City Press Debate – Are we strangers in a strange land?: Kay Sexwale

2013-05-26 14:00

Bigotry and hate against any group of people can never be defended, writes Kay Sexwale.

Dear Phumlani,

Let me start by acknowledging your anger at the racial dynamics and historical incidence of prejudice, hatred and racism black South Africans have had to endure at the hands of some people of Indian/Asian descent.

That said, your utterances are bigoted and belong in the same fringe parts of society we need to do away with, currently reserved for Solidarity and the dwellers of Orania and Kleinfontein.

The sad legacy of apartheid is people like you who, instead of embracing nonracialism and building a better South Africa for all, have sharpened their claws and, together with a handful of buddies, are using opportunities offered by current affairs and our divisive media to spread hatred towards a previously disadvantaged group of our citizens who have historical roots in Asia.

The attention given to Newcastle Mayor Afzul Rehman laying charges of crimen injuria against a transport department official has drawn bigots like yourself to spew inaccurate and sensationalised distractions from core issues.

When City Press invited me to respond to your diatribe I agreed after remembering recent social media rants attributed to you. Your telling ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Sihle Zikalala to not attempt to engage you with a samoosa in his mouth exposed your senseless hatred.

On Twitter, seasoned black consciousness activists who loathe South Africa’s inequalities, like Andile Mngxitama, have warned you against this dangerous path you are on, cautioning you to not be a modern Kaiser Matanzima and a prisoner of history.

As with the DA’s recent revamp of the past, I can only assume Mngxitama meant selective history, seeing as he accuses you of employing narrow nationalism and being a tribalist.

I’d take it a step further, to compare you to Idi Amin of Uganda, who ordered the expulsion of that country’s Indian and Pakistani minorities in 1972.

Seeing as you like to dwell on the past so much, let me take this opportunity to remind you of a historic document that informs the spirit of our Constitution, the Freedom Charter, albeit authored in 1955, long after the Battle of Isandlwana.

This was an idealistic document to counter the oppressive nature of the unjust system of apartheid, a system that promoted a hierarchy of oppression that placed Indians and so-called coloureds in positions above black South Africans.

The architects of apartheid would applaud you, Phumlani, for being an agent of furthering their divisiveness.

The charter was a statement of the core principles of the SA Congress Alliance, which consisted of the ANC and its allies, including the SA Indian Congress.

Let me also refer you to the 1947 Joint Declaration of Cooperation known as Three Doctors’ Pact, which was signed by Dr AB Xuma, then ANC president, Dr GM Naicker, president of the Natal Indian Congress, and Dr YM Dadoo of the Transvaal Indian Congress.

Today, the pact is seen as an epochal agreement that played a key role in the struggle.

How dare you suggest to an elected mayor how South Africans of Indian descent vote?

Voting is a hard-earned right all South Africans have and are free to exercise as they see fit.

Are you challenging councillor Rehman’s eligibility to be mayor in a nonracial society in 2013, as a representative of a nonracial party, because he has taken issue with being lumped with Johnny-come-lately name-droppers?

The charter’s preamble states South Africa belongs to all who live in it and no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.

The people of Newcastle have spoken, Phumlani.

Your Indophobia is concerning and misplaced. Ever since the Guptas brazenly landed their plane at Waterkloof, South Africa has been united in our disgust at their illegal sense of entitlement.

The highest structures of government have blundered badly in their handling of the matter and minions are taking the fall.

Interestingly though, you name-drop worse than the Guptas.

If your profile is anything to go by, your connections range from two former first ladies of the US and South Africa, and everyone who is anyone in the higher circles of South African business and politics.

I checked with a few of these names you dropped and they all denied knowing you.

The Guptas have helped your sideshow, I get that, but dare I say you and that family are a threat to nonracialism in our young democracy, and the thinking public will not stand by and watch silently.

Regards

Kay Sexwale

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