The sketch drawn by white pupil from Selborne College
Text: Mbuya Nehanda
Image: White Artist
#ButBlacks; Let me remind you: kaloku sana you live in a racist society. And in such a society racism is the NORM, a norm that can only reproduce itself. Meaning: fuck your pain!
Check (e.g.): The facts behind the theft of The Apartheid Museum by Gold Reef City Casino original-owners – which you all find yourselves loving as a reputable historical monument of the trauma we experienced under Apartheid. The damned structure was built by the same racist who sold our mothers skin whitening products during apartheid- ‘beauty-creams’ laced with poisonous chemicals. Let’s just pause and think about what that contradiction means, for a second.
Let’s take the Nazi and Jews case, for example. Nobody in the world would dare allow a Hitler to erect a Holocaust museum for the Jewish people. Nobody but the Jewish people themselves as the victims of the Holocaust have the right to tell the story of their pain and trauma. But you blacks have that Gold Reef City Casino original-owners, people who inflicted pain on an entire generation of black women and men- granted permission by your government to tell the story of your pain and trauma. How can the hunter tell the story of a lion he aimed at, shot, maimed, killed, skinned, and turned (its remains) into a conquest trophy? Is it imaginable that people who left evidence of those physical scars called amachubaba on our parent’s faces (our people’s otherwise Black and Beautiful faces) – be the ones to tell the story of how we feel, and how we should remember and heal from their unprovoked assault?
Welcome to New South Africa: Where you have such violent people entrusted by your forgiving and peaceful Mandela to craft your memory of history. A history of persecution in the hands of colonial domination and Apartheid trauma (a system declared by UN: as a “crime against humanity”. Your humanity). Yet, in democratic South Africa you have such unrepentant racist who profited from the evil system of apartheid invested in helping you heal? For freaking real?
Well, if you care to follow the trail of facts leading to the cause for why our South African version of Hitler became entrusted with the task of recounting the memory (of pain) of people he persecuted, killed and made self-serving gains out of ( their pain), you will see the glaring marks of ANC collusion behind the scenes. Here’s one obvious tell-tale: Allowing the story of a people- a people persecuted by their enemies- to be told by the very same culprits or enemies is an unheard of contradiction. It is travesty that owes its brazen vulgarity not only to the fact that the ANC government knew and put a stamp of approval to this unimaginable injustice, but at the heart of it all this travesty speaks to how a Mandela-led ANC’s sellout plan in fact had in mind –from the very beginning- to work with these racist in order to help them sanitize and deodorize their racist stench so that he (Mandela and the ANC) can benefit in the blood encrusted crumbs of Black-pain that these Gold Reef City Casino original-owners were quite happy to throw at Mandela (and his ANC cabal), like a bone to a dog. We see the same travesty in Lonmin massacre- Ramaphosa going around shaking the hands of the voter with hands still dripping with miner’s blood.
With all that sellout ethos forming the social fabric of post ’94 mode of reality, do you really expect a white kid educated and raised in this cowntry to give a rat’s ass about your June16 pain, trauma and loss? No dali! It don’t work like that.
Black folk, hear me well; the pain, the loss and trauma you suffered when black children were murdered in cold blood in 1976, DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU.
Your pain, the loss and trauma was part of what the ANC negotiations traded in in their Kempton Park Faustian Pact wheeling and dealing. Yes, your pain, your loss, your trauma, does not matter. Because you are not human in the face of a racist society. Effectively, you are just a slave, a thing to be despised, flogged and disposed, – no different to ones we see on social media dehumanized in Libya. Racism, like colonialism, is violence in its natural form. It cares for nothing but itself. It says: fuck your loss, fuck your tears, fuck your memory and fuck the valorized minstrelsy or parade of Hector Peterson’s lifeless-body you mindlessly evoke every-“Youth-Day”. That’s racism at its most normal and commonsense state.
Lastly and most importantly. You may also want to ask yourself: how come a powerful moment of Black defiance became represented by a lifeless-body of a little boy, instead of the brave Black faces of young-women and young-men who read the times, organized, mobilized, led from the front of the battle line, braved bullets on that day? The Black powered youth who gave a nuclear-powered military Apartheid regime fits, headaches and sleepless nights? How does Black Power defiance end up with an “iconic image” of a dead-child as its global symbol? We know that the helpless child in Mbuyisa Makhubu’s hands was not even the first to be shot, as the media would have us believe. So, the burning question becomes: Why is the image of a lifeless-helpless-body of a child more palatable an organizing global image to represent the self-determination feat of a nation putting its foot down and drawing a line in the sand saying: ‘we shall not be conscious of who we truly are, yet quietly let white-racist-regime walk all over us’? The question to ask really is: how did this broken, powerless, desperate image of a child end up being chosen as the more palatable Black Solidarity rallying imagery over the real Black Powered imagery of Soweto youth standing up to and against racism apartheid?
The youth of Soweto were bold. Defiant. Beautiful. And Black! They were Biko’s children whose bravery is comparable to Toussaint L’ouverture, Dutty Boukman and Dessalines of Haitian Slave Revolution. Biko’s Black Power children are comparable only to the Sharpeville-Langa warriors – warriors lead by Prof Sobukwe in 1960. They were products of Tiro’s consciousness-raising project – a project targeted and tailor-made for school-going students. And their historical narrative of the Soweto Uprising is carried by this image? You may want to ask yourself.
You may want to ask: Whose interests does it serve, to represent that powerful historic moment of potent black youth with an arbitrary victim’s name and a lifeless body of a child? Who is responsible for erasing the real history of June16 ’76? Who is behind the erasure of Ongkopotse Tiro from the narrative of June16 ’76? Why are we told to commemorate “Youth Day” when white-youth were not victims of the violence on that day?
I ask again. Why should your trauma, your loss and pain matter black child? You have no trauma/loss/pain to call your own in a racist society. That’s the lesson of racism that this defaming, defacing and insulting portrait communicates. Dzeal!