Black Lives vs White Comfort

Nkosivumile Gola

The recent events in the world, both in terms of the recent wave of the Black Lives Matter movement that has swept the world due to the continued murdering of black men by police, and the ongoing femicide, have shaken how we should think about the world. The Warehouse Trust’s commitment to being informed by spaces of pain is leading those of us working and sharing in this pain into a space where we cannot see the world as normal- or the ‘normal’ of the world has become too unbearable an experience. 

The world of black people was proven to be a different world than the world of white people in South Africa during two recent protests. One happened in Cape Town in front of parliament, where a group of black activists demonstrated in solidarity with the world-wide Black Lives Matter movement, and also against the continued killing of black people by police in South Africa. A contrast and a critique of this march, or a protest that protested this protest of black people, was a protest led by a group of white women who were calling for the opening of  sales of tobacco. 

Now this is a tale of what we are living with in South Africa. The world of black people is not the world of white people. The white church is not the black church. Therefore, no church is just a church, no human being is just a human being, no child is just a child. There is a distinction between a white church and a black church, there is a distinction between a black person and a white person, there is a distinction between a black child and a white child. 

The white church is the church of the employer and the black church is the church of the employee. The white person is an employer and the black person is the employee. The black person is exploited generally in South Africa, meaning that the white church is the church of the exploiter and the black church is the church of the exploited. 

Of these two protests, one should have been illegal. They can’t be both legal. Either it should have been illegal for black people to call for an end of brutal killings and butchering of black people, or the march for the opening of sales of tobacco to satisfy the cravings of white people should have been illegal. The cravings of these white people should be seen in the same light as the knee in our neck. “We can’t breathe, we can’t breathe,” in the words of George Floyd.

The white suburbia, though built by black people for white people (black people build houses and they don’t live in them), is in actual fact a creation by white people for black people. The white suburbia becomes a protest against the black Townships, and this protest constantly results in the evictions of black Townships and black settlements for white comfort. Since 1652 black people have never rested from evictions, and today those evictions are sanctioned by the ANC and DA using white security firms like the Red Ants, Metro Police and so on. 

The continued murdering of black people is proof that black people are not just evicted from the land but from life itself, while white systems and whiteness in general continues to evict black people from all forms of life. 

The protest of the white women is exactly what is wrong with our world. Whilst black children are dying in the Townships, black men and women in their thousands are in the white suburbs, taking care of white children, to ease the load of white people. And for this, they are being paid an amount of money not even equal to the pocket money that white people give to their children. White comfort is a protest against black lives, and this current system has got white ears that can only  hear white tears.

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