I would have loved to write this article in my own native language, but Thought Leader does not make allowance for its black columnists to write in a language understood by most of the 42 million blacks in our country. It is a guideline of the blog that we must write in a language historically spoken by a minority to communicate to a country that has blacks in the majority. But this is not something unique to Thought Leader; everywhere in this beautiful country of ours, we black people are expected to bend over backwards to accommodate white people, who have no desire or inclination to meet us halfway. It has become expected of us that we must perpetually bend over backwards to make whites comfortable, even if it is at our own expense.

So please understand that the only reason this is written in English is that my own native language, which is superficially recognised as an official language by my country’s Constitution, is not acceptable to Thought Leader. I do not pretend to understand the logic behind the argument that we must write in English, firstly because it is difficult for some of us to express ourselves well in a language which is not even our third language, and secondly because English is not the most spoken language in the country. If demographic facts are taken into consideration, starting with the fact that blacks make up over a two-thirds majority in this country and no black person’s native language is English, it becomes laughable to want to argue that most people speak English as opposed to any other language. I suppose the real truth is either that powers that be in Thought Leader believe that only whites read their blog or that the blog, like every other publication in this country, has effectively rendered native languages as inferior and unworthy of being learned or used as a medium of communication.

The aim of this article is not to bash Thought Leader but rather, to highlight an injustice that has become institutionalised in our country: the genocide waged against native languages. Everywhere in our country there is an institution contributing to the complete annihilation of Afrikan languages while simultaneously claiming to be democratic, to be for the people by the people. And yet, the people who are a majority are not even allowed to write their own languages on publications like this one. This begs for honest dialogue particularly among black people who are on the receiving end of this injustice waged with the assistance of a government that is a gate-keeper of white privilege, the very reason for the subjugation of those who have the misfortune of having more melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis.

The government of our country, by refusing to deal with the education system with the urgency that is required, is contributing to the white supremacist atmosphere, primarily because the education philosophy is itself designed to preserve white culture and a bastardised history that seeks to suggest that the black narrative has always been one of complete hopelessness and defeatism, altered only when the white messiah set foot on the Afrikan soil. Having studied history in high school, I had the misfortune of being subjected to five years of false logic that seeks to suggest that Afrika knew no glory before colonialism. It is a history that seeks to obliterate from our consciousness anything that indicates that Afrikan people could pioneer great things. This is a narrative that amplifies moments of our systematic defeat as a people: the apartheid era, the Rwanda genocide, Mfecane and all things that are in fact a product of imperial devastation.

Nowhere in this narrative does the glory of Mapungubwe take centre stage. Nowhere does it speak of Great Zimbabwe and of all things great which had no colonial influence. And so, by the time a young black person leaves school, we leave thinking that there must be something quiet not right about our humanity, something that has to do with the colour of our skin. This creates fertile ground for what the white supremacist ideology intends: blacks doing their best to divorce themselves from anything associated with blackness and trying very hard to fit into the white world that we will never belong in. And make no mistake; we will never belong because in that world, the odds are stacked against us. In that world, a black child’s intelligence is measured by how well he articulates in English, a language that is not his own, but a white child’s intelligence is never measured by their command of isiXhosa or xiTsonga. And still, we will keep hurling our bodies against this high wall to fit into this world, to accommodate those who occupy it.

Nothing angers me more than black parents who have assimilated to the thinking informed by white supremacist logic, thinking which suggests that there is everything inferior about everything indigenous. These parents will even go to the extent of raising children who can barely speak their own native languages, but whose command of English could shame the Queen. This is a tragic injustice, a crime against black civilisation. We cannot allow a situation where blacks are being used as gate-keepers to preserve colonial culture at the expense of our own heritage and struggle. Black parents must be forced to understand that there is NOTHING intelligent or progressive about a black child who is detached from the very thing that defines the essence of his humanity. It begins with socialising the black child into an understanding that there is nothing wrong with being Afrikan, but everything wrong with bending over backwards to appease a minority that has no interest in anything but preserving its own dominant ideas which have permeated into society’s consciousness like coiling miasma.

It’s time to start defending black humanity without apology or fear of being labelled racist. We are in a perpetual state of seeking affirmation and approval from whites. This must stop NOW. We owe whites nothing!


  • Malaika Wa Azania, an AU African Youth Charter Ambassador for the SADC Region, is a pan Afrikanist Socialist, a feminist and the founder of Afrikan Voices of the Left journal, a publication of Pen and Azanian Revolution (Pty) Ltd, of which she's the Director. She is the former Secretary General of the African Youth Coalition, a pan-Africanist federation of civil society youth organisations in Africa, a free-lance writer, social commentator, activist and essayist. Above all, she's a daughter of the soil!


Malaika Wa Azania

Malaika Wa Azania, an AU African Youth Charter Ambassador for the SADC Region, is a pan Afrikanist Socialist, a feminist and the founder of Afrikan Voices of the Left journal, a publication of Pen and...

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