By Menzi Maseko

The branches are bare, the sky tonight a milky violet. It is not quiet here, but it is peaceful. The wind ruffles the black water towards me. There is no one about. The birds are still. The traffic slashes through Hyde Park. It comes to my ears as white noise.” – An Equal Music by Vikram Seth

Black Death under post-colonial conditions has increased at an alarming rate. We are dying in so many ways and at a pace so unprecedented, it begs the question of whether it has always been this way. Is it a case of the weak ones perish to confirm the strong ones might? The question of whether Africans can ever emerge from the resource curse, the pitfalls of nationalism and finally recover from the carving up of the Continent at the Berlin Conference of the late 19th century, remains unanswered.

Why has such a large number of Afrikan people remained indifferent or apathetic to the increased violence against our minds, bodies and cultures?  The recent murders of innocent Afrikans in the United States leave no doubt that these hate-crimes are merely symptoms of a large and more organised extermination agenda.

Perhaps there are theses, theoretical frameworks and some worthwhile yet generally unnoticeable solutions to the crises we face daily as a consequence of being black. But alas, the general Black Afrikan is ill-disposed to finding out how we can escape this social death. Too many of us are too busy trying to make a living or barely existing through the hum-drum occupations we call work. Too busy and too distracted to be reading Biko, Fanon, Cabral or to find out who Thomas Sankara was and why Malcolm X; Lumumba or Chris Hani died.

While there should be no surprise  that in a world overly-determined by white monopoly capital, the black body still continues to be used as a mere appendage for the maintenance of oppressive systems. How long should we expect to exist in the presence of a whiteness that negates our very humanity? How long should it take to shake off the mental chains and begin to take seriously the foundations for total freedom laid through much sacrifice by our fore mothers and fathers?

There is obviously much terror ensuing in the world. The rise of terror organisations such as MOSAD; the CIA; ISIS, Al Qaeda/Al Shabbab and Boko Haram is merely a symptom of a world where materialism has been elevated to an art form. In such a world, the haves will always work diligently to protect their privileged positions and possessions, while the have-nots will go through tremendous trouble to disrupt and destabilise the false-peace.

It has even been said that another man’s terrorist is another ones freedom fighter. But the degrees of wanton violence perpetrated by the terror groups these days clearly illustrate that even religious fundamentalism is no longer an acceptable explanation or an excuse.

The life of a social activist, someone who strives to realise a just society through whatever available means is one of risk. One risks being unemployable, being misunderstood and rejection by some friends and family members due to the risks one chooses to take. Doing what one can to affect positive transformation in ones community and society as a whole is often a thankless task, involving making unpopular decisions.

At this present moment, I stand with Malcolm X in defence of revolutionary violence. As citizens of states that are perpetually terrorised by threats of violence, poverty and alienation, as Afrikan people, we must begin to ask ourselves just how long will we be kicked and killed without retaliation? But most importantly we should be asking ourselves how long will Afrika be raped and robbed in broad-day light while we stand aside and look, write and allow the robbers to get away.

I would like to close with a postscript of an interview with Nina Simone’s daughter:


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: “Alabama’s gotten me so upset, Tennessee has made me lose my rest, and everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam.” Those were the words the legendary singer Nina Simone wrote five decades ago in the wake of the assassination of Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four black children. “Mississippi Goddam” would become an anthem of the civil rights movement.

NINA SIMONE: [singing] Hound dogs on my trail

Schoolchildren sitting in jail

Black cat cross my path

I think every day’s gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this land of mine

We all gonna get it in due time

I don’t belong here

I don’t belong there

I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

Don’t tell me

I’ll tell you

Me and my people just about due

I’ve been there so I know

They keep on saying “Go slow!”

AMY GOODMAN: Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam.” Well, 50 years later, Nina Simone’s message remains as relevant as ever, as the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country and the nation mourns the deaths of the nine worshipers killed last week at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

If we can’t breathe and if Black Lives truly matter, then we should remove the white masks that divide and constrict us, it is now time to lose the fear and inferiority complex and defend our Lives with the kind of violence required to archive a lasting peace.