There’s no trade-off for real freedom

2011-07-16 13:44

Last week, a close friend suggested that black South Africans traded their freedom for economic protection from the generally pro-white international capital; and now that their poverty is getting sharper with time, a historic moral truth is being realised: any people who would trade their freedom for ­protection deserve neither.

We were nestled by an outdoor fireplace, palming flutes of champagne and slurping oysters.

In our company was a farmer from Stellenbosch and his son. They lived in Waterkloof, Pretoria, until recently, before having to defend their ­privilege over ocean delicacies.

The descent into what became a fiery debate was started by the ­invocation of the ANC Youth League’s call for land expropriation without compensation.

Plus, the fact that the 23-year-old son-of-a-farmer said he had never been to Mamelodi, a black township located about 15 minutes away from Waterkloof.

He was not helped by the fact that most of the households in his neighbourhood enjoyed the services of domestic workers who lived in that very township.

Added to his losses in the debate was that he didn’t speak a single African language.

This unsurprising revelation was thoroughly ­exploited by another beer-bellied friend of mine.

He said: “But your people have been here for over four hundred years – the formerly exiled Haitian president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide spent only seven years here and left speaking impeccable Zulu – what’s wrong with this picture?”

The farmer’s son was accused of refusing to learn about black life because he didn’t think “they’re worth wasting time on”.

As the tray of oysters was getting depleted and beer replaced the champagne, the father became more vocal too, contending that he made all his wealth in democratic South Africa and had stolen ­nobody’s land.

My friend retorted that “the ­purchase of stolen goods doesn’t exempt you from the crime”, and invoked a legal concept: “restitutio ad integrum (to restore to original condition)”.

What that original condition is – whether black, white or green – South Africans must work hard to agree on.

After our fiery dashiki dialogue, I couldn’t help but remember a fault line at the foundation of the Mandela Magic of 1994, something Pallo Jordan once told the BBC.

He said: “One of the deals that had to be cut was that whites would ­accept democracy, provided they kept the property they ­acquired [through apartheid].”

So, what do we do to safeguard this democracy, then, if whites’ ­sincerity is questionable?

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.