It appears that America can learn a thing or two from South African leaders about unambiguously resisting right-wing extremism (and by “right-wing extremism,” I really just mean common, garden-variety white conservative racism) and calling white violence exactly what it is instead of beating around the cross-burning bush.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa didn’t bother mincing any words or pulling any punches when he spoke at the 111th-anniversary celebrations for the African National Conference (ANC) at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in Mangaung Jan. 8. During his speech, Ramaphosa called to the stage the Nakedi brothers, who went viral recently after a video showed them being attacked by three white men who allegedly tried to block them from entering a resort swimming pool they felt was for “white people only,” according to the brothers.
“We thank them that they are still alive,” Ramaphosa said of the two teens, according to News 24. “I saw one of them hitting one of the men with a fist. We thank you young men and we are saying what happened to you must not discourage you. You must be strong as young men.”
“The message I want to give to you is that the spirit of our forebears who fought against the apartheid system must fill you with courage as it does all of us,” he continued.
See, already, I like this guy. In the U.S., it’s not often that you’ll hear a president praise a Black teen for punching a racist white man. I mean, you have Donald Trump, who was essentially egging on his supporters to punch a protester for disrupting one of his MAGA-Klan-lite rallies, but that’s clearly not the same.
Anyway, Ramaphosa continued spitting hot anti-apartheid bars with no regard for the white fragility they might inspire.
“It was such a shameful act to see old, white men trying to throttle these young men and drown them in a pool underwater, the most shameful act to perpetrate against young boys like these,” he said. “And that is why they are my guests.
“Ke ya leboha bashimane le dule le tiile, le seke la tshaba makgoa [Thank you, young men, stay strong and do not fear white people]. Don’t fear white people, their time has passed, and they no longer have power, their apartheid is gone. Stay strong, young men,” Ramaphosa said.
Can you imagine all the red, white and blue blood vessels that would pop out of the sides of white conservatives’ necks if any Black politician in the U.S. had said, “Don’t fear white people, their time has passed?” I mean, they already think “white replacement theory” is a thing just because of the growing number of people of color in America. Just imagine the Fox News meltdown if a sitting president were to declare that it’s a rap on whiteness.
And after that, Ramaphosa was still not done letting racists know that nobody is playing with them in post-apartheid South Africa.
“To those in our country who still want to perpetuate racism, we say…today we do not want racists here in South Africa. If you want to practice your racist tendencies, South Africa is not the place to come and do that,” he said. “If you practice racism, we will make sure that you feel the might of the law because the people of South Africa will never, ever allow racism to reign in our country again, as Nelson Mandela the father of our democracy said.”
It’s just really interesting how, around the globe, those considered right-wing represent the perpetrators of bigotry and dated ideology while conservatives swear it’s they who are on the right side of history. (They never are, but the delusion keeps persisting, doesn’t it?)
From News 24:
Reporting back on the party’s strategy and tactics resolution, national executive committee member David Makhura said the ANC party was clear it had to act decisively on “right-wing” extremist groupings and incidents.
“We are heading to a dangerous place which is unacceptable. We must sharpen our response as long as the ANC is in charge.
“We cannot tolerate racism. We did not discuss specific instruments, like what legislation will be used. We said, at the state level, we need to sharpen our instruments.
“The South African government needs to be following through on our Constitution. I know that in dealing with racism, there may be specific proposals from other commissions on what needs to be done,” said Makhura this week.
Meanwhile, in the states, half of us are still pretending the Jan. 6, World War White People rebellion inspired by our aforementioned former president was anything less than right-wing extremism and white violence all wrapped up in one caucasified display of white nationalism at work.
In fact, it’s worth noting that Ramaphosa’s speech came two days after the two-year anniversary of the MAGA insurrection Republicans are still downplaying and defending.
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