More than one iden­tity pos­si­ble

Proud young Afrikan­ers ver­sus old, con­fused Afrikaanses

Finweek English Edition - - Openers - BY DR PI­ETER MUL­DER LEADER: FF PLUS

WHILE YOUNG AFRIKAN­ERS proudly sing De la Rey, old Afrikan­ers are strug­gling to de­cide whether they’re South Africans, Afrikaanses or Afrikan­ers.

If you read what Al­lan Boe­sak and FW de Klerk say about the De la Rey de­bate ( Fin­week, 15 March) there’s much twist­ing and turn­ing about whether you can be an Afrikaner and how to be such an Afrikaner.

Why are we mak­ing a sim­ple ques­tion so com­pli­cated? Nowhere in the world is it so com­pli­cated. When I ask a La­p­lan­der in Nor­way who wants to be known as a Sami how he knows he’s a Sami, he says: “You know it in your heart.”

Boe­sak wants to tell young peo­ple who and what they should be and he ad­vances all kinds of the­o­ret­i­cal ar­gu­ments.

De Klerk, on the other hand, knows ex­actly what young Afrikan­ers think about par­ties such as the Demo­cratic Al­liance and the FF Plus.

He says the youth re­ject those par­ties. Of course, that doesn’t ex­plain why the FF Plus has won the stu­dents’ coun­cil elec­tions at Tukkies for the past nine years. It also doesn’t ex­plain why the FF Plus won 15 of the 18 stu­dents’ coun­cil seats at Free State Univer­sity this year.

De Klerk also con­sid­ers it nec­es­sary to at­tack Tony Leon and me in his ar­ti­cle. So far I’ve re­frained from at­tack­ing De Klerk; but per­haps it’s time for his share in the frus­tra­tions of the De la Rey youth to be looked at.

De Klerk promised elec­tors the shar­ing of power and the pro­tec­tion of mi­nori­ties in SA’s Con­sti­tu­tion. Noth­ing has come of that. Af­ter De Klerk’s ne­go­ti­a­tions, we’re now sit­ting with a mas­sive ANC ma­jor­ity Gov­ern­ment, no shar­ing of power and mi­nori­ties are at the mercy of the ANC ma­jor­ity.

It’s with De Klerk’s legacy that Leon and I have to run op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics and cre­ate a fu­ture for young peo­ple. Now De Klerk and the NP ne­go­tia­tors are out of Par­lia­ment and are no longer pre­pared to be in pol­i­tics.

The new gen­er­a­tion of De la Rey Afrikan­ers have to put up with such re­al­i­ties ev­ery day. They don’t un­der­stand any­thing

Don’t let’s waste en­ergy hang­ing la­bels around each other’s necks by de­cid­ing this iden­tity is in and that

one is out.

– and that was the end of a pos­si­ble sports bur­sary. His six dis­tinc­tions in ma­tric weren’t good enough for him to be se­lected for med­i­cal school. Not be­cause he should have had higher marks, but be­cause Gov­ern­ment stip­u­lated cer­tain quota re­quire­ments for med­i­cal schools. Th­ese young peo­ple are tired of dis­crim­i­na­tion against them and want to be proud of what they are. That’s why they like the De la Rey song, are proud Afrikan­ers and stand to at­ten­tion in stu­dent pubs when it’s played. The fact that they like the song has noth­ing to do with racism or a laager men­tal­ity, be­cause they also like the last song on Bok’s CD. That’s the one about Ha­bana, the Spring­bok wing. Whether Ha­bana is white or brown doesn’t mat­ter – as long as he about ac­cu­sa­tions of a laager men­tal­ity, be­cause from their school days they were among peo­ple of all races and lan­guages. But they’re white and are Afrikan­ers – those are the main rea­sons they’ve been dis­crim­i­nated against. Here are a few ex­am­ples from let­ters on my desk: In pri­mary school, his marks for his expo project were among the high­est, but the judges ex­plained that they couldn’t send him to the na­tional fi­nals. The black child, who got far fewer marks, had to go, so as to com­ply with the spon­sor’s quo­tas. At high school, he was se­lected for the Craven Week rugby team. This opened the pos­si­bil­ity of a sports bur­sary for univer­sity. Be­cause there had to be 11 “dis­ad­van­taged” mem­bers in the team, he and six other whites were left out scores tries.

Go to a Welsh pub af­ter Wales has played rugby against Scot­land and ask them how they know whether they’re Scot­tish or Welsh. They’ll shake their heads and look at you strangely. There’s no con­fu­sion or prob­lems among the Welsh and the Scots about who they are.

The Scots and the Welsh have more than one iden­tity and they don’t have any con­flict about it.

They are, first, proud Scots, sec­ond, part of the English-speak­ing com­mu­nity and third Bri­tish cit­i­zens – and each one puts those in what­ever or­der he likes. So why must young Afrikan­ers choose – ac­cord­ing to Boe­sak – to be Afrikan­ers or part of the Afrikaans-speak­ing com­mu­nity, or South African? Young Afrikan­ers can choose to have more than one iden­tity.

The Afrikaans lan­guage com­mu­nity is the larger cir­cle and inside it there are smaller cir­cles rep­re­sent­ing, for ex­am­ple, the Gri­qua and Afrikaner in­ter­ests.

As a mem­ber of the Afrikaans lan­guage com­mu­nity, I think we have gone a long way to bring­ing white, coloured, Gri­qua and black Afrikaans speak­ers closer to­gether. The re­cent lan­guage con­fer­ence was a good ex­am­ple of that.

But I’m also an Afrikaner. The fight con­cern­ing chang­ing Potchef­stroom’s and Pre­to­ria’s names has bear­ing on the Afrikaner’s his­tory and I’m au­to­mat­i­cally part of that.

Don’t let’s waste en­ergy hang­ing la­bels around each other’s necks by de­cid­ing this iden­tity is in and that one is out. In SA, peo­ple have more than one iden­tity and there can be har­mony be­tween all th­ese dif­fer­ent iden­ti­ties – with­out hav­ing to choose one or the other.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.