Join Friends of Pambazuka

Subscribe for Free!



Fahamu Bulletin Archive

News about our programmes 30, Sept. 2014

Donate to Pambazuka News!

Follow Us

delicious bookmarks facebook twitter

Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
Buy now

Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
Buy now

China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
Buy now

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
Buy now

Emerging Powers Digest: 14th Edition, 5 December 2014

In today’s newsletter the Emerging Powers project announces a call for grant applications; gives a summary of Zuma's travels to China and the signing of the 5-10 Year Framework on Cooperation between the two countries; highlights Ethiopia's budding textile industry and relations with China; India's growing investment presence in Africa; militarization of the continent by the emerging actors. The news digest also provides analyses and news reports on China's evolving foreign policy and diplomatic relations. Read these and other news items in this week's edition of the Emerging Powers in Africa news digest.

Call for Grant Proposals

The Emerging Powers in Africa Project is issuing a call for grant proposals. The grants are aimed at examining the political, economic, social and cultural impact of the emerging powers footprint in Africa. The grant is specifically related to empowering civil society actors in gaining the appropriate knowledge and developing the necessary tools to articulate an informed perspective on the emerging powers in Africa and the corresponding impact.

Read more...

+ Read the Emerging Powers Digest

+ The Emerging Powers Project Homepage

Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

See the list of episodes.

AU MONITOR

This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Features

Remembering Soweto: Harnessing black consciousness

Blackwash

2009-06-18, Issue 438

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/57082

Bookmark and Share

Printer friendly version

There is 1 comment on this article.


cc eugene
16 June was the anniversary of the 1976 uprising in Soweto, South Africa. With today's black youth in South Africa finding themselves marginalised in much the same way as those protesting against apartheid policy, Blackwash seeks to commemorate the 1976 uprising and further the development of black consciousness. Inspired by 16 June and the words of Steve Biko, Blackwash encourages young black people in South Africa to take up the struggle to put pressure on the government and create genuine change.

Dear young black person,

Black youth living in South Africa today are in deep trouble. Even though we were promised a better life after 1994 by our black government, many of us still live in squatter camps and small RDP houses because white people still own more than 80 per cent of South African land, land which has been stolen over the last 300 years. As young black people we have to ask ourselves what is stopping our government from improving our lives and is there a future for us if black people do not have land? Will black people not be trapped in squatter camps and townships forever if our government refuses to take our land back from whites?

Many of us do not pass matric because black schools do not have good resources like model c and private schools, just like in the days of Bantu education during apartheid. What have we done to deserve this? Some of us end up in prison because we are forced to steal and do other crimes to survive. Because young black people do not pass at school or do not have money for tertiary education, many of them end up doing crime and being locked up in prison. The poverty of black people means that many of us end up behind bars because we are forced to do what we can to survive and keep our families alive. Why is it that those who stole our land and continue to benefit from that are not seen as criminals? Why is the black person who steals a cell phone, a few thousand, a laptop or a pair of jeans punished more than those who live on stolen land?

Some of us end up doing drugs and drinking a lot of alcohol because we need to forget this hard life. A lot of the time we fight and sometimes even kill each other over small things because there is nothing else to live for. The reason our lives are like this is that white people have been oppressing us and controlling every part of our lives for a very long time. This is why our schools are of bad quality. This is why we are poor and they aren't. This is why we live in shacks or in RDP houses in townships. It is a pity that even our black government does not have intentions to change the bad conditions we live in. But we have not chosen to be poor or black!

The same people who are responsible for the way we live turn around and blame us as if we are personally responsible. We are told to go to church, study hard, play sports, or join cultural groups, but all of these things do not help because our situation does not change. Even when we try, there are no fields or recreation centres in squatter camps and very few in townships. Because of this many young black people cannot use or develop their talents; they end up in shebeens or prison rotting away with those talents.

Some of us do go to good schools, get jobs, funds from Umsobomvu, buy cars or even become famous, but this is a very small number compared to those of us who will live in poverty for the rest of our lives. Also, the few blacks who make it leave the township to live amongst white people and start behaving like them: they look down on black people and accuse them of being lazy (the same way white people have done since they arrived in this country). We must ask ourselves how much longer black people should suffer before things change for us.

With all this in mind, do you really believe our government when they tell us we are free? Where is this freedom they keep talking about when black people are this poor, when black youth is unemployed, in prison or dying from AIDS or drug overdoses?

We are told we are free, but this is a lie. We are told blacks and whites are equal, but we know that whites live better lives than us in our own country. We also know that their lives are better because of the hard work black people do to build their houses, their suburbs, to look after their kids and wash their clothes. White people live like visitors who come to your home, kick you out and expect you to take care of their needs while they live in comfort in your house. They live like gods on earth because there are blacks who are their slaves taking care of all their needs. Why are we this poor in our own country?

We are entertained with TV shows, concerts at stadiums, now the 2010 World Cup so that we forget to ask why we must live the way we do. Most of this entertainment does not confront the truth about our black reality and does not encourage us to stand up and fight for ourselves against our oppressors. But even when black people fight and demand basic things for their survival, the government sends the police to harass and shoot them. We are not told the truth about the history of our country so that we can see how it was sold to whites so they live better. We are told to be patient, but until when? Our parents and grandparents are still waiting. Many of our parents die as slaves in white farms and mines. Where did whites get all this land? If you ask them, they'll tell you they worked hard for it and that black people do not want to work for anything. They will not tell you about the number of our black ancestors who died.

Many of our parents are forced to work so that they can buy food. Most of it is expensive because food companies, which are owned by whites, want to be rich. Forcing black people to starve when their land produces food is one of the many ways of oppressing us. Why is it that we don't have enough to eat when our farms produce enough food, some of which is sold overseas or thrown away so that food prices are kept high? We must take our farms back and demand that the government give us money and equipment to manage these farms so that black people can have enough to eat.

What must we do as the black youth to change this situation and everything else about black life? We must learn from the youth of '76, who were influenced by Steve Biko's Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). The things they learnt through reading his ideas on white power, black identity and black liberation made them decide that they could not carry on being controlled by white foreigners. As 16 June is being remembered, we must go back to Biko's thoughts and use them the same way as the black youth of '76 to stand up for ourselves, think about how we will free ourselves and like them shout 'Black power!' in the face of our oppressors.

There is a lot of fighting we must do before things change in our favour. As Steve Biko said, 'You are either alive or proud or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can't care anyway.' We must put pressure on the government to change things for the better. If they won't meet our demands, then we must make life for them and the white people they serve difficult.

If as a young black person you agree that the conditions black people live under must change and that we must fight against white power protected by our black government, please contact us because we would like to get in touch with you too.

We must educate ourselves about these things because whites and blacks who benefit from our rich country will not. They want to keep us in the dark so that we carry on blaming ourselves for a situation that they created. We must educate each other so that we can rid ourselves of the curse faced by blacks and young blacks in particular. The government, TV, schools, churches and universities do not teach us the truth. We are on our own!

Yours sincerely and for the love of black people,

Blackwash

* Blackwash [email] is a new initiative committed to black consciousness in post-1994 South Africa.
* Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at http://www.pambazuka.org/.


Readers' Comments

Let your voice be heard. Comment on this article.

The answer to your many questions lies in the findings
of Prof. John Philippe Rushton's extensive studies on race and behavior.

fritz tucek




↑ back to top

ISSN 1753-6839 Pambazuka News English Edition http://www.pambazuka.org/en/

ISSN 1753-6847 Pambazuka News en Français http://www.pambazuka.org/fr/

ISSN 1757-6504 Pambazuka News em Português http://www.pambazuka.org/pt/

© 2009 Fahamu - http://www.fahamu.org/