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Notion Of "black On Black Violence" Conceals Underlying De Klerk Agenda

Notion Of "black On Black Violence" Conceals Underlying De Klerk Agenda image
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EHznzzsiLm ... I spent two weeks in South África duríng the month of September. And what I witnessed there was far more abominable than I could ever have imagined, and at the same time far more inspiring than I could have ever imagined. ...Onthesecondday I spent in South África I saw a group of Black children playing among the broken gravestones of a cemetary located in Alexandra Township which is on the outskirts of Johannesburg. ...They no doubt knew people buried there, people whose lives have been claimed by the violence that has become so pervasive in South Africa that generally itissimplyrefemed to as "the violence." That' show people talk about it- "theviolence." Of course here, people who read the press uncriticallyoftenreferto it as the "Black on Black violence." I absolutely refuse to cali it "Black on Black violence" even though of course in large part there are Black people killing other Black people. ...Whenever Black people are involved in violence within a community we cali it "Black on Black violence" but I didn't hear anybody cali the massacre in Texas "white on white violence." Of course there's also Black on white violence as well. But what I'm suggesting is that there's a political and ideological reason for presenting the violence unfolding in South África as ' 'Black on Black violence" as if we as Black people, wherever we are in the world, are supposed to be absolutely united. As if we are not allowed the opportunity to differ with each other. ...But the underlying agenda - which I'm convinced, based on the research that I 've done - is the agenda of the de Klerk government The agenda of the de Klerk government is to convey the message to the international community that Black people in South África are not socially mature enough to merit participation in a democractic society. Because if they're killing each other now, what would they do if they controlled the reins of power? That is the message that is being presented with respect to this violence. ...We were being driven to a community center to visit people who were housed there on an emergency basis after they had been chased from a squatter's campfire by a band of Inkatha members. (Of course all of you know that Inkatha is an organization which is headed by the Zulú chief, Buthelezi.) ...Bef ore we reached our destination that Saturday morning, we saw a group of men carrying spears and shields and sticks. They had gathened at the main intersection in Soweto. I have to admit I was rather shocked as I did notexpect to see Inkatha members armed, in broad daylight, on a street corner which was on the main thoroughfares of Soweto. I also knew that the government has outlawed what are called traditional weapons, namely the spears and the shields. So it was somewhat shocking to see about 25 men, armed as if for war, totally unconcemed about the possibility of being arrested for breaking the law. ...Andthenmyeyes caught a sight which had become a very familiar situauon tnrougnout the trip - there wasagroupofpolicemen nearby. Charlene and I lookedatthemand we simultaneously expressed disbelief. But the ANC comrades who werewithusdidn't think anything of itatall.asthis happens all the time. It's the way it always is. The police and Inkatha - they go together. You don 't have one without the other. So these Inkatha men were poised for an tack. They were accompanied by pólice that appeared to be their protectors, if they were serving any purpose at all. Later on that morning we saw three other groups of Inkatha members, all armed. There was actually a big Inkatha rally that day. And there were even women carrying not spears, but carrying sticks. In this particular instance there was an enormous group of pólice - of South African defense forces. They were waiting in a transport truck that they cali "hippoes," because it's huge like a hippopotamus. It looks like one of those oil tankers. Pólice dressed in their military fatigue uniforms sit inside these hippoes. That evening when we returned to the hotel and watched the news we learned that someone had been killed by Inkatha members in the aftermath of the rally. As it tums out the rally was designed to genérate the kind of emotion that gets people to go on a rampage. And we learned that houses where we had been were bumed down to the ground. We went to the community center and talked to quite a few of the women and men who were there, who had been there since July , because their houses had been buraed down by Inkatha and people had been killed. And someone speculated during that visit that with Inkatha's way of mobilizing, the objective is to weaken the ANC: The more people they kill, the more people will be afraid to join the ANC. And this person went on to say that sometimes people actually have twocards.They're members of the ANC and they give their ANC card to someone for safekeeping so it's not found and then for their own survival they accept membership in Inkatha. NOTE: In its Nov. issue, AGENDA published an abridged transcript of Angela Davis' Oct. 17 talk at the U-M campus. Davis is an internationally acclaimed writer, scholar and human rights advocate, as well as a member of the Board of Director s of the Nelson MandelalElla Baker Center for Anti-Racist Education in Ann Arbor. The publication of Davis' talk was made possible by grantsfrom the Bakerl Mándela Center and the Wildflow Community Bakery. Thefollowing excerpts are from Davis' talk dealing with "Black on Black Violence." These excerpts have beenpublished in recognition of a recent resurgence in interest in this subject by the mainstream press. The page 3 news box from the Ann Arbor News reproduced here, is indicative ofsuch cover age. S. África: 26 killed in factional fighting Rival black groups clashed with guns and spears, killing at least 16 people in the worst factional fighting in months, pólice said today. At least 10 others were killed in unrest earlier this week. Battles between supporters of the African National Congress and the Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party have claimed thousands of lives since the mid1980s. Much of the fighting has been concentrated in black townships around Johannesburg, but the latest clashes were in the eastern province of Natal. Late Tuesday. a savage fight broke out in Bruntville when a group of armed men believed to be ANC supporters attacked a workers" hostel that is an Inkatha stronghold, pólice said. From The Ann Arbor News, Dec. 4, 1991


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