21 September 2017

South Africa: Tumi Morake and Solidarity 'Agree to Disagree'

Photo: Tumi Morake
Tumi Morake (file photo).

JacarandaFM breakfast show co-hosts Tumi Morake and Martin Bester met with trade union Solidarity and "agreed to disagree" over the accusations of racism that the union launched against Morake.

Some of Morake's comments during a debate on the show raised the ire of the union. She compared apartheid to a bully taking a child's bicycle and then the child being made to share the bicycle, post-apartheid.

Solidarity rushed to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to complain about double standards over racism.

Connie Mulder, Solidarity head of research, and the union's CEO Dirk Hermann, met with Morake and Bester on Thursday.

"We had a discussion, and initial engagement this afternoon," said Mulder. "And it was quite constructive. We agreed to disagree on the merits of the debate," he said, adding that this could be thrashed out at a later date.

However, both parties agreed that people needed to talk about feelings the debate created among listeners, and that it should become part of a bigger discussion about South Africa. JacarandaFM would host this discussion, Hermann said.

The union received a full version of the debate in question, and would air its feelings about the views expressed, during the planned discussion.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster was not immediately available, but Mulder said the station said it would consult its schedule to see where it would best slot in.

Hermann said he regarded Morake as a talented professional.

Call for SAHRC hearings

"On 13 September, Tumi Morake compared white people after apartheid to playground bullies who eluded their deserved punishment," Solidarity said in a statement.

It said that there were double standards when handling race-related issues.

The Institute of Race Relations had shown "that South Africans get along well and that we feel we need each other", it noted in the statement.

"The handling of cases where racial tension steps forward are still a challenge because everyone isn't judged by the same yardstick," claimed Solidarity.

It wants the SAHRC to conduct hearings on the issue, and let people have their say on it.

"The perception that racism is a one-way street, which harms only the majority, is simply wrong. Unfortunately, this perception is strengthened by a consistent pattern of double standards when handling race related issues. South Africans need a consistent yardstick whereby everyone can be judged."

Morake delivered an impassioned monologue on September 12, about not getting involved in arguments between people, at the end of a call-in over the cancellation of one of Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr's appearance at a show in New Zealand titled "Afrikaans is Lekker".

Some callers supported his exclusion from the show, while others were outraged.

'When conversations like these happen, I start to swallow as a black person'

As Bester and Morake started wrapping up the show, which fell on the date that Black Consciousness icon Steve Biko was murdered, Morake said she needed to get something off her chest.

"... when you have these fights among yourselves, try and keep them among yourselves. Don't, don't, then start to go, 'ja, let's bring in the other group'. It's a fight that is happening between one group of people regarding a person. Don't involve us. Because when you do, then we going to go into our struggle, then you going to start telling us about 'it was so long ago', then it's going to get personal because we are talking about an oppression of the mind.

"...And I hate if I have to explain, apologise and excuse my pro-blackness, my Pan-Africaness and my pride in the fact that I did come through a struggle. I came through struggle parents and there are certain race issues that I still feel that are not tackled enough. And then when things like this come up I go, 'this is about representation, this is about people over there, people over here, this is about Afrikaners, saying who represents, who speaks for us? Should this guy be banned? Please try not to bring us into this yet. And, by us, I am talking about my people of the soil. Dankie baie [thank you]."

Many voice notes were sent in supporting Morake and the JacarandaFM team.

"Tumi don't worry - do what you do - you are good at it," said one.

"Julle is awesome - gooi mielies!" [You guys are awesome - throw corn - (go for it)]

The Huffington Post reported that Pretoria furniture store Eric Barnard Meubels had withdrawn its advertising from the station.

"Comments made by that lady [Tumi Morake] are very racial and political... I cannot associate with a station that takes one side," owner Marius Barnard reportedly said.

In Solidarity's comments section, one person said: "I am tired of being the excuse, the reason why SA is broken. Not my fault and not my doing."

Source: News24

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