Monday, May 26, 2008

"Government, Take Responsibility!!!", my would-be poster read

Saturday morning…
Me: “Ok, I’m off to march”
My Maid: “Oh, against crime?”
“About HIV?””Nope”
“Mini skirts??”
“Na Aah. About xenophobic violence!”

I am becoming a seasoned marcher! I have yet to get into the banner making part though. But me and my red takkis now know Jo’burg CBD streets well in my fist-shaking and repetitive-phrase-shouting.

I bumped into my boss this time. He’s very excited that he gets to be an activist again after all these decades. Actually, there were quite a few familiar faces at Pieter Roos Park, especially those of the HIV-Fighter and Humanitarian Organisation fame.

It started a bit late. And got going with speeches… Which is a serious case of Preaching To The Converted. And we did seem to walk on and on forever. Hell, if Jo’burgers marched every weekend, we’d be one fit hot city of folks.

Every group (except government, typically) was there attaching their cause to Xenophobic violence… the anti-Capitalists with their “Comrade this. Comrade that”, the anti-homophobes, the anti-privatisation-and-eskom-and-all-multinationals-in-SA, the Street Kids organisations, the Anarchists with their organised flags and uniforms (irony is…), the Ethiopians and Ghanaians. Sadly but wisely, the Zimbo presence was absent.

[A friend just mailed from Malawi saying that people are flooding back from SA at present.]

But my marching partner was a big black man… one of the “Black Diamonds” of South Africa… a true Investing Capitalist, stressing that his All Stars just weren’t made for this much city street walking. (You never do really know who is protesting for your rights! Rich black men and young white girls…)

Up Empire, through Hillbrow we went. Through Hillbrow, and town, past the Court and the Central Methodist Church.

Where I shared a moment with a man, standing with a sad angry expression, holding a blanket around him. He read my sign saying how I was against the attacks and supporting victims of the xenophobic violence. We looked at each other and he nodded.

Did it make a single difference to anyone? Maybe to that man. That not all South Africans are insane torching cowardly murderers or apathetics. That there are many of us that are disgusted by this mindless growing mob of South Africans, and what they did to him, his friends and family. What their subhuman actions will mean for him and his family, and our land long term.

Who gives this mob the right to decide who should be in my country and who shouldn’t? Or how those who are illegal should be dealt with?

I have heard some of the safe whiteys claim that the last few weeks’ actions are good, as it is solving South Africa’s growing migrant problem.
This is good?? A twenty-two year old man publicly burning to death??? How can you really say and believe that with any humanity in you? When will you start seeing poor black people as human, filled with emotions and pain and deserving of love and respect and all you yourself have.

What happens if the chavs of London, in the same way, had to turn on all of our UK-located friends? Finally sick and tired of us and the Aussies taking all the jobs and saving up those Pounds to take back across our own borders. And many of my migrating mates aren’t even victims of war and famines! Just there for the experience and the financial benefits.

Or are “London migrants” not the same as “Jo’burg Township migrants”?

And the man I most disgusted at, that comes home and wags his distant-fathering finger and speaks to his nation like we are bratty naughty children, how he is just so, so ashamed of us. How we must learn to play nicely, and he will not be housing our “visitors” in proper camps but we must learn how to house and care for them ourselves. And then he will go back on his economic ways… off to live it up with the G8 leaders, and talk away about his, President Mbeki’s African Renaissance…

And on that note, I am off to read the whole speech of a man I finally have lost all love and respect for…

Similar Postings by Others:
"Beating, Raping, Burning, and Killing Foreigners in South Africa" by Savo Heleta;
"Terror in South Africa and the end of a dream…" by Angry African


Koekie said...

Your post gave me shivers - it's so passionate and so well written.

Anonymous said...

This country is definitely a land of extremes - the good, the bad and the ugly. I guess I just never thought it would get this ugly.

The good is the fact that we can still march, and that so many people have spoken up against what is happening.

The bad, the fact that nothing was not done the minute it started.

Champagne Heathen said...

Koeks - thanks! This xenophobia is hanging over SA at the moment, so my mind and heart can't get away from it totally right now. It really has shaken me...and so many others... to some strange core.

Ordinarylife - As they say, this place ain't for sissies! But how long do we keep doing damage control cause the guys we "employed" (elected) didn't do their jobs properly back when they should have! I don't do and can't keep up with Damage Control!