Did we struggle for this?

2012-02-25 11:26

A leader of our liberation struggle once said those black people are inclined to forget who they are, whites will always find an opportunity to remind them – or words to that effect.

Well, since that fateful day when representatives of political parties signed that Codesa agreement in Kempton Park, it can be said that some among us have been inclined to forget who we are, until Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder reminded us so rudely.
Mulder, after listening to the state of the nation address, used that opportunity to remind all those present and who were tempted to forget what issues this country was facing.

He not only brazenly disputed the ownership of part of this land by the indigenous people of this country, but he went further with his insults and called the majority of the people of this country “Bantus’’.

There were no Bantu-speaking people in the Cape, he tells us, right in our faces, and anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. So there! Close to 20 years into our political freedom, we are the Bantus once again.

Having struggled long and hard to be recognised as South Africans and not to be referred to as Bantus any more, white supremacist thinking has just informed all of us that there is no such a thing.

According to this ideology, in this country you have white people and the Bantus.

More than anything else, that statement by Mulder told us that every time he and his ilk look around them as they sit in that Parliament or even the Union Buildings, all Mulder sees are whites surrounded by Bantus.

Now some people have reacted angrily, and rightly so I have to add, at the assertion by Mulder that the indigenous people of this country cannot claim 40% of parts of the Cape.

I want to argue that this is not what should infuriate black people. Every black man/woman should be enraged at being called a Bantu by Mulder when he knows full well that this word is insulting to black South Africans.

To call us Bantus is as insulting as calling Indians coolies or African-Americans niggers.

For that alone, Mulder should be removed from his post as a deputy minister as each and every one of those sitting in Cabinet should find his presence both untenable and intolerable.

Calling us Bantus means that he is sending us back to the days of Bantu Education, Bantu Affairs, Bantu quarters, Bantustans and so-called Bantu diseases.

In other words, we are hewers of wood and drawers of water.

This democratic government, which came about as a result of the struggles of our people against being called Bantus, among other insulting names, cannot stand for that.

I am no rabble-rouser, but I strongly believe that supremacists of every ilk and stripe have to be made to understand that this democratic government has zero tolerance for their kind. We have to set an example with Mulder so that even those who share his thinking will never forget.

Daily, ordinary black people from the length and breadth of this country are still subjected to all forms of insults at the hands of unrepentant white supremacists and dyed-in-the-wool racists, because they are powerless to do anything about it.

The only consolation for these people is that at least they have a black government in place that they elected. They hope that this government will correct many of these wrongs.

But if ordinary black people now see former freedom fighters, who are now parliamentarians, also being subjected to similar demeaning racial slurs and insults, and they do nothing to correct that but cower under such attacks, then the question screams out: what was the use of all that sacrifice for the struggle?

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