By Lavittude Ramphomane
The “gender-based violence” fracas is a combination of a deliberate deviation by the government and black politicians to the true source of intra-black violence; as well black feminism as an incommensurable analytical lens in what is essentially a parasitic relationship between white supremacist colonialism and the black body.
In concrete terms, the government and black politicians serve as the vanguard of white supremacist colonialism (the fundamental antagonism) which births black dysfunctionality in all it’s manifestations including the violent nature of blacks in particular, and of the entire country broadly speaking; and black women’s suffering cannot be viewed in isolation from this super violence for it takes it’s genesis from this very fundamental antagonism.
Unless black feminists are willing to postulate that they don’t stand as the spatially displaced apropos to land usurpation, and as casualties apropos to the dehumanisation project. This is to say black feminists cannot argue that they stand at the intersection of various struggles in an anti-black political ontology.
I contend here that that the 1994 moment, which ostensibly catapulted South Africa into a new political ontology and birthed a new, free and empowered black man and black woman, was in point of fact the fortification of black dispossession and displacement. Evidence to this is the adoption of the Constitution which sanctified land left – the principal crime committed upon arrival by the colonialist.
It is this original super violence which turned the black into the landless Slave and the white into the land-hoarding Human which is responsible for the black people’s dereliction of poverty and inequality: the chief midwives of violent criminality, apathy and other psychological defects.
If one views the rhetorical gestures of the government, black politicians and black feminists, they privilege the amorphous “men have declared war on women” without concretizing the race issue. However, I contend here that the so-called war on women narrative is a veiled proposition which speaks of the violence suffered by black women at the hands of black men.
It is necessary to hide the race which perpetuates this violence the most on the one hand, and which suffers it the most on the other hand as this kind of reification will lay bare the fact that violence of this nature is more prevalent among blacks. Needless to say, this will raise daunting questions: why do blacks exhibit a greater proclivity to violence! It is this question that these people are at labour to avoid because it will open a can of worms.
And it is this can of worms I’m willing to open with this meditation, but for now, I propose to embark on a necessary digression in order to be able to elucidate it.
According to the World Report On Violence & Health, violence is defined as:
“The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”
From the above definition, we observe that violence finds expression through suicide and harming others. Furthermore, the Word Report On Violence and Health, also explains other ways in which violence can be inflicted, namely physical, sexual, psychological and through deprivation.
Among other sub-types of violence, included are interpersonal violence and collective violence; and here I will concern myself with the latter since the former is not applicable to the so-called gender-based violence. No one can convincingly argue that there’s an existence of Collective Violence which specifically targets women at the levels of society, politics and economics; and I will also return to this point for further meditation.
The World Report On Violence & Health defines Interpersonal Violence as “violence between individuals, and is subdivided into family and intimate partner violence and community violence. The former category includes child maltreatment; intimate partner violence; and elder abuse, while the latter is broken down into acquaintance and stranger violence…”
Now, South African black women suffer violence at the family and intimate partner and community levels. In other words, they are likely to be harmed by their family members, their boyfriends or husbands and by thugs and rapists they are not related to. And here we know that the most common forms of violence which accrue to the black female body are rape, assault and murder.
What is key to highlight is that murder, assault and rape are viewed in a very serious light in South Africa and are categorised as serious criminal offences! Which brings me to that point I made earlier on that there’s no explicit or hidden injunction which encourages and facilitates Collective Violence on black women as a particular category. So to argue that “men have declared war on women” is a misnomer because what we see here are individual acts by individuals in the same way individuals engage in cash-in-transit heists, car theft, bank robberies, etc.
Put differently, acts of violence upon black women are essentially crimes of passion and of domestic nature (with regard to family, intimate partner category), and acts of indiscriminate criminality (with regard to rapists, killers and thugs), and we all know that perpetrators of these crimes are motivated by specific desires and reasons to carry out their evil acts.
At this point, it is vital to highlight that to argue that these acts of violence accrue out of reasons is not to condone them; rather it is to posit that black women don’t suffer gratuitous violence at the hands of black men in the same way blacks suffer violence at the hands of anti-black white supremacist system.
For instance, a man killing a woman for suspicion of being unfaithful is not gratuitous because it is informed by that particular suspicion! Likewise, a woman who hires hitmen to kill her husband for insurance policy money is not gratuitous but rather informed by her desire to gain access to the money. The same is true for a black heterosexual rapist who rapes a black woman (libidinal reasons) and then kills her in order to eliminate the threat of being identified and jailed (self-preservation).
Given an opportunity, as it were, a black heterosexual rapist would also not hesitate to rape and kill a white woman, but would not rape a homosexual black person precisely because of his sexual orientation.
In the same way that it is not discrimination (gender-based) for a heterosexual man to specifically make sexual advances to women, it is not being discriminatory of a heterosexual rapist to specifically target women. By extension, in the same way that it is not discrimination (gender-based) for a heterosexual female to specifically make sexual advances to strictly men, a heterosexual female rapist cannot be accused of discrimination when she specifically targets men and not other women.
This is not to say that there’s an excuse to rape – by all means introduce the death penalty specifically for rapists – but to indicate that their libidinal constitution, and not social constructs, are at play with regard to rape. So the desire for a heterosexual man to sleep with (or rape) a woman and vice versa is not “gender-based violence” but more like sexual attack. This definition makes more sense considering that, although not as prevalent when the roles are reversed, women also rape men especially the vulnerable and boy children.
In other words, these acts of violence are contingent upon a, b and c and not gratuitous just because they are of a certain gender. However, when those four white males known as the Waterkloof Four went out in search of a specific body a black man – to kill, we can argue that it was anti-black racism at play precisely because they went after a black body for their murderous desires. Also, this is because they wouldn’t have killed a white woman or a white man as an alternative!
So it is the height of intellectual fraud to analogize acts of criminality on women with anti-blackness and it’s myriad of structural injunctions and performative atrocities. In fact, it is an insult on black people as this attempts to mystify the devastating and comprehensive nature of white supremacist colonialist violence.
Incidentally, it is equally silly to say that black men are insensitive to the murders of black women when we counter the “men are trash” slogan with “not all men”, and when we present facts that the biggest victims and casualties of violence here are actually black men!
In America, it can be convincingly argued that it is mischievous for white people to counter the “black lives matter” campaign with the “all lives matter” rubbish precisely because all facts are laid bare that there’s structural and performative violence which disproportionately targets black bodies in juxtaposition with other races throughout the years!
The ugly truth is that South Africa has an enduring problem of systemic violence, and the only way to understand it’s unwelcome longevity and it’s causes hinges on a holistic interrogation of the entire topography. This entails that we investigate the sad truth that violence is almost exclusively prevalent among blacks compared to any other race.
Black men are the most murderous compared to other men from other races. Jails are disproportionately full of black criminals compared to criminals of other races. Black women are more murderous than other women from other races. There are disproportionately more black female criminals than female criminals from other races. There are more black criminal teens compared to teens from other races.
So clearly, something is wrong with black people. What is it? Is it because we are an inherently savage people who are antisocial?Or is it because our problem accrues out of some prior violent event like racism and colonialism?
This is the path which government, black politicians and black feminists refuse to take because it will reveal that the original violence of land dispossession and black dehumanization project remains in full swing to this day. Land is wealth, the economy, politics, the air that we breath, the water that we drink, the food that we eat, the security that we need, the warmth in winter and the coolness in summer.
Accordingly, the most eloquent expression of violence is to lock people out the land: their food, wealth, dignity and the air that they breath. Again, borrowing from the World Health Organization’s definition of forms of violence, blacks here are suffering from psychological violence, economic violence and violence of deprivation! So as things stand, it is the height of dishonesty to postulate stuff like gender-based violence and, by extension, black-on-black violence like what we see in black spaces, particularly in Cape Flats.
It is this transcendental violence which turn black men into criminal savages who murder everything on their paths and mostly themselves. It is this super violence which has consigned black women to life of poverty and prostitution compared to women from other races. And it is in this super violence in which our black children are born and raised!
In trying to make something out of this dysfunctionality which we call “black life”, blacks will not hesitate to kill another black in order to secure a meal. It is this artificially engineered social death which leads to so many suicides among blacks. It is this life of hell which births sociopaths who have absolutely no qualms about killing a pregnant black woman in a manner not unsimilar to lynching!
Accordingly, when the government, black politicians and black feminists ascend Kilimanjaro and proclaim that “black men have declared war on black women”, they are deviating you from asking what happened at CODESA in 1994. They don’t want you to ask why did freedom kill 34 miners at Marikana.
This is because this fallacy of gender-based violence is a red herring which serves the interests of all black political parties and black politicians because they are insulated from violent acts of criminality thanks to the blue lights and bodyguards at their disposal around the clock!
Lavittude Ramphomane is an Afropessimism proponent, black studies student, and a social commentator.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vernac News.