This week and the week before as well as other weeks that have passed it is just violence and more violence when one switches on the telly or the radio. There is the story of the massacre in Natal and the serial rapist in Gauteng. One may find a bit of solace in the fact that in these two terrible fables the perpetrators have come under the strangle hold of the law. It is one particular story that rocked my psych though, that of a raped girl in a ‘private school’, not that the fact that the setting is in a private school enhances the setting.
What does the rape incident that took place at Jules High School help us learn about our selves and our system? Here is the plot, as if by now you did not know: A couple of boys apparently doped-spiked a girl’s drink and when she lost her wits, at least that is what we can imagine took place, they had their way with her, while some of their school mates watched on and others filmed the rape incident on their cell phones to create a clip that was to be retailed to other learners at that very school. And uploaded to the social network.
Now when the girl reported the matter to the school and subsequently to the police the school carelessly dismissed the girl as having invited the ordeal to her self because of her loose behavior. Now the matter will be thrown out of court for lack of evidence. Let us let logic bow in, if there was no evidence to support the rape allegations, the matter would not have found its way into national consciousness. The rape victim is the evidence, she ought to have been checked. Should she have not have consented to the act of what was done to her the evidence would be signs of forced penetration. Was she checked for such signs?
As it is the case has been cascaded to statutory rape due to the fact the peoples involved are minors. What about their parents? Have the parents distanced themselves from the actions of their children? Shouldn’t they offer pardon to the violated or do they perhaps think their children are entitled to do what they have done or that the girl (and other girls who have been raped at Jules) deserves to be violated sexually? And then there is the head master, what kind of space does he or she find themselves in? After all the events at hand are unfolding in their turf! There is a saying that we all know very well and that is universal to all evolved beings which says – children are a reflection of their guardians or parents. You could blame the girl for getting drunk or high and opening her herself up to sexual abuse or that she knew what she was doing and that she gave consent for her body to participated in the sexual ogre. But the fact still remains that the children belong to households. Given the fact that the school is a private school, we may assume that the children come from well off families. But isn’t well off connoted to the so called high culture in any society? The bourgeois?
For those who earn an honest living their lives gravitates between two polarities, home and work. Actually one’s home is like a sophisticated hostel; we go there to squeeze our spouses lovingly, monitor our children upbringing, eat and sleep and eat and go back to work. For school learners life gravitates between home and the school from where they are getting their education. How they are nurtured at home determines how they will behave when they get into the school world and later into the world in general. Since the world that they engaged in on a daily basis is that of the school, where they will meet peers, it is of out-most importance how they are brought up at home. Their home is a rock despite the little of time their may have to spent with their parents.
At school depending on whether the educators who are responsible for giving the children education have the love for their very own children the child’s guidance continues on another level, that of professionalism, discipline, respect and integrity and many other positive qualities that the child will need in order to be a well rounded human being.
The rape situation at Jules High School and many other schools throws into stark relief our carelessness from our households to those deemed responsible for our children intellectual coaching, the educators. The failure of the law and other organizations or institutes positioned in our society to deal with issues of human rights violations and good conduct in order to instill morality demonstrates that the rot is highly contagious since we are failing to deal with cases diligently to set out examples of what is not permissible in our society. The worst case scenario will be an incident in the near future where a married woman is raped by her male colleagues in their office blog or conversely, a man gets raped while his other colleagues watch and film the incident to post the entire thing on the social network. And no law prevails over the matter. Then doomsday would’ve arrived.
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2010
Today in South Africa there is a known fear that is slowly creeping back into our consciousness or perhaps should we say hatred for the ‘other’ for that matter. The powers that be has appealed to the masses that they must harness the positive energy from the remnants of the effects of the FIFA 2010 World Cup in each other to instill a feeling of African Unity, camaraderie and sharewood.
This fear that is supposedly creeping back into our society, one will agree, is a demonstration of a problem that has remain latent and dormant all throughout the World Cup. One should find it interesting that during the matches none of the visitors were threaten in any way. There were a few mishaps here and there, the media has reported, but one should not fail to acknowledge the efforts and delivery of SAFA, the LOC, FIFA as well as countless of man and women who, in the midst of criticism and uncertainty have delivered a superb tournament to us and the rest of the world.
If we are to acknowledge the present South Africa, the Now South Africa we will have to take into consideration the behavior of the Center of Power through its State Apparatuses. By State Apparatus I mean to use the term in situ with Luis Althusser’s writings on Ideology in mind.
Today South Africa is part of the global village in terms of its participation in Trade, Sport and Arts and Culture. It posses a proper infrastructure in terms of access to world knowledge and it is a contributor as well. On other levels of media it is importing as well as exporting its own content to the rest of the world. It is wired. It is a player in Mass media domain. However, like the so called developed world, it faces challenges of economic development. It also posses a surplus of educated young people both black and white but unfortunately unemployment is a major challenge.
Relationships have their nourishment entrenched in communication. Without communication, even with ourselves, from an individual perspective, there exists no growth. We can see this everyday when we wake up to tackle the world. We are in constant communication with who we are as we battle with the forces of destiny to attain the goals we have set out for our selves. However even if we are fueled by self ambition, because by default we are social beings, we are compelled to establish relationships outside of our own personal spheres in order to achieve our goals; additionally those formed relationship need to be maintained and sustained over particular periods of time as bargaining chips in order that our multifarious selves, fueled by personal ambitions, succeed in getting towards the finishing lines of our individualistic goals. We are opportunistic beings.
In my last meditation I spoke about the acceptance of the status quo as a positive progression towards unity; specifically speaking towards – a United Rainbow Nation. Otherwise-obliviously our Republic suffers an internal conflict within itself as disunity creeps in and outright and visible separation makes itself the prevalent order. Also in that very meditation I have ushered us opaquely unto the doorstep of a particular concept, that of dialogue.
Let us set the scene
In 1994 South Africa declared itself a united nation, a Rainbow nation following the first democratic election that saw all South Africans playing an inclusive role. It remained to be seen whether a nation that had been suppressed by an Ideology of separate development would be able to transcend the barriers entrenchedover half a century. In the same breath one should not lose sight of the master race mentality that the natives have been subjected to over the centuries following colonization. Through Madiba and Tutu South Africa was peacefully ushered into an era based on reconciliation, Ubuntu and One Nation Building as stepping stones to a new identity. In the long run jobs which were not accessible to black people were made accessible, Black people were now allowed to shop in the same environment as the white people. Affirmative action was erected to address inequalities of race representation as well as gender in-equalities in the work environment – the disable communities rights would also be addressed in the long run. A new chapter had truly opened for the black people and for all.
Akin to the collapse of the Berlin Wall at the dawn of the 90’s so had the wall that separated South Africans from the inevitable commingling with each other removed. Black and white people were now viewing each other from a close quarters perspective – as equal. And the nation gave birth to the new constitution which was inclusive of everyone’s rights. Now no matter what tribe or colour you were as long as you were South African, you were now seen as part of a fabric that was woven into what was to be venerated as the Rainbow Nation. The South African Soccer squad was hailed the Rainbow warriors, soon to be replaced by the name Bafanabafana and the Rugby team was named Amabokoboko after the name Springboks. A new era had arrived. Senyaka rejoiced with his hit ‘Apartheid law’ which congratulated Madiba’s triumphant victory at the toppling of Apartheid Ideology and Brenda Fassie’s banned classic ‘Black President’ could now be played without fear of persecution. South Africa had leaped into a new dimension and had leaped well, however most importantly South Africa had avoided an eye for an eye approached in dealing with previous atrocities subjected to those who were not in power in the past.
Let us survey…
The recent inhuman treatment to the black staff of the Free State University white students foregrounds the fragility of the Rainbow Nation as a construct. The event clearly shows that while some of us have moved into a new era, there remain pockets and pockets of resistance to the Rainbow Nation Ideal. What is acutely dangerous is that this resistance continues to thrive despite talk of apartheid in the past tense. The case of the white men urinating into cooked meat and feeding it to the cleaning staff of the university is a barbaric act that hits home as far as how some South Africans in this nation are still being brought up with the same hate education that the martyrs that form the very foundation of the Rainbow Nation fell down fighting against. I am talking about the Apartheid Ideology here.
Now when the University Vice Chancellor, a man of the highest education standing, pardons the men who have committed an act sharply tied to the Apartheid Ideology; pardons men who have not even uttered an apology to their victims and our Nation, one get a sense that the Rainbow Nation is a Utopian Ideal to which we are still marching but not realized. The Rainbow Nation is a double sided construct that needs to be evaluated thoroughly in order for all of us to be on the same page, least we go to war in the not so distant future, permit me to add, a war that was avoided post ’94. In order to make my meditation clearer to you I shall summon an illustration in an attempt to sanction your empathy to the victims and why not use you as an example?
…about two years ago you were a first year student in a University in Tshwane, this is your third year. Originally you hail from the Free State and ironically your mother works at the University of the Free State (they never addmitted you to study there). One evening while having your supper, watching the news, a hazy video is shown. The video shows five cleaning staff members at the University of the Free State being ill treated by four white male students; the women and man and are forced to eat meat which has been urinated on. The men claim that they are initiating them. You catch a sight of one of the women, for a while you can swear it is your mother; you inch forward in your seat, baffled. When the amateur camera makes a close up, beyond doubt you realize that it is indeed your mother who is victimized. You reach for your cell phone and call her. She picks up. Is it true, is it really you who those terrible men victimized. She sobs on the other side of the line as she affirms to you that she and the others were powerless. they had no choice but to do as they were told, they were in the grips of fear. She breaks into a cry and you console her that it is now on the news, that the world knows about it, that the government knows about it, that the Human Rights Commission knows about it, that the country has put together a constitution which protects all South Africans. You promise to call her again and you reluctantly hang up. Not quite convinced that something could be done, knowing very well the type of institution your mother works for, that it has resisted change.
Two years later after much deliberation the University pardons the men who forced your mother and her colleagues to eat urinated meat crawling on all fours. The spirit of reconciliation is used as the reason for pardoning these terrible men by the university in the person of JJ the vice chancellor. When JJ is questioned by the nation as to why should the men be pardoned after they have shamed the nation he argues that in the face of all the wrong doings that are committed by high profiled South Africans, and they get away with it, the case of the four men is not that different, why should they deserve a harsh punishment? The nation consoles itself that at least the men will appear at the court of law. JJ goes into silence, hoping that the court of law will not give the men a harsh punishment. The rest is history. To date the men have not received punishment. You wait, the Nation wait.
The Rainbow Nation as an Ideal is in dire state and this is a simple matter to acknowledge. You can see it all around you. When you walk into a mall, at work, at school, etcetera, etcetera, etc. Some South Africans have not bought into the Rainbow Nation as an ideal or specifically speaking as an Ideology. Henceforth the barbaric atrocities based on racism that have continue to occur unto this day. It takes will power to hurt someone who has not harmed you in any way. It takes cultivated hate to hurt an innocent person. At the foundation of your will power there is also points of references and essential education that you are supposedly have gathered from the community that gave birth to you, starting with your parents and exploding from them into the immediate family and then the community at large (school and churches are located between your family and the community at large). We are talking about enculturation here. For much of your behavior is shaped by your social environment. The Reitz Four are evidence of the existence of a lethal society that exists in South Africa. A very dangerous organization that poses a threat to South Africa’s Ideal – the Rainbow Nation. They do not care about reconciliation, for them Black will never be equal to White! Let us be realistic, as much as we may argue that black people in South Africa are in control of the government, economically speaking they are not. Any Ideology for it to be properly entrenched it needs an economic base which can erect a superstructure to uphold it. Who has reconciled with who and who has the money in South Africa?
In a war against any Ideology one can uphold Ideals related to their Ideology as long as they can sustain them. The Ideals are sustained by economic privileges either acquired through descent or erected through wealth accumulation. We do not have to interrogate the methods of wealth accumulation here. The aim of this assertion is to tie and equate Ideals to economic wellbeing of a society. The resistance to bow to the Ideal of the Rainbow Nation is sharply tied to an Ideology that is nourished by an economic base which is not in the hands of Black South Africans otherwise the Reitz Four racist situation would not occur. The Rainbow Nation apropos the Reitz Four’s barbaric inhuman assault at the University of the Free State is as fragile as a myth. As an Ideology, the Rainbow Nation, post the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) should’ve have been gradually evolved and adapted in making it a continuous defense mechanism to racist’s debris of apartheid. That way, in resolving crimes to humanity, consultation and punishment will be meted out accordingly so that generations to come can come to appreciate and protect the Ideology of the Rainbow Nation itself. Justice for all will exist.
To read the afterword link to:
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2009