‘Whites still enjoying apartheid benefits’
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Cape Town -
The Khoi and San people are not myths of the past but rightful citizens who should be recognised and respected, said the paramount chief of the Gorachouqua people, Hennie van Wyk, on Friday.
He was speaking from the audience at a Racism Dialogue panel discussion organised by the Human Sciences Research Council in Cape Town.
Van Wyk said the government had failed to recognise indigenous people, and was instead letting white people enjoy the same benefits they had enjoyed under apartheid.
He described Orania in the Northern Cape as an example of how white people were enjoying recognition while indigenous groups were suffering discrimination.
“It is nice to discuss racism here, but there is no real change. You do not have the answers, but together with the people on the ground we can come up with the solution.”
He said the Khoi and the San people experienced racism every day, but none of their experiences was recognised. Instead, the government was trying to “write us into the history of the Nguni people”.
Panelist Sarah Henkeman of the centre for criminology at UCT said racism was a structure of invisible violence which manifested itself by criminalising blackness. She described being followed by a shop security guard as one of the ways in which racism informed perceptions of people of colour.
Adam Haupt of the centre for film and media studies at UCT, said media reports were also driving racist behaviour. He accused the media of unbalanced reporting when they reported road closures as a result of protests, but not the reason for the protests.
“When UCT students do the same, it becomes big news,” he said, warning against “neo-liberal policies leading to engendered and racist reporting”.
HSRC chief executive Crain Soudien said the purpose of the dialogue was to create a platform for debate.
“We know a lot about race, but we do not know much about racism.”