Race Perceptions in South Africa

 July 14, 2019
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Current affairs

The current situation in SA as regards race is not doing anyone any good, at least that is my perception. I am white so many black people will regard my point of view as irrelevant and racist, that is their right, but I should stress that I care about the wellbeing of my country and all of its citizens.
Over the last number of years there have been quite a lot of incidents which highlight anti-white sentiment in many different sectors of the country. In the courts for instance we have had some rather dubious judgements in race related matters. The question of racism on social media has been among those. Penney Sparrow received a hefty fine for likening black people to monkey's. I don't condone or agree with her sentiments at all, but I have also seen social media comments from blacks reffering to whites as "pink pigs" amongst other things, some even calling for whites to be killed.
One hears nothing in the media about these cases being brought to court so from my perspective it would seem that only racism by whites is prosecuted. Other rather strange decisions are for instance the much publicized "coffin case" in which the judge saw fit to find the perpetrators guilty of "attempted murder", which implies the intention to kill, whereas in fact the victim was in fact largely unharmed (at least physically). To me this indicates no intention to kill the victim, so how can a judge convict them of "attempted murder".
Vicky Momberg also received a jail sentence for using a word which has been a part of this country for longer than anyone can remember. This same word is routinely used amongst blacks when refering to each other. These judgements and sentences are an indication that whites are judged more harshly than the rest of the population. That is not to say that I agree with,or support the actions of those mentioned, but I firmly believe that the judgements are unneccesarily harsh and do not contribute in any way to eliminating racial tensions, they may actually have the opposite effect.
During the mid eighties to early nineties I was regarded by many in the white community as being a "k....r boetie", and some refused to do business with me because of my views. I must also say that there were some who held very strong beliefs totally opposite to mine, and held no grudge and even respected me for not backing down on my opinions. During that time I had a good relationship with many black people based on mutual respect. In the last 15 years, or so, the perception amongst many black people seems to have developed slowly to the situation where especially young people seem to think that whites were so privileged under "apartheid" that they received houses, cars, farms etc all free and "gratis" from the government.
There is also the perception that whites have oppressed black people for 350 to 450 years, depending on who you talk to. The truth is that there was a clash of cultures, relatively sophisticated whites came into contact with blacks who were still in the stone age by comparison. This led to conflict at various times and is hardly surprising and should be regarded as part of our history. Black people did also benefit from contact with the more advanced European people, and in a relatively short time many have become as sophisticated as their white counterparts. A large part of the population however still lags behind and it is only education which will change this. Education therefore should be a priority, especially in rural areas.
It was only when the British took over the Cape colony that one can really speak of oppression, this would be from the early 19th century. It was not only blacks who were being oppressed but also the "dutch" farmers of those days. Anyone who doubts that there was such oppression. need only to stop over at the "Slagtersnek" monument close to Cookhouse in the Eastern Cape. Many of the "Dutch" farming community eventually decided to move out of the control of the British and into the interior, which in those days was sparsely populated. They had no intentions of stealing land from anyone and in fact upon arrival in the territory of the Zulu's they sent a delegation to Dingaan, to ask for permission to settle in his territory. This delegation was murdered by Dingaan and led to the subsequent battle of "Blood" river.
The battle of blood river had a very profound effect on our history, the "Voortrekkers" managed to survive an attack on them by vastly superior numbers of Zulu warriors. The survivors of this attack then believed it was only by the grace of God that they were able to withstand the attack and survive. This led to the Voortrekkers coming to regard themselves as Gods chosen people in much the same way that the Israelites of the bible were also Gods chosen people. The battle of Blood river was also the genesis of the "Swart gevaar" (black threat) mentality amongst "Afikaners" in general.
Up to that time the Dutch community of the voortrekkers had lived in relative peace with the black people of SA. As I understand things many black people fled from oppression from the chief's and king's of the black tribes and settled amongst the white communities of the time. It should also be borne in mind that, amongst the black tribes in those times, it was a part of their culture to steal livestock from neighbouring tribes and stealing from whites was merely an extension of such culture. This naturally lead to a lot of friction, which continues even to this day, stock theft remains a major problem for both black and white people.
The Voortrekkers of the 1830's and 40's, did not venture into the interior to murder blacks and steal their land as many would have us believe, they actually wanted to live peacefully and without the oppression of the British. They had no intentions of oppressing anyone. The vast culture differences between them and the black tribes they came across did inevitably lead to friction and I am sure many atrocities from both sides resulted from such friction.
The battle of blood river had the effect of making the Voortrekkers very wary of attack from black people even when they had agreements with the various chief's and king's of the regions in which they settled. The current narrative of how they went about oppressing black people and stealing land is not true, although there may well have been incidents where blacks were dispossessed, during the "Boer" war many blacks actually supported the erstwhile "Boer" republics. It is true however, that black people in the republics were not regarded as citizens and as such did not have the same rights as citizens.
Most of the racial laws which were the forerunners of "Apartheid", were introduced by the British, the national party however took these racist laws to extremes and introduced many new racist laws of their own. Hendrik Verwoerd who is today known as the architect of "apartheid" is much vilified, but I believe he was assasinated because he believed in "seperate but equal", and many within the national party did not want to see things as equal as Verwoerd had in mind.
I personally think seperate developement was a crazy idea, but at the same time I suspect Verwoerd was a man of integrity and his idea of seperate but equal meant exactly that, with a lot of emphasis on the equal. His peers within the national party (or Broederbond) could not stomach the equal part, hence the 2 attempts on his life, the second being successfull. My views on Hendrik Verwoerd will probably not gain me any friends amongst the black or white community, but my logic tells me that this is what really happened.
While the "great trek" was in progress the British in the meantime imported new settlers for the East Cape region, to act as a buffer along the Fish river area. Most of these settlers were promised all sorts of things and had no idea of what they were getting into, they were given small parcels of land and told to become farmers, many did not survive, but those that did had a huge influence on developing the country we have today. We owe these settlers a debt of gratitude for helping to make our country what it is today, they overcame many hardships along the way.
After this very brief description of our history we need to look at where we are now. No matter how much and how loudly white people are vilified by politicians, and "would be" politicians, the inescapable fact is that in 1994 with the advent of democracy, SA was the most developed country in Africa with the best infrastructure, as well as having the biggest economy in Africa. As much as the anti-white brigade struggle to stomach this fact, it is never the less true.
With the advent of democracy and the coming to power of the ANC much emphasis was placed on affirmative action and black empowerment. I have understanding about the reasons for this and have no problem in principal, however, far too little was done to ensure that those taking over positions, previously held by whites, had the neccesary expertise to successfully fulfill the functions they were appointed for. The nett result of these policies was the deterioration of "service delivery" to the people and the dramatic increase in consultancy costs.
I doubt if many other countries in the world squandered their human resources in quite the same way that SA did under the ANC. The "brain drain" which resulted from ill considered policies still continues, except that it is now not only white people leaving for countries which show more appreciation for their skills, many black proffessionals are also leaving.
Apparently, the major reasons for the current "brain drain" are not only the problem of obtaining meaningfull employment but are also related to safety, crime, education, health and the deterioration of infrastructure. All of these are directly related to the appointment of corrupt and incompetent officials across the board. An interesting point to make here is that I am informed by some black people that having the wrong political affiliations apparently prevents one from being appointed to any position, this applies to municipalities, provincial government structures and national government posts under the control of the ANC. If this is true, then it would seem that the focus has not really been on "black empowerment", but rather "cadre deployment". It is therefore not surprising that our country is in trouble.
The perception that the whites as a whole were responsible for all the wrongs of apartheid rule is also not correct, the country was actually under the control of the "Broederbond", who were a secret organization for the advancement of the "Afrikaner". The book "The Super Afrikaners" by Ivor Wilkens and Hans Strydom clearly illustrates this.
It is interesting to note how many similarities there are between the Broederbond and the ANC. Both went to extremes to ensure that their people were appointed to influential positions. Many right wing whites today are also unaware that the Broederbond had planned to change the old SA flag, which was a compromise flag in the first place. I find it quite funny that many right wing people today use this flag as some sort of "act of defiance" in our current state. This flag was in fact a "Union" flag and amongst the "Super Afrikaners" it was regarded as something forced on them.
To return to the main focus of this article, our leaders need to realise that whites have played a very important part in building this nation and have the potential to help rebuild. All of the anti-white rhetoric currently flooding the political debate is not in the least helpfull. The time is overdue for our leaders to abandon the failed racist policies of "BEE" and affirmative action.
The time is ripe for black and white to work together for the good of the country. The narrative that whites have "stolen" the land and resources is for the most part not true. Almost all of the current owners of land have paid for the land and those whose forefathers received land from the Dutch or British in historical times have developed that land to be the productive land that it is today, the idea that this land should expropriated without compensation is already causing problems for our economy.
The ANC is fully aware of the problems such a policy will unleash, but because of the internal squabbles the matter has become a political football and none of the current leaders are prepared to publicly admit that this policy is not feasible. I agree that it is desirable to establish a black commercial farming community, but not at the expense of the economy as a whole. The biggest problem with land reform in the past 25 years seems to have been corruption and the dismal failure of government to implement its own policies.
My message to the country and its leaders therefore is to stop discouraging whites from remaining in the country and to actively seek their assitance in repairing the damage done in the recent past. The only way for our country to move away from the dysfunctional institutions we currently have, is if we all work together. Abandon "cadre deployment" and "affirmative action" and allow the best possible people to be appointed in all positions irrespective of any other consideration. Think about why it should still be neccesary to have race based employment policies, is it possible that our government feels that blacks are inferior and therefore cannot compete on an equal footing with their white counterparts, this is the message they seem to be sending out.
There are some in the country who would like to see a lot of "nationalisation" in various sectors, to them, I need only point out that the enterprises currently in the possesion of the state are not exactly inspiring confidence in the idea. Consider that most SOE's cannot survive without "bailouts" from government, how can they possibly justify creating more SOE's. We would have nightmares if the Reserve bank became another SOE. I would suggest that we first concentrate on the SOE's we already have and turn them into viable businesses before looking to nationalise any other business. The fastest way of destroying the productive capacity of the country is to place the means of production in the hands of the state. We already have too many labour laws which make us uncompetitive on the world market, I shudder to think of what will happen to our already struggling economy if we were to have large scale nationalisation with politicians dictating how enterprises should be run.
I also think we should move away from being so oversensitive to racism, we should accept that many of us (black and white) are racist, and from time to time such racism will lead to insulting utterances, especially when people are under stress. I have been called many names over the years, but I have never felt the need to resort to the law in order to vent my displeasure over such events.

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