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Best of 2012 | Unprofessional Humans

by Roger Young / 04.01.2013

Originally published 13 January 2012

On Dana, Suttle and Zille.

In the Wikipedia description of Woody Allen’s Zelig, the titular character, a human chameleon who seamlessly inserts himself into historical events, is described thus, “Zelig yearns for approval so strongly he physically changes to fit in with those around him.” Ladies and gentlemen, meet the professional mlungu, Devon Marshbank. This is a young man who so wants to be part of the new South Africa but hasn’t yet figured out that using white-person-speaking-to-a-petrol-attendant voice (not dissimilar to the talking-to-a-tourist-slowly, or the shouting-at-a-deaf-person) could be perceived as patronizing and also tends to make you look foolish. I should know, I still sometimes lapse into it.

Marshbank’s video, which required employing two taxi drivers and some ‘kasi kids to dance for him, is based on the same kind of dynamics as township theatre or being in Gazelle, paying people to perform in the hope of assuaging middle class guilt, and gaining acceptance. Race politics in this country is ruled by middle class guilt and we all suffer from it.

But Marshbank (who will most likely slip back into what he does “best”, that is making cheesy pop for people of his own ilk) is just trying to fit in. Just looking for approval from people who will hopefully adopt him and buy his records. He wants so badly to be part of the new paradigm that he has demeaned himself, and the people he wishes to be talking to, unknowingly. Calling a pop kwaito track “Disco Taxi” without thinking about how it might offend potential buyers is the musical equivalent of using the term “Professional Black” without thinking that it might offend potential voters. Marshbank, like Zille, recognizes a need to identify with the other, but what they do not get is that “need to identify with the other” is binary thinking, and very similar to the damage done by Simphiwe Dana’s constant homogenization of “the black experience” in her tweet stream.

The Dana / Zille fight has been well documented and commented on. Most notably here, here and here.

Unprofessional Humans - Suttle Tweet on Blacks
Unprofessional Humasn - Dana Tweet On Friends
Unprofessional Humans - Zille Tweet On Black Professional

Zille should have, should still, apologize. While she might have been trying to make a point about Dana’s exploitation of blackness as a tool for attention, she framed it using a phrase that was already contentious, in a medium that is prone to misinterpretation. That she expressed outrage and indignation at the fury it sparked is not the mark of a measured leader. That she responded in that manner to Dana (who tweets like she is after some of that sweet ANCYL / Oskido cash) and Suttle’s logic trap is evidence that she, like most white people in South Africa, cannot escape middle class guilt while refusing to acknowledge the hurt casual racism can cause. She made a statement as inflammatory, unnecessary and woefully misinformed as her arch enemy, Julius Malema’s “White Domestic” proclamation (Julius doesn’t need to wait ten years to get a white domestic, surely there are enough out of work white people (how many does he need? Two? Ten?) who would jump at the chance). But Zille primarily functions as an administrator, dealing with problems in list form. Combine this with the fact that her political vision is impossible to call to mind succinctly, is why she is often accused of Nannyism.

But Simphiwe Dana is just as guilty of binary thinking. Her framing of things as “black” or “white” affirms the sort of post apartheid victimhood that feeds the dispossessed (or self-proclaimed heirs to the dispossessed legacy) the self righteous idea that all should be returned to them unilaterally. To which guilt ridden whites will say, missing the point entirely, “But I didn’t do anything to inherit all this privilege.” While Dana’s attempts to point out to the descendants of the colonizer how fucked the perceptions of reality that their grandfathers have left them with are are well intentioned and often correct, her tone is often as hurtful as being bounced from Asoka.

Unprofessional Humans - Dana White Opposition

To frame the DA as the White opposition is to frame the ANC as the Black leadership, is to racialise the political landscape unnecessarily, as well as relegating all the other parties to nothingness. I cannot think of anything more divisive than this. It defeats the point of politics; you elect the party based on whether it can govern properly, or whether it has delivered on campaign promises. To continue to racialise party politics is the opposite of promoting transformation, it entrenches hurt. To birddog Zille like that points to a personal agenda. To be fair to Dana, she also harasses the ANC on poor governance (but was happy to take their money to perform at the Centenary celebrations), even though they don’t answer her tweets.

Dana’s interpretation of Black Consciousness can sometimes be horrifying. It’s not fascism but it opens itself up to that interpretation. I doubt Biko would endorse the implication in the evasiveness of the following tweet.

Unprofessional Humans - Whites Don't Belong

Discussing race in binaries should be something we work on consigning to history and comedy routines. The tone in which Dana talks about “black” and “white” indicates that she is unable to move beyond the division.

Lindiwe Suttle, on the other hand, is more interested in being famous and therefore correctly political than the plight of the economically disenfranchised, read this especially in the endorsement of the taunting tweet that launched the #CAPETOWNISRACIST trending topic.

Unprofessional Humans - Suttle TT This

Suttle’s assertions about general racism without any detail, allows her a racial victimhood status that means she is able to hanker after wealth and fame, and not really care about the poor, without us being able to question her motives.

Being made to feel like a second-class citizen in Cape Town is not exclusively a race thing, although race is definitely an amplifier. That horrid feeling you get when you are turned away from a restaurant or nightclub is, mostly, a result of lack of status in that environment; that it ends up feeling like racism may be sometimes be justified but also, may sometimes just be the disbelief that you have been judged not worthy. This is where it gets tricky. If you think it is racially motivated then tackling it head on makes you look desperate for status, not tackling it leaves you feeling demeaned.

Doormen, bouncers, and maître d’s at upmarket venues tend to look for famous faces. That those recognizable tend to be either white celebrities or politically connected criminals is a product of the media and not limited to South Africa. Should bouncers receive sensitivity training? Should there be a quota system at upmarket nightclubs, restaurants and public spaces in general? For one thing it’s not necessary at mid market venues like Zula, The Kimberly Hotel, The Waiting Room, Cold Turkey or down most of Long Street, all places as integrated and as “transformed” as any venue in Melville or Braamfontein.

The fact that Cape Town is classist (and has been for a long time) is not up for debate, nor is it likely to change. The poor, and therefore lower classes, in South Africa are, through the dint of history, ANC government failure to implement successful economic reforms and sheer statistics, are largely non-white leads often to Classism and Racism being interpolated. I’m not saying that racism doesn’t occur in Cape Town nightlife, I’m saying that it is mostly classism. And without Suttle ever telling us what the original racist event was, but tying it to being “famous and rich” leaves me to continue wonder about the nature of the incident.

But there is more to Cape Town’s “perceived” racism than this, and that is actual racism. Fuelled by the intersection of it’s cliquey nature bought on by quirks of geography, the value of its real estate and the legacy of the group areas act, Cape Town is, in terms of transformation and integration, at least ten years behind the other major cities in South Africa. This cannot be denied, the arrival of Marshbank ten years after The Artist Formerly Known As Lekgoa attests to this. Part of the cause is that post 94 Cape Town was perceived to be “more transformed”, and it therefore needed less attention, this led to racist attitudes going unchecked and uneducated.

Even in integrated circles you will hear stories of how someone has been sidelined and treated as token, and they can think of no other reason than racism, and not racial hatred but the sadder sort: fear, unfamiliarity and ignorance. In these instances we should try first to educate through compassionate confrontation and then, if that fails, to litigate. When racism is definable, we have to deal with it, not shrug it off and move on. We owe this to those who gave their lives during the struggle. And no, I don’t think there is any hyperbole in that statement.

This is not to say that Cape Town is a white supremacist state, but rather that Capetonians, of the older or richer sort, while accepting of “The Coloureds” as part of the landscape, still haven’t quite got a handle on “The Blacks”. There is much work to be done here but Ms Dana’s suggestion to Zille to implement a campaign, however, makes me quake with horror; I can just imagine the tagline now, “The Blacks are your friends, be nice”. Quite frankly I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know that supporting the #CAPETOWNISRACIST as a trending topic is counter productive and self-serving; it does nothing to break the cycle of hatred and hurt.

Dana and Zille both make the double mistake of firstly assuming that the youth of South Africa can’t think for themselves, and then play into the same representational politics that they about complain about when discussing the ruling party. Luckily, it seems, the youth are no longer listening, or rather have moved on from this “old thinking” (an Alcoholics Anonymous term that binary thought addicts are advised to look up).

Mpho Biko, niece of the great man himself, said recently “I feel like there is no political party that represents our generation, actually. What I see is parties hanging onto the past really tightly and doing stupid things like fighting.”

Vusi Mabaso, a writer in the News24 user generated section, sums it up thus, “I had to sit down and weigh my past and the hurtful things that were done to my forebears and where I want to take this life given to me. This is my life and I will be judged by mankind on what I did with it. And I am not going to sit and blame the past for my present or future failures.”

The Born Frees want to move on. They are, largely, more interested in the pursuit of personal freedom, and a government that is administered properly rather than one trying to address past wrongs. Could Zille and the DA be that government? The short answer is, at this point, no. Not if Zille is unable to see that inserting herself into and then storming out of, a twitter “debate” about race alienates her from a large section of her potential voters. It’s almost a function of being a pop star or a “style icon” that you are idealistic, a little craycray, and even slightly hypocritical. These qualities are the opposite of what we want in our politicians. If Zille wants to be a serious contender for the job she needs to dust off that olive branch, and do something serious and proactive about the actualities of the racist nature of certain sectors of Cape Town, and by extension the Western Cape. In short she needs to come up with a vision that looks beyond white middle class guilt and black victimhood; she needs to become a leader. And leaders don’t slip up on twitter and then dig their heels in determined to be right; if Zille doesn’t take action she might just end up being seen as yet another Devon Marshbank. To paraphrase Dana, Zille has the power to affect real change; this is when she should be using it.


*Editor’s note: Certain factual errors and misrepresentations were present in the version of this story posted last week. While some were the result of a technical issue that resulted in the incorrect draft being uploaded, others were the result of faulty information. All have now been resolved. However, we at Mahala, would like to apologise to Lindiwe Suttle for the three misrepresentations listed below.

1: Ms Suttle’s accent is American, it is not “put on”. The reference to that is excised.

2: Ms Suttle did not tweet, but rather retweeted, the original CapeTownIsRacist. Therefore the tone of that tweet is not her own. The sentence has been changed to reflect this.

3: Ms Suttle has informed us that she does not wear gold or diamonds and therefore the statement on her jewelry being part of the wealth that failed to be handed back to the people in the negotiated settlement is entirely false. This has been excised from this version. The sentence preceding that contained an ambiguity cause by a subbing error that has also been excised.

Further to this, the statement that ambiguously seemed to compare Ms Dana’s Black Consciousness beliefs with Facism has been made clearer in its intention.

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  1. okidokidooki says:

    Waddy is gay

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  2. Smash says:

    Well said Okidokidooki!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Well said. Your own positionality could do with some mentioning mr young.

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  4. Dean says:

    Hey, it’s not easy being a white Cape Townian either. Just last October we had to deal with the fact that Apple released the iPhone 4S and not the iPhone 5.

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  5. Carlton says:

    Yeah Waddy is a total gaylord.

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  6. SihleMthembu says:

    An iconic piece of analysis

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  7. Who Killed JR? says:

    Can I get a witness!
    The old guard (on all fronts) feeds on the segregation … without it the whole status quo in SA politics will collapse … and maybe it’s time. It’s lazy logic for an inadequate white kid to blame quotas for not finding work or an inadequate black kid to moan at feeling the token. Our Democracy’s a teenager … let’s all man up and see if we can send it into adulthood in a better state than the ingrate teenagers of our neighbours.

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  8. MitchHATE says:

    Personally myself, I’m a coloured huy who was raised by white people in “nice” former suburb, I have always identified with white people and probably will for the rest of my life.I feel what Zille done was wrong and could seriously be considered as racist, fuck almost blatantly racist,she should have apologized ages ago.

    With regard to Simphiwe Dana, I actually think that she is well within her right to question Zille and the DA’s running of the WC. From my experience only the “white areas” of CT are thriving as oppossed to the other areas.

    BTW Roger this is the best piece Mahala has produced in a long time.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Think of it as a race. Regardless of how good or bad we are at running, it seems we are happy to accept the winner of a race receiving a much bigger prize than the runners up. We don’t think the winners incur any particular obligations even if they are handsomely rewarded. However, what if we said that the winner of today’s race could use their winnings to get a major head start in tomorrow’s race? Or if we agreed that the winner of today’s race could buy a life-changing hard start for his daughter running her first race? Both these consequences of inequality offend deeply held common sense ideas of fairness.

    But in reality, and for various reasons, we do allow people to use today’s success to buy advantages for tomorrow, and to pass on their advantages to their offspring, even though this necessarily means a relative disadvantage for everyone else. Arguably, the level of intervention and redistribution which would be necessary to stop advantages being exploited and inherited would have damaging side effects. Nevertheless, it can be argued that it is the freedom to exploit and bequeath advantage which provides the basis for arguing that the well-off in society have greater obligations than less fortunate citizens.

    To survive in terms of financial sustainability and public legitimacy, entitlements to welfare and public services need to be accompanied by rules and expectations of obligation and reciprocity. Similarly, if society is not to be unfair and seen to be so, the freedom we provide to the well off to exploit and pass on privilege should also be tempered by rules and expectations.

    It’s a difficult one to solve, but fighting about whose entitled to privileges amongst the rich/famous, no matter what colour they are, seem a bit sanctimonious.

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  10. Tim says:

    MitchHATE, Mahala didnt produce this – they are hosting it. 🙂 Roger Young produced it. Because he’s a clever chap despite some of the things I’ve seen him do late at nights at parties.

    High five to both though, this is great.

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  11. Dean says:

    Who Killed JR? – I agree with you an all accounts but SA’s democracy isn’t a teenager. If anything, it’s a mumbling toddler who cannot speak properly yet. The above tweets show that even so-called prominent South Africans don’t even know how to talk to each other. When we learn to speak engagingly to each other rather than at each other we’ll start making a difference.

    Like Mr. Young alluded to… None of the argument achieves or addresses anything of meaning. All it does is further polarize us as a society. Because the argument is arbitrary in nature we pick sides arbitrarily. Lindiwe Suttle appears to be a superficial clown. All I get from her is ‘rich’, ‘famous’ ‘attention’ blah blah. fuck off!, And Zille behaves like someone I would never vote for by engaging in a manner which is counter-productive.

    The first logical and honest dissection of this whole mess is this piece right here. Well done.

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  12. Golden Rebreather says:

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah! Blah! ahahahahaha! Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. @ Who killed JR? Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah.
    Blah blah blah blah racist blah blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah!
    Blah blah.

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  13. N-T says:

    Btw Mahala is a xhosa word, watch what you say about black people Roger Young. Your site is a black word.

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  14. Jeff Goldblum says:

    Mahala is a black word? My god, I thought they just made it up. The Shock.

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  15. sincerely sunday says:


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  16. JustSayin says:

    Taking on a racial debate in a medium that limits the length of posts to 140 characters is redundant no matter how you look at it. A cat and mouse game best avoided by political figures and popstars alike.

    To use WKJR’s teenager metaphor, no-one likes being the cool mom’s kid. The one who allows house parties and is a mutual friend to everyone on FB. It’s embarrassing. We need an uncool mom to sort us out. One that’ll ground us over a weekend for getting a C in history, then make us work in the garden.

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  17. the poorman's Alec Baldwin says:

    @ just saying
    Shiiiitt….Bitch you must be on crack …

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  18. PRYNC says:

    JustSayin- Make us work in the garden? mhlungu.

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  19. the poorman's Alec Baldwin says:

    I agree with PRYNC. That is a pretty racist thing to say. Just saying.

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  20. anonon says:

    You guys are so white with your 14 page comments, and your political corrrectness. Go whine about the secrecy bill or something.

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  21. sober says:


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  22. armegenonomous says:

    Secrecy bill? Why dont you go read the constitution. Try the first page. Ever hear of Freedom of speech!

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  23. Getonthebuswithgus says:

    Pick your battles people

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  24. frmtn says:

    Who killed JR? slams that nail in. It pretty much boils down to each individual. It’s up to you as a person to identify the bigger picture, and how you fit yourself into it. There are easy ways and there are hard ways, and more than usually the hard way makes you stronger/better off at the end of the day.

    We should all sit down in the corner and think about what we really want for this country – and by we I mean you or me as an individual – and taking things objectively into account arrive at a point that we truly believe in. There are too few of us with the balls to actually make our minds up about sensitive issues such as race and morals without seeking the affirmation or 2c of those we admire and try to impress.

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  25. Optional says:

    Freakin’ brilliant.

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  26. Optional says:

    The most ironic thing about apartheid is that 20 years after it ended people still define themselves by its categorizations. Fuck black, fuck white, fuck coloured, fuck indian.Those are just ways to keep people divided and a ‘white’ guy from Limpopo has just about as much in common with a ‘white’ girl from Seapoint as a ‘black’ guy from sandton does with a ‘black’ gal from port shepstone. In this country there are rich people and there are poor people, that’s it.

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  27. ZeroGuilt says:

    Actually, I agree with Mr Young. I hate it when white people tolerate and condone moronic behaviour just because someone is straight/gay/white/black/smart/stupid. Whatever the excuse, I dont care. I am white. I am not ashamed of it, nor will I be nice just because someone else is not. Fuck you if you are poor, it could have been me, and could still be me, if I suddenly start acting like a total twat. Call Cape Town racist if you want, it works better than any other place in this chaotic country. Stir your shitspoon Mr Young. I like it!

    Don’t pay them to dance for you Devon Marshbank, they will end up stealing from you if they needed your resources.

    You cannot fix them Helen Zille, they are broken and only interested in making you there housemaid.

    Go for it Julius, your are the Boss Rat and all the other rats will follow you even if you are only about to feed them to your overpriced asian cat.

    I will take care of myself. Zero Guilt!

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  28. Who Killed JR? says:

    Hey Zeroguilt, I bloody hope you’re just looking for a cheap reaction.

    Even though you feel no guilt you’ve got to respect the fact that there are still some open wounds busy healing and this type of commentary is exactly why pieces like this are still being written almost 20 years later. Lighten up bro, the path forward is reasonable people entering into reasonable discourse to get all this circumspection out of the way so we can get this show on the road.

    No man is an island buddy

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  29. Danni says:

    Brilliant work RoYo

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  30. ZeroGuilt says:

    @Who Killed JR?

    I agree with your point of view. I once had a friend who studied Philosophy in his room after his shift as a waiter at a hotel. He wasnt enrolled anywhere. He was just an astute scholar. I met him when I worked as waiter in the holidays at the end of my 2nd year of BComm Law through Unisa. He was the only person on the staff of that restaurant that would embrace the white casual worker. All the other waiters were caught up in their little cliques and prejudice. Him and I forged a great friendship sharing a mutual interest in Philosophy and Psychology. We exchanged reading materials and spoke for hours about anything. The friendship continued even after I stopped working at this hotel.

    The story and the friendship ended abruptly. He lashed out at me one day for spending my hard earned cash on things he considered to material and a waste of money and accused me of being part of the reason why black people are struggling to get ahead in the world. “How can you buy recreational accessories when there are people suffering all around you.” He was black. Suddenly after years of imperviousness to race, I realized he was black. He is now an activist and poltical journalist.

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  31. Margot says:

    “We need an uncool mom to sort us out. One that’ll ground us over a weekend for getting a C in history, then make us work in the garden.”

    Hey, JustSayin, are you the reason I can’t buy a bottle of wine after six on a Saturday night?

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  32. cnut says:

    Good post Roger…

    Also brings us to the point of Social Media and it’s use by punters in business to punters in sport to punters in power…

    Whilst Zille must be commended in this respect, even I as an owner of a SEO/SMO company must question whether she should be ‘tweeting’ at all (and whether that in fact was her and not ‘hired help’ gone wrong)… won’t be the first nor the last use of a SM application comes back to haunt the user… but that’s another article for Mahala…

    That Vusi Mabasa quote fitted perfectly into your piece… far more of the man should be quoted from his posts across the topics… they’re extremely relevant in almost all of Mahala’s articles… particularly the comments boards…

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  33. simmi says:

    what dreary middle of the road white liberal racist crap. Roger stick to getting drunk and high and musing over local bands while trying to get laid…this has to be the most soggy un-radical thinking…a bad attempt at masking and making excuses for white racism. Your language itself bares testimony to apartheid indoctrination in the way you segregate people. ..you also miss the entire point of Biko’s Black Consciousness….and then to quote Biko’s family…and place it as implied knowledge related or attached to Biko’s thinking is outrageous. i didnt want to read this piece because i generally enjoy your writing and did not want discover another white supremacist telling black people what is racist or not. and i must add that all these so called black teenagers talking about the death of racism are desperately trying to fool themselves into believing that a new world is possible….if they close their eyes to the kind of racist encounters that is part of our every waking moment. There has been no intervention made to deal with apartheids wake, neither for whites or for blacks. And please dont mention the disgraceful truth and reconciliation stint, which allowed whites to exonerate themselves from their crimes in front of the families of the murdered, tortured, raped victims they had killed. South Africa needs a fxxkng nuremberg trial NOW…the whole world needs a nuremberg trial, from the event of slavery, till the human trafficking with most of the victims from africa, asia, and south america! the world as we know it has been built and is still built by black bodies, black bodies used for their labour, for white mans privilege and pleasure. LETS CALL FOR AN APARTHEID TRIAL, LET THE MURDERERS OF BIKO GET THEIR PUNISHMENT…as they are still living safe and comfortably amongst us in south africa…. then i would like to see you whites fxxkng pontificate about what is racist or not.

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  34. Storm says:

    A pity that we do not see more of your balanced attitude in SA – great article, hope people sit up and take note instead of getting caught up in their own rhetoric.

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  35. Roger Young says:


    Take a deep breath.

    Let’s just take it as a given that a Nurmenburg trial for the entire history of the world is not a possibility right now. And that the TRC was a farce, that was part of the ANC selling out to economic interests. And I’m really skimming over this to get to my point but now, what do we do, as humans, to inch slowly towards living together? How do we break the cycle? Or can the cycle be broken?

    Because shouting at each other on twitter and comment boards is plainly not the way forward.

    PS: I did not conflate Biko’s niece with Biko’s thinking. That’s your assumption.

    PPS: With reference to “Your language itself bares testimony to apartheid indoctrination in the way you segregate people.”

    Please tell me how so? I am truly interested.

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  36. Lisa says:

    Good job, Rog.
    Thoughtful, well-written piece.

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  37. ahem says:

    “you whites”

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  38. Margot says:

    LOLOLOL Simmi’s screaming for a goddamn Nuremberg Trial but can’t bring herself to spell out the word “fucking”.

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  39. happy brown says:

    This piece got us talking, nuff said. Oh yes don’t go to the Office in Greenside, mad racist joint, pretty much the whole of Greenside. Manager says to us “why don’t you go to a place with your type, we don’t need your type here”, I ask “what type is that? have the balls to say it lady”. Yeah we are all racists, descendants of the apartheid state, swallow that.

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  40. simmi says:

    dear Maggot

    the correct spelling of fuck originates from sanskrit and phonetically should be spelt peuk, it shares its linguistic roots with prick, punctuate and means to strike. And please if i may add how bored we are by little colonial administrators who tell us how to speak and behave like proper little coolies, kaffirs and niggers… regulating our language with proper commas and colons and fxxkng coloniality so they may feel comfortable through their belittling and ridicule.
    …oh wait, i have not even touched on white peoples appropriation. but despite all the fun i am having, i am not hear to undo your colonial indoctrination and have to return to my work. Roger, i might reply at some later stage, or you could do a course on post structuralism (though being black we live and read and breath black consciousness, ngugi, black panthers), but post structuralism might be more palpable to your palate… and apply it to your text and voilà magically the racist lenses will fall away.

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  41. Elizabeth says:

    RoYo – LOL.

    I’m sure a lot of people in CT are more racist than the norm but at the risk of sounding flippant – it’s just an unfriendly place. I lived there for 2 years and most of the time I felt like a second rate citizen, even though I am fabulous and white. If you’re not from there, didn’t go to school with everyone, and don’t think like everyone else, no one will give you the time of day.

    Luckily i was able to get the fuck out of there.

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  42. happy brown says:

    Yoh Simmi, your English is good man. Where’d you learn how to speak like that. I got so lost in your big words I didn’t know what was going on. Lets rather speak our hearts and minds bud here, not prove we are educated

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  43. Roger Young's Elder says:

    “Should bouncers receive sensitivity training?” Genius.

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  44. Margot says:

    What the peuk are you on about, Simian? Are you drunk? What was the quick etymology outburst in aid of? The point you’re making over there doesn’t even make sense. “Colonial administrators”?
    It’s truly alarming how many assumptions you make.

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  45. happy brown says:

    Whats fun is when CT marketing and advertising agencies ignore the multiculturalism of Jhb and do national campaigns that totally sideline the brownies on this side. The converse gigs this side are a joke, they’re the only time we get to see the whole of Edenvale in Newtown. So I ask why is converse(and many other youth culture orientated brands) always skewing gigs for the pale white bands and audience, once again a brand the people built in this country i.e amaAllStars would rather have it that we feel invisible in our own city. I wanted to know why and asked and was ignored by the powers that be. We just want to know what fuels this?

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  46. Dean says:

    Racism – The belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    @Simmi – Please understand what racism is before you use it as a card every time you disagree with someone of a different race. You have every right to disagree with the writer but you have absolutely no right to call his writings “dreary middle of the road white liberal racist crap”. It is anything but racist. It’s objective writing.

    By crying wolf on racism like this you belittle it’s meaning to such an extent that when it does occur in it’s true form, people dismiss calls of racism as spam.

    I don’t think you’re an idiot because you’re black, I think you’re and idiot because you’re an idiot!

    Naturally your only response to this will be to call me racist.

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  47. Dan says:

    @simmi – did you even bother to click through and read what Mpho Biko actually had to say?

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  48. Roger Young says:

    @Happy Brown

    Oh the irony. Converse supports the only integrated party in the most untransformed city in the country, Cold Turkey in Cape Town. And then throws the most unintegrated party in the country in its most transformed space, Newtown.

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  49. Enfant says:


    The problem with you, essentially, is that you’re a culturalist – your life operates according to a civilisational logic, and you have enough anti-praxis post-structuralism coming out of your ass to hold the world in stasis unto the apocalypse. I’m not an apologist for colonialism – anyone who pronounces the end of racism, or its abandonment to the past is seriously missing the fact that our world and its unstable orders are constituted by a bloody history. But I don’t think you appear to have an approach that is anything other than violent.

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  50. raimondo says:

    Ahhh refreshing angle, totally agree. Thank heaven there’s a balanced, rational element in society.

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  51. Back2school says:

    Cape TOWN always seems to get a hard time, Its a town. Most towns are pretty ‘racist’. My theory is mostly because small spaces, like a high school tarmac cause insecure people to group in order to survive; the one group is the cool group, the other the rich group, the smart group, the religious, etc. You make friends with the people who’s values, hobbies and palate you identify with, and spend the rest of the time just trying to have a pleasant time between lunch break and hope the bullies leave you alone. Having some shitty bitch or Jock tell you where you can and can’t go, is crappy anywhere in the world. Why is Cape Town the scape goat ? What must Helen or anyone for that matter do about the tarmac? Must she put anyone who attends rocking the daisies in the corner and hiss at them because they booked Jeremy Loops and not (insert name of desired act here) ? I find it strange that it is not overwhelmingly obvious to all, that there will always be grouping and ranking in whatever configuration, the important thing is not to be the jock, bitch or bully.

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  52. Jeff Goldblum says:


    That the balanced, rational element of society is Roger Young, is quite a turn out for the books. And a little disturbing.

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  53. awe says:

    “I feel like there is no political party that represents our generation, actually. What I see is parties hanging onto the past really tightly and doing stupid things like fighting.”

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  54. Reader says:

    Well written piece. Thanks.

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  55. Anonymous says:

    Yo Back to school go back to school/Cape Town is very important to many of this countries economies which didn’t sit down for any TRC shit because they were too rich, no wealthy to care/ Not everyone’s school is your school/ there’s a school of people that are getting very tired of your lets hide in the closet and hope the bully doesn’t come to our door mentality/ How about we do what this country does best/ beat poetry while our world gets raped, lets argue about things that don’t make us fight? It will feel better that way. CAPETOWN’s racism is the dynamic racism that fuels this countries racism, but go figure.

    Forget Steve Biko, Helen Zille, Simphiwe Dana, Felicia’s love child, this country has problems which have nothing to do with schooling, There hasn’t been any real education in relation to this context. The dynamic ideas are overshadowed by our love for the mediocre. And maybe here Mr Young(which might not be his real name) opens his heart and writes properly about it. He exposes himself, that’s what this country was about in the stupid yet sacred TRC sessions. Lets not piss on our concessions while blaming a ruling party with lame ideas. We live in a one party state….FACT

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  56. Balanced Attitude says:

    Hey at least we not fighting about religion

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  57. Margot says:

    @Jeff Goldblum and Cnut reads as a moderate – everything you know is wrong.

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  58. Sarah_j_fell says:

    Great work, Roger. Followed by a highly amusing comment board as always. You never fail to entertain. Or enlighten. I’m glad to see there are still some writers left who haven’t sold their souls to higher salaries. Someone should throw you a Nobel one of these days.

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  59. MmmMmmbbbaaabbayyyamajiva says:

    I think Disco Taxi is rad , its a total joke just like most popular music is but now with the added blessing that fukking dim witted Devon Marshbank is in the hot seat doing the amajiva.
    Nature loves contradiction.

    Its absolutely no disrespect to anyone , If Devon Marshbank had black skin his song would blend pretty much 100% harmoniously with what is currently being played on Taxi Beatbox’s country wide. His accent fits the song – if you heard the audio without the visuals you could easily be fooled it was a blak oe singing.
    If he sang the song with a typical wit oe accent it would be fukking dorf .
    Did you notice how proudly the oe hits his moves at the end – like any self respecting kwaito wannabe hero would be…. the guy obviaasly respects what he’s doing

    Actually whats wrong with the way petrol attendants speak english you fucking Nazi.
    Actually last time I heard most Kwaito stars sound like that when they throw some english in the mix – you got issues with black people or something?

    Maybe you should have a Sotho or Sepedi person critique your Sotho and Sepedi language speaking skills.
    Maybe then what you call “the petrol attendant english” that countless black people enjoy speaking will just sound like a human being struggling to speak a foreign language , you fucking self righteous Bigot

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  60. Onan the ambidextrous says:

    Hey Mambabanbajiva I like what you say but I’d appreciate you get your stinking black genitals outa my face so we can agree on one thing which is this not so young roger the dodger sweated for his bucks but made it far too fucking long and far to fucking boring. Right?

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  61. Roger Young says:

    Apologies my punctuations wasn’t clear.

    I should have said – “white-person-speaking with-a-petrol-attendant voice.”

    I apologise if you read – “white person, speaking with a petrol-attendant-voice.”

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  62. Roger Young says:

    Actually neither of those work. I have also noticed some minor ambiguities that the sub didn’t take care of, I apologise and will attend to them now.

    but @MmmMmmbbbaaabbayyyamajiva just to clear a few things up.

    1: There is nothing wrong with anything Marshbank does, freedom of speech and all that, but the fact that we can clearly read his inauthenticity (and if you need further proof serach youtube for his other videos) shows that he is Zeliging. Now Zeliging is, in itself the product of a noble thought, but when not approched with the right intentions, will end up becoming patronising and alienating. I think I explained this in the article.

    2: There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way petrol attendants ( I use petrol attendants because that is one of the few places the upper middle class actually talk to “The Blacks” in Cape Town) speak English, or the French, or deaf people. But mimicking them belies the assumption that we believe they can only understand us if we talk the same way. Attempting to reach out by speaking out in “the others” language is what every South African should be doing, its the fear of doing it badly that stops most people, like myself. But imitating someone doing it to the best of their ability comes across as, again, patronising. And if some one is insulted by this, we cannot blame them and should be quick to recognise why. This is why I conflated that with “Professional Black”.

    3: Have you ever been in a Disco Taxi?

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  63. MmmMmmbbbaaabbayyyamajiva says:

    Ya whatever roger you fat sack of devious shite

    You go into a whole lot of detail as to why speaking “white-person-speaking with-a-petrol-attendant voice” is demeaning.
    Like comparing Marshbank to Lindiwe Suttle speaking in an American accent between songs, is a load of bullshit.
    Lindiwe Suttle is aping something with fukall to do with South Africa – Marshbank is showing his allegiance and respect to a group of local south africans by speaking in the way they do – he’s a fucking local person speaking like a fellow local person , wake the fuck up asshole.

    Maybe more white folk should try embracing true south african black culture???

    You saying black people must speak like white people but white people aren’t allowed to speak like black people??? WTF

    The only way speaking “petrol-attendant voice” is demeaning is if you think that stupid people speak “petrol-attendant voice”.

    “petrol-attendant voice” ain’t going anywhere fuckface , millions of South Africans speak that way and feel just fine about themselves , ask them they’ll fucking laugh in your face.
    They don’t give a fuck about how proper white people like yourself think humans should speak english.

    Playing your “I love black people and I protect them” bullshit.
    We don’t need you to protect us , we’ll speak fucking petrol attendant english and kick your fat flaccid fucking ass
    You pathetic scared fucking whitey.

    Roger Young Professional White.

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  64. Thabo Mophiring says:

    May I suggest you read Tim WIse – With Friends like these. He debunks your classism argument really well http://bit.ly/oFXecg

    Also, look here at http://www.scoop.it/t/microaggressions Racial MicroAggressions before you continue.


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  65. Roger Young says:


    “You saying black people must speak like white people but white people aren’t allowed to speak like black people??? WTF”

    You missed my point – LOL.

    You fucking loser internet commentor. WTF. ROTFLMAO

    You’re as bad as Hitler.


    Let me put it to you this way. I’m not prescribing how second language English speakers should speak English, I’m suggesting it doesn’t help for first language English speakers to speak English in a way that could be perceived at mockery.

    Also, to return to point 3, have you ever been in a Disco Taxi?

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  66. MmmMmmbbbaaabbayyyamajiva says:

    Roger Young Professional White desperately defends his stance.

    I didn’t miss your point , you don’t have a point.
    Copying the way your friends or people you respect speak is natural , everybody does it.
    The saying that goes something like : Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery?

    I don’t see the pardoy in Disco Taxi – the guy is hitting the styles are hard as he can.
    He’s a total twat but he’s giving it his best shot . He’s not the standard bearer of anything , he’s just your average joe trying to be a big knob.

    Anyway’s mocking how black folk may struggle with english is fucking old.
    Thats the way millions speak english , on TV , in Hit songs , Ministers of Education.
    Get over yourself twit – they feel fine about how they speak.

    The dark days of old are past – what piece of shit in South Africa mocks the way a person speaks english . If you still think someone speaks like that way to mock and not as a form of respect and camaraderie then you still stuck back in those days – 2 decades ago and you should stop hanging around racist bigots.

    Have I ever ridden in a Taxi with choons bustin my drums
    what you fukking think fool?

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  67. Roger Young says:


    You really are missing the point, it seems willfully in order to cause kak.

    Yes it is natural, it’s even important for the evolution of language. But it can be seen as offensive. And when it is seen as offensive, one must try to understand why. This is the specific area I’m discussing, in relation to the Zille, Dana spat.

    I’m not saying people don’t feel fine about the way they speak English, in their own style. And I’m not saying they shouldn’t.

    And I’m not saying that the mocking is intentional but rather when it is seen as mocking then one needs to admit that possibility and engage in dialogue as to why.

    And I’m not asking if you have ridden in a taxi, I’m asking if you have ever heard it called a “Disco Taxi” and I’m asking if you have ever heard disco playing in a taxi.

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  68. Roger Young says:


    I’ve just re-read your original comment and I have something I need to ask you.

    “if you heard the audio without the visuals you could easily be fooled it was a blak oe singing.”

    Do you have any idea what a bigot that statement makes you look like?

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  69. Dean says:


    When whites adopt a “petrol-attendant-accent” accent when talking to blacks, it is not imitation and it’s definitely not flattery. It’s laziness.

    All it says is:

    “Hey black oke filling up my car, I couldn’t give a fuck about your language or culture; so I’m not gonna bother even learning 2 words of your dumb language. But here’s a silly accent. That should do it. We all good? Oh ya, give the windscreen a wash for a buck whilst you’re at it buddy. And be sure to get your black ass outta my suburb as soon as your shift is done cause if I see you walking down my street after dark, I’ll get ADT to fuck you up!”

    But that’s my opinion on the matter and perhaps I’m reading too much into it.

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  70. MmmMmmbbbaaabbayyyamajiva says:

    Roger you on wacky tabacky at the moment?

    “if you heard the audio without the visuals you could easily be fooled it was a blak oe singing.”

    Do you have any idea what a bigot that statement makes you look like?

    WTF are you trying to say?

    I just made a statement of fact – because its true the guy hits the Kwaito lingo reasonably well.
    As you repeatedly pointed out in your article Kwaito is an artform that white people apparently shouldn’t engage themselves in pursuing . So if ‘ol Devon could sound like a blak oe if you closed your eyes then maybe he’s doing it relatively well because he’s the new comer in that game and he’s following the steps that countless and far greater men than him walked.

    Just like you said “Lindiwe Suttle speaks in an American accent” – that’s also true fuck face – you are definitely a bigot even by your own standards.

    Jeez fuck “Disco Taxi” : is the title raping the meaning of words or what is your problem??
    Disco Taxi is a pretty apt title for a taxi banging the choons with the oe’s possibly have dilly jols in the back even just for the ride home – I see it everyday , if you like your beats you know your rank to go to and which queue to join .
    Its a taxi for good times call it what you want but Disco Taxi is definitely not a sleight to its reputation . I know many drivers that would be stoked with that title , actually if its not a slogan on a taxi driving around as we speak I’d be surprised.

    Oh well Professional White Roger Young continues his crusade.

    Blak people don’t need a twat like you rescuing their psyche , I can assure you its strong and healthy.

    Its having “saviors” like you that fuck up a mans name.
    Because if you think someone needs saving what are you trying to insinuate about them?

    Zille, Dana – they not representational of anyone else but themselves , they may think otherwise , but when they open their mouths the shit spewing forth is of their own design.
    Zille can most definitely kiss my ass , but I suppose Miss Dana can plant a big ol kiss right on my lips cause she’s a fox!!!!

    Ahhhh u oe’s must chill man

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  71. MmmMmmbbbaaabbayyyamajiva says:

    “Hey black oke filling up my car, I couldn’t give a fuck about your language or culture; so I’m not gonna bother even learning 2 words of your dumb language. But here’s a silly accent. That should do it. We all good? Oh ya, give the windscreen a wash for a buck whilst you’re at it buddy. And be sure to get your black ass outta my suburb as soon as your shift is done cause if I see you walking down my street after dark, I’ll get ADT to fuck you up!”

    But that’s my opinion on the matter and perhaps I’m reading too much into it.”

    Dean I see the way you feel about blak people , not good my bru.

    Its a sign of respect to speak the way the person you are speaking to speaks , if you speak with genuineness and love.

    If you didn’t speak much Sepedi and had to ask a Sepedi speaker something and she spoke at the speed and enunciation as she would normally use to another Sepedi speaker , you wouldn’t know wtf she was speaking you fakking useless prick 😛
    Maybe you need genuineness and love Dean?

    Fuk this bullshit I’m not on a crusade to pull the giant carrot out of the Rogers ass (it appears he likes having it there) nor anyone else’s ass.

    Walk the talk you fucktards.

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  72. Dean says:

    Jesus Christ you are dumb.

    I don’t feel anyway about black people. I was explaining how I perceive white behaviour. When it’s done with genuineness and love there’s nothing wrong with it but that occurs too far and few between.

    But carry on misquoting and arguing like poes because when you speak of genuineness and love whilst using language “fakking useless prick” and “fat sack of devious shit” you show that you are in fact a giant, hypocritical cunt.

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  73. Roger Young says:


    “Its a sign of respect to speak the way the person you are speaking to speaks , if you speak with genuineness and love.”

    Agreed. But what if it’s not taken that way? What then should someone do?

    I’m not trying to rescue anyone, let alone “black people”. I’m pointing out that when you are a public figure and your communications cause division, you need to re-think the way you communicate.

    If I could speak fluent Sepedi and a Sepedi speaker spoke to me in remedial Sepedi, after they had heard me speak, I would take that as a sign of disrespect.

    But the very fact that you think @Dean’s description of how he interprets other people’s use of this dumbing down is a description of his own thoughts shows that you really don’t have a handle on the subject of respect and human interactions at all.

    Also more power to Marshbank, he’s brave and deserves commendation for entering a tricky but necessary area, but if he wants to negotiate this area successfully he should take heed of the fact that he’s received stick, not only on his youtube comments, but also in other publications.

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  74. Who Killed JR? says:


    I know you’re probably looking for a reaction but you must have realised that you’re exhibiting the same kind of “fuck you” bravado and intolerant swagger that you can expect of any white supremacist douche.

    It’s textbook inferiority complex overcompensation.

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  75. MmmMmmbbbaaabbayyyamajiva says:

    Sorry I must apologize for my personal attacks on Roger & Dean.
    That ain’t cricket as some say , but crickets generally a pretty useless sport anyway…
    And I suppose I’m engaging in the same self righteous bigot game I’m calling out , fukn twat I am.

    But I stand by what I have said and Deans rich and explicit description of how he thinks white people see blak people can only have sprouted forth from his own sub conscious. Capitalist fukfaces do subscribe to Deans belief and they can be of any color of the nation .

    If someone speaks fluent english or any language I’m assuming any rational speaker would like wise converse fluently back.
    I would have thought that would be obviaas.

    But rogers so called “petrol attendant voice” tag is bullshit.
    Many people speak like that and it gives their words no less gravity or meaning.
    Unless the listener is a giant dickhead sphukuphuku

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  76. Roger Young says:

    But I’m not accusing the petrol attendendant of speaking in that voice, only the person who assumes it is the best way to communicate.

    As to Dean’s sub-conscious, maybe so, but, if so, at least he recognises that it is wrong.

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  77. Lindiwe Suttle says:

    Poor poor Roger Young…unprofessional journalist that starts writing articles before knowing the facts…welcome unprofessional human to our world 😉

    Fact #1 – I was born and raised in USA so my American accent is not fake – actually shouldn’t I be ‘faking’ a South African accent to fit it?? Why would you say that having an American accent is “fitting in”, do you have more love for USA than your own country?

    Fact #2 – I Re-tweeted the statement (see the quote marks in the tweet Roger) and those were not my exact words or ‘tone in the taunting tweet’…but I stand by anything I tweet or RT…. please learn about twitter before you decide to analyze

    Fact #3 – I do not own diamonds or gold, I never was interested in them and I do not wear high end labels. If you do your research I support local designers, if you ask anyone that KNOWS me they can confirm

    Fact #4 – I do have a wonderful product placement with Tom Ford sunglasses

    Fact #5 – I will not be silent to what I experience first hand or see happening in front of my eyes.

    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  78. Lindiwe, you sound lack a prack says:

    No one cares about you and your product placement or your taste in fashion or your American accent.

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  79. Lindiwe Suttle says:

    Well obviously Roger does cause he wrote about it so I responded

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  80. Roger Young says:

    Lindiwe, thanks for your comments on the story. I will amend and reframe the sentences referring to facts #1, #2, and I will excise the reference to gold, diamonds as mentioned in #3 (Which I did in fact research, but it seems my local fashion sources have provided me with incorrect info).

    But as to #5, I believe you are being silent because the incident you witnessed, that sparked this off, hasn’t, to my knowledge, been spoken about.

    PS: Don’t get involved in answering back on the comment boards, for your own sanity. This place gets nasty and you can never win.

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  81. Dean says:

    “But I stand by what I have said and Deans rich and explicit description of how he thinks white people see blak people can only have sprouted forth from his own sub conscious.”


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  82. John Mongrel says:

    The dispossessed can never by labelled as being discriminate towards the privileged.

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  83. Maximilien Robespierre says:

    My guillotine and I agree, Mr Mongrel.

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  84. happy brown says:

    This one is for the dumb coconut who thinks he is the true voice for all black people. Mmmmbaba whatever, so sad for you man. Do the darkies a favour and don’t argue in our defence. I think we do well without people telling us what our true culture is, that homogenizes our experience quite a bit, I don’t even feel right asking you to not speak for US. Okay so I amend it, don’t speak for me as a black you are way too up your own coco ass to have an inkling of what you are talking about.

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  85. Thabo Mophiring says:

    I thought news24 was bad, this is a tad worse. anyway for more considered opinions and more knowledge, which s needed.

    MicroAggression – http://www.scoop.it/t/microaggressions

    Whiteness & White Privilege http://www.scoop.it/t/whiteness

    Cape Town Racism http://www.scoop.it/t/cape-town-racism/

    In that order

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  86. Roger Young says:


    I like that the more considered opinion and knowledge is curated by you. Delivering an unsubstantiated diss and then asking people to go read your, more learned, opinion isn’t exactly going to win you points in my book.

    Rather could you point out exactly where my argument and opinion is incorrect, racist, etc and then lets have a conversation around that.

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  87. simmi says:

    regarding your text: the sweeping statement and the way you position yourself within the text as a hidden but god like narrator belongs to a very specific colonial linier universal narrative…especially when the author decides to make socio-political commentary, but has no inclination to research the historical context nor the subject or the concepts involved in the subject.

    Roger, you have no idea of the very specific political meaning that ‘black’ and ‘white’ has in South Africa. Nor do you bother to begin to understand what racism is and how it operates in our society, but you choose to write about it with mocking arrogant authority…that I generally experience from whites who still suffer from the dementia and delusion of eurocentricism.

    Your reproach of Zille might be done with good intention, but when reading between the lines your article in its entirety is exactly the kind of liberal bullshit Biko experienced from the dominantly white N.U.S.A.S. (National union of South African Students) which then lead to the organising of S.A.S.O. ( South African Student Union). In the extract from your article below you do not even bother to veil the racism:

    ‘But Simphiwe Dana is just as guilty of binary thinking. Her framing of things as “black” or “white” affirms the sort of post apartheid victimhood that feeds the dispossessed (or self-proclaimed heirs to the dispossessed legacy) the self righteous idea that all should be returned to them unilaterally.”

    ‘POST APARTHEID VICTIMHOOD’ ??? Writes a young white male author…. This is evidence of complete and utter failure of beginning to understand the privilege of your position as a white man in the world, not to even begin considering the implications of being a white man who was born during apartheid! And all this naming and blaming is because you simple do not understand the terminology which is historically specific and your whiteness allows you to make mindless uninformed statements and publish it as political commentary and get away with it. Its shoddy lazy journalism that you do not even bother to research the definitions that you criticize ‘as binary racism’. Roger, it also perpetuates racism that you make these claims that basically says that we black people cannot use terminology such as black or white because it in itself is racist. That is part of a strategy to silencing the black experience…its not just silencing, but also negating black peoples experience of white racism. And you don’t find that even a little bit racist roger?

    You then continue to ramble about the self-righteous idea that black people expect to have everything returned to them unilaterally…this can only signify that you mean that black people are not considering the other white component who still owns the majority of land in our country and in the world…. Why should every individual black person not be compensated for the loss they have suffered? Money or material wealth can never bring back the cultures, languages, names, identities and loved ones that were and still are victims of white hegemonic racism.

    I think it is lazy that you expect others to point out what makes your writing racist, you need to do the work to truly decolonise your mind. We cant and shouldn’t offer you a anti-racist analysis, that can only be achieved by you working to decolonise your mind. Also remember part of the black experience is how white folks who ‘embrace’ elements of black culture, tend to exploit and co-opt it.

    We don’t have to look very far to understand that whites appropriate other cultures when rebelling against queen and country. That’s evident in nearly every movement from modernism ( le fauves, Matisse and Picasso…postmodernism…all of them), rock’n roll and even punk (ska, reaggae, ticka’s. mohawks, piercing, tattoo’s, and its celebration of romanticized poverty are such liberal white appropriations)…(and these are just the tip of the iceberg) in the most simplistic explanation… are informed by the raw three cord discontent of black rhythm blues plugged into electric amplifiers of rebellion…

    Regarding the dangers of having us spell out what is racist with your writing is what generally follows; the white author, their appropriation and production of ‘radical’ work and the colonial amnesia that happens post being challenged around racism and what informs this sudden insight….enlightenment or what a wonderful mentor of mine would call ‘endarkenment’.

    In academia we have seminal texts such as Peggy McIntosh’s ‘unpacking the invisible knapsack of white privilege’, which she wrote and became a household name in cultural and feminist studies…though later I came across information that she wrote that paper from being confronted and working with a group of women from the Global South, and thereafter published what she had been challenged about in terms of her white privilege as part of her own knowledge…or at least that is the way it comes across. The problem is not the publishing, but that this kind of knowledge is continuously reproduced without the context of how she reached this knowledge and how it has become theory, which is used across the world…and worst of all is that McIntosh’s experience and work is part of shaping and maintaining a dichotomy based on white/ Western feminism as theoretical and black/Tricontinental feminism as one based within a practical context….whites are still the meaning makers and blacks are still their subjects! Which is why I have feel ambiguous quoting either Tim White or McIntosh or any of the other whites writing on whiteness and privilege as their work is informed by black power, black consciousness, decolonisation and anti-imperial struggles before them…by men and women who were assassinated, while they are superstars, going to fancy academic events which rolls out the red carpet for them…all due to their whiteness.

    if we go back in time the canon of writing produced around colonial entrenchment, its anthropology which developed alongside liberal western philosophy, science and art and the history it produces, perpetuates the racist paternal discourse of Empire with eurocentric fabrications of misconceptions of black people representing them as noble savages, the childlike-dum-downed-bruino, the tragic drunk bruino, the happy go lucky negro, the aunt jamima, the primitive but noble kaffir, the minstrel, the phuto-lipped-eternally-smiling-kaffir-boy-smacking his lips, as long as the black man is reproduced as the black faced koon, which is a visual representation of nigger, not of black man…or the Hollywood representation turning black men into asexual women to emasculate and present them as sexually passive, ready to get fxxkd by white man, which happened to an alarmingly large number of black male actors from Will Smith, Chris Rock, Wesley Snipes, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker, Cuba Gooding Jr. and David Alan Grier….what I am trying to explain is how deeply embedded racism is, and I quote Biko loosely, who said that racism is not a black problem, but a white one. Or Stokely Carmichael of the Black Power who spoke of how whites prevented him from moving freely and hence makes it clear yet again, that racism is a white man’s problem.

    Only when we have equality for all, a redistribution of land and wealth compensating minimally to the dispossessed that we can begin to engage in conversations about binaries that are not clouded by racist indoctrination (of which I mean Eurocentricism. Like you seem to do in the following bit:

    ‘To be fair to Dana, she also harasses the ANC on poor governance (but was happy to take their money to perform at the Centenary celebrations), even though they don’t answer her tweets.
    Dana’s interpretation of Black Consciousness can sometimes be horrifying. It’s not fascism but it opens itself up to that interpretation. I doubt Biko would endorse the implication in the evasiveness of the following tweet.’

    Who are you Roger to have insight into what Biko would endorse or not? Even serious Biko scholars refrain from answering that question, as it is futile and most often those who do insert their ideas or words into what they believe Biko might have done or said in any given situation, do so to discredit some one else, like you have just done to Dana. I find it conceited and pompous… because as far as I gather from reading your post you are not familiar with the basic tenants of black consciousness, its terminology, nor its history or even the last fifteen twenty years of new research published by a host of authors on Biko’s continuous influence in contemporary Continental Philosophy, in Africana philosophy, in Gender politics and Black Feminist theory from the Global South, in Cultural Studies and so much more. Though Biko did say this about white liberals:

    In terms of the Black Consciousness approach we recognize the existence of one major force in South Africa. This is White Racism. It is the one force against which all of us are pitted. It works with unnerving totality, featuring both on the offensive and in our defence. Its greatest ally to date has been the refusal by us to progressively lose ourselves in a world of colourlessness and amorphous common humanity, whites are deriving pleasure and security in entrenching white racism and further exploiting the minds and bodies of the unsuspecting black masses. Their agents are ever present amongst us, telling that it is immoral to withdraw into a cocoon, that dialogue is the answer to our problem and that it is unfortunate that there is white racism in some quarters but you must know that things are changing.


    These in fact are the greatest racists for they refuse to credit us any intelligence to know what we want. Their intentions are obvious; they want to be barometers by which the rest of the white society can measure feelings in the black world. This then is what makes us believe that white power presents itself as a totality not only provoking us but also controlling our response to the provocation. This is an important point to note because it is often missed by those who believe that there are a few good whites. Sure there are few good whites just as much as there are a few bad blacks.

    Why do you make vapid commentary such as Dana taking ANC money, its petty and crass and is none of your business to say the least. Though the ANC has now betrayed our liberation struggle and move hand in hand with the same apartheid families that still owns South Africa’s wealth, it does not give you as a ‘apolitical’ white South African any right to speak of who’s money it is. I quote from an interview I did in 2010 around my exhibition:

    That said, my criticism of the current government does not in any way compare apartheid’s atrocities to the post-apartheid government. Conditions in South Africa have improved, but one hardly need make an effort to create an all-round better society in the face of apartheid.

    My family raised substantial funds for the ANC and we never touched that money…so, comments about taking governments money, ANC money…or if I took money from the world bank or fxxkng AWB, that money is money that has been made on the backs of our black ancestor. ‘Black’ as in Steve Biko’s definition of the word for the B.C. movement which follows:

    We have defined blacks as those who are by law or tradition politically, economically and socially discriminated against as a group in the South African society and identifying themselves as a unit in the struggle towards the realization of their aspirations.
    This definition illustrates to us a number of things:
    1. Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.
    2. Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being.
    From the above observations therefore, we can see that the term black is not necessarily all-inclusive, i.e. the fact that we are all not white does not necessarily mean that we are all black. Non-whites do exist and will continue to exist for quite a long time. If one’s aspiration is whiteness but his pigmentation makes attainment of this impossible, then that person is a non-white. Any man who calls a white man “baas”, any man who serves in the police force or security branch is ipso facto a non-white. Black people – real black people – are those who can manage to hold their heads high in defiance rather than willingly surrender their souls to the white man.

    I find it so infuriating having a conversation about the inequality based on race in South Africa and whites will not fail to mention the Mandela’s, Zuma’s, Mbeki’s and Malema’s… Yes they sold out on the ideals we fought for, but they comprise of a minority elite in this country, which seems to serve as a diversion from the real thieves of our country who are still predominantly white. Last year’s Equity Report exposes that:
    “An average African man earns in the region of R2 400 per month, whilst an average white man earns around R19 000. The racial income gap is therefore roughly R16 800 among males”.
    “Most white women earn in the region of R9 600 per month, whereas most African women earn R1 200 per month. The racial income gap in monthly incomes among women is therefore R8 400. On average, white women also earn eight times more than their African counterparts”

    and concerning violence, I am in full support of armed struggle. I lived for a year in the umkhonto we sizwe training camp in Tanzania, I support the anti imperialist struggles led by Che Guevara, Amilcar Cabral, Franz Fanon, Walter Rodney, Patrice Lumumba
    Thomas Sankara and all those thousands and millions of soldiers fighting against white supremacy.. quoting Malcolm X:

    If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defence of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defence of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.

    Or Fanon who simple states: Violence is man recreating himself.

    Dean, concerning racism I don’t need to look up and reference a Eurocentric dictionary. My entire life has been a struggle against white racist pathology. When i speak of racism it is historically specific and its systemic, so i come from a place where blacks simply cant be racist, we can enable racism, we can discriminate, but its impossible to be racist in its full magnitude and capacity. In the same way that
    generally one does not use labels such as sexist, misogynist, patriarchal around women who support male hegemonic values.

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  88. Margot says:

    Ah Simi we missed you.

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  89. Roger Young says:


    While I actually agree with you on most of what you are saying. I take issue with your misreading of certain statements.

    You quote me here: “Her framing of things as “black” or “white” affirms the sort of post apartheid victimhood that feeds the dispossessed (or self-proclaimed heirs to the dispossessed legacy) the self righteous idea that all should be returned to them unilaterally” and then you go on to say “this can only signify that you mean that black people are not considering the other white component who still owns the majority of land in our country and in the world”

    I did not accuse Dana of victimhood. I say that that kind of tweeting AFFIRMS it. Now let’s talk about victimhood as a white man’s tool to keep the black man down. The more a white person is able to accuse the black man of victimhood, the more he denies the black man the right to speak out against the past. Framing things in binary terms affirms this on both sides. Black man says “White Man! Give us back our land”, White man says “Victim!”. I’m saying the language, the generalisations cause division. I’m saying that if we want to work toward a truly equal paradigm, that can only be worked toward slowly and with compassion, then we need to find new ways of talking about this.

    I did not accuse Dana of binary racism, I accused her of binary thinking.

    As to Dana accepting money from the ANC, she is vocal about their corruption but she accepts money from them. It does not matter where the money comes from, it is the action of accepting money from one you believe to be corrupt, it implies approval.

    God-like voice? That’s your reading. It’s just my opinion.

    ERacism is the act by classifying and judging people by the colour of their skin. Let’s just say black people can’t be racist, but you have proved that you, Simmi, you yourself, are prone to classifying and judging.

    F: It is obvious that Apartheid Profiteers should have been bought to book ages ago. It is also obvious that some kind of property tax based, reverse group areas act should have been implemented years ago. There are many things that could have been done that have not been done. But there are good people out there, who make good efforts to firstly understand and try find their place in bringing about the new paradigm. You defeat those efforts by excluding them with your angry rhetoric. And, no, I am not denying you your right to be angry.

    Finally, you say “Its greatest ally to date has been the refusal by us to progressively lose ourselves in a world of colourlessness and amorphous common humanity,”

    How do we do this, if the very people, like me and you, who are for this colourlessness continue to talk in terms of Black and White? I don’t know the solution, but I know that this way ain’t working.

    PS: Yes, also here in the non-academic world we have read “Unpacking The Knapsack”. But, as you say, white people trying to understand their whiteness is unhelpful because they could never really understand it’s effects.

    PPS: This statement of yours – “This is evidence of complete and utter failure of beginning to understand the privilege of your position as a white man in the world, not to even begin considering the implications of being a white man who was born during apartheid!”. This is evidence of your failure to see that this article IS me beginning to understand the implications. How’s you help a brother out instead of just shitting on me?

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  90. Bulelani says:

    yho…you people are all hectic lol.i hang out with anybody who feels like hangin out.white black purple yellow etc.whatever you consider yourself

    you help yourself in this world however you can…and accept the consequences and just deal with them.

    anybody that wants to be racist should just go ahead…its your right to be however you wanna,jus remember there are consequences for that…just like there are for plenty of other things.MY NEIGHBOURS ARE RACIST…I dnt mind…its when they step up to my face with that shit…only then will somthing happen otherwise,fuck.
    Cape Town is DOPE,RACIST,UGLY,PRETTY and plenty of other things u wanna call it.
    too bad somethings havent changed…

    oh yah…need i mention that iam black too…jus saying

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  91. Simmi says:

    Roger,You must be blind if you can’t see that I am helping you out. I am engaging with you… I generally do not get involved in these pseudo liberal forums because I couldn’t care less what they think, but I did because you are a friend. But dont ever expect me to be grateful or commend you for trying to work through your whiteness or issues of racism, that is a duty everyone needs to undertake…..it would be equivalent to commending men for not raping…and lastly I am not some kind of anal academic obsessed with discourse, my journey of activism, revolution and liberation has merely led me here.

    A Luta Continua!

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  92. Who Killed JR? says:

    Sumi, I’m afraid your journey of activism, revolution and liberation have lead you into a deep dark hole in which you’ll be left behind to reminisce and hiss in monologue while the rest of us go on to rejoice in a fruitful future where we get along as uncategorised human beings.

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  93. Roger Young says:


    “it would be equivalent to commending men for not raping”

    No, it would not be. It would be equivalent to commending the son of a man who profited from rape for not raping.

    But thank you, even though I’ve read through most of what you think I have not, I do value your input. Not just as a friend but as someone who was willing to engage, once of course, you had pulled back from your initial knee-jerk reaction.

    But you see by calling the forum “pseudo-liberal” and saying you’re only doing it “as a friend” is deeply patronizing. About as patronizing as a white liberal saying, “Why won’t the blacks see that we’re trying to help them?”

    As much as it is my duty to my country to work through the meaning and place of my whiteness, it is your duty to the same not to denigrate and trivialise that process.

    It’s the same as saying “Professional Black” or “White opposition”. It’s hurtful and it creates division.

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  94. Lulu says:

    What a load of rubbish

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  95. Roger Young says:


    Thanks for the engagement.

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  96. Anonymous says:

    Devon Marshbank rocks. Chill out!

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  97. ItDoesn'tMatter says:


    So an outrageously talented young man PROUDLY embraces his love for being South African, and all you want to do is condemn him for it?? Shame on you. No wonder we’re still having the same old boring conversations, 18 years into our democracy.

    Marshbank is one of the most genuinely nice people you’ll ever meet. It’s not often you encounter someone as ‘real’. So save your contempt for those who actually deserve it. The WORLD (nevermind this country) could do with a few more Marshbanks. And of course, many, MANY less misanthropists.

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  98. Rithuli says:

    Simmi plz may I have your email address ? You r on fucken fire. More black people need to hear and experience the wealth and wisdom coming out of your mouth. My email: rorleyn@gmail.com

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