“I just took a T-shirt and I wrote how I was feeling at that moment.
I was feeling hatred because it was times of financial exclusion.and you’d look, come to lines, and see how white people are paying. They’re relaxed, there are no financial problems, so it arose that black exclusion is so [rampant] in this institution.”
This is the rationale given by the black Wits University student who was referred to the Human Rights Commission for a T-shirt he created during a protest over the financial exclusion of poor students and the heavy presence of private security on campus.
The front of his T-shirt read “Being black is sh*t”; the back read “F**k white people”.
The student’s statement is an intentionally disruptive statement, saying “F**k you” to a South African order that tells black people to “F**k off” every single day.
In giving his reasoning for creating the T-shirt, the student made the explicit link between the front of his shirt’s statement, which was an indictment of black people’s poor material condition, to the back of his shirt, which was a challenge to white people as the beneficiaries of South Africa’s unequal socio-economic structures that cause black people’s lives to be sh*t.
Why is this important? Of the many dangerous myths that were perpetuated in 1994, the one that is perhaps most troublesome is the idea that white South Africa could continue with business as usual, except for the removal of apartheid racial laws and the transfer of political power to black people. If this Rainbow Nation narrative was to be believed, black liberation could be achieved without any fundamental disruption to the white-dominated status quo.
Instead of disrupting that domination, blacks and whites were integrated into a “New” South Africa, which had an already established set of norms and codes of sociocultural behaviour and economic organisation already set up by and maintained by whites.
As it is popular to say these days, 1994 sold many of us dreams. The dream that white people need to let go of is that they can continue to live in the “New” South Africa without any disruptions to their baasskap while black people remain perpetual “boys” and “girls”.
To be pro-black means a disruption of whiteness and all concerned had better get used to it. It will not be a comfortable process as 500 years of entrenched cultural, social and economic domination are dismantled.
  • The student is due to appear before the South African Human Rights Commission on charges of hate speech. Wits has condemned the student’s actions.
Source : Online