Are Racists just suffering from PMS?

2015-06-28 18:58

It's true. It seems that racism is alive and well in South Africa. Even right here in suburbia, nogal. Who knew? Well, believing we live in a non racist society you've probably thought to yourself: “I wonder what ever happened to the racists? Were they all exported in exchange for Outspan Oranges?" The rest of the world may have a racism problem. But not us. We're the Rainbow Nation, darn it!

I am one of “those people” who walk around looking at our (mostly) beautiful people through rainbow coloured specs. Those glasses were shattered this afternoon by Little Miss Angry who arrived in a Silver German Sedan. Imagine my dismay at realising that I, and not my dog was being called a “White Bitch”? Admittedly, it did take a while, firstly because I have a female, white, English Bull Terrier, who is in fact a white bitch. Secondly, I didn't think Little Miss Angry was talking to me because racial slurs are far outside of my everyday experiences. Looking at how I may have provoked this racial reaction I replayed the conversation in my head. Here I have reproduced it for you:

Me: Excuse me....Excuse me, cars come around the corner really fast and if you park there your car may get .....

Her: Shut up you white bitch

Me: But your car may get smashed..

Her: Don't worry about me. Worry about your dogs. (Admittedly, this was a clear clue that she wasn't talking to my dog, who doesn't mind being called a white bitch.)

Me: Stunned silence

Her: Do you think I don't know that???? (clearly she also didn't know that it's unlawful to park facing oncoming traffic, but was I going to argue?)

At this point neighbours began emerging in reaction to Little Miss Angry's loud shouting. Little Miss Angry then went on to collect grass (yes, brown grass) which she lugged to her Silver German luxury car before driving off.

I was quite stunned by this exchange and I needed to understand it. Are South Africans racist? Have I been wrong all this time? When I drive down the road, hoot and wave out my window, knowing that any pedestrians will smile and wave, is there racism in that? (I really do this and South Africa is the only country where people will wave back, you should try it). When a young man will make way for a gogo in a long queue, is South Africa racist? When we unite against Xenophobia, are we racist? I realise the irony of this last question. That's another article. Maybe I need to look further back...

Let's start in 1993. Before the 1994 Democratic elections we celebrated “Peace Day”. It took place on the 2nd of September 1993. A gentleman by the name of Duma Ndlovu had proposed the idea to the National Peace Committee. Chicco Twala was then commissioned to write and perform “the Peace song”. Radio stations around the country were playing it. We were all singing it. South African's were asked as a nation to stop at midday on Peace Day and observe a minute silence while the Peace Song played. And we all did. We joined hands. We made human chains. We wept for all that had been and we wept with the hope of what could be. The wonder of the moments are etched in my memory.Was this racism?

Let's move forward to our first democratic elections. The long queues. The pride that we were all doing this together. The excitement. The electricity. The powerful beings we were. The unity. The smell of change. The hope for a better South Afrca for all. Was that racist?

Moving ahead to the famous 1995 Rugby World Cup that has been immortalised through so many modalities. South African's united behind “our” team. We were powerful. And the world saw it. And they spoke about it. And some people wrote about it. And they made a block buster movie about it. And documentaries. And they envied us. Was that racist?

2010. Again South Africa united and we shared. We welcomed foreigners to our shores and we went out of our way to show the world who we are. And they were amazed. The amount of pride I felt when Sepp Blatter decalred the 2010 SWC “the best ever” and our country became the default host for further world cups. Was that racist?

Do you remember the 8th of June 2013? Let me remind you then. It's when Nelson Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria Hospital. The nation united in grief at the news and united in the hope he would recover. Entire streets were closed in the Capital city. The pavements and fences surrounding the hospital were covered in cards, fluffy toys, flowers. The side walk held candles as firmly as we held our love for Madiba. The world saw. We united. They filmed it. We remembered. Was that racist?

Are you reliving these moments with me? Now let's ask “How did we get to where we are today?” When did we become racists? When did it become acceptable for leadership to spew hate speech? When did our leadership take on personal gain as an official policy? What happened to “a better life for all South African's”? None of the moments I mention were racist. They were extraordinary. In every way. And they were created by South African's. By the you's and the me's.

I cannot put my finger on when we may have become a racist society and I still believe that we generally aren't. The average South African is not a racist. There. I've said it. We are a society where a white man can be a Zulu and Vendas can be Jewish. So let me get back to Little Miss Angry. That's it right there. She's clearly angry - probably about ESKOM or SANRAL or something that happened on the parliament channel, or maybe she's just suffereing from PMS. Post Mandela Syndrome. Aren't we all?

I will be supporting South Africa's bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in every way I can. We are up against France (now there's a real racist society #justsaying) We need a positive event as a nation. To remind ourselves again who we really are.

To Little Miss Angry, for you I post the lyrics to the Peace song. Take time to remind yourself who you were. And also so you don't make racial slurs to your neighbours because they might just blog about it.

South Africa

We love you, our beautiful land

Lets show the whole world

we can bring peace in our land

Father we pray

Day and Night for unity

Show us the way father

to bridge the gap of hate

We know we've hurt each other

Never showed any love at all

Our lives will never be the same again

Wish we had God in our loves all the time

South Africa

We love you, our beautiful land

Lets show the whole world

we can bring peace in our land

Politicians stop lying

Come join hands and be as one

An eye for an eye wont build us

we can bring peace in our land

Forget about the past

And build a new nation

God says every man shall reach perfection

If we help each other

We shall reach our destination

South Africa wake up

The whole world is free now

Lets bury our differences

and live in harmony

Sisters, brother, mother, daddy.

Stop killing one another

and bring peace in our land

We know we've hurt each other

Never showed any love at all

Our lives will never be the same again

Wish we had God in our loves all the time

(Lyrics by Chicco Twala)

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