‘African’ is not Bantu


by Dan Roodt

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Sam Ditshego’s response entitled Ancient ‘Af-rui-ka’, Business Day 7 October, to my previous piece merely serves to confirm what I am saying: that neither the word nor the concept “African” is of Bantu origin.

Linguists differ on this, but three Mediterranean nations first used it: the Egyptians, the Carthaginians and the Romans. Via Latin, it spread all over Europe and eventually came to be used in sub-Saharan Africa too.

Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, a failed liberal politician, wrote a little book in Afrikaans in which he too played upon the ambiguity of the terms Afrikaner/African.

If there is any documentary evidence of other inhabitants of SA calling themselves “Africans” before 1707, I challenge Mr Ditshego to produce it.

Afrikaners are not “Europeans of Dutch extraction” either. Many of our people also came from Germany, France and Scotland.

Our relationship towards the Netherlands is complex, despite speaking mutually intelligible languages. In the recent past, Dutch Calvinists collected funds for terrorist bombings against Afrikaners in their very churches. They have a monarchy and we are republicans.

Most whites today would reject the notion that “white supremacy is a global power system”. According to Ditshego,

I have no truck with affirmative action and BEE and don’t give a hoot where they originated. Who affirms whom here? In the US, where African-Americans are a minority, they need to be affirmed and in South Africa, where Africans are in the majority, they still need to be affirmed. This confirms that white supremacy is a global power system.

In the US, the term used by George Bush — “New World Order” — has become popular for describing the global power system. It represents a kind of global, multicultural police state practising drone killings by remote control that is mostly inimical to white interests.

Unfortunately, South African Bantu have been defined by others, mostly by Marxist historians and anthropologists, but further back by missionaries who had documented and standardised their languages.

This process is still going on, with Prof Jonathan Jansen of the University of the Free State recently suggesting that the Bantu languages should be abandoned in favour of English.

Political correctness relies on stereotypes and shallow thinking, which is why Mr Ditshego cavalierly dismisses all German and French anthropologists from the first half of the 20th century as “racist”.

The German-born father of cultural relativism and a cult hero of the left, Franz Boas, lived and wrote precisely at that time. Claude Lévi-Strauss, too, was born in 1908 and did much to undermine any sense of European cultural superiority.

In a certain sense, there is no place for the rooted African in South Africa.

The European capitalist and the nomadic Bantu herdsman are united in viewing our land as simply a resource to be temporarily exploited until moving on.

That is the great tragedy of the Afrikaner people, in having developed a sentimental attachment to a land and a continent where the New World Order sees simply a province of the globalised US, exporting its own ethnic categories and concepts, such as “affirmative action” and “diversity”.

Also published as a letter in Business Day. on October 10, 2013

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