Max du Preez

Non-racial country? Non-sense.

2009-08-05 09:23

The struggle against apartheid was a "non-racial" struggle. "Non-racialism" is at the heart of our democracy and our new constitution. Non-racial, non-sexist, non-nuclear.


South Africa is a multi-racial country, not a non-racial one. Multi-racial means we have several race groups, non-racial is supposed to mean race doesn't really count; we see the human being before we see race.

No we don't.

Thabo Mbeki didn't like white people, especially Afrikaners. He called them "colonialists of a special kind". In his mind you were either a "settler" or a "native".

Jacob Zuma replaced Mbeki after a camouflaged coup in Polokwane. This was the man who invited Steve Hofmeyr, Leon Schuster and Dan Roodt to a braai at his village. Some of his best friends are Indians. JZ loves the minorities.

Ja, right.

The post-Polokwane ANC, the Zuma-ANC is as every inch as chauvinistic when it comes to ethnicity as the Mbeki-ANC was. If not worse.

The simple truth is that if non-racialism was indeed alive at some point, it is now dead.

Stone dead. Deceased. It's snuffed it. It's not resting, it's not just stunned, it has passed on. Kicked the bucket.

Racial solidarity, on the other hand, is alive and well and thriving.

Whites sit and wait for blacks to falter so they can shout: incompetent! Buffoon! Affirmative action! Quota system!

Around the braai whites swap their stories of uneducated, incompetent blacks who had been pushed into positions of power above them.

Their black counterparts also swap stories around the braai fires: of how racist their white colleagues are, of how there is still no real transformation, about whites being paid better than blacks even when they do the same job.

It is now the black man's turn, they say.

Many whites enjoyed it when the Judge President of the Western Cape, John Hlophe, demonstrated his utter unsuitability to be a judge of the high court by his racist utterances to white lawyers, by questionable business decisions and by trying to influence judges of the Constitutional Court to be pro-Zuma. You see, those whites said.

Black lawyers and others have formed the Justice for Hlophe Alliance and call every single white person who wonders whether Hlophe would be such a great choice as Chief Justice as a despicable racist. Hlophe has now become a national symbol of black pride just because so many whites don't like him.

At the Judicial Services Commission prominent black lawyers harass all white applicants for judicial positions simply because their skins are of a pale hue.

The national leadership of the ruling party keep tjoepstil when their youth league clowns aim a barrage of racist and sexist attacks at the premier of the Western Cape. She's white and has the audacity to lead a party that has won the provincial election. She's got to be an evil racist.

Go to any internet chat room in South Africa and you will see three out of five white correspondents saying stuff like "we're a Zimbabwe in the making", and "blacks have proved all over Africa that they can't run an economy or a democracy".

Most of us South Africans still attack and defend from our racial trenches. Knee-jerk reactions.

The "rainbow nation" was just a mirage, after all.

Racial solidarity is the biggest enemy of harmony and progress in South Africa.

PS. In my column last month I defended Springbok coach Pieter de Villiers's right to be eccentric and say things that offend some. But I ended by saying: "It's just a pity he doesn't have the tactical and strategic abilities one would expect of the coach of the world's number one rugby team."

Well, after two convincing victories over the All Blacks I must swallow my words. No-one can still reasonably argue that the Boks' form is simply due to a hangover from the Jake White era.

I was wrong, Pieter. Sorry. Now rub it in by rubbishing the Wallabies.

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