We must stand up against racist stores

WHAT is the difference between a Shoprite Checkers in town and one in a township? One serves black customers while the other caters for a predominantly white clientele.

Rooted in apartheid mentality, communities are still subtly treated as first- and second-class consumers.

Shops in town are spacious and clean , have packers at the tills and wide doors . In the township, however, the same chain store is crowded with goods, untidy , has no packers and there is a menacing security guard bodily searching or demanding receipts at the exit.

The contempt with which apartheid South Africa treated black people manifested itself politically, economically and socially. While a lot has been done in the political and economic spheres, much leaves to be desired in the social sphere. Sub-standard service is a sign of a deep-seated social ill from our past.

It is disturbing that some of us, even our community leaders, accept this second-class treatment from Shoprite, Spar and others. We fail to understand that no one can disrespect us without our permission. Why do we allow this subtle form of discrimination?

We must attend to all subtle expressions of discrimination . We must dispel notions that speaking English equates to wisdom or intelligence, that living in a white neighbourhood means higher social worth or standing, or that attending a school in town means better education. We must stand up to the contempt of Shoprite and others. After all, we are as good as suburban shoppers. We must demand respect, not accept being treated like criminals .

Cassey Madikgetla, Vereeniging