I am a South African.
I am a man, opinionated and outspoken.
I have a rich and interesting heritage, tainted by my own kind for political gain.
My presence in this country is a paradox, yet legitimised by the existence of my own unique culture.
My heritage was spawned by tenacity, pride and the pursuit of freedom.
Due to my heritage and culture, I am scolded by my countrymen... ridiculed by the world...
I am... an Afrikaner.
Regrettably, I’m counting on the stereotypical classification you no doubt made by now, which just allows me to make the point I endeavoured on with this article, and at the risk of punting the cliché of my generation... I never had a hand in apartheid, due to my age.
Before I continue, I have to say that I believe that my classification as South African is paramount to any other, including that of Afrikaner. The latter is simply part of a system of cogs driving this country which is home to a myriad of cultures, each with its own heritage and contribution.
Now, even though neither I nor anyone in my generation enforced apartheid, we still need to realise that sitting back and washing our hands in innocence won’t liberate us from any responsibility; in fact, quite the contrary.
Allow me to explain...
An apology is twofold; otherwise it would simply be a word as meaningless as its layman-association.
The first and self explanatory part is the apology itself, whereas the second constitutes the difficult part.
The second part of any apology legitimises the first, and requires the correction of the apology causing action... in this case, restitution.
Herein the problem arises...
The eloquent title of this article is directed to those who believe that repeating the first part of an apology over and over constitutes an apology. They are those who become bitter at the De Klerk-regime, who view Mandela as nothing but a terrorist and who either lack the capacity or the will to consider any problem from another’s point of view.
They are the ones who raise their children to be separatist rather than adaptive and progressive. Incidentally, the seclusion of South Africa during the sanction years contributed just as much as apartheid to the culture of separation the Afrikaner carries.
Previous generations were conditioned, mostly by the National Party, that “...we didn’t need the world...” when in fact, we actually did.
These people are the products of a highly effective propaganda machine, and now seem to hate the world because they have to formulate their own ideas.
They blame affirmative action for their new found failure and would rather revert to a culture of criticism than teach their children to be stronger and more adaptive.
They are bitter because a new challenge is laid in front of them, and no one pushes them to overcome the challenge.
In a nutshell, I would say that they regressed to a state with a profound lack of patriotism.
I’ve met countless Afrikaners who actually distance themselves from the fact that they are Afrikaners... young and old.
The other side of the coin represents people who reminisce about years gone by, and how much better things were. To them I pose the challenge to start finding a solution to the mess they caused... because it seems that cleaning up is all on my generation’s shoulders.
Then you have those who fill the Orange River with their tears, blaming the ANC for everything gone wrong in their lives... Maybe they should have some introspection and realise that the world is full of people who look for excuses rather than solutions.
Now I am one of the staunchest critics of the Zuma-lead ANC government, and its inability to govern. The levels of violent crime, corruption and reversed racism also dominate my thinking when I consider the state of South Africa these days, which goes to show that I am no bleeding heart liberal who believes that “world peace is possible in our lifetime!”
However, these are not the issues at hand here...
I am part of a generation who has to deal with the sins of the fathers, and see some of my peers turning their backs on the country, ashamed of their heritage.
I am part of a generation rife with people who had to endure the brainwash at home and who now lack the capacity to evolve to their destiny as ground level facilitators of change.
We are part of a culture forged by tenacity, will and pride.
We are a culture that flourishes when the chips are down, and the odds stacked to near impossibility. We have been written off by many since our existence, and our resounding answer to them still echoes in history.
Yet, the tag we carry is that of a fearful bunch, too weak to stand up to our own oppression we simply manifested on the rest of the country. We screwed up!
So why don’t we get some of that courage we pride ourselves on back in our culture, and acknowledge the responsibility to fix what our forefathers shattered.
In short, accept that we are not South Africa, as the previous generation believed, but a part of South Africa, with a pivotal role to play.
We need to become something the Afrikaner previously, could never be... to serve an entire country, and not the failed Afrikaner Nationalism ideal.
We need to acknowledge our heritage with the good and the bad, ushering in a progressive and adaptive state of mind, without being weaklings that fear all that is around us and seclude ourselves from it.
It seems the word patriotism had become this archaic idea that doesn’t have a place in today’s modern society, yet I firmly believe that the world needs some of it now, more than ever.
By evolving as different cultures within the boundaries of a country, and acknowledging each other in those cultures, is the only way to be true patriots. We all share a common goal... the elevation of this country to heights previously unknown... I would say.
South Africa is an anomaly in many respects, yet we seem to be the scaled down model of what the world is today.
We have the capacity to show the world what a true multi racial society can be, in a time when this age old divide seems to be the core of tensions across the globe.
I know not all of the cowards reading this article are Afrikaners; so I’ll leave it to those in your culture to deal with you when you hide behind your racially motivated excuses for your own failures.
To the cowardly Afrikaner, the following...
The blame game is a coward’s escape, and simply because you managed to assemble a choir of disgruntled voices, legitimacy hasn’t attached itself to your echoes of weakness.
You are the apology; the rest of us will be the restitution. We will finish the job, clean up the mess and earn the right to carry the badge with honour... accepting the good and bad that formed us.
We will be able to say that we had the guts to accept the responsibility that evolved us as a nation, within the country that consumed our blood, sweat and tears... without paying for it with our souls.