AbM: Court Papers for Slums Act Legal Challenge

12 06 2008

We are not all like that: the monster bares its fangs

12 06 2008

by Andile Mngxitama

The sms’s came fast and furious. As furious as the fiery images we were subjected to by our television and our daily newspapers. The front pages are a festival of beastly pictures of the victims of the negrophobic blood letting which has gripped South Africa in the past weeks. I dreaded opening a newspaper for days - afraid of being confronted by yet another grisly product of the negrophobic xenophobic violence, which by the end of week three had claimed the lives of about one hundred people and displaced about 100 000, according to some estimates. The mind spins out of the axis of the normal.

As the Alexander township burnt, I was reading text messages from my cappuccino-loving Tito Mboweni-fearing middle class friends. The messages were generally along these lines; “I’m so embarrassed to be South African right now”, or more engaging: “I’m so tired of feeling angry about this and not being able to do something about it…” . Email lists held similar messages of shame; at least Winnie Madikizela-Mandela went to Alexander and told the terrified victims cramped at the police station; “We are sorry, please forgive us. South Africans are not like this”, before hopping back into her nice car and driving back to her life. Desmond Tutu, our beloved archbishop of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) followed with another “sorry, we are not like that”. The leader of the narrow Zulu nationalist movement, Dr Gatsha Buthelezi, went to the police station as well and cried for the cameras, at the same time as his followers from the hostel he had just addressed continued their war cry that they would kill all the “foreigners”, Hambani! Of course our president in waiting, Mr Jacob Zuma, was also told by an angry crowd, “go back to Mozambique with your Mozambiquens”. Apparently his favourite solo “Mshini wam” is sung by the marauding gangs as they go about their murderous deeds. The killings, burning and looting continued. Something has definitely broken, the despised are telling their leaders in their faces that they must all go to hell. Read the rest of this entry »