I am a South African expat living in the UK (surprise! surprise!). I login to News24 everyday to
catch up on the daily South African goings on. The news is constantly filled with negativity such as
murder, rape, lack of service by government, people wanting to earn a liveable wage, racism and
xenophobia. It makes life tedious. I always read in hope of finding the one story that makes life
worthwhile, that story of hope that will let us see that the future is not bleak. If you think that you
are alone out there at the bottom of the most beautiful continent on earth, you are not. The UK has
the same news. Murder, rape, and lack of service by government, people wanting to earn a liveable
wage, racism and xenophobia dominate this countries news too.
What is going on? What on earth is happening to sanity and general respect for humanity? Every day
on News24 there is something that catches my eye, the”most commented” section. There is always
a piece written by a member of the public on religion or atheism. I am a Christian and I believe in
Christ and I believe he is my saviour, but that’s my choice. I do not go slamming atheists for what
they believe. I often see comments written by Christians hitting back for comment made against
them and vice versa. Where is the respect for individual choice?
Christians: it says in the bible “love thy neighbour” it does not say find fault with them and break
their belief down. It also says that we need to tell people about our God, it does not say we have to
beat them to death with it. It is then up to the person whether they want to listen and believe. As a
Christian I am not responsible for anyone one else, I am only responsible for my actions. I answer to
God for my own deeds. I plead with you as a Christians to stop portraying the general population of
Christian as disrespectful and arrogant. We are not perfect.
Atheists: There is a place for science in this world but there is also a place for religion. It is not up
to religious people to tell you what to believe or what not to believe. The one thing I do ask is not
to place ALL religious people under the same blanket. The majority of them you wouldn’t even
know they were religious unless you asked. Christianity is made up of many beliefs. I don’t follow
the Catholic beliefs and traditions and I get offended when comments are made about all Christians
when you refer to Catholicism.
We are all allowed to have our own thoughts and beliefs that’s one of the things that make us
human. I would just like to add that I never see atheists taking on Muslims, this baffles me. Life
would be so much easier if we just had more RESPECT for each other.
My other subject I would like to bring up is on culture. I am a white South African male. My dream
is that South Africa will become a place where everyone will live in freedom and peace. I am such a
massive South African patriot that I daydream constantly of the African sun and the bushveld even
the taxi drivers (okay maybe not that far). Where am I going with this? Having done a thesis on the
cultures of South Africa at University, I travelled a lot and got to a little taste of the ins and outs
of each of the traditional cultures of South Africa. Once you know how peoples backgrounds and
up bringing affect their decision making, you will learn to respect your fellow South African a little
I feel the biggest problem is that nobody is willing to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This
comment is meant for everyone regardless of your ethnicity or relief system. I grew up in the era
of white schools becoming Model C schools. From a very young age I had black children in class
with me. Now in my mid 30’s I am watching young teenagers both black and white playing the race
game, why is this? Well I believe it all comes down to lack of respect and not wanting to step into
the others shoes. Our democratic country has been the melting pot of a huge collection of cultures
with a bad history. We can bring up apartheid as it always comes in, but there were bigger atrocities
in South Africa. The Boers were slaughtered by the British worse. The actions taken during the Boer
war was in some ways worse than apartheid (GASP! How can I say that) well the British used to feed
the Boers porridge with small shards of glass while they were in concentration camps. This would
shred the stomachs open of who ever ate the porridge. The Genocide by Shaka Zulu against the
Sotho’s and well everyone who stole and pillaged from the Khoisan. In fact probably the Khoisan are
the only people that really have a place to be upset.
Let us just sit back for a moment and try to understand why there is such a big problem at the
moment between black and white South Africans. When in university, one of my very good friends
told me of her father who was a garden boy for a family in Witbank. The family would give him lunch
in the dogs bowl. Now in any culture, if anyone did that to my father, I would carry a certain amount
of resentment to those people. Us white people are so quick to judge the black people on their
behaviour, for instance the miners striking at Lonmin Mines. I don’t condone the violence, there is
no call for violence, but the reason Julius Malema is gaining support is for the fact that the majority
of black people are living in extreme poverty not being able to afford the basic necessities such as
running water. Let us use my idea for a second and put yourself in their shoes, would you not be
angry earning a salary of R4000 per month, risking your life in a dark hole day after day.
When the electricity goes out due to blackouts, us white people have a meltdown. Large portions
of our population don’t even have electricity, rendering them helpless resorting to dangerous life
threatening fuels to do daily chores we take for granted. Now I can already hear the tapping of
keyboards blaming the ANC government for all that is at fault in our country, just give me a chance
to explain myself further. The government is at fault and it is corrupt we know this. Families were
broken up in apartheid era so there was no discipline. Father figures were absent and we know from
research that children need both parents. If it was a white person with no father running amuck,
it get said well you know he never had a father in his life, now image that on a national scale. How
would you feel if you couldn’t eat at night yet you see every white person driving a car? Not a BMW,
any car, not having to walk kilometres to get where you need to be or risk your life taking a cramped
Now just before everyone gets too excited because I’m being one sided, I’m going to flip the coin.
Black people also have to understand that white people have a right to be in this country, own land
and yes, the right to a job. White people were also persecuted as mentioned before. If one looks
at the history of the migration of African people, the only truly South African is the Khoisan people.
Black people should be motivated to forward the country by learning from their white counterparts
rather than shunning them. Most white people I know really want South Africa to work where
everyone IS EQUAL, they are not racist. The government and the likes of Julius Malema are feeding
the thought that white people are evil and don’t want black people to succeed, this false and is dirty
political tactics. The scare mongering continues when white people see Zimbabwe and their ideas of
taking farms, jobs and land wealth such as mines.
WE as a nation are mightier than all of this and I know in my heart that together our country can be
one of the leading countries in the world where true trust, respect and democracy is alive. The rest
of Africa is relying on us to do this and to do it right. It gives me hope when I do read comments (like
whenever Julius Malema makes the news) where all members of society of all ethnic groups stand
together for the right of all South Africans. I truly hope that this article is seen as an inspiration to
have more repect for each other in everything from religion to culture.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.