Monday, March 7, 2011

On Jimmy Manyi and Racism in South Africa

It seems over the last few weeks there has been a return to the days of old in South Africa - with a small difference. That difference is an inversion of race from white to black.

Recent distasteful public comments by Jimmy Manyi to the tune of there being an over-supply of coloured people in the Western Cape and that Indians seem to be negotiating their way into senior corporate positions make me and no doubt many of my compatriots - regardless of their race - cringe.

So much for Nelson Mandela's ideals in terms of aspiring to a non-racial South Africa. Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel, told Manyi in an open letter that:

"I now know who Nelson Mandela was talking about when he said from the dock that he had fought against white domination and that he had fought against black domination...

Jimmy, he was talking about fighting against people like you."

Manuel's letter whilst expressive did not garner as much support from the ANC powers that be with many critics like Paul Ngobeni calling him the worst order gangster. Interesting timing for the letter though given that the ANC is poorly placed in the Western Cape, particularly in the coloured community after Manyi's racist comments.

Considering Manyi is the president of the Black Management Forum, he should know better than to add fire to the flames by opting for a silence is golden strategy in response to Manuel's open letter. The Press Club has invited him to elaborate on his comments but he has refused to comment.

Until South Africa overcomes racism - regardless of whether it comes from black or white, or coloured or Indian for that matter - there is little chance of realising Mandela's dream. Judging by recent events, including the sacking of journalist Kuli Roberts for racist remarks in her column, South Africa sadly appears to be moving backwards instead of forwards.

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Be sure to check out Wonkie's latest Jimmy Manyi cartoon, definition of life coaching which is likely what Julius Malema needs, and other recommended links if you're in need for a laugh!