With having to deal with being randomly told every so often that someone “cooked a lovely curry the other day”, being called Yad-daa-naa, as opposed to Yadhana (if you can say gardener you can say Yadhana), Julius Malema’s recent comments against Indians, and being called a “Gupta” by angry strangers – I am fed up!
I am fed up with people pointing out that I am a fifth-generation South African, who was brought up to be South African, while embracing the Indian culture, all in the same go.
I am fed up bringing up the role Indian South Africans had in the struggle and all that we fought for.
No longer will I point to fields where ancestors who, as indentured labourers brought here by the British from a colonised India with promise of gold, chopped sugar cane for hours.
I am done and I am tired of saying that, while I am a 1984 baby, I have been here since 1860 – and the history in my blood proves it.
And as I sit here typing with my turmeric-stained fingernails from the delicious curry I ate last night with my hands – as it should be eaten – I will not refer to the Freedom Charter to prove a point, in assuring others that South Africa indeed belongs to all who live in it.
EFF party leader Malema last weekend took yet another stab at South African Indians and this time it wasn’t related to the Guptas or ministers being sold “over a plate of curry”.
I use the term South African Indians because it is, in fact, a thing, and a short Google search will explain why.
Speaking at the party’s fourth anniversary celebrations, Malema said Indians were “worse than Afrikaners”, and were exploiting Africans, particularly in the businesses they own.
According to Malema, Indians who own shops “don’t pay our people but they give them food parcels”.
This was not an anti-Indian statement, he assured us – “it’s the truth”.
Malema’s generalised utterance, which has already caused outrage on both ends of the spectrum, elicited no apology from his party, which indicated that Indians had monopolised strategic tenders.
“The Indian community in Durban, and elsewhere in the country, needs to confront its own ills and the normalised hatred African people experience among them,” the EFF said. “It is a fact that part of what apartheid did for many years was to create an impression that Indians are better blacks than Africans and Coloureds.
“This mentality has constituted the attitude of many Indian people in the ways in which they treat Africans in labour, business and general human relations. We reject this attitude and call for its transformation, as well as a better treatment of Africans.”
And if that was not enough, a poll carried on The Citizen’s website on Malema’s rants had still been leading by lunchtime yesterday at 47% under the option: “He’s right, Indians are the worst.”
By that time I had had enough … enough of Malema, enough of the food references and enough of the opinions on the website.
The hope of exposing the dangers of generalisation with the potential to actually incite violence against an ethnic group lies in the South African Human Rights Commission’s investigation into Malema’s comments.
Let’s hope for the best because, in the EFF leader’s case, it seems the worst is yet to come.