Race Hustlers are trying to weaken South Africa

Tariq Khan | Aug 15, 2021
South Africa has entered into a phase in its modern history where jobs are scarce, and life is becoming increasingly difficult. Due to this, some politicians will try to benefit from our frustrations by polarising communities through race hustling. As people who care about the future of our country, we should guard against this because South Africa’s strength lies in the diversity of its individuals.

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Race Hustlers are trying to weaken South Africa

Racially exclusive laws were a feature of the South African statute books for much of our history. Opposition to these laws became a rallying point for liberation movements and for other movements such as the liberal Progressive Federal Party, as they envisioned a non-racial South Africa that treated everyone as equals.

It can thus be seen a victory for these movements that South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution exalted non-racialism as one of its values. Even though non-racialism has been enshrined in the constitution, race hustlers, people who attempt to divide the country with race as the wedge, are threatening South Africa’s commitment to this value. The danger of this is that they could end up weakening South Africa, as they pit its citizens against one another.

Race hustlers are public figures who build their brands and organizations through dividing the public. To achieve this state of division, race hustlers mobilize citizens against each other by portraying other race groups as being their enemies. This is meant to create an “Us versus Them” mentality, where the race hustler becomes the self-appointed leader of their selected race group. Race Hustlers love to fool their supporters into thinking that they genuinely care about their circumstances, but the truth is that their motives are more self-interested than anything else.

During his tenure as a politician during the 1930s and mid-1940s, Hitler mobilized people to harbor prejudiced and hateful attitudes towards the Jews. This helped him to become the monstrous dictator that we know from history, which lead the regime that killed millions of people during its existence in the twentieth century. In the 1970s, the President of Uganda, Idi Amin, expelled thousands of Asian citizens, portraying them as the enemies to black Ugandans. Throughout history, there have been countless examples where dictators used race hustling to consolidate their support base, before comfortably entrenching themselves into the government with all its resources.

Race-hustling is not new to South Africa, as it even managed to root its head during the Apartheid years. When the National Party and its politicians reigned over South Africa in the 1900s, they used the “Swart Gevaar” to create animosity between white and black citizens. They portrayed black South Africans who wanted freedom as being a danger to white people and their aspirations. This was a form of race-hustling and failed to promote dialogue in a time where South Africa urgently needed it.

The threat that race hustlers pose to a non-racialism is why South Africans should reject their rhetoric all together. In July 2021 when looting devastated Kwazulu-Natal, South Africans from all race groups volunteered to defend their communities together as a unified front. Some political parties like the EFF, however, could not allow this event to pass without using it to promote race hustling. They organized a march and lamented the actions of ‘racist Indians’. In essence, the party chose to brand a minority as a group of racists, after an incident that rattled businesses and families across the province.

According to news reports, at least 36 people were killed in the event dubbed “the Phoenix massacre”. Instead of adopting an impartial position, showing sympathy for all the families who lost their loved ones and allowing investigations to unfold, the EFF chose to polarise the Phoenix community with baseless and sensationalist accusations. It demonstrates that race hustlers have little concern for unifying our country and helping to build it. They only care about polarising communities for their own benefit.

South Africa has entered into a phase in its modern history where jobs are scarce, and life is becoming increasingly difficult. Due to this, some politicians will try to benefit from our frustrations by polarising communities through race hustling. As people who care about the future of our country, we should guard against this because South Africa’s strength lies in the diversity of its individuals. Every person, through hard work, can contribute to building our country. This is why we should all agree to stop race hustlers before its too late.  

 

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