tanzania has been a highlight in terms of African leadership for me; the man (Mr Magufuli) has been seen on the streets of Tanzania, not campaigning but getting his hands dirty where issues of service delivery are concerned. Imagine if 30 of the 54 African presidents followed his precedent, imagine what type of inspirational buzz and citizens taking pride we would have. Another inspirational South African, Siya Xuza likes to say in his addresses “find your Jupiter”…Siya is the only African that has a minor planet named after him. These are the stories we need to spend our time and energy lauding…not ones where individuals with very clear issues, see perfectly fine human beings as “monkeys” #get your eyes and brain checked (lol).
Folks, it is a new year, new possibilities, another ±365 days for you to author an inspirational novel called “My Life, this year”.
Happy, blessed, successful New Year to the Mbewu Community!
Founder- Mbewu Movement