The lowest point for a people is to collectively celebrate their oppression. That Durban wished and won the right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games aka British Empire Games aka A CELEBRATION OF THE OPPRESSION OF BLACK PEOPLE speaks to the self-hate we blacks are experiencing.
The normalisation of oppression is one aspect – willingly wearing white masks while walking within the white walls society has erected; but to decide to spend R6.5 billion to celebrate black oppression, while lauding the oppressor, is beyond comprehension. The British Empire Games was founded in 1930 to celebrate British Contest (and we would more argue conquest) as a means of increasing goodwill and good understanding within the British Empire. In simplicity, the British needed an occasion that would allow blacks to legitimise their position as the oppressed within the British system, thus delivering, The British Empire Games.
This very colonial domination that forms part of the racist, anti-black, white supremacist historic and present day experience, brought us to the point where blacks remain landless, white owned mining conglomerates continue to send our resources to feed the British imperialist system, and an anti-black education continues to defend Cecil John Rhodes. Fanon speaks of the coloniser as needing to oversimplify, and it carrying a unique ability to disrupt the cultural life of the conquered people. “This cultural obliteration is made possible by the negation of national reality, by new legal relations introduced by the occupying power, by the banishment of the natives and their customs to outlying districts by colonial society, by expropriation, and by the systematic enslaving of men and women.”
Through the eyes of Fanon, in 2015, the Commonwealth Games remains a relationship between colonised and coloniser, more intact than ever. Our land remains in the hands of a white minority, our mineral resources continues to be siphoned out of black poverty stricken mining hands and the black educative and cultural practices pre-white invasion remain in the “primitive” narrative.
When Fanon speaks of the oversimplification, it is indicative of sportspersons coming together to celebrate their achievements within the context of these “games”. A definitive example of perpetuating cultural oppression, through the subversion of competition and celebration. “It’s just sport” “A chance for blacks to compete on the world stage in front of a home crowd.” Here we need to ask, within which context are we celebrating. What are we celebrating? Why are we celebrating? How long can we put blacks last to follow our individualistic anti-black path? There can be no joy in the oppressor returning to merely play sport, while they continue to oppress, and further expect blacks to prepare the royal R6.5 billion queens table, so that once again we can watch the oppressor eat, while we the landless blacks walk around with white masks. The Marikana Miners demanded a living wage from Lonmin, a British founded company which serves British interests, having shifted billions in profits to London and R758million in just one transaction more recently. Yet, in 2015 it is to be believed that the colonial conquest has been eradicated, but 3 years ago the miners in Marikana were massacred by the ANC Government to protect British interests. This imperialist projection of sport in the same way as its origin, now serves to normalise the anti-black experience and maintain the neo-colonial state that makes black life cheap.
The ANC Government act as the very subjects of Fanon’s work when he writes “The Pitfalls of National Consciousness”. Here Fanon says the neo-colonial governments are the “organizers of parties for their Western opposite numbers” and the $3billion Fifa 2010 World Cup was the mother of all parties, a very expensive lesson that blacks pay to prove that ‘we can do it!’ – that is, we are human too. Fanon speaks frankly on this relationship of the colonised and the coloniser when he says, “The national bourgeoisie will be greatly helped on its way toward decadence by the Western bourgeoisies, who come to it as tourists avid for the exotic, for big game hunting, and for casinos. The national bourgeoisie organizes centers of rest and relaxation and pleasure resorts to meet the wishes of the Western bourgeoisie. Such activity is given the name of tourism, and for the occasion will be built up as a national industry.” But having not learned that whitewashing ones streets does not present a more human face, we once again aim to perpetuate the one united nation lie by presenting an appetizing affair to our masters, while blacks languish on the outskirts of society.
As the Black First Land First Movement we reject the celebration of the past and present oppression of blacks via the British Empire Games. We call on all blacks to do the same, recognising that the colonisation of a people can never be glorified. We call on all black sportspersons to recognise that unless we break free from the conquest of the British, we will be mere entertainers of the coloniser. Black sportspersons need to recognise that there is no liberation for any black body until all blacks are liberated. Black sportspersons must reject the masquerading in personal glory while we continually remain collectively oppressed, because we are black. BLF calls on all black sportspersons to boycott the commonwealth games and locate their being in Black First!
Issued by the National Coordinating Committee of the Black First Land First Movement (BLF NCC)
3 September 2015