Will it always be a race thing ?
The only accurate answer in South Africa today is probably YES. I wish I could state otherwise.
I am a proudly white South African. There its out there now, so hate me for it...if you so choose. I have had the priviledge of working with and being exposed to many fine individuals over the past 20 odd years, white, black, and brown and all other colours in between. I have also worked with some not so fine individuals.
The thing is the black folks that I have worked with never really had an issue with my whiteness, and if they did so what! nor did I really have a problem with their blackness, and if I did so what!. It would appear that it was a mutual respect thing.
A long as you did your job to the best of your real abilities, then good for you.
One particular black chap around 10 years older than me, had a hard but fair upbringing in a rural community, he did not have an easy life attending both primary and high schools, as he unfortunately was exposed to "bantu" education at its worst. Yet this individual rose to the challenge, and obtained a national diploma, and went on to study further for a degree in South Africa - unlike so many current high level individuals who studied at prestige institutions overseas while in exile. This all happened during the apartheid era.
He did not sit around and blame all and sundry for his hardships, he got on with the job, and he did very well for himself. There are many other such fine white, black and other coloured individuals in this country.
This man is the only real black "friend" I have ever had, we have braaied together, we have laughed together, and we have cried together, we have even shared our joys at the birth of kids together. But we sorted out really early on, I was white, and he was black...finished and klaar. There was none of this BS of todays two faced standards, lets pretend to be nice for the sake of nice.
If I cocked up he told me so, and if he cocked up I told him so in no uncertain terms. There were times he told me to f off - especially when I called him darkie or muntu, and there were times I told him to f off - especially when he called me "mhlungu". I suppose in many areas today, I would be seen as a complete and blatant racist, and he would be seen as trying to be "white", or even worse, termed a "coconut".
And yet this man is well respected in his old rural community, he is respected by his peers and colleagues, and loved by his wife and kids. He has risen to almost the very top of his chosen career. Not by doing the politically correct thing, but just by doing the correct thing, without fail, every single day.
What is it that sets him so far above most his black counterparts and a good number of whites in this country? Is it opportunity?, perhaps a little. Is it luck?, perhaps a little. But in all likelyhood, it is his attitude.
You see when his similar aged young friends were burning down schools, necklacing individuals, killing each other in faction fights and generally causing chaos for apparent "ideals", he buckled down and did what he could with what he had. And this is why today he echoes success. We have had many discussions regarding the way things are today, and this proud black man shakes his head in shame sometimes.
He cannot indicate to me why the masses are always so easily swayed by cheap half truths and blatant lies. He cannot indicate to me why once proud cultural traditions have become so watered down as to mean nothing, and are merely used as an excuse to ratify some filthy deeds.
We do not agree on all things, but we do not differ on all things either, and this is where we find common ground. This is where we find a similar cause, this is where we find friendship, this is where we find RESPECT.
If only the ANC, DA, COPE and all other politicians...If only big business in South Africa...If only labour in South Africa...would just try and find some common ground, and work forward from there..they would find RESPECT for our country and our nation however crazy this notion seems.
You do not have to always agree, you do not have to always smile and be happy clappy people. Just do what you can with what you have. It sure beats this constant bickering and fighting, and racist BS that rears its ugly little head every single minute, of every single day. Enough already folks.
Heres a cheers to all the great white, black and other coloured folks in this great country that make it work every day.
And to all the corrupt, coniving and ulterior motive individuals out there, leave your crap at the door and get on with it...PLEASE. Oh Ja, and to all the rotten individuals in the ANC - please , stop raping your position of power, its also way past enough already, try just for one day in your miserable small existence to deliver what you have so shallowly promised so many times over.
Anyways, Im just thinking out loud...as usual.