I recently walked past this message on a wall at my school and I was instantly enraged! I mean I was fuming and immediately sent it to my best friend and vented. In South Africa the word ‘Kaffir’ is equivalent to the word ‘nigga’. Its 2015 and not only are people still debating superficial characteristics of black women such as hair but people are still using such derogatory terms. I was hurt, embarrassed and felt sad for every black woman who had to walk past that wall and act unphased. Well we are phased and we are pissed as hell!
There is so much more to black women than their physical characteristics. The ‘artist’ did not consider that black lead most single households in South Africa or that black women are entering the workforce at exceeding impressive rates. The message on the wall is rude, distasteful and disrespectful. People tend to say a lot of things in order to get noticed as an artist and gain recognition. This message to me is cheap and ignorant and is a cry for 15 minutes of fame. You can play the whole freedom of speech card as much as you like but freedom comes with responsibility and this message is irresponsible and reckless.
To the ‘artist’ say FUCK YOU. I don’t mean to get emotional but seeing the look on every black girl’s face who had to walk past that wall and feel less of themselves just makes me so angry! As if being a black women who constantly faces scrutiny over her sexuality, life choices and hair isn’t enough, now we have to deal with your ignorance in our place of schooling.
I’m also very disappointed in the Wits University and the SRC. Wits thrives itself on being a transformative university but somehow allowed for this message to be still up by 13:35PM on Thursday afternoon when it could have been taken down immediately before lunch time and not have hundreds of students watch black women being ridiculed. The SRC is also seems to have done nothing. They campaign and beg for our votes promising to be inclusive of all and fighting for the interests of all students yet here we are viewing with this wall three floors down from their head office and still no action on their side. The saddest part is that the SRC is led by a woman. I will never again defend Adam Habib and his administration nor I will ever vote in SRC elections. Judge me all you want but both have let me down immensely.
I am comforted by the fact that many other women were just as angry as I was. This is not just an attack on black women but on women as a whole. We’ve had enough of people trying to dictate what femininity should look like or how it should be. If I feel like having braids on Monday, an afro on Wednesday and a weave on Saturday, it’s up to me and in no way does it lessen or reinforce my blackness. If my friend Meghan wants to grow dreads or have cornrows, let her! Why can’t I have a weave and still be black but my white friend can have cornrows and then be told she is trying to be black? Blackness does not belong to black people but all people who embrace the culture, its complexity and diversity.
-Angry bitter black woman (cause that’s what many of you are going to call me)