Khaya Koko: John Steenhuisen, please take a knee

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The greatest mind-fuck of this chaotic election season would be to see John Steenhuisen and his band of Democratic Alliance racism denialists refusing to stand with cricketer, Quinton de Kock

Call it wishful thinking, but it would be a curveball or a Shane Warne googly of note if Steenhuisen were to suddenly censure international cricketer De Kock for refusing to take a knee in solidarity with the sporting world’s global fight against racism. 

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Steenhuisen telling De Kock to go fly a kite would be rivalled only by the 2006 thriller, The Prestige as being the meanest of all plot twists. 

“The DA, which is a party that takes pride in holding hands with all races around a fire and singing Kumbaya, rebukes and repudiates the repugnant De Kock for refusing to take a knee against repulsive racism,” is the intro I envision Steenhuisen writing in his statement.     

To recap, for my compadres who are not conversant with the gentleman’s game, the International Cricket Council T20 World Cup is currently underway in the Middle East. 

The South African team, known as the Proteas, made international headlines and “went viral” after only black players and less than a handful of white teammates knelt on one knee at the start of their match against Australia on 23 October. 

The disjointed display of the Proteas made the side look like fools, considering that the 11 other competing teams’ players knelt before their respective games in a show of unity, sending out a strong message that cricket abhors racism. 

South Africa, of all the other competing teams at the tournament, has a sickening recent history of apartheid, a repressive system that was labelled a crime against humanity by the United Nations in 1976.  

The kneeling symbol gained prominence after the murder of a black United States man, George Floyd, who was killed in May last year by a police officer, Derek Chauvin. 

Chauvin, who was sentenced to more than 22 years’ imprisonment in June for murder, killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck for about nine minutes while the Floyd was unarmed, handcuffed and lying face-down on the ground. 

But, on Tuesday, Quinny saw fit to rather relinquish his place in the team that played the West Indies – a team made up of only black players – than to follow Cricket South Africa’s directive that the Proteas were to all take a knee before every game.  

Which brings us to Steenhuisen, South Africa’s most loved matriculant. 

Steenie hasn’t really covered himself in glory of late, including his appearance on Gareth Cliff’s podcast recently, when the two okes — in pure Republican Party style — dismissed the fears of prejudice that were espoused by activist Mudzuli Rakhivhane, a black woman, on the show.

The DA leader had a silly smirk throughout a segment when Cliff threw the proverbial middle finger to Rakhivhane, telling her that nobody really gave a frog’s fat arse about her encounters with racism. 

Prior to that, Steenhuisen was caught giggling in front of reporters for defending foolhardy DA posters, which were commissioned by the party’s KwaZulu-Natal leader, Dean Macpherson, that seemingly praised the race-based killing of more than 30 black people in the predominantly Indian suburb of Phoenix during the July unrest.  

So, to make amends for his recent spate of faux pas, Steenie could polish his best grade 12 English and tell De Kock to go play in the traffic for refusing to unleash his inner Rainbow Nation in denouncing racism. 

But, as painful as it is for me to say, I doubt the high school valedictorian will be allowed by Mother Leader Helen Zille and the broader Smurfs party, to forge ahead with his expected country duty. 

For example, in March last year, the DA’s Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, in an internal investigation she led after the party lost votes at the 2019 general elections, blamed the organisation’s black leaders, including then-leader Mmusi Maimane, for the loss in electoral support. 

Nt’sekhe said Maimane’s 2018 tweets supporting former Springbok rugby player Ashwin Willemse, who walked off a live SuperSport rugby programme claiming racist behaviour by former apartheid-era players Naas Botha and Nick Mallet had hurt the party in the lead-up to the 2019 polls. 

Yes, in South Africa, with its history, speaking out against racism is detrimental to a party’s electoral fortunes (insert rolling eyes emoji here). 

Zille doubled down this week by tweeting the unfathomable: “Anti-racism is pure racism. Especially in [South Africa] where it targets minorities.” 

Seeing as De Kock is a racial minority — never mind the fact that he belongs to the country’s economic majority — makes it clear that Mothe Zille will not allow any statements rejecting his petulant behaviour to be released. 

Maybe Steenhuisen, in a knee-jerk reaction, will pull rank on all the racism denialists, get down on one knee and support the anti-discrimination drive of the sporting world. 

And thereby fulfilling my wish of seeing the greatest mind-fuck of all in this chaotic election season.

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