Someone once said: “The world is not bad because of bad people, but because of the silence of the good.” And that comes down to you. Yes you, who have been called: ‘kaffer” , “darky” , “bantu” for so long that it became a norm. A norm that you are so used to that you ignore how your heart clenches when you hear those words. That clench you are feeling is telling you to stop tolerating racism.

As a black woman I have seen how people in my society have been brainwashed to think that they are inferior. Those “Ja baas” ,”Meneer” phrases they fail to use to their black employers but are confident enough to use to white employers are proof of how badly they have been brainwashed. The same white people that captivated their minds to thinking working for a white man is the only way of making a living. The same white man that calls our brothers and sisters baboons and monkeys.

Because we are raised by a submissive society we are taught to tolerate, to endure. But how am I supposed to forget and ignore the looks that pierce through my skin? The looks I get from white people that tell you you just simply don’t belong there. The attitude you get just because of your skin colour , that beautiful melanin that is filling the room with its sparkle. The ill treatment they “believe” you deserve just because you are black. How do you forget about that or better yet… tolerate such?

Yes, I am a child of a domestic worker but I’m nothing less than you whites just because I’m black. I am black and proud of it and therefore I refuse to feel less of a human just because of your insults. I may be raised by a submissive society but I am not them. I won’t act inferiorly. I am me and I want to be free. Free from being forced to tolerate and to endure. I am no kaffer to you!

Our parents have always feared you because of the power they believed you had over them. You have treated them so badly that thinking about it makes my heart cringe into a dry ball of sorrow. And yet they tolerated , they endured because they knew they would never get justice for your unjust behaviour towards them. But times have changed. Your racism will no longer be tolerated by us youth or even our parents. It was out of their fear that they kept silent and you were able to do so much damage. We have all come to realise that tolerating racism means we like what is being done to us and our people. And as a matter of fact we do not and never will !

Racism is still a very big factor in our lives. It has not stopped. But we are no longer the voiceless generation. We have found our voices and we are surely going to use them. And , boy , they are going to do wonders as we will be able to speak up about your racist behaviour. We are going to stand our ground and fight for what is right and that is going to encourage others that are silenced by fear to use their voices too. An incredible voice , worth using , to let justice prevail.

We are not the puppets who you used to sell pipe dreams to. We have realised that tolerance won’t change or take away the way our hearts clench when we are being called names. Our mindset has also changed. Like Steve Biko said: “The strongest weapon against the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” We have taken our powers back , released our minds from being caged and from being forced to think in a certain way. From believing that there is no other thing to do than bearing the ill treatment of racism. That mindset flew out of the window like a bird that has not seen light for a long time, the only thing it wanted to do  was to get away from the dark . Well, we allowed it to get away because it was a toxic situation.

Now I call on you, Black child, whose confidence was crushed like a rose trampled to the ground. Who was made to believe that she is not worth it , by all the ill treatment she received. I need you to rise. I need you to take charge , to stand your ground. Take back your power and stop, I repeat, stop tolerating racism. Rebuild what has been broken because you have the power to. The power is in your hands to do what is right and report racism. Do not let them walk over you , let them trip over you because that’s how strong they have made you. Use your strength to fight back against racism. Show them the time for tolerance has ended. It is over.

Rearrange your crown for you are royalty and nothing less than that. Keep your head high and get that inferior attitude out of you. Stand tall for you were made  black and proud, not by force but by the blood that runs through your veins. That royal blood that has enough of patience and wants to show its true colours. Allow it, Black child. You belong to a powerful generation that has more knowlegde and power to turn this world around. And to put an end to racism. Therefore I need you to rise, take your stand and stop tolerating racism. Spread the word to your fellow mates so that they too will know that we are in this to win this. We have had enough of being submissive and inferior.

I know to you it seems that racism will never end but do not lose hope. Do not allow that mindset to dominate your mind. Do not let that mindset turn you into someone who tolerates. We need you to use the power of your voice and speak up. Even if it means being the voice of the voiceless but just don’t tolerate racism. YOUR country needs you to make a change and to put a stop to the increasing racism. No matter how small, as soon as you feel that familiar clench in your heart, know that it is time to take action. Please do not ignore that clench. It shows that you are royalty and that the difference between right and wrong is creeping in.

 

 

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South Africa

ABOUT FOUNDATION

In pursuing its core objective of deepening non-racialism, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will:

Promote the values, rights and principles enshrined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa;

Collect, record, promote and display, through historical artefacts and contemporary material.