Jeez…us… the way we do things!
I find it very interesting how people can subscribe and unsubscribe to values these days, as if they signed up for a Care2.com newsletter and then changed their minds a day later.
For example – and I apologise in advance for using sweeping generalisations, but you will see that they are necessary in order to make the point, and I do acknowledge that there are individuals out there who are not like this – it occurred to me that most of the black people who voice their opinion either directly to me or via the media have this collective empathy with those who were oppressed and discriminated against during the Apartheid era. I can understand this, since, as a self-identified South African Witch, I feel an empathy with all of those people through the ages who were accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake or drowned as heretics, under an unjust and very predominantly Christian system.
What I find fascinating is that at the drop of a hat, or the mention of some key words like “Witches”, or “gay marriage”, those very same empathists will throw off their cloaks of compassion and surge up with the very kind of discriminatory attitudes that belonged to the Nationalist government during the Apartheid Regime in our beautiful land.
I personally try to practice the kind of tolerance that I would expect to receive from any middle-of-the-road, sane and reasonable citizen in South Africa, because I understand how many people were tortured and killed simply for being different. Not only those accused of being witches (many of them were innocent land-owners), but also the Jews and the numerous other minority groups that were persecuted under the Nazis.
So, when the Minister of Sport, Mr. Fikile Mbalula firstly accuses the Democratic Alliance (to which I have no affiliation, by the way) of running the Western Cape province by “witchcraft” and then in the very next breath asks for the tokoloshes to come and chase them away, I recognise that his statement is representative of the mindset of millions. The fact that a tokolosh is a servant used by abathakathi (evil sangomas or what black people mistakenly consider to be witches) to carry out their malevolent works just enhances the irony for me. It seems that Mbalula is quite prepared to tolerate witchcraft if it is for the purposes of chasing away a rival political party.
I have to say, it makes me wonder. What I wonder is this: just exactly how hard is our dear leader, the dear departed and much revered Mr. Nelson Mandela, actually thrashing around while he is lying in his grave?
I know that everyone these days is asking the same question. The sentiment goes something like, “Oh what a shame! What would Madiba say if he knew about Nkandla / Gupta / (insert preferred scandal here)?”
And so that is where my mind returns. To my Captain, Madiba. But then I have to remind myself that we cannot look to the past. And my Captain has passed on into the Undying Lands, where he is free of all of the bullshit, and deservedly so.
What I have to say next, then, is this: South African leaders, officials, bureaucrats in all your redundancy, you whose voice is commonly heard by the people of this land, you can’t have it both ways. If you want a democratic country, for which our forebears (maybe not mine, but I’m using the term to include all South Africans here) fought and even died in the Struggle, then you have to respect the legacy in its totality. That does not mean freedom, equality under the law and human rights for blacks only. It applies to everyone. Even minorities, no matter how much you hate them. If you cannot apply this rule across the board, then it makes you just like those whom you overthrew. And where does that leave us? Right back at the beginning. And of course, if you follow that story again to its logical conclusion, we see that it is your demise that will occur, in the end.
In which case, I hope for your sakes that you all have some well-developed senses of self-preservation.
This article was originally published on 14 April 2014 at The Outie’s Blog – a perspective on South African life from a proudly South African outie [ http://fromtheoutie.wordpress.com/ ]
Republished here with permission from the author.