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We can’t be expected to unite with racists against Zuma

A Facebook page called “Impeach the leech – Zuma Must Fall” is calling for South Africans “to come together and help us get rid of our corrupt president and his captured friends”. The page has over 49 000 likes and the predominantly white South Africans who follow the page have been venting their frustrations with Zuma in an uninhibited, derogatory and racist manner.

One of the many images posted by the page features President Zuma in traditional Zulu attire and is utilised as a point of ridicule. Allen Schmidt, a commenter, writes, “Get back to the bush where you belong”.

Besides incriminating posts, the page updates its audience with information on upcoming rallies and protests against President Zuma with a distinct partisan leaning. The marches and protests it shares are almost exclusively Democratic Alliance events. While the DA boasts a pledge against racism, the party has a track record of attracting racists.

The page’s profile picture is an image of the blacked out South African flag associated with the #BlackMonday protest. The page’s endorsement of #BlackMonday reinforces the reasons many South Africans rejected the event – the problematic nature of the people who supported the event.

The most recent call to action from the page is to support the DA’s march on Friday 7th April and for a national shutdown which is to take place on the same day.

Trade unions have outright rejected this call.

University of Witwatersrand politics professor, Richard Pithouse, cautioned that mobilising behind particular social demographics would result in failure.

“[I]f it’s gonna be ‘civil society’ – an acutely raced and classed project, and one that bends, relentlessly, towards constituted power – it’ll be another farce,” he wrote on Facebook.

The astounding number of page likes makes the existence of this online community difficult to ignore – an image comparing President Zuma to a gorilla was shared over 1 800 times. This is indicative of how pervasive racist sentiment is in South Africa.

It also highlights the difficulty in calling for unity in a country that remains socially divided in terms of racial inequality. Many South Africans, particularly the black and working class, refuse to join together with people who, among other things, do not truly see others as equals – and who are otherwise socially apathetic when a crisis does not directly affect their privileged lives.

Many South Africans are asking how they can unite and mobilise against an immediate threat. If there is ever to be any real unity against unilateral actions from the president that do not have the country’s best interests at heart, it should be led by the people who continue to bear the brunt of South Africa’s apathy, and who stand to lose the most – South Africa’s black working class themselves.

Featured image via Facebook
9 Comments
  1. Terry says

    I have just reported that page. I hope other people will as well.

    1. jojo says

      If the underprivillaged do not march they will remain underprivillaged for years to come. The current ANC only cares about filling their own pockets and those of close family and friends… the minority still manage to look after themselves and their own. The poor must march cause the rich wont

  2. Lee says

    I’ve been reading a lot of posts doing the rounds about how white people can’t demand solidarity and take part in mass mobilisation with regards to Zuma and it’s bollocks. I agree and disagree with parts of these articles. Yes white privilege exists, yes we have institutional racism, yes to white people not standing up for black causes like fees must fall, and yes white people may have not engaged in proper discourse to address unequal distribution of wealth and the atrocities of the past BUT if the economy tanks you and me sitting in middle class society will probably struggle a bit but come out fine on the other end. The poorest of the poor will be even worse off. 14 million people go to bed hungry every night in SA, unemployment is at an all time high. A weaker economy is just going to exacerbate their situation. The poor are going to get poorer at the expense of the rich elite cronies. It’s up to everyone to unite and stand together as a country irrespective of race/culture/gender etc.

    1. Malusi says

      For whom do you think adjusting is harder- for a man who has stale bread to have less bread, or for a man who is used to cake to start having stale bread instead?

      1. Jundi says

        Or the man who starts with less bread to have no bread. Tp have no bread is to die. Social grants of every kind will not keep up with inflation and interest rates.

  3. Donald says

    But the problem is that whites are mot yhe only group who are racist. Ues there are many whites who still harbour an apartheid era philosophy. But there are many blacks who also hate whites and are bigoted just as whites are. Yet it seems fine for a black person to hate and demean a white person. Apartheid was real, it was ugly and should be remembered. However to continually drag it back to the forefront to be used as an excuse every time someone wants to make an issue and create scapegoats, then I begin to object. Yes Apartheid did disinfranchise millions of black people, but the ANC has been in power for 23 years and the only people who have really benifited are the corrupt theives in government. Stop blaming apartheid for the current problems. Blame the people in the current government who have stolen money, mismanaged the country and have sought to create deeper racial divisions and sow dissention. Apartheid was real and ugly, but apartheid is long past. Until people of all races unify and oust the criminals in government who are yhe people creating the current problems, There will continue to be disparity of wealth and a natiom that is not really unified.

    1. Ellizabeth says

      You seem to be missing the point Donald. Just because “some blacks are also racist” does not make it OK for other people to compare Zuma to a Gorilla. We can all agree that he is corrupt. So when we all march together for his removal because of his corruption, then we are united in the fight. But when people start waving posters around with the face of a gorilla next to the face of Zuma it just changes everything. A few hundred years ago European zoos would exhibit black people as if they are monkeys. It is a revolting thing to do, barbaric if you ask me. Black and Coloured South Africans had to endure many insults, including being compared to monkeys. It may be less frequent now, but it still happens. People who compare Zuma to a primate believe that Zuma is not a capable leader because he is black. That is what they think of ALL black people. That is just vile. I don’t want to march in a crowd next to individuals like that. Those people are doing so much harm. You can have thousands of people with the good intention of replacing corrupt leaders with moral ones. But if there is just one such a racist idiot in the crowd, the whole march loses credibility. Actually the people who made those posters should stay away, because if they get beaten up it is because they asked for it.

      1. Gerhard says

        These days, any general term that was used for anybody who acts in an uncoothed mannar are being viewed with an eye od possible racisim. The fact of the matter is. This pic was in poor taste. As video show the gorilla actually did not harm the child, and protected it. Then was shot. Zuma has no bearing on this matter. So this comparison was very bad to begin with.
        What we are facing with Zuma is the fact that he used his position to enrich him and his family at the expense of the country. He directed the countries money to friends who only enriched themselves. If he was helping people that was in fact helping to better the country, that would have been a different story all together. But all their actions was to enrich themselves, and to make the poor even poorer. So he should have been depicted as a democratically elected despot.

  4. Dune says

    The manner and content is wrong but the messsge is Clear .
    As a South African unless you live or have lived there You have no right to comment .
    He is a Criminal and should be removed before the Rand goes the same way as the Zim dollar .
    Not a race issue.
    Grow up .

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