home Andile's Column, Featured, News, Politics Rags to riches motif is vile

Rags to riches motif is vile

By Andile Mngxitama

I wish so much that in 2020 blacks would stop the rags to riches motif.

Look, any “achievement” for blacks is huge because systematically we are excluded. See how crazy we get for getting a mere matric certificate? We kill a cow for a degree, and so it goes on.

I just can’t take this notion somehow that we must always speak as if our condition of exclusion is of our own making. When you say, “from sweeper to school principal” or “from garden boy to judge”, it strikes me as blaming the poor. I find it vile, actually.

Where I grew up, 99% of the boys were garden-boys one time or another. When I go home even now, some of my high school mates still survive by doing garden work. I know that some of them were damn smart kids. So are you going to say that because they were systematically excluded, it’s their fault? What is the point of telling me “from farmworker to Wits graduate”? What point are you trying to prove?

Maybe I’m just sensitive, but I find this line of thinking problematic.

Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First (BLF), a radical black consciousness organization.