Tag Archive: Busi Ledibane

Finishing off this first run of the panel with these last two questions that came in – only two responses at the moment but will add more as they come in…

QUESTION 3:  [Suzane Hoffman]

We have seen our country go down hill. We have watched apartheid in reverse . reconciliation is fantasy. All that happens is now the blacks control and the whites still suffer and get the blame. With real reconciliation there would be tolerance and forgiveness. Instead as whites ,we are now wrong. How would you address this?

Busi Ledibane:

I would just like to say that this whole “apartheid in reverse” thing is being taken a bit too far because there is no such thing. For as long as we live, there will never be anything as atrocious as apartheid in this country. Calling South Africa’s current situation “reverse apartheid” is a complete disregard of the oppression and dehumanization that people went through during apartheid. I do think that there are issues that need to be addressed around reconciliation and equality but the situation in South Africa is nowhere near apartheid in reverse.

Tasha Melissa Govender:

I think we need to remember that our democracy is still young. We’re still learning to cope with this new found freedom to be who we want and live how we want. And like a child with no defined boundaries I think at times it’s simple to go overboard. Having said that I don’t believe reconciliation is a fantasy, it’s an amazing ideal that we should all work hard to strive for, daily. I do acknowledge that there have been many who have been hurt amidst apartheid and within the years of freedom that has followed. 

The one thing I feel we should strive to move away from is generalization. As much as it can be said “the blacks control and the whites still suffer…” we must remember that the majority of the ‘black’ population live below the poverty line and whilst BEE may be seen as reverse racism it really is a system, if implemented the way it was intended, that works well.

The only way we will be able to move past the hurt is to forgive. I’ve heard horror stories from my parents and grandparents concerning things that happened to them during apartheid- friends of my parents going into exile, many we’re killed and my mother being arrested whilst she was pregnant for me purely because she wore a shirt that held an image of the Black Panthers. My family has adopted the stance of forgiveness, it is a core pillar of our faith and I believe it is the only way for us to move forward and find a way to be released from the sins of the past.

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QUESTION 4:  [Nancy Strauss] 

Why do black men feel it’s okay to blatantly hit on/harass me? Is it a cultural thing ie. they hit on all young looking women on their own regardless of race/culture OR is it because I am of another race that my status as “other” makes me more “desirable” and less worthy of respect? I literally had this conversation yesterday:



“I need a pretty wife”

(Nervous laugh) that’s nice.

“You should come be my wife”

“Sorry but I have a husband”

“You should have two husbands. You so beautiful”



If it’s cultural and “the norm” maybe I would feel less violated and nervous? 

2nd question maybe for black women – how does one respond in these situations?? Cos I would give a white guy a sarcastic cut down…


Tasha Melissa Govender:

Hi Nancy! I cannot even begin to tell you how much I understand your outrage and anger, I’ve been on the receiving end and at the most inopportune moments. Once I was standing in line to board a flight, thinking about the mass amounts of work I had to do, only to be interrupted by someone who I thought wanted a friendly chat but rather used it as a moment to harass- although I clearly stated I was uninterested.

I have to say from the get go that I will refer to myself as a feminist and I think a large portion of my worldview comes with that particular context in mind.

Having said that i think there was a point in my life that I assumed it was cultural, but I think to simplify this sort of behaviour into something as insular as ethnicity or culture is to truly ignore and negate the pandemic that is sexual harassment. I really believe this is not a race thing but an individual male thing thing.

It’s the behaviours that you and I as women have experienced that has contributed to the growing issue of rape culture and the reason why we see so many violent acts against women in our media and news. The only way this behaviour can be combated is by educating future parents on how to raise their children. Young girls should not be taught that they should be ‘all things nice’ or think that when a boy is mean to them it’s only because they have a crush. Young boys should be taught the proper way to treat a female, to always have respect and to understand that a ‘want’ does not necessitate a ‘take’.

I’m not sure if this answered your question but I really hope it shed a bit of light in some way or possibly gave you a new avenue of thought.

Busi Ledibane:

Here’s what I think and I can be corrected if I’m wrong. What happened to you happens on a daily basis to me and several friends of mine. I’m a black woman who is the size of a ten-year-old and I get that and I’ve seen different women of all shapes and sizes being treated the same way.

To guys like that a woman is a woman (or maybe even just a thing) and that’s it. That’s why your marital status didn’t even matter. As to whether this is a cultural norm or not… Well, calling it a norm makes it somehow justifiable and it’s not. It’s disrespectful and it hurts. To be honest with you, there are a lot of things, dark clouds that hover over black culture when it comes to gender but more specifically the male gender that we as black people have allowed to sort of become norms in our failure to address them.

Like absent fathers (SERIOUSLY, THOUGH. What is up with that?!), promiscuity and generally irresponsible behaviour for which black mothers would even defend their sons. There are serious conversations that black people need to have about the brokenness that is so prevalent within our culture and I say culture because these things aren’t just in South Africa, black Americans also have the same issues. [I might get a lot of flack for the paragraph above, but I stand by it]

You already said that not all black men are like this and it is true. There are some really great black men who would never speak to you the way that guy did, but they are hard to find. That is mainly because fatherhood is a serious issue within black culture and a lot black men have a poor sense of self and a warped view of manhood. I’m not making excuses, I’m just saying it like it is. No self-respecting, well-raised black man would treat a woman with such disrespect.

Lastly, on how to respond. You learn over time that you can’t have the same response for every situation, obviously but most of the time, you can just walk away. For example, construction workers. You must know about those! Just keep walking, there is no need to say anything. And generally in a situation like with the guy, I think you handled it well. Especially if you were in a situation where you couldn’t walk away.

[To return to the beginning of the Panel and see all the questions they looked at, click here]

[For a wider variety of race-related topics, click here]

I am very excited to introduce this Panel of Race Experts… and by ‘Race Experts’ i mean friends of mine who happen to be from a variety of different race group backgrounds and are not claiming to be experts or to speak on behalf of their particular race in any way, shape or form. I have invited them to be on this panel because they are people who i respect and who are passionate about live and living well and South Africa and diversity, unity and a whole lot more. And so i thought having a bunch of different opinions and thoughts and ideas on some race-related questions might be hugely helpful in terms of getting these conversations going.

So without any further more ado about nothing, let me let them introduce themselves in the order in which they submitted their bios to me:


Tasha Melissa Govender: “I’m Tasha, a 27 year old female living, working and loving in beautiful South Africa! I find myself flitting between my day job of Social Media Branding Ninja and struggling-writer-waiting-to-be-noticed by night. The reasons I’ve been so keen to get involved in this discourse are varying. The most prominent being that I’m incredibly proud of my country’s history and the amazing strides our nation has made to right so many wrongs; and only by discussing issues, confusions and breaking away from stereotypes can we truly begin to move on. Chatting is healthy, we should do it more! And with a healthy dose of laughter, good humour and non-judgement will we begin to understand that whilst we may not look the same we’re all pretty much going through the same human experience. So excited!”


Tristan Pringle: I am a 20 something guy trying to figure out what it means to be a child of God. In the process I’m still learning how to respond to Jesus’ call to love God and to love people. I am totally in love with my fiancée Jess and together we plan on changing the world. My day job for the last while has been working in management at a law firm but soon I’m quitting the corporate world and starting to work for the church.

My passion for topics of a racial nature stems from my belief in a world where we can be just who we are without being ashamed of it. For 100’s of years there has been intentional division, along racial lines, by kings,empires and governments and it has deceived us into believing that the colour of our skin is an accurate descriptor of character, skill, wit and value. Off course all these are lies. We can only start to live in the truth when we are honest firstly with ourselves and then with others. And so we need a platform for fresh, honest and frank gospel charged discussions. If heaven is for every tongue, nation and tribe then we best start getting along because eternity is forever and your neighbour may be black.


John Scheepers: I’m John.  I’m 38 years old.  That makes me old enough to remember apartheid and too young to remember life without TV.  I drink my coffee too strong and talk too loudly.  I married way above myself and am the father to two boys.  They come with sound effects included in case you were wondering.  I rest my soul by walking on the mountain and raise my heart rate by watching Liverpool FC. 

I work for the East City Initiative.  A community outreach ministry based in the east city area of Cape Town with a particular focus on young people and addicts. 

Martin Luther is supposed to have said, “If you preach the gospel in all aspects with the exception of the issues which deal specifically with your time- you are not preaching the gospel at all.”  Racial reconciliation is at the heart of my faith because the Bible story is from beginning to end the story of the restoration of all things in Christ.  It is about the restoration of true humanity and dignity, about the reconciliation of people to God and to one another.  We follow Jesus, the truly superior one, who did not stand on his own rights or privileges but instead laid down his life so that we might find life.  To follow this Jesus in a South African context means that, according to Martin Luther, if we do not speak to issues of racial and social reconciliation we do not preach the gospel at all.  May God have mercy on us!



 Busi Ledibane: My name is Busi and I’m a student currently in my third year of a Bachelor of Theology in Community Leadership. 

I find it difficult to describe the type of person that I am but I think that there are a few things I can mention that most people who know me well would agree with. I am quite serious, sometimes a little too serious but I can be fun and goofy too 😉 I would have to know and feel comfortable around you though.
I am also very passionate about social justice, social development and South African politics. 
I am proud to be a South African. I am aware of the painful past of my country and I’m not afraid to engage in conversation about it. However, I’m also aware of how far my country has come and how far it still needs to go not just economically but socially and that’s why I want to get involved in this conversation about race. 
We are not completely healed and we need to admit that and only then can we move on. My hope is that while this will be a difficult conversation to have, it will ultimately lead to a point where we can see one another’s humanity and see how we are all the same; how we are indeed equal. 
But that kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight and that’s why we need to talk. Now.


Tony Nzanzah: My name is Tony Nzanzah and I am married with two children. I am passionate about life which entails getting to grips with issues that we would rather avoid in life. I strongly believe in principles of ‘ubuntu’ that celebrate the cohesion than individuality. The best way to find each other as people from different cultures is to take the time to listen to one another and after listening to apply those community building values.


 Caley Daniels: I’m a student of Language and Culture at Stellenbosch University. None can deny the weight of race-related things of our past as a country. And since human kind has a tendency to look at history but not learn from it, I feel it is important to look at where we are (in terms of race, discrimination, prejudice, diversity, acceptance etc) as a people (especially as young people) so that we know what we stand for and therefore what to fight for. (a cord of 3 (or 51.19 million) is not easily broken.


i have given them the first round of questions that you [the people out there] submitted and they are working furiously on them and hopefully within the next week i will have some answers to share with you…

In the meantime if you want to take a look at some of the posts written for me already by Tasha, John, Busi or Caleythen simply click any of their names here and do some catching up…

THE QUESTIONS [click on the to be taken to the answers]

[1]  “As South Africans, in 2014, how do we begin to frame our identities (as whites, blacks, coloureds etc) in a young democracy with such a long and deep history of racial hatred and discrimination?”

[2] When, if ever, will it be OK to be “over” apartheid? If possible put a number of years to your answer.

[2] We have seen our country go down hill. We have watched apartheid in reverse . reconciliation is fantasy. All that happens is now the blacks control and the whites still suffer and get the blame. With real reconciliation there would be tolerance and forgiveness. Instead as whites ,we are now wrong. How would you address this?

[4] Why do black men feel it’s okay to blatantly hit on/harass me? Is it a cultural thing ie. they hit on all young looking women on their own regardless of race/culture OR is it because I am of another race that my status as “other” makes me more “desirable” and less worthy of respect? If it’s cultural and “the norm” maybe I would feel less violated and nervous? 2nd question maybe for black women – how does one respond in these situations?? Cos I would give a white guy a sarcastic cut down…


As a nation we are celebrating 20 years of democracy and while there is still a lot that has to be done in this country of ours that bears the horrible scars of Apartheid, I am still proud that we are here. It means something because at least we are not where we used to be.

There are still many conversations that still need to be had, of course and the sooner we get talking, the better. Like with the whole race thing. I’m glad we are talking about it. We need to because quite frankly, I get peeved by South Africans hiding behind their Twitter handles and the comment sections of News 24 articles to air their views about race. If you want to say something, say it now because after 20 years, we really should not still be here, where race is still a thing that divides us. I don’t want my children to grow up in a place like that.

So, here are a couple of things I would like to say about race. Yes, I am one of those people. I talk about it freely, not to be racist but to show that I’m not going to be held captive by something that stupid. This is not for one particular race group but for all race groups, hence I don’t want it titled “Things I want my white friends to know.” These are things that everyone should be aware of and start working towards.

With all of that said, I would like to state that I am no expert on race so some of the things I say, you may not agree with and that’s fine. The reason we’re doing this is to get a conversation started so let’s do it:

1) There has been much said about white privilege and people saying that white people must agree that it is indeed a thing. And then of course, there have been white people who have been hurt and offended by these comments, taking it as a way of trying to make them feel guilty. You’ve read all those and honestly, I think we all need to sit around a fire and have that conversation soon. Right now however, I’m going to put a different spin on it.

I am not so much bothered by the fact that many white people are privileged because of Apartheid as much as I’m bothered by people of colour who treat white people better because they are white. I don’t know how many white people are aware of this, but you do know that the colour of your skin generally gets you better service/treatment right? And this is not your fault. I don’t want you to feel bad about it.

What I am trying to say is, people of colour who treat me like I’m less of a human being and then jump to help the white person hurt my feelings. The security guard in the super market or clothing store who follows me around when I’m just looking around. The beggar who treats me like I’m not there while asking my white friend for a R2. And the guy who rings the doorbell and when Mrs Radebe goes to open the gate, asks her where her madam is when it’s her house.

I get that it is a mindset, but I hate it. Maybe you want to talk about white people needing to admit their privilege, but I want the mindsets of people who still regard the white man as “baas” even though they won’t verbalize it to change.

2) The reason I started off with wanting to challenge the mindsets of people who are not white is actually because I am also just sick and tired of the belief that only white people are racist and black (or all non-white) people thinking that it’s okay to say racist things against white people. It’s not. We must never tolerate racism no matter which side it is coming from. Honestly, I feel like we as non-white people can sometimes let a lot of negative things said about white people slide when we would probably speak up if a white person said the same things about a black person.

3) This one is linked to number 2. Hey, white people, you are not racist! Okay, wait, what I mean is that you’re as racist as all other race groups. You, just like everybody else, are allowed to say, “black people.” You may think that calling us African is more politically correct, but it’s kinda not… because most of you reading this are probably South African…born and bred and that makes you Africans… Yeah.

4) “You’re well-spoken.” I can take that after I’ve just done a class presentation or speech. I just can’t take it when I can tell that you’re trying to work out if I’m adopted or wealthy. By the way, I’m neither.

5) While we’re on the topic, what is with black people hating on black people who went English medium schools and therefore speak English differently and have friends of all race groups? We don’t actually think we are better than you and we hate how you are always making us feel like we are not black enough. We are not trying to be black nor are we trying to be white. We are just trying to be ourselves.

6) And to the same people, I would also like to say, my dating a white man doesn’t actually mean I’ve achieved something great.

And also, what is with people who think that someone dating outside of their race is breaking some code? They are not. They are following their heart.

Too often I hear about things like black women saying mean things about the black guy who is dating a non-black woman. Like, why must you do that? He loves her and he is under no obligation to choose you. So nicely, I ask you, please get over it.

We need to stop looking at people from different race groups being together as something special or worse, something disgusting.

We need to stop looking twice or feeling the need to comment.

7) There is a colour hierarchy and it needs to become a thing of the past. I’m not going to write further on this point. You know it. You just pictured it in your mind.

8) Here’s another thing that needs to stop: associating certain accents with stupidity. There isn’t one South African accent, there are several and I don’t see why we should think it funny when someone doesn’t speak like a white English-speaking South African. Why should they?

9) Question: How much longer are non-black people going to avoid going into townships?

10) Finally, I would to say that, while we engage in this conversation of race, one thing we must always remember is that there is always someone who has to go through hardships because of the colour of their skin.

As much as white people need to be aware of their privilege, so should non-white people be aware of the fact that poor white people exist and are often ignored and unreached by the government.

Non-black people must be aware of the fact that it’s sometimes tough being black because even people from your own race group will assume you’re a criminal.

We should be aware of the fact that there is a coloured guy out there who is trying to prove himself to his white girlfriend’s family because they assume that all of the negative things associated with coloured culture are his lived reality too and therefore he cannot be good enough for their daughter.

We need to be sensitive to one another and realise that this conversation is not going to be an easy conversation to have. Some things will hurt because the truth hurts and some will hurt just because they do, but just because it’s not going to be comfortable, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

We are a country that avoided civil war in the early 90’s. We stepped into freedom through a blood-less transition. We can get through this.


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