Ban taboos, advises writer Khaya Dlanga
If something makes you cringe, address it and address it right away, says social media celeb Khaya Dlanga.
In a conversation at the Port Elizabeth City Hall, Dlanga said nothing should be taboo in South Africa if we want to move the country forward.
From sexism to racism, conversations must be had, he said, adding that it was only when it was pointed out that some of his comments were sexist that he had learnt to take a closer look at himself.
Often, he added, people were not even aware of sexist or racist traits and could change only when they were empowered with the knowledge to make those changes.
Dlanga spoke at his These Things Really Do Happen To Me book launch on Friday morning.
The 238-page book is filled with short stories about Dlanga's childhood and his encounters in life – including cringing encounters and politics.
“What is the point of not talking about something that makes you feel uncomfortable. You are uncomfortable because there’s something wrong and it needs to be fixed.
“Race and poverty, for example, are still a massive issue in this country, and [equally] being black in corporate South Africa. And the reasons why people get uncomfortable talking about them is because of the power dynamics.”
He said the only way to move forward was by dealing with them and being accountable.
“Like the issue of sexism. I would get aggravated when people would call me out on it and say ‘but some of my friends are women’. These are things I took for granted, I would brush it off as a joke – and that did not mean I wasn’t being sexist.
“But to the receiver who has to deal with that kind of [bigotry] every day it's not a joke,” he said.
Dlanga said his book was for those similar in character or background as himself who would read and relate to his experiences.
“But my book is also for all those who do not understand us, for them to read and better understand who we are.”
He told the crowd the story of the black man could only be truly told by the black man, but lamented that more black writers were not being published at present .
Dlanga was speaking at the pre-event of the Fruits of Democracy Award ceremony which was held at the Athenaeum on Friday evening.
The winners of this year’s excellence awards were Amanda Mpofu (education), Asanda Mali (business), Sizwe Yeza (arts and culture), and Xolisa Menemene (community and public service).