The past week was laden with two surprising events. On Thursday 9 October, a group of people calling themselves the “Red October” (I wonder why red), marched to the Union Buildings to protest against “black-on-white violence”. According to this group, led by Afrikaans singers Sunnette Bridges and Steve Hofmeyer, there was a calculated campaign by blacks to “kill and rape” Afrikaners in South Africa.
On Sunday, the 13th, Julius Malema launched his political party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Marikana. The members of the new party wore red berets and t-shirts. I can’t seem to stop wondering what it is with the red colour that charms militias and anarchists. Anyway, let me stop chattering about colours and go straight to my point. The most vivid similarity between the two groups was, methinks, obsession with racial hatred.
For the purposes of this article, I will refer to the group that marched to the Union Buildings as the Hofmeyer group, while the group that launched a political party in Marikana as the Malema group. I simply choose to name these groups in this manner for ease of reference. I hope that I will not be insulted by any of these groups for my choice, which I am entitled to.
The 400-odd strong Hofmeyer group capitalised on, mainly, farm murders in an attempt to prove a perceived “white/Boer genocide”. Rather than use statistics, which are available for all to use, this group used photographs of deceased farmers and racist rhetoric to convince those who cared to listen that their people were in danger.
“…we are not used to this mortality rate, we are not used to being raped in these numbers," Hofmeyer said to the crowd. The implication here is that, not only are violent crimes on Afrikaners committed by African people, these crimes are also racially motivated. This wild accusation is, expectedly, not supported by any factual data.
There is no attempt to back up these accusations with empirical data because there are no grounds for this wild generalisation. Hofmeyer and his sing-along followers know that these accusations are not only generalistic, but severely untrue. In the desperate noises made by the Hofmeyer group, no mention is made of people like Afrikaner man Johannes Jacobus Steyn, dubbed the “Sunday rapist”, who in 2012 was sentenced to five life sentences and 170 years in jail for, amongst others, raping and killing mostly Afrikaner girls in Gauteng. They do not mention this fact because their arguments are based on pure hatred, rather than logic.
In realizing that crime affects all South Africans, Hofmeyer makes an amazingly stupid comment; “We are not denying that they are being murdered, but they are not being murdered by white people”. Again this is factually incorrect. On January 14, 2008, one Johan Nel, an Afrikaner, went on a brutal shooting spree in the Skierlik informal settlement in North West. These attacks were motivated by racial hatred. Nel was sentenced to more than 100 years in jail for killing four Africans and hurting another eleven. So there is no truth in Hofmeyer’s vague claims.
Like the group above, the Malema group used foul statements, often fuelled by racial hate, as grounds for them to launch a party. “A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by hate”, read one of the posters displayed by the Malema group. Some of the banners read as follows; “Honeymoon is over for whites" and "To be a revolutionary you have to be inspired by hatred and bloodshed”.
The leader of the latter group says about the character of his party; “…we will not enter into an alliance with a party that is afraid of whites”. Not only is this statement racist, but it does not make sense. This statement is made with a deep sense of inferiority complex that seeks to position whites as semi-gods in relation to blacks. It also seeks to perpetuate a racially motivated stereotype that says a person who is not afraid of the other racial group is some sort of hero. Nonsense!
Like the Hofmeyer group, the Malema group is a group whose policies, ideas and vision are nothing but a façade. These are nothing but fake racial minority groups whose goal is to erode the positive gains of our democratic breakthrough. They use fake revolutionary rhetoric and symbols (red October, red berets, revolution, fighters, etc.) as a camaflouge to hide their real intents.
South Africans must collectively reject and expose racists, irrespective of the clothes they wear, the language they speak and the symbols they use. It is only through sober, fair and inclusive debate and dialogue that we can advance the gains of our democracy. No amount of racial hate speech and insults can bring any form of freedom, economic or otherwise to this country. No amount of reckless populism must be allowed to make any form of racism fashionable. Let us not give up on our dream of a wonderful rainbow nation.
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