'It's important that it is us black people who critique one another honestly'

Former Business Day editor and author of Raising the Bar: Hope and Renewal in South Africa, Songezo Zibi, has written an essay about what he says is a needed moment of reflection for black people when addressing issues of corruption and unethical leadership, for example.

In his News24 piece titled 'Recover' blackness' butchered during Zuma years', Zibi writes:

When did we, as black people, lose the ability to identify clear principles and stand by them especially when our own violate those principles? Is it the collective trauma of white racism that drives us to a mentality where irrational closing of ranks is a natural instinct even though we end up protecting and helping those who seek to destroy?

Typically, some will ask what about private sector harassment of black professionals? What about white corruption? Well, it is precisely that sort of thing that has got us where we are, the what-about-ism. It is a well-tried argument that is no different to crying "all lives matter" when told "black lives matter". It is a cowardly, self-serving cop-out designed to engineer a moral deadlock where no wrong is to be corrected because there is another competing wrong that deserves to be dealt with first.

Zibi joined Eusebius McKaiser in studio on Tuesday to discuss this in more detail.

Let us question whether there isn't an ethical foundation to being black [using the term colloquially] rather than being a matter of skin colour. Do you stand for the right things for the interests of black people in South Africa's context of colonialism, apartheid and continuing racist experiences of black people in different spaces?

Songezo Zibi, Former Business Day editor and author

I think it is particularity important that it is us black people who critique one another honestly so that we may have the kind of society that we want to build.

Songezo Zibi, Former Business Day editor and author

My biggest frustration over the years is that even though the discourse says we are trying to deal with white supremacy and racism, in many ways we centre our foundation for thought around these things on white people, whiteness and what they do.

Songezo Zibi, Former Business Day editor and author

I want to think about black people for a change and what black people should do for themselves and this country.

Songezo Zibi, Former Business Day editor and author

Click on the link below to hear the full discussion...


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