Swart Gevaar followed me to Europe.
To those who do not know, “Swart Gevaar" (is Afrikaans for black threat) was a term used during the days of the Apartheid South African regime to refer to the perceived security threat of the majority black African population to the white South African government.
In the early days of post-Apartheid South Africa, the term was expanded to refer to a cultural 'black threat', in which many white Afrikaners feared their culture would be lost if they assimilated with the rest of black South Africans”.
In the context of this article I use it to mean “a fear of black criminals by white South Africans”.
I never paid much attention to this swart gevaar issue because I was born towards the end of white-minority rule in SA. I am even afraid to use the term “apartheid” because I do not want to be labelled as one of those people that play the “race card”. In fact, I never entertained the idea of having white SA friends when abroad. They can be a pain on your backside because they keep talking about swart gevaar. They tell their European hosts of how blacks are targeting whites in SA, that there is a massacre of the white race in our country.
The truth is that white South Africans were protected by the security bubble of the white-minority government. There was visible and adequate policing in white neighbourhoods. In fact, blacks were not allowed in white neighbourhoods at certain hours of the night unless they (blacks) had special authorisation. The justice system was also biased towards/favoured whites and persecuted blacks. These factors made white neighbourhoods very safe in SA.
Fast forward to 1994 and beyond, and suddenly the security bubble burst and whites are exposed to crimes. Unfortunately for them, the white-minority government did not prepare whites for this eventuality (a daily struggle against crime). When personal liberties such as the freedom of movement were granted, it also meant that black criminals can roam around without restrictions, and they did. Guess what! These black criminals flooded the white neighbourhoods. Suddenly, there is crime in SA. Well, black South Africans had many years to adapt to crime both physically and emotionally. The blacks were never protected by a security bubble and had to fend for themselves against opportunistic criminals and state repression and persecution.
Coming back to my point, I studied both in England and Belgium, and I have met white South Africans and Europeans who told me of a genocide committed by blacks against whites. The reality is that both black and white South Africans are equally affected by opportunistic crimes, and these opportunistic crimes are often violent in nature. Perhaps white South Africans are an obvious and vulnerable target because they are not street-wise and there is an illusion that they’re wealthy. Well, I am not going to use statistics to beef up my argument because stats are sometimes unreliable and open to various interpretations.
All I am saying is that white South Africans should NOT go abroad and tarnish the image of South Africa; a country we all dearly love. White South Africans should also remember that Europeans always “other” them as uncivilised, and barbaric (due to apartheid), but also because the Europeans feel that white South African developed away from the motherland (Europe) and assimilated barbaric tendencies of the “native Africans”. In fact, they see both black and white South Africans as barbaric natives. So, we (South Africans) should stick together and promote our country irrespective of our differences. Let us embrace our diversity (with all its challenges) and emphasise our strengths rather than our weaknesses.
I am tired of explaining my country to Europeans while I should, as any young person would do (whether black or white), enjoy the wide variety of beer offered in Belgian pubs while looking for my next one-night-stand (I learned this unholy behaviour from the Europeans).