I am angered by the attitude of some people in this country. It seems that one can't even enter into a rational debate with people of other races here without it descending into a war of words, where prejudices and stereotyping come to the fore. (You are correct in assuming that this is going to be a rant. If you disagree with me on this topic, it is your democratic right to do so. However, I then urge you to also exercise your other democratic right to not read it, while I exercise my right to express myself freely.) Why am I angry? Because it amazes me how many black people still live under the assumption that because I am white and have a car and a house that I am somehow "rich" and that I have "stolen" something from them in order to get it.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have had a job for 20 years (which I didn't get or keep simply because of my race, and had to pass certain educational requirements to apply for). I have paid for everything I own today, without toyi-toying and rioting and destroying other people's property - or demanding to get these things from the government for free. My mother paid for my schooling out of her hard-earned pay from two jobs, albeit at a reduced rate. When I failed grade 11, I didn't riot, toyi-toyi or burn down the school, or accuse anyone of unfair practice, or threaten the headmaster with a knife - I accepted the fact that I hadn't learned hard enough and went back to repeat the year successfully. I paid for all my post Matric courses myself, and passed them because I knew I had to pay for them myself and didn't have money to waste. The house I live in is 110 years old, and was paid for by my mother, again via her hard earned money - and yes, I will inherit it one day. The car I drive is an ordinary Mazda 323 Sting - a 2001 model I might add, which I bought and paid for second-hand and is no more a "rich man's car" than the five or six other "pre-owned" bangers I drove previously. I have no criminal record, and have always been a passionate advocate for human rights and equality for all people. I give to charities and I work for the betterment of what is still laughably called South African "democracy".
And yet somehow, I am being made to unwillingly bear the guilt and shame of previous generations, for wrongs done by people long dead to other people also long dead. Hence the real source of my frustrations and anger at this point. Quite frankly, I am sick of it.
A big thorn in my side is the current state of this country, as belied and covered over by our President in his rosy speech which would have the world and blissfully stupid - let alone the blissfully ignorant - believe that all is well and somehow miraculously will be well before he rehashes the same speech for next year, and people play silly but cute little games counting how many times he clears his throat, says "pov-ah-tea", or gives us the middle finger while pushing up his glasses.
All is not well in South Africa. Not in the least. There are 6000 - that's right - SIX THOUSAND cases of police brutality being investigated, in which police have been accused of wrongful arrest, violence, murder, theft, and other wrongdoings. If that is the police, then I wonder what the true reflection is of the TRUE crime statistics is without being doctored by the government propaganda machine. And yes, if the POI were already in place I am sure I wouldn't even be made aware that there were 6 cases of police brutality under investigation, never mind 6000.
There are political marauders at work in this country. They don't care for the betterment of the common citizen of this country, for financing their education - for MANAGING their education and preventing all these services from collapsing on themselves - so they prefer to just fall back on that old staple of the despot and the corruptocrat - redistribute the wealth. The wealth as it appears is today much less than it was ten years ago. Yes, there is investment and yes, there is building going on around us - but the holes in the bucket that hold the wealth are bigger than they were ten years ago. Billions of our country's tax budget are unaccounted for at the end of each year. Corruption and mismanagement are bleeding our country dry.
Take the land, take the mines, take the farms, is the solution of one very vocal camp these days. Give them to the people. "The People". What people? The dude sitting on the street corner selling veggies? Or the homeless drunk lying passed out in the street? Sure, why not? No, not the fellow driving the BMW, not the black diamond - because then it's not giving to the poor. Ja, s'right - give it to the guy living in a shack with ten kids and three mistresses even though he is under 30? So what if he has a list of criminal charges against him longer than my arm? Cool. The one with no education? The one who would never in a million years be able to drive a tractor, let alone manage a farm or a mine, or know what end of a screwdriver to hold? Yes, that one. And at the end of the day, you have no mine, just a hole in the ground; no farm, just a patch of veggies around a mud-hut - and no economy, and no growth - and then of course, the only people you could blame is the government - only they tell you, aaikona - it was the Apartheid government's fault, even though they vanished from the political landscape a long time ago.
To the proponents of land invasions and the nationalization of mines and farmers, all the "rich farmers" whose farms and homes were appropriated (STOLEN) by the government of Zim-bob-we over the past 30-odd years, all left the country with loads of wealth (which belong to "the people" and retreated to their other rich plantations elsewhere in Europe. They are still blamed for all the ills and complaints of "the people", even though they are too obtuse to put one and one together to realise that colonial rule ended more than 30 years ago and any problems they now have are the fault of Moo-gabe and his pretend government - and their own for keeping him there.
The reality is that most of the "white farmers" they speak of crossed the border into SA with little more than the clothes on their backs, and lived in their cars for months while looking for whatever work they could find. The lucky ones stayed with relatives. Many lost everything they had and had to start all over, having been forced to leave their possessions, furnishings, priceless heirlooms and properties behind. They were also prevented from crossing the border with more than R100,00 on their person - a trifling sum, even in those days. Still, whenever the truth is pointed out to these antagonists (and historical revisionists), they "aren't interested in dwelling on the past" - except when it suits them of course - and in a way that suits them.
Asking them how they would feel if the government came knocking on their door, telling them the house they owned and had paid for now belonged to the former street-sweeper standing behind them, greedily eyeing the silverware, was no longer theirs, that they were being evicted - and what's more, they would not be compensated for the loss - results in the response: "I'm not interested in discussing 'what-if's'!
Of course not - because they couldn't care a tuppence about those who might face these issues in South Africa in the not too distant future - and because they might also stand in line for the redistribution of belongings of others taken away because of their race - and given to them solely on account of theirs. Convenient.
Proponents of the racist hatred in Zim-bob-we against white citizens of that country like to use that country of a shining example of what happens when they can get their way. Sure, we know Zim-bob-we. We know it is run by a two-bit tin-hat dictator that can't even win an election without committing election fraud, and not without a degree of intimidation and propaganda - and laws which ban freedom of the Press - sadly enough, a path South Africa is taking also. This too might please them.
According to the linked article from the group on Facebook linked above, Zimbabwe has supposedly overtaken the BRICS countries. No, there is no punchline. Really? With WHAT economy? Last I heard, you still need a wheelbarrow to carry your Zim-dollars to the corner shop to buy a loaf of bread. Oh wait, are they still using the million Zim-dollar note?
How much of that government's propaganda is actually based on some semblance of fact? Zimbabwe is at present a basket case. Their citizens "migrate" illegally through our country's porous (non-existent) borders and flock to Johannesburg where they make more by begging at busy intersections than some Zimbabwean civil servants earn in salaries.
Still, unbelievably, these people insist on nationalizing the farms (and mines). They want South African farms nationalized, and they want the remaining farmers to "just give away" ownership in their farms - which incidentally are legitimate and successful businesses. I can tell you what I would say if someone told me to "give away" part ownership in my business - I would tell them to go f*** themselves. And I would be well within my rights to do so too.
A few years back, the government foolishly decided to impose ownership quotas and this thinly disguised racist policy called "BEE" on businesses - even foreign owned businesses. Quite a few foreign enterprises closed their doors and went back to South America or Europe rather than fall for that nonsense. Nowadays any white-owned local companies have to have BEE (passenger partners) in order to be awarded government contracts. Companies have to adhere to racial policies, quotas on white, colored, black and asian employees. I pity my colored friends too, because when the NP was in power, they were "too black" for the work market - and now they are "too white".
Most jobs in the market are ear-marked BEE, meaning that white people - especially high school graduates - stand little chance of finding work - meaning there are a lot more white people begging at traffic lights than before, and living in tin shacks outside cities. The universities are an utter shambles. Once they were the best in the southern hemisphere - now they are dictated to by communist student bodies who demand to study for free, and who riot and destroy facilities and disrupt learning for other students who are actually there to learn. Further, the universities are inundated with these charity cases who swarm there every year at registration time - and are admitted solely because of their race - and while deserving high school leavers with triple A's are left out unable to study further. Further, what about the two applicants who were trampled to death in the rush to register this January? This in itself disgusts me.
Why are there not larger faculties? Why are there no new educational facilities? Why is money instead being wasted on fictitious arms-deals (full of fraudulent dealings) for foreign hardware when we have (or had) or own home-grown arms industry? More white people are nowadays sitting without work and opening their own small businesses than before, and mostly they do not last or succeed. Many families opt to leave the country, tired of the combination of economic decline and corruption and the crime epidemic the government continues to deny. Who can blame them?
It seems that in gaining power, the "majority" has not only won freedom and control - but have not solved their initial problems. No, no - instead, they have simply replaced one minority in control with another minority - and spread misery all over the country in a manner which transcends race, class and economic status. This is, in my opinion, why Europe had already developed the wheel, agriculture, construction, politics, technology, poetry, writing, art, exploration, and an understanding of economics - when Africa was still living in the stone age, stealing cattle, and wondering what a horse tasted like.
Perhaps this is why I have such a hard time understanding the folks with the big mouths cursing white people like me and our society and our norms and culture. Funny enough, they are all wearing suits, or the latest styles in jeans, shoes and jewellery, studying at a college, tech or varsity, driving a car or using a taxi or bus or train, living in a house or apartment, working in an office in a sky-scraper and earning money, sitting in a church and praying to a god invented by Europeans, eating food in fancy restaurants or even a Mc Donalds, or drinking a pepsi, popping HIV meds, watching their TV soapies, reading their newspapers or the comics (reading at all for that matter), voting, and exercising their freedom of speech or expression, or equality - all things invented in Europe, or by us nasty horrible oppressive racist white people. Yes, I can see why they hate us so much. Perhaps it's because everything they use in their daily lives is made by people they see as "the enemy", and the only things I can think of as being truly "ethnic" South African today are the vuvuzela and the word "eish" (and the vuvuzela is made from plastic, invented - ah, forget it).
In nationalizing the farms, naturally they think this will magically solve the crisis of food shortages, poverty will miraculously dissipate and suddenly everyone living in a shack (with or without a DSTV dish on the roof - yes, I've seen them) will be rolling in money and sporting Nike tackies. This whole scheme sounds more and more like the Soviet collective farming failures of the 1920's and 30's that caused the deaths of millions due to starvation. Make the farmers give the farm workers shares in the farm, they say. Since the farm belongs to the owner, isn't it surely up to the owner to decide? And as for the farms taken by the state - the state will certainly never give the workers a share in ownership - instead they will white-wash it with commie-speak, saying "the farm belongs to the people"... Nevertheless, nationalize the farms, they say. Okay - then the economy will implode, farms will cease to exist and "the people" they claim to be so concerned about, will starve. And yes, it will all be the fault of the white folks too.
What will motivate farm workers to produce more food if all they earn for producing food is a salary or a percentage? You can't look at one single government-run facility in the country without finding corruption and mismanagement, incompetence and nepotism and gods know what else - NOT A SINGLE ONE - even Telkom is a disaster and about to implode due to its monopolization of the communications market, the rail network is practically non-existent and the roads are crumbling due to neglect. SA Airways is always in the red and the government is now even resorting to silencing the Press to cover up how full of corruption and scandal it is. Eskom is so fucked up they supply half of southern Africa (even the countries that abuse human rights) with cheap, cut-rate electricity generated by our ailing network which has not been maintained or upgraded since 1994 - and have the cheek to threaten South Africans who pay high power rates for sub-standard services with rolling black-outs because we dare to use "too much" electricity??? WTF?? Dude - the post office in my area doesn't even have a post box any more. Everything works on "African time" - which means anything from "just now" to "now now" to "eish, I don't know" to "maybe never". As it is, forensic accounting is a frustration when people try to point fingers or uncover a crime, because employees either don't know what they are doing, or are too concerned about what other people are doing, or "eish - you want me to do what?" What will make nationalised farms any different?
You want to place blame for poverty in SA today - more than 15 years since the end of the Apartheid regime?? If that's the case, then look at the President and his super-rich highly paid cronies in government. Look at the para-statal organizations like Eskom and Telkom crumbling and failing - and still paying their employees undeserved bonuses. Look at the fat cats in municipal management, wasting money on frivolous tripe and earning huge salaries for little return. Place the blame at their feet.
Criminals roam the streets because the government lets them out on clemency, bail and parole despite having serious charges and previous convictions for serious crimes. A "life sentence" today is a mere 25 years, when it should mean till they stop breathing. The prisons are too small and nobody seems to have realized in the past 20 years that there is a bigger national population, more criminals and so there is a need for bigger or more prisons. Just being held awaiting trial or for minor and petty crimes means sharing a single cell with 40 people and a potential death sentence, which is hardly fair.
Despite the stunning wastage of tax-money on star-scraping salaries and political events nobody really needs - or in assisting other African governments to stay in power despite elections that are fraught with suspicious activities and despite their poor record in human rights, there is never enough money for necessities here at home. People appear in court on charges of serious crimes committed while on parole or bail for other crimes. Two high profile prisoners convicted of fraud and corruption have retreated to hospital beds on pretexts of illness rather than sit in a cell for their crimes, with one playing 18 holes of golf to celebrate his "miraculous" recovery after being pardoned on medical grounds. I call bullshit on that one, by the way, as will anyone with a brain. Prisoners escape due to neglect and corruption in the Prison Service and police. And somehow we are meant to believe that this position is improving without any obvious efforts from government beyond the Chief of Police (also since made to quietly disappear following a fraud or mismanagement scandal) changing his title to "General" and telling his officers to "shoot to kill"?
The ANC government promises jobs and economic growth. They promise free houses to the poor - and yet the fabled RDP scheme has been fraught with fraud and corruption since its inception 20 years ago. Just this week a scandal in Kirkwood showed a stack of incomplete RDP houses now occupied not by the poor residents of a nearby shanty town - but by livestock. The ANC promises an end to poverty - but instead of spending more on education and career development training or health services, or saving the imploding public health system - they blow billions annually on utter crap - such as the centenary celebrations of the ANC, and on other frivolous nonsense in ANC-run provinces and municipalities around the country. How many poor people could they have clothed, fed, housed, educated or healed with that money? But every year, taxes will increase, while service delivery decreases. This country and its situation is becoming more and more Orwellian by the week. Anyone who claims this government is doing a good job or earning it's stay has either got their heads planted firmly up their own asses, or lives in la-la land.
Will these people still blame "colonialism" and "apartheid" for the problems in this country in 40 years time? Some folks like to blame colonialism for all the ills of their world - and yes, while there were many inhumane and unfair practices committed in those days by paternalistic and often elitist and racist authorities who were managed from across the seas and faraway - but what good does it do to blame local people with no ties to that, centuries later? The dead are still dead, and long gone. You can't reach them now, no matter who you hurt and what you do. It's no use punishing John Murphy today because Sam Harris was nasty your uncle in 1946. To do so is not only unfair and mean-spirited and counter-acts nation-building - it's just stupid.
Was the colonial era all as bad as they say? At the time, depending on who you were, perhaps. But what about its consequences and after-effects today? Ask yourself as a black South African where would you be today if it weren't for the colonial system 300-200 years ago? Would you be wearing a fancy suit or designer dress, or a grass skirt or loin cloth? Would you be driving a fancy new car and living in a city, talking on a cell-phone, sitting in a board room meeting? Or would you be one of ten wives traded as a child as property to a man you didn't even love in exchange for a herd of cows given by him to your father, and raising his herd of children in silent obedience, spreading your legs for him every other night because he says so?
They then climb up on their flimsy little soap boxes to say the "apartheid government should have spent more on educating black people". Well, I agree, they should have - but so should the present one. Meanwhile all through the late 1970's and 1980's I grew up watching repetitive TV news footage of schools and libraries burned to the ground. Yes, I know - they didn't like being educated in Afrikaans. Shame. I had to learn Afrikaans right through my school career too, and it wasn't my first language either - and no, I never threw bricks or petrol bombs or burned down the school or the library because of it.
Who cares what language they wanted to be educated in? As long as they could get an education - it's what the education is USED FOR that counts, not so? Without an education you can't get a job, build a career, buy a house, raise a family, pay for their education and health care and see to their needs. Well, at least, that's what I thought - here in South Africa you can. Here you just hop up and down a bit, make some noise like a crying, whining brat child and demand the government drop some food in your outstretched hand (after they take it out of someone else's mouth).
They obviously didn't want to learn, get educated and work or build careers - they wanted to riot, kill and destroy - and take everything that other people worked and paid for - because, well, the whole bloody world owes them a living, doesn't it? Some will argue that their revolution in this country was necessary for change and the advancement of human rights, and well it may be - I am a human rights activist after all - but what is NOT necessary NOW is this continued expectation for me and others to stand back and be bypassed, sidelined and overlooked (and labelled racists and human rights abusers - and even regarded inferior) because of our race - that is simply not fair - nor is it part of the promise of the so-called "new South Africa" - nor is it any better than the racist foundations of the past. I reject any assertions that it is or will be with utter contempt.
So they play the (long expired in my book) race card - I'm white, so I'm biased. I'm white, so I'm a racist. I'm white, so I supported (and always will support) Apartheid. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I'm white, so I am a violator of human rights, a "squatter" on "their" land - and I owe them the world. Oh, really? I delight in giving these racist, pretentious, under-educated idiots the middle finger!
I didn't make myself white any more than anyone else chose to be asian, colored or black, yellow, pink, brown or purple with green spots. It's just pure luck that I am who and what I am today. Hating or resenting other people for who and what they are is just childish and silly - which is why racism never made any sense to me, which is why I would question it - and growing up in a fairly racist society, I think you can appreciate I got into some trouble for it. However:
The time for me apologizing for being white and for the crimes and human rights abuses committed by people who died before I was even able to vote, are LONG fucking over! Ironically most of the people complaining about how black people USED to be treated are no older than I - and were probably still in diapers back in 1994 - and yet they continue spewing this utter tripe as if they were somehow personally affected by it, and as though they were actually there. They were schooled to a degree, they sport university qualifications and use fancy words (albeit ironically flawed with grammatical and spelling errors) while looking down at me as a white person with my lowly Matric education, which was earned back in 1991 - and without the government having to lower educational standards just so that more of the presently advantaged could actually scrape over the bar by the skins of their teeth and claim to be educated as we were.
I didn't make Apartheid. I didn't vote the NP government into power. I didn't pay taxes to the apartheid government. Apartheid ended in 1989, and the government ended in 1993. At that time I was at high school - and thereafter a virtual prisoner of the same government as a draftee soldier against my will, facing prison if I declined. When I started working, I didn't even start earning enough to pay tax until 1996. I couldn't find another job because suddenly I was "too white" and even though I was more capable and more intelligent than my competitors, I was unemployable. I watched people with no education and no intellect to speak of being promoted past me and landing fat jobs and contracts simply because of their race, while I was held back on account of mine.
I think my track record as a human rights activist bears me out - I have always spoken out against human rights violations and abuses, including racism, and will continue to do so - but to justify racist practices by referring to racist acts in the past is just inexcusable!
Surprisingly, despite all this, I am still friendly with people of all races, and actually like many people of other races a good deal more than many of my own - and I find the accusation that I am a "racist" (especially just because of my own race) insulting, ignorant and woefully uninformed. In fact, I wonder if the idiots making such claims can even appreciate the irony of their labelling me thus?
According to the Apartheid era laws, I was a "criminal" because of my sexual orientation and gender identity. I would today be considered a "criminal" (and incorrectly and ignorantly dismissed as a "satanist") because I happen to be a practising Pagan - and despite all these things, I am - because of my race - being accused of being "a supporter of Apartheid"? Spot the irony.
I'm so sorry for all the injustices done in the past BY OTHER PEOPLE - but I completely fail to see what I personally have to do with it? What does the past and blaming people who had no part in it have to do with how things are now?
How can you heap blame on people alive today who had NOTHING to do with what was done in 1960 or 1976? You want to appropriate (steal) land or property from people who bought it fairly and legally long after apartheid stopped being a legitimate excuse to murder and rob people? And suddenly you tar ALL white people as racist, black-hating murderers who should all be punished for all the things that happened in the time of your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents right back into obscurity? That makes you no better than the racist bastards who built apartheid in the first place. Nevertheless, it seems that for now, in South Africa, Apartheid is dead - long live Apartheid.