Howard Feldman

Dear Andile, my ancestors may have been soap, but were more than you will ever be

2017-08-25 08:23
BLF leader Andile Mngxitama (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)

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Dear Andlile,

My great grandparents might well have been lampshades.

Their flesh might also have been used to make the “Jewish soap” that you refer to in your tweet.

Indeed, after they were murdered, their remains might well have been tossed on a heap before their gold fillings were ripped from their teeth and their skin used to make the shades you glibly refer to. My great grandparents, along with my great uncles and aunts could well have been the subject of your taunt.

Only I will never know. Because my grandparents died unaware of what became of their parents. They knew that they were herded in cattle cars because they were Jewish and were slaughtered as a result of their faith.

They knew that they were tortured and starved and witnessed countless dying around them. They knew that theirs was not an easy death but one that they dared not even try imagine.

My grandparents never spoke of the horror and of the torment because the words were the knives that made their throats bleed. And it was easier to keep them inside than to let them bloody the new family they were trying desperately to raise.

Andile, you don’t know me. And you don’t know my family. You never met my grandparents who survived the holocaust and who came to South Africa as refugees. But I think you would have liked them because they were good, hardworking people who wanted nothing more than to hold the family they had close to their chests.

They tried desperately to forget the horrors of their past. They wanted nothing more than to build a new life for themselves. And although they always remained damaged, they largely succeeded.

Earlier when I read your tweets I felt hurt by you. Because you don’t know me and you never knew my grandparents. And yet strangely you clearly set out to cause pain and damage. I am perplexed why you would choose to do that; why a person who claims to hear the crying of his African brothers and who wants to correct the ills of the South African past would evoke one of the most painful visual images of Jewish history and to use it to torment.

You didn’t prove whatever point you were trying to make. You just proved that you are not a worthy leader of the people you claim you represent.

You must know that you don’t enjoy a good reputation. You have been linked to the Guptas and you have bullied and tormented journalists who you didn’t like. You have desperately sought the public eye and you have found it. For all the wrong reasons.

Andile, I don’t need your apology because you are meaningless. You are a nothing. With your behaviour and with your tweets you have made yourself small and irrelevant.

My great grandparents might well have been reduced to lampshades. Or to Jewish Soap.

But they were more than you will ever be. 

Howard Feldman

- Feldman is the author of Carry on Baggage and Tightrope and the afternoon drive show presenter on Chai FM.

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Read more on:    andile mngxitama  |  holocaust  |  jews  |  guptas

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