OPINION | Gory picture of the present mimicking the past

todayJuly 10, 2023 572 1

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Scenes of VIP Protection detail attached to Deputy President, Paul Mashatile, emptying three passengers on board a blue Polo vehicle with kicks, slaps, and open display of arms on the N1 Highway, was a gory picture of the present mimicking the past.

Those familiar with this brazen scenery say the sway of this bravado on public roads typifies worldwide conduct of blue light brigades. If it is so, South Africa must then rank as the most boisterous ever to put up such a signature show of blue light brigades, on home soil, so audaciously.

What this illustrates is that if history is teaching us nothing then the present is doomed to mimic the ugly scenes of the past for brutality to recur in the future. This is it. The angry state of our nation is finding expression on the roads.

The icy scenes hovering like dark clouds over South Africa’s motorways make it hard to believe reciprocal human kindness will soon melt into mutual driving pleasure to calm the anger raging on our roads.

That it had to be black road users on the receiving end of this cruel show-stopping highway piece, did not surprise either. Self-hate tends to make black folks to be ready material for all sorts of abuse to be heaped on them. When it comes to blacks, the bar of the permissible is notably at its lowest point. So does the ill-temper of oppressive power descend the weight of abuse on them.

In case the implicated protection personnel has no clue what has this to do with, then they must listen to Paulo Freire analysing the minds of the colonised, in the exercise of public power, to see themselves in the picture: “For to be, is to be like, and to be like is to be like the coloniser.”

Dismaying the most, is the complexion of the foot wearing the boot doing the kicking post-independence. With the colonial legacy serving as a standing reference point, the liberating Moses behaves as atrociously as the oppressive Pharoah. Thus is the pre-liberation dream of the land of milk and honey reduced to an unending betraying nightmare.

In the twisted mind of the colonised, whiteness is no sphere for bad treatment but blackness is deserving of all the humiliation that can be mustered.

By extension rarely would white road users easily fit moving profile to be the recipients of cruelty so brazenly meted out to the blue polo occupants.

This is what the N1 Highway Road show of ill-tempered exercise of power denotes.

Confirmation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) that the assaulted were all military trainees, adds a sour taste of lack of exemplarity from within the very ranks of the public sphere.

Lack of evenhandedness was like what was demonstrable during the application of COVID-19 regulations under National State of Disaster to black and white citizens.

Whites were politely asked to abide by the rules. Blacks were ‘taught a lesson’ in a language it is believed they will understand. Being sjambokked, kicked and rifle butted to effect compliance is the language with which blacks were spoken to.

This happened despite prior warning from the President Cyril Ramaphosa for authority figures not to do so at the announcement of the applicable lockdown regulations on March 26, 2020.

Colins Khosa, a resident of Alexandra Township was the recipient of ‘skop, skiet and donner’ mindset. Khoza was kicked, slapped and the beer, retrieved from his fridge, emptied over his battered body. He did not live to tell the tale.

The autopsy of Khosa’s body concluded that blunt force trauma to the head is what killed him. There are no testimonies of white ‘wrongdoers’ experiencing such gratuitous violence.

Official SANDF inquiry to Khoza’s demise, headed by then Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, went into a mystifying bureaucratic rigmarole to figure out the outcome of who was to be held accountable for Khosa’s death.

This illustrates the cruel disrespect reserved for black life. What kind of blacks are these so eager to be the first to put a wrong foot forward to inflict harm on black bodies, lives, and dignity? Non-whites, Biko called them.

But Biko did not leave matter there without sparing a thought for these wayward non-whites’ behaviour: “It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality.”

The eagerness by non-whites and non-Europeans to unleash cruelty on black folks is the stuff by which wounded mindsets are perpetuated.

At their worst, colonial mindsets find joy in tears black folks. This was in a graphic display on the SANDF trainees being pounced upon. Written by Oupa Ngwenya

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the content belong to the author and not Y, its affiliates, or employees.

About the author

Oupa Ngwenya is a Corporate Strategist, Writer and Freelance Journalist.


Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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