I read with complete shock and utter disgust the treatment by Oxford student Ntokozo Qwabe of waitress Ashley Schultz in Cape Town recently. His refusal to pay her a tip “until lands are returned."While I support all individual rights to self expression, I am not a fan of petty use of colonial themes to individually attack people. At a minimum, Mr. Qwabe should apologize or pay a tip to Ashley Schultz.

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Mr. Qwabe, a South African Rhodes scholar at Oxford who demands that Cecil Rhode's statue be removed at Oriel College under the Rhodes Must Fall movement, his behavior goes against the very core of African philosophical underpinnings of Ubuntu which dictates that a person have humility in the home of another; in this case a foreign student in the United Kingdom. You cannot rearrange furniture as a guest in another person's home. If indeed you find the home to which you are invited offensive then you politely walk away. You cannot take any of the furniture out without the owner's permission, neither can you defile any of it!


I strongly believe that if Africa is to move forward a Bantu philosophical theory should be practiced by Africans; not a European philosophy, but an African theory of government. Ubuntu primarily states that umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu - a person is a person by his relationship with the community, you are uplifted by the community not by our individual accomplishments, this is Mandela in practice. Ubuntu also says a lot about humility, patriotism and I could write pages and pages about the African theory; but it should not be abandoned by the African for the protest doctrine which characterizes Western schools of thought.

The issue here is that the waitress, Ashely Schultz earned a tip and should be paid that tip for her service to Mr. Qwabe’s table. She has nothing to do with the colonial history of white people as a collective, she is a mere waitress. Mr. Qwabe demonstrates the kind of warped thinking that is best exemplified by Robert Mugabe - that a generation of whites are thieves and criminals. This is a highly dangerous attitude for “so-called’ educated Africans like Ntokozo Qwabe and Robert Mugabe. A highly evolved society addresses its remedies and wrongs in a court of law where each party presents its evidence and cross examines the evidence presented by the other party. Even in old Africa the chief ( King) played the role of a judge in judicial matters. Its Ubuntu and a strong judiciary that will change Africa's ill fated and intractable political reality.

Mr. Qwabe is not the example young South Africans should emulate. To receive an Oxford scholarship and study at Oxford is in itself a marked accomplishment. However, one should not arrive at Oxford with historical post-Apartheid baggage, expecting people to pay a price. If Mr. Cecil Rhodes is such an eye sore to Mr. Qwabe , he (Qwabe) should return to South Arica. Mr. Rhodes is a part of British history and heritage, it’s up to the British to make a determination to erase Rhodes completely or not in his homeland of United kingdom.

How would Mr. Qwabe feel if an English man went to KwaZulu Natal or Camden Market in London and requested that the statue of Shaka Zulu be removed because Shaka was a tyrannical Zulu King who killed and massacred innocent Africans who were not Zulu, in an expansive quest for Zulu domination - how would Qwabe react to this? As a black man, I am deeply troubled by a trend I see in other black men - the desire to destroy and humiliate others for the wrongs of racism, this includes the recent physical assault of innocent African refugees in South Africa who are paying a price for being better educated than the average black South African. And under the backdrop of having supported Anit-Apartehid movements: Mr. Mandela was trained in Ethiopia, Algeria and Tanzania. We should change the world and, indeed, society not by attacking people we deem as descendents of colonial Masters but by becoming educated and informed on our specific choice of trades and professions. In Mr. Qwabe’s case - the Law. He is yet to learn about the judicial notion of innocent until proven guilty; something that applies to all of us - including Ashley.

In Mr. Mandela’s speech at the dock on April 24 in 1963, Mandela said: “…I have fought against a white domination and a black domination.” Qwabe should ask himself earnestly - what did Mandela mean by “black domination?" Perhaps black domination is the idea of tribalism or nationalism with no bounds or limits!


Ken Sibanda, is an American Constitutional attorney and movie director, born in Transkei South Africa. He holds an honors Law degree from the University of London and a double Masters in Litigation from Temple Law and California Western School of Law. He has written numerous books, including the play - 1948. 




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