The Sunday Independent
A dismal response to black racism
THERE is a special place in hell reserved for those who wish to forge and revise history. A bizarre fabrication of the facts surrounding the origin of non-racialism was published in the Sunday Independent, written no less by a “senior lecturer in the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University”.
Dr Mandisa Majavu’s fraudulent propaganda piece apparently for a stream of political thought adjacent to or associated with the “black consciousness” movement, argues that the black intelligentsia “have consistently misread, misunderstood, and mistook white racism for something it was not – a white benefactor”.
He then descends into an unsupported and counterfeit conspiracy claim that “nonracialism was introduced by whites in the ANC” in the 1950s leading to a further blunting of “the organisation’s race analysis toolbox”.
In this asinine and acerbic view, persons such as JT Jabavu, publisher of the first black newspaper Imvo ZabaNtsundu, and even critic
Sol Plaatjie, were simply “racial accommodationists”.
In the process, both Jabavu and Plaatjie are stripped of human agency, mere foils for the colonial authorities.
Majavu postulates “Jabavu’s political project was aligned to the agenda of his political ‘masters’
– the South African Party” before upbraiding his chief critic, Sol Plaatjie, written off as unashamedly contaminated by the “white liberal spell of Cape liberalism”, which Plaatjie himself described as representing “British ideas of fair play and justice”.
“Not only was Plaatjie shortsighted,” alleges Majavu, “when it came to the history of white racism in South Africa, he failed to appreciate what was coming next.”
Well, hang me high for suggesting that hindsight is 20/20 vision and this type of phoney syncretism begs the question: What would Plaatjie or Biko say for that matter, if they were alive today?
Majavu who then goes on to propose: “John Dube, first president of the ANC, subscribed to Booker T Washington’s racial accommodationist and black self-help politics”. In the process unfairly writing off both Pixley Seme and Alfred B Xuma, “part of the black intelligentsia who though fighting valiantly against the Native Land Act” nevertheless elicited a “disappointing response to race segregation”.
This sets the stage for the unfounded assertion that whites were solely “responsible for the introduction of non-racialism”, and that persons of colour, all subjugated servants to a tee, timidly took up the baton, bearing the cudgels of universalism and monogenesis (the theory of human origins which posits a common descent for all human races).
This under the egregious whip of the Church, influenced or brainwashed by missionaries; and it was the ANC which invariably became non-racialism’s foremost champion and proponent from the very start.
Majavu's piece painfully ignores the historical tragedy of the singular fact of the Struggle that it was Robert Sobukwe, founder of the PAC, who first articulated race agnosticism in any coherent fashion.
I find Majavu's fraudulent attempt to malign non-racialism as an “all-white affair” morally reprehensible and beneath contempt, since the facts certainly do not support the above conjecture.