By Thabi Myeni
In the age of STRATCOM public awareness, South Africans should now be privy to the reality of organised media campaigns against black leaders and the general anti-blackness of South African media. In this vein, we must realise that the media that attacked Mam’Winnie and demonized black leaders then, is the same media that continues to ostracize progressive black leaders today.
Evidence of how the media is weaponized to destroy the working image of progressive black leaders was seen recently at the Public Protector’s debriefing. Soon after Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s press conference ended, the media had a field day with just one of her seven compelling findings and unsurprisingly, it was the one where a white woman was called to account.
The Public Protector’s conclusion was that Helen Zille, the Western Cape premium racist and Premier, violated both the Executive Members Ethics Code and provisions of the Constitution when she tweeted that colonialism was basically good because of piped water and infrastructure.
In a bid to protect white fragility and without skipping a beat, the media published numerous articles by white philistine, Pierre de Vos, who quickly transformed into a renowned “law expert”, calling Advocate Mkhwebane incompetent and inadequate. In true white patriarchal fashion, a white man was sent to discipline and reduce to dust a smart, accomplished, well-educated black woman for daring to take on a token white woman.
Advocate Mkhwebane has continuously proven to be an impeccable public protector and is more than qualified to run one of the most important institutions of this country. In doing her work in a way that protects the dignity of the marginalized, she poses a threat to a society where whiteness continues to thrive. A society where white media continues to work against the black population.
The media hordes an unconscious bias and prejudice against black leaders and specifically black women. This is not isolated to politics, they continue to taunt black people in almost every sector, while absolving white atrocities. We’ve seen how white corruption is often only exposed by international media with our national media hard at work to promote tropes about black people being perpetually corrupt. We have seen how well-accomplished progressive black leaders catch fire everyday in the media. We have also seen how they cut black leaders down to size, regardless of the power of their qualifications, positions and capabilities.
White media plays a crucial role in maintaining the marginalization and dehumanization of black people. The labelling of the Advocate as incompetent is indicative of how white media and white society at large views black people in positions of power as eternally subhuman, regardless of the strides we have made to excel beyond white societal standards. Calling someone as esteemed and revered as Advocate Mkhwebane “incompetent” is just another way of saying, “blacks are infinitely primitive”.
It is important for black people to rally around each other and particularly around those who are doing the necessary work to advance black humanity and protect whatever little claim we have to dignity. The dogs came barking all too quickly when Advocate Mkhwebane gave her findings, black people must ask themselves, where are these dogs when apartheid murderers roam free and loot the economy?