*IFNASA Media Release*
*10th April 2020*
*Speelman Unveiled the Real Racist South African DNA*
*The throbbing and traumatic attack on the Identity of those Classified as Coloureds is honestly a bitter and sweet revelation.*
As we were following the onslaught on the now-suspended Welkom Executive Mayor, Nkosinjani Speelman, we realized the incomplete democratic transition and deep-seated racism running within the African people’s veins.
Notwithstanding, we need to urgently place the Mayor’s vulgarity and dehumanizing of those Classified as Coloureds under the microscope. We say Classified Coloured because we did not identify ourselves by that name as it will become clearer in this article. We must be honest with ourselves as far as the label ‘Boesman’ or ‘Bushman’ is concerned. Critically, our analysis will show that self-referential terms are problematic and mind-boggling, especially if we consider the personal preference of the label Boesman amongst the ≠Khomani San of the Kalahari. My personal encounter with the southern Kalahari ≠Khomani San is that they have appropriated the label “Boesman” as their identity. We must mention that our analysis suggests that the ≠Khomani San claim this name for themselves in the context of developmental needs too. Thus, the ≠Khomani San chose the name “Boesman” for themselves because it can be commoditised, which means to receive identification validation and monetary value benefits. So, the ill-conceived utterances of the Mayor brought with it the much-needed public discourse on the African People’s identity clarification. What is important to realize is that the people who identify as Boesman are legally classified as Coloureds in South Africa. We must not forget that identity and the land are interconnected and cannot be separated.
The misguided emotional outburst and clear venom the Mayor spewed at our community has united friends and foes within Khoe and San community, including those who still want to be called Coloured. Our disgust with the Mayor’s vulgarity is not located in his intentional condescension when he referred to our People as ‘Boesman’, *No*, it’s the blatant racist attack on our person and the fact that he single handedly decided that we are scum and drunkards who needs to be crushed by the South African Defense Force (SANDF). We must not take this lightly.
We at Indigenous First Nation Advocacy South Africa (IFNASA) have been calling for an honest identity excavation for the longest time, yet very few people took the time to investigate our request. We are on record to categorically state that Racial Categorization, Perpetuate Racism. That means, for as long as institutional racial segregation and racial profiling remains the chief measure (corner stone) of restitution, empowerment and transformation in South Africa, majoritarian dominance will continue to dictate the behaviour of ‘some’ leaders within the ruling party and the ruling elite and law makers.
It is in seasons of profound societal change, transition, and in the thoughtless leaders when group boundaries, history and experiences are altered, as revealed by the cretinous or mindless Mayor, which changes how individuals in the country perceive one another and how they assign support to the other.
A historical context is crucial to an understanding of the Classified Coloured People’s identity, free of the essentialist notion that Classified Colouredness is an automatic product of miscegenation, it’s absolutely hogwash.
There is historical context as to why Classified Coloured People refused to be associated or identified as Boesman. The myths about ‘Boesman’ have a long history, beginning at the colonial frontiers of the Cape at the turn of the seventeenth century, when Khoe and San came to be portrayed as animal-like to the point of being hunted as vermin by some colonial settlers. Many people don’t know that Boesman people were hunted as in trophy-hunting up to the nineteen seventies. By the mid-twentieth century, however, anthropologists had contributed to the reinvention of the Boesman as a ‘harmless people’ living close to nature in egalitarian and peaceful hunter-gatherer bands. These images were projected in the ethnographies of Lorna Marshall and Richard Lee as well as documentary films by John Marshall. Images of ‘Bushman’ living close to nature and animal-like, and as the last bearers of a lost human essence have subsequently become deeply inscribed in the popular imagination.
There is an abiding popular perception that Classified Colouredness is an inherent, biologically determined condition that originated almost immediately with the onset of Dutch colonisation of the Cape – ‘nine months after Van Riebeeck landed’. It is also important to an understanding of the making of the identity in the country as a whole because British colonialism expanded from its Cape colonial base into the subcontinent in the late 19th century under the twin influences of the ‘scramble for Africa’ and the development of large-scale mining in southern Africa. What we are saying, it would be inaccurate or mischievous to lump the total Classified Coloured People’s make-up into the Ideology of miscegenation or only a mixture between Classified Black and Classified White (Dutch) people, including other nationalities from Europe. Our people’s composition remains complex and we must appreciate the current spotlight of our identity attack which remains conspicuously and consciously in obscurity, designed by the apartheid dispensation and now perpetuated by the democratic order. This response is not to try and embarrass the regime, instead, it is an opportunity for all of us to honestly engage our collective history as Africans. Of course, yes, Boesman (San) and Khoe (Hottentot) are Africans too.
There are nevertheless a number of intertwining themes running through the public discourse at the moment and that which will bind our People and all of South Africans together. The regrettable remarks, among other things, highlight the common stereotyping of the Classified Coloured identity in the country as well as missing our shaping influence of the familiar historical trajectory during colonial conquest, segregation and resistance, including the reconfiguration of our identity in the wake of democracy. The interlinking stereotype themes also accentuate common concerns among our people in the country, which is derived from historiographical developments, the application of apartheid policies and the unchanging political and economic environment for our people. In one sense, Classified Coloured identity is a product of European racist ideology which, through its binary logic, cast people deemed to be of mixed racial origin as a distinct, stigmatised social stratum between the dominant minority and the African majority.
This response could be criticized for almost being academic in nature, however, we are trying to offer a contextual overview of rather complex issues. The Classified Coloured People rightfully responded to the painful remarks of the Mayor. The decisive and resolute disciplinary measures by the ruling party in the Free State province is indeed welcoming, but not enough. We call on the provincial and national leadership of the ruling party to urgently establish a permanent public platforms where these and other issues will be addressed as we develop a new African consciousness? We implore that the ruling party would reintroduce history as a compulsory subject for all in schools so that we can decisively deal with the gaps. We call on the ruling party to relieve the Mayor of his duties permanently? We call on all South Africans to continue condemnation of the Mayor’s remarks.
*Speelman Unveiled the Real Racist South African DNA*
*Indigenous First Nation Advocacy South Africa (IFNASA)*
*Anthony Phillip Williams*
*063 223 1283*