South Africa’s slow death…on our watch.

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I wasn’t there during apartheid but I feel like it was an easier fight than that faced by South Africans today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying apartheid was “easy”, I’m just trying to highlight how today’s struggle seems easier yet it’s actually the harder because so many don’t even know there is a struggle.

 

When South Africa was under the wicked rule of apartheid, everyone knew apartheid was evil, immoral, and depraved. There was no middle ground and nothing subtle about its wickedness. It was gruesome, demeaning, and fatal for black people. As a result, every black person knew were they stood; every black person knew they had to fight the system. The frog knew it had to jump out the pan. This is not so obvious today. The frog is slowly burning to death in the pan.

 

For instance, last night protesting black students at the University of the Free State (the same university where white students made black workers drink urine) were beaten up by fellow white students (and their parents) and not one word has been uttered on the matter by the government, a black government for that matter. What’s worse is you have some black people apologising to white people for “other blacks’ behavior”. Furthermore, you have more black people who are blaming the protesting black students for not “promoting a racially inclusive South Africa”….are you fucking kidding me?

 

Black students are fighting for equality…like blacks have done since forever. Unlike white people who fight for superiority, all black people have ever wanted is equality. These students are fighting against abuse, white privilege, a curriculum and language policy that is skewed in favour of a white minority, and for that they are accused (by other black people too) of essentially promoting racism? This is exactly what I mean by “apartheid was the easier struggle”.

 

For me it’s like depression versus a broken arm. If you break your arm, everyone says you need to get to the hospital ASAP. It’s not life threatening but everyone is in agreement that it needs urgent attention by medical professionals. However, if you are depressed, people miss the urgency. You have people telling you to “cheer up”, some telling you to “just pray”, and some even telling you “it’s all in your mind”…and no, that wasn’t a pun. But we are talking about the human brain here. The command center of your whole anatomy. If it has problems, surely that calls for urgent attention right? Just because you cannot physically see that my brain is broken, doesn’t mean it’s not.

 

And this is the problem South Africa is faced with now. Unlike back when all black people could clearly see the ‘broken arm’ that was apartheid, so many cannot see the ‘depression’ that is white privilege; brutality of the police particularly towards black bodies; the need for decolonization; the historical advantages white people garnered during apartheid and continue to hold today;….the list is endless really.

 

And you know what the saddest part is? You may not be able to see it, but depression will kill you.

 

**** Just scribbling my thoughts ****

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Is there Unity in our languages?

I was born and raised in Bulawayo and I get exactly was both writers are talking about. I was always struck by how one didn’t need to speak Shona in Bulawayo (a predominantly Ndebele speaking City) while you could not survive in Harare if you didn’t speak Shona.

My dear mother is a perfect example of this. She is Shona and moved to Bulawayo in 1982. To this day, she can barely string together a sentence in Ndebele. Her best friend of the last 13 years is Ndebele. She (her best friend) can speak Shona but mum makes absolutely no effort to learn Ndebele. And this type scenario is very common i.e. you can get about in Bulawayo with only Shona as your spoken language while in Harare speaking Shona is almost a prerequisite to anything.

It’s all a damn shame really. I have a Ndebele friends who despise Shona people for just that. I agree, as one of the writers notes, learning each other’s languages is crucial to national unity. In South Africa, white South Africans, on the whole, make no effort to learn “African languages” and that in itself is proving to be a barrier to national Unity.

If I ruled the world, I might make one new universal language for everyone and eliminate all the rest…just so no one would think their language was more superior to others. But I don’t rule the world, never will, and so we shall remain with multiple languages…which in itself is a beautiful thing. We just need to make an effort to learn each others’ languages, especially if your place of residence has a language that differs from your own. As von Goethe once said, “He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own”.

**** just scribbling my thoughts ****

Mwana Wevhu

Dating back from 1987, Zimbabwe’s Unity Day celebrates the coming together of the country’s two political parties (Zanu PF and PF Zapu) into a mega political force. Almost 30 years on and 22 December is now a public holiday with all the rituals and fanfare synonymous with Zimbabwean national events -cue obligatory national holiday theme song:

Unity Day is a political occasion.  However, this is not a political post.  Rather, it’s about another aspect that’s not often publicised but is nevertheless crucial to discourse on Zimbabwean current affairs. The Shona/Ndebele language struggle is one that many Zimbabweans face and have to deal with.  Shona is the language of power in the country’s landscape.  It’s possible to go your whole life without learning Ndebele – to be honest, there isn’t a drive or push that encourages people to learn the language.  However, the reality for those not born into the Shona language group…

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Penny (Sparrow) for your thoughts?

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In case you’re not from around these parts (or you are and you just don’t care about current affairs), there’s been a bit of a racism storm in South Africa the past couple of days. It all began (I use the term ‘began’ very loosely) with a white estate agent named Penny Sparrow and her Facebook account. She and one Justin Van Vuuren authored the above pictured Facebook posts during the festive season. Just to make it clear, Penny and Justine don’t know each other. They’ve never met. They just happen to be two white people upset at the number of black people at the beach for the New Year’s Day celebrations; something they feel, like the good old apartheid days, should still be reserved for white people only I guess.

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Penny and Justin are the two that have made it to mainstream news but they are in fact just the tip (of the tip…of the tip) of a massive racist iceberg here in South Africa. Rants like this are a dime a dozen on the comments section of South African news sites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The major news outlets have resorted to disabling the comments sections on their articles because of the amount of racist commenting that consistently takes place there. No points for guessing the worst culprits…yep, white people.

 

It seems white people really struggle to comment on, complain about, or simply discuss anything that involves black people without making it about race. If a black person does anything negative…it’s because they are black but if a black person does something positive, it’s never because they are black. It appears to be deeply indoctrinated in many a white people that “black skin = negative”. The worst thing about all this is white people aren’t just racist out here…they are angry unrepentant racists and that refusal to reform and contribute to building a non-racial South Africa is now being met with an increasing level of frustration from Black South Africans….Collision Course anyone?

 

The thing is I believe Penny and Justin-type racist rhetoric is commonplace in a lot of white South African households; at dinner, at braais (BBQs), offices, etc. And frankly, that’s their prerogative. My main problem (well the racism is my main problem but I can’t change what happens in their households) is the way people like Penny are so comfortable spewing such racial hatred in public. I mean, Penny had her name, name of her employer, phone numbers, etc. right there and she still had no issues with posting such racist garbage. That surely can’t be acceptable. Maybe there should be laws in place to criminalise such behaviour and rhetoric. If that’s what it will take to reduce said behaviour, then maybe that’s what should be done?

 

Someone once told me “the only way we’ll ever get rid of racism is if we are all turned inside out. That way we all fall under the racial classification of ‘fleshy red’.” As absurd as that sounded in my younger days (days when I truly believed we could all one day live harmoniously across racial lines), it’s something I think about more and more these days. “Maybe Mike was right” I think to myself, “Maybe we’ll never get rid of racism.”

 

Ps: Just in case you agree with Penny and Justine in thinking going to the beach in large numbers and leaving litter behind is a racial thing, below is an image of white monkeys….ooops, I mean white people….at the lovely Brighton Beach up in England. (courtesy of @MathewLove36)

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*** just scribbling my monkey thoughts ****

FUCK ABSENT FATHERS

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I need to get one thing clear…I am not one of those women who will protect a man’s sins. I am one of those women that will name and shame you.

 

It is often said that to protect our children, we should not show our anger towards their absent fathers. How exactly does this protect them? When all it does is enable this man to continue with his absenteeism?

Unlike all you ‘mature’ people….I believe he should be held accountable for his actions.

Patriarchy is a wonderful thing in that we are all socialised in a way that teaches us to protect men…even when they are wrong. When men behave badly we have been taught to keep quiet, whereas when women do the same, they are followed by a slew of insults.

Children need their mothers….and fathers. Unless a woman chooses to go to a fertility clinic, then she…

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Black Men Can’t Jump (at the Box Office)

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When I wrote “unrealistic blacks” a few days ago, something else crossed my mind but I didn’t have time to scribble about it then. It was this thing about black leading men and women in the movies.

You ever notice how black leads need to be supported by white co-stars but white leads can hold a movie on their own? Why is that? Are white audiences not comfortable with “black movies?” ‘Cause I think if a film has a black lead AND black co-star, it effectively becomes a “black movie” and that keeps white audiences (the main money spinners) away from the movies. Here’s what I mean:

If you give Will Smith the lead in Men in Black, you have to place Tommy Lee Jones next to him. If you let Will Smith do iRobot, Bridget Moynahan will whiten things out for the audiences. If Will Smith takes on Focus, throw in some Margot Robbie. It has to be Margot Robbie, it can’t be Gabrielle Union or Regina King because then you have two black leads which makes it a black movie….which, in turn, reduces its earnings potential at the Box Office.

Take Denzel Washington as another example. If Denzel does Unstoppable, you’ve got to have Chris Pine as the other guy. If Denzel takes on the role of Tobin Frost in Safe House, then Ryan Reynolds gets to play Matt Weston. If Denzel takes the leads in Training Day and American Gangster, then Ethan Hawke and Russell Crowe have to take the co-leads respectively. Ethan Hawk HAS to be the naïve rookie cop who later overthrows the rogue detective and saves the day. I repeat, Ethan Hawk HAS to be that guy, not Don Cheadle, not Anthony Mackie. Why? Because if you gave that co-star role to either of these very capable black actors, then you’d have a black movie on your hands…which, unfortunately, is a Box Office NO! NO!

Jamie Foxx is another decent black actor. In White House Down, he was capably assisted by Channing Tatum. In the brilliant Law Abiding Citizen he had Gerard Butler for company, while in Collateral, he had Tom ‘Cruising’ alongside him. But did Tom Cruise need a black co-star in Jack Reacher, Edge of Tomorrow, or Knight and Day? Did Channing Tatum need a black co-star in the Jump Street or Magic Mike movies? Or Gerard Butler – did he need a black co-star in Playing for Keeps or Olympus has Fallen? And please don’t say he had Morgan Freeman. ☺

I guess you can’t really blame movie studios, can you? They do millions of dollars worth of research and clearly white audiences aren’t as willing to take in a black movie as well as black audiences will gladly watch white-led movies with white supporting casts to boot. There is, of course, the odd exception to the rule here and there. Bad Boys is one such movie. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence carry the franchise exceptionally well and the movies both did fantastic at the box office. But like I said, it’s the exception. Usually, if you have too many black leads (two is too many), you end up with Brown Sugar, or New Jack City, or Bamboozled …all fantastic films, but films white audiences wouldn’t take too kindly to.

As for me, some (most) of my favourite movies are “black movies”. Dead Presidents, Juice, the aforementioned New Jack City, Higher Learning, Friday, Boy N the Hood, Menace II Society…I could watch them all day, every day, any damn day with or without the lily white Box Office numbers.

*just scribbling my movie thoughts*

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Unrealistic Blacks

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Remember the days when having black folk as leads in TV shows was considered unrealistic? I mean, before folks like Kerry Washington (Scandal) or Don Cheadle (House of Lies) were commonplace on the small screen, having black people in prominent roles was considered improbable; a sort of political correctness gone berserk.

Dennis Haysbert played US President David Palmer in the popular series 24. I remember some fans writing in to complain that having a black US president was a tad “unrealistic”. Imagine that. You are watching 24 and in all the crazy implausible scenes with Jack Bauer as a middle aged one man counter-terrorism fighting machine, all you’re seeing as the ONE unrealistic thing here is the race of the president? Ironically, it’s been said that Haysbert’s portrayal of David Palmer allowed viewers to become more comfortable with the idea of a black US president and consequently may have helped the political campaign of Barack Obama. The “Palmer Effect” it’s been called.

Some fans of the Doctor Who series complained when one of the episodes showed a black person as part of Richard Nixon’s security personnel. Apparently it was “unrealistic” for President Nixon to have had a black person as part of his security team. Turns out, in real life, Nixon did in fact have a black secret service agent.

In the series Sleepy Hollow, Nicole Beharie plays the role of Lieutenant Abbie Mills. Nicole Beharie is black and some fans of the show weren’t too pleased she was playing Abbie Mills. Why? Well because, apparently, having a black female cop as the lead character in a small, largely-white town is…you guessed it…”unrealistic”. What’s funny is that in real life there IS a black female cop in Sleepy Hollow.

When the movie Thor came out in 2011, some fans of the original comics criticised the decision to cast Idris Elba as Heimdall because, apparently, making Heimdall black was “unrealistic”…because in the comic book, he is white. IN THE COMIC BOOK. Yes, folks are using a comic book as a measure of realism. Thor’s flying hammer – OK! Black Heimdall – NOT OK! Eh?

Speaking of Idris Elba, just recently, former James Bond star Roger Moore was quoted as saying having Idris Elba as James Bond would be “unrealistic”. Something to do with Bond needing to be “English-English”, which Idris, I’m guessing, isn’t. And here I thought James Bond had already been played by non-English actors.

I haven’t watched WWE wrestling in a few years now but I used to be quite the fan. And I always used to wonder why they never gave the WWE Championship to a black wrestler. I think there have been a fair few that were deserving. I personally loved Booker T. He had the whole package…but never got to be WWE Champion. I wonder why? Maybe having a black WWE Champion is “unrealistic?”

Look, I understand if we’re discussing a show about, say, Vikings, and people argue that, for accuracy’s sake you can’t have black Vikings because, well, there were no black Vikings in the Viking era. But to say Grey’s Anatomy is unrealistic because the Chief of Surgery is black is just being, well, unrealistically dense.

*just scribbling my unrealistic thoughts*

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From a job interview to a body bag. RIP #SandraBland

Every time I see Sandra Bland’s traffic stop, it just seems to get worse. How did what should have been a routine stop (or no stop at all to be honest) turn into three days in jail and then into death?

Look, I’m not American nor do I live in America so please enlighten me here – is it illegal to smoke whilst in your own car in America? No? Why was Sandra Bland dragged out of her car for refusing to put out her cigarette?

Surely she was well within her rights to refuse to put out the cigratte. It wasn’t interfering with the cop’s work nor was it a danger to the cop. As is her right, she refused to put out her cigarette and next thing she’s being forcibly dragged out of her car.

Naturally she refused to leave her vehicle for some punk cop trying to make himself feel good by abusing his powers. And just because of that refusal, the far right white supremacist cop sympathisers say she was effectively resisting arrest. How is it resisting arrest to refuse to accept unjust orders from what was clearly a an egomaniac of a police officer with a racist chip on his shoulder? Cops just can’t go around giving unlawful orders. And how is she resisting arrest if she wasn’t even under arrest? She asked 14 times why she was being arrested. FOURTEEN. He didn’t answer her once.

Why WAS she even arrested in the first place? What was she charged with? Assulting an officer? Resisting arrest? Well Officer Encinia wasnt even sure himself what he arrested her for. | See here: https://goo.gl/kPJ9tV

Coz I mean, was he arresting her for resisting arrest when her resistance was a response to him escalating the situation for no reason but to boost his own ego?

I’m not even going to go into the sleuth of inconsistencies surrounding her death. Suicide? Ha. My ass. It would have been more believable if they told us she was struck down by God because she said something blasphemous.

And now, as if on cue, they start telling us she had marijuana in her system. A large quantity of marijuana that she probably smoked or injested while incarcerated. Ha. My ass. She was an active #BlackLivesMatter activist wanting to change history, she’d just got offered a new job, she was ready to take this injustice to court. She went from all that to ingesting large amounts of marijuana IN PRISON, to killing herself? Ha. You guessed it, my ass!

1 in 9 Americans partake in marijuana for various reasons, from recreational to medical. I read that statistic years back. It’s probably way more now. But somehow the marijuana found in the systems of black individuals killed by the police is always so relevant as a justification for their murder. Marijuana made Trayvon Martin super aggressive, marijuana made Mike Brown super strong, and now it appears the same marijuana made Sandra Bland suicidal. Ha!

And another thing, you ever noticed how all the white pro-marijuana groups that are always fighting for the legalisation of marijuana, telling us it’s safe (which I agree with); you ever noticed how they never come out in defence of these black individuals killed by the police? I mean, the police are effectively saying marijuana is a dangerous drug – why do groups like NORML never come out disputing this like they always do? You think they’d take such high profile opportunities to say “actually, weed doesn’t make you do any of those super aggressive, super strong type of activities.” Or maybe, like the police, they too believe marijuana is only a safe substance when smoked by white people.

Someone once said it best when they said “the system isn’t broken…it was built this way”. Stay woke people.

*just scribbling my thoughts*

Oh, by the way if you haven’t already seen this video, watch it. Some examples of white people refusing to take orders from police and living to tell the tale.

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