DEAR YOUNG WHITE SOUTH AFRICANS

2014-09-23 20:55

I write this letter knowing it will reach a handful of you but hoping you will spread the message it carries.

As a person who spent most of his life in rural areas, I did not interact with white South Africans for many years.

I was fortunate to relocate to the Western Cape for educational reasons. I was more fortunate that I met many young white South Africans who love our country and its people. Through societies in school and university, I’ve interacted with many who want to move our country forward.

I’ve grown as an individual, politically, spiritually and academically because of the friendships and networks I created with those young passionate people.

Please then read this letter further knowing I am not putting a blanket over all of you or treading you like a homogeneous group of people.

Sparked by the recent racism events in two of our universities I wanted to write this to alert you of a heavy responsibility you have.

A great man once said "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

This old man has since departed, and we can assume he said this because of his unpleasant experiences with your older generations. Your ancestors and parents were taught to hate black people and have put that to practice as laws that once governed this country.

Since 1994 we’ve been going through a process of teaching your parents to love through this great man and others who dubbed us a rainbow nation.

But love in some of their hearts has not come naturally as the old man thought it would. I guess it is hard to unlearn something you have personalized and normalized for decades, for it is harder to teach an old heart how to love when it knows hate.

The actions of white students across South African Universities are worrying: Free State University, University of Pretoria and recently University of Stellenbosch. Their actions have made me wonder if in some of your homes you are taught to love as the old man thought you to.

As I have said, you are not a homogeneous group of young people. Many of you understand racism, many of you are aware of your white privilege, many of you understand how white supremacy has entrenched itself in our society and how it often goes unnoticed. Many of you will never tell blacks to get over apartheid, just like you would never tell Jews to get over the holocaust.

You have a great responsibility of then teaching other white young South Africans, those whose parents fancy moving to Australia, those whose parents think Orania is a great “country”.

Your responsibility is to create a white consciousness, similarly black consciousness. Black consciousness does not teach blacks to hate other races but it teaches them to love themselves without stepping on other races. Create a white consciousness of loving your fellow humans and understanding that we are all equal. Your white consciousness must acknowledge your privilege. It must be a consciousness of a South Africa we all want to live in, one free of hate and racism.

Unlike your parents who have been taught to hate for many years, your peers are young, love will come more naturally to their hearts such consciousness will never be hard to learn.

Its OK for your parents to be racist, it’s not because of their own doing, they have been taught to. It’s not OK for you because you’ve had an opportunity to grow up in a society that preaches love and aspires to equality.

For many years through movements black people have called for equality and justice. Black people have never called for laws that would make them more powerful than your ancestors and parents or be treated differently unfairly against them. In this they've always tried to show love and an understanding that we are all equal. Blacks taught themselves how to love each other and show love to those who oppressed them.

But their movements have failed; failed to teach whites how to love. Its time you teach yourselves how to love yourselves without climbing onto the white supremacy ladder.

Racism is happening because many have chosen to keep quiet about it when its the huge elephants in the room.. It's not until we speak about race and you confront racism in all its forms that we will see an ending to it.

Contrary to some of your parents’ thoughts; that you are disadvantaged in the new South Africa, statistics have proven that to be incorrect. Young black South Africans the same age as you remain at the bottom in terms of skills and remain very high in levels of unemployment. StatSA recently showed us that it’s easier for you to get more jobs than your black fellows.

Use this information to debunk the teaching from your parents and teach others about white fears and black fears in our country. Teach each other about the history of black-face, white privilege and supremacy.

I hope through my limited English fluency you will get the context of this short letter and the message it carries.

Sincerely

A YOUNG BLACK SOUTH AFRICAN

Follow on Twitter :@EsethuHasane

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