The great race debate: Part 3

2015-01-25 12:00

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Matsima Monehi (36) a self-employed entrepreneur who lives in Centurion says, “Generally, all white people are racist.”

Matsima Monehi. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi/City Press

Monehi reckons white people need to “share their wealth” with black people because they have had more than 300 years of privilege and no matter how hard black people might try to create their own wealth through entrepreneurship and by studying, they simply cannot catch up.

“It is up to white people to choose to become part of the rebuilding phase and become rightful South Africans.

“In my line of business, I get to do business with white people and understandably, they are way ahead of us in many aspects of life. But if they do not try hard enough to integrate and treat us as their equals, they do not deserve to be called South Africans.

“They must change their perceptions and contribute to levelling the playing fields because we do not have a problem with them.”

He says although black people are naturally humble, things quickly turn ugly once they get fed up with a situation. If things do not change, this could become a reality again.

However, he is comforted by the young generation of South Africans studying and living side by side with one another.

“I am happy because the younger generation of white people is less racist than their parents and this is a good sign that maybe one day, we can win this race issue.”

He says he would like to encourage his three children to form relationships and partnerships with their white counterparts.

Hope Mokgoebo is a 32-year-old student who lives in Clayville, Centurion.

Hope Mokgoebo. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi/City Press

“Although we live in a democracy, I feel that white people are still in control. We black people have been given a false sense of power and control. It is all a front.”

Mokgoebo says she finds it difficult to make white friends in South Africa although she has white friends from overseas.

“Because of our apartheid past, it is generally more difficult to make friends with local white people than it is with white people from outside South Africa.”

Mokgoebo does not trust white people as “they like pretending to like you when they actually hate you”. She says nothing has changed as the old white people are as racist as the new generation of white people.

“Having said that, white people are welcome in South Africa as they are as much part of us as they are in Europe, they just have to try harder to make things work.”

Francois Labuschagne (50) is a loss control manager

Francois Labuschagne. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi/City Press

1. As a white South African do you think white people belong in South Africa?

Ja, for sure. We’ve been here for 400 years. I have nowhere else to live.

2. In your opinion, what is it that makes whites comfortable or uncomfortable about black people and other races?

I think white people feel like they have been marginalised in decision making and so on. And I think this apartheid thing, people use it and are not prepared to listen to reason.

Every time, people say it’s a racist thing when they can’t win an argument or when they don’t have an answer, things become racist.

3. What needs to be done to change the current situation?

First, I think the government needs to change. We need a competent president and not a clown. I think if we can start changing there then things will start improving.

4. Do you have black friends?

Yes I do.

5. Have you experienced racism against yourself?

I wouldn’t say not specifically against myself. Not directly.

6. Do you have any plans to emigrate?

Where to? I was born here, they will have to carry me out of this country feet first.

Phillip Lourens (52) is a businessperson

Phillip Lourens. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi/City Press

1. As a white South African do you think white people belong in South Africa?

For sure, where else? I was born here and belong here, I am a citizen.

2. In your opinion, what is it that makes whites comfortable or uncomfortable about black people and other races?

My take is that the primary problem is politicians stirring up so-called racial tensions and friction to serve their own political agendas. In general, I believe the racism in this country is much better than what the media portrays it to be. People get on. People get on here.

3. What needs to be done to change the current situation?

Politicians must stop talking nonsense and do their jobs in the best interests of everybody. They get elected by the populace and get the mandate from the populace. But in SA, politicians elevate themselves above the masses.

4. Do you have black friends?

I have many black acquaintances.

5. What is your relationship with black people in general?

Good. You can ask any of my staff here, they will tell you.

6. Have you experienced racism against yourself?

Yes I have. It was about a week ago – a black person laid a charge against me for discrimination over a situation that was misunderstood, citing slow service.

He thought we were giving other customers preference over him not understanding that we work with a system that allows our customers to choose their preferred washer.

So when the customers who were here waited, he thought the two people helping them were discriminating against him.

7. Have you ever been racist?

The nation can never be justified by race, colour or creed. It’s unjustified to be racist to anyone.

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