LETTER TO EDITOR | Afrikaners need to reflect

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Voortrekker monument was erected as a symbol of Afrikaner nationalism. Taken around 1997. (Photo by Joachim Meyer / via Getty Images)
Voortrekker monument was erected as a symbol of Afrikaner nationalism. Taken around 1997. (Photo by Joachim Meyer / via Getty Images)

News24 reader Willem Dippenaar writes in response to Melanie Verwoerd's article, saying it is time for Afrikaaners to reflect on the past in order heal the country. 

This week I read an interesting article from Melanie Verwoerd, Don't do stupid sh*t (if you really care about Afrikaner culture). It was about a FW de Klerk foundation attack on President Cyril Ramaphosa for what it believed was a failure to include the Afrikaner culture as part of Heritage Day. The foundation did this without realising that our mere existence is a celebration of our history.

This article encourages me to reflect on my stand on the Afrikaner culture, seeing that I am a Namakwalander, and I am very proud of that fact. 

As I reflected on my culture, there was a part that was completely missing; shame, empathy, and the responsibility that we need to display towards correcting the past.

And I think that it is time that we as the Afrikanervolk need to check our privilege. But more importantly, we need to check our arrogance, open our eyes to the historical injustice and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

Among the millennials and young professionals, I frequently hear "I wasn't there, why should I pay for apartheid They complain about BBBEE but display no empathy towards the corrective actions that are so desperately needed to help our country to heal. We shy away from our responsibility and judge a government for trying to right the many wrongs our forefathers inflicted on our own people. 

Time to reflect 

It is time for us to reflect on our own question: "Why should our people suffer because of systematic and historical racism and segregation?"

We forget that our forefathers are the architects of a system that not only prevented the development of most of the country's people, but also left generations of uneducated people that live in horrid circumstances. We forget that our parents and grandparents approved of this system by voting for the National Party to the advantage of one culture. We have no problem with looking past the poverty and the injustice. That is the price most people in South Africa pay daily, for the legacy of our forefathers.

We as the Afrikaners have a very selective view when it comes to our shared history, choosing instead to look past injustice and complaining about populist politics. We approve of the ideology of AfriForum that promotes division. We approve the existence of Orania, which is in itself is a celebration of injustice, but complain of how the townships are an eyesore in our beautiful cities.

This brings me to a speech that holds higher esteem, in my view, than the Martin Luther King Jnr "I have a Dream" speech:

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
- Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

What makes this so beautiful is that Mandela calls, even when facing the death penalty, all people African, with no exemption. In the face of death, he stood up for a united Africa, including all cultures, all languages and all her people.

This beautiful country and its people will never heal the divisions, that so easily promote populist politics, if we do not show responsibility, empathy and take action as Afrikaners and become actively part of the solution to unite and heal.

- Willem Dippenaar, Durbanville

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