Mhambi has been redeployed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

In defence of racist Alex

Is black SA irredeemably racist? No, of course not.

Many of the mitigating reasons listed this week as to why the brutal xenophobic attacks happened, have more than a grain of truth in them.

Alexandra and places like Diepsloot and the Brazzaville settlement in Atteridgeville are desperately poor. As in so poor you won't believe.

Other commentators mentioned that South Africans at the bottom of the social ladder are getting even poorer, and that must also contribute. Job creation has just not kept pace with the growth in the population.

Add to this potent mix of deprivation the nearly doubling of essential food commodities like cooking oil.
Down Town Alex

Are foreigners involved in crime? According to security specialist Anthony Altbeker many are. Almost all of the individuals involved in the massive shoot out with police in Jeppestown that left four policemen dead were indeed Zimbabwean. The fact that we accord foreigners no legal rights whatsoever is bound to make some of them loose canons in an explosive society.

More importantly, the world over, even in comparatively wealthy and proudly tolerant England, an influx of strangers into an area causes friction. It breaks down public trust. It's fertile soil for the nasties. Read this How racist in Britain if you want a lowdown.
Taxi: Alexandra to Ranburg and Back

And Winnie Mandela had a point when she said it's because of a failure of service delivery.

Not just a lack, but there's untold corruption going on. It's service delivery in reverse. And the poor, being the weakest, bear the brunt.

Corruption like this by the police erodes the social fabric and trust like very little else does. It makes Margaret Thatchers' harsh brand of "there is no thing like society" capitalism feel like a caring hippie commune in comparison.

Society has broken down in Alexandra. The sun may shine but it's Dickensian in the extreme. Life is nasty and brutish, and you can depend on nobody.

No wonder the crowds did not respond the the ANC leadership's calls for three whole days.

None of this really excuses the levels of violence and hatred on display.

But the biggest defense I could offer for the people of Alexandra's racism is this: Our governments racism.

In this country there are people with the skills to be effective town clerks, detectives and bureaucrats. People with skills to make the governments social programs work.

But they are the wrong skin colour.

For another perspective, read Reggies blog.

Aubrey Matshiqi has also written a great article on Alex.

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Reggie said...

Ek's mal oor jou foto's. Dit gee werklik 'n atmosfeer aan die storie en jou argument. Ek stem saam dat daar konteks is aan zenofobie, maar ek verskil dat 'n mens 'racist Alex' kan defend. Mens kan nie.

Wessel said...

Ek stem eintlik saam met jou Reggie. Mens kan dit nie verdedig nie. So half en half verduidelik is wat ek probeer het.

Wat my nou pla is dat dit dalk erger word.