Fisher’s sweep­ing state­ment

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

I USU­ALLY read Ry­land Fisher’s ar­ti­cles and agree with his view­point. How­ever, af­ter see­ing CM Mathey’s let­ter, “Money Talks” (Week­end Ar­gus, June 10) re­fer­ring to Fisher’s col­umn pub­lished on May 27, I reread this col­umn. Although I don’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with Mathey’s views, Fisher does make a rather sweep­ing state­ment that all white peo­ple ben­e­fited from the apartheid era so are all rich (although he does ac­knowl­edge that there are now black peo­ple in the same bracket), which I feel can­not go un­chal­lenged.

I would’ve thought some­one as knowl­edge­able as Fisher would have heard about a group of peo­ple called the “poor whites”. De­spite hav­ing all the re­sources avail­able to them dur­ing the apartheid era, un­for­tu­nately this group did not have the ca­pac­ity to take ad­van­tage of this.

There were other white peo­ple who also did not have an easy life in the apartheid years, but chose to make the best of it for them­selves. My mother came from a bro­ken home and was forced to find work when she com­pleted what was then called stan­dard 7; she mar­ried late in life but not long af­ter I was born, found her­self a widow strug­gling to make ends meet.

We lived in a rent-con­trolled flat and sub-let to a boarder, so I never had my own room nor the ma­te­rial goods my friends had. We had no car and used pub­lic trans­port, but there was al­ways food on the ta­ble and I had clothes to wear. De­spite this sit­u­a­tion, my mother still tried to give some­thing to those she found less for­tu­nate than her­self when she could.

I could not af­ford to go to univer­sity and although I prob­a­bly could have qual­i­fied for a bur­sary, it was time for me to take some of the bur­den off my mother and pay my own way, so I chose a pro­fes­sion where I could work and study while be­ing paid – med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy. This turned out well for me as I loved my work and had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer and so man­aged to buy and do some of the things my mother never could.

I ad­mit that I prob­a­bly had some ad­van­tages – I wasn’t forcibly re­moved from my home and had ac­cess to places de­nied to oth­ers (although not all were ac­ces­si­ble to pub­lic trans­port).

How­ever, I was for­tu­nate enough to still re­mem­ber a bit from the prea­partheid era and in that my ca­reer choice ex­posed me to all races and re­li­gions, so I was staunchly an­ti­a­partheid, and it was one of my hap­pi­est days when we en­tered into the new South Africa.

I know there are oth­ers with sim­i­lar sto­ries to mine, so I just wanted to tell Fisher that maybe he needs to brush up a bit on his lo­cal his­tory.

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