Eric Miyeni and the White Oppressors

Eric Miyeni’s vitriolic diatribe in Monday’s Sowetan says more about the sorry state of South African journalism than it does about a bigoted racist. After all, bigoted racists are a dime a dozen. Should he have lost his job? Damn right, but not for the reasons he did. His massacre of the English language should have been grounds for dismissal alone.

I am a white, English speaking writer. I do not pretend, nor am I so arrogant as to assume I can write in isiZulu, eKasitaal or Afrikaans for that matter. I stick to the language in which I am best able to communicate. I don’t commit genocide with your language, don’t do it with mine.

As for his Editor, the man should be shot (not literally – I am not advocating violence against journalists here). Slothful, lazy and ambivalent are the terms I would to describe the type of editorial mismanagement that allowed the column to printed in the first place. Unless, and here’s a thought for all you paranoid conspiracy theorists out there – it was intended to be printed with full knowledge of the outcome to flag failing distribution levels, boost PR and change senior management? Maybe Eric pushed it through because the ANC Youth League had already offered him a job (God knows poor Floyd can do with the help) and he needed a way out. Either way surely a sub-editor somewhere should have checked the grammar?

As for Eric’s little outburst? He writes an opinion column. It doesn’t have to based on fact, it’s allowed to be an emotional outpouring of racist hatred. The fact is if I support his being fired I wouldn’t be allowed to call him a hypocritical, racist bigot and I have every right to call him such – it’s my opinion. One day he may look back on his article and recognise that he echoes the sentiments of his “colonialist, white oppressors”.

Racism is racism and bigots are bigots no matter what colour their skin. So, you have tough time being black? Try being female or being a black female? Being a working mother? Or being homosexual? Or being a white male overlooked for promotion in favour of a less skilled person of a darker hue? Somebody once said to me that everyman’s burden is the heaviest. My advice – your hang-ups, chips on your shoulder, guilt, hatred, whatever, are your issues, not mine; I have enough of my own, thank you very much.

After being subjected to Julius Malema’s long-winded interview this morning on 702, I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It seems Nelson Mandela’s dream for this country is destined to die when he does.

For heaven’s sake JuJu, if nationalisation didn’t work for Mugabe, do you honestly think it will for you? Are you ready to plunge this country into famine, a spiralling cycle of poverty and destitution? You may get your wish and every skilled, white mampara who can, may leave for Nigeria or Tanzania (where they quite like us, by the way), and then you can pick up the pieces. Chances are all the skilled, educated black people will leave too and you’ll be left with a bunch of illiterates who failed woodwork just like you.

See, if Eric is silenced we’re back to Apartheid when you couldn’t say stuff like that. I know many of the journalists (white) who during those years didn’t pack up and leave for the BBC, but decided to fight for freedom of the press, freedom of association and freedom of opinion instead. I know what it was like to have your calls tapped, your bags packed and wonder if you’d ever see your father again. To know it was in vain, that the press is more a political puppet than ever is saddening, but not unexpected. After all the Catholics adopted many Pagan practices throughout Europe in their quest for global domination, so why shouldn’t Eric and his friends at the ANC Youth League use the very practices they abhorred under the National Party? A rose by any other name, anyone?

As an afterthought, when does one stop being a youth? I thought it was 21, but apparently it is now in your mid-thirties, which is great for me actually, because I’m tired of being told that I’m hitting middle-age at 35.

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