This Hatred and Anger...
Nhlanhla Hlongwane, 02-Jun-2006 23:43
The recent skirmish between the Rasta’s and the police force in Thembisa over the weekend, although tragic and brutal is however and unfortunately not without expectation. Although a literal head butt in the face of Rasta, it is also as a slap in the face, if not a kick in the teeth of our lauded constitution along with the oath to ‘protect and serve.’ that each and every police officer swears to before wearing the uniform.
In a scene reminiscent of the height of the savagery and evil of the apartheid era, the police trespassed sanctioned sacred ground without provocation and or pretext and proceeded to assault more than a few of the gathered Rastafarian faithful inside the church school. Religious drums were confiscated, just about everything signatured with Red, Gold and Green inside the church and on peoples persons was removed, a Rasta was head buttered by the Superintendent as the shocked congregation continued being brutalized as they were told that they should not be Rasta as “this is not Jamaica.”
Arrests were made and of those arrested, three Rasta’s had their dreadlocks torn out by hand in the holding cells, and where and when this didn’t work, a knife was used to do the depraved and unconstitutional job. Injuries sustained by the faithful include fractures and black eyes! Imagine receiving that the next time you go to praise your God, no matter whom you perceive HIM to be?
The continuing altercations between the Rasta’s and the police is nothing new both hear and anywhere else where in the world where Rasta’s reside in noticeable and organized numbers. But somehow, for it to have happened just over this past weekend, and in the manner in which it did, leaves me feeling that something can and should be done to curb any potential duplication of this highly illegal act of crucifying Rasta’s both here GP and in the rest of the country. This needs to be address, particularly the mentality that informs certain authorities to continue approaching Rasta’s with such cold and naked disdain! Where do they get the higher moral ground?
It is an understatement to say that the Rasta community, in its’ entirety, is livid over the resent assault of our fellow Sistren and Brethren. Certain members of other religions groups have expressed the same anger over the assault! That the police found ganja on the Phumolong Rastas further indicates that their presence on at the Rasta church school premises was preemptive. Meaning that it was only after their snooping around that they found the ganja. They had no reason and or a justifiable cause to be there prior to that. This then also begs the question, why were they there in the first place? And why did they taunt; “You should not be Rastas. This is not Jamaica!” But anyway, they get no cigars for finding ganja on any Rasta. Finding ganja on a Rasta is like finding a pair of drumming sticks in the back pocket of a drummer. It’s not rocket science... but maybe at the Rabie Ridge police station it is.
So this is our little “song of freedom” as it were. We cannot “stand aside and look” no matter how some may feel that “this is just a part of it’! This is a “Special Assignment”! We have to fulfill the book! We have to “get up and stand up” for our rights. Our role in the liberation of this country is tried and true. Our music, our precepts and practices have inspired so many of those who us today. And throughout all the dispensations, the Rasta’s continue to be a constant and a persistent critique against all anti – people doctrine and policies that seek to keep us apart and down pressed even within the African Renaissance. This hatred and anger, meted out against an innocent people who mean so well and want to do and contribute so much good, is certainly not what the masses of the people fought and laid down their lives for. Such behavior is not what our constitution upholds and such behavior should not also be what the police force supports and endorses! Far from uhuru; until Africa and all Africans are free, the best is still yet to come! Nhlanhla Hlongwane [(BA) Political Science & Communications, (MA) Media Studies] is a Freelance Filmmaker (Director, Camera person) and Writer. He is www.kush.co.za editor and a founding member of Kush Kollective. http://www.kush.co.za/workarea/show.asp?articleno=296