On New Year’s eve, the acrimonious tone of South African public debate seems to have become even more pronounced. Just yesterday another stereotypical cultural-Marxist piece by Professor Anton van Niekerk appeared in Afrikaans on the Netwerk24 site and already conservatives are up in arms regarding his defence of permanent affirmative action and half-truths about “apartheid”, with at least three substantial responses in less than 24 hours.
Even gracing the exchange of accusations, recriminations and the perennial whipping out of the race card in South Africa with the noble term, “debate”, represents a malapropism. Under left-wing, racially-obsessed government, South Africa has descended into witch hunts, invective and farce with even our venerable parliament that used to command respect in the old days now becoming a theatre of puerile, hysterical and often physical clashes. Whereas before South Africa was caricatured as a citadel of moral rectitude and Sunday observance, not to mention strict obedience to the law, it is now the most violent country in the world with at least 50 000 homicides taking place every year. Theft and robberies are so commonplace nowadays that they are no longer reported to the police, except where insurance companies require it for claims.
Whoever may be in charge in South Africa – and it is certainly not our incompetent, venal government mired in corruption scandals – must be desperate to defend un unworkable system. That is why the mantra of “apartheid” is being recited with ever greater fervour by the Marxist and liberal Left in this country. Apartheid, or “separate development” as the old government used to call it, is not only a divine or occult source of evil that perdures in the present but also a deus ex machina conveniently invoked to explain every instance of political failure. When the lights went off due to the incompetence of our state-owned electricity utility, financially plundered and abused by greedy, corrupt bureaucrats, the state president was quick to invoke “the legacy of apartheid”.
It gets worse. There is now such a thing as “apartheid denial”, of which both Steve Hofmeyr and I will soon be accused in a court of law, no less. Apartheid has another useful function: it justifies censorship and the suppression of facts about the present communist-inspired catastrophe known as the “New South Africa”. We all know what the “new” looks like after revolution, if we recall the French, Russian, Chinese, Cambodian and other revolutions. Apparently, a group of left-wing lawyers in Johannesburg from the firm Webber Wentzel have decided that no-one will be allowed to voice any opinion or cite any facts about history before 1994 without first putting it through the cultural-Marxist filter and making sure it embellishes their preposterous tale of pristine black innocence and white evil.
Helen Zille, the left-liberal leader of the “official opposition” in parliament – in South Africa you have a choice between voting liberal, Marxist or lunatic-Marxist – subtly blames whites for the post-1994 explosion of violence in South Africa when she says:
We must show the courage to challenge any social reinforcement for racist behaviour, because small acts of intolerance have the potential to manifest in more despicable acts of aggression and degradation as we see all too often.
When a blacks torture or hurt whites, even a baby as was recently reported by the Beeld newspaper, whites are to blame. That is the gist of Zille’s and cultural-Marxist discourse in South Africa. And if you question that dogma, as some of us are wont to do, you are an ogre, a racist, an “apartheid denialist” in the language of Webber Wentzel’s band of legal inquisitors.
What Zille understands under “challenge” is a euphemism for vilification, censorship and persecution. If you deviate from the cultural-Marxist canon of South African history, you will be fined, imprisoned or both. That is what is being planned for us and Zille’s “liberal” DA – which has of course as little to do with classical liberalism as Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge had to do with democracy – will support these draconian measures to suppress our free speech.
However, at least one or two liberals are starting to see that the cultural-Marxist insistence on a pervasive, ubiquitous notion of “metaphysical apartheid” may not ultimately serve their cause. About ten days ago in the Business Day newspaper, Hans Pienaar wrote that the overuse of the term “apartheid” by his fellow liberals and leftists has now become counter-productive:
But the fact is “apartheid” has become just another “big word”, a tool that is now too blunt and bent for useful analysis.
While it can still serve as a label for tourists and campaigners, it narrows the debate too much and its ambiguities allow all its beneficiaries, white and black, to get off the hook of their conscience.
Whatever that last phrase might mean. Perhaps it is an oblique reference to white guilt, but he seems to open the door to black guilt too, which would in itself constitute a heresy that could land him in the “apartheid denial” court with me and Steve Hofmeyr soon.
In my Afrikaans novel Moltrein the narrator remarks somewhere that the word “apartheid” has been emblazoned on the globe like a gargantuan graffito, which will forever disturb meanings in South Africa. In a way, Pienaar is vaguely – and belatedly – cottoning on to that calamitous inheritance of decades of leftist propaganda and stereotyping.
To analyse history and to cite certain unpalatable facts, e.g. that no-one ever “withheld education from blacks”, is to stand accused of Orwellian thoughtcrime and “apartheid denialism” that Webber Wentzel’s lawyers want to equate to “holocaust denial” which must be similarly banned by means of German-style legal punishments for the crime of “denialism”.
In Anton van Niekerk’s article, which was published in its longer form in a peer-reviewed journal, no less, he states:
While white people in right-wing circles fulminate about smart, white youngsters who may no longer obtain easy admission to fields of study like medicine, we forget far too quickly that until relatively late in the 20th century black people did not have access to any South Africa university, let alone medicine. (My translation from the original Afrikaans – DR)
This is, of course, an outright lie. But the cultural-Marxist myth of “apartheid” as pure white evil has been so well-established in the media and at the universities that few would dare to challenge such a statement. However, the mood of the “white man in the street” or especially the white in front of his keyboard has soured to such an extent that policing “apartheid denialism” is becoming a well-nigh impossible task, as evidenced by the myriad of irate responses to Van Niekerk’s article.
For example, writing on the commentary section of Afrikaans praag, Joseph Secrève, dug up the following article from the Johannesburg newspaper The Star, published on 21 June 1947:
“First Native Woman to Qualify as Doctor
Mary Susan Malahlele, a soft spoken, pleasant faced Bapedi woman, took the Hippocratic Oath at the University of the Witwatersrand to-day as the first Native woman doctor to qualify in the Union of South Africa.
Dr. Malahlele will spend a year as a house doctor at the McCord Mission Hospital in Durban, and then plans to practice in the Pretoria area.
Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.C. Malahlele, of Roodepoort, where Mr. Malahlele is principal of the Native Primary School said they were very proud of their daughter when a representative of The Star met them to-day at the Douglas Smit Hostel – the residence for non-European medical students of the university.”
A whole university with fine facilities, MEDUNSA (the Medical University of South Africa), was built by the previous white government to train black doctors, as well as the Natal Medical School, with thousands of black doctors also being trained at the multiracial Universities of the Witwatersrand and Cape Town at the time. The first university for blacks in South Africa, Fort Hare, was established in 1916! Among its alumni are to be found many of Africa’s radical and revolutionary leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, Robert Mugabe, communist leader Chris Hani and others (see Wikipedia article). If whites had sinned at all, it was in training and educating their future enemies in the mistaken belief that their generosity and benevolence would be repaid in kind.
In the very near future, even mentioning such historical facts which anyone may read on Wikipedia, may become punishable crimes in South Africa as leftist intolerance grows and “apartheid denial” is criminalised, either by parliament or the activist judges of the Constitutional Court that unilaterally abolished the death penalty for murder and legalised same-sex marriages, against the wishes of the majority of the South African population, be they white or black.
Another reason why white liberals/cultural Marxists needs to wave the straw man of apartheid in front of us, is because they are fast losing control of the ANC which is becoming an ethnically black and Zulu party. Hence too, the current verbal attack by the liberal Max du Preez on South African president Jacob Zuma. Ironically, the South African government has described Du Preez’s article as “racist”, a case of the pot calling the kettle black. After having made a complete mess of South Africa, white leftists need a scapegoat. Either it will be whites in general – especially conservative whites who are completely without political influence – or it will be the titular head of the one-party state that liberals had wanted for us in the first place, Jacob Zuma, the dancing Zulu.
Blaming whites and metaphysical apartheid will however take precedence, as usual.