Friday, April 11, 2008

Congratulations to Mondli Makhanya for firing Bullard

Mondli Makhanya should be handed a trophy for giving Bullard the boot. Like Deon Maas, David Bullard seemed to enjoy the freedom, and in fact, he was payed to insult and racially abuse whoever he wishes, whilst simultaneously, basking in the privilege gained by British colonialism. Yes, he will be defended as simply doing his job. In fact, on another blog it was suggested that this fine art of insulting people, actually contributes to social dialogue and cohesion. Some would also argue that this 'freedom' is protected by our Constitution and that democracy by definition also means the right to still proclaim the supremacy of white people.

I have at a previous occasion already expressed my disagreement with the fact that people like Bullard, simply slips under the radar, by virtue of an appeal to the constitution. Yes, so it is argued, because of democracy, I may hurl racially motivated abuse at you, as long as I don't mention black, coloured, white, indian, let alone those more offensive Afrikaans terms used around the 'braaivleisvure, daar langs Loftus'. For most, the image of racist is simply reduced to the caricature of a bearded ET falling from his high horse, or the budding Leon Schusters at Reitz. Of course, we are none of the above and therefore an English journalist, with a passion for the finer things in life, the expensive tastes and luxuries which we all crave for, can never be racist. This is the dubious prerogative of Afrikaans speaking white people, from the 'platteland'. He, however, is hallowed as the benchmark of objective and fine journalism, he is the special guest at high-class social functions and where there is a break-in at his house, then he is paraded and presented as the ultimate South African victim, for whom we all have sympathy and tears.

In the mean time, he may continue and is paid to write black people as inherently stupid, incompetent, backward and ultimately the white man's (his) historical burden. Even in the wake of the cruel colonial system, which they, the English introduced and upheld violently, he was allowed to spew out his social Darwinism, to the delight of his readership. It was as if no-one was allowed to call him to task, because then it would have betrayed the shallowness and insecurities of black intellectualism, as he himself was portrayed, in his writings, as the paragon of post-colonial intellectual engagement; in fact, he embodies the best of independent thought in the new South Africa. I have to admit, though, that I stopped reading his column. I deprived myself of drinking from his well, hence I also missed his last swansong last Sunday, titled appropriately, 'Uncolonised Africa wouldn’t know what it was missing'. Thank be to God, as part of uncolonised Africa, I would also have been carving out rock art, at this point of time, instead of typing a blog; growling at my mate in our cave, if it wasn't for his British empire. I would not even had been Coloured, for that matter- maybe a non-coloured or colour-less, I don't know. What he failed to understand is that the reality of cultural exchange and bricolage is inherent in all cultures, it cannot be confused with the structural evils of slavery and colonialism.

Anyway, for Bullard and his ilk, the writing is on the wall; to Mondli Makhanya- a high five for making the brave call. It's journalists and settlers like Bullard, that give fuel to the cause of Forum for Black Journalists or the cantankerous, mad Bob, still fighting, the ghosts of the British Empire. The weird thing is this: Bullard and his clones will pop up somewhere again, as some social commentator, now with more to tell of how the new South Africa hunts down the white male. It happened with Maas, after his true colours showed too much at the Rapport. So, maybe we should not judge too hardly on Abbey and Bob, but evidently, the route of Mondli is highway- dealing decisively with the situation and not breeding a new kind of black racial nativism. This is the kind of brave leadership we need and remind me of a quote by Martin Luther King (jnr), who said 'Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everybody. Not a few times men (sic) who cherish lofty and noble ideas hide them under the bushel for fear of being called different'
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