By Wanelisa Xaba
Wanelisa Xaba contends that at this dark moment in the struggle for blackness, where our refusal to be silenced is met with force, apartheid laws and live ammunition; the constant dehumanisation and trauma when white supremacy continues to hold us hostage against one another, leads to the loss of our humanity as we are brought to our knees and panic.
Post taken from a Facebook update and published with permission
Things are bad.
It seems to me that at this final hour, at this critical moment in the struggle, as Black students, we are fighting for our humanity here at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
This should not be confused by our fight to be alive.
The country currently known as South Africa has made it clear that our survival depends on our ability to repress our pain, keep quiet about injustice and not make any demands.
Our refusal to be silenced or intimidated by the state and its universities is met with force, apartheid laws and the promise of live ammunition (students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ)).
The fight to be alive is ongoing yet is different for the fight against humanity.
The fight to retain our humanity is a call that comes from Bremner and the brave workers who are victimised by the university, ostracised by the buffers of capitalism (unions) and demonised by capitalist businesses whose sole existence is to perpetuate Black misery for profits.
So what happens to Black bodies under white supremacy?
The constant dehumanisation and trauma against Black bodies when white supremacy holds us hostage against one another leads to the loss of our humanity.
We panic. We are brought to our knees.
We start to weigh which bodies can be used as collateral damage in order to minimise the impact of the violence against our bodies.
Will it be the women? Will it be the queers? Or will it be the harassed and unprotected workers?
This is not to say we are bad people. No!
It means we have been brought to our knees by white supremacy that rewards Black on Black violence. One of the questions which have been ringing in my ears today has been, what kind of environment makes a poor working class Black student say, “I know the dehumanisation that workers experience but I need things to get back to normal now” with the same mouth that has been fed by parents working under the same conditions at the workers at UCT?
What has happened to our humanity and our ability not only to come as one but to be one with each others pain?
Are students not justified in panicking?
Absolutely justified. Blackness is a Nervous Condition.
It is a state of ever reoccurring humiliation and death.
But the reality is that UCT is an over resourced administrative giant which can handle this current situation. The other reality is that, if students refuse to write exams until UCT stops dehumanising Black bodies, then they have all the time in the world to negotiate terms with the newly representatives from the alliance.
But this is not what is being asked of students. What is being asked from students is to put pressure on management to do right by the workers so that exams are not disrupted. Because, who must get left behind?
One of the most brutal elements of this post-Apartheid underground Apartheid society is (false) hope. The cruelty that Black poor kids face being in such close proximity with whiteness at UCT is the hope that things will be different for them. Do Black students believe once they have a degree they are going into an economy that will treat them different as the outsourced workers?
During Fees Must Fast Fall protests, was worker solidarity a lie and were workers used as objects in order to gain legitimacy and numbers? Do we undermine the workers struggle because of an internalised elitism or classist narcissistic belief that workers must be used as pawns in student politics?
Do we subconsciously believe that our enrolment into these colonised knowledge hubs make us better Blacks?
All oppression is connected.
Whose child must sleep hungry?