Rise Of Racism Essay

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Time and ties tell no lies, racism is indeed a killer disease only the unprivileged suffer from its outcomes.  I was only 19 years of age when my life took a humongous U-turn.  If I had known then that the colour of my skin would be so much of a problem to the livelihood of others, and that in its problematic nature it also has the potential to threaten the comfortability of my freedom to exist, perhaps I would have prepared the 19 years old me to be mentally fit for the road I was yet to travel.

My name is Modiegi Kgowa and I am a 22 years old young adult from a small township called Ivory Park in Midrand Gauteng.  Ivory Park where potholes and sewage water from dripping drains decorate the territory of our black bodies and mark circular margins of skwatta camps, gang violence, elevated crime rate, my goodness the list is endless.

Being black in a white man’s world is too much of a burden to bear, however the most unfortunate part about growing up black is living life through the curse of Racism in a democratic country.  I finished my matric in 2012 and I was fortunately or rather unfortunately awarded the opportunity to go study at the University of Cape Town in 2013, there I was enrolled and still are enrolled for BSc in Chemistry and Human Anatomy.

I say fortunate because it is such a prestigious reward to be black and be able to study in a university of such high standards like UCT with my mother having not paid a cent for my fees, but the misfortune of being black in a white dominated university such as UCT comes with systematic social exclusion, institutionalised Racism, cultural oppression and religious segregation.  The saddening experience about all of this forms of apartheid or rather “divide and concur” tactics, is that they feed themselves using explicit invasive forces of hatred masqueraded by lies and subtle emotional abuse.

In my first year of study at university of Cape Town I became yet another statistic amongst the many black students who left their homes with such high hopes and big dreams of being successful people, only to lose their souls to depression and anxiety because of the harsh social construct and systematic oppression embedded in the institutions of higher learning.  In an institution where majority of students are privileged white pupils and a minority of poor black students, I found myself battling so hard to understand what has one done to deserve such malice of emotional abuse from people who claim to be a rainbow nation in the context of the so called “democracy”.

There is no rainbow nation, that I learned the hard way.  I use to think that the earth is flat and pretty straight forward until one day I woke up to the sad realisation of an eclipsed spherical earth consisting of individuals that live in flawed government  systems.  Systems of racial barriers, religious discrimination and cultural isolation, truly mankind has lost its way. Coming to UCT changed a lot about the way I feel with regards to life, particularly on the issue of race.  But more so being a UCT student reformed my self-image and my self-consciousness relative to the world’s common forms of political awareness.

It started with simple things such as orientation week events, I found myself unable to attend most of them because I could not afford to buy entrance tickets, also I wasn’t exposed to most of the events that were taking place thus I did not know when and where they were taking place.  To those that I knew their whereabouts, they did not cater for the needs of any other culture except the western traditions and trends.

Then the social exclusion escalated to residential exclusion, I mean when you go to student housing to look for accommodation in your first year with no guidance none whatsoever and you are welcomed by a long que of black scholars and a few coloured students at first-hand, that should say a lot about the demographics of the institution one finds themselves in.  It is very clear that Race and class plays a role in the daily operation and policies of UCT, thus the two cannot be ignored when it comes to matter of academic excellence.

Although UCT claims to grant accommodation based on the first come first serve policy it is an open secret that accommodation is a thing of merit , and who best qualify for student accommodation than those who can afford to attend private schools and fancy extra classes that can make them attain 11 distinctions?

The rest of us who are from disadvantaged public schools can go die with our seven distinctions.  It is unfortunate that class has particular racial faces attached to it in South Africa.   Where majority of the upper class consisting of whites and the lower class predominantly black, these patterns of class- racism are distinctively visible in our residence systems i.e. most whites students have accommodation and black students don’t.

The residential exclusion accumulated to cultural oppression, it was my first time ever encountering a multiracial environment in a place of study, when my blackness was greeted with comments such as illiterate, ratchet and my poorness showered with rowdy remarks.

I mean who in their right state of mind thinks of compiling a survey to find out which is the most beautiful race! If not some middle class confused black person who was trying to please her white counterparts by concluding that black people are the ugliest race.  Indeed colonisation has killed us all, even rich blacks don’t think other blacks are human anymore.

The best UCT management could do in such an incident was to move the perpetrator from one residence to the other but when Black political activist sing in front of management’s office to say enough is enough with the institutionalised racism they are rewarded with interdicts and suspension from the university.

Financial exclusion is a thing for black students in UCT, let alone academic exclusion.  Although Black is the minority in the University of Cape Town statistics clearly shows that most student that are affected by financial exclusion are the so called illiterate blacks, the high rate of depressed people in UCT are black students, the mysterious cases of suicides and attempted suicides are black students, black male students are considered promoters of patriarchy and rape culture , and yet UCT management and all other constituencies could not be bothered or be concerned by such simply because black lives do not matter.

It pains me how much black people are associated with everything that is wrong in the world.  When truly everything that is wrong in the world is people that think that others are wrong because of the colour of their skin and their cultural background.  It was sad to watch how some black students were not allowed to enter into their classes during the fees must fall protest last year simply because they ‘looked like potential protesters’, as if protesting is a thing for black people only.  When there was an open UCT march there were no private security on campus the obvious reason for this is that majority of the protestors were white people and white people are not “violent” as our vice chancellor said.

I mean for 19 years of my life I thought I was a smart hardworking girl who will make it into the world’s top names in the hall of fame.  Names that represent liberation ideals and can be the world’s greatest leaders, but to my surprise It only took two weeks of being in varsity to be reminded that before I could be anything I am BLACK; and blackness in a white privileged mans’ world simply means savage, slave, non-human, hard labour, barbaric, poverty, thief, oppression, violent, low class everything and anything outside the category of human kind.

It is very sad but true that black bodies in this so called new democracy are still subject of Racism, the diseases is so contagious the perpetrators no longer use physical barriers and aggressive measures to make the victims feel oppressed and unworthy, but the virus now exploit our spiritual health, our sense of belonging, our right to existence, our identities, our mental health, academic wellbeing and anything that can make us feel human again.  It is not just a White vs Black fight anymore but it has become Coloured vs Black, Indian vs Black. Black vs Black, Black poor people are always at the base of the pyramid.

We are subject of anti-humanity, things of cheap labour, driving tools for capitalism it is sickening to be BLACK and POOR, and I sometimes wish I wasn’t born in this black coat that I carry with me everywhere I go which is my skin colour.  Racism in this new democratic South Africa is no longer about White hating Black, Coloured, and Indian but has now turned into a class issue where even Black successful people look down on Black poor people .  In the hierarchy of Race White is always superior and more economically and socially privileged thus racism will always favour White to be the enemy and Black poor people to be the victims.  To say the least Racism is disheartening and heart-breaking.

If a huge public space such as UCT where affordable quality education for all was meant to be a priority, and yet it is a battlefield for racial prosperity and growth what more can white owned industries do to our mothers who are employees in their companies.  There are many institutions like UCT, many private schools operating with UCT Policies, many companies promoting UCT modes of learning.  This racism disease is not limited to UCT but expands as far as public spaces such as private hospitals, police departments, and home affairs services etc…

In other countries police officers can randomly shoot a black man because he looked suspicious and the shooting is justified because the shooter was a white man, but when the same scenario happens with a black man being the shooter and the white man as a victim Facebook will ask us to change our profile pictures against police brutality.  This type of incidences shows whose lives matters most, we might refuse to acknowledge but black lives will always matter last.

I still say that racism is indeed a killer disease, only the unprivileged suffer from its side effects if what I am saying is not true someone please explain why the miners in Marikana were shot down and no one was held responsible for their death? Someone tell me why are police shooting black people for no reason in USA and authority is not rebuking police brutality? Someone enlighten me why it is okay for UCT to call police on black protestors but not white protestors? Why not coloured? Why not Indian? Why black?  Why was it only Black students who were considered to be potential protestors? Why was it black males who were targeted and arrested?

Why? Why? Why? I could ask this question a million times and the answer will always be one “non-privileged bodies lives do not matter” in South Africa and other parts of the world non privileged bodies are black people, thus black lives do not matter.  I wish I could say stop racism but that is not effective anymore therefore to stop the spreading of this virus called racism I say LET THE BE WAR!, perhaps after that we might know what peace is for our peace as the black nation made us slaves for over three hundred years.

 

 

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