Perhaps it is time to speak back to the president

IN OPENING this tale that sort of renders the state headless, I refer to WEB Du Bois who posed the following: "Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it, all nevertheless flutter around it . How does it feel to be a problem?"

IN OPENING this tale that sort of renders the state headless, I refer to WEB Du Bois who posed the following: "Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it, all nevertheless flutter around it . How does it feel to be a problem?"

For years the black male has often been emasculated, either by the absence of his dominant sexuality or by the hyper-sexuality discourse that has sought to portray him as a beast, well-endowed beyond reason.

The dominant media discourse that exists sought to consolidate this view of the hyper-sexual black male by casting aspersions of bestiality on him.

To this end, we all know of tales of white women who live in fear of black men simply because they are potential rapists.

In fact the film King Kong illustrates this point very well. In the film King Kong is represented as an endowed black beast running amok and seeking to kill-sleep with whoever is available.

Moreover, it was Melvin Van Peebles's film, Sweet Sweetback Badass Song, that characterised this notion of a rogue black male, who, while running from the white system, slept with every woman who gave him refuge.

Certainly in domestic popular discourse the Yizo Yizo series illustrated the hyper-sexual nature of the black male with the character of Papa Action and of course that played by Menzi Ngubane, who was a teacher sleeping with learners.

Surprise, surprise, we read in this very newspaper about actual teachers who were doing the same thing. It appears that the social world exists in fear of this problem.

It would seem that the problem is not so different from marauding livestock predators like jackals that prey on the vulnerable. Indeed, there is a phrase for it, chicken-murder.

However, this is only the beginning. Can we forgive and understand if a teacher preys on his vulnerable learners?

Some might argue, with hesitation nonetheless, that there is space for a conversation.

Allow me to rephrase: what do we say, when an elder, whom we know so well and trust to lead the country, fails us by reaffirming negative stereotypes of black masculinity?

Do we shut our eyes in total disbelief, believing it is just a tale spun by a rumour-mongering mamgobhozi?

If we decide to keep quiet, in keeping with, tradition that rewards mediocrity and normalises the value system of accepting less, do we think that our silence will erase the deed and in its place we will see our president differently?

Perhaps, even more worryingly, how did we get here, to this point, where tales of our president force us to shake our heads in disbelief, muttering, is this man fit to govern us?

Let us not for a second offer a moralistic response based on pseudo-Christian values. Let us unravel this tale, and ask ourselves, what this says about our president?

Perhaps it is time to speak back to the president, to remind him that even though he is only mortal, the personal decisions he makes need to reflect on the integrity of the office that he holds.

This tale affects us all for it clearly demonstrates our head of state's lack of judgement.

Should we be scared?

Not yet, although the vision of the country as celebrated many moons ago with the tale of Mandela stepping out of jail is no more.

Not even mamgobhozi will drink tea to that.

nMamatu the writer teaches dramatic arts at Wits University

X