Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ay cha, Black People!

Just so we're clear and on the same page. I am as black as they come. My parents experienced the struggle at it's nastiest, when blacks turned to each other to fight among themselves in the early 90's. I was too young to understand at the time, but I hear stories of how Esikhawini was a focal point of some of the violence and unrest.

My identity as an African spans more than my complexion, language, DNA or the place I was born, and the land of my forefathers. I am told, by my mother, though admittedly reluctantly, that she, therefore I, have Khoi/San blood in me. It is true that every human being on earth shares their genetic code with these amazing people, though for me, I am told is somewhat closer.

I have a brother/family friend who has Indian ancestry. My other siblings and I sometimes horse around when he exhibits somewhat 'Indian' behavior. What makes him an African? What makes any of us Africans? Where does our identity lie? The truth is, at the time I first drafted this column, I had no idea what the word Africa means or who named this great continent.

All that said, I understand the legacy left by the Apartheid regime, which has since been defeated and removed from power. It cannot be avoided that residual results of this era still remain with us today. But, we are all born to die, yet our ideas seem to have less predictable lifespans. The ideals we choose to leave to our children have unquestionably great consequences to the future of any nation.

Now, what troubles me most is not so much the ideas that live on long after the elders die off, but the nature of the ideas that do survive. It saddens me to watch on the news incidents of the looting of local and foreign owned establishments particularly by my own people, the blacks. This has been such common occurrence that when black people see these things being done by their brethren, they-we comment saying 'abantu abamnyama!' (black people!).

This to me seems like a justification of the behavior exhibited by these unruly individuals, that it is okay just 'cause they're black. What is being an African? We are the ones destroying libraries, burning clinics, throwing sh1t and stopping our children from going to school. That's us. Black people. What does it mean to be an African?

Nelson Mandela had an ideal that tried to act against the division of Africans and sought an African conglomeration by Africans for Africa. He went to prison still having not achieved this. He saw how if we would all organize ourselves, we could become formidable, a force to be reckoned with and be able to stand against our oppressors. We failed to do so for many more years.

Yet here we are today, fighting against our new oppressors; ourselves. But maybe I am looking at it too gloomily, if that is a word. Or maybe I am pussy-footing around a myriad of much more serious issues. The gist of all this, I guess...I actually do not know what the purpose of this column is, but I think we should look at ourselves and try to fix the kinks where it does not look so good.

Don't get me wrong. I am not here to judge or scold. If I have come across as such, I apologize. We are black, so they call us. But who are we really? And are we happy about what we see?

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