This Sunday eveing I was doing my usual jogging in the Emmerentia area. As I was climbing up Hill Street, reaching Judith Street, I heard an enraged yell. "Move you Kaffer, move!" Had I heard right? A small grey car, trailing a fully loaded minibus taxi, was slowly climbing up the road above me. "Move you Kaffer", the agitated, white head shouted again. I did not trust my ears but the repetition made it clear: 'ordinary' racism taking its course.
As I write this, I think back of two other encounters in which white South Africans gave free vent to their racism. It is in theses moments that I doubt my own, usually held view that many young and white South Africans try to break with their heritage of white supremacy and apartheid racism and strive to live with black Africans as equals, as fellow human beings, and not as a racialized and inferior others.
What the chattering white classes forget is that the racialized populism of a Julius Malema, and the race-card-as-trump-card that Thabo Mbeki used to pull, resonate only because of the persistence of racism, ordinary and everyday.