David Bullard, popular columnist for the Sunday Times was axed about two weeks ago for publishing a story entitled “Uncolonised Africa wouldn’t know what it was missing“. The reason proffered for his axing was that the article was racist and derogatory towards non-whites and Africans in particular. Having read the piece, I cannot understand what all the fuss is about. I found it to be satirical, slightly demeaning, but no less so than other similar articles. I have found Bullard’s other articles in the past to be much more inflammatory. The article and subsequent axing has caused much consternation among all South Africans, resulting in vile accusations couched in hatred, emanating from all sides of the population.
Why is it after more than ten years of democracy and an ANC-led government in South Africa, does race play such a big part in the daily lives of everyone. Black and White (and let’s not forget the other races) seem to be constantly goading and baiting each other with taunts that are either racially based or construed as such. Even common criticism of any particular groups of people, for example the government are considered to be racist. Can anyone say anything that will be considered as not condescending, inflammatory, demeaning or racist. South African society has become so hung up with this race based thing, that it hangs like a dark cloud over everyone, the only constant in our lives, apart from death and the taxman.
Given their past history, I can understand non-white South Africans being particularly sensitive to anything closely resembling racism, but it’s time to lighten up. All commentary, written or verbal is not cloaked in racial abuse. You need to distinguish between blatant racism, overt racism and parody or satire, and respond appropriately. White South Africans on the other hand need not embroil themselves unnecessarily in striking back or provoking further reaction. They could also learn to be a little more circumspect about what they say, without resorting to hiding their true feelings outright.
Maybe more time needs to pass before South Africans of all colours will learn to accept each other. Maybe the past is still too vivid in the minds of many, mostly non-Whites. Maybe future prospects are a serious concern for others, mostly Whites. Which may well mean that the past and future is making it difficult for people to come together in the present. Whatever the case, race based hatred is boring, tiresome, sickening and mundane. We all need to make a concerted effort to lift ourselves out of this rut. The consequences of not trying? You figure it out…