What’s wrong with this picture?

2011-05-28 10:35

The picture of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe arm-wrestling with DA leader Helen Zille will always linger in the mind.

There is more than meets the eye in the picture, which was taken at a time when white power was making serious inroads into predominantly black communities.

This picture reveals, quite innocently, the extent to which white-male power does not feature, but is still everywhere.

It is always to be expected that when the white man is away or out of the picture, it will be the madam – or daughter – who is put in charge.Essentially, the image is about a struggle for dominance.

In our kind of system both black men, like Mantashe, and women, like Zille, find themselves in the same situation where they have to compete against each other to protect and preserve the economic status quo, which is dominated by white men.

An image of a strong black man arm-wrestling with a woman does not say much about black-male power.

This representation is the beginning of an agenda to familiarise society with the development that not only do white men see themselves as too superior to “fight” black men, but their women are doing it for them too.

What we should understand is that the fight for land ownership and economic control in South Africa is between black and white men.

Hence, representations that portray black men as engaging in struggles against white-female power weaken their image.

This servile and subservient image is the breeding ground, especially among the apolitical youth, that white is right and serves to reinforce the view that in the power hierarchy, white women come before black men.

To put it bluntly: the white woman is the veil for white supremacist power After all, white women remain the products and beneficiaries of their fathers’ imperialism.

This analysis can easily be misconstrued as “blowing things out of proportion”, but it would be interesting to hear what others have to say about it.

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