The ghost of GodZille has struck again, with the DAs Helen Zille angering many by tweeting that, if FW De Klerk hadn't dismantled apartheid, “the ANC would still be bogged down in the mess of its so-called liberation camps and infighting. They had no viable armed struggle to speak of” and then putting the nail in the coffin by further adding that, “There are more racist laws today than there were under apartheid".
You don’t have to be one of those overrated political analysts that we frequently see on our TV screens, to realise that these two statements are very provocative (deliberately so, one might add) and potentially offensive to many. The least said about the veracity of these statements, the better and others who are much better than me at dissecting and debunking these things have already attempted to do so, hence my focus is on a different aspect arising out these tweets and the responses they have evoked.
Apart from the expected, “uyas’jwaela uZille” response on social media platforms, many have been very vocal about the fact that they believe that people like Zille should be silenced for having such backward views, that in a democracy such as ours, such stone age views shouldn’t be entertained or even allowed room on public platforms.
I found that to be quite interesting, inasmuch as I found the attempt to silence David Bullard a few weeks ago, rather peculiar. Do we shut the likes of Zille and Bullard up for saying things that we may find offensive or disagreeable or do we affirm and defend their right to say those things, whilst at the same time challenging and seeking to expose them on those things on the same public platforms? As an aside, I have always loved Bullard’s wit and humour, whilst profoundly disagreeing with his views.
Do we really want to regulate and harass people out of the public space, for holding views that are disagreeable to us, just so that they can retreat into their “laager” and only state those views, which we may believe are prejudiced, at the dinner table or around the braai stand? What is better from a nation-building perspective, to know where you stand with a certain group of people, or to have them pretend publicly because you have pressurised them into political correctness with its innate dishonesty, whilst secretly holding different views?
This is the challenge we are faced with, if we are to succumb to the whims of the “woke” crowd and their impositions on what is correct to say or do within the public space. We know, from platforms such as this one, that there are many white South Africans who think like Zille, who still look down on black people and blackness and assume the worst as a result.