As were others, I was inspired by the article “I am a Racist”, as it deals with a daily frustration that we all experience in South Africa. We have been bludgeoned with the same bat for the past eighteen years, and even longer if we count the official “racist National Party” regime, where racism was a daily issue as well. Guess what! The racism was not only targeted at the poor black victims: it was just as much aimed at the other groupings… as it has been since the settlers landed at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652.
It is time to call a spade a spade.
In a study that I was doing last year for my pro-equality organization, I could find no evidence that the region now known as South Africa was inhabited by any of its current inhabitants except the Khoikhoi, the San, and later the Khoisan, and migration of tribes from the north into current South Africa happened shortly before the time that Van Riebeeck landed at the Cape. So how can it be said that the land “belonged to our forefathers for generations before the white man came”?
The current mix of cultures was created by migration of black and white groups. There were conflicts and there were wars. There were treaties and there were gifts of land, and even sales of land. The Anglo Zulu War lasted many years and saw victories on both sides. But in wars over territory, the winner takes power and the booty. How can restoration claims be made on land that was legally purchased before (even before Apartheid)? What about the Afrikaner republic that was granted by the Zulus to the boers at Vryheid in 1884? Can that now be claimed as a Volkstaat? Or could the families of the five hundred Weenen Massacre victims claim land from the cession signed by Dingane in 1837? Of course not: they were exterminated!
If the USA were to be challenged on their war-time exploits, the entire country would need to be returned to the “Red Indian” tribes that wandered around there. If Australia were to be challenged on the rightful ownership of the country would they have to return all to the Aborigines etc?
The English battled with the Boers: white against white! The atrocities that were committed in that piece of local genocide were beyond belief, and for some beyond forgiveness, but today these cultures are merged by what: a common race? A common religion? Rather a common goal; an intellectual decision made to work together to build a country that was torn apart. Whatever it was, it was enough to bridge the divisions of a painful past and produce a rapidly growing economy.
So why are we now oppressed as a common race: whites? Were “we” not the champions of this country, raising the standard of living ten-fold, even a hundred-fold?
To call a spade a spade, the Zulu tribes measured wealth by cattle, and the king by how many wives he took. That king was sometimes even murdered by his own family for power. South Africa stands once again under such a “king”… he even carries a spear! (Sorry… could not resist that one.) His number of wives and children are true to the Zulu way and he answers only to himself.
Following the tribal way, all hands seem to work for the king, making him wealthy and powerful. He feeds off the poor, passing token benefits to a few to draw the approval of many.
The ANC was an organization that was established with admirable goals, and drawn by the frustration that was theirs, they adopted less than admirable methods to achieve their goals…. Much the same as the National Party did within their shroud of secrecy whilst they were in power.
To call a spade a spade: “Apartheid” was a word and an ideal that was promoted by a racist man in a position of power (yes he had supporters). At the peak of the National Party’s rule there were no taxes on black people. There was free schooling to international standards. South Africa was endowed with the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere (in Soweto of all places), with some of the best technology available and over six thousand staff members; and the healthcare was free.
To call a spade a spade; “Affirmative Action” and “Black Economic Empowerment” are excuses for some kind of payback of a definite wrong that had some definite positive consequences. There are still taxes on white people. There is a huge cost involved in educating children to a standard that cannot be compared with any first-world country. No new hospitals have been completed since the AA & BEE “regime” took power. No future-planning was done for the national power-grid for approximately seventeen years until a crisis was upon us. The national road network that was subsidized by fuel levies and mostly un-tolled, has been converted into a cash-cow, and still we pay fuel-levies. Government healthcare is by no means “free” and is not safe… even the doctors get raped in the hospitals.
To call a spade a spade, our “bill of rights” is a farce:
~ The right to be equal before the law: Yes this one is a pearl. We have corrupt municipal management that extorts funds for tenders. We have a former first-lady that was found guilty of violent crime as well as fraud and theft, but has not done any jail-time for her crimes. We have a president that may have been convicted of corruption had his charges not been mysteriously dropped following political meddling before his election. This list could go on for many pages. (And we will stay tight-lipped on all of the police chiefs that have fallen by the wayside for dubious dealings).
~ The right to freedom of assembly, demonstration, picket & petition: the DA is allowed to march and deliver a petition, but Cosatu is allowed to “punish their bad behavior”? It would be very interesting to know if many DA marchers would feel “free” to march again.
~ The right to education: Everyone may “go to school and get a proper education”… very interesting part is that the university first-year failure rate is higher than ever because of the low standard of education our children are given. Can we call this a proper education? Is it acceptable to “pass” matric with 30%?
~ The right to a clean environment: It is obvious to anybody that has driven past the parking lots of a stadium after a PSL soccer match, that there is no conviction concerning this right. In Apartheid years we little ones were taught to “zap it in the zibi” as part of our civic duty in keeping our country tidy. At our schools we were lined up in rows and walked across the sports-fields, picking up even the smallest pieces of litter that may have been there.
Of course this article will be called racist. I will be called racist. The truth is that we need to get over our dubious past and stand together, making yet another intellectual decision to grow our economy. Appoint people who are qualified to get us on the right track, and ensure they perform…. Whatever color they may be.
When it comes to racism… I support only one race: the human race.
Do we have the right to call a spade a spade in this country? Are we the victims of our own apathy?