Barricades catch flames at the Union Buildings;
mobile toilets scorched to melted rubbles;
five different places at Wits University set alight;
tires burn, petrol bombs set off; a UJ Bus reduced to bare skeleton..
The burning of some of these symbols of White Power perhaps represent an attempt at forcing Whiteness to plump into the nethermost abyss of Blackness. We Blacks seem to exist in something of a Hellish reality – while Whites are living in heaven – and fire is perhaps an apt representation of the violence we endure on a daily due to White Supremacy. Perhaps the adage “fight fire with fire” is one we’re beginning to take seriously as the system relentlessly continues its violence on our Black bodies. We can’t breathe. Our cries for free education and an end to outsourcing of workers in Universities are perhaps then better conveyed in these episodes of Black rage.
“Hooligans” and “ungrateful savages” are some of the racist expletives we’ve been adorned by Whites during our protests. We are always met with such retort whenever we express our pain, the nature of which no real lexicon exists. We are always denied the space to vent, we are not recognised, not visible. The world readily opens up its chasms and swallows our cries. We are not heard. Our Black skin presents a problem to an anti-Black world. It is a stimulus to anxiety. A phobic object. It is not because we violated laws that 141 of us got arrested on University Road on November 6th by Brixton Police, it is because we are Black, it is because the constituent element in policing is the maintenance of the surveillance of Black bodies, it is because we are less than human.
On Violence, Malcolm X says “…we are not nonviolent with anyone who is violent with us.” This is our intelligent response to a system violent to us. Picture, in a largely and shamefully fatherless South Africa, a 40-something year old mother of two, who earns a paltry R2600 a month. She has to send her kids to school, make sure they eat, they clothe, make sure she travels to and from work daily, all on the ‘peanuts’ she earns due to outsourcing, while her bosses make a killing. Sound like a solidly evil foundation to mounds of debt to you? That is a perpetually violent reality, violent on the worker, and equally violent on the children who will most likely not even make Varsity level. Many Blacks continue to live on and well below a shoestring budget. We are tired of this reality and we will burn the country into the ground if that’s what it will take to get heard. The state is dragging it’s feet, but like White Supremacy-induced violence, we will not relent. Sometimes it feels as though we will not attain our freedom, but we throw our fists in the air and hope something magical will happen anyway, that God will hear us. If the revolution is a sequential process, then there’s a taste about the air that indicates that the end might be near. Many symbolic structures of White Power are still to fall. We want to end the World. We want to end the World as we know it.
By Montsho Tiro