Racist smasist

“There is not a lot of mixing,” said Nokwanda Khanyile, 21, a business student from Durban. “The coloreds stick to themselves. The whites, too.”    ̶  By LYDIA POLGREEN, taken from New York Times.

 

So I have only recently (and by recently I mean 5 minutes ago) caught wind of the whole #capetownisracist vs #capetownisawesome* saga, which I will admit left me feeling very white and middle class as I generally like to keep updated on what’s going on around me, not only in South Africa but the world, something that sadly not very many middle class South Africans…or maybe human beings like to do…yes people there are a reason these stereotypes exist, and by Thor I will abuse them even if it is just to annoy some of you.

 *Just an aside…and I feel like this article may be full of them (was that just an aside to an aside), is that surely a better retort to #capetownisracist would have been #capetownisnotracist? You might as well of used #Cape Town admits it’s racist but gee wiz it’sawesome.

So about 7minutes ago now I was sitting in front of my computer, which is so old I might as well be sending out smoke signals to all of you, reading an article titled: In Cape Town, Many Black South Africans Feel Unwelcome . The article summed up rather well what the whole debate or controversy around Cape Town is at the moment rather well.

Basically a bunch of stupid people, that live in an amazing city that have found yet another thing to complain about.

BUT WAIT…step away from the comment button otherwise known as the ‘waste my time with stupid comments button’ …unless you agree with me then comment away. Okay let me stop screwing around.

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t racists in Cape Town, because let’s face it there are, we live in South Africa people, we made hating on people because of their colour the law, obviously there are going to be some racists hanging around clutching onto their old flags not having left their houses since 1994 in case ‘the blacks’ get them, and likewise there are still some racists clutching onto their MK uniforms…which have somehow morphed into ANCYL t-shirts screaming: Dubul ibhunu aka Shoot the Boer. Yes, I’m being dramatic but you get my point right?

There are racists, here…there…everywhere. I’m not pretending to know much about what the exact politics of Cape Town are and I’m sure there are some major issues, but really now, the article which is probably going to be seen by thousands of international readers paints South Africa in a really awful light and what’s more it doesn’t actually talk to those people who live outside of thecity centre and its mountainside inner suburbs, in the distant townships on the Cape Flats’. Interview a person in the Cape Flats get their views then I will listen, get what the actual sentiment is from the people who are actually affected then I will listen.

What’s more is that the spatial issues are highlighted as racial issues not only in the article but in the context of the whole argument. People are not bound to certain areas because of race but because of economic constraints and past relocation’s by the shitty shitty Apartheid government.

That brings me to another point, birds of a feather flock together. The feather could be race, culture, religion, choice of music, choice of political parties, for flips sake it could be choice of hair colour. But people who are similar stick together, perhaps its a defence mechanism or just because they like people who are similar to them. That’s a fact.

Those of you who attended WITS University can attest to this. The majority of Indians sat on the library lawn steps, Black students hung out in the Matrix, White students hung out on the lawns, Asian students hung out in the computer labs (bad joke?) and everyone used to hang out on the Great Hall steps. It’s not like there was racial tension, not like there weren’t for example Indian people sitting on the lawn. It’s just what happens, for whatever reason it’s what happens I don’t think it makes anyone racist!

Do we as South Africans not get confused between misunderstanding or not knowing ‘the other’ as racism because it is so prevalent in our history?

If the inner city of Cape Town is racist then surely the Cape Flats can be seen as racist to, as I’m sure if a skinny jean clad UCT student waltzed through there they would feel unwelcome?  According to the criteria set out in parts of the article the whole world is racist because people who are different feel unwelcome all the time. Is Tiger Tiger in Fourways racist? Because the times I have been there (and left with me ears bleeding and ready to set fire to the next girl who said OMG while drinking a bottle of Spin) I have felt very unwelcome, but that’s because I’m different not because I’m white.

Perhaps I’m just an idealist but I really don’t see this as a race issue, more of a people are retarded and bitchy issue.

 

 

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As luck would have it

I was talking to a good friend of mine on the weekend about a number of things as the conversation wound down I said with a sigh: “oh well that’s life” !

He turned to look at me clutching his ice cold Hansa that I was admittedly eyeing out and said: “No”

“No, it’s not life, I’ve been alive for 24 years and it’s not life.”

When someone breaks into our house and only steals the entire contents but no one is hurt they are not lucky and it is not part of life. As South Africans we have become accustomed to certain very harsh realities about life here. One of them is that no matter how high your fences are or how high-tech your alarm system is there is a very real chance that at any point your house could get broken into. So often family members are either beaten or raped or murdered for no real reason, so we call the people who were tied up and harassed ‘lucky’ because they were not killed in the process.

When I was growing up I thought being lucky was finding a Smartie I had dropped a month ago on the floor of my mom’s car, then as I grew older it became getting lucky which involved a older boy from K.E.S and the St John’s Valentines social. Now if I’m lucky I can have my possessions taken from me without being killed.

It’s not life we are not lucky and just plain nonsense.

By calling ourselves lucky not to be raped and shot are we not enabling in a sense? I can foresee the hate mail flooding in already; but are we not in a sense making it okay and normalising the problem. Is it ingrained in our thinking because we have been exposed to it for so long? If violent crime…or crime in general happened less in South Africa would it be dealt with more harshly would it be frowned upon more?

When Whitney Houston is on the front cover of the newspaper and shoved in the dark corners where no one really bothers to look are the stories of the kidnappings, rapes, robberies and murders; surely we have a problem?

Although being Whitney Houston is the greatest crime of all…some may argue.

You realise that you have a choice right?

I have a friend who hates his job. I asked him why he carries on doing it and he can’t answer me as too why he continues to…well continue.

Dear Reader, one of the most talented South African bands ever to grace my ears wrote a song called ‘Way of the World’; the lyrics went something like this:

Driving to work, it takes you two hours
You’re stuck in the traffic with hundreds and thousands
Of people who drag themselves out of bed at 4 AM every day
And you don’t know how it got to this point
Where you feel so guilty for not working harder
But you’re working weekends, and your mates
They hardly ever see your face

As much as we like to deny it its seems true of the majority of us,  we sit through the daily grind never quite being terribly unhappy but never really being happy, yet we all seem content to float through every day in a haze.

It’s that feeling you get in the early hours of the morning when you know you are going to have to wake up very soon yet you are still half asleep. These few minutes when even the sun hasn’t quite woken up yet is the most important time in the day. They may seem inconsequential but those minutes are the minutes where you decide to continue or to stop and choose a path that you truly want to follow.

We take this time for granted, not realising you have the opportunity to make a decision, a life changing decision every morning, yet the moment passes all of us by and you peel your eye lids open, stretch and roll out of bed, blinded by the morning light that sends you stumbling around looking for something to throw on before chugging down some orange juice and corn flakes hoping it will you will ‘get it all this morning’.

I struggle to understand why people put themselves through this.

Not to be naive, I understand that there are many South Africans who simply don’t have a choice in what they do, however hard they try, the  deadly mixture of a past government who didn’t care about the majority of the population and a present government who simply pretends to care…which is worse I don’t know.

I happen to be what seems to be one of the lucky few that actually loves my job, I get to write all day surrounded by about 30 of the most talented and intelligent women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Yet it is still a struggle to pull myself out of bed…after all however much I love it it’s still a job. I’m sure there are days when Jimi Hendrix didn’t want to get on stage, days when  Obama would rather just roll over and go back to sleep, days when Donald Trump would rather not put on his toupee and buy yet another piece of real estate.  Yet it must surely be a love of what they do or did that pulls their weary bodies out of bed.

So if majority of the world is not particularly happy with their jobs or lives for that matter why don’t they decide to do something that they love, the decision seems simple enough. I guess we just have to realise we have the decision to make.