There are no Black born-frees or previously disadvantaged people

2014-01-23 05:52

The 1994 elections meant a new beginning for a country that was known for violence and hostility for decades. This new beginning meant the creation of a new national identity embedded in a new democratic constitution that guaranteed human rights for all.

All these "new" beginnings, new flag, new national anthem, new coat of arms signalled a transforming country. It was, as I hear from those older than me, a truly remarkable and joyous experience to see the burial of all old ruthless apartheid regime.

But then again, like in any other country when change comes people get carried away and  adopt new identities to describe other people and situations  in a political correct "sweet" term that won't "offend anyone". The problem with these political correct terms is that they move far away from reality, describing situations envisioned and making them today realities.

One petty example would be that of a "rainbow nation" a term we got from Desmond Tutu describing a country of a people united in their diversity. I have no problem with this one, but it still describes something we are yet to see. Twenty years since 1994, I don't think someone could say we are a united nation.

Before I bore you let me come to the terms I have serious issues with. I have issues with the term "previously disadvantaged" used to describe the poor. I have issues with the word "born-free" used to describe people born in and after 1994. Both these terms like many describe or define a situation that is non existent.

Black people in the old apartheid regime were disadvantaged in so many ways. A black child was born into a life of poverty with no hope of ever escaping it. This black child would grow in a single parent home (the father was eGoli making moola for uBOSS)  and attend poorly funded schools that taught them a curricula that had no maths or science ( as the regime said there is no point of teaching a black child maths ).

The black child would be forced to drop up because there were either no fees to further fund their education or if continued with studies, the black child would go on to be a Teacher, or a Nurse or a Social Worker or serve in the Police because those were the only professions the regime saw a Black fit for.

Blacks in the regime were excluded from participating in the economy. The only place they hard was for hard cheap labour. They owned no business that is why today when you hear the word BOSS you think of a white old rich  man.

Blacks were really disadvantaged by the geographic areas they lived in. Most were locked into Bantustan rural communities while some were crammed in Townships as reserves for cheap labour. Even the transport they used disadvantaged them.

From this short yet boring description of a black child one can see blacks were disadvantaged. And no one in the regime was born free especially if they hard a darker complexion.

Can we then today truly say Blacks people were previously disadvantaged ?

Or their young born after 1994 are born-frees ?

Me thinks NOT!

It is still black people who live in townships and rural communities. It is them who inherited the evils of the apartheid regime, the mud schools they build themselves when the National Party did not want to are still existent. The quality of they education they got as a result of poorly trained teachers who taught with their std 9 are still existent.

Its still blacks who are crammed into townships and rural communities with dim, hopeless futures.

Its Blacks who still surfer from high levels of unemployment. High levels of illiteracy and poverty.

Its still the black child that even if they got an opportunity to study any profession (not limited to nursing, teaching etc as in  the old regime) they want they will be faced with more challenges.

Yes that black child will Graduate and hold a Degree in Engineering or Accountancy but unlike their white counterparts they become bread-winners of their family.

They can't do what they want but what the family expects: that is, holding the family together financially. This black child will become another indebted middle class South African in frustration at the world and themselves.

So I have issues with the terms previously disadvantaged and born-free.

Blacks born today are not born-free from Unemployment.

They are not born-free from poverty.

They are not born-free from limited opportunities.

Blacks who were disadvantaged by the old regime are still disadvantaged today. Its them found in gold mines still like many years ago sweating for cents for uBOSS. Its still black women found ironing and cleaning for uMadam. Its their young found slaving in restaurants as waiters and waitresses which are always black even in white communities.

Yes, the new government has created many opportunities  for blacks. Today, black have the highest number of enrolment in Universities. There has been a creation of a striving middle-class. But still, those black students on their middle-class way are still disadvantaged.

I am not a previously disadvantaged South African; I am still disadvantaged and believe me or not my skin colour still has something to do with it

As I have said  elsewhere, the transition to democracy was not a magical moment like most South African think. The transition did not instantly by a whip of a magic stick give blacks the education and skills they did not have before 1994. They got in the new democracy still us uneducated and unskilled.

It did not instantly equate public and private schools. It did not transfer the economic power from whites to black. It did not in an instant eliminate poverty.

1994 simply signalled a start to economic freedom. No one said it will happen in 20 years.

I am not in any way blaming whites for what they have today I am blaming the apartheid system. If it never existed I don’t believe South Africa would be as unequal as it is today.

White people should not feel guilty for their privileges and start telling blacks to stop blaming apartheid or "move one".  Their mere fact that one had a white skin colour made them more privileged than blacks without even consideration of their support or opposition of the system.

And being privileged does not mean you’re wealthy. Even the poor whites with no connections under apartheid benefited; they had better public transport better access to resources, better schools and more chances of getting jobs.

I don't like sweet terms that describe something we are yet to see in future given and describing people today.

As I said, we might be a "rainbow nation" as Tutu beautifully, politically correct described us. But are we really united in our diversity of the rainbow ?

Maybe the commends as they always do will give us an answer. We still have a long way to see a united South Africa. We are a tolerant bankrupt nation.

Follow: @Esethu_u on Twitter, I block Trolls.


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