by Pamela Maringa

It is very disappointing that its more than two decades since South Africa got its freedom, yet racism is still an ongoing problem in our society.

Have you ever wondered why only black people are said to be victimised by white people when it comes to racism. Why do we only have reports of white on black racism? What about black on white racism? Does it mean that black people are the ones who suffer mostly from racism, rather than white people? It would be very ignorant of me to assume this to be true. I would like to share an incident that I witnessed.

One day I was returning home from a broadcasting course I was doing with the Jesuit Institute. I didn’t have enough money for the taxi, so I decided to use the train from Park Station to Daveyton. As you know you have to wait for a while before the train arrives. So I waited, minding my own business. There was a white woman who was sitting on the floor reading her Bible. As she read, she kept doing sign language with her hands. She wasn’t bothering anyone. Later a man on his late 20s came and started talking, at first I didn’t pay attention, but then I realised he was talking to the woman.

He was saying really provoking things to her, telling her how much he hated white people and how they had made his grandparents suffer during the times of apartheid. He cursed her. He even went as far as harassing her. Some of the people who were standing nearby were laughing, while some were shocked. There were two women who were standing next to me. They got so upset and they told the man how white people had helped their black families to put bread on the table. The white woman, her peace disturbed, started to defend herself. She was angry that this man was attacking her for no reason. The argument escalated and the security guards ordered the man to leave. The man left and when the train arrived I sat next to the white lady. She was still in shock. She told me that she was going to preach to deaf people in the township and she had been preparing her sermon as she waited.

I later asked myself why didn’t anyone take a video or talk about the incident. In situations where a white man is being racist, it would have spread so fast. The video of a man who insulted a black women went viral on social media. No one did anything about this man. It was clear that he was protected. In the black community we are very good a calling out, “racist”. What we don’t realise, is that we are racist ourselves.

It saddens me that the young generation that is supposed to bring hope, is fuelling racism. It really doesn’t make sense to me that we continue to fight our father’s fights by hating each other. I’m not saying we should forget about our past, but it will be good for our country to move on and get rid of all bitterness and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort, and no more promoting of bad behaviour. Instead, as people of faith, we should be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive each other

Racism is a disease that continues to affect our country. Only you, as an individual, can decide on how far it spreads.