There will be many more Makhaya Ntinis if the power relations in South Africa are not radically changed to reflect the demographics.It is no exaggeration to say there is no part of South Africa that is unaffected by the history of apartheid and colonialism.
It is also not untrue that South Africa as we know it is created through a colour-line divide. This is to say that the union is first and foremost the unification of one race against another.
This is precisely what made apartheid possible, the fact that there was a group of people who saw themselves different and superior to another group. White people, from the moment of encounter, laid bare and made clear that they wanted to dominate black people.
Since then the relations between these two groups have been of the one group demonstrating its alleged superiority through violence.
Now this is still the state of affairs in present day South Africa. Whites insist on their superiority and now this superiority is no longer imagined. It is real and expresses itself materially through political, social and economic relations in South Africa.
With this knowledge nothing is shocking about former Protea Makhaya Ntini’s revelations about his experience in cricket South Africa.
What perhaps is interesting is to think about the failure and apparent refusal by black people to accept this fact.
Why is it that despite the overwhelming evidence black people still insist on thinking that there can be a healthy co-existence between them and white people?
There have been all sorts of efforts aimed at facilitating some sort of cohesion between blacks and whites but all these efforts have not been successful. The reason for this is not very complicated. Whites still believe in their superiority and their supposed difference.
They are intentional oblivious to the fact that the power that they enjoy economically was unjustly attained and was at the expense of black people.
They believe in coloniality not as a system that completely dehumanised black people but as a system that made modernity and development possible. This is to say they still believe, although implicit, that colonialism and apartheid were actually necessary.
Back to Ntini. When he opened up about his experience as a black man in South African cricket the response was mainly filled with sympathy. This sympathy mostly emanates from the fact that a number of people can relate to what he was narrating.
No doubt many people also came out to speak about their experiences of being treated differently because of their race in their respective sectors. In social media it became some sort of pity party of how white people are refusing to co-exist harmoniously with blacks.
This was disappointing because beyond these testimonies there seems to be no suggestions on what is to be done.
On what is to be done in ensuring the boards in sports reflect the demographics of this country. On what is to be done to ensure that the economic reality of this country does not continue to make blacks pariahs.
We will not find solutions when we continue to look at the problem of marginalisation and racism only from an experiential perspective. We need to understand that what happened to Ntini is the normative reality of all black people in this country.
That there is nothing peculiar about it but has happened to almost every black who shares a space with white people.
This is not just an ungrounded generalisation but a statement that wants to highlight that if you are black and share a space with whites you already have experienced some sort of racism. If not then it will eventually happen.
So what happened to Ntini must be seen as a manifestation of a structural problem that we all have to deal with, a problem if not dealt with will continue to persist.
There will be many more Makhaya Ntinis if the power relations in South Africa are not radically changed to reflect the demographics.