A colleague tells a blatant lie about you to your direct manager - throwing you under the bus - leading to your demotion. Completely blindsided and dumbstruck you fail to defend yourself in the moment. Innocent, too broke and black to defend yourself, your grandmother's voice echoes in your ear: "Let God deal with them." And as you walk towards the parking lot to lock yourself in the car and scream your frustrations into the only space you're allowed to breathe, you remember that anger has no place in your heart.
You're in the matric quad with your friends speaking isiZulu and sharing stories about the weekend. Belly laughs erupt all around you. Black women being present in the moment. The bell rings but you'd rather stay here and be yourself but you know you can't. As you walk to class, a peer grabs you by the elbow and tells you how uncomfortable the other black girls make her because they are so loud and she doesn't understand how you, the better black, can stand them. You don't view this as offensive and possibly even laugh it off but somehow you can't shake it. When you ask uMama why black people have it so hard, she tells you never to question God's plan; Jesus will redeem us; this is the cross black people must carry.
During a Sunday sermon, a pastor tells you that black people are lazy and love free things that they, the pastor and his race mates, have worked hard for. When you go onto Facebook and rant about white privilege and the constant silencing of black struggles, your high school friends tell you that they are tired of your reverse racism; you should get over it. You want to scream but instead you say a short prayer begging God to forgive them for they "know not what they do".
During Fees Must Fall protests, black people are called vandals; tsotsis; lazy; lovers of free things; imbeciles; monkeys ... the usual. Black people killed in Marikana. Black workers ask for a raise so they can afford food. Black people are killed in Marikana. Black women are raped and killed in taxis and when marches are organized, black women stand alone. Black people stand alone. We are there to disturb the flow of traffic; to stop the real workers of this country from working.
It's been more than twenty years, don't (we) people get tired of complaining? Nelson Mandela is the black people savior; the unifier; the black Jesus. Why can't (we) follow his lead?
And when we tackle service delivery; a lack of opportunity; retribution; redistribution; being seen and respected, we are told to get over it. It's been more than twenty years, don't (we) people get tired of complaining?Nelson Mandela is the black people savior; the unifier; the black Jesus. Why can't (we) follow his lead? We need to stop blaming white people contributed nothing to Apartheid; who have black friends; who treat their workers well... Honestly, it's been more than two decades. Zuma is the villain, not them. "(We) must do to the ANC what we did to the apartheid government." But then when there is a cabinet reshuffle and white monopoly is threatened: we need to stand together; wear black and; sing Kumbaya. O-KAY. Suddenly we are one people, God's people, not black and not white. Finally, we have an issue in common. Finally, something worth marching for.
I question a lot about how Christianity was introduced into Africa and how it determined the fate of blacks. When missionaries arrived in Africa, they convinced us that our spiritual beliefs were devil worshipping; we were uneducated; barbaric; years behind developed nations. In return for this self-hate, they would educate us in European ways, in a superior existence.
Jesus, our saviour, was white. Black was dirty and uncivilized. Then they colonised us; stole our land to build their schools; claimed our inventions as theirs; and suddenly we were slaves working for the betterment of the white man. Many black people live by the Christianity of lack; subconscious self-hate; the Baas and slave narrative. This form of Christianity is based on the principles of colonialism not a wholly loving; ever present God.
This Christianity is a cancer to black bodies everywhere. We see it expected in the supposed rainbow nation and expressed daily in every space black people cannot be at home. Since the beginning of time, the black body constitution has determined that we will forgive and forget, but it's impossible to do so when everything around us screams disempowerment. We are still in Egypt begging for deliverance from Pharaoh, sooner or later we will be too fed up to beg and instead a war will erupt and the promise land will be occupied. And no mediocre and tailored Christianity will intercede on anyone's behalf.
Ahead of Easter 2017, The Huffington Post South Africa is delving into what faith and spirituality means to South Africans here and now. Against the backdrop of a renewed wave of thought around decolonisation, a new generation are rediscovering their traditional beliefs, while some are reconciling with Christianity. And on another note, we tell South Africa's real good news story: our remarkable and peaceful religious diversity. In a world fractured along religious extremism, we have a large Christian population with significant Muslim and Jewish communities, who often come together peacefully and with purpose, as has been evinced at the memorials for departed struggle stalwart, Ahmed Kathrada. Read the rest of the special report here, or choose from our selection below:
- Decolonising Faith: Here's How Some Africans Are Rediscovering Their Ancestors And Spirituality
- Sipho Hlongwane: I Was Taught Not To Remember My Grandfather. This Is Why I Do.
- South Africa's Untold Success Story: A Christian's Nation's Peaceful History With A Muslim Minority
- It's Nearly Easter: Here's What You Need to Know In The Run Up