Ver­wo­erd made me do it

CityPress - - Voices and Ca­reers - Ch­ester Miss­ing voices@city­press.co.za @chester­miss­ing is SA’s top po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst pup­pet and as­so­ci­ated with ven­tril­o­quist @con­rad­koch

How do we get South Africa to the point where the only K-word is Danny’s sur­name? The first step lies in re­al­is­ing what apartheid ac­tu­ally did.

Imag­ine you found out one day that your en­tire life and your par­ents’ lives had re­lied on the ex­ploita­tion of nine other peo­ple – each. Imag­ine you one day woke up and looked those other peo­ple in the face. What would you say? “Er, well this is awk­ward”? “Boy, you re­ally missed out”? “Ver­wo­erd made me do it”? Would you tell them to “get over it”? How in hell do you tell those nine peo­ple that their de­mands are just “en­ti­tled”, Chris Hart style? Eco­nomic servi­tude, what’s the big deal man? “Shame. Nom, nom, nom, mmm, apartheid cake.”

The prob­lem at the Hart of it is that many South Africans are kind of clue­less about what apartheid ac­tu­ally did. How do you cre­ate a sys­tem where brown peo­ple can’t go to the beach and then you your­self go to the beach to get brown?

If you couldn’t own land, and had re­stric­tions on move­ment and em­ploy­ment, you couldn’t build cap­i­tal or eco­nom­i­cally cen­tral so­cial net­works. Duh.

If your par­ents had to be away for months at a time, it might have been a bit tense around the house when they got home. Duh.

If your par­ents couldn’t ac­crue wealth back then, they prob­a­bly can’t af­ford to pay your univer­sity fees now. Duh.

Imag­ine that pass­books, home­lands, forced re­movals and Vlak­plaas hap­pened to the peo­ple in AfriFo­rum. They’d be act­ing en­ti­tled for the next two cen­turies.

The thing is, most white South Africans do ac­tu­ally see them­selves as car­ing, kind peo­ple.

Some, how­ever, have a weird self-edit thing when it comes to apartheid, or, more im­por­tantly, its legacy. You can’t have all the toys for decades and then when the other kids get free­dom still think you should have all the toys. Now that’s en­ti­tled.

Put down the beach Penny; it be­longs to ev­ery­one now. Be­sides, “Penny Spar­row” makes you sound like a cheap pi­rate.

I get that some­times the enor­mity of it is hard. If you think deal­ing with the bur­den of be­ing an apartheid ben­e­fi­ciary is tough, imag­ine be­ing one of its vic­tims, and then be­ing told you are act­ing en­ti­tled? Damn, that must be an­noy­ing.

I mean re­ally, white South Africa. From call­ing those lit­tle black sweets that change colour ni***r balls to uni­lat­eral white eco­nomic pro­tec­tion, the his­tory of our own di­rect in­volve­ment in the sys­tem of racism is so shame­ful it blows my mind that we don’t troll racists into obliv­ion our­selves.

Ex­pect­ing black peo­ple to tol­er­ate the racism in our midst is it­self apartheid de­nial. And you don’t sup­port apartheid, do you?

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