Title – The Pain is Real, ‘Classified Coloureds’ remain intentionally Oppressed
Mandela Day has no significance or value to our community!
On Monday 20th July 2020, it would be exactly two (2) years since Premier David Makhura’s admission that Classified Coloureds are ‘Neglected’ in the Gauteng province, retrospectively, this is a national reality, stone me if you will, but we dare not turn a blind eye in full view of the democratic world. Let me qualify, I say Classified Coloured because we did not call ourselves by this label and the deep historical meaning is even more heinous (dreadful, horrible), but that we will discuss in a future chapter. The Premier made his ’Neglect’ admission at the ANC’s provincial conference of that year, yet embarrassingly as we look back over the last two years, nothing changed in our communities, so the reality is that we are left on our own. The Covid-19 pandemic has not done us any favours either, infect it worsen our situation because we are simply overlooked even for the most menial tasks if we consider that the majority of our people who applied for the opportunities to administer Covid-19 tasks at schools in Gauteng were simply side-lined. My intention with this volume is ‘Not’ to bash the Ruling Party, no, I want us to have a sober and honest assessment of the Premier’s personal admission, against the ruling party’s and the late President Nelson Mandela’s declarations of equality and justice on the tenth year of the Mandela Day celebrations. My modest opinion is that Mandela Day has very little significance to those who are Classified Coloured if at all it has real meaning. Many in our community will participate out of sheer respect for Madiba, but there is no substantive value attached to the activities because we were lied to and kept under a false identity, while they intentionally and deliberately cut-off the socio-economic umbilical cord. I will state it categorically, any politician or critic who spends their energy badmouthing other political parties do not have anything to offer, so why would we follow them? I am not suggesting that we should not criticize, it is imperative that we do, but we must be measured in our castigation. So, this is my critical assessment of the status of our People and community.
Allow me to quote Premier Makhura when he said that‚ in his position as head of the province: “I have come across Indisputable Evidence of Serious Neglect by our government and ‘Under-Investment’ in the (Classified) Coloured communities of our province. This neglect has far-reaching consequences‚” he said. Please note, the operative words are “Indisputable, Serious and Neglect”, that means he has empirical evidence which made him come to the conclusion. We have been accused of being racist, counter-revolutionary and even accused that we ‘Resist Transformation’, whatever that means. It is absurd to say that we resist transformation, I continue to ask, ‘what are we supposed to transform too?’ Are we not Africans, in the real meaning of being African?
So, my question to the Premier, the ANC, DA and to the general populace is: “What has changed Materially for those who are Classified Coloured in the province and the country?” I ask this question in light of the countless complaints we receive from our people across the country and have to deal with as IFNASA and the Gauteng Shut-down Coordinating Committee (GSCC), soon to transform into an economic platform.
I want to present a case study and use someone I know personally and worked with as a youthful activist during apartheid. I am focusing on this colleague because she was personally connected to Nelson Mandela and I always wondered what their discussions were like when they were talking about the Classified Coloured People. So, as we reflect on the status of the Classified Coloured People, she is best placed to help us unpack the contradictions, ambiguities, and paradoxes in the context of an imaginary democracy. The ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and I have been friends for more than thirty years. She was one of the people who schooled me politically and exposed me to the injustices that we suffered at the time. We used to be in the same ANC branch. Way back then it was not called the ANC, it used to be called the ‘Riverlea Youth Congress’ or RYCO. By the way, I did not know I was involved in the ANC at the outset, I only saw the injustice, that compelled me to get involved. The organization was a formidable and passionate youth movement who did exceptional community work. Those who are from Riverlea Extension and Riverlea (in Johannesburg) will be able to attest to the work we were involved in. I remember that we use to operate the Clinic in Riverlea Ext and many evenings when pharmacists did not attend, we personally dispensed medicine with not one mistake ever reported. I was one of those who operated the clinic with leaders like Conrad Jardine, Jacky Jonkers, Donovan Cloete, Ignatius Jacobs, Patrick Flusk, Nicolette Flusk (use to be Van Wyk) Cynthia Stols, Loretta Jacobs, Shaun Van Wyk, Tyrone Biekies, Ernest Van Zyl, Ashley Abrahams, Curty Abrahams, Vanessa Abrahams, Bella, Jessie Duarte and so many others. These were committed Comrades who sacrificed their lives and family security during those rootless apartheid days, yet largely or generally speaking, their offerings are ignored and reduced to ‘Not Africans in Particular’. I remember the sacrifice of Cecil Petersen (aka De Funk) made especially when the Military Police caught us during our usual campaign preparations. Cee as I call him had the guitar with him, which we used to explain that we just came from a youth meeting. That guitar saved us. So, I can give you countless stories of how we were active in the struggle yet we have ‘nothing’ to show for it. So, the Mandela Day activities remind us that we are back in the trenches and that we need to spend our time educating our youth about the current injustice we are faced with, proudly brought to us by the comrades we fought with and democracy.
I remember, more than eighteen years ago I started telling Jessie and the late Ignatius Jacobs (former GM of Luthuli House, ANC Headquarters) that the ANC has abandoned or deserted the Classified Coloureds and that we are deliberately left outside of all socio-economic development. They did not take me seriously and that is when I distinguished that we would have to do something about our economic disposition. So, the admission by David Makhura is weighty and must be taken seriously. I must admit that Jessie Duarte has made a noteworthy about-turn in the last few years. If you read newspapers of 2018 it becomes apparent that Jessie is seriously fighting dangerous demons within her political party. I’m not an apologist for Jessie, but before you spew venom, please consider the following, in a speech in Soweto last year she accused the ruling party of being “Tribalistic and Racist” for “Marginalising” its members who are not Black Africans”. I personally have a serious issue with the term ‘Black’ and the fact that we don’t understand the identification of African. Personally, there are ‘No Black’ people, it nonsensical to identify human beings on the basis of colour, because the imperialist used these colours to subdue and dominate Africans of different ethnic grouping. So, we need to clean up our memory and our history because its fallacious (meaning misleading). I said it before, ‘African’ is Not a Colour. Historically, I understand it use to refer to the Bantu-Nguni people, however, we need to fix these contradictions.
Nevertheless, Duarte made her statement within the context of the “(Classified) Coloured community” which, she said, is “kept out of the ANC at all costs and one or two are put in as tokens”. This is a serious admittance from Jessie, if you know her as I do, it must have taken a lot of courage to make these truthful observations. You might still want to stone her, but we have to contextualize the extent of the tribalistic tendencies within the ANC and other political parties like the DA who want to keep the top positions in the hand of Classified Whites, while they use our people to secure their political base; the EFF who blatantly keep Classified Coloureds at bay and away from any meaningful position, including the IFP and UDM. None of these political parties trusts us enough for the top position, so it seems that we will perpetually remain in this racial and tribalistic bubble. A few months ago, Jessie once more castigated her political colleague, the Mayor of Welkom who’s surname (Speelman) suggest that he is a ‘Man who is Playfully’ especially considering the remarks he made about Classified Coloured People of Bronville in April 2020 and then more recently, 7th July 2020 the criticism she launched against the ruling when she mentioned that: “There’s Racism in the ANC”.
If we are to seriously consider the multiple criticisms Jesse Duarte launched ‘alone’ against her party, my questions are: “Should we take her seriously? Should we support her? Where are the other Classified Coloured Leaders within the ANC? Where are the other Classified Coloured Leaders in all the other political parties, why are they not publicly speaking out against the marginalization and oppression of the Classified Coloured People in South Africa? Are the paycheque and the political position more important than your conviction for equality and justice for all? Why should Classified Coloured People trust you or your political party? Why are Classified Coloured Leaders not actively helping us regain our Identity, Language, Culture and Heritage? Why do they keep Silent?” It is simply inconceivable that we support people who do not take us seriously. I stumbled upon this volume because I am busy putting the final touches to a New Economic Strategy (NES) for the GSCC which could potentially assist our community and South African’s out of the Economic mess that we all find ourselves in. So, again, Mandela Day does hold any tangible value to the Classified Coloured People and to our communities because we are the only people dispossessed by the constitution of the country. Section 25 subsection 7 ensures continuously that we do not lay claim to our ancestral land when it says we cannot claim land taken before 1913, so how can we trust the comrades, how can we trust democracy and how can we celebrate Mandela Day? We must use this day to educate our community and must tell them that we are not ‘Free’ and it will cost us ‘everything’ if we want to achieve Liberty. We are ‘Seriously Neglected’ as admitted by Makhura, infect all political formations are complicit, while the time to Rise-Up and Reclaim your Identity is Now.
Hopefully, this volume gave you new perspective and reason to join us gain total freedom. Please respond and offer your observation of what our people endure in SA. Chapter 2 will follow soonest. You cannot complain, while you do nothing. I challenge you to each get ten (10) people to join IFNASA and #TakeYourPowerBack. To join the movement email us at email@example.com #HieRukDieDing
Anthony Phillip Williams
18th July 2020