The whiteys are still whining about Zuma, Selebi and Eskom. Here’s a writer who thinks they should just piss off.
31 July 2008 17:51
People are talking (again) about leaving the country. Others are actually planning to leave, putting houses on the market etc. I can't speak for the Boere (who occupy a different country altogether), but down here on the leafy lawns of Parkhurst, Parkmore and Melville, we have reverted powerfully to type.
Some of the racist horse shit being released from English mouths at the moment is beyond belief, and it is being reinforced by the terrible global gossip power of communications technology.
First off, we have a hysterical media. As does the rest of the world. Why? Because bad news sells. Period. It sells particularly well to the paranoid and fearful. Then add the viral terror of email. There are hundreds of thousands of ex pat South African whiteys living all over the world who are naturally eager for news of home. News that makes sense of one's decision to leave the country is particularly welcome, of course. So, regardless of the intent of the original sender of an email (which is generally benign - emails start of as personal communication and end off as author-less propaganda), South African news is cut and pasted and shot around the world. It morphs and blends en route with well worn urban legends (they are coming for your house soon) and so the emails eventually land up back here in Jozi, in my in-box, twisted and knotted with fear and loathing.
We are a diaspora all of our own, us Seffricans. A global network. We are also apartheid's children, and when we revert to type we revert to hysteria, fear and panic. I remember well the days in the 1980s when the headmaster would lock the front door of the hostel because 'these were dangerous times'.
The blacks were coming.
Despite everything we were told by our teachers (who were in turn told by their teachers), we knew why the blacks were coming. They were coming because we took this land with our finger on the trigger and we had our boot on their necks and the muzzle shoved down the black South African throat. The blacks were coming to get it back. The land, and some retribution.
Of course they never came, did they? Instead they handed us the biggest gift anyone ever got, forgiveness. But still, wherever we are in the world, we carry the fear and paranoia with us. In challenging times we revert to the poles, the extremes of our personalities, and the fear and panic set in. We were specifically bred into this state over hundreds of years. Much like the Pit Bull has been bred to rip the throat out of any other living creature, the English South African cannot help but feel the world will end, tomorrow.
In South Africa in general we also have a strong history of reverting to our crazy corners and losing our collective fucking marbles. At the radical fringes of our society we have experienced it all. From Eugene Terblanche falling off his horse to the St. James Massacre to lone Afrikaner teenagers firing away randomly in remote townships, the poles of our society are always manic, to say the least.
So, in 2008 your average English South African is in a fearful state because:
1. We are turning into Zimbabwe
These cover-all issues are all encompassing and underpin the hysteria (on good days its hysteria... on bad days it's flat out paranoid raving) with the simple fact of their existence. You don't need to articulate anything about Zuma. You just say his name and raise your eyebrow.
Relatively recently a fictional, satirical character called Loose Cannon wrote in a piece in Botswana's Sunday Standard entitled President Zuma Will Sort Out White People, which included lines like:
"I think whites are spoilt. For all the bad things they did to black people they ought to be a bit more grateful. In fact they should count themselves lucky they were not shot on the day of liberation. Perhaps it's not too late to hang a few whites at the local stadium just to remind them who is charge."
"Whites never stop complaining. They whinge about crime. They say the country is the most violent in the world. Well they can afford to say that. For their information the violence has always been there. It's just that when they were in power all the crime and violence was taking place in black communities."
"I want Zuma to embark on a redistribution exercise. I want him to distribute white women among the long suffering black chaps in South Africa. He must first choose which white woman he wants. He can even have two. That done he must then distribute to his loyal supporters. And if there is a surplus he should distribute to his supporters in tiny neighbouring states."
The Sunday Standard received hundreds of complaints from white Seffricans, who were, perversely, unable to identify the piece as satire. Sure, it wasn't brilliantly written - but any fool could have realised the piece was satirical, that it highlighted the bizarre nature of South Africa's polar society. Or could they? Due to the thunderously negative response this Botswanan piece received from white South Africans, the editor of the Sunday Standard actually had to write another article explaining what satire was.
Not only are my people generally paranoid, they're none too fucking bright either.
Amongst many others, there are two major things pissing me off about the current wave of whining. Firstly, I would far rather talk with relatives and general associates about rugby (or cricket, or football) - topics we all know a lot about - than swop bad history and urban legends over raised eyebrows. Secondly, the whole thing throws me back to the 1990s. A long stretch of time where what you really wanted to say to the tormented, angstful emigrators was, 'will you please just fuck off already?'
South Africa has been violent place for centuries. We all know this. We all know that nothing has truly changed. We all also know that re-gearing our society to cater to all citizens and not just a few million whiteys will be a lifetime's work. There will be ups, fucks ups and downs, in no consecutive order.
If, in times of crisis, we look to the poles of society for signals as to our collective health, and if we do so whilst in a slightly weird and (bi) polar state ourselves, we will end up viewing a skewed picture.
Ultimately, only history will set the record straight. And history will show that in 2008, although our country remained resolutely violent, slight crazy, electricity challenged and very turbulent, at its core was a majority of people of all races with a common agenda. A core where transformation had been agreed upon, legislated and carried out willingly by most citizens, for their collective good. A core where the business, political and media sectors were all so robustly active as to be a little overwhelming.
In South Africa we are, in fact, governed by the will of a majority of business people and housewives and maids and teachers. No Zuma, or power shortage will alter that. Once the next batch of weepy English and enraged Afrikaners and indignant blacks have left, we will still be who were two years ago. A people who have a miraculous ability to act collectively and positively - over vast hurdles of violent history - instead of reverting to conflict. That is not about to change. We will collectively resolve our power problems, even if it takes six years. Zuma will likely lead the country to the left, unless he gets stuck in court. Regardless, we will continue to stick to basic democratic principles - even if that means, unlike Egypt, accepting politicians who claim to represent the working man. We'll probably remain as violent as we've always been, at least for the next decade or two. We will continue to do good business, because gold is still very valuable stuff, as is platinum and coal, and because Africa is wide open for business and this country is one of the best launching pads you can find.
We will not turn into Zimbabwe, because we are South Africa.
And life is different here.
(I poached this from : http://www.moneyweb.co.za/mw/view/mw/en/page215462?oid=217927&sn=Detail )