One thing that the world would agree on is that racism in South Africa remains prevalent and rampant. Although it is not much like the Apartheid racism where it was sanctioned by legislation, it still remains intact in post-Apartheid South Africa. Race relations in South Africa are very delicate, fragile and often times are extremely precarious.
The racial tensions underneath South Africa’s moral fibre threaten to culminate into a full-blown crisis. They are not incipient, for that would be an understatement, but if a prophet were to come and say “I foretell a bloody war between blacks and whites in South Africa” people would certainly believe that prophet. The press is always awash with race issues in South Africa, it almost creates an ominous picture of a latent war brewing.
Although politicians in the country usually foment the animosities to garner political point, a lack of an immediate resolve to heal the wounds is potentially catastrophic. This week the news has been filled with a certain school called Hoërskool Overvaal. The Gauteng school has been at the centre of racial tensions after it refused to accept 55 English-speaking pupils.Some protesters set up barricades outside the Afrikaans school on Thursday. Tensions flared after protesters opposed to the school's language policy pelted a resident who had attempted to remove protest barricades with stones.
Here, the quality of education is being overly compromised by an apparent charade of the uniqueness and superiority of the Afrikaans language. This is plainly prejudicing students who are well capable of excelling.
"Use live rounds. It's the only thing those stupid savages understand," writes Ivan Scott on Twitter in reaction to a News24 post showing a bloodied black man being treated for his rubber-bullet wounds after police fired shots outside Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging.
"Call me that & your family will bury you Saturday. Then at your funeral I will shoot into your grave to make sure ukuthi you are dead & I mean really dead. We don't take insults the same. We carry different histories. Lesson: Keep your mouth clean. Don't insult people. Full stop," writes ShandukaNdaba on Twitter in response to a News24 video showing a black man claiming that a white Overvaal parent swore at them before being assaulted.
This war of words is what has been evident on the social feeds of News24. What more can we say except reducing this to a race war? White-on-black racism has been the most detrimental. While not condoning black-on-white racism, the fact that the Whites still have the majority of the means of production in South Africa while blacks continue to be marginalised economically and in the education sector will continue fuelling racism in South Africa. Political parties will seek to do little to resolve this except preach messages of vengeful retribution for their benefit.
Racism in South Africa is a ticking time bomb. If no redress is proffered to these hostilities, it will only take a “Sarajevo incident” to spark a full-blown crisis especially between blacks and whites. It will be very ugly, and extremely deplorable for humankind and our sanity as a special species.