Helen Zille and the shaming of black people

Many years after the demise of colonialism and apartheid, black people continue to be denigrated, as in Helen Zille’s tweets of last weekend. Picture: Jaco Marais
Many years after the demise of colonialism and apartheid, black people continue to be denigrated, as in Helen Zille’s tweets of last weekend. Picture: Jaco Marais

‘What an unadulterated insult to black people ... questioning their human sensibilities and restating the proposition that they cannot think’.

Author Edgar Brookes says the following about pretentious white people: “Nor is it South Africans only who need to be ashamed… But who created the movement for black exclusiveness and black aggression? Surely the white man, not merely the advocates of baaskap and apartheid, but the timid and hesitating well-wishers, the so-called friends of the Africans who put comfortable living and the status quo above the justice of God.”

Helen Zille and the DA would want South Africans and the world to believe that they were friends of Africans.

Her tweets expose her and the DA as, in the words of Brookes, the timid and hesitating well-wishers, the so-called friends of the Africans.

Zille’s tweets expose this pretentious proposition. She once accused people of the Eastern Cape of being economic refugees of the Western Cape.

She also once told us bluntly that colonialism did us many good favours for which we must be grateful.

She appears oblivious of the fact that colonialism and its successor, apartheid, were just plain evils which humanity never needed.

Colonialism brought on black people slavery and apartheid, among other unprecedented oppressions.

The objective of these twin evils was to treat black people as subhuman; they were premised on the superiority of Europeans/whites over African/black people.

We may as well thank colonialists for slavery, the dispossession of our land and all the other evil things they did to us.

Then we must thank the apartheid bigots for dehumanising black people.

Colonialism and apartheid stereotyped black people and criminalised them for being human beings.

It criminalised them for walking and charged them with conspiracy. It criminalised black people for seeking employment or a place to stay.

It criminalised them for greeting white people and speaking their own language.

It beheaded King Hintsa ka Khawuta for refusing to betray the land of his people. It reduced men and women who sought to address social relations between human beings into criminals.

It comes as no surprise that voting for who black people want must have them stereotyped as looters.

Zille just reminds me of what PW Botha, dubbed the Ou Krokodil, said about black people: “We do not pretend, like other Whites, that we like Blacks. The fact that Blacks look like human beings and act like human beings does not necessarily make them sensible human beings.”

I guess black people who voted for the looters are not sensible human beings.

Zille suggests that some people want the masses to suffer. It must be the very same masses who want to suffer by voting for what she calls looters.

It is such a far-fetched proposition that anyone can choose to suffer. It can only be a less sensible human being who chooses suffering and, for that matter, self-inflicted suffering.

Zille therefore suggests that the masses, who I guess must be the majority black, chose to suffer.

What an unadulterated insult to black people.

The face of poverty, unemployment and inequality is black. The face of economic refugees and those who must be grateful for colonialism is black.

Now the face of looters is black.

In Zille’s little world, there are no white looters. All these entities, starting from the time of colonialism and apartheid, who looted the natural and other resources of the country are not an issue for her.

Her issue is about the black privilege people. Steinhoff, which is the classic example of wholesale looting, including of the pensions of the so-called black privilege people, is no issue for Zille because it was not black people who looted.

So are the many entities involved in the illicit outflows of capital from this country.

The looting under the apartheid government, which was white, was no looting because the black privilege people were not involved.

The National Party, probably the worst architects of corruption, were not black. They repeatedly won elections over many years until removed by those Zille calls the looters.

Not very long ago, the very same Zille calls black privileged people who resent looting took away the ANC majority in various metropolitan councils in protest against malfeasance.

Zille would not call that black privilege or call them less sensible human beings, probably because the DA was the big beneficiary.

These black privilege people did not want to suffer by not voting for the ANC. They did think properly and followed what the DA said and wanted.

The very same people Zille brands as looters because of their skin colour have given the DA an opportunity to govern various municipalities.

Whatever the case must be of the white people who voted for these parties Zille calls looters, including the votes which came from Orania.

The ones who moved their votes from the DA to the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) will never be confronted because they are not black privilege material.

If we assume that it is only or mainly white people who voted for the DA, then the National Party of Botha is reincarnated.

Zille would not have excluded white people from her bigotry without a reason. The FF+ has helped us understand who previously voted for the DA, better explaining what the DA stood for all these years.

The reality is that the Zille tweet about black privilege is not about voting for looters.

After all, Zille cannot tell who voted for who and which proportion of which racial group voted for which party.

This tweet is a reminder that there are those who still espouse the ideas of Barry Hertzog, Hendrik Verwoerd, Botha and the rest of the racist bigots.

The scale of the looting may differ but not one political party can claim the status of a new-born baby on this matter.

The DA has hardly run a clean government where it governs. How the kettle so calls the pot black remains a mystery.

The black privilege tweet tells it all.

Firstly, it questions the human sensibilities of black people. Secondly, it restates the old discredited colonial and apartheid proposition that black people cannot think.

The DA has accepted that it hardly ran a proper election campaign. All that happened was that their supposed black privilege leader went around the country screaming ANC corruption.

He probably missed the point that the ANC itself had pronounced that it was against corruption, vowing to tackle it head-on, thus leaving the DA with nothing to offer.

Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey said, “The black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.”

Racist bigots always wanted our black skin to be a badge of shame. We are even shamed for exercising our constitutional right to vote for who we want.

Black people have already, over centuries, been shamed and humiliated, and those who protested were visited with extreme pain.

Many years after the demise of colonialism and apartheid we continued to be shamed.

When Steve Biko said that “the greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”, he must have had in mind the black members and leaders of the DA who sit in that party to endure ongoing shaming and humiliation.

They are forever quiet when black people are shamed. This makes one wonder why, despite the many allegations of racism levelled against the DA by former members and leaders, the rest of the black privilege brigade in that party remain steadfast in their support of that party.

Zille would probably not know that, before she was born, my great-aunt Charlotte Mannya Maxeke appealed to Europeans to treat Africans with respect.

She discouraged European women from profiling all black women who worked in their homes as lazy.

Zille is repeating what European women did by profiling black people as looters and having black privilege.

Zille may not be aware that when white European women could not vote, for the only reason that they were women, my great-aunt fought alongside them to claim the vote for all women.

Zille seems to think that black people do not know why they vote and do not value their vote.

My great-aunt would have spoken about intemperate leaders. Intemperate leaders are self-indulgent and are never challenged by their followers.

Maybe the potency of the weapon being the minds of these black members and leaders is becoming evident.

Mannya is a practising advocate and writer


Why has the DA dragged its feet on dealing conclusively with the intemperate Helen Zille?

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