Dear Sunette Bridges and friends

2015-04-10 04:57

Allow me to first acknowledge your bravery to stand up and voice your opinions on race issues. I can’t remember the last time a musician let alone a white woman stood up and engaged race issues. Most prefer to stick to their keyboards and microphones. Your audacity and valour is indeed scarce.

In the same breath let me address you on a few issues on your activism journey. When you decided to join a few hundred mostly right wing friends including the blatantly racist Steve Hofmeyr on a crusade to ‘protect heritage sites and symbols’ you clarified your stance on racism, you shed light on your perception of our plight, we the black and oppressed majority.

You associating with racially bigoted placards and chanting in the company of racists you affirmed your commitment in preserving monuments and symbols of oppression. You made it clear that you are comfortable to be associated with elements of resistance to change in the democratic South Africa. Comfortably being in the company of apartheid flags showed us again that you are not just an artist but a pillar of the colossus of racial injustice.

I listened to your honest statement against ‘the removal of statues’. Your energy to fight for safekeeping of colonial and apartheid heroes left me worried. Seeing how genuinely emotional you were in ensuring that elevated concrete structure and others stay exalted and in faces of the poor blacks left me perplexed. I simply could not understand if it is lack of knowledge, brainwash, ignorance, arrogance, confusion or a combination of all these.

Seeing you on TV in the company of a few advantaged and empowered direct beneficiaries of colonialism and apartheid made me wonder if, it ever crosses your mind how poor and struggling blacks feel everyday passing under that statue, a constant reminder of injustice, an ever ringing bell of their unjust past, an architect of their wall of disenfranchisement. That figure and others, including Rhodes, robbed and dispossessed our people of what belonged to them, their land, wealth and to some, their lives.

Can you explain how a colossal of oppression could deserve to stand in a prominent public space? Can you explain how you got to a conclusion that this injustice is our heritage?

History cannot be erased but villains and such murderous characters of history all belong in one place, not UCT, not at Tshwane Church Square but in the dustbin. That is where we dispose them. You should actually be happy that it took this long to see to it that this happens.

You are part of the minority and you have every right to fight for the minority. This is true, but not in this case. You cannot dictate terms on the majority. You cannot impose a narrative on us. Never in my life have I seen arrogant minorities like in the case of South Africa. You want to tell us how to feel about racism, apartheid and colonialism. You also want to control how we react. Rhodes fell, Kruger is about to fall, Botha will fall and ultimately all elements of racial bigotry, racism in general and equality will fall.

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