Tuesday 6 April 2010

Enough animosity between black and white Africans

The whites of Africa
I could imagine the unspoken unease created by the blog I wrote [1] a few weeks ago highlighting the reality of white Africans and the fact that whilst colour remains a predominant quality of differentiation it is not the only prerequisite to being African.
Obviously, to go on and aver that white Africans could be more African than certain of the darker pigmentation with an African heritage was a truth that many might not accept but the truth and the facts are beyond dispute.
The death of Eugene Terreblanche [2] of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) in South Africa brings to the fore the concerns about whites and their true place in Africa.
A voice regardless
There is no doubt that Mr. Terreblanche represented a throwback to the unpalatable realities of colonialism and apartheid; but naturally every incumbent sense of privilege and power always fights to retain influence, the morality of that undertaking is subject to debate and reason usually by the unaffected than by the impacted.
Time and history however made the cause and purpose of the AWB irrelevant as an instrument of insurgency but never as a political pressure group for the rights of the people it portended to uphold – in South Africa of today they need to and deserve to have a voice.
It is unfortunate as we read that the murder of Mr. Terreblanche was as a result of what we might call a business dispute; workers had not been paid wages for a period of time for whatever reasons and they decided to settle the dispute by hacking him to death.
Just not on
It is no way to settle disputes and for those who feel they have been dispossessed, disadvantaged, displaced, denied or misrepresented, there should be structures in place for them to seek justice and fairness without resorting to atrocious crimes – that is brought about politically by the work of visionary and principled leadership.
That act is as heinous as it is barbaric and is comparable to other violent deaths of white inhabitants of Africa and dare I say, Dian Fossey [3], one might be tempted to view these “chop to death” acts as really beyond the pale, of an other world and most probably perpetrated by Africans.
The real issue boils down to the kind of war-mongering rhetoric that people in leadership are supposed to be wiser to curtail and condemn in entirety.
Unfortunately, the language of the Neanderthal flows like poetry from leaders all around, in Sudan, it was President Omar al-Bashir [4] threatening to “cut off their fingers and crush them under our shoes” just three weeks ago. You can find no civility in that as a response to the call for free, fair and just elections for a transitional democracy.
We are beyond liberation talk
South Africa is a new pluralistic democracy, it does have a liberation history but that is history, there are elements of history that might need righting for these times but that is to learn the lessons of the past for a better today and future.
Indeed the history of absurd treaties with chiefs that crept to dispossession in time, wars fought with superior weapons, enslavement, segregation, collusion with kith and kin to defraud and emasculate others as well as land grabs still have their scars but we cannot today repeat the same mistakes with the hope that two wrongs will make things right without us all suffering all the more for it. (Zimbabwe)
The rallying cry of South Africans must be brotherhood for all races in a common cause of their country just as it should be for all nations in Africa regardless of their diversity.
To resort to the congregational call of the face-painted leopard-skin wearing caricature that thumps to the song and dance of the weapon for the annihilation of another man as a voice of unity just draws a big dividing gulf between the diversities of Africa and it is hardly traditional nor cultural.
Separate from the atrocious
Those who offer platitudes in sentiment justifying the baying for blood and thereby inciting the blood-thirsty ignoramus to commit crimes must be held legally accountable as both are accessories to crime and instigators to unwarranted violence, the protagonists must never be allowed to escape their responsibility by absolving themselves from acts of others they have encouraged.
We cannot continue to embrace the plunder of life and property with mediaeval propensity when we could better seize the age of enlightenment that came with the renaissance.
All murders must exact the full weight of the law without prejudice, also all leaders must exercise themselves with restraint; that is no great price to pay for the inclusiveness of South Africans all and Africans in all their nations – no more songs of bringing machine guns [5] or killing the Boer [6] – in these times, it is expedient to depart from the barbaric sophisms that once allowed Africans to be labelled as savages.
History! My foot! It is deplorable and inexcusable, let us seize the day and look to the future fostering consensus, harmony and friendship whilst outlawing everything that excites primitive passions for shedding blood.

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