Race- the segregated dialogues

2018-11-22 06:02
The group of people who attended the debate on Race and Racism, listen attentively during an intra community dialogue at the Zolani Centre. PHOTO: unathi obose

The group of people who attended the debate on Race and Racism, listen attentively during an intra community dialogue at the Zolani Centre. PHOTO: unathi obose

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In an attempt to address the challenges of race and racism in communities, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, IJR, organised an event at the Zolani Centre in Nyanga East, for people to speak out about their experiences and find solutions.

Held last Saturday, among the communities who attended, included people from Nyanga, Gugulethu, Langa, Philippi and Khayelitsha.

The theme of the dialogue was Race and Racism.

Vuyani Mngqete from Site C, was one of those who attended the event.

He said the event addressed pertinent issues, which no one spoke about publicly.

He said he experienced discrimination while working in a hotel in Rondebosch in the early 90’s, when his manager told him that his body was disgusting.

“It was hot and they were in their changing room half naked. And the manger came to me and said I must cover my body because it is disgusting,”he recalled.

Mngqete said racism still exists in communities and workplaces.

He lambasted the government for failing to put stringent punishment against racists.

“Nobody has guts to stand up and talk openly about segregation and racism. The rainbow nation that the government is talking about we only see on television, but not on the ground where we are living,” he said.

I.J.R organiser Kenneth Lukuko said the main objective of the event was to find out how different people understand race and race relations.

“This is an intra-community dialogue where people expressing themselves and share their experiences about racism. We had the same dialogue in the coloured communities a few weeks ago about the same topic.

We are here and we intend to have another dialogue in our Cape Town offices soon, where only whites will take part,” said Lukuko.

He explained that the reason they are holding separate dialogues based on race, was because they want people to be open.

“We perceived that many people can express them better when they are alone as a group than mixed.

Because what black people say about coloured or white people might not sit well to them and is a visa versa.

We will have another dialogue at the end of the month, when we will have all the communities together under one roof,”said Lukuko.

He said racism is a global challenge.

“We found that among coloured people alone, they are discriminating each other between those who are dark and light in complexion; as it happens among us black people,” he stated.

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