On my way to work last week, I was confronted by the self-proclaimed ‘Kasi Mlungu’ saying that her life is so hard because she’s too white to be black and too black to be white. 

The so-called ‘kasi mlungu’ (township whiteperson) is DJ Duchaz, a house and kwaito DJ. Her real name is Anita Ronge, and she’s an Afrikaans girl from Bonearo Park who went to Hoerskool Kempton Park. Here she is with her mom:

Remind me again what makes you so black?

via GIPHY

She posted this on twitter last week:

Wait, it doesn’t stop there…

She ended up trending because so many people were co-signing her, even going so far as to make her their #WCW for simply appropriating our culture – which is exactly what she is doing. Anita went so far as to turn it into a hashtag that a bunch of other people jumped on.

While some of you may think what Anita does is cute, this is why it is not.

Cultural appropriation

What Anita is doing is called cultural appropriation. This means that she is adopting and using elements of a culture that is not her own. Worse off, she is using it as a commercial gimmick. She has adopted parts of the lifestyle, people and culture she has spent time around to build a persona which is essentially her brand. She is making money off pretending to be black when a black person would either a) be paid peanuts for doing the same thing or b) they wouldn’t get paid at all for being who they are. Her whiteness gives her social capital that allows her to be hired as the Kasi Mlungu over a black female DJ from the township who is also a kasi woman who enjoys and plays house music. Pretending to be what she is gives her the edge over someone who already is what they really are.

She puts that persona on whenever she is performing or taking part in campaigns which she gets paid for and has the option to “turn it off,” so to speak, whenever she feels like it. She will also benefit from all the PR  she is currently getting, without acknowledging her position of privilege or the fact that the township isn’t what she understands it to be. She also doesn’t acknowledge that her whiteness affords her social capital that people in the township can only dream of having access to.

DJ Duchaz merchandising

The double standard

Anita prides herself on being the white person in the hood and her fans treat her as though that is an achievement.

They never stop to consider the fact that they will never be celebrated for being able to speak English or going to hang out in Sandton and other so-called “traditionally white” spaces. In fact, they would be crucified for it because some people would accuse them of being coconuts, thinking they are better than others and that they are forgetting where they come from.

We spend a lot of time in these “traditionally white” spaces so why should it be celebrated that this woman DJ’s in the hood, eats at shisanyamas, wears traditional Zulu attire and has black friends?

The fact that black people give Anita props for what she does says nothing about race relations either. Loving her won’t stop the racism black people experience.

Her ‘blackness’ is a choice

In fact, the fact that she wore some traditional attire and put on a performance of blackness and added a caption with the intent to endear herself to black people because she is “hated” by other white people is insulting.

Anita Ronge is using the backlash to play the victim and try to relate to other black people based on those grounds. She either forgets or refuses to acknowledge that this momentary “hardship” she’s facing can go away if she wants it to. Remember, if all the hate becomes too much for Anita, she can just drop the act and go back to being white. That is not the case for the people she is trying to relate to. Her refusal to accept and understand that proves that she isn’t as black as she purports to be.

Perpetuating stereotypes

Finally, she is zoning in on a few parts of blackness, alienating the other parts that make it what it is. She’s adopting and focusing on the stereotypically “ghetto” parts of blackness; parts that black people themselves cannot adopt if they wish to be accepted in white spaces. There is more to being black than hanging out ekasi, saying ‘neh’ at the end of every sentence, calling people mabhebheza and dating black men (something she regularly boasts about in her tweets, SMH). All that does is perpetuate stereotypes of blackness.

Our blackness is not a costume, our lives are not a gimmick and one white woman who pretends to be black (because let’s face it, that is what she is doing), will never single-handedly stop racism.

If she really cared, she would acknowledge her privilege, educate herself on our lived experiences, admit that what she is doing is hurtful to some and find a way to make money without having to pretend to be something she is not.

This post is by Kay Selisho and was originally published on Media Girl Chronicles.