Mhambi has been redeployed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reitz condemnation shows the road to xenophobia

"And so when that video from the University of the Free State emerged, the government, the media, writers and certain institutions went to town, condemning the entire university as racist, barbaric and anti-black, instead of doing a thorough investigation into how the video was made, why black women participated, and why it was released at the time it was."

Mhambi is a bit busy, but I thought I would link to two of my favourite commentators posts on our recent racist... oops sorry, xenophobic violence.

The above quote comes from the brave pen of Rhoda Kadalie. Kadalie argues that black South Africa has clothed themselves as perpetual victims which makes them oblivious to their own hate.

She continues:

"This one-sided portrayal of victimisation perpetuates and feeds into the “woundedness” of black people and breeds an entitlement often lacking in refugees and immigrants. It breeds an ethos in victims that they can never be wrong and, given the circumstances, are “owed” a livelihood. And when refugees and foreigners leave their countries for whatever reasons and come here and make it, it challenges the victim status quo. The lesson these outsiders teach us — not to depend on the government and not to expect handouts — goes against the inclination of those done hard by to find a solution to deprivation."

My other favourite commentator with the sharp suits, Mr Xolela Mangcu chimed in. He mentions what many other commentators have as why the violence is the governments own fault. Corruption, lack of service delivery, a whole plethora of factors that amount to this - non governance. And then Xolela says:

"the violence is the leadership’s own creation in one other important way. Long before we had xenophobia, the leadership of the liberation movements planted a violent culture in our communities in the 1980s. They legitimised violence as the mode of political practice in the townships in the name of organisational and ideological hegemony. There is something about this violence reminiscent of that period. This is the impi-like organisation, the open brandishing of weapons, the dancing around burning people. The criminals who were recruited into the revolution are now in control of the state.

The past is making its presence felt in a frighteningly ferocious way. And that is because the brutalisation of any group of people is not a tap the leadership can turn on and off as it pleases. And now they are afraid of their own political Frankensteins. What we have been experiencing has been as much about xenophobia as it has been a demonstration that we do not have a government in this country. We do not have a leadership that can attend to the wounded and brutalised soul of this nation."

Tendai Biti of the Movement for Democratic Change will deliver a lecture on the crisis in Zimbabwe and the related xenophobia at the Wits University Great Hall at 6pm tonight. Go if you can.

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carducci said...

Is the only difference between today and a few weeks ago the fact that it is now hitting international news???

How many murders are there on a daily basis? How many rapes? How many (white, black, Indian) people suffer mercilessly at the hands of criminals on a daily basis there?

How many of us South Africans living in Europe, live here because this is NOT NEWS TO US!

I'm sorry for what is happening in SA. Very sorry.

But I am "happy" that the rest of the world is finally taking notice of something that has been a problem for years!

This is not news. This was "day-to-day" life for many of us when we were still in SA - wasn't it?

Wessel said...

carducci, I completely agree with you.

Read what I wrote two months ago.