We are proudly Afrikaner

2009-04-16 00:00

You’re not going to like this but here goes ... I have to confess: I felt all warm and fuzzy and just pleased as punch really, when Jacob Zuma said Afrikaners are the only white tribe in Africa.

In fact, my first instinct was to do a little ass-shaking dance and yell: “Ha! At last. Screw you, you bunch of self-righteous, faux liberal Souties. You supporters of Man U and Liverpool. You who are so proud of your ancestral passport. You bunch of ‘when we’s’ (when we were in Rhodesia, when we were in Scotland, when we were in Natal). It’s called KwaZulu-bloody-Natal, okay? You who have still not apologised for the horrors of the past. You’re not fooling anybody. Really, just because you knew someone who knew someone who was a member of the Black Sash does not mean you were part of the struggle. And it doesn’t mean you didn’t get just as fat as the evil Afrikaner off the spoils of apartheid.

“And you lot, who’ve decided that you don’t like our South African brand of democracy (because if 70% of the people didn’t choose the party you like, it’s still called democracy) now that your colonialist lifestyles are threatened and you have joined the chicken run once again ... All I can say is may God have mercy on Australia.”

But that’s just the mean and childish part of me.

Because my second thought was: how dare he? How dare he say that my lovely very English-speaking sister-in-law is not South African enough? How dare he say that about all of my English-speaking friends? And what about all the fabulous English-speaking activists, writers, singers and journalists who contribute daily to the very life and soul of this country?

Besides, doesn’t he know that there are thousands of Afrikaans people who’d give anyone for a foreign passport?

But alleging that Zuma is “trying to tribalise the whites of South Africa” as Chris Roper says in his column, is just plain absurd. Because — and I’m sorry Roper but this needs to be said — English-speaking people did that all by themselves.

Constantly separating themselves from the country’s problems, not bothering to learn a second language in a country with 11 official languages, constantly whining and complaining that all the other groups in South Africa aren’t “liberal” or “open-minded” enough (read enough like them) and sniggering at accents. As if they don’t sound pretty damn peculiar themselves. Celebrated poet Danie Marais compares English-speaking South Africans to the elves of Middle Earth.

“Die vaandeldraers van menseregte en demokrasie; Onskuldige toeskouer Engelse.”

Of course, not all white English-speaking South Africans are like that. In fact, most of them aren’t. Just as not all white Afrikaans-speaking South Africans wear a “jean pant”, watch 7de Laan and flock to the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees every year. And I think that is why my initial reaction was so triumphantly infantile.

Because I love this country. And its people. And all the different cultures. I love the Umshini wami-singing polygamists. I love the joumasep… bergies. I love the Noot vir Noot enthusiasts, the Kaizer Chiefs supporters with their vuvuzelas and the haunting notes of the Muslim prayers wafting on the early morning air. I love the hospitality of Gugulethu and Soweto, the hideous Tuscan villas of Midrand and how we all laugh at Europeans behind their backs. I love the little Jewish women strolling on the promenade and the white-wine-swilling (mostly English-speaking) trendoids in Jo’burg and Cape Town. And to have, at last, been acknowledged as one of the groups that make this country what it is, feels good. Because I’m gatvol of how we are constantly portrayed in the English media as a bunch of half-baked racists and rabid taalstryders. I’m gatvol of being classified as somehow “less” the moment someone hears my accent.

As Marais says in his poem: “Asof ons die enigste ingeteelde Orcs en Goblins is met bakore.”

— Women24.

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