Monday, June 9, 2008

A 2nd synopsis: Afrophobia (continued)

Working title: AFROPHOBIA
A film by: Sechaba Morojele

This documentary wants to understand the current “agrophobic” climate that exits in South Africa and where it comes from [1]. The theory that this documentary wishes to propose is that afrophobia is the conclusion of our failure to decolonise our minds and our socio-economic realities.

The documentary will investigate this theory by looking at the lives of two different South African people from recently violently affected “agrophobic areas” who have been living in abject poverty since and before 1994. From these two case studies we will try to understand/explain how poverty in South Africa is deeply rooted in South Africa’s extended colonial history and how 14 years after the birth of our new democracy the situation has actually gotten worse: “The poverty traps set by apartheid remain an important explanation for the persistence (and the worsening) of poverty in South Africa [2]"

Though South Africa is a better country from a political and human rights point of view, one can however argue that a corresponding socio-economic transformation has not yet taken place. The main reason for this is the so-called “elite compromise” where the apartheid corporate sector managed to force the ANC to accept a neo-liberal and globally orientated economic policy for the “New South Africa”. This policy produced an economic system that systematically excludes the poor half of the population from mainstream economic and political activity and prevents the possibility of any comprehensive redistributive measures.

This “elite compromise” together with the inheritance of a self-perpetuating poverty trap and the failure to control the influx of many African foreigners into South Africa could be part of the answer to the growing frustrations and “explosive rage” that our country has experienced in the recent weeks.

The other part, as will also be investigated in this documentary through interviews with the relevant scholars, professors, etc, relates to the increasing levels of afrophobia in the country. Though many have argued that the high levels of poverty and the lack of service delivery are at the root of the current afrophobia attacks, afrophobia itself must have had a significant role to play in the violence. This afrophobia, one wishes to argue stems from anti-black racism that is still rife in South Africa and etched in the psyche of both black and white South Africans.
We have failed to humanise our society through genuine freedom which leads to material and psychological liberation" [3].

We cannot forget the role the media has played in igniting these current afrophobia attitude [4] and how it together with the middle class have shown a great sense of complacency towards the plight of the impoverished majority.

Though anti-black sentiments are a well known phenomenon within White South Africa, Black anti black sentiments need to be dissected to better appreciate afrophobia; how and when did Black South Africans start hating their fellow Africans and why and does this form part of a greater black colonised mind that harbours a great sense of self hate towards their own kind?

[1] It is important that we distance ourselves from using the word Xenophobia as this describes hatred towards all foreigners.

[2] Julian May 2000

[3] Andile Mngxitama in City Press May 2008

[4] “There are certain sections of print media that must be found guilty of xenophobia due to anti-foreign stereotypes created in their daily reporting,” MMP executive director May William Bird told May 2008

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