The black on black violence that gripped our country in the late 80’s and early 90’s has resurfaced, much to the detriment of our progress as a people. The first uprising of this self made annihilation saw the apartheid government sitting back and folding arms and actually terming this catastrophe ‘black on black violence’. YES the term came from government circles.
A decade into democracy black people are speaking the language of economic empowerment. We are no longer “hewers of wood and drawers of water”, we have stood up from the fall and dusted ourselves, so it would seem. Alas, ghosts of the past continue to haunt us in the way in which we continue to look down and disrespect each other because of the colour of our skin. This is metamorphosed black on black violence. It has now emerged in business circles, in our churches and in the way we perceive our (black) government. Our black sisters are master tacticians, great generals and commanders of this violence. What am I ranting about, you ask? Self hate.
It is quite disturbing to see black chief executives and managers not receiving the same respect or recognition from their black colleagues and subordinates, you should see the very same colleagues under a manager of different race. Some executives resign their positions citing that there remnants of the ‘old order’ in corporations not knowing that their black counterpaths have helped conspire against them. Black female managers can tell you that not only have they got to contend with chauvinist male colleagues but also spiteful sisters who will look down upon them based on where they stay, what they wear and so forth. And boy, if your command of the queen’s language does not match that of the educated natives, then you are in danger of being labeled by whatever term you mispronounced.
Please don’t tell me that black managers are not authoritative enough or that they are dictatorial hence their colleagues and subordinates not affording them the respect they deserve, I refuse to believe that. For me it boils down to one reason, we hate ourselves so much that we do not believe that anyone of our skin colour can actually be something good in life.
If a black person achieves something we try to find reasons of his achievements having come in an unbecoming way. If it’s a sister we go as far as saying she has slept her way into the position.
This is even in our churches, how many times do we hear of ministers being kicked out of churches by church councils and congregants. People even resort to toyi-toying in churches and hurl abuse at each other. Surely you can’t tell me that situations are so bad in that we can’t come up with amicable solutions to whatever the problem is. We are so caught up in wanting to see the failure of another black person. Our government has also bore the brunt of this violence. Some people go as far as saying “beyingcono i-government yabelungu” (we were better off under the white government). If it were so then why weren’t we given the vote and all privileges that came with it? Are we patiently anticipating the failure of the black government that we are blurred from some of its achievements? It seems the Sotho saying setlhare sa motho o motsho ke lekgoa (for things to go right in the eyes of a black man put a white person in charge) is correct.
What is so amazing is that we are very quick to form war camps and run to the media when there are problems in our fold. We don’t even make attempts of giving each other advice or try to solve our affairs. We are like soccer fans waiting for a goal in that when it is scored we don’t look at how it came but we just jump for joy at the expense of another.
Is this just a remnant of the apartheid system of being constantly undermined and made to feel inferior? Maybe, but we should be careful. Black on black violence threatened our livelihood and our progress in the nineties and it is doing the same in the BEE era. And what is the other race doing? Sitting back and folding arms. And by the time our bickering eventually ends, we will wake up and realise that we have lost all that our forebears fought hard to attain.
Celebrate the achievements of another black person and see how liberating and motivating it is. Black man you’re on your own.