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Maudi Obed Maphutha

What is the true definition of a black man?

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1994 was the year on which South Africa was declared a democratic society after many years of struggle to free a people of no colour, however a decade and several years down the line, the very same democratic society we are claiming to be living in, has turned to be an enemy of the state and a sinking titanic. Recently in our daily print newspapers and televisions sets, we have seen such a disturbing, insinuating and unethically stories that touched almost all the corners of our democracy. Firstly a white man decided to urinate in a bowl filled with a fatty meal, wherein later he decided to feed a black man with such meal, and a black man had to eat it, because what was going on in her/his mind was that, it was just a normal food given to them as a lunch, even myself, I was going to eat that food because I am regarded to be “a trying person” before the eyes of many. When this nation was declared a democratic society in 1994, the vision and the mission of it was to reconcile all the human beings living in this society so that we can stand as one nation. However, today I find it very difficult to accept and qualify myself as a decolonized person if someone decides to urinate in bowl filled with food and expect me to swallow his body excretions, that person is totally deploying all his techniques to fool me around and embarrass me at the same time.

That in its own essence, makes a message very clear that, in his own believe, I am 5% accepted as a human and 95% regarded as an animal that eats whatever comes before itself, for as long as it is something with a taste, as for the after effects, it will find out later. It is commonly acknowledged that a black man is left far behind with special inference to the economic policies, but that does not mean that a black man deserves that kind of disrespectful behaviour. One of our freedom fighters and a Rivonia Trialist once said that, “don’t food from the blacks, don’t share the same toilet with the blacks, don’t mix with the blacks, but please, have a great sense of blacks in as much as you would like to be respected”. A white farmer in Musina, near to Beitbridge border gate, shot dead a black man and he, afterwards claimed in a court of law that he mistaken the man with a baboon. The statement mentioned by this white farmer, makes it clear that, black people don’t have a place anywhere in their society, they are in fact vulnerable to disrespect at all the times, discrimination among other things, and are totally not accepted in the society of whites.

The incident in Free State University, was just a complement of distrust against a black man and humiliation of a black colour, that made it clear according to them that, a black man is not accepted anywhere in the society and how he/she should be treated. Around the year 2000 or so, a young boy, Tshepo Matloha was brutalized and tortured by a group of whities at a rugby stadium, and his body was dumped in a nearby river, that was just the start of yet another black vs whites uprising. To date, if I may be given an opportunity to qualify my statements, after all these years, we still have a white opposition which is given valuable seats in our black parliament, which claims to be representative of all the people living in this society. I honestly believe that, this opposition should be given a little education that, before they can come into a black public eye, they must go back to their own people to give them an education on moral regenesis and respect, not to mention the “darkies” who are under false pretext, pulled by their nostrils by the very same political party. I have to stand very firm on this point, to say that, one of our democratic principles is that, a person has a constitutional right of freedom of association, but honestly speaking, if I was a black man, I would not have a room to associate myself with a white political party, even if my farther was white. Follow up on that issue, one day I was watching the news on television and was very much disturbed and felt huge discomfort to hear a black public figure calling and telling a black fellow to “stop behaving like a Kaffir”.

The danger of this statement is leveled against the fact that, if I am a black man and decides to call a fellow black man a kaffir, what message am I trying to send to the rest of the public, society and other nations other than the blacks, that I don’t have confidence in the blacks, that blacks are considered to be lazy, that they deserve to be insulted and belongs in a prison or does a black man have to be disowned whatever the intelligence he has, because he is clever that me or because he does not obey my instructions as his boss. Well, tell you what, the person who made that statement is one of this soil’s self-made millionaires who is just in the camp of whites and always siding with them and therefore, justifies blacks as incapacitated to occupy public offices like the ones of Local Organizing Committee for 2010 cup. Now, around 1996 an organization called Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established under the leadership of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which was aimed at recalling all the convicts and individuals to come before that commission in the presence of the bereaving families to state in oath that they are the ones who committed variety of crimes, which resulted in many families loosing their beloved ones. Indeed, those individuals went through those commissions, some were granted an amnesty and some were denied, like the ones of Boeremag trialists.

However, years after the requests of such amnesties, innocent people are still vulnerable still in their hands and at their excuses with statements like, “sorry I mistaken him with a baboon”, and so what? Are we reconciled as a nation or are we just heading for a trouble? I am a parent, you hurt my kid, later you go through TRC and I forgive you, however you decided to kill my kid again or through him in a cage of lions, do you honestly believe that I will ever forgive you again? I don’t think anyone is able to can do that. I his own speech, Mr. Martin Luther King (I have a dream), he made it clear that, I want all the nations, people form the black community (as affectionally defined), people form white community (qualified), Asians and any other nation, to hold their hands together, act as one nation, so as to rip and enjoy the fruits of our own democracy and the hardships that we have gone through, during the periods of emotional distress.

However, the author did not live his dream long. In the Oxford dictionary, which I believe is a European documents, black is defined as, something that reflects no lights, like a coal or soot, black powdery from smoke, however the definition made by one of the black panthers in the black African American society, before the eyes of many whites, Mr. Malcolm X, to me it will anger many people if really a black many can consider and reconsider the definition, in comparison with the oxford dictionary. I however wish to express my saddest gratitude to the author of the oxford and the person who qualified certain individual to reconsider his decision, and bring yet another polite word of qualifying this individuals, myself included in the equation, because if you were to say that, a black man, you are indirectly saying that the blacks belongs in the surface and therefore, in this territory, only other colours are the only ones accepted to be humans. Take an example about a University situation, in our democracy, we talk of unity and reconciliation, but if a group of white farmers are always isolated from the other colours, and are always seated on the other site of the basement, always seated in an isolated space in the class, then why are we claiming that one day we will be united? That can never happen, and what will happen if a white political party regain power again, more oppression and exploitation of a black man, and more killings at an excuse of the baboons.

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