Zille has completely lost her marbles over colonialism

Former DA leader Helen Zille tweet.
Former DA leader Helen Zille tweet.
Image: Esa Alexander

Dear Helen

South African legal minds agree that public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report into your "colonialism tweets" is complete garbage and provides enough evidence to suggest she should vacate her office immediately.

This does not make those tweets any less offensive, insensitive or subjectively racist and it certainly does not vindicate your inexcusable behaviour. Now you are at it again.

If your immediate response to the above is feeling attacked or even thinking "I didn't say it was good I just said it wasn't ALL bad", for once in your life listen.

Listen very carefully and you might just hear the deafening silence of your peers never apologising for a crime against humanity committed by their parents. Listen closer still and you will hear the anxious and desperate cries of the unemployed, hungry and starving around you still trapped by colonialism's racist legacy and then ask whether you have ever had the need to cry like that before.

Colonialism has a violent, oppressive, racist, criminal history in Africa. Understanding it for what it was is essential to understanding why your tweets are so offensive and insulting to black people. Whites in SA are either not properly taught the brutal history of colonialism or refuse to listen to it.

Generations of black Africans were enslaved by white Europeans to:

make the Europeans' stay in Africa more comfortable; and

extract natural resources from the land with no share in the profits or fruits of their own labour.

Whatever Africans had before colonialism (land, for one) was taken away by force - stolen by definition. Africans were given no meaningful rights to participate in the European-styled economies or governments imposed on them.

Millions of men, women and children were murdered, raped and beaten into submission for over 300 years. It is impossible to estimate the loss of human life as a result of colonialism, suffice to say that the Europeans in Africa and the atrocities committed by them were no less evil than the crimes committed by history's greatest villains. Generations of Africans were robbed of all hope, dignity and opportunity. That is the legacy of colonialism.

Europeans did not come to Africa on some humanitarian mission to educate, convert and save Africans. They didn't come to bring piped water and poetry. They came to steal, conquer, kill and enslave.

It is against this backdrop that your tweets should be read: "For those claiming the legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc. Would we have had a transition into specialised healthcare and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest, please". Or now "Do you genuinely believe the legacy of colonialism was only negative? Then let's scrap the constitution . Let's scrap formal education institutions, the English language etc etc.".

As @Fistossk asked in response to you "So you're saying if your father abused and molested you then the abuse should be overlooked because he put a roof over your head and food in your tummy?"

Diminishing that pain and suffering by so desperately trying to point out nonexistent proverbial "silver linings" you think there may be is pointless and wrong. You may not have acted in violation of the constitution Helen, but your continuing tweets lack any decency, compassion or understanding of the suffering of black Africans under colonialism.

It is insensitive and wrong and could reasonably be interpreted as racist. Climb off your high horse and sincerely apologise.


Ryno Geldenhuys

Geldenhuys is a Sowetan reader

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