Sparrows and Fallists: Lessons of the New Year

A rapper once said “this shit is for the birds, and the birds fly South”. I do not know what this statement means, I do not know why I am even mentioning it, but somehow it sounded relevant to South Africa and the events of the early days of 2016. One thing is for sure, in reference to both the rapper’s statement and the events of early 2016 in South Africa, if birds were racist, then South Africa is the South they should be flying to, for there is no country where racism thrives in Africa than in the country that lies in the southern-most tip of Africa. Our very own beloved South Africa.

Racism has been rearing its ugly head in this country for almost four hundred years now, with black people being on the receiving end in that entire period. And contrary to popular (or hopeful) belief, racism was not defeated in 1994, and neither was Apartheid. Yes Apartheid is not “legal” anymore, but its devastating legacy lives on in South Africa, with the black majority suffering the most as a direct consequence of that legacy. Segregation in South Africa gave rise to structural discrimination and prejudices and material disadvantages for the black majority. And as if that was not enough, degrading names and terms were given to the black majority by the white minority: kaffirs, monkeys, baboons, savages, barbarians, the list is endless. This was not a mistake, it is part of a genius and deliberate plan that sought to ensure that inferiority in terms of race and material conditions is a solid black identity surpassing all other alternative African identities. Racism in South Africa is a centuries long indoctrination. For centuries, white people have been indoctrinated to hate blacks, and black people have been indoctrinated to hate themselves. The difference in material conditions of whites and blacks gives rise to white arrogance, which is a contributing factor in the race complex we have in this country. That is why we have the Sparrows of this world who have the arrogance to go on social and public platforms and call an entire indigenous and majority group of people monkeys. That is why we have the Harts who have the arrogance to say black people hate white people. Uhm, excuse me, but were we not the ones who were quick to forgive crimes that were never acknowledged in the first place? Maybe my logic is too simple, but mine tells me that if we hated whites there would be no rainbow nation. It would not exist even as the myth that it is. This arrogance is why a white news anchor consciously or sub consciously expected a black minister to pronounce an English word perfectly; the EPITOME of white supremacist thinking.

Enter the fallists. In my own humble definition, fallism is the idea that any injustice, whether it be of a social, political, economic, or other nature, and any person or persons participating and/or perpetuating such injustice, must fall and cease to exist. In my view, fallists are heroes. They do not tolerate injustice. They would rather have nothing than have anything built on injustice. And fallists are everywhere: in the branches of different political parties, on the streets, in government, in the private sector, in civil society, on facebook, on twitter, on instagram, everywhere. In fact, fallism cuts across political organisational boundaries. When the agenda is fallist, people unite. Penny Sparrow, Gareth Cliff, Andrew Barnes, and Chris Hart, to mention but a few, have proven not to be immune to fallist wrath. Their fall may not necessarily signal the fall of all racism, but it does signal the intolerance of South Africans to racism. We have had more than enough. Enough was enough a hundred years ago. Racism, and its lieutenants, must and will fall. Now those who dislike fallists will say “but you always want things to fall, you never build”. Well, by calling for the fall of racism and racists, they are actually building a non racial nation. They are building human dignity for black people; human dignity that was stolen together with the land.

Black people are starting to realise that, although they are poor, their numbers are power. You see that when they rally behind a cause for the fall of injustices. That power must be centralised and leveraged for the total emancipation of black people here and in the whole of Africa. It must be leveraged to support ideas such as #BuyBlack towards the realisation of  what I call the black economy, because it is my view that the only way to change the material conditions of black people, and hence rid society of structural racism and white arrogance, is for black people themselves to be active participants in their own wealth creation and class mobility. No one will do it for us. We cannot complain of white monopoly capital, and in the same breath buy everything we want to buy from the same white monopoly capital. It is good for racism to fall, but if the black faced poverty of our country does not fall together with racism, racial arrogance will always be a problem in our country (and in our beaches!).

One thing can never be denied: black people are tired of being the scum of the world. They are tired of being the wretched of the earth. Our humanity has been trampled on for far too long, it is time we get it back, and if things must fall for us to achieve that, then they will fall.

My name is Linda Sidumo and I, in the midst of all that is happening, call on South Africans to #BuyBlack and help change the material conditions of black people in our country. If we do not, our own fall is inevitable.


Linda Sidumo is a BCom graduate, an employee in the Transport industry, and chairperson of the Education Access Campaign. Views expressed are strictly his own and do not represent those of any other organisation or group of persons.


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