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2 August 2019
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#SignTheSmileOff VERWOERD’S FACE CAMPAIGN: REQUEST FOR MEETING
I write to the Amnesty International in South Africa (SA) as the President of Black First Land First (BLF) in SA.
BLF is a Black Consciousness, Pan Afrikanist, Sankarist movement which is opposed to imperialism, colonialism, apartheid and all its combined ills that are brought to bear upon blacks, including the crisis of the education system.
We are extremely perturbed by your #SignTheSmileOff Verwoerd’s face campaign which uses the image of Hendrik Verwoerd promote the said campaign and thereby to deal with targeted areas of apartheid education.
We acknowledge that while your intentions may very well be good, the medium chosen to promote the campaign, which is the imagery of Verwoerd in the public sphere, is unacceptable. Its triggering; impairs the dignity of blacks; is offensive; insults the collective pain of blacks who are the real victims of apartheid; and serves to miniaturize the horrors of apartheid.
This is so because Verwoerd represents the main source of the education crisis in the country which the African National Congress (ANC) government has failed to address.
In this respect we have already made a public call on Amnesty International to:
1. desist from promoting the architect of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, because that is the de facto impact of using imagery of him under the circumstances.
2. stop the #SignTheSmileOff Verwoerd’s face campaign
3. the same treatment to be accorded to the victims of the black holocaust (of which apartheid is a function), as is given to victims of the Jewish holocaust. To this end we pointed out that we don’t expect those who will be calling for reparations for the Jewish holocaust victims to be using the image of Hitler to further their campaign, because they know what that image would mean.
(See ‘BLF calls on Amnesty International to stop promoting Verwoerd’ via the link: https://blf.org.za/2019/08/01/blf-calls-on-amnesty-international-to-stop-promoting-verwoerd/)
We believe that better ways can be found to address the crisis of education.
In the circumstances we request a meeting with you as a matter of priority to discuss this matter further. We would love to canvass with you a turn around strategy for the education crisis through a four-year co- teaching intervention program which would put the whole education system on a decolonial trajectory. To this end the need to call on the Zimbabweans for assistance, is crucial. Zimbabwe has a great legacy in this respect.
We intend to attend the meeting as a leadership delegation led by me as BLF President.
We look forward to your response herein.
Black First Land First (BLF): President
Black First Land First Email: [email protected]
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