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Is a new South Africa built on dolomite rocks of racial polarisation?

By: Jerry Mashile 2014-08-15 15:48

The survey results published on 14 August 2014 on The Citizen website (http://citizen.co.za/228709/blacks-whites-dont-trust-survey/) reveal that “black attitudes towards whites are hardening year on year while whites have softened”. The results cannot be disputed, however I wish studies like this could probe the feelings of their subjects, to come up with reasons for such results. May I say that such results do not come as a surprise or a shock to many of the black people like me! The hardening attitude of blacks towards whites does not appear from thin air. In the new South Africa, black people were upbeat about newly found dispensation. However, many racial incidents which followed and the general treatment of blacks by whites, led to the change of heart and lack of trust between these races.

Sadly, it was a black nation that felt pain and regressed when a black farmworker was fed to lions. Another sad case was the dragging of black workers on the back of bakkies by their white employers. May I remind you that another black worker was shot by his white employer and in their defence, the employer said he mistaken the worker for a baboon.  How about the urine case in Free State! And recently, the painting of faces black by people who are supposed to be focusing on their future, the students in Pretoria! Well, these are few cases that come to mind, that made it to the media. Furthermore, white people created their own separate settlements away from blacks in Orania and Kleinfontein. Workplaces make perfect example of what is aggravating racial tension in the country with fronting on BEE deals, slave salaries paid to blacks for the same level with white counterparts, appointment of blacks to management positions but stripping off key responsibilities, and evident aversive racism which is practiced undercover against blacks.

The common factor for the above examples remain one, that black people are not preferred by white people who are perpetuating demise of blacks. Nevertheless, there are numerous good white people who will treat blacks as human beings and with respect, and are empathetic. Those who dislike blacks have just opened the wounds of many years of segregation and they continue to create a new ugly reality of reality of South Africa. This experience is not new to blacks; we have seen it for more than 200 years. We were called native people, then Bantu people, when the name calling was not derogative enough we were called kafirs, today we are called brain-dead monkeys. What I find stunning is the fact that after going down my memory lane, I cannot come up with one name-calling that blacks had for whites, which means either the systems of oppressions inculcated us to the point were we became helpless and did not have time for insults or it reflects that we are good people on the inside, or it’s a combination of the two.

In all these, black people want to restore their humanity; meanwhile some whites keep extending the distance in economic and social spaces. Feelings cannot be changed, attitudes cannot legislated, it is only a wise mind that will realise that racial polarisation only falsely affirms to racists that black and white do not mix, while more and more giving birth to new black racists. What future will this country have if the situation does not change for the better? It will only mean that Mandela’s era was a failed era of revolution and that radical action of total take-over by the majority becomes relevant for the new generation. Well, with the ever growing gaps between the poor majority and rich minority, there is no stability that can be claimed and I hope that someone will find a link of the study to incident such as Marikana and many violent service delivery protests and the emergence of leftist party such a EFF, and get the message that continued subjugation of blacks must stop.

Jerry Mashile

Is self-published author

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