Thursday, July 21, 2016

Under the Sun (Thandi)

Thandi Nkomo & I met through social media. I had a conversation with Brett Fish about #NotOnOurWatch - a movement looking to actively call people out on racism. Brett dives deep into taboo conversations and Thandi values allies like Brett who are willing to speak loudly against structural problems. I was voicing concern that when our prejudices are pointed out, we tend to fight back rather than listening. I am worried about how much vitriol is being thrown around. Brett and I chatted about attempts to befriend rather than shutting down people we had issue with. Thandi wanted to make it clear that she needed loud voices like Brett's. She needs their roar. She believes people are more likely to listen to the roar of those more like them. That that roar will shock them into awareness. I had no intention of getting Brett to silence his voice. I think we can chip away at our ignorance and prejudice through as many approaches as possible. Thandi also has a roar. Here she directs it at those who believe in borders to keep people out. 

An Open Letter to Xenophobes

Xenophobia is dumb. And ironic! And silly. You want to fight the effects of colonialism but enforce rules (borders in this case) brought to the continent by colonialists! Does that make sense?
One example of downward migration- my mother's people (AmaHlubi) were part of the eMbo people and originally traveled down around 1300 from the area currently known as DRC, Congo Brazzaville. Some of the tribe still exists in Rwanda, Tanzania, DRC. First they stayed near the now Mozambique border before they eventually settled down in KZN, spreading out through the hills.
1873 saw the British Kingdom coming down hard on African people and AmaHlubi. They were paid in guns for working in the diamond mines but Africans were told to send in their guns ostensibly for registration. When the guns came back-those that weren't confiscated for unknown reasons-they'd have been rendered useless. For obvious reasons then, King Langalibalele refused to continue the practice. (Why would you pay me then make me unable to use my wages?) Needless to say, this rebellion did not please the British and a fight began.
Skirmishes led to the Hlubi fleeing their homes as British troops came to stop the war they assumed the king would begin if he kept his guns. They gunned down and killed the elderly and women and children hiding in caves. 💔

They also killed Hlubi neighbours and looted and burnt down Hlubi houses as well as those of their neighbours, selling captives as slaves.
Doesn't that sound remarkably similar to what some people are doing to 'foreigners' today!? They called him and his people a word beginning with a k. Today you call them Kwerekwere.
King Langalibalele was put on Robben Island and only came out in 1885, after which he remained under house arrest till his death. Because of his 'rebellion,' the British declared us no longer a Kingdom. Land, cattle and possessions were taken and given to the British.
Reminds me of what some of you did in Du Noon in 2008.
Come on my people! We cannot continue like this. We cannot continue the legacy of violence and hatred. We are all one people, children of the soil. We are all African. No Africans treated their fellow Africans like this when we all travelled around the continent, now is NOT the time. History is littered with stories like this of dispossession and pain. Let's not do this to others who come seeking rest.
One love.
We are all human.
Let us treat each other the way our ancestors treated us as we travelled throughout the continent, our land.
A daughter of the soil.
A Hlubi, moTswana, moSwati and all the other genes from my great grandfathers. An African.

Langalibalele means The Sun is boiling hot
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