Who is Your Biographer?

Recently I have been reading beautifully written obituaries for Limpopo Province born sculptor Jackson Hlungwani who passed away early in February. The touching obituaries were mostly written by white male journalists. This happens at the time that black people are begrudging the portrayal of African people in Western and white media as backward, heathen and requiring a white Jesus to present them with their own copper snake.

Blacks might not be the most uncivilized bunch but post-’94 they lag behind in realizing what is really important in their lives. They have been on a honeymoon since April 27 and now that it’s nearing sixteen years they decide that they would rather stay there than come back to reality.

While the white chaps were busy researching and eulogizing Hlungwani the black male journalist was unashamedly busy chasing socialite Khanyi Mbau or taking the head-count on Jacob Zuma’s wives and kids or stressing about some celebrity with papgeld issues. The white female journalist was covering the J&B Met or Survivor SA to fulfil her own’s pastime. The sista [black journalist] was spewing her diatribe about how she hates South African men, especially kwaito star Zola if she was not asking celebrity Zizo Beda for the millionth time if she owns a pair of sneakers [she knows the answer is an unequivocal ‘no!’]. And then the darkies wonder why world opinion of them carries more weight than their own perception of who they are.

Black people in South Africa are a forgiving bunch who struggled for hundreds of years for their liberation but ended up settling for a sham deal. They are a ‘liberated’ bunch who believe that their state president is above the law and moral guidelines. They let white people write about them and then accuse Max du Preez of racism.

Hlungwani was black and them, and that in the South African newsrooms there was no black journalist with enough knowledge to conjure a story about him is disturbing. Certainly there were many black journalists who knew that millionaire Mandla Mthembu’s Lamborghini will be auctioned and that Khanyi and tender-boy Theunis Gouws will be in Cape Town shopping.

This point is raised because if Afrikaans rock boy Steve Hofmeyr or eccentric Nataniel died today there will not be a black writer who is capable of writing their obituaries because quite frankly darkies don’t know anything about Afrikaners and their cultural heritage.

Finally a question is raised; why has black journalism degenerated into gossip-mongering? Could it be that experienced writers like Sandile Memela have migrated to government to serve pot-bellied masters or the current crop are only obsessed with free parties and the largesse that accompanies their PR brown-nosing style of journalism?

I protests that black literature does not get space in print because there are not enough black writers who can read and finish a novel but few with the drive. Darkies must ask themselves why do they allow their story to be written by the vanquished? Do they expect defeated souls to tell the truth about them?

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