If Ignorance is the Starting Point, Where To From Here?

Image Courtesy of Columbia College Chicago BlogA number of people have given their thoughts on Mfeka’s diatribe in last weekends newspaper. These are people that matter, people with followers, people that other people listen to. And most of these people felt people like Mfeka do more damage than good with their racist rants. (Here’s a good example of what these people are saying)

One of these important people was an Indian. She is the Indian in charge of City Press. Yip, Aunty Ferial gave more than her thoughts on this tonsil’s racist rubbish, she gave an explanation of why City Press published the column in the first place.  Read here, and decide for yourself.

Firstly, I have to agree that we really do need more of this kind of stuff published, because it is important that we hear what people are thinking, especially those brave enough to put it out there in the public sphere. It should be published with a “proceed with caution: real hateful bullshit ahead” warning maybe, so as to avoid the likes of City Press being shot for being the messenger. The guilty-by-association feeling comes from it appearing that the likes of Mfeka have free-reign to say what they like without fear of reprisal. If we are going to give the likes of Mfeka space to spout their hatred, it needs to be qualified first.

More importantly though, it may be worth withholding the writers name. To be famous for being infamous is not unheard of. Ask Julius Malema. Mfeka is getting a lot of miles out of his poorly written, badly researched column, much more than he deserves. I’m also to blame for this in a way. Had I ignored his rubbish, there would be at least one less person speaking about him, and therefore one less person adding to his notoriety.

The City Press has a responsibility to report on the atmosphere in South Africa. Mfeka, although SEVERELY misguided, touched on an important point. The President has failed us once again by associating himself with the wrong people. The likes of the Shaik’s and the Gupta’s are Indian examples of the huge army of people benefiting by dropping the Zuma name. Mfeka himself used the Zuma name to further his own purpose once upon a time, claiming not only to be Zuma’s representative, but also his nephew. This in addition to all the other fictitious claims to fame he has made. So he highlighted an important point, in-between lines and lines of kak!

So yes, Aunty Ferial, I agree to a point. We need your newspaper to have its fingers to South Africa’s pulse, so we aren’t blindsided by people and their hate inspired ideas, when they come to the fore. But we need the newspapers to be responsible in the way that they publish these poephols, so that they do not contribute to the creation of these monsters. The newspapers need to say “HEY EVERYBODY! Look at what this asshole has to say. Should we be worried that there are other assholes out there thinking the same thing?”

I’m not sure who said it first, but it still rings true: Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, but each person thinks the others stink. Publishing Mfeka’s opinion, or my opinion or your opinion will always elicit the same reaction. Some will agree, some will disagree, sometimes it will give rise to some action, maybe an argument, sometimes it will do nothing. But you will always have people who agree, people who disagree, and people who don’t care. The important thing is that the dialogue begins, because this is what creates awareness… This has to be the way forward.