(The views and opinions expressed are that of the writer not The Fair Digest however at The Fair Digest we practice the art of freedom of speech)
So on Sunday, March 15, I had my world rocked! I posted (or at least attempted to) a question on South Africa’s most popular Facebook group, of which I had been a part since September last year, the #I’mStaying group, and… it got disapproved by the group admin.
The #I’mStaying group began as a campaign to supposedly unite all South Africans under the banner of “Unity in our diversity”, or… “Rainbow Nation”. The supposed intention was to keep compatriots in the country by highlighting all the virtues the country has to offer and make it all excitable, and it took off like a drug-dealer seeing a narc. The protagonists are predominantly people who are involved in interracial relationships but, anyone who touches on the lighter side of life will not necessarily be frowned upon. A lesson I had to decipher for myself having had my question was rejected. I began to second guess the group’s real intentions, wondering if it was not a front.
So this is the backdrop, there is this other political group I’m a part of, called POLITICAL DEBATE MZANSI, right? and some guy puts up a post saying (and I quote) ‘If you want to see slaves, go to the #I’mStaying’ group. Naturally, I was less than impressed, so I dive in headfirst in defence of the “movement” cause I had been a part of it for a few months up to that point and never had I ever experienced or witnessed anything that suggested he had substance. Also, I especially took it personally, because I knew he was referring to the black demographic as slaves. So I come in swinging, telling him that I had been a part of the group for moths and that he had knowledge of what he was saying. But, What bothered me was that he received positive reactions from other guys in the political group. Some people responded that they had either been censored or altogether axed from the group by the admin. Now… I can engage, to some extent, with someone if I feel that they have based an argument on their opinion or suspected conjecture instead of fact. Thenceforth, we can construct a healthy debate but, personal experience is incontrovertible. People were attesting to the fact that something was amiss with the “movement” and that I could not contend with.
So the situation plays in my mind like a toddler until I decide to do something about it. So, like a typical Zulu guy, I do that “click” sound we do when we’re about to go for broke, we call it ‘uku nxapha’. American cowboys use it to “talk” to their horses. Anyway, I confront the group. Sunday, lazy afternoon, Mozart in the background and the window to post was opened, which had been particularly sporadic, I found. So I shoot my shot. I begin my post by appraising them of the situation and what the guy in the political group had said. I even (like one American comic said) “specificated” that not only was I not on his side, I opposed him and that the only reason I had to ask was for the sake of clarity. Are we, as a group, having our heads in the sand about the socioeconomic imbalance of the Country? I asked whether or not we were embracing “unity in diversity” at the expense of our history. I wanted to know if anyone else had experienced censorship by the group admin. when raising issues that ail the country, to corroborate or rubbish the testimonies I had heard in the other group. Bear in mind, this is me just hoping for a sincere engagement, not trying to start a fire…
At the latter part of my post, I, jestingly, said “I suppose admin. approving this post will be indicative”, confident that my post would be approved by admin. for all to see. I was confident that the group admin. would at least (if there were any substance of truth, to those damning claims) make an exception. I thought that they would at least want to say face so I could tag the real firestarter in any of the responses, and tell him ‘in your face’. But, It did not turn out that way! My post, my question, my most sincere hope to provoke an engagement was not approved.
In their response, admin. said (and I quote), ‘This Facebook group is all about positivity, good thoughts, good words and good deeds. NOT EVERY FACEBOOK PAGE NEEDS TO DISCUSS THE ISSUES. We are of course aware of them but prefer to leave them to the hundreds of other groups dedicated to issues’.
You know, I advertently made sure that my post was innocuous because I was cognizant of the fact that there was white folk in the group and I knew how sensitive they were to racial engagement. Speaking race in the presence of white folk is like asking your single mom who works tirelessly to provide for three kids why you got the drumstick while she got the side-breast. It’s the kind of conversation you take up only when you are ready for some serious facial reconstruction, we all know that. I was NOT trying to start something, on the contrary, I was hoping to counter the less-than-exciting-reports from the other side and prove them as jealous but, I was thoroughly disappointed. I mean, I could not get it out of my mind… ‘Not every Facebook page needs to discuss the issue’?! Are you fucken kidding me?! I construed this as a subtle defence of white privilege. The “movement” is advertently shying away from our present-day realities, a tactic deployed by white people, censorship akin to what the journalists in Russia currently endure.
I was always cognizant that the #I’mStaying “movement” was started by a white guy, whose name is known to most people but, when I realized that this was a vehicle of ulterior motives… when I realized that the body was Maybach, but the engine was Isuzu when I realised that this was a dream in a dream in a dream, I had no choice but to recuse myself from the group, as it were. I could not reconcile myself to the fact that I could not rebut what that guy from the political group had said.
Sure, he was crude in his delivery to label us as slaves but, that is just a personal choice of words. The bottom line is that the #I’mStaying “movement” is another stumbling block to thwart racial progressive measures. It is not pro-black. It is not meant to fix the country. The fact that people are ‘opting’ to stay means that they have an option to leave, black people neither have the means to leave nor an alternative home. #I’mStaying my ass!