By Isaiah-Phillips Akintola
Allow me to take a few moments of your time to call your attention again, to this one single challenge that has continued to bedevil our reintegration and development as a community and the nation as a whole. I will quickly give you a background to this article, but I will love to broaden the perspective of this discussion so you can appreciate my concern regarding this subject.
A few days ago, the 24th of July to be precise, I was racially attacked and removed in the name of religion from What’s on Franschhoek group page on Facebook for giving words of hope and encouragement to the people. I took offence to the way I was collectively attacked, even though I am not offended as a Christian with the way I was treated, in fact, I had taken time to pray for my protagonist and the rest, but I felt it necessary to highlight this issue to the public and the members of the Body of Christ to know the nature of what we are dealing with especially here in the Western Cape of South Africa.
If anyone wants a copy of my transcript with these folks, I’ll be more than willing to share them with you. While this debate went back and front, I thought I should copy my discussion because I might just be removed, and I was right. While some may argue that the group is not designed for my kind of post, well, they may be right, but there was nothing that suggests I was wrong. Secondly, it was not my first time of sharing words of faith and comfort, and I have also seen others share on their faith on the page.
Thirdly, I have never received any words of concern from the administrators regarding my post. However, some felt objected to this Christian value, which a later realized is not just about the words I have shared but about the person who posted it.
Some of these white folks had a problem with my colour, and maybe my name, and of course; my intelligence from the way I communicate, and then decided to launch an attack against me. Someone said you must have an agenda on this group because you write intelligently. What a statement of prejudice coming out of the mouth of a person to another human you have no clue nor understanding of his identity or place in the community or the larger society.
The fact is, this kind of insinuation is not just a reflection of shared ignorance and presumptive attitude we’ve seen with many, but in my opinion, one of the highest forms of human prejudice, spiritual blindness, and insecure dysfunctionality I have ever seen, to say the least.
They then threatened to report me to the administrator of the group, which I was actually waiting for, but to my surprise, by the next day, I discovered that I had been removed from the page without any prior contact, or charges against me from the administrators of the page, if this is not racial prejudice, then I wonder what it is?
It amazes me that one could be removed from a page without committing any crime than the fact that I shared my faith in love with others. As I said, this is just a background of the expansion of this subject, and I will further speak about it at the cause of the article, and I will like you to be patient in reading my highlights because it may just be a part of the puzzle you need in securing the future of your children and family as they grow in this racially toxic environment. The reality is, if I was a white man, we will certainly not be having this discussion.
The battle against Racism goes beyond a talk shop
Fellow readers and fellow citizens, the mere acknowledgement of Racism, Xenophobia, religious bias, and other forms of racial prejudices in our community is not enough in its total eradication. The reality is, we must start from the point of the admission that we have not done enough as government, community leaders, social activist, Church bodies, and the general society in recognizing and conscientizing ourselves regarding this vivid evil that has continued to eat our society like cancer. The removal of all forms of racial thought pattern and tendencies should be aggressively engaged from all positions in our community and the larger society.
Only the blind will not see the systematic expression and impression of Racism and Xenophobia in the community of Franschhoek under the pretext of safeguarding what they defined as their commercial tourist space. What they forget to realize is, Franschhoek is not just a tourist space, it’s also a community where people with great needs, challenges, and struggles resides, who are desperately seeking for hope and direction in life, and this cannot be factored out of the landscape and demography of Franschhoek as a space in South Africa.
For a couple of months now the community of Franschhoek has witnessed the loss of lives. The kinds of accidents and deaths, no one can explain has taken place, and unfortunately are still happening. For anyone to charge against words of hope, faith, and encouragement in the name of posting on a wrong space in my opinion, is selfish and devilish. When people no longer live within the reality of the common culture of the community, they assume the world revolves around their little world of perspective
The worrying thing for me about this ungodly spirit of Intolerance is the fact that it has almost been accepted as the norm, after all, many would argue, we’ve tried our best in fighting it, but there’s very little or nothing we can do if the government cannot do something about it.
This kind of excuses is so flimsy that it has continued to embolden certain sections within the community to continue to take advantage of this seemingly lack of enough will and resolve in addressing racist tendencies across the board. It’s just so worrisome how many people I know complain about racial prejudice, even within their business and workplace, but are speechless and powerless to do anything about it.
It’s time we teach and empower ordinary citizens on how to locate and address racial prejudice. We are a nation who love to talk about rights, and that is good, but the fact is, we often talk above the heads of those who are victims of racial abuse the most, unfortunately.
I am flagging this point again because I want every one of us to sincerely and carefully examine ourselves, perhaps, there’s an iota of this negative attitude living inside us, and to sincerely seek help in dealing with it because Racism is a disease of hate that seeks to dehumanize and destroy other’s value, identity, and dignity.
When you have children, as I do have two of my own who are growing in an environment highly intoxicated by this evil spirit of hate just because of their colour or race, it carries the potential to paralyze their identity, dreams, potentials, and creative skill in contributing to the development of the human race.
No one predesigned nor defined their colour of skin or nationality, providence did! If in the 21st century, some still define others through the veneer of their fear and insecurity, that tells me, we have a bigger problem in our hands that even the idea of a prosperous society cannot resolve.
How can a nation prosper when there’s a sharp division amongst its people and political parties? The spirit of divide and rule is still much alive within the culture of our so-called new South Africa, and it’s the number one reason for the ongoing collapse of the State economy.
Forgetting where we came from
One would assume that a society like South Africa shaped under the brutal regime of apartheid will commit themselves and resources to the eradication of any form or tendencies of racial inequality.
Unfortunately, this is yet to be manifested even though this project is enshrined within the architectural framework of our constitution. We may have one of the best constitutions in the world, but we are certainly one of the worst, in upholding and practising the spirit of the constitution, particularly, when it deals with this issue of racism.
If I may draw your attention why a young, vibrant, but divisive party like the EFF is increasely gaining ground across South Africa, but also here in the Western Cape, is due to how the people feel on the matter of the economy but in particular, on issues around racial prejudice and inequality.
For as long as there’s any form of racial abuse and Xenophobic attacks, the EFF party will continue to grow because they have positioned themselves as a party that fights for the freedom of the voiceless and the equality of the people even though this may not be totally true in practice. I am not a politician, but a servant of the Most High, and my duty is to speak out against inequality mindset, and prejudicial belief system that has continued to dominate how some of our white folks see others.
To effectively rebuild the ruins of the unfortunate legacy of apartheid here in South Africa, everyone should be willing to look at themselves in the mirror of truth and genuinely ask themselves this question, am I a racist in my perspective and values? Do I perpetuate racial tendency unknowingly because you can manifest a racist attitude in so many ways without even knowing it?
To say you’re not a racist, you’ll have to be extremely aware of what constitutes Racism, and for this to happen, you must be able to see people through the eyes of their maker. Only a person with a redeemed spirit of God can truly look at another person, particularly, if they are wearing a different colour of skin as see them for who they are and not from some socio-cultural believe or identity.
I am an optimist, and my position from a vantage view gives me hope of a prosperous, well-integrated society, where no one is judged or honour due to their colour, race, religion or sex. I am looking forward to that day not afar where all who lives in this nation are truly treated with dignity, respect, and not because they are white or any other colour but because they are South African, and if they are foreign migrants, we should accord them the respect and dignity we offer to guests who come to visit us.
Unfortunately, before we get to this point, we will have to confront all this demon of Racism or Xenophobia, which has eaten deep into our social culture. There are those who still choose to see and believe from their dysfunctional perspective of white supremacy in our society, but particularly, here in Franschhoek, and this calls for great concern if we must secure the future posterity.
Am not new to the battle of racism
I am not new to the issue of xenophobic attack; I am quite aware of the operation of this ungodly spirit of insecurity. I had to face the reality of how it feels to be challenged, suspected, accused, and lied upon by so-called pastors and Christians, due to the colour of my skin and the region I came from.
If I wasn’t keenly aware of my prophetic mission to the nation of South Africa, particularly, why I am currently based in the Western Cape, I would have been driven into the hole or some cave in hiding like many have been force to do by this demonic spirit. To a large degree, I believe that I cannot be a faithful prophetic intercessor without facing what many have suffered and are still facing as South Africans from the hands of those who think they hold the key to the economy of the nation.
I do not believe that it’s by accident or chance the Lord directed my steps to the community of Franschhoek here in the Western Cape. I do think that my marrying a woman of colour is part of my prophetic assignment to see and feel the level of suffering and damage inflicted on this nation of people. For those who care to know, my marriage was not a marriage of convenience. I did not marry to become a South African citizen; no. I became a citizen of South Africa by pure merit.
The wrong perception you grew in makes you devalue people or overvalue others who don’t deserve such level of honour. When a white beggar looks down at your gift because you’re a person of a different colour, such a beggar should not be helped until such perverted, dysfunctional mindset is corrected.
The reality is, everyone speaks and view life from a specific ideological frame of mind. I could speak from an intellectual point regarding this matter, or speak from a political perspective, and I could also choose or speak from an immigrant view, and I’ll still be correct.
However, I’ve chosen to speak from God’s view and value regarding this matter because that’s my primary value system and philosophy of existence so I could be justified by him. The point I’m trying to make through this write up is more than just an incident that happened to me, I am trying to draw your attention and that of South Africans, particularly, the spiritual and political leaders because they are responsible in shaping the destiny of the nation on the right path. They’re still the landmines of apartheid buried within the ground of our socio-cultural, economic engagement that will continue to lame many if we don’t strategically locate and defused them.
Racism is a landmine
Racism is a landmine of apartheid that is still very much alive within the hearts and the social fabric of our communities. Unfortunately, it seems we lack both the political and spiritual leadership will in dealing with it. I have gone way past the point of trying to prove a point to anyone regarding my believe and stand for truth and justice, not just in the community of Franschhoek but in the entire nation of South Africa.
The reality is, if some of the mortals choose not to see nor recognize this side of me, well, the heavens will continue to testify of my presence and footprint as one whose agenda is to bring healing, hope, and restoration to many who cannot even identify themselves as part of this great nation because they’ve been racially abused and marginalized. The battle of Racism and Xenophobia is in the realms of human thought and mind process, and only those with a sound mental and spiritual capacity can effectively challenge this evil spirit.
Racism on social media
As I explained earlier, three days ago, I posted two images on a Facebook group called ‘What’s on Franschhoek’ that made some whites feel I do not have the right to publish those words on the group page. Now, I’ve been on this group for the past two or three years if I could remember, but I hardly post on the group.
Secondly, the few times I did post, I did not receive any word from the administrator to stop what I was posting, why? Because there was nothing hateful, or prejudicial about my posts. Like we all know, group posting is first approved before they allow others to see them. I am not sure why I did not receive a word from those administrating the group that what you are sharing is hate speech or something that is not relevant to the community. In fact, the few posts that I shared, we’re loved and appreciated by a few white folks even though I noticed some of my earlier post were mucked by two men.
Thirdly, as a person of principle who understood the idea of protocol regarding people’s space, I hardly impose myself on others, including on social media; I would never go out of my way to violate people’s space and right. I have seen one of two messages in this group that seeks to encourage people on the issues around the Christian faith. More so, there nothing on the group that says this group is strictly business while many, of course, on the group basically use it for their business advertisement.
Religion, Philosophy, and economy the heart of human search
From the cradle of time as we read about the great cities, empires and kingdoms, known for their merchant trade routes, philosophy, religion and the search for wisdom were known to be the center core of their trade, and this was highlighted by the great merchant, philosopher, and adventurer by the name Marco polo. The search for truth in philosophy while the merchant’s trade has always been the light that illuminates the hearts of the people with hope.
To remove what is termed religious in the name of preserving the culture of buying and selling in society is totally contrary to the heart of economic philosophy. Steve Job, the founder of Apple at a point of his struggle with the idea of his company, went to India to consult some of the top Hindu Guru for direction. The point I am making is, religion has always been part of the concept of conceptualization, creativity, skill upgrade, and socioeconomic advancement. A tourist who goes to Indonesia, Malaysia, India, know that they will interact with ideas, concepts, arts and music that captures the spirit and religion of such regions.
The same goes for those who travel to places like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Dubai, and so on, knowing that they cannot avoid ideas and arts that impresses the religion of Islam. We may argue that South Africa is a secular state, and that’s true, but nothing in the constitution of South Africa prevents the expression of the Christian faith publicly.
Those who have no sense of eternal vision for the development of others and the community only focus on what fits into their narrative of self-definition. Life is a complex reality, captured in the very reason for its existence through the eyes and faith of others.
As wealthy as the nation of India in its economy and keeping in mind that India is a secular state, yet, its Hindu religion is seen and visible across the board even within the business space. Those who are trying to use the pretext of secularism to try to shut down the voice of truth and that of God’s kingdom should think again because it will not work.
Cities and communities regardless of rich or beautiful they are should never be reduced to a common commodity of trade. Every society, including this community, has a soul seeking for redemption even amongst the highly rich and influential. About last month, I felt led to start posting one or two words of encouragement from the scriptures on the group, and this was not a daily routine, and by the way, I was very aware of the kind of audience I am trying to minister to one group knowing the kind of resistance I may face.
Talking about audience, I am quite aware of various spiritual levels of those following me online, and therefore, I try to give varieties to cater for everyone, including some who immature or are teenagers following me. I have allowed a day to pass by before speaking about this matter so that I don’t find myself speaking out of unprocessed thought or emotional bias myself.
I have carefully considered my position and the position of all those who attacked me for speaking words of truth and hoped to anyone who may need it. In all fairness, a few of the posts that I have shared were like, mostly by some of the white folks, because only a person that has a different agenda will see those words and will not appreciate it.
Why I was attack on the card of race
Friends, the issue of my attack was not for the fact that what I said was wrong or right; the reality was, my pigmentation does not fit into the narrative of the white population on the group. Secondly, I must have a hidden agenda since my writing sounds intelligent; now, this is a direct quote from one of my protagonists.
One of them, a white lady threatens me, if you don’t stop now, I’ll report you to the administrator. So, I replied her please do, so I could explain myself and position, of course, they carried out their threat without getting any notification from the admin calling or warning me not to write anything pertaining to Christ on the post.
I have been removed from the post, and I give thanks to God to have used me to highlight to the people that Racism is still very much alive in South Africa, particularly, here in the Western Cape and in Franschhoek. Please, do note that there are several reasons why I chose to highlight this matter, particularly, now that the issue of racial profiling and discrimination is rearing its ugly head again across the globe.
We should not be talking about tolerance when we all have equal rights of existence as humans. After apologizing that am sorry to the very first guy who took offense at my post for my sharing of the gospel truth, that apology was seen as a weakness from my side, and just after that, everyone jumped on in to ask me to leave the group. They saw my apology as a weakness to launch an attack on me, but they were indeed blind to know that my apology was my strength and position of courage to stand for my right, and what I have believed for the past thirty years of my calling into ministry as the servant of Jehovah.
I will never give in nor bow to racial discrimination regardless of where or from whom it’s coming from. Racism is an anti-Christ spirit, and behind this evil spirit, is a deep sense of insecurity, fear, lack of trust, and pride to say the least. I’ve got friends that are whites; one of my best friends was white before he went to be with the Lord, and it took a while before we could finally agree on some very critical issue around race, politics, migration, and spirituality.
Sometimes, we had heated arguments to the point that he will leave my place a bit angry, but by the next day, the matters are resolved through the common ground of our faith in the Lord. The reality is, many whites, are still unwilling to recognize and accept the common ground that defines and bind us together as a nation. Many unfortunately, still believe they are in charge of the country due to their economic investment and this is a terrible mistake.
The very first white friend I had was in Nigeria; we met in a bus-taxi while I was preaching. We became the best of friends for many years until I lost contact with him. One of my family members, a big aunty, was married to a white Canadian for more than thirty years. I have always had white folks around me, and they all know where I stand on the ugly issue of prejudice and racial bias. On the flip side, I have confronted people of my colour and skin again on racial remarks or attitude against white folks.
Wherever I hear some generalizing the idea that all whites are racist, I fight against such ungodly statements or notion. I will never allow any person to treat a white person with contempt due to his or her colour of skin. I know that this is a serious issue because it deals with how the environment, we grew up shaped our thought pattern and perspective to life and others. We must take a deep, sincere self-examination if we are found wanting in this Satanic spirit that is today destroying our humanity.
I don’t want my children growing up at start feeling something is wrong with them because of their colour of skin or how they look. Neither do I want any white child growing up thinking he or she must behave in a particular manner to be accepted by the rest because of how he looks.
When the issue of Race and Religion shutdown your voice
The more we reject the value of God’s word and continue to accept the agenda of those who want to change the order of things that is so unnatural, the more we are going to have these issues, unfortunately. How do we build an integrated society when perception is still rigid; how can we develop a coherent, patriotic nation when some group still chooses to see from a supremacist, prideful, prejudice mindset?
Another point I’ll like to highlight is the fact that many of the people who know me on the group, and I think they should be about five or so, including my wife, could not jump into the conversation to my defense; if for nothing, say but we know this person you guys are challenging or attacking. But further still, if they cannot stand up for me, they should be able to stand up for the defense of the cross of Christ and their own faith.
Not one person came to my defense or that of the kingdom, and you know why they couldn’t do that? They’ve all been captured by the spirit of apartheid; fear, intimidation, and limitation have crippled them to the point that they have totally lost their voice to speak out for justice. I saw this as a great test, not the whites that I know said anything, not some of the colored or my African brother or sister will dare rise to my defense.
I felt glorious like Stephen, who stood before the Sanhedrin in the Bible, defending his stand for Christ and his kingdom. If you cannot stand for truth and the messenger of prophetic truth, what then are you standing for? What do you call the silence of this so-called Christians? Many of what we claim to be practicing today as Christians is an extension of the worship of Baal because we are afraid of Jezebel. They rather be quiet than incur the wrought of Jezebel
Friends, I’ve been doing a write up on the architect of Jezebel, and one thing you’ll see in the attack of Jezebel and other tactics of the enemy is to use the spirit of intimidation to cripple their opponents. Many, today, who attend some Christian gathering or community have no capacity to stand up against the spirit of intimidation and fear.
Many only make noise in the holes and caves they call churches. When spiritual leaders don’t seem to have the capacity to address these evil tendencies on the pulpits, what then are they preaching and teaching the people. Those who promoted the agenda and the development of apartheid used the spiritual leaders and the platforms of the Church, and this is still happening today.
Today, we are seeing certain white folks trying to pay penitence for the sins of their fathers by serving foods to the poor communities; many have used Mandela day to try to show they are helping in the poor while we know that the spirit of prejudice still lingers in the hearts of many. If you asked me, this is playing on the intelligence of the people. If the white South Africans truly want to change the way things are going, let’s all start by changing how we see our fellow blacks or coloured humans.
Perception must be where change begins from and not in the mere handing over of some food packs or clothes to our vulnerable black folks or colored children in need.
This is good, but not good enough if we desire to escalate the agenda of grassroots integration, transformation and transformation.
If I could be judged and looked down upon based on the colour of my skin and not on my character or intelligence, then, something is still fundamentally flawed with the architectural framework of how many in our society think and see themselves and others.
My call is for everyone to stand up against this evil that is threatening the future of the community of Franschhoek and our beloved nation.
The voice of the Church must be awakened in addressing this problem; political leaders should never allow anyone to use the card of raise to abuse or dominate others, especially on the grounds of religion.
Those in the fields of business should stop abusing and underpaying their workers because they see them as vulnerable. Respect for all humans is a right and a necessity because we all love to be respected.
I will continue to be indebted to those white folks in the community of Franschhoek, and in other places who are selflessly serving not because they feel guilty, or seek to pay some form of penitence for the sins of their ancestors but because they love humanity regardless of their colour, tongue or creed.
Let it be known today that any individual who think they have a dominant voice or hand over any space in this new South Africa should think again because they will be stopped no matter what.
It’s a new dawn for South Africa, and indeed, racism has, and all forms of racial prejudice has no place here.