NOTICE | Ivan Katsere: Operation Dudula Legitimizes Black Hate in South Africa
The definitive breakdown of the social fabric of blackness in South Africa is upon us and it dictates that black people should be regulated to compete for lower social strata, writes the University of Cape Town PhD candidate Ivan Katsere.
The worst treatment humans have experienced in the world has been inflicted by other humans. Some of the worst experiences for black people around the world have been at the hands of other black people.
Racism and racialization have been instrumental in paving the way for human abuse and discrimination based on color. They are sources of dehumanizing justifications that provide an essential template in the mobilization of hateful attitudes, and underlying stereotypes that have had no validation or confirmation. Racism and racialization simultaneously serve as confirmation of bias, catalyzing and activating bias into action.
In their absence, stereotypes are not activated, job-seeking perceptions do not transform into Afrophobia, and I argue that a misconception of colonial rule will not find mobilization in Operation Dudula in l lack of racism and racialization.
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The history of Blackness has been marked by harrowing experiences at the hands of dominant races. I recognize that. Further, I point out that while black people cannot be racist due to the lack of resources that allow for the domination of another race through the adoption of a classist structure, and that the nationalist politics of belonging to racism creates a perception of dominance that promotes an illusion of racial superiority.
Although black people cannot technically be racist, they can abuse their nationalist identity to adopt mechanisms of domination that alienate other black people from the margins of society and eradicate them from social capital. It is this adaptation of a demonizing and despicable system that gives black people the ability to racialize and imbue racism. It is, in my opinion, the worst form of discrimination because it is the adoption of the system of domination of a race to dominate and eradicate its own race.
Operation Dudula is relevant to neo-nationalist politics today
Operation Dudula is a function of the recycled idea of nationalism which has dominated the world and which has seen a significant increase in recent years. Through this ideology, the “original” values and characteristics of the nation are apparently prioritized and perceived as compromised by the presence of a certain group of people. In most cases, as is the case in America, immigrants are seen as scapegoats solely responsible for undermining nationalist values.
“And how do men and women know that they belong to this community? Because they define others who don’t belong, shouldn’t belong, who can never belong. In other words, by xenophobia. And because we live in a time when all other human relationships and values are in crisis… xenophobia seems to be becoming the mass ideology of the twentieth century” (Hobsbawm, 1992, p. 8).
Nationalist ideology recycled in modern times took the form of xenophobia in other parts of the world, but was adopted to apply primarily to black Africans in South Africa, a state of Afrophobia. Nationalist politics in South Africa is being exploited to target and drive black Africans out of society, stripping them of their human qualities and dehumanizing them into animals (Katsere, 2019).
The “Put South Africa First” is key to problematizing blackness and blacks first in South Africa. The unspoken and very intentional meaning of the ‘Put South Africa First’ discourse is the intentional exclusion of non-South African black ‘Others’. This power of exclusion goes hand in hand with an intentional and never pronounced inclusion of white non-South Africans as tourists, expatriates or simply the “superiotised”, “Other”, untouchable elite located as “wanted”, “welcome and untouchable”.
Operation Dudula Racialize the African Other – Criminalize Black Africans
Racism unfolds through a combination of two principles, which are inferiorization and deprivation. The inferiorization of the most deprived leads to forms of racial segregation or exclusion whose most deprived aspects are of a social, economic and non-racial nature (Wieviorka, 1995). Racism then becomes a mode of management of the two principles (inferiorization and deprivation) and its various concrete expressions are only so many distinct modalities of a biologization which resolves the tension or the contradiction between the two (Wieviorka, 1995, p. 120 ) .
Operation Dudula is an organized afrophobia designed ONLY to dehumanize and eliminate black Africans from South Africa. The discourse of Operation Dudula is consistent with the promotion of black body exclusion narratives from South Africa and the formalization of Afrophobia. Operation Dudula and Afrophobia are active violations in South Africa that are initiated by the dehumanization, deprivation and criminalization of black Africans for the issues that occur in South Africa. The dehumanization of black Africans is intentionally used as a tool to reject their humanity and justify their inhuman treatment (Katsere, 2019).
Non-South African blacks in South Africa are viewed by Operation Dudula through the prism of the colonial and racist framework, which viewed black South Africans as looters who came to rob, rob and, obviously , selling drugs to their children, and was not suitable for humane treatment. They are perceived as entities who should not be part of the human community based on prejudices, stereotypes and similar negative anti-migrant discourses and attitudes.
Operation Dudula does not focus on addressing the criminal implications that South Africa has faced as a result of crimes committed by migrants. Crime remains statistically high in South Africa. According to its 2016/17 annual report, the SAPS was only able to detect the perpetrators in 23.9% of murders and in 17.9% of aggravated robberies. This means that in over 75% of murders and over 80% of aggravated robberies, the police have no idea who the perpetrators are (Newham, 2017). It is therefore not possible to make specific claims that undocumented foreign nationals commit most crimes in South Africa.
The same criteria for targeting migrants that dominate Operation Dudula were also proven dysfunctional by the South African Police Service’s 2015 Operation Fiela. This operation only targeted illegal immigrants and arrested 15,396 black foreigners for repatriation. When police target groups of people, most arrests for violent crimes are made against people who fit this profile (Newham, 2017).
Addressing real issues in South African society
The South African means of production are still in the hands of the white population. The South African elite remains the only barrier to accessing the South African economy through the monopolization of resources (Zulu, 2022). Three decades after South Africa’s independence, South Africa is still one of the most unequal countries in the world, with the elite occupying a much larger share of the economy and enjoying greater access. unlimited plundering the coffers of the country, which directly increases poverty. for black South Africans.
The World Bank has been able to establish that race plays a key role in a society exemplified by South Africa where 10% of the population owns more than 80% of the wealth (World Bank, 2022). According to Aljazeera (2022, p. 2), “race remains a key driver of high inequality in South Africa, due to its impact on education and the labor market”.
Operation Dudula is an active permeation of the inequalities that already exist in South Africa, as it actively puts black people at the forefront of the fight for minimum wage jobs and for the insignificant part of the economy. They still neglect the reform of the societal structure that the colonial regime left in place and resort to its active promotion and defense.
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The purpose served by Operation Dudula is not the quintessence of the freedoms promised at independence. The emancipation of the black race cannot be jeopardized by the struggle and the spilling of black blood for the economy’s minimum wage strip. Operation Dudula diverts black bodies from the economy, focusing them on blackness alone and not economic emancipation, reserving elitist social and economic progress primarily for whites. The unconscious but blatant precedent set by Operation Dudula is that of a nation that relegates black people to jobs that were designed for them by the colonial system.
Operation Dudula typifies the economic advance of racism, and black South Africans should abandon the ideology that they should fight for the jobs of the lower strata. Black people should be active participants in the South African economy who are not relegated to being waiters and drivers.
“We seem very hateful about the very notion of immigration, but we actually confuse racism with a desire to fix the immigration system” (Cummin, 2019, p. 1).
– Katsere is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town.
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