Why are we so ‘backward’, Allister Sparks?

Allister Sparks is one of those raving left-liberal journalists for whom nothing in South Africa will ever detract from the utopia of being ruled by the ANC and South African Communist Party. Together with his protégé, Helen Zille, current leader of South Africa’s ineffectual liberal opposition, he tirelessly calumnied Afrikaners until the hapless Mr. FW de Klerk finally capitulated to Communist Party chief Joe Slovo and his team in the early 1990s.

In 1987 Sparks made an even more sinister remark to one of his colleagues on a flight from Dakar to Johannesburg, overheard by Afrikaans journalist Chris Louw. He said: “It would have been better for South Africa if Britain had left all the Afrikaner women and children to die in the concentration camps in 1902.” It certainly evinces an extraordinary degree of anti-Afrikaans animus.

danr2The irony is that Sparks, after being fired as a columnist from his beloved Independent Group of newspapers, has now been appointed as a columnist for the Naspers group where his cultural-marxist musings will be published in… Afrikaans. Naspers seems to have a policy now that Afrikaner columnists should no longer be allowed to publish in their media as they have not embraced the new ideology as wholeheartedly as they should. Only the extremist kind of Afrikaner “askari”, such as Mad Max du Preez, will be allowed to write in the Naspers media, with the rest of us condemned to Soviet-style censorship, at least in print.

Sparks himself is somewhat amazed that the very people whom he would like to see disappear from South Africa, preferably genocided by Britain or English-speaking blacks, should accord him the courtesy of preaching to them from the hallowed pages of South Africa’s largest media group. To Sparks and many others, Afrikaans remains “the language of apartheid”, which heightens the irony. I suppose Beeld editor Adriaan Basson will have a bottle of Dettol disinfectant handy to sprinkle over Sparks’s freshly translated copy.

Writing in English recently, Allister Sparks tried to explain his strange new bedfellows by saying:

There must surely be something symbolic about a former editor of the Rand Daily Mail becoming a columnist for newspapers of Naspers (formerly Nasionale Pers), especially Die Burger, a paper so intimately associated with its first editor, DF Malan, the founding father of apartheid SA.

For that is where this, my first column of 2015, will be appearing, as well as in its sister papers, Beeld and The Witness of Pietermaritzburg.

For those who do not know, Nasionale Pers and Die Burger alone bore the torch for the Gesuiwerde Nasionale Party in the 1930s under the legendary Dr. Geyer and the cartoonist D.C. Boonzaier. Not only did the hated “Nats” capitulate, but they have also embraced the ideology of their arch-enemies, the Sappe, that Afrikaners should dissolve into a common South Africanism and accept reverse discrimination and wall-to-wall English under black rule.

No less extraordinary is the fact that I, as an Afrikaner, am censored by the same Naspers who would not even publish a letter from me, let alone a column, probably because I am still not able to acquiesce in Sap-ism, even though I quite like Jan Smuts’s philosophy of holism. The editor of Beeld, Adriaan Basson, has even blocked me on Twitter!

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According to Allister Sparks, “the differences of the past were profound and passionate, but now all that is over, having ended where the demographics of our country always indicated it was bound to end”. I a way then, “demographics” (the black population growth over the last century) has made the much-desired Afrikaner genocide superfluous, although in various ways we are experiencing extreme violence and ethnic killings in South Africa.

However, I came across another intriguing statement by Mr. Sparks, quoted by Hermann Giliomee in his volume on Afrikaner history, The Afrikaners. In that quotation from The Mind of South Africa, Sparks claims that Afrikaners or white South Africans in general represent “the simplest and most backward fragment of Western civilization in modern times”.

I am quite prepared to accept that we are backward, given the fact that we have so little to show for our presence numbering 360 years on this continent, in terms of assets or influence. A few volumes of poetry, perhaps, and a farm novel or two before our authors became politically correct. But that’s it.

On the other hand, what is the cause of this backwardness? one is tempted to ask. Is it nature or nurture? Does it have something to do with our protracted exposure to the African sun that cooked our brains or is it more hereditary, genetic in origin? Or maybe our Calvinism, which also blighted countries such as the Netherlands and Switzerland. Just look at how small those countries are: like us, the Dutch and the Swiss are real territorial losers!

Or is Mr. Sparks harking back to some late nineteenth-century British Herrenvolk idea, as formulated here and there by Rhodes and Milner? Were our forebears, the Dutch, the Germans and the French, simply not up to the high standards of the majestic island kingdom, Great Britain? It may sound sarcastic, but I am honestly just curious as to what – according to Mr. Sparks – the source of our South African backwardness could be.