Speech by Minister Dlamini Zuma on the Occassion of the Reply to the President's State of the Nation Address, 9 February 2000

Madam Speaker

Mr President

Honourable Members

Comrades

I am sure the President will respond to the crazy allegations made by the apartheid general, Honourable Holomisa yesterday.

Mr President, you raised the issue of racism and fascism very sharply. Much as apologists of racism would have us believe otherwise, it is still very rampant in our society.

Racism was used in Africa by both the explorers and colonisers for two main reasons.

Firstly, to justify their barbaric deeds against the peoples of the African continent, claming superiority and treating us as sub-human.

Secondly, to divide and rule. They divided us into two categories, the inferior and the

superior races, tribes or ethnic groups.

A lot of serious and catastrophic conflicts on our continent can be traced to the artificial

divisions that were imposed on our people by The colonisers. In our struggle for a better

world we cannot ignore the monster of racism within our borders and

beyond.

In the developed North, racism is still very deeply rooted. Historically it was based on

bogus scientific notions about racial differences.

In the 1930’s respectable scientists mainly physical anthropologists, biologists,

psychologists and geneticists contributed to Rassenkunde, literally translated means race

science. This provided a basis for racist assumptions being widely acceptable,

particularly in Europe.

One of those extreme race scientists was Hans Gunthur. Though after the war he was

stripped of his University posts he continued writing his racist views until his death in

1967.

Contrary to popular belief, fascist ideas did not die with the fall of Adolf Hitler. They

continue to be celebrated by small obscure extreme right-wing groups like the Northern

League, which was established by a British Anthropologist Roger Pearson. His idea

was to create a rallying point for Nazi intellectuals in a hostile post-war environment.

The October/December 1971 editions of the Northlander, proclaimed that the Northern

League stands for; "The preservation of the identity and values of the North so that our

nations can have in the future white, blond and blue-eyed children."

Regrettably these ideas are not only confined to the Northern league. I would be very

surprised if they did not exist, not only in South Africa but maybe even in this Chamber.

In January, 1998, CNN carried the following headline; "Fascism in the German army

reminiscent of the dark past. Military shaken to its foundation."

The report contained the following; "A vein of fascism, hate, bigotry, anti-Semitism and

senseless violence has been uncovered in the German armed forces, reviving images of

another era when such attitudes turned all of Europe into a slaughter house."

It continued;

"Right-wing extremists’ incidents in the German armed forces

doubled last year. According to statistics from the German Parliament there were 171

neo Nazi incidents involving at least 200 German soldiers."

Madame Speaker

It is a well-established fact, that extreme right-wing parties base their political

interpretation on race science. The National Party, a break away from the National Front

in Britain believes in the following:


"Nationalists believe that intelligence is mainly genetically determined, and so the differences in intelligence and other mental abilities between the races are inborn and hereditary. Therefore we believe that the World intellectual leadership shown by the white race is due to our unique genetic heritage, whose dilution by mixing with alien stock would be an irreversible catastrophe for all mankind…"

A number of European countries do have extreme rightwing parties in their parliaments, including Denmark and Sweden.

The EU has recently imposed sanctions against the Austrian government, which has a neo-fascist party, the FPO (Liberal Party of Austria). It is interesting that about a third of its voters are under 30, and almost 50% are workers.

Madame Speaker

Mr President

Hon Members

Speke in his journal "Fauna", had this to say about Africans;

"The true curly-haired, flat-nosed, pouch-mouthed Negro" .

He continues; "He works his wife, sells his children and unless when fighting for the property of others, contends himself with drinking and dancing like a baboon, to drive dull care away". This was the inferior Negro.

Living along side this sorry "Negro" Speke found a "superior race". "A race of men who are unlike the natives by virtue of their fine oval faces, large eyes and high noses, denoting the best blood of abyssinia." These were the Ethiopians.

Laeger wrote: "There are few people in Europe among whom one finds these three factors of national cohesiveness, one language, one faith, one law." This was Rwanda.

In order to divide the Rwandan people, they dispatched scientists with measuring tapes and callipers and went about weighing Rwandans, measuring cranial capacities and conducting comparative analysis of relative protuberance of Rwanda noses. They used the nasal index to try and differentiate between Hutu and Tutsi.

If the nose resembled the white man’s long and narrow they were defined as aristocratic Tutsi and if it was flat and broad they were bestial Hutu.

When this was found not to be a perfect tool, Rwandans were asked how many cattle they had. If they had 10 or more they were Tutsi and if they had 9 or less they were Hutu.

This helped the Belgians to perfect the administration of an apartheid system rooted on the myth of Tutsi superiority.

This was the beginning of a slippery slope which culminated in the 1959 genocide and eventually the 1994 wholesome slaughter, where almost a million people were massacred in about 100 days.

This is but one example. We, therefore, can only ignore racism to our own peril.

Mr President, indeed we have to engage this monster of racism deliberately and systematically, and not like the Honourable Tony Leon, who would like us to believe it does not exist.

His problem in acknowledging its existence is that he will have to do something about it, even if it is just to carry the burden of guilt.

The stubborn reality is, racism does exist in our society and within the Democratic Party.

The Anti Racism National Conference is therefore welcome. It is indeed appropriate that the International Conference on racism will take place on the African continent. Africans are grappling head-on with questions of ethnicity, tribalism and racism.

These concepts were alien to our communities until they were introduced by the colonisers.

We are the only ones who can liberate ourselves from the scourge of racism in our country. Internationally this has to be tackled with a lot more determination, for the sake of future generations.

Thank you for your attention.

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