I don't know Adam Catzavelos – and neither do I ever want to!
He has literally made me sick. The sickening feeling in my stomach and the bile rising in my throat as I watched his video is something I wish not to experience again. I'm sick to the stomach with his disgusting utterances and angry beyond belief.
I'm angry that he has the gall to say such things, and then presumably send the post around. I'm also furious with him because many South Africans will now paint all white people and those of Greek descent with the same brush.
The questions will come: "Is this what they all say while sauntering and tanning on Greek beaches?" For he was undoubtedly holidaying on a Greek island (although some news reports say it's "unclear" where he was). Well, he was in Greece.
I also have some questions for Catzavelos himself:
What are you doing in South Africa when you feel this way about your fellow citizens, co-workers and "friends"? (I use the word "friends" deliberately, loosely and sarcastically.)
Why stay in South Africa and prosper when it's clearly so easy for you to dehumanise and degrade human beings who've lived beside you and no doubt helped you build your business? Because don't be fooled – you did not build it yourself.
Who exactly did you make that video for? Where did you send it, and did you just assume people would share your views and values simply because they look like you?
Well someone didn't. And I applaud them. I applaud them for speaking out.
Fellow South Africans... especially my Greek friends, have you condemned this behaviour?
Have you spoken out in anger about this and expressed your outrage and distaste? Have you spoken out in the same way you do when it comes to issues of crime, or land expropriation without compensation? Or when you express issues that irk you about the South African government? When some of you are not so subtle with your racist views.
If so, good for you. I salute you for we all need to raise our voices in condemnation. We need to speak out. Now. No one can remain silent. Not now and not ever. And we don't have to wait for videos to go viral. Call it as and when you hear and witness it.
To those who haven't said anything, why not?
Is it because you simply don't want to get involved? Or because you're so humiliated you simply don't know what to say? Or is there something more sinister behind your silence?
Do you agree with Catzavelos and share those sentiments? Is this how you talk, in your homes, in front of your children? On beach holidays in Greece?
As a South African who does holiday on Greek beaches, know this: It's a holiday destination for me, a place to enjoy sun, sand and food and share the occasional hello with an old, kind Greek tannie who shares stories of my grandparents, now long gone. It's never used as an escape to run away from my home and all its people. If that's what the Adams of this world are using their trips for they need to urgently re-evaluate their lives.
If, like me, you're ashamed and humiliated by the behaviour of this fellow South African Greek then let's be abundantly clear and say, NOT IN OUR NAME!
We may look a little like Adam Catzavelos, have equally difficult surnames and share a somewhat similar heritage – but we do NOT accept him, or anyone else, degrading black South Africans like this.
It's not ever acceptable.
- Katopodis is director at Nala Media and former editor-in-chief of EWN.
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