I'm not really any kind of writer, but I care deeply about my land and my family. I am concerned recently about the extent of hatred in South Africa. I was raised by my mother and father to be without bias or racial prejudice. This was their ideology as students, and although it proved harder to live up to in reality than on paper, I still feel I have always spoken out against injustice. My conscience is clear. Now I must speak again, so that I can keep my conscience clear.
When I was in pre-primary school, one of the older students was the leading role in a remake of a Shakespeare comedy. I saw him on stage holding a sword and thought:"Wow, he's so cool." Several weeks later I saw him strike a black student on the playground with a rope from the swing. He made an acerbic racist comment, which I forget (I was 5). I stopped speaking to him. As a child my parents were involved in the UDF, and my father was actively involved in student protests. When the purple people marches happened, my father hid several of his students from the police while they (the police) tried to intimidate him into letting them search the house. My father stood his ground and flatly denied that there were any people on the premises except himself and his sons. I watched the police threaten to fire teargas at the house. My father didn't budge. My mother drove into Cape Town with me later that same day. We were terrified when a person painted bright purple almost jumped onto the hood of our car. It was one of my mother's friends. We hid her in the back of the car under my blanket. These people were all forced to hide for weeks until the meat dye they had been sprayed with eventually wore off.
When I was in primary school in the city some years later I was the only one of my classmates who was vocally opposed to the racism of other students, when our school began to allow black and colored students to attend. This made me rather unpopular and something of a pariah. Not that I hadn't already made myself unpopular by being the poorest student in the school. Suddenly, after the new students arrived I suddenly wasn't the poorest student anymore. I am ashamed to admit, but this made me feel a little better.
I was about eleven years old when I cajoled one of my friends into sneaking into the Signal Hill army base with me. We wore cricket pads and gloves, with helmets as we crept through the mountain water run-off drain into the base. We snuck through the barbed wire and hid under the wooden bridge that the soldiers patrolled around the perimeter of the base. I taped some smoke flares to the base of the bridge and we crept back to the barbed wire as fast as we could. We whooped with delight when the soldiers panicked as the smoke bomb went off. We cackled with glee as the base alarms went off. We peered over the edge of the embankment to see what their reaction had been. We almost fell over in shock, when we saw five soldiers with R1 rifles running for the run-off drain. They knew exactly where we had come through. We went back through the drains as fast as we could. My friend bumped his head when the soldiers scrambled after us through the drain and yelled at us. But, we got away. Afterwards I felt like I had struck my own insignificant blow for freedom! Of course my friend had just done it for kicks, but my secret motive had always been an active dislike for the authoritarian government.
Later in high-school my friends and I took a day off from school (bunked) to take part in a protest march in the city. We somehow got involved in what turned out to be a crowd of chanting people, which quickly turned into a nightmare when the police dispersed us with teargas. These and other more terrifying images, such as stabbings, muggings, and in one case witnessing a rubber necklacing (where the victim has a car-tyre filled with burning gasoline thrown over their head) are images from my childhood. For better or worse I accept these things as important life lessons. The potential for stupidity really is infinite. Now I read so much hatred and bigotry in the paper every day. It's always black vs. white. It's so stupid and boring. have we really learned nothing? I live overseas, away from my family, because I can't find the right jobs to save for my future in South Africa. Am I bitter? No, I recognize the need and the rightness of a black middle class.
We that have the opportunity to travel and learn about the rest of the world should do so. I have been forced to learn to speak languages other than Afrikaans or English. Now I can speak Chinese better than I ever spoke Xhosa or Zulu, even though I studied Xhosa for three years in school, and I learned dozens of Zulu songs during apartheid as a student. I have learned a little Arabic, too. I have invested my time to understand the religions and cultures of the world. The only conclusion I can draw is this: Culture is an excuse for bad behaviour. We can discuss these things till the cows come home, but in the end it's not a black vs white situation. It's not even political. It's not a religious issue or an historical one. It's about the 1 percent of the world that owns the other 98 percent. Regardless of race, religion,or politics. We need to remember that the middle class are on the side of the poor.
The middle class are not on the side of the rich. That's what happened when we created the first middle class. They established rights and protections for themselves without securing the rights and protections of the poorest, peasant class. Now we need change again, but it won't come through politics or religion. It will come only from the one place that the first great social revolution came from: the profit motive. When we stop buying, and start producing. When we stop paying taxes. When we stop buying electricity and start producing it. We need to show all governments the middle finger. We know they are bought and sold by others, more powerful and wealthy than themselves. Isn't America the Prime example? Did all of those fools really believe Obama when he said he would take on wallstreet? His entire staff was ex-wallstreet! Governments have forgotten who they owe allegiance to. We need to treat all people equally! Civil Disobedience is a moral responsibility.
I currently live and work in Asia. For those of you that know or care, Asia is incredibly racist, even against white people and far more so than I experienced in South Africa (I have had people spit in my face for nothing more than being a Wai-Guo-Ren or foreigner). I am a teacher (read servant). I face discrimination every day. I must endure so that I do not become a burden to my family. We are all savages unless we can stop all conflict and raise up the poor and starving. We spend more money every day on Military budgets, than is required to end starvation. Stop the lies and start producing. Grow your own food. Start a collective and barter for services. Pay your loans and remove your money from the bank.
Every member of the species is part of your extended family and is no more than your cousin six-times-removed, no matter where they live or their ethnicity. Ask any geneticist. I am marrying an Asian girl in the near future. I hope my sister marries someone from another culture. You girls from SA wether black or white are welcome to marry one of my three brothers. we will welcome you into the family. We still have one petty hatred though. We can't stand Billionaires.
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