Monday 1 April 2024

Unwanted: A Looter and Undesired Colour of His Skin

One person posted on Twitter that “Don't hate on those Indian and White men with big guns, rather we need to ask why black men don't have big guns. The reality of black households being women led is leading to a weak defenceless black society as seen in Phoenix. Be a man, get a gun!”

As a response to this post, Zibu Masotobe Sibiya opened an interesting debate on her Facebook wall on the same issue. She says that in her neighbourhood she saw 19 year olds on the streets with their daddies, guarding against looters. She adds that their dadddies “were armed, their mommies brought them soup and were grateful for their sacrifice.”

What triggered my attention from the discussion are Sibiya’s questions that enquired if the black community in particular was becoming effeminate and also if it can genuinely survive in that state. She seemed to suggest that the black community needed to decide whether masculinity was toxic or not.

Sibiya continued to ask if the black society was now ready to discuss “how we ignored the men when they complained about ‘emasculation’”. In a state of close to despair, she remarked that “…seeing young, empowered young men of other races protecting their neighbourhoods made me realise how my sons need some of that masculine energy I labelled toxic before.”

Interesting, isn’t it?

This country has grown to be familiar with feminist speak and excessive anti-men language. Sibiya’s comments are like a shattering glass in a mall. It is not easy to respond in one sentence. But the recognition that societies rely on their husbands and sons to survive is quite telling. Men in other societies, developed and rich, appear indispensable and take their roles seriously. 

From Russia to India and USA to Sweden and Stellenbosch, a male continues to perform a traditional role of provider and protector to his country. He leads political and economic expansion without shame or guilt. But when it comes to the black male he is constantly reminded that he is a problem. How can he re-claim his space in difficult times? Is he still capable to do this?

South Africa has just emerged from a days of riots that saw scores of black people killed in cold blood in areas around Durban. One notable tragedy occurred in the suburb of Phoenix, where mainly people of Indian descent reside. Now dubbed the ‘Phoenix massacre’, the members of the Indian community slaughtered innocent black people in purported acts of self defence.

Generally speaking, the Indians do not appear to have acted outside of the ordinary since communities were encouraged to defend their neighbourhoods against “looters”. Not only the Indian communities stepped up but also whites, taxi owners and clandestine groups emerged as heroes to stop the looters who were predominantly black and probably black male.

Defend our malls.

The riots nonetheless exposed what many people have always pinpointed as a national risk: too many guns and the exceptionally strong private security industry in South Africa. Private security initiatives easily outmuscled public security and this led to a fiasco unprecedented proportions. Not less than 300 people perished in just under a week in what now may be termed to be acts of ethnic cleansing against “ethnic mobilisers”.

South Africa is known for its unguarded vocabulary which in the past week transformed the mainly black voters and citizens in Gauteng and KZN provinces to “looters”. It is in this context of the reckless use of the language that South Africa has to deal with deaths of members of one race in the hands of another race.

It is against this brief background that the discussion about black men and ownership of guns started. There seems to be an appreciation that the black male is a persona non grata in society and that he is unable to stand up and defend his family and community. Of course, the debate involves guns in both figurative and non-figurative dimensions. A gun as a weapon means nothing in the bigger scheme besides taking innocent lives. But an imaginary gun is much more powerful to overcome adversity and threats that can be political, social, economic or otherwise.

The assertion is therefore that the position of a black man needs to be strengthened to allow him to become a central figure in the same way men of other races are doing. The question however is: Can the black man reclaim this space under the hostile conditions he finds himself? He is associated with “toxic masculinity”, violence and erratic behaviour.

When he was forced to share a prison cell with natives, Mahatma Ghandi wrote: “Many of the native prisoners are only one degree removed from the animal and often created rows and fought among themselves.” He also described black Africans  as “savage,” “raw” and living a life of “indolence and nakedness”. Over century later, the image of a black man has not changed a single bit.

Clearly, black men cannot reposition nor reassert themselves in a society that has already decided their fate.

At work, they are bamboozled or rejected in favour of white women and black sisters have also pushed hard to be recognised as “worst” victims of apartheid and other social crimes. This severely constrains the black man from earning a living that would in turn enable him to play a leader in his family and society. He is thoroughly rejected from the economic front as a beneficiary at the same level as white and Indian men, while he did not get anything for his hard work in the belly of the earth to extract ores that advanced other societies but his own.

In the social and political fronts, a black man is under immense pressure not only from white value systems but also from new norms that are driven from neoliberal ideologies like black feminism. The view is that a black is useless, kills and oppresses his own kind. Therefore, he cannot be trusted. The black man is alleged to a monster who abandons his own kids, hence the “absent father” phenomenon.

Hundreds of years that were devoted to reduce the status of the African male and family are suddenly ignored to drive home the idea that a black man is a problem. A black man is a monster who births and abandons his kids. “A black boy lacks a father figure,” so the line goes.

A father in a skirt?

The neoliberal experiment in the post-apartheid dispensation has contributed to the creation of a brazenly effeminate black society. For example, television and media words 24 hours around the clock to emasculate black males, as one American scholar put it, who have become extremely confused to distinguish between an anus and pussy.

Black men seem to have accepted their position as understudies of not just other males but black women as well.

Overtime, we have developed a weak-minded man that is overrun by other races with ease. Psychologically and physically, the black man is vulnerable and tentative. While men in other races are bullish in securing futures for their families and societies, the black man cowers and is unsure of who he is and what he is about.

It is not a coincidence that a black can be mowed down in Phoenix and Marikana without any recourse. His fellow black man is a coward and a tool used by men of other races to achieve their nefarious ends. A black man would defend his oppressor with pride, and turn his back on his own. This is a psychological challenge than cannot be overcome through a simple process of owning a gun.

Black men do own guns, mainly illegal, that they use to commit suicidal acts against themselves and sometimes to kill their families. Proliferation of arms in black communities from the Cape Flats to Mamelodi has been actively sponsored not because blacks have to defend themselves like Indians in Phoenix or whites in Utrecht and Ballito, but to ensure that they exterminate their population.

Moreover, the guns that are found in South Africa, both legal and illegal, are there to marshall a mysterious black man who is a criminal. One does not need to go far to see merit in this claim. People who were killed in Phoenix, Marikana, Colgny, etc. are overwhelmingly black and male. The death rate of young black males is close to no any other group.

A “looter” is black and predominantly male, he is supposed to die and will get no justice. Black men are candidates for extermination who are guilty even they have committed no crime. The hue of their skin was sufficient to warrant the use of an assault rifle like an AK-47 to exterminate them.

Just fear a black man for all what he is…

The death of voices who have been preaching the rule of law in the past weeks is gobsmacking, to say the least. The law is selective in punishing transgressions and outright violation of rights of Africans. The mere fact that not a single individual has been arrested and charged for the Phoenix killings, then people will continue to question the fairness of the law.

In the memory of Mambushi, Mthokozisi Ntumba, Fort Calata and many others, the Africans killed in cold blood in Phoenix deserve justice.

Siya yi banga le economy!

Source: Hadebe Hadebe

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...