Why the revisionistforces of racist oppression in South Africa should not beallowed to intimidate Ron and CharlayneGault
Gault, the managing director of the international investment bankJP Morgan and one of the most influential African-Americans in SouthAfrica, was scheduled for the United States to pitch for potentialAmerican investors to support South Africa.According to eyewitnesses quoted by the Independent newspaperof South Africa, Gault's assailant, a white man in civilian clothes,head-butted Ron as he stood at the door of his car, which was parkedacross the road from the restaurant. He suffered a broken nose andhad been left with two injured eyes. When the assault occurred, theassailant was flanked by the two traffic officers, who had earlierbeen involved in an altercation with Charlayne (in pix to the right),prior to the attack. She was nearly run over bythe white South Africa cops. Gault said the bigger of the twotraffic officers was in and out of Moyo's restaurant after theassault. The man had told him after the assault and when he returnedto Moyo's restaurant for ice: "You deserve what you got." Gault saidthe man had also said to his wife: "Get your arse out of the way."After dilly-dallying by the local police for 3 weeks, the assailanthas been arrested, and the indolent cops are now underinvestigation.
Whatever the details of the assault, hereare five major reasons why I think the United States, all persons ofAfrican heritage, and the business community should not allow theforces of darkness and oppression in South Africa to intimidate, cowand maim and alter the Gaults and others who are involved in theeconomic and political empowerment process in post-apartheid SouthAfrica.
First, is the fact that apartheid failed asan economic agenda, as a social engineering program as a politicalscheme. I've been to parts of South Africa. I was there when U.S.President Clinton visited in 1998; and I was in the country only afew weeks ago, in October 2000, for business and other associatedinterests. I remain amazed by the rank revisionist content of most ofthe major "Anglo-White-Afrikaans", media; that's the non-Black-ownednewspapers and media. They help fester these anti-Black hostilities.Those hoarse apologists, the well-funded spin doctors and shamelessminions and choir masters of apartheid are all over the pages ofthose newspapers writing and speaking as if South Africa never hadany recent history of the venal and satanic impositionssanctioned by the "Anglo-White-Afrikaans" establishment and theirstreet vendors of state-sanctioned and funded violence. It's anincredible twist that it almost makes the informed want to cry!
Second, the assault on Ron and Charlene areugly reminders of even worse actions against indigenous Black SouthAfricans. I recall vividly their system of abominable denial of therights of Black South Africans to operate business, vote or be votedfor, and in any reasonable way be "allowed" by the henchmen of theAnglo-White-Afrikaans political dinosaurs and economic scavengers whoworked to abbreviate and deny Blacks the exercise their divine andbasic freedoms and access to the immense natural resources of thecountry in that beautiful, blessed southern tip of Africa, Azania,also known as South Africa. Black folks in South Africa have come toofar (although with little to show); and we won't go back there,again. No; not any more!
Third, if these extremists and distorters ofSouth Africa's history and realities continue on this road ofreturning to their past ways, I am concerned that South Africans willyet see a major bloodbath. It will be worse because there will be noNelson Mandela running the country as President to assuage andcredibly calm Black and White fears, anger and demands. Theirunrelenting attack on President Mbeki's capacities as President afterMandela is a foolish mistake they may regret.
Fourth, a network of progressive Africansand African-Americans in business, government and the media shouldnever fold their hands as some of our very best are placed at mortalrisk but the uniformed (shall I say more accurately the refurbished)goons of a failed and immoral system, apartheid in South Africa. No.Enough of the nonsense. My Igbo ancestors of south eastern Nigeria,for whom I am proud to say, Ron and Charlene Gault took a name fortheir affable son, Chuma, said along time ago, "it's only a treewhich stands at a place when a mad man wields an axe and threatens tomow it down." To move further, they punctuated it with the words "Heor she who have ears, let 'em hear!" By the way "Chuma" is an Igboname which means "God knows."
God knows that Ron and Charlene have servedAfricans and Americans, and indeed the world with such class, apan-human mind and professional dexterity. I recall when she saw mein Johannesburg while we were covering Clinton's trip (she was stillat the U.S. National Public Radio as bureau chief, her sense for allof us as members of a common family and support will always remainwith me. By a blessed turn of events, she has been succeeded byanother first class professional, a rich blessing to our sharedAfrican heritage and the craft of media work, Kenneth Walker (formerWhite House and southern Africa correspondent for the ABCNews).Indeed, USAfricaonline.com and The Black Business Journal had thetwin blessing of having Kenneth Walker as Executive Editor(Washington D.C) before the NPR offered him the job of reportingAfrica.
Back to the issues.
Fifth, on February 4, 1998, Ron Gaultled the investment bank called J.P. Morgan as managingdirector and head of J.P. Morgan's South African office to receiveits foreign exchange trading license for its South Africanoperations, completing the establishment of a full branch office inJohannesburg, South Africa.
He knew this was important to create international businessoptions and access for all South Africans, not just the racistarchdeacons and gluttons who fed fat through the oppressive laws theyimposed on the backs of Blacks in South Africa. "The foreign exchangelicense will allow us to extend our product range and provide moreservices to clients."
Sixth, I must address the significance ofCharlayne to all of us, citizens of the world, Blacks and Whites, andall. Charlayne was born on February 27, 1942, the first of threechildren of Charles and Althea Hunter. She wrote a book, In MyPlace, in 1992.
More significant, recall that CharlayneHunter-Gault was one of the students who risked her life todesegregate the colleges and universities of the Southern section ofthe U.S. Carol Sears Botsch wrote about her that "in January of 1961,Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes became the first twoAfrican-Americans to attend the University of Georgia, following twoyears of efforts by the state of Georgia to deny them admittance."Charlene works as bureau chief for the CNN. You will recall that inthe book edited by Barbara Summers, Charlayne wrote the essay "IDream a World", where she stated that the contradictions andiniquities of apartheid remained "one of the greatest challenges thatwe in the media face." Who knew she'll with her husband face apersonal close call to death with the same, refurbished racist policewatching at their agony, with a wicked glee.
Finally, it is my position that we all ensure that the likes ofthe Gaults, the Walkers and others should not be allowed to sufferfor their professionalism and service to foster the interests of U.S.and Africa, and in fact uphold the dignity of our shared heritage.Our interests are intertwined and must be guarded and , yes,Defended, jealously. I say that by drawing, again, from the fount ofthe wise sages of Igbo nation that "he or she who does not know wherethe rain started falling on him/her may never know when it stopped."Those who have ears let 'em hear!
Nwangwu,adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa),is the Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S.-basedprofessional newspaper to be published on the Internet USAfricaonline.com;and USAfrica The Newspaper, The Black Business Journal, BBJonline.com,and NigeriaCentral.com.He is the recipient of the Journalism Excellence Award, 1997. ChidoNwangwu is writing a book on the experiencesof recent African immigrants in the U.S.
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