Brutalising black bodies continues to be rife

A few days ago, South Africans watched in shock as a video was played again and again on television of VIP police brandishing guns as they viciously assaulted young black males on the N1 for no reason other than that they are black.

You can bet your last cent that if those young men were not Africans, nothing of the sort would have happened. And don’t hold your breath, it will never happen to a non-black in South Africa. This is because, world-wide, only black bodies are regarded as fair game for brutalisation.

In January, Tyro Nichols, a young black man was stopped by five black policemen in Memphis, US, and brutally beaten to death for no reason other than he was black. He had done nothing wrong to deserve murder.

On May 25, 2020, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, put his knee on George Floyd’s neck until he died. Floyd was murdered in this excruciatingly painful manner for no reason except that he was black.

Such incidents of black body abuse are too numerous and common in the US to mention in this short piece.

Just this month, France went into a destructive turmoil after a policeman shot to death a black teenager at a traffic stop. Again, he was murdered by a policeman because he was black.

You see, during the many centuries of slavery, colonisation and neo-colonialism, black bodies came to be despised, exploited as beasts of burden and stripped of any dignity. Although this was perpetrated by the white slave masters and colonialists, through repeated assertions, black people have themselves subliminally, come to accept this. They internalised the negative messages against themselves and their humanity to such an extent that they treated one another in the manner of their slave masters and colonisers.

Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s bodyguards brutalised those young men because they themselves are psychologically damaged to the extent that they could gleefully assault those young men for no reason.

It is the same damaged psyche that led black police in a democratic South Africa, headed by a black government, to use machine guns to mow down black miners at Marikana on August 16, 2012.

It is simply unimaginable that any other race group would do that to people of their own race. It is only the psychologically damaged African component of our population that would perpetrate that against members of its own race.

Those black policemen in Memphis, Marikana and those protecting Mashatile, are also victims of psychological conditioning that taught them to hate their kind and regard black bodies as fair game for brutalisation.

As a result of living under racist oppression for centuries that repeatedly told them they are inferior and good for nothing, many black people have internalised this lie.

Black Consciousness is a philosophy meant to help black people negate this propaganda, restore their dignity, soul, and self-worth.

This inferiority complex runs deep and manifests itself not only at the Marikana massacre and the N1 atrocity, but in the way in which black people treat one another. We won’t teach our children; we mistreat one another in health facilities; we won’t render proper municipal services in townships and villages.

Africans in the US spill into the streets whenever their own are murdered by racist police chanting: “Back Lives Matter”. In South Africa, where the government is black and the police are black, against whom are we directing the slogan?

In South Africa, what we need is a huge dose of black consciousness to wash out the inferiority complexes that inhabit the psyche of black people.


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