Our days of taking the Mickey are numbered
IT’S worth noting that, amid the chaos and hurly burly that threaten to engulf us all, the government is at least cracking on with the business of cracking on.
There have, in other words, been dramatic developments. And not at a laggardly pace either.
This week the country began the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, a proposal to make hate crime a, uh, crime was announced and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula suggested security forces shoot student protesters in the feet – but not in a way that hurt them.
All of which certainly got our attention, here at the Mahogany Ridge. As one of the regulars remarked, “It’s a bit like waiting for the train. Suddenly Metrorail announces the next two services have also been cancelled.”
Mapisa-Nqakula’s suggestion concerns the police’s apparent lack of training for riot situations. How fortunate, then, that students are doing their bit to help out here. It’s a matter of practice, practice, practice – and eventually they’ll get it right.
That may seem harsh, particularly as University of the Witwatersrand student leader Shaeera Kalla was hospitalised after being shot, reportedly several times, in the back at close range with rubber bullets on Thursday. But, next time, God willing, and with the proper training, police will shoot her a dozen times or so in the feet.
At the risk of lapsing into what UCT law professor Richard Calland has termed “a binary, one-dimensional analysis that is self-defeating and intellectually sterile”, I would suggest the escalation of violence on campus by the Fallists was always going to be countered with a similar escalation by the authorities. It’s a bit like Newton’s third law of motion, you could say.
Newton, of course, is shortly to be removed from our curriculums – if UCT Fallist Mickey Moyo is to have her way. An extraordinary video clip of her recent presentation to the university’s science department has gone viral. In it, Moyo had this to say of “Western” knowledge:
“It is saying that it was Newton and only Newton who knew and saw an apple falling and out of nowhere decided gravity existed and created an equation and that is it… Decolonising the science would mean doing away with it entirely and starting all over again to deal with how we respond to the environment and how we understand it.”
On Wednesday, an unknown UCT Fallist conducted his own inquiry into the laws of gravity by dropping a rock from the upper storey of the Steve Biko building on to a private security guard’s head, seriously injuring him. The fact that the guard was wearing a helmet almost certainly saved his life.
In another unprovoked incident that day, a second guard was rounded on by a Fallist mob near the food court in front of a large crowd of students who looked on with the sort of indifference that bordered on disapproval. Film clips of the sustained beating suffered by the guard, who was also hospitalised, have gone viral.
Speaking of which, Professor Penelope Andrews, dean of law at UCT, appears to be in awe of the protest leaders’ use of social media to inform and mobilise students. Writing in The Conversation, she said: “In this, they’ve displayed a passion and gusto that refuse to be ignored.”
It is difficult to ignore, for example, the passion and gusto in UCT Fallist and Black First Land First activist Lindsday Maasdorp’s comments on Twitter. A general theme is “F*** White People!” But he was more specific with this particular one: “I have aspirations to kill white people, and this must be achieved!”
And just where is the love these days, we wonder.
But perhaps it was this sort of sentiment that was uppermost in the minds of the drafters of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.
According to Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, there’s a whole whack of “criminal conduct motivated by bias, prejudice or intolerance” out there that is, frankly, unacceptable.
Penny Sparrow! Your days of calling people monkeys are definitely over! By the same token, we may be done with making fun of politicians as well. There goes satire – for what is lampooning if there are no victims, no bias, no prejudice?
What a grim life lies ahead for us all. We will be decolonised of everything and I may just have to take up knitting.