Burden of Africanness

Siboniso Mawandla | The Republic Mail

What I can tell you though is that I no longer drink Heineken. It was my drink of choice before and during my travels because you can get it anywhere in the world and so it was a safe bet. Not anymore. It is small but if they have a problem with me then they sure as hell have a problem with my money, writes Thandolwethu Mene. 

There are four things that I live by and three that I hold dear to heart: freedom, respect and people’s rights. I believe that anybody should have the freedom to be who they are. I believe everyone on planet earth has to be afforded human dignity. I am passionate about people’s rights, be it a form of expression or basic human rights.

Throughout human history, black people having been and continue to be short changed when it comes to some or all of the above. There are instances where people dismiss you without even giving you the benefit of the doubt only because of the colour of your skin. We still live in a world that persists that we are less human beings than other races the world over.

I have been in countless situations where a person would dismiss me ere I even open my mouth because they think they know how my mind works. Somehow some people of other races think that all black people all over the world think alike. Some less so than others. It is an unfortunate fact for me to even mention but throughout all my travels overseas I have intentionally tried to stay away from all white South Africans.

Some have proved me wrong through our interactions and I have to make mention of that but the majority has always strike the same notes, ‘I know how your kind thinks.’

That is meant to belittle me, to make me feel less of a man. I am developing armor against that but it is still in its infancy.

It breaks my heart that we as black people need to prove to the world that we are people too and that we should not be construed as second class citizens. The whole world views black people as subhuman. I can tell you this, if you think it, a black person will know it no matter how much you mask it. It always shows and we always feel it. It’s just that we are too polite to point it out all the time. Or maybe we just got tired.

What kind of a world do we live in where a black woman would be thrown down a flight of stairs by a white man? How can that happen in this day and era? I have my gripe with Amsterdam too but that is an argument for another day. What I can tell you though is that I no longer drink Heineken. It was my drink of choice before and during my travels because you can get it anywhere in the world and so it was a safe bet.

Not anymore. It is small but if they have a problem with me then they sure as hell have a problem with my money.

  • Thandolwethu Mene is an Afrocentric writer/director at African Native Media House www.afrikanativemh.com. He bought his Media Studies degree at the University of Cape Town but unfortunately had to spend four years attending lecturers, writing essays and exams due to White Monopoly Capital. Guess that’s what you get for being not connected politically. He dabbles with teaching at Kgomotso High School in Pretoria for two years 2011 to 2012. He liked it so much that he went to Japan to do the same thing in 2013 to 2017. That is when he started travelling Eastern Asian countries and appropriating their culture.