Apartheid…

…the legacy.

 

Saw this article yesterday. Thought I’d write something about it.

 

Because South Africa is not still reeling from the previous oppression.

It’s now reeling  from the new oppressors.

The ANC government.

And everybody is affected by the new rule. The only people that finds it a good thing are the people in high places, people in Government positions, and those that have been directly benefitting from BEE and EE and a whole bunch of other initials. Regardless of if they have the knowlegse and experience or not. Only skin colour makes any difference in this new oppression.

This, however, is not a political post as such, because really, it makes no difference what I think or say about this, a whole bunch of people are in any case going to call me whatever they want. Racist being one of them.

And be that as it may – racists comes in many shapes and forms. I know white people that I do not want to be associated with, so, if that makes me a racist, so be it.

What this post is about is what Pres FW de Klerk said on the CNN interview.

“Inasmuch as it trampled human rights, it was, and remains… morally reprehensible,” said De Klerk in the interview broadcast on Thursday.

“But the concept of giving — as the Czechs have it and the Slovaks have it — of saying that ethnic unities with one culture, with one language, can be happy and can fulfill their democratic aspirations in an own state, that is not repugnant.”

Of course, everybody was up in arms about that. Celebrities and normal people, different colours, different walks of life – each with their own little egg to lay in this particular basket.

If, however, you think of this rationally, is that not what people do in any case?

Is that now why you have the Irish community and the Chinese community and the Italian community in New York?

Do people not as a matter of course, naturally gravitate towards their own?

I do think there is such a community of South Africans in Sydney?

The word “apartheid” means seperateness. Something that’s been in action across the world for as long as people existed. Only problem in SA is, they forced it on people. We gave it a name. And something that’s as natural as a bodily function, automatically became something unnatural.

As Mr de Klerk rightly said – the whole thing was repugnant. It could have been done in many different ways. A seperate solution found. Or, probably, it should not have been done at all.  But, force has always been the easiest way of getting anything done, so that’s what was used. Too late now – we have to deal with it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying what they did was right. For them it was right at the time. And SA prospered. Now, everything’s open, people from all walks of life can go and do whatever they please. Is SA still prospering? Not from where I see things. 

But that is also not what this post is about.

Instead of negating his comments out of hand because you’re not prepared to think further than your nose is long, look at what he said. Objectively. I can tell you that, should I ever go to London, I would as a matter of course frequent an establishment run by South Africans. I saw this happen in Iraq – a whole Amrican compound, but the Romanians had their own community. So too the Philipino’s, the South Africans, the Brits, the Italians. It’s a very natural thing to want your own people around you, speak your own language, listen to your own music.

What I am trying to say is that yes, the previous government might have been thinking with their arses in many cases. But they did not get things too far wrong in some.

I was in Checkers just now. At the cigarette counter. Nobody behind the counter, only in front of it. I did not greet the person – I’m not there to make small talk, I’m there to buy smokes. She greets me. I ask her if somebody could help me. She reckons yes, she can but she was greeting me first. Immediately the hackles are up. Why? Because I don’t generally greet people I don’t know, or have nothing to do with. In their culture everybody seems to be greeted, no matter what. Me, I don’t care if people greet me or not. Them, they get upset if they’re not greeted. But because I’m white, and therefore the enemy, I have to bow down and bloody well greet every living person, regardless of their role in my life.

So tell me. Objectively. Would it not be better if people that has the same cultural idiosyncrasies(did I spell that correctly?) live in the same community? Would it not make sense to speak your language, deal with your customs, without getting irritated because the people around you seem to negate you and your culture out of hand?

Because fact is, I’ve had to learn and understand black culture. I doubt that they’ve even tried understanding mine. They just ride roughshod over everything I hold in esteem because it makes no sense to them, but I can’t do the same to theirs. Not only that, I’ve had to learn English culture too. As well as the Portugese culture. Because bottom line, we all have our own cultures. Even if we don’t speak our own language anymore, we still do things a certain way. And that is not something that can be removed. And it IS something that we can all understand. And don’t even get me started on the whole “own language” thing. Quite the pet peeve of mine.

The people living in Orania, may be made out as cretins. But they’re living in a community of their peers, and it works for them. I’m sure, even in the townships people from different countries and cultures tend to stick together. Which made it easier for the attacks to happen when we had that wave of xenophobia. Maybe because there’s safety in numbers. Maybe because hearing your own language spoken in a strange country is soothing. Makes the homesickness a bit better.

I’m trying to say that removing people forcibly from where they made their homes is not the way to effect natural segregation. Given the choice, people will gravitate to their own as a matter of course. But the choice has to be given so they can do what comes naturally.

Expecting a whole bunch of people from living together without any issues is kind of silly. Only with major compromise and sacrifice can that be done.

And humans are not quite as sacrificial and compromising as they might have to be to make this work. And while people hold fast to their own seperate cultures, Utopia is a very distant thing. It’s only when they’ve lived together long enough to create a singular culture that they can co-exist peacefully. And so starts the whole process again, because people are by nature, territorial beings. And, as such, culture will always play a major role in how things are done and said and experienced.

I do hope I have not offended to much with this post. It is only my honest opinion on this whole debacle… 

 

19 comments on “Apartheid…

  1. How to respond in the simplest of fashion?
    Ever eaten Italian food?
    Think about it before you respond…

    • Dunno – what would I have eaten? Apparently the things we think of as Italian is not Italian and so on and so forth…
      And, since I have no money, I tend to eat what I can afford to cook at home…

  2. I do agree. In our modern ‘enlightened and free’ South Africa there are constant hassles in the workplace between Zulus and Xhosas, for example. They are much happier with their own people. Communities build up in all cities of like with like. You get mini-South Africas in many parts of Britain. One can happily mix with other types, but the preference is for those who ‘speak one’s language’. It is natural enough. The idealists with heads in clouds who burble fatuously about the ‘brotherhood of man’ are not going to get around those facts.

    • Yet, they insist on it Col. They think, yes, now we’re free and everything’s going to by hunky dory. And it never is.
      We still have a long way ahead of us…

  3. I wrote a LONG comment and then WordPress killed it. Almost as bad as the old SA government. It is true, people of a kind has the tendency to stick together. But there are always exceptions and what the apartheid laws did, was to take away the dignity, the equal human rights of people that is NOT white. To decide for people WHO they may love, WHERE they may stay,or NOT stay, even if they could afford it, even if they were just as educated as the white person. Because they were NOT white. What God came down to earth and made white South Africans the chosen people, the supreme race? The people who made those apartheids laws and the people who enforced them were no better than Hitler. The current government is no example of virtue, but may we never go back to the way it was. Because no matter how you look at it, it will always be WRONG.

    • Yes, it was wrong. If people were given the choice, it would have happened naturally. In forcing them, it became the problem that it was then, and the whole slew of problems it created for everybody living with the aftermath.
      What I tried to say was that de Klerk’s statement has nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with basic human nature.
      And that the people seeing it as a racist statement are not looking at it objectively…

  4. Of course our culture is what defines us, and only a fool would expect for everyone on earth to be able to live together in peace and harmony. Our difference will always cause friction of some sort. Even some families can’t get along with each other. Your post reminded me of Lennon’s “Imagine.”

    • I wanted to say that as well – some married couples can’t even make it work because of cultural differences.
      Time people realised this and start working towards something everybody can live with, instead of blaming all and sundry…

  5. there is a huge difference between people associating with others of the same background on a voluntary basis, and having legislators dictate who may do what,come and go in what areas, and who they may associate with.

    harmony between people comes and goes. We have all been exposed to other cultures, and find some aspects likable and some not.

    Personally I find greeting others is a matter of politeness.

    • Me, I’m probably the least polite person in any situation. I never speak unless spoken to. And even then, might choose to not speak.
      As for the forced removals – that’s what was wrong with the whole scenario and why it’s been such an issue then, and now.
      If there were no force involved, people would naturally have gravitated towards like minded individuals.
      That’s the point I was trying to make…

  6. It kills me that a something as simple and normal explanation as yours is so difficult to digest. What’s wrong with this world? We have same country folks in all big cities choosing to stick with their own. What’s so hard to get?

    Great post, Ghia.

    • That is unfortunately the thing with South Africans. The whities feel guilty and the blackies feel entitled. Two feelings that does not work well together in any situation, let alone a black/white situation. And everybody is soooo touchy about it!
      It’s been 18 years sonce the previous government was disbanded – a lifetime for some. Maybe it’s time for the rest to realise that what they’re doing is not winning the war…
      It seems I need to really move far away – can’t do this crap for much longer!

  7. Why is it so hard just to say “hello” in reply to someone? Dang. (but then I’m an American, a southern one at that so it is cultural).

    • Lisa, thanks for commenting.
      I’m a bad person in that regard. I’ve never greeted anybody I don’t know. And it’s created many difficult situations – regardless of colour or creed!
      Could just be shyness, or maybe I’m really as rude as I’ve been called so many times before.
      And I’d already asked a question by the time she said hello – so it was kinda awkward to now start the whole initiation chat if you will…

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