Injustices of the past cast a shadow on the present.

2013-01-13 21:51

South Africans have, yet again, been subjected to the Apartheid discussion. "Stop blaming Apartheid”, is the latest (recycled) call from the country’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.

Why must we not blame Apartheid? The racist past is, by some margin the biggest contributor to South Africa’s problems.

Many white South Africans still don't get it, in order to focus on the future we need to correct the wrongs of the past. People argue, "but its 18 years of democracy already, can we not move on?" The white youth will say"we were not there, why are we paying for the sins of our fathers",  Not so fast! Yes, we are moving on but, the injustices of the past still haunt South Africa.  In the Bible it also says that "the sins of our fathers will be passed from generation to generation."

Athough the white population makes up the minority, great power still remains in their hands. The socio-economical disparity between black and white is appalling. The very same white people say "What happened in Germany was horrific, we must never forget the Holocaust" - "Never forget Sept 11" "Lest We Forget" they preach, now the very same people have the audacity to tell Black South Africans that they need to forget about Apartheid, it’s in the past.

How dare you say that?

How dare you say we must forget a system that killed so many black people, deprived us of a good education and all manner of other privileges that were enjoyed by one race group, whites; and subjecting the entire black population to poverty. How dare they? How dare they say B.E.E or Affirmative Action is reverse racism? Racism in South Africa is still a huge problem and somehow white South Africans simply believe that we can just sweep the past under the carpet and forget about the past, of which today we are confronted with its legacy.

We therefore cannot just simply move on the basis that they (whites) tell us to move on, not until we have dealt with this very cancer gnawing away at our nation, racism.

Racism exists in the workplace, shopping centres, food outlets, everywhere and anywhere where legislated racism reached. You go to places like Secunda, if you are black and visiting Secunda, there's a very good chance that you will not find a B&B that will afford the black man lodgings, Secunda B&B's are fully booked if you black.

The city of Cape Town has been in the headlines, many times in the last eighteen years, not for the natural wonder , but rather, it’s institutionalised racism.

It sometimes bothers me to think that some white South Africans do not appreciate that transition from apartheid to democracy; it could have simply gone the other way round. The ANC could have insisted on widespread expropriation of property and land without compensation:  an entirely justifiable position given the historic dispossession of black people because economically, we are still on the outside.

The economy is very much ‘white’. The Freedom Charter unambiguously states that “the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and the monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.” But an uneasy compromise was reached. This sidelined black people.

Not so long ago a white lady said "The reason the white race is so offensive towards the African race is due to the ANC's unfairness towards our race - if respect is given respect will be shown!" I couldn't believe it.

Racial oppression was not just a system of domination; it served certain vested interests. The racially skewed access to all economic assets, the domination of the professions and executive positions in business by white males; all were intended outcomes. The privileged position whites enjoy in South Africa today is not the result of greater diligence. It is the effect of explicitly discriminatory policies.

South Africa chose to "forgive" but not forget. MANY white people in South African still harbour the most viscous of racism, and remember these words "a mind of a racist never changes".

In the Northern Cape, there is a small Town called Orania that’s occupied entirely by white only. In the Western Cape, there is another small Town called Swellendam which still maintains some Apartheid policies. In Swellendam whites have their own cemetery and non-whites are not allowed to be buried there. But that all changed in 2010 when a black child was forcibly buried there.

Not so long ago, a racist and former FHM model, Jessica Leandra tweeted: "Just, well took on an arrogant and disrespectful k***r  inside Spar. Should have punched him, should have." She later claimed that she was not racist and "The people that do know me, know that this is not my nature and verbal usage." AMAZING, she almost had me fooled. Funny how a racist act is always justified by saying “I was angry”. If one looks carefully at the racist attacks in the past and more recently, you will notice that the accused always gets away on “technicalities” eg: Scott Crossley, Bees le roux, The Waterkloof Four, The farmer who killed a child on his farm “mistaking them for animals”

This is South Africa, it will always come down to colour, meaning one will pull the "Race card" whenever necessary because we are dealing with undercover racists who somehow show their true colours when you object to a certain remark or when you challenge them. Most white people hate it when a black person challenges them, especially in a work place (this is a fact) So yes people need to stop saying we can't pull a race card because if you in a "white establishment" and you are treated unfairly, it’s because you black. I've been a victim of racism far too many times, and you think to yourself "wow there are people who still think like this in S.A?"

Most born frees do not understand this thing of pulling a race card because they are so sucked into these peoples lifestyle they never can tell between a racist statement and a non racial comment. They smile with them and say "You speak so well Zama" "You not like others hey Mbali". These have to be one of the most racist statements and white people just simply don't see anything wrong with it. What do they mean when the say "you speak well"? "You don't sound black"? And the most famous one as well “you people”

Now to “reverse racism”, before one goes further, it is important to understand the difference between, racism, prejudice and discrimination.

Prejudice; is an irrational feeling of dislike for a person or group of persons, usually based on stereotype.

Discrimination; takes place the moment a person acts on prejudice.  This describes those moments when one individual decides not to give another individual a job because of, say, their race or their religious orientation. White people can discriminate against black people, and black people can discriminate against white people.

Racism; however, describes patterns of discrimination that are institutionalized as "normal" throughout an entire culture. It's based on an ideological belief that one "race" is somehow better than another "race".  It's not one person discriminating at this point, but a whole population operating in a social structure that actually makes it difficult for a person not to discriminate.

It's crucial to maintain the distinction between the above three terms, because otherwise white people tend to redefine "Discrimination" as "Racism".  Their main argument is that because both blacks and white can discriminate against each other, that "Reverse Racism" is possible.

White people who complain about "Reverse Racism" are actually complaining about being denied their privileges, rather than being denied their rights.  They feel entitled to be hired and not to be discriminated against, even though the norm is white people discriminating against blacks. If, in a rare instance, a black employer discriminates against a white job applicant, that's not "reverse" anything -- it's simple discrimination.

It's to be condemned on principle, but it's not evidence of some systematic program by which whites are being deprived of their rights.

In South Africa racism remains a key challenge to our democracy. We cannot undo the legacy of a unique system such as apartheid overnight. It is our responsibility to continuously strive towards reconciliation, transformation and nationhood as South Africans. Whites need to start accepting some harsh realities. Most importantly, whites need to realise that the country’s social inequalities.

Despite all this, South Africa is the next level in terms of trade, technology, peace and love. We will achieve greater height and do greater things.

When one speaks about racism you find that the first to bombard me with their ignorance will be black people, especially those that have been designed to influence white opinion on black people because the black youth serves the white man well – he represents, speaks for and defends the white man.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."  - Martin Luther King, Jr.


Follow me on Twitter: @ThembaRadebeer


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