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The silver lining of the ugly truth.

07 May 2012, 07:29

And what ugly truth am I talking about? Jessica Leandra, people like her and the way they think of course...

The reaction of the nation towards Ms do Santos’s tweeted remarks towards the “arrogant and disrespectful kaffir”, who was later then referred to in an attempted apology by Ms dos Santos as “a gentleman”, is quite heart-warming to say the least. To know that the use of such words is not acceptable to that of the greater public of South Africa, makes one feel that maybe we as a nation has come quite far since the days when words such as kaffir, koelie, hottentot, etc were an everyday occurrence and acceptable in this country.

Baderoon, Gabeba, “The Provenance of the term ‘Kaffir’ in South Africa and the notion of Beginning”, 2004: states that as an adjective or a noun, the term kaffir, is a comprehensively abusive word used to denote Black people in South Africa, exemplary of the violent disavowal of Black people’s humanity during apartheid. Offensive to the extent of being unspeakable today (in fact, its use constitutes a hate crime in South Africa). Koelie and hottentot were the same type of derogatory terms used against Indian and coloured people in South Africa. At the same time, there were many derogatory terms used against white people in South Africa as well.

These are the reasons that the use of such terms are illegal in South Africa today. Aside from this however, the use of these terms do not at all contribute to nation building in South Africa. In addition to this, and in my opinion, most importantly, is that it hurts people’s feelings! With the use of this term, the gentleman attacked by Jessica Leandra on Thursday night was the face point of a racial attack that is today felt by an entire nation. If this man was meant to be the perpetrator of sexual harassment as so claimed by Jessica Leandra, the use of racial slander and accusations of intended rape in an attempted excuse disguised as an apology was completely unnecessary. It is because of this that I think quick trim, FHM as well as all other corporates who have distanced themselves from her as a personality and ambassador of South Africa should be commended for making an example of this kind of behaviour and highlighting the ramifications as well. At the same time...the silver lining...this incident has shown the coming together of a nation in opposition to such behaviour showing that nation building is still possible even with these kinds of people in our midst.

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