Ntokozo Qwabe, a Rhodes Must Fall activist wrote a message to the waitress who served him: “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND.” (The full article can be read on IOL).
I have very mixed feelings about this article. Firstly, we actually should be paying people decent wages so that they are not dependent on tipping. Secondly, We need to acknowledge that there is a strong link between economic power and land ownership.
Thirdly, we need to make sure that we are seeing each other as people. Race is relevant. White privilege does exist. But, we need to work at creating a legacy where South Africa is truly inclusive and everyone feels welcome. That includes asking the questions about how to give back the land. I feel that this article may be a distraction from our real issues and doing a disservice to movements that are working to dismantle the wrongs of our past. Because as Terry Pratchett said in A Hat Full of Sky, “Even if it is not your fault, it is your responsibility”. As a country we need to start taking responsibility for our actions and working towards a united, peaceful, safe place to live.
The most important thing that I believe we can do, is to truly start seeing each other. To see the pain that exists. To reach out with compassion, to choose love over hate. (And, I am glad that I did not stop searching because I found that there are people across all the races who are reaching out with kindness and that makes me happy). Some people are saying that people giving a tip to this waitress is an example of white economic control. (They may be right) I see it as an act of kindness of choosing love.
Love and politics,