Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.
Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

#PoeticLicence: The DA’s Phoenix poster debacle is a case of white privilege

By Rabbie Serumula Time of article published Oct 10, 2021

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Johannesburg - Explaining privilege to a person born into it, is as futile as explaining colour to a person born blind.

Ignorance of the law is no defence against criminal charges, and the same should apply to ignorance of one's racism.

Lets use our pothole ridden roads as an example. Freeways are prohibited to pedestrians and cyclists. If you are found to be walking along or across freeways you can be arrested whether you know this or not.

Lest we forget that any reckless action by a pedestrian along a roadway is considered a crime. Jaywalking is forbidden. You could even be fined for walking while intoxicated.

I saw the loathsome, racist posters levitating on street poles, alongside pothole ridden roads, put up by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Phoenix, northwest of Durban.

The posters reminded me of the mandingo fight to the death scene from the movie Django Unchained: two mandingos, Big Fred and Luigi, were having a bloody and savage fight to the death in a closed room.

Big Fred was Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) slave. He beat Luigi to a pulp. Fiction clanked and cracked the floor when Candie threw the hammer down and screamed:

“Finish him! go on boy, finish him!” - this is how I interpreted the DA’s messaging on its local government election posters.

Those posters were the hammer, and the street poles the ground. KwaZulu-Natal DA chairperson Dean Macpherson played Calvin Candie. DA leader John Steenhuisen was Stephen, Candie’s mentor, the scowling house-slave who is even more twisted and wicked than his petulant master.

The posters, which read: "The ANC called you racists," and: "The DA calls you heroes," referred to alleged racial tension in the Durban town. Between the Africans and the Indian community, you can decide who is Big Fred and who is Luigi.

There was a bloody and savage fight to the death in Phoenix in July. The soils in the town were nourished by blood when 359 people died in the violence. A civil war.

But there are no heroes in war. Just victims.

Two wrongs excel at failing to produce a right. You can’t use a panga to cut racial tension.

There are no heroes in Phoenix, just vigilantes and criminals. No bird with feathers fashioned in magma, nor lava nor flames, will rise in Phoenix. The dead only come back to live in The Walking Dead.

Yes, white privilege is a gateway drug to racism. Explaining this to a person of privilege is as futile as explaining colour to a person born blind.

Macpherson apologised for the unsanctioned posters.

After initially defending the divisive posters, setting alight a bird with feathers dosed in petrol, Steenhuisen made a complete turnabout, distancing himself from the controversy.

The DA City of Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams was the latest member of the party to openly criticise their handling of the election posters. Racism is a crime, therefore being ignorant of your racism is too.

The Saturday Star

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