I recall one day a few years back watching a particular music video for the first time on the DSTV channel MK and thinking it was hilariously lame. To my amusement this song became a massively popular (and infamous) Afrikaner folksong, the song in question is of course De la Rey. Not that I have anything against Koos de la Rey, we are practically family :P [his grandfather Gerrit van Rooyen is a forefather of mine], my favourite Boer general though is Christiaan de Wet who outfoxed the British at every turn and wanted to fight until the bitter-end. Old Koos met an unfortunate end; he was shot and killed when he raced through a road block that was meant to capture the Foster gang. Old Koos thought the police were after him because he was on his way to speak with some Boer rebels [yes there was a Boeremag in 1914 also!] who were opposed to South Africa fighting against the Germans in WWI. Perhaps to the dismay of many rightwing Afrikaners who idolize him, old Koos, although he fought in a couple of wars was no fan of warfare; in fact he wished to avert the Boer War and suggested SA stay neutral in WWI.
But I’m digressing – and moving swiftly to the purpose of my letter now. I find it very ironic that the same Afrikaners who claim to be so passionate about their heritage [the ones who listen to De la Rey and went to see that incredibly biased musical Ons vir jou about the Boer War] are the same ones continuingly moaning and either threatening to pack for Perth or have already done so. They praise the courage of their forefathers and say things to the extent of “it is because of their blood and sweat that we Afrikaners have a rightful place here in South Africa”. But when the time arises for them to fight for their place in South Africa instead of fighting they are looking to run away to greener pastures abroad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we go the route a la boeremag, in fact quite the opposite. Nor am I in favour of a volkstaat, surely that would be boring - would it even be legal to play Nkalakatha on load speakers in such a state? So what then?
White South Africans must realize that by resisting transformation they are digging their own grave and (what would likely seem counterintuitive to some) the solution is actually to assist in transformation. It is naïve of white people to suggest that AA must be abolished after only 18 years of democracy. However, I do think we should set some target for what we deem to be a satisfactory level of income distribution (say e.g. Gini of 0.35) which once reached, AA should be abolished. Since 1994 there has not been a significant change in income inequality. The inequality between white and black has only improved slightly and the inequality among blacks has actually increased. Whites can not ignore this inequality any longer; in fact it is in their interest to help to diminish this inequality because it threatens their continued existence in this country. The inequality is the number one reason for our high crime rate, countrywide service delivery protests and what drives individuals to extreme behaviour as witnessed in the Marikana Massacre and should it continue it would only lead to worse, much worse.
The past is never past but part of the present. You can forget the past but that does not change the past. Whites can tell blacks to forget apartheid, but the fact of the matter is there is still huge inequality at present and the bottom line is to ask “how can we change that?” It will not go away on its own: what is required are effective transformation policies and a concerted effort from government, NGOs, big business and normal South Africans across the board for at least a couple of decades. I’m not oblivious to the fact that this will be a tough task, and that it is not possible for everyone to contribute equally, but the way I see it there is now other way unless we want to be a failed state. Of course you’ll say “but the real problem is the ineptness of the ANC government and blacks’ unwillingness to vote them out of power”. True, but you (most white people) are helping them to stay in power. The ANC voters and the poor who don’t vote would be far greater inclined to vote for the opposition if they had better relations with those that support the opposition. More often than not the criticisms levelled against the ANC on this forum by its (white) users and also in real life are demeaning towards blacks and sometimes outright racist. These comments also display a general lack of empathy towards the black poor and ignorance of historical and current facts. As a result any distrust and ill feelings that blacks may have towards whites (which they naturally would have due to apartheid) is perpetuated by these comments. Whites through their thinking and behaviour towards blacks are destroying any chance of cooperation between the races. This cooperation is essential to neutralize the ANC and to bring about the economic transformation which is a necessary condition for the existence of a multiracial, free, stable and prosperous South Africa.
The degree of pessimism that some white South Africans have for the country they live in defies logic. Do you go through your day thinking of three reasons why you will fail in your marriage or fail in your job or of three reasons why you, your family or friends will die today? No, because that is stupid and that type of negative thinking is commonly known to lead to failure. But then you fail to see the inconsistency of thinking about three reasons your country will fail. When someone writes about that you’re like “hell yeah, best article on News24 ever!” Beliefs can be self-fulfilling prophesies, if enough of us believe SA will fail it inevitably will.
White South Africans in my opinion you have two options: either to be a joiner by packing for Perth or to stay and fight like De la Rey, albeit a rather different fight is needed this time around.
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