Don’t vil­ify SA’s white peo­ple

Mail & Guardian - - Comment & Analysis -

The ar­ti­cle by Aye­sha Fakie “How our her­itage is re­duced to ash” (Septem­ber 21), re­gard­ing Her­itage Day refers. The writer takes it on her­self to in­sult, vil­ify and di­vide her fel­low South Africans, and the white pop­u­la­tion group in par­tic­u­lar.

Her pre­scrip­tive and per­ceived ideas about how dif­fer­ent cul­tural groups should cel­e­brate Her­itage Day is not only sug­ges­tive of hypocrisy, but of more con­cern, bla­tant racism and sex­ism.

In her hate­ful di­a­tribe the writer uses the word “white” and “white­ness” at least 60 times. “White supremacy”, “white su­prem­a­cist cap­i­tal­ist pa­tri­archy”, “white man’s ego”, “white her­itage is syn­ony­mous with abuse”, “white pride”, “white narcissism”, “vi­o­lent white her­itage”; “white su­prem­a­cist cap­i­tal­ist so­ci­ety”; “white­ness ex­ploita­tive cap­i­tal­ism” are a few of her racist ut­ter­ances used. These are slo­gans that even Bell Pot­tinger would not have been able to con­trive.

The writer’s hate­ful, in­sult­ing, onesided, sim­plis­tic and nar­row-minded view of “white” her­itage is to­tally mis­placed. His­tor­i­cal atroc­i­ties and hu­man rights abuses com­mit­ted by other cul­tural groups are con­ve­niently ig­nored. They in­clude the Rwan­dan geno­cide, Mata­bele­land mas­sacres, Shaka wars and hu­man rights abuses and atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in Zaire, Zim­babwe, Su­dan, Uganda, China, Eritrea, Myan­mar, et cetera.

I may add that “white” her­itage cel­e­bra­tion goes be­yond hav­ing a “braai”, as the writer is sug­gest­ing. The ad­vent of elec­tric­ity, tele­phony, ra­dio, com­put­ers, tele­vi­sion, radar, air­planes, trains, bi­cy­cles, mo­tor cars, pho­tog­ra­phy, med­i­cal sci­ence and equip­ment, agri­cul­tural sci­ence and equip­ment, to name but a few, is part of the con­tri­bu­tion that “white” her­itage has brought to this world. I am cer­tain that Fakie does par­take in the use of some of these in­ven­tions? Does she ac­knowl­edge and cel­e­brate this con­tri­bu­tion of “white” her­itage? Ob­vi­ously not.

Judg­ing by the con­tents of the writer’s tirade, it does ap­pear that she has a sig­nif­i­cant hate­ful and racist bias by which she is caus­ing a dis­ser­vice to all the dif­fer­ent cul­tural groups in our coun­try. Her de­meanour joins the ranks of the Penny Spar­rows and Kessie Nairs.

In clos­ing, I do find it ironic that the racist, sex­ist, in­sult­ing and di­vid­ing ut­ter­ances made in Fakie’s ar­ti­cle are made in her ca­pac­ity as “head of the Sus­tained Di­a­logues Pro­gramme at the In­sti­tute for Jus­tice and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion”. How bizarre.

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