No standing with a foot on either side: Commit or leave

2019-04-26 16:14
Marc Smit

Marc Smit

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Name: Marc Smit

Age: 29

Occupation: Writer

As a young white male growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, two points were incessantly hammered into me by my elders. First, South Africa was on a downward spiral into chaos, and, consequently, my only option was to strive for some way out of this failing state. Luckily, through the undying patience of friends, and simple blunt force trauma to the head, I managed to break away from this pathological mindset.

One thing that struck deep was a discussion from Frantz Fanon's classic anti-colonial work, The Wretched of the Earth. There, Fanon discusses the problem of dual loyalties faced by white people born-and-raised in a colonial state, but with ancestral ties to their European 'motherland'.

His assessment is scathing, an ultimatum: you either remain in your land of birth, committing yourself to its restitution and development, or you return to the place of your forebearers and never look back. There was no standing with a foot on either side.

Taking this view, President Cyril Ramaphosa is partially correct in his sentiment. White South Africans, especially the youth, should be encouraged to remain in the country, but there should be no bending over backwards to accommodate those who would rather abandon us. South Africans who complain incessantly about the dismal state of the country today usually have little idea of what is truly transpiring therein. They care little to know. They do not want to partake in the country; they want only to take from it.

Some might argue that it is necessary for the youth to travel overseas in order to accumulate skills they can bring back to South Africa. It is time to stop turning to the West for support. They cannot nor do they want to give it. We have enough power in ourselves to forge our own future. We have a highly advanced Constitution, and we never stagnate in the pursuit of economic and human rights. At most, we should be strengthening mutual ties with other post-colonial and former Third World nations, not the former colonisers.

To be clear, this is not a blanket condemnation of those who wish to leave. Many people have legitimate reasons for moving abroad. This criticism is levelled at those who wax lyrical about "building the country" or "helping its people" while simultaneously keeping an eye aimed elsewhere, waiting for granny's citizenship to give them a backdoor out, should things ever go pear-shaped.

The choice is simple: you either commit yourself to remaining South African, and contributing to the growth of the nation, or you drop all pretences and chase your rainbow elsewhere.

Read more on:    youth  |  emigration
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