The attitude, I observe today, of black people towards white people is neither forgiveness nor reconciliation but that of a people suffering from post-traumatic slavery syndrome. The people with the syndrome definitely will never acknowledge its presence, rather they would call it forgiveness. When a black man is mistreated by a black man, he retaliates and fight back. But when the same black man is mistreated by a white man he does nothing. The reason for this kind of behaviour in South Africa is because black people have suffered a lot during slavery and still fear white people. The way black South Africans tolerate racism from white people is in itself a sign of Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome.
The other thing that black people always misunderstand is Ubuntu. Ubuntu is about kindness amongst human beings. Ubuntu however doesn’t mean being tolerant to unjustifiable acts of racism as we see among majority of black people. Ubuntu wasn’t inverted with the arrival of a white man in Africa. Ubuntu doesn’t mean that blacks have to apologise for who they are. Ubuntu has always been a defining feature of the African culture and tradition. It is indictment that black people exudes kindness and respect towards white people but can’t do the same towards fellow black people. This can only explain the deep fear black people have of white people and this fear of the white man is unconsciously being passed from one generation of black people to the next.
In “Tshivenda” they say mukhuwa ndi mushonga which loosely translated, means white people can fix everything. There are similar terms in various indigenous languages. This self-doubting attitude will never contribute towards self-reliance amongst black people. It cast doubts on the ability of a black man to initiate and accomplish anything on his own and places the white man as the centre of gravity for all human endeavour. Black people must rid themselves of the demon of mental slavery.
By Nthabeliseni Munyai