Letter to the Editor: All races targeted in South Africa murders, not just Afrikaners


It is unfortunate one never gets to hear about how a group of white men fatally shot black kids “by mistake” because they thought they were baboons or how a white man threw his black employee in a lion’s den. How about white teenagers who went on a shooting rampage in a black squatter camp or white policemen setting their patrol dogs on black teenagers because they happen to look like tsotsis — the slang word for “thugs.” The list is endless.

But we must be willing to hear all sides of the story before putting labels on people or countries. Ian Huyett’s May 3 opinion column “Americans should recognize South African genocide” sure sounds like Afrikaners are purposefully being targeted in an attempt to massacre them. Are blacks, Indians, British and any other racial groups not experiencing any of the atrocities that the article mentions? It is however, understandable how easy it is for Afrikaners to see everything in the context of “us” and “them” since this is the very mindset that propagated and maintained the apartheid ideology. But such a mindset does not solve the problem at hand, which is a high crime rate in the country, just like apartheid cannot be ruled out as a possible element in the current situation. However, this is by no means an excuse for criminals from all spheres of life to justify their devious actions.

Now, it is worth noting that as South Africans, we are continually trying to build our country, do away with past hatred, inequality and any social ill that defined us in the past. As in any situation, there are always those who will undermine the good works of others. Blacks and some white South Africans suffered and fought for democracy in South Africa as it stands today so the country belongs to all who live in it. The challenge is to unite our voices and force the government to do something about the current situation.

Failing to understand how Zimbabweans and Mozambicans are implicated in this fictional “genocide,” perhaps we might need to re-define what genocide is as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa are different countries.

Applying the column’s analogy, it is admirable to know American students “work against genocide in countries like Congo, Uganda or Rwanda” yet fail to recognize genocide in their own back yard because according to an article in Colorlines Magazine of Nov. 4, 2007, by Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, “To begin, African Americans were overrepresented among police shooting victims in every city the publications investigated. The contrast was particularly noticeable in New York, San Diego and Las Vegas. In each of these cities, the percentage of black people killed by police was at least double that of their share of the city’s total population.”

The article further states: “Latinos are a rising number of fatal police shooting victims.” Analyzing the Colorlines article, is it acceptable to conclude above mentioned racial groups are facing genocide?

Nigerian author, Adichie Chimamanda says we should reject a single story and realize there is never a single story of any place.

Bruce Kamanga, Ursula Kamanga

& Vuyiswa Bushula