Press "Enter" to skip to content

Rainbow nation my foot!

Black consciousness as a political movement may be suffering from a image crisis in this age of non-racism and rainbow-nationhood, but once in a while events remind us of how its teachings remain as relevant as when they first surfaced at black universities in the 1960s and early 1970s.

For it were the Zim-Zims (as the black-consciousness adherents were unfondly labelled) who sang Lamabhunu awasoze Alunge ngoba ano-mona (These Boers will never come right, they are too mean-spirited/jealous).

It was their intellectual fountainhead, Steve Biko, who said that just like the Jews knew that if they forgot they were Jewish, a gentile would remind them, therefore blacks who forgot they were black stood to be reminded by whites.

The cancellation of the Springbok ticker-tape parade through Soweto is a harsh reminder of the reality of South Africa and its non-changing racial attitudes. It is a reminder to those, like me, who might have been caught up in the euphoria of the moment and the trappings of middle-class life that we dare never forget that South Africa is still a black and white country.

While one was prepared to overlook that it was Ashwin Willemse and Zola Yeye who carried President Thabo Mbeki on their shoulders and pretend that it was the team that did so, the Bok management and attitude towards the people of Soweto tell us that as far as rugby is concerned, it is still 1977.

I am embarrassed that I own a Springbok rugby jersey. I am ashamed that I have chastised friends who say rugby is a white sport, saying that it belongs to all of us. I was looking forward to watching the Currie Cup final this year just like I have over the years. I need to apologise to my friends for making them watch the last FA Cup final haphazardly because it coincided with the Super 14 final between the Bulls and the Sharks.

Soweto is not just a township. Just like Auschwitz is not just another town in Poland. It is symbolic of the historical evolution of a society.

Now they cancel the trip at the last moment when they had previously indicated that they would be going.

Rugby has spit on the face of the darkies who swarmed the streets late into last Saturday night celebrating what they naively thought was their national team’s victory. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

I am keen to hear how white apologists dribble themselves out of this one.

As things stand, I may as well adopt the rules of engagement. The lines are clearly drawn. Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela can keep their rainbow-nation illusion.