So it being Father’s Day today, I guess it’s only fitting that I start by wishing Comrade Nelson Mandela, the father of the nation and his kids, a very happy father’s day. This year, Father’s Day in South Africa falls on a Public Holiday. Yep, today is Youth Day, a day when South Africans commemorate the Soweto Uprising that began on 16th June 1976.
The roots of the Soweto Uprising lay in a 1974 official order which made Afrikaans compulsory in schools and the use of indigenous languages prohibited. Because Afrikaans was largely seen as the “language of the oppressor”, this order resulted in growing resentment in both teachers and students. As such, on 16th June 1976, thousands of black students went on a protest rally from their schools to Orlando Stadium.
As was becoming the horrific norm in apartheid South Africa, what was supposed to be a peaceful protest resulted in the deaths of innocent children at the hands of a heavily armed police force. There is no doubt that the Soweto Uprising played a crucial role in laying the foundation for the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, politically anyway.
Today Mandela is almost 95 years old and is currently in a Pretoria hospital suffering from a recurring lung infection that came as a result of the tuberculosis he contracted during the 27 year stint he endured on Robben Island. Taking into account his age, illness, and the many trying times he’s been through, it’s natural for people to fear that the end is nigh for the man that become the iconic face of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.
So what happens when Nelson Mandela finally rests? Well, type in “white g” and before you finish, Google will have suggested “white genocide in South Africa”. Under the results you’ll find such genius headings as “Blacks will massacre whites after Mandela’s death”, “South Africans fear Mandela’s death” and “White genocide after Mandela’s death in SA”.
Within these articles, the basic story is this:
White people in South Africa believe black people will no longer hold back after Mandela dies. They believe blacks will wield knives, guns, sjamboks, and any other weapons, and take what they believe is owed to them. This, according to these sites, shall be known as “Operation White Clean-up”. Catchy title hey? Anyway, it will be chaos, they say, and the country will burn. BURN I TELL YOU!
Yes people, apparently black South Africans have, since 1994, been sat twiddling their thumbs, sharpening their machetes, waiting patiently for Mandela to die. And as soon as he does, black folks are going to morph, incredible hulk style, into mean, green, white-people-killing machines.
Call me anserous, but I think it’s quite insulting to the intelligence of black people to suggest they’ll just start swinging on monkey bars and slaughtering anyone who possesses reduced amounts of melanin. Any why? Because a former president will have passed away? I know we were dumb enough to have our land and wealth stolen from right under our noses but to suggest we’ll all turn into serial killers soon after Mandela’s doctor calls time of death sounds somewhat farfetched.
Maybe the white folks writing this malarkey on these fear mongering websites need to rather put their efforts into spreading the word about the need to build a more equal and economically sustainable South Africa for all its citizens regardless of race. And while they are at it, drop the superiority complex that plagues many white South Africans. Because all this complex does is create fodder for fear-inducing, anti-democracy, privilege-demanding right wing extremists.
Okay, fine, let me stop being a logical and rational party pooper and instead humour the “Operation White Clean-up” conspiracy theorists among us. Let’s see…how can I indulge said folks? Oh yes, how about this: “To my white associates…beware, my machete cometh! MUHAHAHAHA!”
*just scribbling my machete thoughts*