The legacy of our past is littered with the pain of atrocities by our very own

2017-07-13 06:02
OpinionThembile Ndabeni

OpinionThembile Ndabeni

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Some Africans have gone through the worst atrocities in the hands of their fellow Black people.

They still bear the scars of the humiliation, while the most unfortunate have passed on.

For some, the treatment was so harsh that the have succumbed to depression and all its manifestations. Some have become sots as a results.

Their children are not spared from the carnage of the past, having been born in such situations. History and social sciences subjects should encompass the reasons behind some of the anomalies we witness in society today as a lesson in schools. The Apartheid system had a tight grip on the lifestyles of the Black communities.

In our townships, the BAABs or Bantu Affairs and Administration Boards carried out the dirty work of the Apartheid system with great precision.

There were officials whose sole responsibility was to ensure that every adult Black person carried passbook. These officials were feared and could be the law to themselves. Wow unto Black women who often found themselves in the uncanny position of being caught without pass books. They would have had to strike unsavoury deals just so they could avoid going to jail or being repatriated to the rural areas. In most instances, they’d have to use their bodies as bargaining tools. These evil Blacks thrived from act of pressing down their own people, thus rubbing salt to the wounds of humiliation.

Dispensing houses was also the responsibility of Black officials.

If oral history was a subject of research, the young of today would learn a great deal visiting the old and the aged of Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga, getting first hand knowledge of what really took place. These officials, called Izibonda were merciless and down-pressers of their own people. At the centre of allocation and keeping the house was the passbook. Women who qualified for houses could only attain them through bribery.

Some people lost their houses because they couldn’t afford to pay rent. There was even a ‘customary law’ that when the husband passed on, the family lost the house. Male children had had to leave school after their fathers had passed on in order to keep the house in the family name.

Why couldn’t Izibonda make an appeal on behalf of the widows and their children. In Langa, there was a case where the children lost their home after their parents perished. The young lads were put under the care of another woman, their belongings having been thrown in the streets. This evil experience is part of our History that needs to be taught. However, there were also good policemen who played the roles of neighbours and parents. Some refused to hurt black people, especially children. It was rare. Such policemen should not be forgotten, and their names must take pride of place in our History. A way must be found to compensate those who were deprived of dignity when their homes were dispossessed.

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