Racism, superiority and hatred — Afrika Mhlophe


In some of my talks on culture and diversity I am sometimes asked the question: “Can black people be racist?” I have come to learn that this question is loaded and also based on a narrow definition of racism as simply about “superiority”. Racial superiority is a weakness of Western Culture. In fact, in my book, Freed by God but Imprisoned by Culture I refer to Western Culture as a culture of superiority. The reasons are obvious — it imposes its ideas around civilisation, pedagogy, etc. as standards everyone should aspire for.

I will come back to this later. For now let us talk about racism as a “demonically-inspired doctrine.” This view is held by some black Christians I have engaged with. It implies two things: that racism is a spiritual aberration — not dissimilar to idolatry or occultism, and also that racism is a condition of the heart. In other words, material privilege does not — by itself — give rise to the idea of racial hierarchy. In 1 Timothy 4:1 Paul warns that in the last days some believers will turn to doctrines of demons.

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This “turning away” is preceded by a departure from the faith. I want to suggest, therefore, that the current resurgence of racial animosity is an indication that we are in the perilous days foreseen by Paul. I want to further add that blacks — as well as whites — are now eating freely from the forbidden tree of hatred. And similar to Adam and Eve, both groups have now mastered the art of rationalising their abhorrent behaviour.

Learned behaviour
Now let me answer the question of blacks and racism. As a group, blacks lack material conditions that are necessary to sustain the idea of racial superiority. They just don’t have the means to feel superior. But blacks — as with whites — are not just a group but individuals within a group. They do not operate as a homogenous group. Amongst them there are divergent spiritual and political views. So as individuals, blacks can have racial antipathy. Former President Nelson Mandela once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

I want to suggest that many young black people are now being taught to hate. In institutions of higher learning some sit in echo chambers where they are only exposed to one narrative. It’s a narrative built on revisionism. For instance, the “woke” generation is prone to vilify Mandela as a “sell out.” What does this all mean concerning racism from whites? Well, I can tell you that many whites are still blind to racism. For instance, many attend multiracial congregations that are neither multicultural nor inclusive.

Let me end by sounding a warning. I believe that SAs blacks and whites are in trouble. Not as a result of land possession or dispossession. But as a result of being, fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that come from demons — 1 Timothy 4:1 CEV. These teachings — which ferment anger and hatred — are simply using material conditions as proxy but they originate from a diabolic source. In the garden called South Africa, there is now a hissing serpent seeking to supplant God’s Word. And its ultimate aim is to dethrone the Almighty from our lives.


  1. Activism for revolutionary change in the South African political landscape has in recent years been masked by a excessive intolerance or hatred for those who are seen as past perpetrators of crimes against humanity and those who are now seen as responsible for the vast economic discrepancies between blacks and whites still evident even today. ‘Revolutionaries’ as they refer to themselves are consciously or unconsciously taking up the same hatred which was practiced during apartheid and spreading it under a new banner, “radical economic transformation in our lifetime”. Is their message one of hope for the families of the previously oppressed or is theirs just a call to take up arms and brawl for the sake of brawling?
    We must analyze their common motions with a strong application of our intelligence and consideration of our priorities as children of the Most High God. In an epic battle between two camps, if the one camp can confuse the members of the other camp on who the real enemy and they start killing each other , then the former camp will win the battle unopposed.
    There is a danger here because an unsuspecting child of God, under his/her own conviction to fight against inequality for his/her own people would join this movement in an attempt to find solutions to rectify the injustices of the past but then finds himself/herself caught up in an infinite deadly ring of hatred, deep resentment and anger. We may all agree apartheid was ungodly and unbiblical because all men are equal in the eyes of God; how do we then deal with the stench and damage this system has left in our country while keeping our faith intact and growing strong?

  2. Rona van Niekerk

    I totally agree that we are in grave danger as a country. The problems we face are insurmountable from a human perspective. But we serve the Almighty God. We need His spirit to fall afresh on our land, and all her people to turn us into true children of God, with soft hearts. Then we will be able to esteem each other as we should, and move forward in love, forgiveness, and sharing. We need to pray earnestly and continually for this.

  3. I agree that our daily Christian conduct is a choice. A choice that should be based upon a sound Biblical world view.

  4. Powerful piece and very much on point

  5. To claim that ideas of superiority are only a western affliction is very short sighted. Perceptions of superiority are based on performance criteria of wealth or technology or power and can often be obtectively true. Jewish people have more intellectual successes than most races, western technology does lead the world at this time and China is winning the economic race. Based on performance certain races are superior to others BUT then thank God people are valued by their image of their creator. We are judged by the standards of Grace.

  6. This is info that really needs to be available to the entire Nation! Such objective discourse if rarely seen in the media! Thankyou Afrika & the comments sent in! RESPECT to ALL!!!