In response to Sibusiso Nkomo’s column (“Racism on social media a concern”, May 8), the reason I do not face book and twitter is to avoid the tendency to write publicly without first soliciting the opinion of others. Therefore, when I read about a person caught in a racial dilemma, I am reminded of how far we have come as a nation. For 360 years, the South African narrative evolved primarily around two issues; exploitation (natural and human resources) and racial identity. After a protracted struggle we established a democratic dispensation and with partial effort we expected our racial history to evaporate. Over decades, I have learnt that Apartheid has affected many of us differently. In my opinion, generations of racial programming by parents, religious leaders and politicians has not been fully exorcised. Instead it has been allowed to simmer until it becomes strategically useful.
Therefore when a privileged model makes her-self guilty of racism, society feels a parochial need to crucify her. According to Sibusiso, she has lost all her sponsorship and has been stripped of awards. I am certain that these sponsors feel vindicated for doing the “right thing”. Few readers will bother to investigate if any of these sponsors have done anything to improve the plight of their disadvantaged staff or the quality and depth of their social investment. All that was required was the obliteration of one racial tweeter in order for business to continue as usual.
A decade ago as an alliance Councillor I was often accused by Afrikaners, white and coloured (former NNP) of being a lackey of the English (former DP). Anglo-Boer antipathies often saturated the caucus atmosphere in those early years. This was my introduction into white on white racialism and in my opinion was one of the many reasons why the NNP reversed out of the alliance.
Similarly, a few years ago in the Provincial Government, I observed a different form of racialism. Premier Rasool was suspected by “his comrades” of not doing enough for affirmative action at a senior level. Overlooking his historical crusade for affirmative action in this province, the allegation hung thick in the corridors of power. To protect his integrity, Rasool ensured that very few Muslims were appointed to senior management. Qualified candidates who happen to be Muslim were disadvantaged because Rasool did not want to appear biased. Under Premier Zille many of Rasool’s “comrade indicters” are silent, victims of their own racial conspiracies.
Three destructive racial scenarios with very different outcomes, in the first case, although the racist texting was individual (no other person suffered material loss or humiliation), the activity is being probed by the Human Rights Commission. In the second case the DA lost the City and several people lost their employment through no fault of their own. Ratepayers and officials were left in confusion as a tumultuous transition ensured. Similarly, Premier Rasool was eventually hounded out of office and the ANC ultimately lost the city and the province as his supporters stayed away from the polls. Many of those political conspirators (NNP, DP and ANC) responsible for the chaos, moved on to higher office. Because of the historic and inherent racial magnitude of local politics and my countless personal experiences, I developed the concept of the Cape Muslim Congress and returned to politics.
In light of this highly emotive narrative, I am curios if the approach of Jesus of Nazareth would suffice, “let him without (free of) sin cast the first stone”. Perhaps my interpretation will be better understood, “let him or her who is free of past and future racist thoughts and action, judge this girl”.
Yagyah Adams Cape Muslim Congress