Tumi Morake opens up about how George Floyd’s death triggered flashbacks to her own racist experience

As the world shares their outrage at the killing of George Floyd in America, local comedian and radio host Tumi Morake has opened up about how the incident triggered flashbacks to her own racist experience.

The star was labelled a racist and allegedly received death threats in 2017, after she weighed in on a radio show discussion about Steve Hofmeyr by comparing apartheid to a bully taking a child’s bicycle, and then the child being made to share the bicycle.

She also faced a hearing at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA, accused of inciting hate speech, which she was cleared of.

Nearly three years later, Tumi said she was triggered when she saw the protests over George’s death.

Taking to Twitter this week, Tumi wrote about the trauma that she experiences when racial injustice makes headlines.

Tumi M

“The truth is I am triggered. I know what it’s like to speak up and go through a relentless lynching by the Right and its minions. Race things erupt and I have heart palpitations, type and delete because it was traumatic. But my voice stubbornly clings to my throat

“At first I think it is trying to stay down then I realise it is trying to claw its way out. The figurative ’I can’t breath’, coincidentally also the title of a poem I wrote after the bicycle saga.”

She said that it has had such a deep effect on her that she often can’t even craft jokes, which come so naturally to her.

“A lot of days even the funny won’t come. Unyielding, looking me in the eye going ‘F**k you, our deal is we play in spaces of truth and you have become afraid of it. Your comedy hard-on has been reduced to frivolous flaccidity, your heart isn’t pumping blood into it any more’.”

Speaking on radio at the height of the outrage against her, Tumi challenged listeners to be honest about where their “anger” stems from.

“Be honest about how it disturbs you that there is a black voice that stands up and acknowledges its blackness. We want to move on to a non-racial SA. My lived experience is that I do get treated first and seen first as a black woman then as a South African. Being pro-black doesn’t automatically mean I am anti-white. I was very clear on that,” she said.


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