Thu Oct 27 16:57:56 CAT 2016

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery - read this book

By unknown | Dec 22, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 1 ]

Like most people I decided to spoil myself with a few gifts this festive season.

Like most people I decided to spoil myself with a few gifts this festive season.

I bought the book I Am An African by Ngila Michael Muendane.

In the book Muendane deals with the need for the African mind to exorcise itself of the legacy of oppression.

Muendane believes it is important to do so because there are still signs that the cause and effects of this legacy still remain evident among Africans today.

During the recent launch of the book Muendane cited examples of such tendencies.

In one example he related an incident where he was treated shabbily by a black salesman - who ironically was courteous towards a white customer.

Muendane said he had gone to a 24-hour stationery shop in Midrand to collect material he had dropped off the previous day. He arrived just as the night-shift person was doing his books before knocking off.

Assuming that the salesman would not take long, Muendane decided not to distract him from his task and waited.

"He [the salesman] also continued with his calculations without paying attention to me; I understood,'' related Muendane.

The scenario changed five minutes later when a white woman walked into the shop.

The man stopped whatever he was doing and greeted the white woman, asking her if he could help. She asked for paper clips, which the salesman promptly provided.

Relating the story Muendane said initially he laughed off what transpired in that shop.

This, Muendane explained, was because he understood why a black person can ignore another black person in favour of a white person, thereby disregarding the principle of first-come-first-serve.

However, he later decided to raise the issue with the salesman.

Unashamedly the salesman justified his behaviour, saying it was a small thing that the white woman had wanted and serving her had not taken up much time.

Of interest is the white woman's intervention. She advised Muendane not to be bothered by "such a minor thing".

In turn Muendane pointed out that the salesman's behaviour could be seen as a "minor thing" by the white woman because "it is common for white people to regard things that are of concern to black people as minor".

Realising that she had walked into a minefield the woman decided to pretend that she was not South African and therefore cannot be racist.

Muendane's narrative encapsulates the behaviour of some white people.

Those who are foreigners always respond by saying they were not part of apartheid and therefore cannot be racist.

Those who are South African claim ignorance about apartheid, either arguing they were too young, or simply saying they never supported apartheid.

The question that we would like to ask the foreigners is: "What about colonialism?"

As for the South Africans who "never supported apartheid" the question is: what did you do to show your opposition to apartheid? Passively rejecting apartheid while continuing to reap its benefits makes you an accomplice.

As for the black people who continue to act out the unequal power relations between the oppressor and oppressed, go read Muendane's book.


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I know it has been long that this was written, I need assist of where i can find the book Iam an African by Ngila Michael.

Aug 04, 2015 2:34 | 0 replies