What exactly is the value of Black life in the post-apartheid era? Would this story be so ‘invisible’ if a Black man had perpetrated the same crime on a white child? Will President Mbeki address the nation tonight and decry the racism that propels people like Nel? And what about the white apologists who would crucify me for having the audacity to question whiteness in an ‘obvious’ case of mistaken identity?
I am reminded that Robert Sobukwe once remarked that many white people care more about their dogs than they do about Black life. Some protestors who gathered outside of Nel’s earlier bail hearing seemed to agree with Sobukwe. It was reported that protesters held placards that read: “Whites are friends of dogs, they can’t kill dogs, they kill Africans” and another read “We are Africans, not dogs.”
Many white South Africans would loathe any insinuation that they care more about dogs than Black children like Sello Pete. They would also be quick to point out how they are victimized for being white in South Africa. “All the jobs are for Blacks” or “Blacks are killing whites daily in robberies” and of course “this country has been ruined by Black corruption” are often repeated laments.
Few, if any, will spend time honestly interrogating apartheid and taking responsibility for their role in its horrors. In fact, it is hard to find a white person honest enough to admit that they supported apartheid. Curiously, the electorate that kept apartheid in power for five decades mysteriously disappeared."