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Posts tagged "racism"

Recent six-time U.S. Open winner Serena Williams has been called everything from the greatest American tennis player ever, to America’s greatest athlete. But, unfortunately, these are not the only names and titles she’s been given.

It seems with every astounding win, people are out to crush her through the most despicable means. A mixture of sexism and racism at play, Serena highlights one thing about America (and perhaps the world): black women, no matter how accomplished, are undeserving of their accolades and, at worst, are stripped of their humanity time and time again.

From “The Frisky”:

Buried within the comments section of such stories of American victory, tells the reality that a Black woman does not represent America to White Americans. Nor is she worthy of support or even much deserved congratulations. The general consensus by such White people? Serena Williams, like President Obama, should be dehumanized and ridiculed merely because of her skin color. Here are some examples that represent the general consensus reached by many White commenters:

This paints a more clear picture of a modern White America that is not only racially intolerant but openly hateful. Through that lens, Serena’s strength cannot be appreciated as the strength of a woman because she is a Black woman — an animal at best and Obama’s son at worst. A vile, disgusting monkey with an attitude problem. The racial stereotypes invoked within those comment threads are attached to names and faces of individuals who are real. People whose profile pictures are sweet images of little, innocent children and babies, soldiers, both young and middle-aged White men and women smiling at the world in simple head shots. White people who obviously do not view Black people as people.

(read more)

Steve Hofmeyr Stirs Trouble with Singing of Old South African Anthem.

Steve Hofmeyr and fellow Afrikaans performer Elzabe Zietsman show two very different sides of the South African Afrikaans community.

Performing at the Innibos music festival over the weekend, Hofmeyr opted not to sing South Africa’s inclusive new national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, which combines Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English, and instead began singing Die Stem - South Africa’s national anthem for most of apartheid. Although South Africa’s new anthem incorporates a portion of the lyrics from Die Stem, this clearly was not enough for Hofmeyer and a large portion of the audience. Playing to a crowd of around 45, 000, most of them white and Afrikaans speaking, the popular and controversial singer was apparently joined by many in the crowd who began singing along with him, as can be seen in this video.

As with many other national symbols of apartheid, from flags to currency art, the post-apartheid years have seen the country officially doing away with these relics of the past in exchange for features that are more representative of South Africa as a rainbow nation. In fact, singing Die Stem has become somewhat of a social taboo and is more associated with Afrikaaner right wingers.

Hofmeyer’s antics, however, did not go without backlash within the Afrikaans community itself. Fellow Afrikaans artist Elzabe Zietsman lashed out at the Hofmeyer and those who sang along with him saying:

“I declare that I was not one of the ‘duisende dose’ (thousands of a**holes) that sang Die Stem along with Steve Hofmeyr. I am a South African with Afrikaans as my first language. Just that. I don’t want to debate this … I love South Africa passionately, and I love Afrikaans passionately, but Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is my national anthem – in Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English. Just that.”

Whilst her comment did receive a number of likes and shares, the overwhelming majority of the reactions and comments thrown her way were abusive and hateful. Zietsman posted one of the comments on Tuesday that she received from one Johan van Rooyen, under the description “this one wins first prize”, that said:

“Jeez, you k***** maid wh***, you sing sh**. I think you should sing Kill the Boer with Malema or Zuma in their sh** language. Maybe they will rape you and give you lekker Aids, because that’s what you want.

You call me an a**hole. Well, at least I am a white ***hole person and not a black k***** animal baboon that you like. Siss! I hope you die soon because you are an oxygen thief, you awful maid wh***. Hahahaha! F*** you.”

Hofmeyer also joined in the social media bullying saying, ”Thanks Elzabe, at least we know how YOU feel. Congratulations. How is it that everyone should feel like you and pass your democratic test?”

A staunch pro-Afrikaaner, Hofmeyer is also known for his use of the word ‘kaffir’ in a song, as a response to Malema’s ‘Shoot the Boer’ chants, and being a supporter of the “Expedition for Afrikaner Self-determination” - Onafhanklike Afrikaner Selfbeskikkingsekspedisie, or (OASE) in Afrikaans. OASE is an advocacy group for Afrikaner self-determination.


Kuwaiti domestic workers are being named and shamed on an Instagram (link is external) account called Mn7asha, or “runaway”. 

The account description reads, “An account to display pictures of servants fleeing in Kuwait, together to put an end to this phenomenon.” The account lists a number to send photos to via the mobile messenger Whatsapp and says, “Hand in hand we can make a difference, even a small one.”

The Kuwait Society for Human Rights estimates (link is external) 600,000 domestic workers contribute to the country’s migrant labour force. Foreigners make up the vast majority of Kuwait’s private workforce.

As in other Gulf countries that use the kafala (link is external) (sponsorship) system, migrant workers are tied to the employer sponsoring their visas. Most cannot leave the country without their employer’s permission. Foreign workers trying to escape employers in Kuwait can face (link is external) criminal charges for “absconding”. 

The account’s creator defended the page in an Instagram post: “It’s not reasonable to tell me, ‘I want to post a photo of my maid’ and expect me to interrogate [the contributor], ‘why did she run away and what did you do to her?’. But if any women mistreated her maid or beat or tortured her then God will hold her accountable, not me nor you commenters. And I say even if she severely beat her she’d run away to the embassy, not go work elsewhere… .”
(more at the link)

Faith and race in Muslim America: Being Black and Muslim in the United States.

"Being black and Muslim in America often means that one has to figure out a way to simultaneously navigate two particularly stigmatised social identities: that of being black and that of being Muslim. And when the dominant narrative of Islam in America is that it is primarily a Middle Eastern phenomenon or a South Asian phenomenon, then it does not leave a lot of space for people like me…where do their stories fit in?" - Donna Austin.

Watch this interesting and eye-opening conversation that deals with anti-black sentiment within the American Muslim community that is constructed through a view of Arab superiority, further aided by the systemic racism - both presently and historically - in the United States.

Seeing as the conversation is centered around being both black and Muslim, it’s unfortunate that much was not said about the experiences of black African Muslims in America.

Some of the anti-black bias among non-black Latinos is driven by the misconception that black people do not support the immigrants’ rights movement. But this erases the fact that there are black immigrants from the Americas and elsewhere, and it assumes that there are not already entire black organizations that focus on immigrant justice. But the argument also expects black people to be working on behalf of non-black Latinos as if that work is automatically owed to us. The unchecked entitlement packed into the argument that black people need to support non-black Latinos demonstrates not that non-black Latinos are aspiring toward whiteness — but that we already actively employ some of its trappings.

In the immigrant rights community in particular, non-black Latinos use the term Juan Crow to reference the systematic terror that undocumented immigrants face in the South. This is a powerful articulation of the injustice experienced by undocumented immigrants, but it is often employed without recognizing how the most recent struggle of Latino immigrant communities is distinct from the nearly century-long struggle of black people under Jim Crow. When babies born to undocumented immigrants are hatefully described as “anchor babies,” we cite birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Yet we rarely acknowledge that doing so takes advantage of a piece of legislation created to confer citizenship to formerly enslaved black people following the Civil War.

The citizenship we envision for ourselves, however, is not the limited form of citizenship that black people still experience today. Black citizens — whose very right to vote remains contested — may not be slated for deportation, but they are disproportionately targeted for stop-and-frisk, for jail and prison, for violence, and for death. Whenever non-black Latinos claim or even aspire to citizenship without also advocating for the recognition of the full humanity (and full citizenship) of black people, then we are allowing white supremacy to operate unchallenged. We may, indeed, creatively acquire a fuller citizenship through a piece of legislation that was historically intended for black people, but it is immoral to do so at the cost of preserving a racial hierarchy that maintains that those same black people are a little less than human.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
What do you think about Dencia comparing the BBC lady's relaxed hair to skin bleaching? Are they the same, is it fair to equate the two? For me, bleaching poses more of a health risk so it's not on the same level. And, altho dark skin and kinky/curl hair are considered typical signifiers of black ppls racial identity, relaxing hair doesn't seem like an attempt to erase ones race like skin bleaching-- skin color is tied more strongy to race than hair texture.
dynamicafrica dynamicafrica Said:

[wrote a longer response but a friend x’d out of it by mistake]

Whilst I agree with you that skin bleaching poses more of a health risk than relaxing one’s hair, I also see where Dencia and others who agree with her (had a twitter convo on skin bleaching a few weeks back) are coming from in the sense that these two processes are birthed from the same anti-blackness and white supremacist standards of beauty that dominate much of the world. Both involve the use of heavy and harmful chemicals that drastically alter one’s physical appearance but, apart from the risks posed, where hair relaxing is more accepted and skin bleaching is not is probably due to the fact that racism itself was structured and built on discrimination by way of one’s skin color. Hair is more of a side-effect, despite how political it is in the black community. Also, one can easily cut off one’s relaxed or or transition back into their hair’s natural state. Skin bleaching doesn’t offer that easy reversible option.

Dencia also has a point where she says that altering one’s opinion as an adult is one’s choice, fair enough, but what she’s not acknowledging in all these interviews is that whatever the real purpose of her product is (dark spots or dark skin in whatever capacity), the way in which the advertising for Whitenicious is framed has a critical history to it. It’s really no different from these:







Her cream is just the next phase in an advertising revolution of the above series. Racism in the 21st century may not always be as blatant as it once was but subtle forms of racism do not negate its manifestation, presence and impact. Not to mention how lightening your face is a terrible way to deal with hyper-pigmentation.

As South Africa marks its annual commemoration of the tragic Sharpeville Massacre that occurred on March 21st, 1960, as Human Rights Day, we remember a more recent event that shocked the nation and has caused a series of uproar and protests as a result.

The Marikana miners’ strike took place at a mine owned by Lonmin in the Marikana area, close to Rustenburg, in August 2012.

What resulted was a series of violent incidents between the South African Police Service, Lonmin security, the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and strikers themselves, which resulted in the deaths of 44 people, the majority of whom were striking mineworkers killed on 16 August. At least 78 additional workers were also injured on 16 August. The total number of injuries during the strike remains unknown. In addition to the Lonmin strikers, there has been a wave of wildcat strikes across the South African mining sector. [x]

Above is a clip from the recently released ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ that partially demonstrates what took place in Sharpeville on this day in 1960.

In this video, Archbishop Desmond Tutu discusses his reaction to the heinous event that took place 54 years ago at one point saying, “I remember it as a moment where you realized that black life was cheap”.

Further reading & viewing: Robert Sobukwe - founder & leader of the Pan-African Congress in South Africa that led the march against Pass Laws in Sharpeville.

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All Africa, All the time.

Weighing In: Racism, Balmain  and the case of Ajak Deng.

For the time being, we’re (or at least I am) not exactly sure what went down yesterday but South Sudanese top model AJAK DENG went off on twitter a few hours ago, accusing fashion label Balmain of being racist for them allegedly deeming her “too black” for their runway in one way or another.

Though she’s deleted her twitter account, it looks like her tweets were fed to her facebook page which is still up. Additionally, a few people were quick enough in screengrabbing her heated tweets for those of us who weren’t awake to see her full twitter tirade.

Whatever the case, whether you want to believe Ajak or not, one thing anyone cannot deny is the fashion’s industry’s racism and their often slick way of dealing with the casting of black models. One or three tokens, black models that look a particular way, or better yet, making all the models black because it’s so ‘fashion forward’ (pun intended). Citing the fact that Balmain opened up with Jourdan Dunn is also step in that direction. It completely negates Deng’s experience. Perhaps I’m naive but, aside from the fact that the fashion industry is racist, I highly doubt a top model like Deng would ‘risk’ her career by going out against a huge label like Balmain. Whether I’m wrong about this doesn’t matter to me. As a black woman who’s is also dark skinned and African, I’d rather give her the benefit of the doubt in this situation - especially knowing that even when not much is said and done, through our very existence as black people we are incredibly well fine tuned to understand when we are victims of racism, even when we can’t exactly ‘prove’ it. When racism is so embedded in a system, when it’s part of a culture, those who have the upper-hand are often blind to, or do not question, their participation in these structures. For starters, just google ‘Balmain’ and let me know when you see a dark-skinned model with a bald head and features that resemble Ajak Deng’s walking their runway.

Now I’m not trying to say that women like Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Senait Gidey or Riley Montana (they all walked for Balmain’s Fall 2014 RTW collection, Dunn opened) aren’t black, but rather that there’s often a certain kind of acceptable blackness that matter in situations such as these where everything from skin tone, to hair and even one’s facial features are all evaluated on a scale of beauty in accordance to white standards.  

I’ve always maintained that the Alek Wek looks might often be more of a case of exotification than a sincere approach , as their kind of blackness stands in such stark contrast to white supremacist standards of beauty that they don’t pose a threat to these racist values. Something promoted through German photographer Leni Riefenstahl’s ‘The Last of the Nuba’ book.

Regardless of the true intentions of the fashion industry, I’m incredibly happy that models like Ajak Deng, Ataui Deng, Nykhor Paul and Grace Bol get as much as work as they do. Their presence goes a heck of a long way in the case for why representation matters, and in scenarios like this, thanks to social media, we’re able to understand that the age old rhetoric of ‘at least there’s a black person in x’ doesn’t mean that racism is no longer present. 

I only wonder what black models of previous decades would’ve tweeted had they had twitter at their disposal.

(tweet sources: 1; 2; 3)

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All Africa, All the time.

Big Debate on Racism: Has the Rainbow Nation project failed in South Africa?

The tension in this debating arena is so thick, you’d need a chainsaw to cut through it and even so, you may not be able to slice through it. But all this comes as no surprise considering the topic of the conversation, as well as the time and place in which it is held.

Operating around the question: “Has the Rainbow Nation failed?”, South African hot topic debating program eNCA’s “The Big Debate South Africa" (a favourite of mine) hosts yet another riveting discussion on race relations in the "Rainbow Nation" 20 years after a democratic country was born. 

With a diverse panel and even more diverse audience members, the question yields a colourful array of responses. A multitude of topics and issues are raised throughout ranging from white privilege, white poverty, and the layered politics of power, to affirmative action, the exclusion or underrepresenation of coloured and Indian populations in South African internal race relations, the intersectionality of race, class and gender, and the failure of the broader reconciliation movement of the 90s.

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All Africa, All the time.

If you want to know what’s going on concerning the latest news headlines of the racism against Africans happening in India, this op-ed from the NYTimes will put a lot of it into perspective.

NEW DELHI — The Africans — Nigerians, Ghanaians, Ugandans — began leaving my neighborhood in New Delhi around December. Each week, more and more families exited. Some went to parts of Delhi considered more accepting of Africans; others to areas where the residents were thought to be less interfering in general. I have heard that some of the Ghanaian families had gone back to Africa, but I don’t know that for sure.

For years, they had been a part of the swirl of cultures, languages and races that makes up this part of the capital. The Nigerian women in their bright dresses out for evening strolls and the Cameroonian family with the curious-eyed baby at the ice-cream van had made a life for themselves alongside the Afghans, Tamils and Iranians.

On Oct. 31, about a month before the departures started, a Nigerian national, rumored to have been in the drug trade, was found dead in Goa. Nigerians in the coastal state protested his murder as an act of racism, while posters read: “We want peace in Goa. Say no to Nigerians. Say no to drugs.” One state minister threatened to throw out Nigerians living illegally. Another equated them with a cancer. He later apologized, adding that he hadn’t imagined there would be a “problem” with his statement.

The controversy has reverberated across the country, including in Delhi, 1,200 miles away, where the tolerance of African neighbors has turned into suspicion and even hostility.

One night, a police constable rang my doorbell. “Have you seen any man from the Congo entering and leaving the building?” he asked. “African man,” he clarified. He said he had received a report that a local resident was friendly with Africans, and he wanted to know, was this true? The question surprised me; neighborhood battles here are waged over water and parking spaces, not over ethnicity. Now neighbors had become nervous of neighbors.

Once the African communities had been singled out, complaints against them bubbled up like filthy water, in Jangpura, in Khirki Extension, in the alleyways off Paharganj, anywhere in Delhi they lived.

The fragile hospitality gave way to a familiar litany of intolerance: They were too loud, exuberant and dirty; the women were loose, the men looked you directly in the eye, they were drug takers and traffickers, and worse.

Residents of Khirki Extension, whose rambling lanes had seen an influx of artists, journalists and migrants, conducted their own investigation of their African neighbors, which they called the “black beauty” sting.

Coinciding with the city’s darkening mood, the newly elected Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi started a wave of cleanups as part of its mission to control “lawlessness.” The city’s law minister, Somnath Bharti, led a raid into Khirki Extension, claiming to be acting on residents’ complaints that Nigerians and Ugandans were involved in prostitution and drug trafficking. Media reports suggest that on the night of Jan. 15, he entered Africans’ homes with a group of vigilantes, without a warrant. In the fracas, a Ugandan woman was allegedly forced to give a urine sample, on the street, in the middle of the crowd. After she filed a complaint, Delhi’s court ordered the Police Department to pursue her case against Mr. Bharti.

These recent events have awakened dormant prejudices against Africans in India, aggravated by our tendency to prize fair skin over dark. “Habshi,” derived from the word “Abyssinian,” has become a common epithet for people of African descent.

So, on one hand, the racist turn in Delhi and Goa is unsurprising. On the other hand, we have a long, and neglected, history of cross-migration with Africa. While Indians have been settling on that continent since at least the 15th century, African roots in India run even deeper. Africans were brought over in numbers around the 13th century as slaves, but also as generals, guards, merchants, bodyguards and craftsmen. Many never went back. Now tens of thousands are here to study, and others work as chefs and in the garment and textile businesses, among other industries.

Despite our close ties and the shared history of colonialism, Africa doesn’t figure on the Indian map of curiosity and desire. Our admiration of China’s economic prowess is commonplace and unabashed; we are obsessed with the West, in terms of education, ideals of beauty and economic might. But Africa is invisible. Racist views can be spouted without consequence. Africa simply doesn’t matter.

There will be few repercussions for the Aam Aadmi Party if it continues with blanket policies against Africans. The party won on the promise of change, yet here it is, proving that it shares the same blindness as other, older parties.

These days, the Afghans and Indians stroll in my neighborhood park, enjoying the winter breeze. The Ghanaian and Cameroonian families moved away when their landlords doubled the rent only for them; the young Nigerian women left after one police visit too many.

Delhi’s residents say that the city belongs to everybody, because it belongs to nobody. As Bangalore and Mumbai became insular possessions, with political parties often driving out anyone who was from elsewhere, the capital claimed that it had room for all kinds of migrants, expats and outsiders. If the Aam Aadmi Party continues the divisiveness that older parties have excelled at, we’ll soon find reasons to go after all the people who live differently from “us,” who don’t belong here, who should go back to the places they came from.

Nilanjana S. Roy is an essayist and critic, and author of the novel “The Wildings.”

On a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles (160km) west from Sao Paulo, a football team has lined up for a commemorative photograph. What makes the image extraordinary is the symbol on the team’s flag - a swastika.

The picture probably dates from some time in the 1930s, after the Nazi Party’s rise to power in Germany - but this was on the other side of the world.

"Nothing explained the presence of a swastika here," says Jose Ricardo Rosa Maciel, former rancher at the remote Cruzeiro do Sul farm near Campina do Monte Alegre, who stumbled across the photograph one day.

But this was actually his second puzzling discovery. The first occurred in the pigsty.

"One day the pigs broke a wall and escaped into the field," he says. "I noticed the bricks that had fallen. I thought I was hallucinating."

The underside of each brick was stamped with the swastika.

It’s well known that pre-war Brazil had strong links with Nazi Germany - the two were economic partners and Brazil had the biggest fascist party outside Europe, with more than 40,000 members.

But it was years before Maciel - thanks to detective work by history professor Sidney Aguilar Filho - learned the grim story of his farm’s links to Brazil’s fascists.

Filho established that the farm had once been owned by the Rocha Mirandas, a family of wealthy industrialists from Rio de Janeiro. Three of them - father Renato and two of his sons, Otavio and Osvaldo - were members of the Acao Integralista Brasileira, an extreme right-wing organisation, sympathetic to the Nazis.

The family sometimes held rallies on the farm, hosting thousands of the organisation’s members. But it was also a brutal work-camp for abandoned - and non-white - children.

"I found a story of 50 boys aged around 10 years old who had been taken from an orphanage in Rio," says Filho. "They were taken in three waves. The first was a group of 10 in 1933."

Osvaldo Rocha Miranda applied to be a guardian of the orphans, according to documents discovered by Filho, and a legal decree was granted.

"He sent his driver, who put us in a corner," says 90-year-old Aloysio da Silva, one of the first orphans conscripted to work on the farm.

"Osvaldo was pointing with a cane - ‘Put that one over there, this one here’ - and from 20 boys, he took 10.

"He promised the world - that we would play football, go horse-riding. But there wasn’t any of this. The 10 of us were given hoes to clear the weeds and clean up the farm. I was tricked."

The children were subject to regular beatings with a palmatoria, a wooden paddle with holes designed to reduce air resistance and increase pain. They were addressed not by their name, but by a number - Silva’s was number 23. Guard dogs ensured they stayed in line.

"One was called Poison, the male, and the female was called Trust," says Silva, who still lives in the area. "I try to avoid talking about it."

Argemiro dos Santos is another survivor. As a boy, he had been found on the streets and taken to an orphanage. Then Rocha Miranda came for him.

"They didn’t like black people at all," says Santos, now 89.

"There was punishment, from not giving us food to the palmatoria. It hurt a lot. Two hits sometimes. The most would be five because a person couldn’t stand it.

"There were photographs of Hitler and you were compelled to salute. I didn’t understand any of it."

Some of the surviving Rocha Miranda family say their forebears stopped supporting Nazism well before World War Two.

Maurice Rocha Miranda, great-nephew of Otavio and Osvaldo, also denies that the children on the farm were kept as “slaves”.

He told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaperthat the orphans on the farm “had to be controlled, but were never punished or enslaved”.

But Filho believes the survivors’ stories. And despite it being a long time ago, both Silva and Santos - who have never met since - tell very similar, harrowing tales.

The orphans’ only respite came in football matches against teams of local farm workers such as the one pictured in the photograph with the swastika flag. Football was key to the ideology of the integralistas. Military parades took place at the Vasco da Gama football ground and the game was regularly used for propaganda purposes under Brazil’s dictator, Getulio Vargas.

"We’d have a kick around and it evolved," he says. "We had a championship - we were good at football. There was no problem."

But after several years, Santos had had enough.

"There was a gate and I left it ajar," he says. "Later that night, I was out of there. No-one saw."

Santos returned to Rio where, aged 14, he slept rough and worked as a newspaper seller. Then in 1942, after Brazil declared war on Germany, he joined the navy as a taifeiro, waiting on tables and washing up.

He had gone from working for Nazis, to fighting them.

"I was just fulfilling what Brazil needed to do," says Santos. "I couldn’t have hate for Hitler - I didn’t know the guy! I didn’t know who he was."

Santos went on patrol in Europe and then spent much of World War Two working on ships hunting submarines off the Brazilian coast.

Today Santos is known locally by his nickname Marujo - “sailor” - and proudly shows off a certificate and medal that recognises his war service. But he is also famous for another reason - as one of Brazil’s top footballers of the 1940s, becoming a midfielder for some of the biggest teams in Brazil.

"At that time professional players didn’t exist, it was all amateur," says Santos. "I played for Fluminense, Botafogo, Vasco da Gama. The players were all newspaper sellers and shoeshine boys."

Nowadays Santos lives a quiet life in south-western Brazil with Guilhermina, his wife of 61 years.

"I like to play my trumpet, I like to sit on the veranda, I like to have a cold beer. I have a lot of friends and they pass by and chat," he says.

Memories of the farm, though, are impossible to escape.

"Anyone who says they have had a good life since they were born is lying," he says. "Everyone has something bad that has happened in their life."

While the editor of ELLE France has been making headlines this week for all the wrong reasons, or rather just one (hint: it’s racism!), it’s both interesting and refreshing to see France’s Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, on the cover of their November issue as the “Woman of the Year”.

Under that heading, Taubira, who’s been serving as a minister and as part of President Hollande’s cabinet since 2012, is quoted as saying, “I do not fear racism, sexism, or ignorance”. Rightly so as, like her Italian colleague Cecile Kyenge, Taubira has been the victim of on-going public racial taunts and attacks by mostly far right-wing French party Front National (FN). It seems European racism lacks much creativity as the FN went down that road of comparing Taubira to an ape (which similarly happened to Kyenge as well, and has happened to so many of us black people throughout history). Furthermore, due to Taubira’s support of gay marriage in France, she once again received racially-charged insults from gay marriage opponents.

But that doesn’t take the sting out of the insults, nor does it make it easier to deal with and confront. In fact, the Guyanese born politician has admitted to being hurt by these insults, in an interview with French paper Le Parisien.

Concerning the juxtaposition of the actions of ELLE France’s editor Jeanne Deroo and this here cover feature, guess it all really comes down to ‘good publicity’ and the seriously odd way in which people defend their bigotry by doing things which they believe to be evidence of anti- or non-racism..

Oh, France the ‘liberal’, you rarely disappoint.

A South African court began sentencing on Monday 20 right-wing extremists convicted of high treason for a plot to kill Nelson Mandela and drive blacks out of the country.

The “Boeremag” organisation had planned a right-wing coup in 2002 to overthrow the post-apartheid government.

The trial lasted almost a decade until the organisation’s members were convicted in August last year, the first guilty verdicts for treason since the end of apartheid in 1994.

"The accused had aimed to overthrow the government through unconstitutional methods that included violence," said High Court judge Eben Jordaan as he began the two-day sentencing hearing.

"They planned a violent attack against people of colour that would certainly be followed by retaliation attacks against whites as a result," Jordaan said at the hearing taking place in the same Pretoria courtroom where Mandela was convicted of treason in 1964.

One woman died and dozens of people were injured in blasts that shook the Johannesburg township of Soweto in October 2002.

All 20 accused were convicted of treason, but only five of murder and the plot to kill Nobel peace laureate Mandela, South Africa’s first black president.

The state is seeking life sentences for the group’s leaders and bomb specialists, and 10 to 15 years in prison for the other defendants.

South Africa does not have the death sentence.

"We are hoping for a good conviction," said Paul Ramoloka, spokesman for specialist police unit the Hawks, who investigated the plot.

Security was tight around the courtroom, with police carrying out body searches of the public.

The Boeremag, Afrikaans for “Boer Force”, a reference to the descendants of the first Dutch colonisers, had planned to sow chaos through bomb blasts then take over military bases, replace the government with white military rule and chase all blacks and Indians from the country.

Far-right organisation the Boer Republicans bussed in its members to support the defendants during sentencing.

"I support them 100 percent because their plan was right," the group’s leader Piet Rudolph told AFP.

"Our people are being oppressed, we are servants, and people should revolt against that."

The sentences are expected to be handed down on Tuesday.


Dire economic conditions, increased security measures, inflated trafficking fees, and the fear of xenophobic violence are putting off potential migrants and asylum seekers to Greece.

Postage stamps commemorating the controversial independence of the Transkei region of South Africa in 1976.

The Transkei was made nominally independent in 1976 in order to serve as a legal homeland for millions of Xhosa-speaking black people who had lost their South African citizenship under the apartheid system of racial separation. However, upon the creation of a (nominally) independent Transkei in 1976, all black South Africans with language ties to Transkei (whether or not they lived there) lost their South African citizenship and became citizens of the new country. As a result, 1.6 million Xhosas living in the Transkei and a further 1.3 million non-Ciskei Xhosas living in South Africa lost their South African citizenship - something they had no say in as under the apartheid system, both racial and ethnic classification was ultimately decided upon by the apartheid government. Dual citizenship at birth was not permitted, and renunciation of one’s citizenship was legally possible, but rendered the individual stateless in most cases.

The Organization of African Unity urged the world to shun Transkei on the grounds that recognition would constitute acceptance of apartheid, and the United Nations supported its view.

On October 26th, 1976, the Transkei - a Xhosa region (known then as a Bantustan) that lay between Natal and the Kei River in the Eastern Cape - gained complete independence as an autonomous republic under the policy of separate development. South African prime minister B. J. Vorster justified the declaration of Transkei as an independent republic by referring to “the right of every people to have full control over its own affairs” and wished “Transkei and its leaders God’s richest blessings on the road ahead.” A press release by the African National Congress at the time rejected the Transkei’s independence and condemned it as “designed to consolidate the inhuman policies of apartheid”.

Furthermore, the Transkei could never be an economically self-sufficient nation as it would be financially dependent on the white South African government , and the majority of its citizens would have to migrate into South Africa to find work.

At its opening session the Transkei National Assembly elected Paramount Chief Botha J. Sigcau as the Transkei’s first President and Kaizer Matanzima as Prime Minister. The new republic did not incorporate the apartheid ideology into its constitution, but became a multiracial state in which all citizens had the franchise.

The Republic of Transkei was not recognised beyond South African borders. The General Assembly of the United Nations rejected the declaration of independence as invalid, and called upon all governments to deny any form of recognition of the Transkei and other Bantustans as a direct result of the ANC’s condemnation of the state as a means to reaffirm apartheid policies of separate development.

In 1994, following the dismantling of the apartheid regime, the Transkei was incorporated into the Eastern Cape province.

(sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)