Considering its history, it was fitting that the Cape Quarter mall in Cape Town was the site of a dust up between a drunk racist white guy and the black guy who was the target of his vitriol, says TO Molefe.
The furore over the cartoon depicting ANC parliamentarians and their electorate as a bunch of inept clowns is indicative of how far we still have to go in terms of embedded and unconscious racism in South Africa. There is nothing wrong with critiquing government in satirical depictions, but there is something horribly wrong when those depictions verge on 19th century blackface stereotypes and entirely overlook the racial demographics of our land. In this offensive cartoon we see the spotlight entirely on black people in parliament. Buffoonery is depicted as an exclusively black condition.
If the publicly expressed opinions of many opposition politicians, lawyers, academics, journalists and political commentators are to be believed then South Africa has already had several constitutional crises and there are more hovering on the horizon. Most of these supposed constitutional crises have certainly involved a range of attitudes, behaviour and activities that are of genuine and serious concern in any democracy. However, they are more representative of classic institutional and political battles in a young democracy. They also represent the shenanigans and interests of political and economic elites with the vast majority of citizens being relegated to bystanders. As such, they cannot be labelled as real constitutional crises.
South Africas real ticking time bomb may not be poverty, but what it has always been - race. Our angriest people may not be those forced to survive on much less than they need, but the black middle class.
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