We stand for black liberation. We will fight for this dream by any means necessary in our life times. We understand that the main force we are pitted against is white supremacy. We carry the spirit of Haiti’s slave revolt of 1884 in our souls and as an antidote to white supremacy. We believe what white supremacy has done to Haiti in the past 200 years is the story of black people the world over.
White supremacy oppresses us all us blacks in general, but also organizes further oppressions within the black community carried by other black people, such as patriarchy in particular. So we are not innocent by- standers, we are agents of white supremacy by failing to fight it at all levels including at interpersonal levels . We understand white supremacy to be at the very foundation of the world capitalist system. White supremacy organizes everyday racism, exploitation, women oppression and destruction of the life.. You can’t fight white supremacy without fighting against patriarchy, capitalism, homophobia and self hate at the same time.
We acknowledge that the anti colonial struggle carried major dreams for liberation and we honor those who sacrificed supremely in the course of those struggles. However, we find very little to celebrate in the post colonial experience. Our leaders chased out the white colonizer in order to take his place and thereby became black colonialists. Those who perished for our liberation have been betrayed; Thomas Sankara, Emilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Solomon Mahlangu, Nehana, Nzinga etc. For us Africa remains un-free. We are at the beginning yet again.
We focus on South Africa as our immediate challenge, but we won’t stop there. The truth about black life in South Africa stands in front of us all, refusing to budge and go away. Few attempts haven't been made to conceal it yet it audaciously persists, daring us all to unsee, unhear, unsmell and untouch its vulgar nakedness. When black families are left with little choice but to die slowly in the much celebrated matchbox houses and shacks polluted by the aroma of feaces in buckets, no one can claim ignorance. This blatant truth is our public secret. It is these shared open secrets that uphold the social and political bodies which benefit from the silences about black life. We fall silent, feed on denial and turn a blind eye to the repulsive state of affairs.
The black condition currently is a disaster zone. However, It’s not a god given situation nor a natural affair. We have arrived here because of systematic brutalization to create South Africa’s white modernity. Our country’s relative “modernization” or development is harvested from violence against blacks and sustained on the same logic and practice. But the violence has become normalized, it’s a way of life, hence the eye-sore of Alexandra lives side by side with the splendor of Sandton as if these disparities are natural. Black poverty lies side by side with white wealth created from the exclusion and impoverishment of blacks. To escape we adopt a white attitude, we become half white to continue sucking the blood of black people. Our relative comfort is bought in the sweat and at times blood of the many excluded. To succeed is to sell out. We are not against comfort and success but we say look how these are achieved. Meritocracy and hard work are lies to blind us from the truth of how exploitation and exclusion lies at the heart of success under the anti-black capitalist reality of our time. We are all implicated. The system gives us a little to take so much from us and our people. It bribes a few with shiny things to keep the many outside and hoping.
That black people are consigned to structural marginality in all spheres of social existence has become an accepted reality, we even say “we love our townships”. These labour concentration camps are not of our making even if we continue to make life and culture out of nothing in those blighted zones that suffocate life. Black oppression has become institutionalized; we perceive our reality in ahistorical terms. Look at the mines, factories, fields and even the call centre. Look on the men and women working on the roadside under the blistering sun. Look hard. Black is under and despised. The whitewash machine has stolen the black retina from our eyes. We can’t see black.
It has long been obvious that our society continues to favour whitewashing as a solution to the multitude of sins committed against black people. From the blinding gleam of the black diamonds to empty ululations about rights and freedom, the Whitewashing Machine of this country is aggressive, serious, believable and everywhere. It is the single possible description for the cover up of legal crimes against black people-crimes that are habitually played down, relying on our chosen group amnesia to the truth.
The power lies in South Africa’s ability to choose to forget that, at best, this land remains disingenuous to black people. When a black infant in a cardboard box draws its last breath, the machine is there to turn up the volume of our favourite kwaito song so we refuse to hear the sound of life escaping little bodies by the hundreds. When a rock crushes the bones of a miner, it is there with the thud-thud of our best Jika Majika dancers so we refuse to see what lies behind the happy young natives. When a sjambok slashes across the back of a black lesbian, it is there with bright-coloured T-Shirts to camouflage the blue and black of her loathed skin. The whitewashing machine ensures that the ‘misfits’ that sometimes speak out and share alternative views about the rebranded South Africa are shooed away. The whitewashing machine has become so mainstream that some don’t notice it at work. But it is too late now, we are cursed with the knowledge of the rotten truth that seeps through the cracks. Few of us have the marvelous luxury of pretence about the ugliness of the truth about black life in this country.
The minimum points to allow us to strike as one:
Blackwash is a BLACKS ONLY organization/movement/initiative
- We stand against patriarchy/sexism/misogyny
- We stand against white supremacy
- We stand against capitalism
- We reject tribalism and narrow tribal identities
- We reject the African colonial borders. Africa is one but Africa is not for everyone, all settler colonialists must be vanquished, including Arab settlers.
- We reject cultures and religions of subjugation (we embrace both culture and religions which are instruments of resistance-, eg, culture of resistance, liberation/black theology- even these must be gone beyond)
Blackwash stands for liberation of black people, this means amongst others self governance and equitable sharing of our natural resources. But it also means we need to find collective and democratic practices to define and arrive at our final destiny. We shall walk as we talk. We shall make our own mistakes; we shall learn and improve on our practice. Blackwash stands ultimately for the love of black people and the end of our suffering. We hope to oppress no one, but we shall not dialogue with forces which perpetrate our oppression. It’s a new day vuka darkie…
Coz 1994 changed fokol!