BY MAYIMUNA NABAGEREKA
It seems that there has been an over-reaction to Novelist Annelie Botes’ statement that she dislikes black people. She committed a contemporary cultural sin of saying what she really thinks in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic world in which millions of people, within and across nations, most probably share that same thought about members of another racial or ethnic group, might voice that same thought around family dinner tables or within bear parlors, but have learned to be politically correct in public–that is, not to voice their racial or ethnic prejudice/dislikes publicly.
So, how in the world did this come as a surprise to anyone? Does anyone seriously think that Novelist Botes reflects a fringe viewpoint? Thoughts and expressions, such as “I don’t like these people or that people” are commonplace across racial and ethnic communities around the world. Are they not? I am not sure if statements, such as “I don’t like him/her” or “I don’t like this group or that group,” means the same thing as “I hate him/her” or “I hate this or that group.” For instance, most people in my circles no longer like Banyarwanda because of mainly Frank Tumwebaze and Gen.Kayihura. There is one who specifically wrote:
‘Tumwebaze is just a younger version of Mbabazi.Born and bred in a refugee camp. He knows that he is not Ugandan and would not be where he is, if he was not picked up by two Banyarwanda Mbabazi & M7.Note how he justifies the law banning people to talk by claiming that it stops people from holding meetings in markets, hospitals etc.Would they allow Mbabazi into Nambole?’
Though Apartheid, like Jim Crow, was rationalized through a worldview predicated upon notions of African/Black inferiority—and it would appear that Novelist Botes, like Afrikaners of her generation in general, were socialized within that framework—a point still needs to be made that there is a difference between “dislike” and “hate.”