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The People vs Red October

By Sipho Singiswa

Many will wonder at how almost less than six months before its 20th anniversary celebrations present-day South Africa is still plagued by racist, white supremacist hate speech spewed forth by the likes of Dan Roodt, Sunette Bridges and Steve Hofmeyr. These views get peddled and masqueraded as “freedom of speech” yet the content is purposefully intended to continue to insult and frustrate the human rights of the indigenous South African community. This is made abundantly clear in the Red October’s publications, including its Facebook pages and vile dehumanising utterances made by both its leaders and its minority support.

However it is clear to me what political shenanigans are behind this movement. As South Africa is preparing for the 2014 general elections, the leaders of these right-wing groups are simply being opportunistic and testing the ground for political manoeuvring, as well as trying to consolidate a general unity of the loose right-wing elements. They do this by inflating and exploiting the general paranoia of the privileged white minority in South Africa, which perceives itself as besieged by blackness. These white supremacists then go on to present themselves as a safety net, the great white saviour of white culture and values. To achieve this they are prepared to concoct hatred and lies, quote dubious statistics from phony sources and procure African names to hide behind while they continue to dehumanise African people. They do this by rehashing old and generally shared white supremacist views.

The white supremacists, as well as the less vocal white moderates, suffer selective amnesia with regards the indigenous people’s liberation struggle history. They forget that with few resources and lots of will black people took back this country. Perhaps a God complex afflicts the white supremacists. They frequently flaunt white persecution narratives and concoct genocide theories — this while the minority white South Africa continues to enjoy exclusive social privileges that are inaccessible to the majority indigenous African people. They continue to own huge tracts of prime land, including game parks, and live in affluent suburbs in big mansions with huge landscaped gardens — while the majority of Africans — who have no real land that they can call their own — are reduced to living in squatter camps and mostly surviving on less than a dollar a day. This social injustice has resulted in centuries of poverty and untold hardship for the majority, yet mostly the minority white South Africa continues to stubbornly turn a blind eye to this reality because, for some obscure reason it has convinced itself that South Africa is the white people’s God-given mini Europe.

It is no wonder that lately many young black South Africans are becoming more angry and vocal while grappling with the question of who exactly is free in South Africa. This distasteful barrage of dehumanising racist insults is an assault to the human dignity of black people and does not go unnoticed by the intended targets of this vitriol. This tension is purposefully fuelled by the groups such as Red October as well as publications such as die Praag, yet for some reason they seem to be getting away with this despite the fact that hate speech is a contravention of human rights.

We are also aware that some of these formations enjoy all forms of support from the conservative white corporate South Africa and western-based sources that are also upping this racist doctrine and hate speech campaign against black South African people.

Also noted is the deafening silence from the usually very vocal, but whitewashed liberal NGOs and freedom of expression activists, to this resurgence of racist insults and hate speech directed at the black community — as well as the calls advocating violence against and even advocating the killing of black people by the members and supporters of these white supremacy formations as can be seen in the photo and screengrab below. It is double standards like this that highlight the hypocrisy of the gatekeepers of our current media and civil-society landscape.

Red October 1
This Red October event photo can be found on the the Trotse Herstigte Federale Suid-Afrikaners Teen Rassehaat en Rassisme Facebook page. A group that has been recording hate speech found on social media.

Hate4
This commentary was to be found on Bridges’ Facebook site. Here is a link to an album that has made screengrabs.

However, most puzzling and unacceptable is that the government of the day has not taken action against these transmitters of white racism and hatred. Perhaps they are waiting for the moment when these supremacists, drunk from the racist hatred they have been concocting and imbibing, and emboldened by the government’s lack of action against them, take to the streets and butcher a couple of innocent black people.

As an ex-MK and Robben Island prisoner, I did not fight in the struggle to accept an ongoing apartheid-based racist onslaught against my people.

Let it be known that we, the indigenous people of South Africa will not accept this dehumanising hate speech and blatant racism directed at the black South African population.

We call on government and all black people to take issue with this campaign of hatred, vitriol and racist defamation of the black people of South Africa.

The people united, will never be defeated!

Sipho Singiswa is the director of Media for Justice — (People’s voices for social justice and human rights.) www.mediaforjustice.net

He is heading up the campaign: The People vs Red October.

To join this campaign click here.

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