DA poster perpetuates colonial stereotype: iLIVE

24 January 2012 - 15:26 By Lukhona Mnguni, Umbilo, Durban
DA Youth poster.
DA Youth poster.

The DA Student Organisation (DASO) has taken a hard-on confrontational route with the rest of the nation with their latest poster that depicts a half naked white male and a half naked black woman.

The catch phrase that somewhat hides their bodies reads: "In our future, you wouldn't look twice". The message being deliberately passed is that, in this present we will surely look twice at the poster.

I must assert very clearly that even in that future that this DASO envisages, only those who are not well acquainted with the history of the relationship between a black person and a white person will not look twice at such a poster.

Photography, is one of the best communication tools in the absence of words. Indeed a picture can tell many different stories, depending on who the observer or the originator of the photo is.

It remains unclear to me, as to what exactly is the intention of DASO with this particular poster. However there are issues that need to be unpacked from the poster, and to be frank, from a position of rebuke.

As a black person, the first question that comes into mind is: "why was it not a white female and a black male?" This question will be responded to by some with words such as; "why would that change anything, it would still be black on white?"

However, our social setup dictates that the white community, in its majority, finds it acceptable for a white man to be in a sexual relationship with a black woman; however there's some taboo and level of intolerance at seeing a white woman in a sexual relationship with a black man.

This emanates from the race and gender superiority complexes that are still rife in our society. A man is still celebrated as a figure of authority over a woman, which makes it acceptable for a white man to choose a black woman as he sees fit and he will not be questioned for such because his gender of being a man allows him to make such choices.

However, when a black man chooses a white woman; the majority of the white community in its entirety, questions such an act because of a racial superiority complex.

Here is a black man - known for his garden boy skills by whites - dominating a white woman, that is still not acceptable because blacks are not good enough in the eyes of many white people.

Furthermore, the sexual relations between blacks and whites have given birth to the coloured community. This coloured community is at times rejected by both the blacks and whites, in the sense that there is confusion as to whether this community attributes, primarily, its ancestry origin to the Europeans or it attributes it to the black Africans.

Some people have tried to demean the identity of coloureds and made them seem as if they do not belong and yes that is why there will be this mantra of "we are fighting for the coloured vote" because the product of black and white sexual engagement is somewhat a part of our population which is treated as some numbers and statistics first before they are afforded an identity, coupled with dignity and respect as fellow human beings.

The DA itself has not adequately dealt with this matter, in the Western Cape they continue to prey on coloureds as their voting fodder.

Truth is, sex between black&white people leads to the production of coloured people. The question we must ask is, have we adequately prepared society for such relations? Has the cultural bridge been well established? Is the DA recklessly promoting something that it has not assisted society to grapple with?

The second part of this picture is well captured in what the The Times senior journalist, Chandre Prince, said in a conversation about this picture, she said: "Student organisations are suppose to represent the youth and their educational advancement. That looks like a Teazers billboard".

I share these sentiments. As a student I asked: "Is the DA promoting a culture whereby in tertiary institutions, our primary objective is to find partners of the opposite race and have sex with them?"

It is significant to question why did this DASO not use an environment that is empowering to students and show inter-racial relations at play in an environment that would truly empower people of different races to work together.

We are not seeking "sexual empowerment in our lifetime", we are in a path that demands "economic empowerment for all races in our lifetime".

And the only way we are going to reach this is through redistributing some wealth and integrating blacks people into the unjust corporations that some white people built with the assistance of an exclusivity policy of the apartheid regime whereby black people were not good enough to own and be part of the levers of our economic system.

Instead this DASO fails to comprehend what is the most critical issue in our social relations, which is the economic disparities that lead into a highly stratified society with layers of inequality.

A friend, Brian Kent McKechnie observed that "the white male is in a position of dominance over the black female. Those posters are not relevant to contemporary non-racial south Africa, they also trivialise politics." In simple terms, there is no merit in the DA using these photos as they are insulting and dehumanising to our society.

The last part of this photo, which I find odd is the view that women are still viewed by some as sex symbols. In a society, South Africa, that is grappling very hard with atrocities such as the raping of women, the DA further sends a message that boarders on sending our society on a hormonal rampage.

The DA is becoming an active catalyst in arousing our society, in the same fashion as pornographic movies do. This poster does not assist to undo the untold practice that women must sleep their way into the top. The photo does not empower women at all. 

Many people have not understood my opposition to the DA. The opposition I carry towards the DA is two-fold, in that I vehemently reject the existence of a liberal party in South Africa and I do not support a party that is founded on the roots of only whites.

The culture of the DA is rooted in a white-liberal foundation, which is a dangerous concoction for our country. The DA is struggling to assert itself beyond its constituency, white people, in South Africa and thus becomes mischievous and insensitive in its struggle to win the black vote.

The DA puts itself in a position whereby it wants to be viewed as the unifier of races in South Africa. Nothing can be a better dream than this.

An attempt to unifying the various races in this country will be majorly led by black people once their hearts have found peace and forgiveness for the injustices of the past. White people will remain an intricate part of the process but they cannot lead such a process.

I am finally concluding that the DA as represented by DASO shows serious signs of a racist undertone. They have no appreciation of the social dynamics that this country is faced with. 

For this particular reason, it is clear that the black youth in the DA is not well placed to lead this country to the promise land, as it has been subdued to this hallucination of the DA that as a nation we must run into a future of equality between all races without redressing the economic injustices of the past.

The black youth in the DA does not represent the views of the majority blacks in this country.