Why keep wishing racism away ZIPHO MAKHOBA

2016-04-27 06:00


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ONE of the many subjects I have invested time studying and observing is that of racism. This of course is a global phenomenon with ubiquitous traits that are disturbing here in Africa and everywhere­ else in the world.

However, the South African case is very interesting for many reasons, most of which are beyond the parameters of this article, but I wish to touch on few perturbing mistakes we (people) and government often make around the discourse.

Prior to doing this though, I wish to invoke the services of Dr Anderson, who defines racism as a race between groups of people. This is a race between people, of accumulating wealth, resources, power and influence.

However, this race becomes racism once this one group (whites) after accumulating resources, power and influence, then systematically and intentionally denies the other group (blacks) the opportunity to be in a competitive posture.

As a consequence, blacks cannot compete with whites over resources, opportunities, power and influence. This is so because the system designs and produces a black man who is only good at administering the wealth and resources of the whites, never producers.

Furthermore, this is evidenced in the way in which the system still excludes blacks. The system still dictates where we (blacks) can afford to buy property, eat, school, look for jobs and who we can marry. Unfortunately, when the government introduces measures and/or tools to curb racism or mitigate the effects thereof, these only tend to wish racism away. We all are aware that one of the feasible ways of curbing the impact of racism is through transformation.

Transformation of all public, private and civil institutions is mandatory, and more importantly, is fighting the subtle manifestations of this attitude that only normalises racism.

Our government has produced both qualitative and quantitative tools all of which wishes racism away. We have concepts like “born frees”, the “rainbow nation, etc., claiming to encourage social cohesion. The truth of the matter is that we are only wishing racism away with such stances. True transformation must be backed by economic emancipation of the previously repressed group/s.

Both the born free and rainbow nation concepts do not guarantee a black child good education and/or future, but money does.

In our endeavour to achieve real transformation, we must veer away from forging social cohesion on falsified grounds.

There are thorny issues that must be dealt with honestly and holistically if we are to move forward as a nation of blacks and whites.

• Zipho Makhoba, an author, political philosopher, social commentator and research consultant, writes in his personal capacity.


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