– “White privilege” & “Indian cuisine’s” investment in the Liberation Struggle a blue chip stock, paying off handsomely-
There are those who argue the ANC is in this season heavily infiltrated by those who show a phenomenon of crass materialism as both their departure and destiny points.
Yet I hold the ANC was long ago infiltrated. It was not just infiltrated by sell-outs dispatched from apartheid’s intelligence and paymasters, but by those who were able to understand and equally exploit the lack of privilege for blacks the same afforded to whites. These equally claim the ANC of now is a new ANC, or the one they did not sponsor.
The ANC was infiltrated because its leaders never had access to the means of production rendering them dependent on a combination of “white privilege” and what I shall call “Indian cuisine.” My Indian cuisine label is drawn from and inferred uniqueness of meal this group is known for and many others equally enjoy. It also speaks to the ‘uniqueness’ of their contribution defined in struggle context. It is my postulation that both “white privilege “and “Indian cuisine “made their respective investments and find it paying off.
Heidi A Zetser concludes, “White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a conceptual framework, derived from critical race theory that is commonly used to help explain certain ethnicity-based inequalities. The term connotes both obvious and less obvious unspoken advantages that white individuals may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include cultural affirmations of one’s own worth; greater presumed social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely. The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one’s own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal. It can be compared and/or combined with the concept of male privilege.”
White privilege does not ask if you Jewish, Afrikaner, English, German, Serbian, Greek, Portuguese or Italian etc. It affords you a privilege purely informed by skin colour, so regardless to the notable differences between the aforementioned groups in ideological paradigms, ontological interpretations as minorities they shared the encampment and spoils of white privilege they reclined comfortably at its table, shared in its feasts, and fed from its trough.
The same trough from where it doles an odd bone to those who had not shared similar privilege. For these with an oversupply of melanin presence remained excluded from such privilege.
Yes, an odd doled proverbial bone for which they later would be eternally immortalised in liberation struggle definition. This afford them in this season a right to adjudicate, judge, assess, prove scathing and rebuke ANC black leadership, for these were made by them.
Even when the white privilege struggle heroes were locked up in black struggle association, they did not share the same prison with those whom such privilege was denied. They did not eat the same food; they were afforded rights despite being locked up.
White privilege never questioned the humanity of those it afforded such privilege. White privilege never debased the identity of ‘white’ struggle heroes, they may have been called Kaffir boeties, but they never could become kaffirs. Hence, white privilege saw these more as traitors but could not take away the benefits nor dislodge them from all that which constitutes a white identity. Rendering “white” struggle heroes a consistent identity of whiteness from which they could not escape nor needed to escape for that privilege was never under threat. Where white privilege dehumanized the ‘back’ identity, rendering it as subhuman, barbaric, almost animalistic, uncivilized and illiterate that privilege never could do the same to those it defined white.
White privilege afforded those who did not out-rightly support apartheid need I say – for their own – and not necessarily the ‘Black’ masses liberation cause reasons, a right to play both sides. Accessing and using the privilege the system afforded them to continue their normal lives, yet to have access to black liberation’s leadership who was so in need that anything given was considered major. It afforded white privilege access to the plans and heart of the liberation struggle if not at times assuming the face of such crafted strategy.
If we watch the Cry Freedom story, the issue of white privilege is repeatedly underscored. It is the “white man” who saves the day for the black man, white privilege is the meal ticket and saviour of the black struggle rendering them the true liberators of the black masses. It seems we should all be thankful for “white-privilege” and to some extend “Indian cuisine” for it freed us.
In recent days, I have mused over the munificence of “white privilege” which to a bankrupt, resource alienated and money-stripped leadership proved a heaven sent. I want to postulate is it possible that Black struggle leadership may have misread and miscued this “generosity “as a gift when it equally could have been a clinical investment, an investment that is paying handsomely in this epoch?
White privilege affords some today to claim a right of heroism in the superlative. White privilege lives on in SA, unabated if not entrenched as immortalized extended heroism. White privilege let some today condemn the ANC Leadership only because as they claim it is not representing what they of white privilege fought or stood for.
Could it be that ‘Black’ struggle leadership trusted the bearers and benefactors of white privilege as comrades, without dissecting the psyche of white privilege as investors? Devoid of drawing a distinction between the privileges afforded to those who had access to an unchallenged identity, multiplicity of resources, created and assumed opportunities and inalienable rights and the intention, the same who owns the land, in skewness of definition? Is black leadership eternally indebted to white privilege?
The Jackie Selebi case jumps to mind, where a criminal out of his white privilege right can claim a close relationship with the chief of police, which dates back to a time when he paid the school fees of Selebi’s children. Glen Agliotti is the face of white privilege, for his contribution to a comrade who had returned to a SA in abject poverty became his investment from which he could make drawings as and when it suited him. White privilege affords a criminal to negotiate his freedom with a white prosecutor obsessed to lock up a black man of significant standing – even if it means setting a known criminal free.
The truth is those who supported the liberation struggle did so without losing their “whiteness”, nor their “white” rights, privileges, opportunities as it presents in all critical definitions of society that defined whiteness in juxtaposed blackness. They were able to step on aircraft and access the privileges whiteness entitled them. Their children went to the same schools white privilege afforded; their participation in the economy of apartheid was underwritten by white privilege. They became wealthy as afforded and engineered by white privilege. They lived in the same suburbs white privilege afforded them. So very little changed for them that could have made them distinct from this privilege. They simply never became black and could not become black, for that would mean no identity.
White privilege made them heroes in a black controlled season, to the extent that they are virtually untouchable. Until George Bizos can call Mandela’s daughter “this woman…” and no one in the ANC can call him to order. For possibly in his mind ‘Nelson’ Rolihlala Dalibungu Mandela is owned by Bizos as his personal possession and the trust placed in Bizos is sacrosanct.
I had often wondered why there exists in the ANC such an obsession with white privilege. Is it possible that the ANC’s appeasing of whites in bending backwards over to appease white interest anywhere anytime at any cost, is their inadvertent acknowledgement of its indebtedness to white privilege?
The ANC never had gone to Coloureds and apologised and or sought the need to reassure them of their role, it never had a need to acknowledge publically the role of Coloureds in the struggle (please don’t mention the 1969 – Morogoro Conference), I am dealing with Post- Apartheid ANC led leadership who at the drop of a hat can appease Afrikaners, Jews and whites in general, when these don’t vote for it and have consistently shown where their true loyalties lie.
Perhaps the words of Walter Mosley, an African American author and journalist rings undeniably true in this season for us in the Southern Land of Mzansi when he summarises white privilege in asserting. “As far back as we can go there was a white face that we looked to for the sources of pain; the white man enslaved, the white man freed, the white man opened the school door, the white man tested me and found me lacking. The dynamic is the same’.
If white privilege was the one part of a calculated investment in the black struggle, than the other side of this is what I call ‘Indian Cuisine Investment’, who equally made an investment in the ANC and is cashing in extensively until if you ask Mbongeni Ngema you had better say nothing of Indians for it has become the 11th commandment.
No group has benefitted more from economic empowerment than this group. The smallest group in population definition has become the signpost and true benefactors of the black masses struggle. Per capita income shows them next to whites as the wealthiest progressive economically active and blessed group in SA in post-Apartheid setting.
The challenge with white privilege is that it does not make the benefactor necessarily a reborn but one who exercises his right in superiority to aid those who are considered subhuman to have it little easier. It is help but not from an equal vantage point but help from a superior vantage point, in most cases affirming the dominance.
Whilst I may not conclusively advocate here and now the veracity of my claim, I do think the question of investment may prove worth unpacking.
Is there merit in asking has white privilege in its most naked sense a clinical long term investment, that ultimately would cash in, by claiming a right of superiority over the very ones they aided.
Darnell Walker puts it this way “whiteness is an enduring social force that produces a racialized system of access/ excess. Those with access have phenotype, structure advantages, and racial legacies to thank… Whiteness is methodically sustained through ideology and praxis. It’s no way to disappear and I am pretty certain, that there are many White post-racialists who would rather not live in a post-white moment because the legal, economic, political, educational religious and cultural benefits assigned to their whiteness would be no more”
In SA, the investment white privilege made a long time ago in ANC political and liberation struggle embrace, is paying off handsomely. Simply put it is a blue chip stock that will ensure white privilege lives on forever.
Reading snippets of the memoirs of struggle heroine Amina Cachalia’s revelations one can’t wonder if this book has a secondary specific aim – the same to portray the ANC leaders indebtedness to a group of Indians and those of white privilege farm who because of their access to resources could control the lay of the land.
If it is the truth, it tells you how shameful our leadership presented, all because they lacked access to resources, which almost attempts to advance a long-standing corruption notion prevalent in ANC embrace. Equally telling we, blacks have always had tendencies of corrupt practice more so if it is penned by those who know.
If Mrs Cachalia’s claim on the late struggle hero Adelaide Tambo is, a sophism it asks why some people are so celebrated as struggle heroes, who assisted the cause- when they equally benefitted from controlling our ANC leaders?
My claim of Indian cuisine investment seems not that extraordinary when Cachalia let us into how she spoke to Mandela (a man smitten with her) to arrange for her a diplomatic posting. This conversation had to include a discussion with the late Alfred Nzo (then Minister of Foreign Affairs) who requested her CV. Mrs Cachalia liberally shares her mind as I quote her verbatim “I told Nzo that probably like me, he had no CV too, – and the struggle was our CV. I also reminded him of the years that Yusuf (Cachalia) had groomed him when Alfred was still wet behind his ears”
This is a mouthful glaring and let us into the psyche of Indian cuisine privilege’s investment psyche into the struggle and its leaders by which when the time comes they can claim a right to be rewarded in somewhat a disdain disrespect of leadership’s position.
Mrs Cachalia feared not to invoke the investment in “grooming” of her late husband in Nzo who was “wet behind the ears.” It really says what did you know that we did not teach you?
I guess we should expect many more books from the COMRADES or shall call them INVESTORS who supplied in the needs and wants of ANC leadership to surface, who even in death still let that white privilege and Indian cuisine count and be rewarded.
If Cachalia is cleansing her soul with penning these thoughts, occurrences and recordings perhaps she should be allowed to do so, for that is everyone’s right.
I guess George Bizos will write his book and so many others will destroy the image of iconic status of Mandela, ANC leaders and those oft worshipped by some as infallible. For some of us Mandela was never an icon but an ordinary man among many. It is in the economic interest of white privilege that he be seen as an icon. For it is their right afforded by white privilege to do so after all they made Mandela with a few personal favours from the comfort of white privilege.
It is a given that any investor demands a dividend at some point and it is just a matter of time before investors cash in. After all the combo of white privilege and Indian cuisine made Mandela the icon and it is, their right when it deems them fit to destroy that iconic status. You hear white privilege complain, you hear them lament, they know exactly how a democracy should work, they know exactly what is wrong with the ANC. They know what is wrong in all areas of society for white privilege affords them the right to know what is wrong, diagnose and recommend the remedy, after all they made the liberators of the black struggle, they produced the leadership (if you listen carefully to Bizos and Amina Cachalia) that led the black struggle, they know what it takes to fix all the mess. They are the liberation struggle true heroes, nothing less nothing more… and blacks owe their freedom to them. They will write the new history as they always have written the history, they will adjudicate and they will pronounce on what is the ANC and what it should not be for after all it is their ANC.
Yes, the ANC is infiltrated by white privilege and held hostage by Indian cuisine’s investment, to which it remains answerable as those who made them thereby liberating the black masses- and for it claims a right to be paid handsomely.
Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
Article appears courtesy of ‘Tell it like it is, its real in experience.’ Due December 2013
Writer, Author, Commentator Political Analyst