I am a white born-free. I was born in the year 1995 into a post-apartheid, democratic South Africa – the “Rainbow Nation” as Archbishop Tutu affectionately named us.
I am a “Millennial” or “Generation Y” as Time magazine likes to call me – free from the categorical narrow-minded stereotype my parents (“Generation X”) and their parents are neatly packed into.
A millennial is ideally a free- thinker, an open-minded spirit ready to take risks, as well as accepting of all races, and religions however diverse they are from their own. This is me.
This, supposedly, is also the girl who infringed my human right to dignity, as well as my right to feel safe in any given situation.
The boy and girl in the car that practised racism, violence, hate speech and assault against my friend and me in Stamford Hill Road outside Live – The Venue on a Saturday night in January could not have been older than 22.
While technically they may not be “born-frees” strictly speaking, these two people were born long after the apartheid regime had come to an end and democracy was a leading force in South Africa.
They have no excuse to harbour hate, vengeance, bitterness or any other negative feelings towards white people. The “race card” is being pulled out far too often in this country when nine times out of 10 race has absolutely nothing to do with the situation at hand.
All my friend did was cry out “a*******!” in frustration at the occupants of a speeding car that nearly ran us over as we crossed the road to get to our own car that night. But things escalated quickly.
Before I knew it, the speeding car had stopped and a drunk couple alighted, tumblers in hand, cussing at us.
The phrase “white bitches” were among others thrown at us as the girl screamed in my friend’s face, threatening to assault her.
We removed ourselves from the situation and as we walked away, we felt liquid on our backs as a glass sailed past, narrowly missing my head and shattering on the pavement in front of us.
One of the main things which set our Generation Y apart is that we are classified as “tolerant”.
Our generation is supposedly tolerant of other races, cultures, points of view, political standpoints.
I could fill this letter with a long list of examples of our tolerance, but the fact is many of us in South Africa are not tolerant and it sends a surging pang of guilt to my very core when I think of what dear Madiba would say of these attitudes.
This is the country he spent his entire life moulding into something he could finally be proud of.
But I do not think Madiba would be proud. He would look down on these backward, destructive, unproductive, entitled Millennials.
You don’t even deserve to be associated with the term since Millennials are meant to be forward-thinking go-getters. We are supposed to be a generation that makes its own future. But you sit back and wait for your futures to make you.
Well, guess what? You’re going to be waiting a long time and your frustration will cause you to riot and fight and scream and tear down statues unnecessarily.
You are your worst enemies and that will eventually destroy you. I can wash off the alcohol you throw at me, but you cannot wash away the hate that is inside of you.
All Millennials need to read this and consider which category they fall into for the good of their future – and more importantly, the good of our beautiful country’s future.
– Meghan Deonn Oberholzer, Vredehoek