Guest Column

Zindzi Mandela taught us all a lesson

2019-06-21 05:00
Zindzi Mandela

Zindzi Mandela

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Two decades into supposed freedom, white people still believe that our struggle heroes owe the narrative of their legacies to their shallow opinions and not actual emancipation of black people, writes Naledi Chirwa.

The past few days have seen an eruption of racial charges against South African Ambassador to Denmark, Zindziswa Mandela-Hlongwane, from racist whites and black people who still suffer from massaging white fragility.

This frenzy waged against the daughter of South African heroine, Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela, is in response to her tweets on land thieves and apartheid apologists who truly believe that Nelson Mandela was a living sacrifice for their sins against black people.

White people and white-led propaganda systems of this country have invested immense effort in deciding for black people what to make of apartheid and how we are to feel about the continuous violence meted out against us. Not only that, but white people have had no shame in defending the very premise of colonialism; land dispossession.

White people are adamant in driving the deception that they are not the descendants of their ancestors, who structured this system of dispossession and perpetual violence and yet find no fault defending the fruits of violence and having their surnames on title deeds emanating from theft, rape, murder and psychological trauma of black people.

White supremacy in South Africa constantly wants to define the parameters within which black rage can find expression. It wants to decide not only how the native speaks and dresses, but also how the native responds to the master.

This because they see black people as nothing more than house help. House help that doesn't talk back. House help that doesn't have dignity. House help that is in a constant state of silence even through dehumanising atrocities like sacrificing a salary for breaking a glass. And lastly, house help that is, like other forms of black labour, easily disposable. Hence the calls for her removal as ambassador of South Africa.

White South Africans cannot fathom black rage finding expression outside of the fictional limitations set by their stronghold on African soil. White people rightfully understand the social power given to them by a "post democratic" South Africa that did not require the injustice of colonialism and apartheid to be reversed through more than efforts for reconciliation. Reconciliation that wasn't even demanded by black people. This is because to the white person, it is an honour for us to share spaces with them and a deterioration of their humanness for them to do the same with us.

And thus we must be grateful to the coloniser for sharing benches, public bathrooms and suburbs with us. If anything, the attempt to have black South Africans gather justice from dispossession through a half-cooked and fake rainbowism resulted in beneficiaries and perpetrators of the current status quo to see nothing wrong with the treacherous consequences of apartheid for black people.

White people have consistently found unwarranted grace from black people. This through so-called "leaders" of the liberation party who traded the justice of black people for pension funds (a tendency still vigorously prevalent) and the decision to fail to return land to its rightful owners, black Africans, without compensation. This is why it was no surprise seeing Fikile Mbalula rebuke Zindzi Mandela and not racists who were blatantly throwing misogynist and racist slurs at her.

In her series of tweets and responses to white racists and apologetic black people, Zindzi Mandela gave us a decade worth of free decolonised education. She did this a few days before we commemorated and remembered the June 16 Soweto uprising and the 106th anniversary of the June 19, 1913 Land Act. It was a beautifully orchestrated coincidence as we were reminded of the gruesome hatred and entitlement of colonisers, the lives lost fighting against white supremacy and a slave driven education system that entrenched supreme reign over black lives by entrenching fear in our very existence.

An education system meant to prepare the black child to be fit to serve white interests and land laws that saw dispossession and theft legalised. This is the very first thing Zindzi Mandela addressed: "We do not fear you," she asserts, "...you will not rule again".

And like old school white aggressive arrogance fearful of the possibility of being stripped of power over black people, the retort was that Zindzi Mandela is tarnishing her father's legacy.

Again, this position outlines just how highly white people regard themselves over black lives. White people, two decades into supposed freedom, still believe that our struggle heroes owe the narrative of their legacies to their myopic and shallow opinions and not actual liberation and emancipation of black people.

In less than 24 hours, Zindzi Mandela was able to paint an accurate picture of what South Africa looks like; an unequal society built on the dispossession of black people's land that depends on the silencing of black rage to cushion faded white conscience. If anything, Zindzi Mandela has modelled to all of us what an ambassador and public servant should prioritise, and that is defending the truth at all cost. The less said about AfriForum, the better.

- Chirwa is an EFF member of Parliament.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. 

Read more on:    zindzi mandela  |  apartheid  |  reconciliation
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