Time to stop the racist rhetoric
The pity about the events of “Black Monday” yesterday is that they could have united the country around the evil of crime … and particularly murder. Yet, the opposite happened as South Africans were reminded, painfully, that the gulf between the races – or at least the distance between many of us – has not shown any sign of shrinking.
The organisers of the protest had to contend with criticism that they were highlighting farm killings only because whites were involved. The reality is that many more blacks die violently every year in this country than do whites.
Then, despite the pleas from the organisers to participants not to politicise proceedings and, especially, not to send the wrong message by waving old South African flags, a tiny minority did just that. And they demonstrated they have not accepted that this country has changed and that they, privileged whites, are no longer in charge.
Even though they were a minority, their actions quickly got traction on social media and gave the haters on the other side of the spectrum an opportunity to vent their spleen.
Things were made worse by a number of Twitter and Facebook users posting pictures of whites waving old South African flags.
Protesters also hit out at Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, accusing him of being part of the problem. Those on the other side pointed out that police, who have on other occasions used teargas and rubber bullets on protesting black people, did very little against yesterday’s protesters.
Where we go from here is uncertain. The issue of crime – involving all South Africans – needs to be addressed. And we need to move beyond the easy, inflammatory rhetoric of racism.