When SRC leaders go Nazi

2015-04-28 20:10

A few days ago I was chatting with an expat South African who asked me if I was happy living here. It's no longer an easy question for me to answer when I really think about it. The day to day challenges of daily life in South Africa are often overshadowed by the racist comments of ignorant leaders oblivious to the impact of their statements. But that's not my biggest concern. In the past when countries were lead by foolish people, they didn't have access to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Their exploits, poisonous ideologies and basic idiocy generally, remained a matter of personal accounts from assitants and not the History books.

Today the leader of the student Student Representative Council of Wits stated on his facebook page that he loved Adolf Hitler. He later went on to defend these statements in the media and on television. How sad that it hasn't even take a generation for this 'academic' (and I use the word loosely) to turn his back on South Africa's Nazi history and what we have tried to overcome. What do I mean, you ask? Let me explain.

As the Nazi regime reached it's peak of power and influence in the early 1940's, three South African's took a trip to Germany to learn Nazi ideology and how to implement it in South Africa. By the end of the war in 1945, and with the world reeling from the atrocities of the Nazi's, it was politically incorrect to openly practice Nazism. It was politically incorrect for Jews to drive German cars, It was politically incorrect to openly sympathise with the Nazi's and it was spolitically incorrect to call your ideology Nazism so the three South Africans changed the name of the Nazi ideology they were blue printing. They called it "a policy of separate development". Their names were Hendrik Verwoerd, John Vorster and "Lang" Hendrik van der Berg and we came to know their racist ideology as Apartheid.

One would assume that 'academics' would have the knowledge to see the bigger picture. Evidently this is no longer a safe conclusion to draw. It seems that many of our student academics at universities around the country are so busy fighting with statues, involving themselves in Israeli politics and fighting the sale of imported tomatoes by upmarket retailers that academia has taken a seat at the back of the bus. Who has time to actually accrue depth of knowledge with a schedule like that?

We shouldn't be surprised that South Africa is plagued by a racist malady. Nazi ideology is woven into the very fabric of our society, it just isn't called by it's correct name. Hating white people is now called anti- Colonialism. Hating Muslims is called Islamophobia. Hating Jews is called anti-Zionism. Hating anyone foreign is called Xenophobia. Hating other African's is called Afrophobia. Hate speech is called 'my right to freedom of speech'. The list goes on and on. (Feel free to add yours in the comments). If you need proof all you have to do is listen to what our political leaders are saying – isolating out foreigners, Whites, Jews, Chinese, Xhosa's. Zulus. Muslims. It's all there. Every Day. There are no consequences due to them for their hate speech and incitement. It's whitewashed and blamed on Apartheid. (Yes, I thought this was ironic too).

The biggest irony in the whole sad SRC saga, and one that no doubt has escaped the SRC leader in question is that despite “loving Hitler”, Hitler certainly would not have loved the likes of the SRC leader. You see, Hitler had a vision of a world populated by what he considered the perfect race – The Aryan race. Tall. Blonde. Blue eyed. And White. Hitler undobtably would have had Dlamini carted off to the gas chambers along with the Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies and mentally deficient people that didn't fit Hitler's Aryan ideal. That's Nazism. That's racism. The Holocaust remains the ultimate conclusion to racism permitted to run it's course. 

How long are we as a peace loving society going to put up with hateful rhetoric from our leaders? How long are we going to continue appeasing groups of students whose only ambition in life, it seems, is to disrupt learning at institutions that would enable them to actually make something good of their lives?

If I had to answer the 'happy' question today, my answer would have been different. I would say yes, I'm deliriously happy living here in our “Rainbow Nation”, where everyone's culture is respected and being different is considered a blessing, corruption is under control, our leaders actually care about and serve the people and criminals are behind bars without parole.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. Hitler said that. "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." Nelson Mandela said that.

The choice of whom we chose as our role models remains ours.

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