Black and white – never grey, this business of settlers and refugees

By Mzwandile kaBizokwakhe 

A person who flees for shelter, safety, protection from danger or trouble especially to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war 

There, I finally did it. After eight years of dithering and procrastination on my part, I finally looked up the word. 

Oftentimes when you work with letters, you become complacent – maybe with good reason, you think “I got this”. But as it turns out in this profession, if I may be granted the liberty, you are sometimes embarrassed. 

Many years ago, this football-mad man wrote “foul” instead of “fowl” to refer to a bird. 

That taught me, as if I ever should have been in doubt, that I am not that clever. 

Back to the topic: throughout the debate around that infamous 2012 wordit never occurred to me to look up the word that was causing such uproar. 

Then on May 19 a sense of duty came over me. I wanted to prepare my mind for my cross on the ballot paper. So I needed to read the meaning of the word.  

Among the “clever blacks” classes of a self-hating variety, you hear people say “I am not an affirmative action appointee”. 

The most competent person to write for an English medium newspaper like this one would most probably not be a person like myself – African.  

So, absolutely, I am an affirmative action appointee who works hard to raise his competence to the desired standard to stay in the job. 

When I was a student, there were two lecturers whose class it was wiser to bunk to save oneself a wasted hour. One was a Bulgarian immigrant, a Prof Albulescu, and another was a native. I don’t identify him because he’s still at the college. 

Initially, I thought I couldn’t hear them because there was something wrong with me. I assumed it was because I wasn’t sufficiently exposed to English prior to college hence my predicament. Then I learnt that nobody could understand them when some students complained to student affairs. 

Now I know both were affirmative action appointees because regardless of their papers, there must have been someone else that could have been employed and their students would hear them. After all, their function was not to display their credentials but to pass on knowledge to the students. 

I digress, but the point is to show the folly of the claim many clever blacks make that their degree proves they are not an affirmative action appointee. 

Those two gentlemen were heavily credentialed but their qualifications didn’t make the students hear them or you could hang your certificate yet still be incapable of writing a report, a crucial part of your job that somebody else has to do for you. 

Many of the black Africans in the middle strata of employment would be labourers were it not for affirmative action. Yet some find cause in ridiculing it. 

When you don’t acknowledge who you are, soon someone will remind you and call you a refugee. Ahh, the word at last. 

After the elections, many black South Africans of the aforementioned strata flocked to social media to rebuke the stupid fools who voted ANC. 

If you proudly voted for a party calling for the abolition of affirmative action, why are you holding on to the benefits?  

Any-way, apartheid apologists are hypocrites, aren’t they? They demand you be judged by merit, the benefit they gained from apartheid – knowing apartheid only gave you, the African, dispossession. 

And to show they know how benefit works, they also say “children of BEE ‘beneficiaries’ should be excluded from future deals because this amounts to a double benefit ad lib”. In  
other words if you are black, you inherit the BEE benefit of your progenitor but if you are white, you can’t inherit the apartheid benefit of yours. 

Really, what is wrong with blackness that we feel to prove we are “enlightened”, we must denounce blackness? If someone calls you a refugee for coming to “their” province, what do you think they call you for voting for their party? 

Are all those who voted ANC still imbeciles? 

Another word that I looked up as I considered my vote was settler: “noun – a person who settles in a new country or area”. 

“While E Cape education has collapsed, the W Cape has built 30 schools in 2 years to accommodate EC education refugees. Vuka! (Wake up!)” 

It would have been better for meaning to call these children settlers instead of refugees, right? But there’s no way the author would use settler to describe anyone. 

What is it they say about your other fingers when you point at someone? 


  • Mzwandile kaBizokwakhe is a columnist at large with obviously too much time on his hands to think silly things.

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