By BO Staff Writer
The following statement was previously published on the Black First Land First website and is now reissued by Black Opinion:
Black First Land First (BLF) calls upon Amnesty International to stop the #SignTheSmileOff Verwoerd’s face campaign and to find better ways to address the crisis of education. Moreover Amnesty International must desist from promoting the architect of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, because that is the de facto impact of using imagery of him under the circumstances.
While the intentions of Amnesty International may very well be good, the medium chosen to promote the campaign nullifies any such good intentions. Verwoerd represents the main contradiction which is white supremacy. He is the main source of the problem that we are facing which the African National Congress (ANC) government has failed to address.
Bringing giant poster imagery of Verwoerd into the public sphere is not acceptable. Black people are the targeted individuals who will be bombarded with offensive apartheid imagery via every platform imaginable. Its triggering and impairs the dignity of blacks. Its also an insult to the collective pain of black people who are the real victims of apartheid. It moreover serves to miniaturize the horrors of apartheid.
We don’t expect those who will be calling for reparations for Jewish holocaust victims to be using the image of Hitler to further their campaign, because they know what that image would mean. We expect the same application to the victims of the black holocaust of which the apartheid schooling system is a function.
We note that Verwoerd’s apartheid legacy is well represented in parliament. Over half a century since his death, Verwoerd’s grandson, Wynand Boshoff, has been thrust into the National Assembly through the ticket of the racist Freedom Front Plus. This must be corrected through an overhaul of parliament itself.
BLF will make a written request to Amnesty International for a meeting to discuss this matter. We will also canvass with them the need to call on the Zimbabweans for assistance. To this end the following extract from the BLF Black Agenda on education is instructive:
“In the short to medium term, there is a need to turn around the colonial education crisis through a four-year extraordinary intervention which would put the whole education system on a new footing. As a commitment to Pan-Afrikanism and recognition of the generally sound Zimbabwean education system, a four-year process of co-teaching with the Zimbabwean O and A levels graduates in the public schools which have shown the most negative results must be embarked upon. This call must go to build capacity in all the schools in villages, as well as the squatter camps.”
Issued by Black First Land First, National Coordinating Committee of (BLF NCC)
1 August 2019
Black First Land First Mail: [email protected]
(BLF Deputy President)
Cell: +27 79 986 7225