The black people in this country of ours, (so it is ours, right, not “yours or “mine”) South Africa, remain angry, unforgiving, some with traces of resentment and others with outright hatred towards white people. (Understandable)The need for political correctness has for a long-time made black people be deceitful about their real feelings towards white people. (Totally agree that political correctness is basically deceit. Lets talk)
It is not about whether or not there exists a group of genuine white people who embrace black people as equals. It is about the past injustices suffered collectively by black people under the hands of white dominance, from colonialism through to apartheid, right through to a racialised economic ownership under the democratic black led government. (Of course you are correct. Unfortunately, there is no way to go back into the past and change this. We must play the hand we are dealt now. You have a right to respond with hate. You have an opportunity to respond with grace. Both options have a specific set of consequences attached, which you cannot choose.)
The reality of our society is that the inequalities we often see, whether at a level of income, ownership of industries, spatial inequalities and many more others like availability of infrastructure for education, private health etc. in suburban areas, often favours white people in a better position over the black majority. (Why do you suppose this is? Are you man enough to really think this through?)
The rural areas, townships and urban outskirts where black people are often found swamped in shacks and other not so well built RDP houses, remain unchanged as to how they were under the apartheid government. Save that perhaps now there is electricity, which has a cost burden on the poor unemployed black people in these areas. (Granted, and granted also I am not overly influenced by this, but many millions of people like me are. If only there was a group of people in a position to change this! Wait, what?)
Some of the areas have running water, yet even that is not enough to reduce preventable diseases in many of these areas where ordinary black people are found. Access to information and facilities for primary healthcare, never mind advanced medical procedures, is developing at a snail’s pace. (See comment above)
The much worshipped ‘new black middle class’ is just a pretend class, a class caught in debt because of the high standard of living in the many white areas they seek to move in. The owners of property remain by far and large white (This is mainly because they bought the property with their own money on an open market, what is your objection?) and continue to raise prices in the property business to unaffordable and at times plainly ludicrous prices – which force these newly affording blacks to enter into debt so as to afford. (Do you seriously think Whitey is driving up property prices to keep Africans out of the market? Do you seriously think the average white person is able to buy any type of property without a bond, ie going into debt? Come on now…)
The captains of industry that are white, with foreign ties continue to silently collude on some prices of goods and services that must be rendered to this ‘new black middle class’. (No, to “the middle class”. Race has nothing to do with it) These black people vowed that they would give their children the best education, since they mostly grew up in the latter days of the Bantu education. However, quality education in this country remains largely a commodity found in private schools and former Model C schools. (Again, why do you think this is? Clue: you need to care about good education, you need to be skilled at it, you need to be selflessly committed to it, you need a functioning infrastructure for it)
In essence it means these blacks are without choice but to move closer to these schools, which the bulk of them are either found in former white settlements or in remote areas that require private transport to get to, such as the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir or the Hilton College in Pietermaritzburg. (What about blacks founding and expanding their own ecxellent schools, so that white’s start moving to these? Not in your frame of reference, eh? Pity…)
The now public former Model C schools come with a hefty price tag, which means if this ‘new black middle class’ is to afford them they must dig deep in their pockets till the last cent comes out and forego the possibility of having extra cash to save.
We often mourn in this country that we are not a saving economy. But the question that remains unanswered is; where do we expect this money to save to come from? (Would help if our people had a better distinction between what we want and what we need. Seems to be a particular problem among the black middle class, for whatever reason. I suspect there is a particularly powerful family of “Jones’es at work here) Large corporates owned by white people like SAB Miller, go to strategic meetings to develop ways on how to sustain and grow their rates of selling alcohol. (SABMiller is a business, businesses must develop and grow to remain relevant in today’s economy. The fact that they sell alcohol is another issue, if you have a problem with that, you should raise it seperately)
Yes, even in traditional African society there was and there still is beer in abundance and it was gotten for free during traditional functions or at times it came at a very low cost. The Tiger Brands of today, which have very little to do with black people in terms of ownership, try and lure this ‘new black middle class’ into spending money on expensive whiskeys that perform the same function as any other cheap alcohol and that is to get a person drunk. Of course, this ‘new black middle class’ realises it is stuck in a trap, a trap created by white dominated capital.
Blacks did not forgive
A trap that these black people want to escape but they are sold, every day, incentives on why they should remain consumerist. (And white people are not?) Of course, ideally the white community is not to blame for this, but that is only in an ideal world.
White people in South Africa move around preaching how black people should be accepting of them without prejudice and without focusing on the need for vigorously interrogating the events of past white supremacy and dominance in this country. (I don’t think there is anything left to interrogate. We were wrong, terribly wrong. I apologise on behalf of all white people for this injustice. I ask your forgiveness. However, you seem to use the past, to analyse and interrogate it, as a substitute for some much needed introspection. Why not turn that powerful scope inward? You might find some thing inside that are not working right, and can be changed so that it does work right)
White people feel that black people, who discuss blackness, black politics, are simply being racist and are a threat to their livelihood (Nah, not as such, in fact it probably is time for a handing over of the torch in South Africa, from the Afrikaner to the African. However, for this to happen, the Afrikaner must give it, and the African must take it. This means that their hands must touch, my brother)– this falsehood must be dismissed with contempt. It has only been 18 years into our democracy and somehow blacks are supposed to go to a state of voluntary amnesia, something that no living human being ever wants to experience. Black people did not forgive in 1994; they agreed to be coerced to a pretend state of normality and equality. (White people pretty much too, I guess. Anyway, here we are)
Black and white people are not equal.(Disagree, they are certainly different, but why not equal?) They are only equal in that they breathe the same air without having to rent it; besides that there are disparities at every level.
I at times agree with the radical Neo-Black Consciousness movers who often say that black people, in 1994, forgave white people who had never asked for forgiveness, who had never admitted collectively that apartheid was a heinous act of inhumanity towards the natives of this country. This is true.
That is why FW De Klerk was even caught offside in the USA as he was trying to systematically defend the founding ideology of apartheid. (No comment)Today, many of us progressive blacks are often caught only analysing the shortcomings of the ANC, without interrogating that some of them have their foundation strongly built on apartheid. (You see, the torch WILL be passed. If in resentment, you will see a more selfish, opressive government that the NP could ever aspire to. Like father, like son. If in grace (which is undeserved favour, we will see something else entirely, which the world will marvel at) Frank Chikane even shares one time that, he wrote to the then president Nelson Mandela, complaining that “The old is corrupting the new”, simply put the masters of corruption under apartheid were busy feeding lessons on corruption to the new black rulers. Of course, faced with a sense of poverty and need for a glamorous life, these former liberators fell to this trap as a result today we have widespread corruption at levels that threaten to collapse the state. (So again the white man solely to blame here? It takes two to tango, my friend)
Let us be frank, the white people in this country continue to live a life of privilege, not because the ANC government is engineering this, but simply because the structure of the economy dictates it be this way. (The structure of the economy is open in a democracy. The “pass” is competence, commitment, and character. Come on in!)
1994 only brought services to black people (dit it?), it only brought greater opportunity for them to slave off in a white owned economy, it only brought a vote – something they had never lost (Didn’t they?); it brought opportunity to swim on the same beaches as white people, (Thank God) congregating in the same buildings etc. Without economic freedom, (Economic freedom is something you create for yourself. You offer something that someone else wants enough to pay for it. It really is all there is to it, if you really think about it, and it will always work. Of course you need to have something to offer that someone else wants.The ball is your court) political freedom becomes useless – go read Chika Onyeani’s Capitalist Nigger.
Of course the black government is not without blame. We continue to blame them every day as fellow black people, but white people use this as disapproval for black rule, they also use it to bypass the critical imminent debate on how badly the economy is structured (if so, why not then change it for the better?) and the reality that things cannot continue this way.
If white people were genuine they would be at the forefront of preaching land redistribution, (Just taking land from someone beceause of the colour of their skin is obviously grossly racist, and you should know that better than anyone, with our history. Also, shouldn’t the criteria be to give the land to those who can get the most out of it for the benefit of all?, and the second criteria who is able and willing to raise up a new generation with skills surpassing that of the old?) instead they want to use this land redistribution process as a vehicle to further amass obscene wealth. They sell the land to government, (So they cant sell thgeir own land now? And if they want to sell farming assets, will they government not buy it?) without farming assets, and then go on to sell the assets to generate capital for luxury holidays and new investments, whilst the blacks in the new land remain without resources to do any farming.
We then vehemently condemn the incompetence of these new black farm owners – when they are led into a trap by the government knowingly/unknowingly collaborating with these longstanding farm owners.
No white person in this country has not directly or indirectly received benefit from the brutal history of colonialism and apartheid. (Granted) One revered writer, Frantz Fanon, reflects on why is it that the new black rulers post liberation get to behave in a way that mimics their former oppressors. He says, “The oppressed is an envious man”, he (the oppressed) imagines himself occupying the seat of the oppressor, and his imagination hardly goes beyond this. (Sad but true. There is, however, another way, I believe)
As a result, to many black people the replacement of white people with blacks meant liberation. Now we know better, we know that this is not true. We know that true liberation means, as Pan-Africanists always maintained, the return of land to natives and the restructuring of ownership of the economy. (I don’t think you can get away from the fact that, for better or for worse, things have changed after the arrival of colonists. Even if you chase the descendants of the Colonists into the sea, the structures thay have built are better, and will remain. If you dispute that, you have no right to complain about the economy, service delivery, infrastructure, medical care, housing, electricity, etc, etc, etc.I might add that the Afikaner is not a Colonist, ie no ties with their native Holland to come here and ravish the resources of the land for the mother country. We came here to live here, make a new start here. No offense intended towards English speaking South Africans)
The fate of this country is in all our hands (I hope“all” includes white people) but the white people of this country must move with a sense of urgency and be proactive when it comes to discussions on the economy and redistribution. (We would love to, just bear in mind that any honest negotiation seeks to find a solution that works for both parties) White people must voluntarily give solutions and give up parts of their wealth in the process. (Wealth is not a “pie” with a limited amount of slices. It starts with a way of thinking and being, then it becomes self creative, with an unlimited amount of slices. It is the way of thinking and being that needs to be imparted (which is by the way not a “white” thing, some whites have just accepted it)
This question of the land and the economy will cause this country to burn when black people in their majority wake up from the lull they have been put to since 1994.(By whom?) There will be no space for constructive engagement as we attempt it now. There will be one language and that would be “grab, grab, grab”. (Then let’s not go there?)
No progressive black person wants such an era, but white folks need to start listening. (We are, and thanks for your gutsy, honest and timely letter)
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