'Right-wing racism cannot be attributed to the majority of Afrikaans-speaking people'

2019-03-20 22:05
(File, Netwerk24)

(File, Netwerk24)

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The rise of right-wing racism cannot be attributed to the majority of Afrikaans-speaking South Africans, according to veteran journalist and author Marianne Thamm.

Thamm, together with digital news editor at The Citizen, Daniel Friedman, and Ntombovuyo Linda from the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute were panellists at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation's event exploring the rise of right-wing racism, its reach within South Africa and its impact.

The discussion formed part of the foundation's week-long anti-racism campaign which started last week and ends on Human Rights Day.

Thamm said there was a false belief that white right-wingers were made up of Afrikaans-speaking people only.

She warned against this belief, citing the fact that the majority of Afrikaans-speaking South Africans had thrived in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Literature, TV shows and films in Afrikaans had been successful in democratic South Africa, said Thamm.

"The majority of Afrikaans-speaking South Africans continue to be a part of post-Apartheid South Africa. They have been able to establish themselves and thrive."

She warned, though, against ignoring the growing traction that right-wing racism is gaining across the world.

"We cannot change their point of view," she explained. "But we need to know they exist."

'We are all dealing with crime'

Thamm's contribution was followed by that of Friedman who argued that there seemed to be a strange desire from right wingers to not want to own the term.

Friedman then cautioned about the use of the word "genocide".

"It cannot be taken lightly," he said. "If you think of genocides, you think of the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust. What is happening to white people is not a genocide," Friedman charged.

He then offered an explanation for why people might be hostile to the term "white genocide".

"We are all dealing with crime in South Africa and for one group to isolate themselves as being uniquely targeted is a view that will not be appreciated by people."

Linda gave a more academic approach to the conversation, saying populist politics was on the rise and seemed unstoppable.

"[It is] a threat to democracy," she said. 

She added that US President Donald Trump posed the biggest threat to the US constitutional order with his political views and noted that opposition parties hadn't been able to reign him in.

Read more on:    racism
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