This letter is in response to Aunty Ferial’s articl called : “The Woolworths boycott brigade”. You can find the link to the article here: http://www.news24.com/Columnists/Ferial-Haffajee/The-Woolworths-boycott-brigade-20120906
I would like to start off by saying that I made a video on the topic that will basically deal with your points you raised in your article. You can find that video by copying and pasting this link into your web browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvG8pfzT0m0
With the above clearly stated in a video I would still like to tackle some of the points you made in your letter. I will quote certain parts of your letter so that nothing can be taken out of context. I will respond below every segment I post.
“In the lecture theatres, even when I knew the answers, I did not answer, a practice I only learnt much later was a form of internalised inferiority - put there by a system that told us repeatedly that we were people of a lesser God. In my school, very few of us made it to university - most left to join the ranks of the destined roles for coloured people.”
That condition was not caused by the young white South African’s matriculating this year. They have not forced a day of oppression on anyone and yet you seem to think the “system” applies to these youngsters. Therefore I do not understand what relevance this has to the discussion.
“This made late study hard and getting to campus a little hazardous. Nowadays, I speed along that road from Fietas to Braamfontein when I come home from my mum's house and I shiver with relief that I made it safely back on this path I now recognise to have been pretty risky for a young woman student to walk on. “
Please note that these conditions you speak of aren’t just relevant to a certain race. I had to work two jobs to pay for my studies and never received bursaries like my black counterparts. Therefore I don’t see your argument as valid as you make it sound like you are the only one who weren’t able to study late. I couldn’t even get a bursary for any of my 2 honor degrees or even for my masters degree because there wasn’t enough money for the 1st year black students. Please explain to me how that is fair towards me. I have proven myself as someone the government could invest in but because I wasn’t black I wasn’t eligible for a bursary because there wasn’t enough money for me but there was for possible 1st year students who would fail miserably.
“The only reason a generation of us were able to clamber out of one class, out of a distorted destiny, was because of employment equity. From university into the world of work, we have required help to get a place at the table not because we are stupid but because of the structural blocking of opportunity.”
So what would be the reason for young white South Africans to improve themselves? They didn’t have a hand in Apartheid yet 18 years later when they finish Matric along with their black counterparts they won’t be able to get a job because they are white. And even if they want to improve themselves by studying they won’t get a bursary because they are white. How is that motivation for youngsters that can’t really even understand or grasp Apartheid as they weren’t even born when it ended?
“Without affirmative action, I would likely be a retrenched clothing factory worker or a low-level banking clerk. That was the expected, the planned outcome for people like me. The system was called apartheid. We needed help to escape our destiny and millions of South Africans still need that help.”
“It is not reverse racism, but a Constitutional imperative to fix our society. Affirmative action is enshrined in our constitution. Solidarity, Afriforum and those of you who spammed the Woolies CEO for applying the law are wrong. You discount, completely, the role of inter-generational privilege in your life.”
With Affirmative Action and BBBEE so many young white people with experience the opposite of what you mentioned above. You say it’s needed but explain to me how discrimination based on race isn’t a form of Apartheid?
Affirmative Action and BBBEE is racist and is discrimination in its purest form. You can use the excuse of Apartheid but then why are there so many black people in South Africa today that have achieved success without the help of these policies? Well the answer is simple, through hard work, just like most white people did during apartheid. You seem to think white people during Apartheid received handouts when in actual fact they had to work hard to keep their positions.
I understand that Apartheid was wrong and I can even agree that a form of reform is needed but it cannot take place at the expense of another race. That doesn’t leave us in a better place. That leaves us in exactly the same place as Apartheid. In 30 years from now will we need another form of AA and BBBEE to tip the table again in favor or white people who might possibly live like the black people did during Apartheid?
To go even further when is the supposed dead line for AA and BBBEE? You see this lack of information is what worries white people. When will we be equal? Why is there no expiry date on these policies? One day when the tables are supposedly fixed will the ANC continue with the policy and kill even more job prospects for children who can’t even remember what Apartheid was? The ANC stated that there is no deadline for these policies. That in itself tells everyone in South Africa that Apartheid will be used as an excuse for the next couple of decades. Therefore the policies are seen as racist and discriminatory because in its purest form it’s not there to help but it’s there to oppress another race seeing that it hasn’t got a goal or deadline.
“To make South Africa successful, we have to play the long game and employment equity is an essential component of that success. The amazing growth of a black middle-class that has kept our economy afloat is the outcome not of BEE but of employment equity. BEE is largely a stalled and elite process while employment equity has delivered national goods. Viewed this way, we have all benefitted from the policy.”
Correction, to make South Africa successful we need to vote a party into power that won’t fail the children of this country. If you teach someone to fish then you won’t have to feed them every day. The ANC has made it clear that they do not want the youth to succeed in life. If they took education seriously then this country would be a success story but in reality it’s a nightmare.
Policies such as AA and BBBEE are only needed if you can’t improve the people you govern. If the ANC took all the money the Tax Payer paid them instead of hosting World Cups and employing ministers that have criminal records or investigations against them then perhaps we would have had an equal playing field long before 2012.
You seem to think Apartheid is still the cause of the country’s problems when in fact it’s a government that has horribly failed everyone. It’s been 18 years since Apartheid, how could Germany, England, Japan and even the Jews improve their conditions within 10 years to a first world country in 1940 – 1955 after devastating World Wars but South Africa can’t fix something a lot less destructive like Apartheid within 18 years and with the benefit of modern technology which the other countries didn’t have in 1940?
To conclude I will politely ask you to look at the bigger picture instead of just rehashing the really old tale of Apartheid. If other countries could improve themselves without these policies and with even worse situations like World Wars then why can’t South Africa? After all we are a great nation and surely we could uplift ourselves to a situation where discrimination isn’t an option. Thank You.