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Red Balloons

Red Balloons

by Xoliswa Ben-Mazwi / 14.10.2013

Dear “Reds”

Lovely apartheid free day we’re having, huh? Small talk aside, I’m certainly not penning this to hold hands and sing khumbaya over our less than perfect two decades of democracy. While going through my timeline on twitter, I stumbled upon a link to your “Red October” page and that is what I would like to address.

First and foremost, I would just like to make sure that you folks aren’t kidding about this Red October business. I mean, it’s nothing short of being a great hoax. No? Ok, let’s get to it then.

You opened your Red October page with a quote that reads “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” I certainly admire your fighting spirit and your use of sensationalism is something I one day hope to immitate. However, I urge you to pick your battles. While I don’t dispute that the rhinos and the hole in the o-zone layer (which certainly won’t be aided by your red balloons that, by now, are floating in the sky) need your attention, but so to do the black people perishing in our ‘filthy government hospitals’ and the youth who’s lives begin to end once their thrown into our ‘pathetic education system’ while you sit comfortably in your private schools and hospitals.

While I too am tired of ‘Corrupt Governance’, I think I’ll gladly take it coupled with ‘Racist Black Economic Empowerment and Affirmative Action policies’ over an apartheid regime that crippled many people of colour socio-economically. If our country’s alarming Gini coefficient isn’t enough to convince you that the vast gap between the rich and the poor, and essentially between blacks and whites, won’t mend itself, just take a look around your melanin-free boardrooms and neighbourhoods. Trust me, you know not of oppression and inequality.

“We can no longer be silent about the brutal torture of the elderly and defenceless people of our Ethnic Minority” you say. Can I be frank? The first elderly person of your ethnic minority that came to mind after reading this was Eugene Terre’blanche. Once that thought sunk in, my mind then drifted to a story reported on ‘3rd Degree’ about the countless black defenceless elderly woman who are raped and often killed in their own homes. By your account, this is a struggle we seem to share. Our ethnicity has little to do with it. We just live in a twisted society so go easy on the ‘woe is us’ approach.

It saddens me to think that on the eve of learning of Red October I was confidently telling friends that I’m ready to be led by our most prominent opposition party. But now, now I do not believe that the people of this country are ready for power to change hands again. Until such a time that our nation is fit for this change, I call upon you to take the log out of your own eye. I call upon you to not lock your car doors in fear when a black man walks by. I call upon you to go easy on the News24 comments section. Lastly, I call upon you to turn down the air conditioning in office buildings and lecture halls.

Now would be as good a time as any to drop the “one of my best friends is white” line to stop you from thinking I’m racist but I won’t. Instead I will out rightly inform you that your Red October campaign reeks of bigotry. Stop this! Oh and by the way, October belongs to Breast Cancer awareness; December is currently shared by Jesus and Santa Clause… We will think about giving you November if you keep the rest of the world out of this.

P.S. Thanks for ruining the colour red for the rest of us.

Yours truly

A dissenting member of the ethnic majority

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is such a stupid article.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    “Now would as good a time as any to drop the “one of my best friends is white” …”

    Is the grammar correct here? Doesn’t sound like it.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Great article. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Steve Hoffmeyr – having realised his music isn’t going to make the charts, has started making charts of his own. Check out his aweful debut “PIE”chart somewhere online…http://www.africacheck.org/reports/are-white-afrikaners-really-being-killed-like-flies/
    Steve you knob – SHUT THE FUCK UP!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    How fickle you are to allow these (obviously) misguided individuals to affect your political convictions.
    Extremism and bigotry are universal.
    You would also have a better chance of proving your point by refraining from the use of racial comparisons i.e. “black defenceless elderly woman” (sic)

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  6. Dzu says:

    Excellent article Xoli!! 🙂

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  7. Epiglotis says:

    Proof read please. In one sentence there are 4 errors/typos.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Relevant article. @Epiglotis, that’s what editors are for.

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  9. Epiglotis says:

    Technically it’s what sub-editors are for. But yes, glad you agree that someone should do it.

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  10. grammar nazis (go easy) says:

    I really enjoyed this article. In the words of my old man “red October is the latest spectacle in South Africa’s theatre of the absurd”. It bothers me that many of these articles on mahala deal with real and relevant issues and are often skillfully written yet the most cutting response that you mindless drones can come up with is a complaint about grammar!! Don’t get me wrong, grammar is important. But surely you could contribute in a more fitting way! Yes we read it, we saw the mistakes and we don’t need your ‘acute’ observations cluttering the real issues that are being raised here. As for the anonymous nitwit that is honing on about racial comparisons… this story has race written all over it!! If Steve Hofmeyer and his cronies want to start debates regarding racial attacks then let Xoliswa create a comparison! A bit of reality wont cool the supremacist hot heads out there but if the whinging whites of S.A. want to start throwing their pity cards around then maybe a bit of reality is in order. A small bridge in the gap between their deluded racist notions and the real issues of this country. There is no point in pussy footing around the issue! Happy Thursday! Peace & Love to all the races and cultures of this beautiful country!

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  11. grammar nazis (go easy) says:

    I suppose my point is that these comment sections are supposed to allow for dialogue around the issues and topics being raised. A way of creating a debate or a chance to shed some light. But people often just use it to attack the author. Lets be nice about it though (i take back the nitwit part) I agree with Anonymous that these nutcases should not sway your political convictions. It’s hard to find a balance between laughing it off and taking it seriously, because neither are appropriate in my opinion. They might be deluded but they are still there, and their influence is greater than to convince on the fence racists to take sides! I think there is more to this issue than meets the eye.

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  12. Larry Klimt says:

    I really did not like this article. The reasoning is stuck in the same backwardness as the subjects involved in it. It’s an utopian view asking the wrong questions. Please read some books, some history and converse with the right people before you tackle such issues. You’re not defending democracy in this country but weighing up the past to the present – this is the worst angle you could have chosen. In fact, it is an angle that cannot give rise to political or social progress. We know it does not work. The following statement: “While I too am tired of ‘Corrupt Governance’, I think I’ll gladly take it coupled with ‘Racist Black Economic Empowerment and Affirmative Action policies’ over an apartheid regime that crippled many people of colour socio-economically,” is nonsensical, by definition.

    Dear writer, if you really want to tackle these issues validly, please try to think a little bit more creatively and be honest about the situation in this country. Do not take sides, regardless of the ‘other’s’ expression. Your job is to view and describe, not pass judgement, especially if it is flawed.

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  13. white girl says:

    when first hearing about the Red October saga, I was sure it was a joke. Once I realised it was a real thing it sickened then angered me. I’m so tired of the argumants around this. there is no conspiracy to target only whites. Every single person regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, age or sex is a victim of some sort of crime (although it is the most vulnerable that are worst hit – ie the poor, the aged, the very young & women – though race does not play a factor into any of this; unless you consider that the poorest of the poor are by majority those of colour)
    I grew up in the Apartheid regime in a mixture of Irish/english/afrikaans family origin….I did not grow up in a wealthy family but I’m also aware of the priviledges that a white skin afforded the first half of my life.
    I’m so sick of these conversations….the truth is there are a lot bigoted people out there & I’m sorry to say that a fair portion of them are white. I only know this because I’m confronted with it almost every day.
    I sympathise that people are struggling but if you take your blinkers off, this is happening the world over…& there are SO many victims worse off than you. Share what you have, do some charity & reap what you sow………and telling someone not to have their political convictions swayed by what he observes……I don’t even know what to say to that…….believe it or not, though I’ve written so much here….I’m just so tired….oh, except when someone makes the criticism of weighing up the past to the present…..why shouldn’t they? are the atrocities of the Holocaust lessened by the 70 years that have passed?
    Some people are grossly insensitive – there are wounds that are still fresh & I don’t give a rats arse what anyone says…..20 years is not that long for the grieving & mourning of some people….I’m not saying this is a justification for any untoward actions (WHY do I even have to say that)…….but seriously sweeping things under the carpet & saying get over it if fucking insensitive.
    I feel pain just knowing some of those atrocities are part of my heritage – it’s not easy for me to get over, so I’m pretty sure there a few in my generation (& I’m not THAT old), who were on the receiving end & feel worse pain.
    I’m grateful the transition took place the way it did – I was grateful in 1994 & I’m grateful today.
    And I AGREE, I would any day, with all the corruption & ridiculous antics, would take this govt over the old apartheid regime.

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