We will not be bullied

2010-10-23 16:12

Could it be that, 16 years after the start of democracy in South Africa, “newspaper apartheid” is still making old stereotypes of each other live on in our minds?

This question occurred to me after reading two articles in City Press (October 3, 2010) about the stance of AfriForum and ­Solidarity regarding ­transformation at Absa.

It would appear that selective reporting is still keeping the ghosts of the past alive, and the Absa transformation issue is a convenient stick for beating an old drum.

When Solidarity, along with all mainstream Afrikaner organisations, took the lead some time ago in unconditionally ­condemning the Reitz video ­incident, it was published ­nowhere except in an Afrikaans Sunday ­newspaper.

When Solidarity established an emergency feeding scheme for 6 000 families – of which 90% were black people – during several retrenchment crises, nothing was published in ­non-Afrikaans newspapers.

When Solidarity’s National Congress earlier this year ­condemned and warned against white racism amid the racial ­polarisation following the death of Eugene Terre’Blanche and ­Julius Malema’s singing of the Kill the Boer song, nothing was published in City Press.

The facts are that Solidarity accepts the Constitution, rejects racism and promotes good ­relations between the various ­racial and language groups.
We believe that it is our right and duty to protect our ­members’ constitutional rights.

After all, democracy does not mean that everyone has to agree, but rather that people have a right to disagree.

That is why we are in an ­alliance with AfriForum, which makes use of legitimate and ­legal means to promote the ­interests of people who feel ­excluded.

It is also true that Afrikaans is vitally important to us. We ­believe that, in ­violation of the Constitution, ­Afrikaans is being jeopardised and we will fight for the ­continued official existence of our ­language.

Afrikaners regard ­mother-tongue education as a prerequisite for successful ­education and the modernisation of our community.

For quite some time there has been a dormant anger among large numbers of Afrikaners on the ground level about business giants such as Absa and ­Santam?– which were built up by impoverished Afrikaners after the Great Depression?– that have now turned their back on their ­heritage.

We view it as a co-opting of the already rich black elite by the old rich white elite, to the exclusion of ordinary people and at the expense of our language.

Of course, we support the promotion of rugby among black people and the inclusion of more black people in rugby teams.

But we sharply criticised Absa when we received information that they were meddling ­directly in the composition of rugby teams, while they would not do so with 100% black soccer teams.

We saw it as yet another example of the bullying tactics used against Afrikaners by means of large corporate sponsorships.

Afrikaners might have many flaws, but we are tied to Africa.

We named ourselves and our language after Africa, and we believe that the Constitution ­provides the necessary room for us to be 100% South African.

»  Buys is the general secretary of ­Solidarity

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