Demonstrators take part in a protest outside Parliament in Cape Town against the killing of George Floyd in the United States and Collins Khosa, pictured on the poster, in Alexandra Township near Johannesburg. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/AP
Demonstrators take part in a protest outside Parliament in Cape Town against the killing of George Floyd in the United States and Collins Khosa, pictured on the poster, in Alexandra Township near Johannesburg. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/AP

Fighting Afrophobia, patriarchy and racism in South Africa

By Precious Banda Time of article published Jun 12, 2020

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News of the killing of George Floyd in the US by the American racist police touched every corner of the world.

Media reports and social media shared the rage we all felt; we all united behind the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Black people from different countries demonstrated their anger.

Social media in Africa and South Africa was not left behind; political organisations spoke out and condemned the killing of Floyd in that brutal manner.

Coincidentally, South Africa had just lost Collins Khosa, who had died at the hands of soldiers.

Black people elsewhere have a similar past of oppression and subjugation. I wondered why here in South Africa there was so much outrage and protests for Floyd and so little for Khosa.

This was an indictment on us as black people with our inherited prejudiced classism also perpetuated by ourselves.

If black lives matter, Floyd matters as much as Khosa matters.

South Africa has successfully built a bad name for itself in Africa for being known to look down on other African nationalities. This perception is cemented by the continuous xenophobic attacks that are usually spin doctored and called all sorts of names to justify them. It is in fact not only xenophobia but also racist and Afrophobic.

With the past xenophobic attacks and the stigmatisation and criminalisation of African foreign nationals, my conscience revolts when I attempt to proudly say #BlackLivesMatter. If black lives really matter, Afrophobia has to fall.

Again this year, we learnt of how racism manifests in our ally China. Black people who are in China receive the harshest conditions.

If black lives matter, we must be able to tell the Chinese the truth and to freely condemn their communist capitalism which is hidden in the name of a progressive nation whom we share trenches with in the struggle against the historical imperialist states.

While we were busy with lectures and programmes on black lives matter and our fight against racism, we received the news of the killing of Naledi Pangindawo from Mossel Bay.

My observation is that whenever there is an outrage for the killing of women and children, we stand alone as women especially young women.

Lastly, black lives will really matter the day we give the displaced majority back their land. It will matter the day we change the structure of the economy as it concerns the poor majority. It will matter the day we develop the skills of the majority and decolonise education.

Black lives will matter when we change the social position of the poor majority.

Black lives matter when we commit to fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment. Black lives matter when people are treated with dignity.

And when hunger and homelessness are fought against, black lives matter when we fight corruption and we don’t steal from the people. Indeed, black lives should matter!

* Banda is the national convenor of the ANCWL YWD and a member of the YCLSA national committee.

** The views expressed here are not nececessarily those of IOL.

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