I am writing this letter in my personal opinion, as a 30-something year old white South African man. I am proudly Afrikaans, or in the (derogatory?) plain sense, I see myself as a Boer. INSTANTLY, I am marked as a racist, for associating myself with my history. Yes, my forefathers made mistakes, and yes, me and my generation of Afrikaans and English white people in South Africa, are paying for those mistakes. We are living the life sentence of our racist forefathers, by being marked as racist (though majority of white people accept our fellow black South Africans as brothers and sisters) or being unable to apply for scholarships, tenders, employment or many of the things which we have already accepted as the norm in the “New” South Africa. We look at our farms and land being stripped and taken away, in much the same sense as in Zimbabwe some years back. Our farmers (and when I say OUR FARMERS, I mean OUR SOUTH AFRICAN FARMERS.. . Not just the white farmers, ALL OF THE PEOPLE LIVING AND WORKING ON FARMS) are being targeted and attacked, with no real prevention or planned action against these vicious criminals. When the Kommando units were disbanded a few years ago (also, for being marked as an extension of the white apartheid government, but really the only active deterrent against these farm attacks, since our police force is for lack of a better word, inefficient) these attacks went off the charts. But it’s not just these attacks that are worrying; it’s all the crimes that are constantly being committed across SA. The rape statistics are astronomical, murder rates are the highest IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, and our government is thriving on corruption and self-enrichment, yadda yadda yadda…
We have all heard this story. We are all a part of it. We are all tired of it.
And now, as a white man, as a Boertjie, as a Son of South Africa, and on behalf of (here I am making bold claims but I am 100% sure my fellow white people feel the same) all the white people in South Africa; we all want one thing, and ONE THING ONLY:
We, as white South Africans, want nothing more than to be accepted as to what we actually rightfully deserve; a place in this country. This country was built by the combining efforts, blood, histories, failures and successes of all of the races calling it home. No-one needs to be chased away, sent packing or scared off?! THIS IS OUR BIRTHPLACE!!! We are tired of hearing that we stole the land from the African races “that came here first”. If that was the truth, we should all immediately leave and hand the country over to the Bushmen and Xhoi-San, as they were here HUNDREDS OF YEARS before any Dutch settlers or African races migrating south from central Africa (and this isn’t my opinion, this is FACT. Check for yourselves). We want the opportunity to build on our combined future, side by side with our fellow South Africans. We need EACH OTHER, how hard is it to accept that?! We all form an integral part of the South African future, and we don’t want anybody to be oppressed / disadvantaged / removed from what this place could be, IF WE ALL JUST SWALLOWED THE BITTER PILL THAT IS OUR BROKEN HISTORY, ACCEPT IT, AND MOVE ON! We know now how NOT to make the same mistakes, but yet we love going back thirty years and pointing the finger at apartheid and corruption and the same old excuses we’ve heard countless times before.
We don’t want the old South Africa back; because we’re not actually stupid enough to believe we will ever be able to live in the Old South Africa again. And saying that doesn’t make me a racist, because we don’t long for the black oppression but for the prolific economy we all enjoyed. Ever heard of the time when the Rand was twice as strong as the American Dollar? We long for a future our children - BLACK AND WHITE - can actually be safe in. We long for a future where – BLACK AND WHITE – we can all benefit from this lovely country we all - BLACK AND WHITE - call home, where we were all born (as sung expertly by Johnny Clegg) under the copper sun of the African skies. THIS is the country of milk and honey, and we are all a family living in it; albeit a bit of a broken, angry and dysfunctional family. And that should be our aim, as the citizens of this country, to live for each other, and not for our selfish selves. We should all aim to root out the obvious criminals, be it white black pink yellow I don’t care no-one does!!!! We (as the white people again) don’t care to follow a black president, or a Durban born Indian woman, or a Xhoi-San gentleman coming from the Kalahari… AS LONG AS HE/SHE DOES THE JOB RIGHT!!! As in 1994, the old government was overthrown by mass vote; it can only be done again. We – and here I mean WE AS SOUTH AFRICANS, all of us together – have the power to take this country to be what it must become; President Nelson Mandela’s Dream. Ever since 1994, his dream has not yet been realized, because that involved all the races; all the histories bound together in this country; to be laid down behind us, as we take hands – ALL OF US TOGETHER – and decide where our future lies. We are in charge of what comes next, not the Gupta’s or the corrupt government / political parties (note the plural please).
We are a nation unlike any other in the world, born from so many different origins and cultures. We are unique in the fact that we have overcome SO MUCH as a country, but we are identical in the way we have been making mistakes. We need to realize that our struggle isn’t against each other, but should be forward together. How can we ever look forward, if we keep looking back? I am not saying that we should forget our past, oh no, but we HAVE TO LEARN FROM IT AND NOT LIVE IN IT.
My plea – and again, I hope my voice is not the only one – is for the future of this land, because it is a combined future, built on the sweat and tears of all the races of South Africa, working together on a common goal; that we will be more like our neighbours Botswana and Namibia, that never knew apartheid, and is better off for it. Our future starts with a combined belief, in a single minded goal between 50 million people, that this country was made to share, and we will do so in harmony.
I am willing to, are you?