• September 21st, 2018
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‘Tenderpreneur’ too dangerous a word

Letters
Letters

According to rapper KRS-ONE, ‘Language is the expression of creative intelligence’. Nowhere is this intelligence better expressed than in Namibian society with slang terms finding their way into mainstream vocabulary with a few of them sticking and finding context within societies every day expressions. One such term that has been introduced and has stuck is the term ‘tenderpreneur’ which is derived from the South African concept of ‘someone politically well-connected who has got rich through the government tendering system’. Unfortunately there is racial bias regarding this term as it is only attributed to black people as a blanket term whether or not they have been awarded tenders through a competitive bidding process due to their entrepreneurial efforts from the many tech-start-ups that begun in hostel dormitories and grew exponentially resulting in them qualifying to compete for government contracts to those that began by getting small government tenders such as those for catering and grew to become sought after catering powerhouses not only relying on state contracts but relying on business contacts and networks through their reputations of delivering a quality product and service. Language in itself has the capacity to produce institutionalized structures and relations and influence how we interact with others and how we understand ourselves. The term ‘tenderpreneur’ and its use in contemporary language to refer to black businessmen and women perpetuates the notion that regardless of ability, education and individual resources black people because of their inherent blackness cannot achieve economic success through sheer will and determination but are rather heavily reliant on the state to make their economic success possible. The term ‘tenderpreneur’ contains all the hallmarks of institutional racism that seeks to devalue black business prowess as not being attainable in the truest sense but only achievable through, theft, nepotism, cronyism and tenderprenuism, if that is even a word. There are no human racial groups that do not have disadvantageous social or cultural traits. However, given the brutal, unjust and exploitative history of racism in the past and race relations in particular we need to become sensitive towards the use of terms that seek to target a specific racial group. Here I am underlying the fact that, yes, there are some black business people who do take advantage of their proximity to state power in order to benefit from state resources but there are even more who grind day and night to achieve economic emancipation in an age where black success is viewed as somewhat abnormal. Institutional racism according to online sources can be summed up as racial discrimination that is accepted as normal behavior within a society. The behavior of referring to black businessmen and women as ‘tenderpreneurs’ is exactly that, institutional racism. Tout court!!! As responsible citizens we should shy away from this practice and rather adopt terms that do not have racial connotations that stereotype. Vitalio Angula Member of the 2nd Chapter of the Freeformer Movement
2017-11-10 09:46:20 10 months ago
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