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"45 million people hate you!"

25 September 2012, 12:50

“I should hate you people even more than…..”

My friend did not finish his sentence. Maybe he did not quite think it through before he started talking. Maybe he realised what he is saying may have some negative bearing on our friendship.

I’m not sure what prompted the outburst.   I pretended not to be shocked and encouraged him to explain. In short, his gripes boil down to the following:

  • White people behave as if they have done nothing wrong;
  • They are not sorry about Apartheid;
  •  They are so smug, they should be happy they still have the houses they had in 1994;
  •  They should be taxed as suggested by Desmond Tutu. I remind him that there was a once off RDP tax in 1995. He scoffs at it.
  •  The Reitz 4, he reckons, never showed remorse. “If they would just once have looked at the ever present news cameras and said they were sorry, it would have been the end of it.” I think they did try to make things right with the people in the video, but were kept away from them, I say. “Well, they did not try hard enough,” he persists.
  • He tells of how his parents were evicted from their house during Apartheid, left on the sidewalk with their belongings. The house was eventually knocked down, with nothing built in its place.
  • He relates how his father hit a ceiling in his work where he could not go any further on the career ladder, because the higher positions were reserved for whites.
  • He relates his own experience still today where he perceives white people as talking down to him, and how it undermines his self confidence.

“Do you know that 45 million people hate you white people?” he concluded.

Of course, my friend cannot really speak on behalf of 45 million people in South Africa. But maybe it does reflect the emotions of 44 million South Africans?

The issue is not whether he is right or wrong. What is very relevant is the fact that he voiced this view within the safety of a friendship. And maybe in spite of the friendship, one may think. It was spoken from the heart, unmitigated by political correctness. And it came from a professional with various degrees from four reputable universities throughout South Africa, including two Afrikaans universities.

I have to consider that this may be a view shared by many other South Africans. It left me stunned, and admittedly, rather concerned for my future.

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