By Tafi Mhaka

Dear Vanessa,

Sorry to rain on your parade. I won’t take much of your time. I’m sure you have more important things to muse over than some silly drivel from a black man.

So do excuse me, dear Vanessa. I read your infamous Facebook post and decided you might want to hear my unschooled and unruly thoughts about your behaviour.

I have never been to Hout Bay, so I have not seen the paradise you are jealously guarding there. For all its worth, it must be heaven on earth I gather.

Now before I go on, I must stress: I’m sure you are a real darling in real life and will probably choose to apologise for offending your fellow human beings and release a great press statement prepared by your attorney.

Perhaps this is not the first time you have aired such a discriminatory sentiment on social media or elsewhere. This time, it seems, some of your friends on Facebook stood up for Africans in South Africa. And that surprised you as you have the so-called “freedom of speech” to call other beings “stupid” and “animals?”

Now I’m going to ask a few questions that might just sound plain silly – or unwise. That shouldn’t surprise you, seeing that you think my type is reckless anyway.

Firstly, I have to ask, where is Hout Bay? I don’t travel much for it is rather dear to travel. I just don’t know where Hout Bay is. So excuse me, dear Vanessa, while I find a map of South Africa and locate Hout Bay for a minute.

Secondly, what is Hout Bay famous for? And do you have a problem with the Africans who work in Hout Bay? Or do you have a problem with the Africans opting to settle in Hout Bay?

But who is African, dear Vanessa?

Are you not an African; living in South Africa? Where were you born, by the way? Here in South Africa – or across the Mediterranean Sea somewhere?

The notion of Africans being the other being, should not engulf your thoughts at all. Are you not just as African as the person sitting or standing next to you – or, are you not as African as the black, white or coloured neighbour across the road or across the aisle in the supermarket or valley in Hout Bay? So you have disassociated yourself from all things African in Hout Bay, have you?

You have trashed the idea that white South Africans are Africans and appropriated an external identity for yourself. You have chosen to separate your ideals from a sense of Africanism when many white South Africans are asserting their natural right to be white, South African and African.

But flip the tables for a second Vanessa: Would you be happy to be see a black person denigrating white people on social media? I certainly would condemn such behaviour and hate speech. You might believe you did nothing wrong – you may have had a bad day yesterday; whatever it might have been; whatever you may have believed in prior to yesterday matters very little in 2016.

I would suggest you get used to being an African and work on adopting an all-inclusive manner of thinking and approach that encompasses respect for others; other Africans.

Best Regards,

Tafi Mhaka

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