Children of the non-future

2008-02-18 00:00

The article by Ron Nicolson headlined Over the Rainbow (The Witness, February 13) has reference.

I must congratulate you, Ron, on an excellent article and I am sure we will see more angst-laden missives from more members of possibly marginalised and alienated minorities soon.

The force of demographics and probable decay, which are some of the most powerful and unstoppable forces, certainly evident on this continent, will lead to a probable non-future for the children of minorities in this country.

Yes, maybe they will exist and go about their daily lives in as best a way they can, but they will matter not one jot, nor will they be able to determine their own futures in any meaningful way. They will become non-

people, rather like in George Orwell’s novel 1984, or put another way, the people of the shadows.

One is not “racist” in pointing this out, only a wide-awake observer of what has happened in other African (and even Asian) countries such as in East Africa and, more recently, in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

This is a pity because white people and other minorities are absolutely indispensable for the future of this country. John Carlin, a UK journalist, recognised this way back in 1994 and, recently, Anthony Butler has also written about the indispensability of white people to the success of Project South Africa. One is not “racist” in stating that under white South Africans, South Africa had one of the top 20 infrastructures in the world up to 1994. After all, why are all things lumped together as “racist” (and, therefore, not to be discussed) when they merely tell the facts? Should one just ignore and even condemn, as Thabo Mbeki did recently, internationally accepted indicators like the Human Development Index?

Should one just bury one’s entire body in the sand and not just one’s head? Should one just pretend that institutions like the University of Cape Town, among others, just materialised from the fynbos?

Unfortunately, until demographics change and a more appropriate Constitution is proposed that protects minorities as well as affirming the majority, which is the same as saying that pigs will fly over Durban, most educated and intelligent white South Africans will merely pack their bags and go to more welcoming and liveable climes as they did in 1947 India and. to a lesser extent, sixties Kenya.

What we are seeing is the dissembling of the so-called dream and the start of the South African tragedy, because I would dearly love to work towards, and live and even die in, a prosperous and fantastic country. But until I and, more cogently, my unborn children are accepted as co-inhabitants, co-owners and co-determinants of this country by the majority, because it is they who decide through demographic force, that will not happen.

• Gavin Heath works at the Faculty of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal,

Edgewood campus.

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