Zimbabwe, Zanu Pf, Investors & Sanctions Simplified

ONCE UPON A TIME Mrs. Mutema married Mr. Mutema. The young couple were filled with love and hope for theirs and their children’s future. Mrs. Mutema came from a wealthy family so she had a sizeable inheritance plus she worked very hard everyday, bought food and paid bills and saved some money. However, behind her back her lazy reorobate of a husband Mr. Mutema started spending her inheritance before he moved on to chowing the savings. When the savings ran out Mr. Mutema moved on to intercept and withdraw her salary and chowed that too. He himself did no work at all and was a bad father but Mrs. Mutema still loved him..
When she realised all the money was running out she started borrowing from a wealthy relative to sustain the family. Soon her husband started to intercept and chow that too. At first Mrs. Mutema could pay back what she owed her relative in timely monthly instalments but now she could no longer pay back because her husband continued to be a wastrel. Worse her work started to suffer because of the stress at home so she got fired from her job and each time she started a new job she regularly got fired or suspended. The reason was always the same; We know you can be a competent employee and what’s happening to you right now is not exactly your fault but we urge you to solve your issues at home first before coming back to work”
Her benevolent relative was understanding at first. Things could be tough for a young couple so he kept lending them money for a while then he realised…. dommage!! this woman is not in control of the finances I lend her the husband intercept and misapprooriates them all the time that’s why the children are going hungry and can’t afford fees. Let me stop lending her money until she divorces that bastard .
Mrs. Mutema also realized her marriage was doomed so she made several attempts to divorce her husband but each time the husband refused a divorce and bribed the judges so he stayed on. This time he starts selling furniture and assets to sustain his selfish lavish lifestyle. By that time even the house was in disrepair and even visitors and well wishers stopped coming. The kids were constantly hungry, no longer went to school and they cried everyday. As they grew older they realized Daddy was the problem. So they joined hands and confronted him; “We are hungry daddy and we need school fees and uniforms.”
Mr. Mutema replies, “It’s not my fault, we are in this quandary ONLY because your mother’s relative refused to keep lending us money and influenced all her former bosses to fire her. At first the kids believed their father’s story but over time they realised Daddy is a liar so they confront him again with the truth. Mr Mutema beats them up.
In a nutshell Mr. Mutema represents Zanu Pf. The rest you can figure out!

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Gaslighting

Gaslighting simply put is, psychologically manipulating someone until they doubt their own sanity. The term was derived from a Thomas Hamilton play “Gaslight” and subsequent movie adaptations. In the Academy Award winning 1944 movie version, a woman’s husband slowly manipulates her into believing she has lost her sanity..

According to Brian Duignon it is:

“an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation usually practised by a single deceiver or “gaslighter” on a single victim over an extended period. Its effects is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance thereby rendering him pathologically dependant on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings”

It can be a tool of deception or abuse or both. The deceiver/abuser systematically and relentlessly focuses on making the other person(gas lightee) feel that they did not actually see what they saw nor did they hear what they heard. Sociopaths and narcissists use gaslighting as a tool of mind control. They use it to undermine one’s perceptions. When employed effectively it makes a victim feel worthless, powerless and over time they will become more and more dependant on the abuser as they become less and less confident in their own abilities to rationalize situations and make sound judgment.

Gaslighting can happen in the workplace between colleagues or employer and employee or in a home environment between spouses/lovers or between parents and their children and it can happen either way i.e. parent- child, employer-employee, husband-wife or vice versa

Tools employed by gaslighters include,completely denying that something happened or that they did something, changing the sequence and significance of events and/or their perception of them usually followed by ridiculing their targetted victim for overreacting or being delusional

In an article by David Shasha he says gaslighters often target weak minded and vulnerable individuals who can be easily controlled and whose ability to defend themselves is minimal. How then can one guard against gaslighting??

It can be prevented by learning to cultivate self confidence i.e. trusting one’s own intuition and perception and ability to make sound judgment. This then means that what ever the gaslighter attempts will have no lasting effect on the gaslightee. It is also important to gain the ability to discern and to recognise the signs of gaslighting before any lasting effects can take place on one’s emotional and psychological health.

Situationship

As advances are made in social media and technology people are getting to share more and more information and ideas and this has had an impact on the development of the human vocabulary as well. Not too long ago I stumbled across the term “sutuationship”

A situationship is in layman’s terms an undefined relationship between two people of the opposite sex. The relationship is usually both sexual and emotional. The Urban Dictionary defines a situationship as:

“a relationship that has no label on it, like a friendship but more than a friendship but not quite a relationship”

A situationship can go on for months, in some cases even years. But do situationships work? Can they be viewed as healthy relationships? In my opinion a situationship can only work if not one but BOTH parties are not “that “emotionally invested. This is so because each party would then have all the benefits of a bona fide relationship but not the responsibility or obligations of one.

People in a situationship are:

Not obligated to call or communicate with each other onna daily basis.

Not obligated to spend holidays or special occassions together nor buy each other gifts

Both free to see and spend time with other people and/or form emotional attachments with them.

Over time if both parties develop strong romantic feelings for each other a situationship can easily develop into a defined bona fide relationship. However this is not always the case. In fact more often than not these kinds of “arrangements” teeter in murky waters for a very long time and become very challenging when one party develops unrequited love for the other (which is usually the case).

The love afflicted party starts to have expectations and the less attached party may find him/herself unable to fulfil these expectations. This leads to frustration and desperation on the part of the afflicted one such that he/she starts trying too hard and/or starts making demands which the other person can not fulfil and this leads to the disintegration of the whole situation.

In conclusion, a situationship can be a win win situationship for both parties; having the companionship and the intimacy without the hassles or obligations involved in a real relationship but realistically this kind of arrangement usually devolves into heartache and major self esteem issues for one and/or awkwardness and complexities for the other. My advice; they are best avoided.

Feminism VS African Culture

Feminism VS African Culture

Over the past few weeks I have witnessed or been party to the conflict between the tenets of feminism and African culture. African culture particularly Shona culture is by its very nature very patriarchal. To say Shona culture can be a little misleading because Shona is an umbrella term which encompasses at least 7 different tribes. However, because of the similarities in many aspects of their customs I will use the umbrella term Shona to include all these tribes.

Arguably the advent of Western civilization played a role in further marginalizing African women. To examine this a bit closer, I would say this was specifically limited to the fact that Western civilization/’industrialization, if we can call it that, introduced the monetary economy, not only that but the settlers acquired farms and built factories which required specifically male labour. What did this mean for women? Before the advent of colonialism men and women played different but equally important roles to fend for the family but now it meant that men became the only breadwinner and women were reduced to housewives who stayed back in the reserves to take care of the children and any farming they did was subsistence farming. This as I said further marginalized African women although in all fairness the culture was already largely patriarchal.

First and foremost, a man could marry more than one wife, in fact as many wives as he wanted and could afford to, but it was and still is unheard of for a woman to marry more than one husband (on a side note Malawian culture is said to be matriarchal, I don’t know how far true it is but my mother’s paternal grandmother reportedly had two husbands). Secondly, after marriage a woman would leave her home and go live with the husband’s extended family rarely the other way round. Furthermore, the family, clan or village’s main decisions were taken by men on a platform they called “padare” no women or children were allowed padare. Sometimes even men considered as “weak” were not allowed to participate in the decision-making proceedings. There are countless examples but the one that strikes me the most is the double-standards which were and still are employed when judging men and women for the same behaviour or circumstances. One such example recently had me in a heated debate with a few male Facebook friends. This is the fact that when women indulge in sex or have children outside wedlock or marry and then get divorced there is a certain stigma attached to it.

These women are all indiscriminately referred to as “mvana”. I do not know the origins of this term, but it is a derogatory term which implies that when a woman has had sexual relations or has had a child and/or gets divorced she loses her value as a woman. This insinuation has no biological basis because after a woman loses her virginity nothing physically diminishes her physical appearance. You are only able to tell that she is no longer a virgin when you conduct virginity tests or have sexual relations with her. Furthermore, when women give birth if they eat well and exercise regularly they get back into appropriate shape not only that but men who do not exercise or pay attention to their diet lose shape and become unattractive as well. As for divorce, it is basically one spouse giving the other a token called “gupuro’ in the form of a coin in the case of a customary marriage or one or both parties filing papers for divorce in the case of a legal marriage. In what way does this process physically diminish the value of a woman? If it diminishes the value of a woman what criteria is used to exempt men from this downgrading? After examining this entire system, I realised that there is no valid reason to subject women to this kind of scrutiny and harsh judgment except that it keeps men in control.

The fact that men are required to pay lobola for women and not the other way round is traditionally viewed as means to establish and strengthen relations between two families but due to commercialization and abuse it wounds up smelling like a system designed to keep men in control while ensuring women remain under the thumb of patriarchy. Why do I say this? There are certain conditions and stipulations that are set aside for a married woman “mukadzi akaroorwa” to follow or to meet failure of which brings disgrace upon herself and often ultimately leads to divorce. Examples are child bearing, fidelity and dressing and behaving with modesty and decorum. The same rules do not necessarily apply to men. Long ago if a man failed to bear children a close male relative would secretly sneak into his quarters and impregnate his wife without his knowledge. He was then made to believe that the offspring was his and cushioned from ever knowing that he was sterile, but the woman was not spared of this disgrace. She was labelled “ngomwa” meaning barren woman and could be sent back to her family for being unable to fulfil her “duty”. It is as if people marry not for companionship but for procreation. To this day though the dictates are no longer a harsh as before given that women are more independent and financially self-reliant, there is still stigma attached to a woman’s failure to conceive in a marital situation. When it comes to infidelity a man can stray as many times as he wishes and never be viewed as a deviant but if a woman strays once she is shamed and labelled and sadly this shaming has extended to social media at alarming levels

On the other hand, there are some aspects of Shona jesting that taken out of context may be misconstrued as aimed at disrespecting or marginalizing women but in fact they are harmless. A few weeks ago, there was an uproar after Presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa jestingly said he would offer his 18-year-old sister to Emmerson Mnangagwa if he (Mnangagwa) won the upcoming presidential election. A few women’s rights activists felt it was disrespectful to all women in general because it commodified women. On this aspect I beg to disagree, in my view it was just a figure of speech to indicate that in Chamisa’s opinion the chances of Mnangagwa winning the election were next to nothing. One needs to really understand the context of Shona jesting in order to appreciate the harmlessness of such utterances. Let me give an example. My grandmother was a housekeeper in Highlands suburb in Harare employed by a white family. AMurombo (Mr. Murombo) was a gardener or what Zimbabweans prefer to call a garden boy next door. I was really very young 5 or 6 years old but I remember AMurombo because of the smell of the tobacco he smoked “chimonera”. The point I’m making is he and my granny had a running joke about pledging me to him in marriage. This doesn’t mean my Granny intended to sell me, one of her only two granddaughters to an elderly gardener. This is one of the ways Shona people jest with each other in harmless discourse it has nothing to do with violating women’s rights or marginalizing the girl child.

Another controversial issue is the practice of “chiramu”. This is when a man refers to his wife’s sisters or nieces (brother’s daughters) as his wives in jest. I do not know much about the ancient practice but nowadays it is practised in a very moderate respectful form. There are no sexual implications or sexual innuendos whatsoever. Therefore, it would be misrepresentation to say the practice of chiramu encourages rape and child sexual abuse. There is a danger in that sometimes as we try to stand up for girl child and women’s rights we may inadvertently demonize harmless cultural practices by applying Western standards. Many aspects of Shona and by extension African culture are impracticable in Western society but that does not mean they are wrong. If anything, some of the tenets of Western feminism are different from those of African feminism, but that is a topic for another blog. Western culture should not be a yardstick with which Africans judge themselves.

In conclusion, although society and by extension culture has evolved and women have become more independent and assertive, in many aspects of life we are still marginalized and downtrodden. Both women and men need to work together to eradicate stigma and prejudice against women and duplicitous standards of judgement. Having said that, African culture has many beautiful aspects that we should all continue to embrace and celebrate without undue foreign interference.

Friend Zone

Friend Zone

Friend zone according to the urban dictionary is loosely translated as a situation whereby one friend wishes to enter into a romantic /sexual relationship while the other prefers to keep it platonic. This is generally considered an undesirable situation for the friend zoned person. For the purpose of clarity I am going to refer to the two parties as the friend zoner and the friend zoned.

I first came across the term on Facebook and the implication was that the friend zoner who in most cases is the female was the villain in this type of arrangement. Before I fully understood the term I also looked at the zoner as villainous, a female who would drag a guy along , call upon him whenever she needed assistance taking advantage of his generous spirit and/or strong feelings for her without giving anything in return. After thinking about it a bit from a feminist perspective I came to the conclusion that the friend zoner is no villain at all. This is a woman who has been very honest and upfront with her feelings towards a man.  She has basically said I like you but I do not have romantic sexual feelings for you so let us rather enjoy a platonic relationship.

Unless the general consensus says men and women can not have and enjoy platonic relationships what then is wrong with a woman suggesting a friendship? This then begs the question are these “nice guys” who find themselves friend zoned so to speak really nice guys after all or they are manipulative schemers? They perform all these good deeds and nice gestures in order to get women to fall in love or fall into a sexual relationship with them. When she does not reciprocate their interest they cry foul . This is because the nice gestures did not come from a place of genuine kindness and generosity to start with. Feminist critics of the term have described such men as misogynists because they apparently feel “Their nice gestures should be rewarded by sex”

I have discovered it is not only women who are “”guilty”of friend zoning men. Men often friend zone women who exhibit romantic interest in them too. The difference is that men do this to women for whom they have sexual but not romantic interest in. Their strategy is that I am sexually interested in you and we can actually enjoy coitus or what is known as the “friends with benefits” kind of arrangement, I just do not see you as girlfriend material” whatever that means.

In their defence, when men friend zone women, they are usually very straightforward about their intentions. The friend zoned woman knows exactly what she is getting into. However, the situation almost always becomes a problem in that women often allow themselves to get into these types of situations with men they are hopelessly in love with or have romantic interest in hoping to eventually entice or convince the object of their interest into eventually loving them back. In essence these types of women attempt to “use sex to get love.” More often than not this strategy does not work out because as much as it is an emotional process for women, for men sex is generally a mere clinical process.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that some friend zoners both male and female are in fact “Takers” A taker also known as a “chiseler” or “mooch” is defined as someone who always takes from other people and never gives back. According to the Urban Dictionary;  “In most cases takers aren’t stealing , they are just taking advantage of the hospitality of others without reciprocating or saying thanks”

In the context of friend zoning these are people who place you in the zone with the subtle or sometimes not so subtle “promise” That you will eventually be promoted to becoming their S.O (Significant Other). Some go to the extent of launching a sexual relationship so to speak without clearly defining the boundaries/terms of the relationship only to firmly place their “victim” for lack of a better word into the friend zone after the fact or should I say act. This often leaves the other party feeling shortchanged.and used.

In a nutshell being friend zoned by someone you have romantic or sexual interest in can be a very frustrating experience but it need not be, because you have the power to decide whether you want to be their friend or move on to other pursuits. In fact you should actually applaud them for being honest. Much as I do not condone the manipulation employed by the natural takers I also believe if you give your time, attention, moral or material support from the heart then you would not feel cheated if the other party insists on maintaining a platonic relationship.

Movie Review Black Panther

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I have been meaning to share my thoughts on The Black Panther but just could not get round to it until now. I had no idea such a project was in the brewing until just a week before it’s South African premiere on the 16th of February. When I learnt about it I began salivating in anticipation. I even considered wearing my African print outfit to the cinema until I remembered we would be watching the movie in the dark so no one would see the outfit anyway. On a serious note as a fan of super hero movies produced by Marvel studios and more importantly as an African it marked a milestone in the telling of authentic African stories.

The movie tells the story of an African crown prince T’Çhalla (played by Chadwick Boseman) who also possesses the spirit of the Black Panther which gives him super natural powers. After the death of his father T’Çhalla returns home to assume the throne. He is faced with many challenges both at home and abroad and there is a very powerful would be enemy looming in the shadows. With the help of his ex flame Nakia and the formidable female army general Okoye, his sister Shuri as well as a CIA agent Everett K. Ross he manages to defeat the enemy and bring back stability to Wakanda

For me the best thing about the movie was the celebration of African culture. African culture is not homogeneous per se but it has many similar customs and traditions for example the monarchical system. Although African monarch was the powerful sovereign ruler they (with a few exceptions) were not tyrannical and/or stand offish but rather benevolent and approachable. In fact they generally used to sit in council with their chieftains and advisors who played a significant role in the decision making process.

The use of an African language and African accents for a production of that magnitude was for me the most profound way of celebrating Africa. I recently jokingly said to my French friend if you and I were to go to the USA and speak English in our natural accents your accent would be regarded as sexy or charming while mine would be seen as plain strange. This is true because the African accent has long been regarded as an embodiment of ineloquence at best and at worst stupidity. Black Panther helped to disabuse many of that notion.

Another interesting aspect was the effectiveness of African medicine in its natural form and the natural beauty of African women unadorned and unaffected by Western cosmetics. Not only that but the movie celebrated Africa’s riches in natural resources which if tapped into and utilized for the greater good could develop Africa to even surpass Western technology because we already have the human resources for it as illustrated by the Wakandan princess Shuri.

The women of Wakanda were strong , independent and although Wakanda is apparently a patriarchal society they were not in any way subservient to the men, in fact women are seen to work alongside men for the greater good. The same was characteristic of pre-colonial African society there was division of labour between the sexes but women were not subservient to men it was colonization and the monetization of the African economies which brought about the marginalization of African women.

The technology of Wakanda for me was very advanced and from my perspective as a comic book and superhero movie fan I was absolutely WOWed by it, it made me wish I had watched in 4Dx rather than in 3D but from my perspective as an African I felt that although it represented how Africa would have in its own time become technologically advanced sans the influence of European influences some of the graphics actually take awy from showcasing the natural beauty of Africa.

The theme of alienation was also explored in the movie T’Chaka’s brother N’Jobu goes overseas to the USA as an intelligence agent and when he f=gets there he begins to identify with and sympathise with the marginalized African Americans he meets there such that he decides to take up their struggle as his own. however by so doing he alienates himself from his brother and by extension his Wakandan roots because Wakanda prefers to remain hidden and untainted by outside influence. in his bid to assist the African Americans in their struggle which in itself was a noble cause he betrays his country.

The alienation or identity crisis becomes more acute when his son Killmonger arrives in Wakanda and despite his rise to power and the people’s best efforts to integrate him into the community he remains an outsider. In fact in his anger he seeks to destroy timeless traditions which the Wakandan people have held dear for generations. Although he is largely a villain one can not help but feel some sympathy for Killmonger having been orphaned at a tender age and left to fend for himself in a land far removed from his father’s people.

In conclusion, the story was well researched and well represented and no doubt it is already a tremendous success and will continue to be. I especially commend the director Ryan Coogler the cast and crew as well as Marvel studios for a job well done. Let us keep telling beautiful African stories.

White privilege

white privilege

White privilege manifests itself in varying degrees sometimes in the smallest of ways at other times with a far reaching impact on those affected. Growing up in post-colonial Zimbabwe I did not have much exposure to the racial dynamics because our white population is very low, in fact less than a percentage of our population is Caucasian. My maternal grandmother of course was a stay in housemaid for a widower named John Harrison since way before I was born and she retired the year I turned 7. Although my brothers and I visited her often I was too young and too afraid to venture into the main house when Harrison was present, in fact whenever he arrived home if I were keeping her company while she was going about her chores in the main house I would quickly run back to the servants quarters. What I remember most about him was that whenever he needed something from my grandmother he would call in a loud booming voice “Margaret” to which she would promptly respond “Master” and hurry to his service.

When I was in primary school my only regular encounter with a white person was with our Canadian Scripture Union teacher Aunt Gwendy. Now Aunt Gwendy was the embodiment of piety and there was a certain radiance that she exuded that would make you want to move as close to her as possible. As I grew older and started going to the CBD of my small hometown, I would see white farmers who came in to town from the nearby farms for supplies etc. they would smile and go about their business.

My first encounter with white privilege was in supermarket queues. I always noticed that the till operators always greeted white customers with a courteous smile but when black customers approached the till there was no acknowledgement whatsoever, It puzzled me but the most striking example was when a middle aged white woman took her basket of purchases ignored the queue and proceeded right to the front to get service. The till operator would have proceeded to assist her had it not been that other customers complained bitterly, I remember one man shouted angrily in Shona “Aikaka Ambuya ivhu nderedu iri” loosely translated it means “Ma’am you have no right to skip the queue because we are the native Zimbabweans.” “Ambuya” literally means “mother in law” but it is”” a sarcastically “respectful” term that Shona men use to address women in their age group or older especially in a confrontational/conflict situation. His comment was admittedly equally or even more racially disrespectful than her action to skip the queue but at that point it sounded just a wee bit justifiable because her assumption that she should be served first despite that there were other people in the queue was a legacy of the colonial era which introduced and perpetuated white privilege. Anyway she immediately swallowed humble pie and proceeded to the back of the queue.

The other two instances when I came into contact with white privilege in Zimbabwe was in the passport and SA visa queues respectively. In both instances the different women walked confidently to the front of the queue ignoring the people who had sat and/or stood in the queue for hours to access services. Of course the people would have none of it so in both instances they complained loudly until they were left with no choice but to join the queue but what is most striking about this is the confidence with which this was done. The disregard for the proper etiquette when it comes to service delivery which is first come first served. I then realized this was because they were brought up to believe they were superior beings and the world so to speak, was their oyster.

It used to infuriate me that many contemporary whites do not admit or acknowledge that white privilege exists but I have realized that this is because what we perceive as privilege to them is just the normal scheme of things. The worse part is that humans regardless of race are generally self-centred beings so it is difficult to see how privileged you are if you do not take the time to look at the circumstance of others nor possess that very strong sense of fairness which very few are blessed with. According to Francis E. Kendall P.h.D in his article “Understanding White Privilege”

“Privilege, particularly white or male privilege is hard to see for those of us who were born with access to power and resources. It is very visible for those to whom privilege was not granted”

When I came to South Africa I started to see a whole new dimension of racial relations. About 10 percent of the South African population is white and that means compared to Zimbabwe (where as I said earlier we have less than 1 percent) both in number and in proportion to blacks, there are many more white people and indeed there are places where you encounter more whites than blacks. In fact I have recently been to watch a theatre production at which I was the only black person in the audience and there were three Asians the rest were all Caucasians. In South Africa because I came to search for employment the first thing I noticed was job ads. Whenever I bought the newspaper to job hunt, the majority of the ads I came across would specifically state that they were looking for someone who spoke Afrikaans or English as their first language. No price for guessing what that means. Although we learn it at a very young age, English is only a second language to the majority of black Africans. The very brave job advertisers would even go so far as to say “preferably a white female/male” In a country which claims to be one of the most democratic in the world and a major proponent of equality! It was and still is appalling but the department of labour sadly does nothing to addresss this problem.

Another example is in job selections themselves. I realized this when I worked for a recruitment agency. I specifically remember one of our clients needed two plant operators and of the six qualified and experienced candidates we sent though the two who were chosen were one black and one white. The white candidate had experience yes but no more so than the others who had applied. His highest educational qualification or should we say level was however grade 10 this means that he never wrote the minimum high school leaving examinations which is referred to as matric exams. The black candidate had experience plus a bachelor’s degree just like all the other black candidates who had applied but were not chosen. He was probably just chosen for the purposes of fulfilling the government’s statute for equal opportunity in industry Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). Such is the norm, for a black person to achieve what an average white person casually receives they have to be excellent in that particular field beyond a shred of doubt.

It is interesting to note that it is not only whites who perpetuate white privilege, blacks are guilty of that too. The other day I went to a popular chain supermarket and I wanted to buy some onions. When I went to get them weighed and priced there was no one on that station so I went to look for the fruit and vegetable assistant. He was busy packing some vegetables when I called him to come and assist, to his credit he promptly left what he was doing and accompanied me to the weighing station. When we got there we found a white man standing there. He wasn’t so much a Caucasian but more like a light skinned Arab/Middle Eastern but to some black people that’s considered white as well. He immediately rushed to that man’s assistance forgetting that I am the one who had called him to the weighing station to come and weigh for me. The man who had been bequeathed of this unwarranted privilege however was not willing to take it both him and me simultaneously indicated that I should be served first. That is not the only occasion I have had a few other instances where the assistant whether black or white would ignore me and the other blacks in the queue to assist whites at the back of the queue. Most of the times the beneficiaries of this privilege would embarrassingly point out that there were other people in front of them who needed assistance.

Another thing I have noticed is that whenever you visit a supermarket or pharmacy in a predominately black neighbourhood, when you leave the supermarket the security guard asks for proof of purchase and thoroughly checks that every item in your packages appears on the till slip, not only that but your handbag also goes through a thorough search. However, go to any store located in or close to an affluent suburb where the customers are predominantly white there are no such searches. Even if it is the very same store which conducts searches in the black neighbourhoods. From time to time however even in these affluent suburbs they can randomly search black customers while letting the whites go through with no less than a cheery thank you and a smile. This shows a people who are still thoroughly colonized and oppressed not politically and economically but in this case mentally.

Just last week the South African President Jacob Zuma was recalled by his party the African National Congress (ANC) and he had to resign from office, This naturally became the trending story on social media and on online news sites. I remember on one such site, one person wrote that as a nation South Africa should move away from voting for people because of the colour of their skin and the people perhaps needed to remove ANC from power. There were many responses but one guy wrote that as long as the majority of the people still lived below the poverty datum line or in some cases abject poverty organizations like the ANC were needed in power so that they can redress the imbalances which were brought about by apartheid. There was a lot of backlash from the white readers on that site. Many denied there were economic imbalances based on race and others went so far as to blame the black majority for these imbalances. One wrote if blacks did not have so many children there wouldn’t be impoverished, which is just not true. Modern black South Africans hardly ever have many children regardless of their financial situation. The one who took the price for either being totally ignorant or just plain racist wrote ”During apartheid blacks were settled into designated areas and given the right to self-determine and self-govern, why did they not utilise this opportunity to economically empower themselves?

This is a ridiculous and outrageous assertion because this writer did not take into consideration that as a result of The Land Act of 1913 blacks or what they termed natives were placed onto different Bantu stands and given the right to self-govern but this self-government did not come with absolutely no interference from the apartheid government. They still pretty much controlled everything, for example would the tragic Soweto Uprising have happened if the government had not imposed the teaching of Afrikaans in schools? How is it self-governance when the government imposed the language of instruction? Secondly and most importantly, the white minority controlled practically all the means of production for example they owned and controlled 87 percent of the land including arable land and all the mines and industries. So how was the native majority supposed to achieve total economic independence in their respective Bantu stands if they had nothing at their disposal to utilize for that purpose? In the cities the black townships were and still are located very far from the city centres and despite that the ANC government has so far built 5 million RDP houses to date to help ease the housing problem, the majority still live in squalid conditions in uninformal settlements with no access to sanitation or running water.

Such uninformed and unfair statements fly around every day on South African social media groups or threads whenever racial imbalances or white privilege is brought up but I think as a people it would be more progressive if those who are/ have been privileged would acknowledge their privilege and try to do what they can to unite with the less privileged and work towards a common goal of racial equality and national development. As long as the existence of an injustice is denied the injustice can never be addressed let alone avoided in the future.