Let­ter to CR again shows up the grip on white supremacy


The New Age (Gauteng) - - COMMENT - KIM HELLER Kim Heller is a so­cial com­men­ta­tor

WHITE supremacy trended on Twit­ter yet again this week when an open let­ter to Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly ap­pointed pres­i­dent of the ANC, went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia.

The let­ter, au­thored by Sophia Kapp, a white South African woman, is but an­other com­po­si­tion of the haughty in­struc­tive in­flec­tion that has long been the mo­not­o­nous sig­na­ture tune of white­ness in South Africa.

Sadly, it is an opus in per­fect tune with the falsetto har­mony of the rain­bow na­tion, where the bel­low of white priv­i­lege and power re­mains the lead and the cry for so­cio-eco­nomic jus­tice is still in the wings.

In a per­fect ex­pres­sion of what black con­scious­ness leader Steve Biko de­scribed as “the su­pe­rior­in­fe­rior white­black strat­i­fi­ca­tion that makes the white a per­pet­ual teacher and the black a per­pet­ual pupil”, Kapp, sug­gests a “few point­ers” to the new pres­i­dent of the ANC.

“No home­stead. You hear that. You have a home?” Kapp pens in her note to Ramaphosa

“You want an­other house, build it with your own money, not ours. If you need a fire pool, let me know, Jab­u­lani and I will come and dig you one for a cou­ple of hun­dred rands”.

The racial un­der­score! Her point­ers pivot around com­monly re­cited anti-Zuma stan­zas and pre­dictably there are no verses on rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion or land re­turn. Or poverty.

But the fol­low­ing li­bretti from Kapp is worth lis­ten­ing to. “Take it from me”she writes to Ramaphosa. “When a white, Afrikaans tan­nie from the sub­urbs of Pre­to­ria is happy and re­lieved that you are the win­ner of this race, it says a lot about the state of af­fairs in this coun­try”.

In­deed it does. Ramaphosa will need to take care not to get tripped up by the coun­ter­rev­o­lu­tion­ary chorale of white praise-singers, many of whom want to fade out any rad­i­cal mo­men­tum in the ANC and the econ­omy in a faster time than Wayde van Niekerk achieved in the 400m Olympic race ear­lier this year.

In its clas­sic, un­o­rig­i­nal score of white noise, the racist group AfriFo­rum has called on Ramaphosa to “in­tro­spect”. In its ev­ery­day script of the preser­va­tion of white priv­i­lege, AfriFo­rum draws Rama­pa­hosa’s at­ten­tion to the pro­tec­tion of prop­erty rights as a key mech­a­nism by which the gov­ern­ing party can con­trib­ute to the pros­per­ity of all in South Africa.

Clearly this clan is deaf to the res­o­lu­tion tak­ing at the ANC’s 54th con­fer­ence where the party pro­nounced loudly on land ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion. In its com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the or­gan­i­sa­tion also ver­balised the need for equal treat­ment of all cit­i­zens, re­gard­less of their race. Cer­tainly this is a false note for an or­gan­i­sa­tion that has served as the choir mas­ter of Afrikaner pre­em­i­nence.

Ramaphosa’s man­date from the ANC con­fer­ence is of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion, or­ches­trated around pro­gres­sive poli­cies in­clud­ing land re­turn with­out ex­pro­pri­a­tion, free ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion and the na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of the South African Re­serve Bank, which will dis­rupt the pat­terns of white own­er­ship over the econ­omy. White dom­i­nance is un­der threat and its cheer­lead­ers will unite, through what­ever means pos­si­ble, to di­rect, di­lute, down­grade, dis­rupt and de­lay the ANC’s im­ple­men­ta­tion of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

This mas­ter script by white de­trac­tors, is an ac­cord that is out of har­mony with the unity of pur­pose voiced by the ANC col­lec­tive on the rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and should not be en­ter­tained as it will hold eco­nomic lib­er­a­tion cap­tive.

Al­ge­rian po­lit­i­cal the­o­rist and writer Frantz Fanon said: “The white man wants the world. He wants it for him­self. He finds him­self pre­des­tined mas­ter of this world. He en­slaves it.”

Mike Brown, Ned­bank chief ex­ec­u­tive, was an­other one who penned an open let­ter to Ramaphosa last week, in which he stated that the Ned­bank team looks for­ward to en­gag­ing with the new ANC pres­i­dent in “ad­dress­ing the press­ing needs fac­ing our so­ci­ety and meet­ing the le­git­i­mate as­pi­ra­tions of all South Africans”. In­ter­est­ing.

Fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in South Africa have hardly been bas­tions of so­cio-eco­nomic well­be­ing, nor have they been front row voices in calls for so­cial or eco­nomic jus­tice. In­ter­est­ing too, is the use of the phrase “le­git­i­mate as­pi­ra­tions”, from a player in the fi­nan­cial arena, who like its peers, has hardly been a le­git­i­mate front row voice in the call for so­cial and eco­nomic jus­tice. It is telling too, that the Ned­bank let­ter raises “con­cern” about the pres­sure the pro­posed free ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion will place on the coun­try’s “al­ready sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial chal­lenges”.

The lan­guage of white­ness in a post-apartheid South Africa, re­mains a loud­hailer of self-right­eous­ness and lack of moral in­tro­spec­tion. Lit­tle has changed to the melody since apartheid days. Frantz Fanon’s words on the white voice is exquisitely poignant. He said: “All round me the white man, above the sky tears at its navel, the earth rasps un­der my feet and there is a white song, a white song. All this white­ness that burns me.”

The su­per­siz­ing of the white nar­ra­tive must be snuffed out. There is a con­ve­nient mute­ness on se­rial white cor­rup­tion and rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion, as well as a hush on apartheid eco­nomic crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity. The anti-Pres­i­dent Zuma choir is the place where white­ness in a post-apartheid era has cho­sen to ex­press its voice. It is a sad in­dict­ment on white con­scious­ness.

Some say that I am anti-white. Well as long as white South Africans re­main anti-rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion, not only of the econ­omy but over the de­coloni­sa­tion of so­ci­etal re­la­tions, val­ues and con­ver­sa­tions, I will not dis­card my anti-white badge. For as long as my fel­low white South Africans move with­out moral pause or com­pass in a post-apartheid epoch, I will own my anti-white bal­lad.

Dear Ram­pa­hosa, if I was to write an open let­ter to you, all I would say is hon­our the voice of the ANC and that of or­di­nary black South Africans and their lib­er­at­ing lyrics, rather than the threat­en­ing bat­tle cries of re­ac­tionary forces, who may sing your praises now but who change their tune when you be­gin to ad­vance the man­date of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion as you have been man­dated to do.

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