Donald Trump’s Tweet Can Stir Racial Violence in South Africa

“An irresponsible alliance with white Apartheid Nationalists, evidence of racist mindset, A diversion from his political and criminal woes, and plain dangerous attempt to stir race war!  My hope is that South Africa is not drawn into Donald Trump’s racist rants, and instead asserts its autonomy and sovereignty for peaceful and equitable reform, and that AfriForum does not get the bloody day it hopes for – the one that will justify its hateful dicta.”   Melanie Nathan.

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.15.28 AM.pngDonald Trump cannot seem to contain his fingers when he hears something that embraces his racist mindset. Yesterday Trump tweeted a bland lie, clearly fed by FOX and friends, through the white nationalist Corp. in South Africa otherwise known as AfriForum as led by CEO Kallie Kriel:

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In response the South African government lashed out at Trump, saying that Trump’s tweet was based on “false information” and reflected a “narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.” It was meeting with the U.S. Embassy as it sought to clarify Trump’s remarks.

I commented as follows:

“It is interesting to note that we have only ever seen two tweets from Trump concerning Africa. The first where he called African countries “Shitholes” and now this, where he is feeding into the lies of Fox and AfriForum. This serves as further evidence that Donald J. Trump is a racist.

This tweet by Trump is based on erroneous information and dangerous. In addressing Secretary Pompeo he seems to assert official policy. It alienates the South African government, a long-time ally, from America. It race-baits, serving to fuel racial violence within South Africa.

It is clear that this man has not done his basic homework. To suggest that his tweet is merely irresponsible is to deny his responsibility and global standing as President of the United States. He is charged with maintaining a policy of friendship and peace. He is out of control.

Trump’s own unstable status and lack of credibility among Americans in his home country may be a personal motive for this outburst and as such adds to its danger. He clearly seeks to divert attention from the current groundswell dealing with the likelihood of criminal behavior on his part, as revealed under oath by his own former attorney, Michael Cohen, who pled guilty to charges implicating Trump. Never before has the talk of impeachment been this loud! And so when it comes to foreign affairs this man needs to be reigned-in, before he causes more harm.

My hope is that South Africa is not drawn into Donald Trump’s racist rants, and instead asserts its autonomy and sovereignty for peaceful and equitable reform, and that AfriForum does not get the bloody day it hopes for – the one that will justify its hateful dicta.”     …  (Melanie Nathan of African Human Rights Coalition Executive Director of the African Human Rights Coalition.)

Vuyo Mahlati, president of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa, said of Trump:

“It is absolutely unbelievable that a head of state at that level can be so disrespectful to issues of dispossession that South Africa is painfully trying to address in a democratic way.”

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told South Africa’s public broadcaster SABC:

 “This is our South Africa, this is our land, this is where we live, only solutions of land reform that are South African will work in South Africa.”

South Africa is in the midst of a racially charged national debate over land reform, a lawful process that seeks to correct the legacy of decades of white minority rule under the Colonial and Apartheid systems which stripped black South Africans and Tribes of their land and made many white people rich.

Today, nearly a quarter-century after post-Apartheid’s first democratic elections, black South Africans comprise 80 percent of the population but own just 4 percent of the country’s land, according to the government.

The ruling African National Congress, which has been in power since 1994, has pledged to close that gap. However there has been no progress.

Indeed the new SA president, Cyril Ramaphosa, stirred controversy when he said that he would lead his party to amend the constitution so the state could expropriate land without compensation to speed up the land reform process. Debate over the issue has grown ahead of next year’s election.  Some believe there should be compensation. Some do not believe there should be any land expropriation at all. However South Africa should be left to work this out under its sovereign and constitutional authority and there should be no outside interference – least of all one that race stirs racial discord!

There is much crime in South Africa and farmers who happen to mostly be white due to owning the lands through Colonial and Apartheid policies, have been caught up in usual crimes, not race related, as noted by Gareth Newham, head of the crime and justice program at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria:

“People are not being targeted because of their race, but because they are vulnerable and isolated on the farms.”

“There is no white genocide in South Africa,” Julius Malema, leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, told reporters. “There is black genocide in the USA; black people are killed every day. There is a black genocide here in South Africa; just recently a farmer was convicted for the murder of a black farmer.”

Earlier this month AfriForum posted a list of farms it said were earmarked for expropriation, a list that the government said was fake.

Proponents of South Africa’s policy, including Ramaphosa, say it is necessary to address historic injustices and can be done in a way that is lawful and will not compromise the beleaguered economy or food security.

In parliament on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said land expropriation could make more land available for cultivation, and that the process would begin by seizing state-owned land, not privately held land.

“Trump has never experienced apartheid and doesn’t know its legacy of inequality in which the majority of South Africans own nothing,”  Zizi Kodwa, a member of the ruling party’s national executive committee, told The Associated Press.

“He is part of the right-wing lynch mob using the fear factor in order for us to maintain the status quo,” Kodwa said. “Donald Trump is a weapon of mass destruction.”

Again trump latched on to the trope of neo-Nazi, white supremacists and conspiracy theorists in South Africa who have twisted the high crime rate in South Africa to a story that spreads fear about genocide and expropriation that is untrue!

Source for quotes: AP.


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By Melanie Nathan, A South African Born Attorney and human rights advocate, Executive Director of  The African Human Rights Coalition, Based in the United States and South Africa. @MelanieNathan1

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One thought on “Donald Trump’s Tweet Can Stir Racial Violence in South Africa

  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    DISTRACTION!! DISTRACTION … ‘My hope is that South Africans are not drawn into Donald Trump’s racist rants, and instead asserts its autonomy and sovereignty for peaceful and equitable reform, and that AfriForum does not get the bloody day it hopes for – the one that will justify its hateful dicta.” Melanie Nathan.

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