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Damned if you dont DAMNED IF YOU DO

Observer: Bloody agent, you messed up sitting in all your privilege, too stingy to share

Bloody Agent: [starts sharing]

More Woke Observer: Who are you kidding, it is easy to give away things, you anyway had it due to oppression. Giving money outside of relationship is fake, insincere and patronising; you are too racist to mingle.

Bloody Agent: [integrates life, builds new relationships, moves from just giving to reconciled lifestyle]

Triple Woke Observer: Ah, you think you are a white messiah, should they be lucky to have you?! This is insulting, we dont need you or your arrogance to think you can fix what you broke.

Bloody Agent: [moves back into homogenous laager minding own business]

  • Go back to step one… on repeat… ad infinitum
  • Alternative Observer enters: ok fine, they are wrong, do it, but don’t share it. That one is fine, but don’t encourage others to do likewise. It’s not good it’s just fine. Fine things can be tolerated, if it was truly good, we’d have to share and encourage others, but we don’t want that, so it is just fine.

Homo Circumspectus

In the absence of trust and friendship
human beings will become cool experts
expecting outputs and outcomes.

In the exchange of benefit for doubt
human beings will become masters
of compliance, calculation and risk aversion

Survival will produce chameleons
Natural selection will train us in adaptation
The gap will ever widen.

The end of sincerity is nigh.

In ons elemente

Daar is nie ‘n teenstrydigheid en kompetisie tussen die vastigheid van rots en die rofheid van ‘n vlam nie. Daar is nie ‘n spanning tussen die sagte streling of donder van wind en die koel volword van water nie. God is in Haar element- Of ons nou skreeu of fluister, dieselfde vlam wat bo-op daal brand binne al voel mens koud. Die vrug van die vuur verteer wat af is en maak mooi wat skoon is. Al drie van die Drie is een, en ons is ook in daai een. Ons is in daai Een en ons word inner genooi. Inner en inniger deur die verstaan van rotse, water, vuur en wind.

Draai of Braai

As tiener was ek bietjie ywerig en dalk te fanaties op ‘n snaakse manier. Ons ken die konserwatiewe kerkstories van draai of braai.

Met nog ‘n publieke vakansie dag om die draai kan ons alweer kies hoe ons ons dag gaan inrig. Party van ons het op 24 September gebraai om eenheid te bewerk, maar as ons eerlik kyk sou ons sien dat meeste vure maar homogeen was. (Wat terloops nie beteken geen homos nie) Ander het gebraai omdat die werk met diverse erfenis te harde werk is. Die vraag van wie sit om jou vuur bly brandend relevant.

Voor Kersfees vier ons advent, voorbereiding vir dit (of Hy) wat kom. Met 16 Desember om die draai, stel ek ‘n n mini-advent voor vir Gelofdedag: tyd om te reflekteer oor die dag wat voorlê, of eintlik agterlê.

Ons menslike geneigdheid to rassepolitied moet nooit ons geloof oorskry nie.
Vergeet van vierkleur vlag, ou vlag, rooi wit en swart vlag, van deesdae se oranje en groen vlae.

16 Desember:
Dit wat ‘n gelofte was as danksegging moet nou ‘n gelofte word van berou en bekering. Dis tyd.
As kinders het ons belowe met ons ‘ere-Voortrekker woord’ met die hand op die Bybel. Dis nou tyd om daai Bybel oop te maak en te lees, om daai hand in ons sak te steek en om die eerbaarheid van ons woorde te herstel.

Ons moet ons bekeer van ‘n Bloedrivier waar Zulu’s ons vyande was. Vandag se 16 Desember is ‘n nuwe gelofdedag, waar ons jammer sê en dankie sê. Ons se jammer oor die geweld. Ons sê dankie dat ander kleure en kulture vandag ons broers and susters kan wees, dankie dat ons nie hoef laer te trek nie.

Die krag van die Gelofde was nog altyd God. Die bloed van Zulus is egter vervang met die bloed van God as Kind.

Hoe profeties is die herbenaming na dag van versoening, vir die van ons wat in ‘n Madiba glo wat in die Midde Ooste geloop het 2000 jaar gelede: die Groot Versoener.

Zille of Pille

Helen Zille should be celebrated by whiteys as an anti-hero. I say anti-hero in the way the naughty kid is made a prefect or a bad guy does a good deed (think Hofmeyer accidentally rescuing a puppy while cutting down a tree for fire wood). Zille is not perfect, but she is the Chuck Norris of South African Madams.
Zille I contest: did shit and will probably continue to do things. When we feel bad we can drink pills or do stuff; reactive or proactive, we can do things. By the time we reach for the tablets, we have already lost. Marx will include the Gospel as one of those pills. Zille is an antidote to our prozac-nation.

Helen Zille took one for the team: thrice.

Many white liberals and most blacks in general got exactly what they wanted from the Madam, the Miesies. They got a statement, a verbal assertion that allowed the aforementioned to discredit an uncomfortable voice. I’ll get to the tweet soon but, before I get to the tweet I am still dealing with the twitbook world we live in where words are becoming hysterically powerful. You can do 1000 good things and say one stupid sentence and your legacy will be the sentence. Cheap advice, for social media and braaivleisvure: Don’t let your sentence be your sentence. Helen is guilty of the coffin-crime: not the stupidity to do something stupid, but the stupidity of filming, typing and broadcasting your stupidity.

Still: for me, and it’s just me, our society revealed something of itself in the way Zille was devoured like a fresh carcass by intellectual and self-righteous vultures. The very same who would now want to interject with a ‘but do you know what she said?!’ or a ‘racist BS needs to be called out’… I understand fully why what she said was fucked. I understand that a rapist can’t remind a victim that he at least left her the mattress after the deed. That is not my point so get over that. My observation is that if we are willing to reduce a life to a sentence there is something wrong with us: a lost humanity, a loss of grace. I contest that the veracity of the Zille whipping reveals more of our piranha souls that devoured ubuntu the day we gave up on each other and especially when we gave up on people different from ourselves. If you don’t have grace you can’t fight for love, if you don’t have love, you can forget about justice.

Before 94, Zille became woke, or wokeish at least. She has cred. For me credibility does not always mean you have integrity, but just that your story is not 100% fake, you might not have been in the game, but you were at least on the field. Proximity buys credibility although character buys integrity.
While most white folks withdrew into privatised lives hoping to stay on the post-94 raft Zille plunged into the dirty game of politics. Is she an angel? Probably not- but she did not hide. Hiding: the whitest of sins. She stood up to faces we only see on Facebook. Maddam or not, while the other maddams sipped tea, baked premix scones and shopped in Hyde Park, this Miesies was being brave. Perhaps even a bittereinder?

When she made her now infamous tweet Zille said something in public I have heard hundreds of times. A sentiment that is extremely prevalent amongst whites. The feeling is: surely we are not all bad? Are we not human too? This line is taken to extremes by the likes of Afriforum who is in a constant victimhood competition with all others who position themselves as victims. Some are just emotionally weak and feel bad, scared and unwanted. Whites are not fighting fit when it comes to not feeling like the good guy. We need to be the good guys. So Zille let go a sentiment that millions of whites secretly feel. Instead of being streetwise (like a pro politician should) be she spoke without thinking long enough. She spoke with her heart. If she said: Whites are also human we are not all-bad – there would be no issue. Many whites do not understand that colonialism and apartheid are not synonyms with whiteness or progress. By saying what she felt she took one for the team again. The white team that hide behind safe lives was too scared to jump to Zille’s defence. There was a few exceptions, but too many cowards betrayed their own weekend-talk leaving Zille out to dry.

Lastly, by stepping down as leader of the DA, she took one for the team again. Allowing a black person to lead the official opposition. Again, my issue is not whether she or Maimane is the best, whether it is real or if Maimane is a puppet. If there is a white face on top it gets criticised, so if that is changed with a black face it should be celebrated; otherwise you were playing games. Let’s be consistent. Celebrate small victories, don’t diminish historical gains with a yes but what is still not fixed… It was the same BS with Obama even Mugabe. You complain, it gets sorted and you don’t take even 5 minutes of posting something positive and affirming about the victory. Always ready with a new protest, a new enemy, a new problem to critique. Like first year varsity students learning to debate and then so surprised and in love by their voice and ability to make sounds that they can’t get their mouth shut again.

Skepticism seems to be the new sexy, but I pray to God or whoever is in charge of millennials, that this will also pass.

An Alternative to White Tears

There is a biological and metaphorical alternative to white tears and it is situated in elongated fashion parallel to and flanked by the ring- and index finger.

For a while now my latest closet-career or jobtacy (fantasy job) is to start a t-shirt or fashion range. The shoes are easy: vellies. Done. Retro-cool and symbolic. Buno-chic.
Rooted, proud, unapologetic, yet secure enough not to chase European BS.

Then for the t-shirts, a hashtag campaign without hashtags:

1. YNCU (You’ll Never Catch Us)
2. Unapologetically Apologetic
3. Jammerlappie
4. kleurblinderig
5. Afrikan
6. jysbeterasdit
8. parabox (mix mampara en doos – vir mense wat nie met paradox kan deal nie)
9. Askies!
10. ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan
11. Zille of Pille
12. Meer Jammer – Minder Drama

I can go on and on… THe idea behind each concept is to leverage some form of cultural tradition or pride (even stereotype) to leverage and inspire a new way of thinking that can lead us out of the current identity impasse and socio economic madness.

K@k Praat (explicit language warning)

As ander aanhou afkak gaan die kak spat.
(Afrikaner verduideliking van white privilege in ons konteks)

Dis maklik om op iets te kak… jy moet net ‘n posisie inneem waar jy jouself hoër of verhewe bevind, en dan moet jy jou binneste, lelikste, stinkste, laat uitkom.
Soms voel mense kak, omdat hulle bekak is en nie omdat hulle self deur die kak is nie. Party is in die kak maar dis ‘n ander windgat, slapgat se kak.

My tesis is dat ons wit mense die meeste kak aangejaag het en ander in die kak laat beland het, nou moet ons skoonmaak. Ons moet ons nie afvee hieraan nie, maar ons moet skoonmaak en reg maak en mooi maak sonder om doekies om te draai. Behalwe om ou harde kak skoon te krap moet ons net heel eerste seker maak ons hou nou op om nuwe warm slap kak te veroorsaak en ons moet ophou om ander mense uit te kak.

White Fragility

As in faith, so in politics; remember that your voice is currency. If you make it cheap it will devalue. Making cheap comments to strangers is not awesome, it is not brave, it is not heroic and it is finally not clever. Why? Because it does not work. Poverty alleviation requires pragmatism. If wmc is real and the power so one sided we need to see each powerful white as a potential ally. If we then care about the country and the poor we must be sure to win over these whites with their power and capital. We can literally not afford to estrange them. It might feel good to say go back to Europe but that wont help the poor we claim to be in solidarity with. We need a total project of cooperation. Why is the carrot better than the stick? Because the stick is illegal and counter productive. White privilege is a reality and a moral imperative to deal with, but it is not a crime. Whites can survive BBBEE and land reform, better than the bottom third of South Africans- in fact it might make us stronger, smarter and even more privileged! But since whiteness in itself is neither a sin nor a crime we need to very carefully, as pragmatic as possible try to answer: what is the best way to assist white folk to have a posture of humility, to share wealth and opportunity, to embrace diverse friendships? My opinion is that a moral cause needs a foundation and fabric that is humane, loving, kind and respectful. Why would someone sacrifice if they are already classified as evil? Unless there is no real intention to assist and work with eg Afrikaners; then all our ‘calling out’ and ‘standing up to with verbal proclamations’ are actually just serving our own validation and conscience. If we dont love and respect everyone our moral crusades will lack gravitas and integrity. Humanity sees the human and beauty first, true morality does not disperse labels, but is willing to get to know and journey together. If you cant commit then be quiet and rather think of advisory slogans for yourself.

The Arimathians

For a famous book the Bible isn’t very well read today and I include myself. Even the easy or user-friendly New Testament is neither scrutinised nor memorised in the way the Jews familiarised themselves with their writings. How many modern Christians for example are familiar with the young man that ran away naked, leaving the guards holding his bed sheet? Why is he even mentioned? If he was mentioned as a witness, why no name? Was he perhaps mentioned for comic relief, in such a serious moment? Or was he a shadow of another young man who would soon be left naked with guards holding onto his garments? I have my own issues with the Bible (and it’s people), but I also discover and rediscover inspiration at unlikely times an in unlikely sections. I struggle to fathom that something smart was written so long ago.

I am sitting in rural Mozambique, in a hut where a rat kept us up the whole night. We are inside Parque Naçional do Limpopo (PNL), an extension of Kruger. Rural Moz, sometimes seems to be 100 years behind South Africa. 100 years is a long time, so the effects of 2000 years on a story, context or concept seems beyond my grasp. This morning I am intrigued by another marginal figure on the periphery of the Gospels. The periphery of the Good News being an interesting concept in it’s own right. We all drift in and out of the story. Peter for example, who got the revelation of the Kingdom and cut of ears is the same guy that ‘followed at a safe distance’, same guy that denied and wept. Even the Kingdom heroes seem tainted or fake. But let’s get back to the peripheral figure that grabbed my attention this morning…

At school, I was good and naïve; assuming that is possible. In Grade 12, when I was head-boy I cared deeply about my ‘job’ and I can remember how often in anger and disillusionment I wanted to ‘give in my badge’. I often fantasised about the moral integrity of quitting from an unjust system or walking away from a group without integrity. And indeed I’ve ‘given in my badge’ on many occasions in my life, at times it is what we have to do; especially when our minds have not caught up with our hearts. I have walked away from jobs and out of conversations many times. But indignation and statements in abstract solidarity does not always bring the peace and justice we imagine. I think it is easier to train the mind than it is to train the heart, so I will never be harsh on anyone who needs to ‘run from a lion’ or create space between their aspirations and temptations. We have to protect our convictions while we have them I guess.

When reading about Jesus’ last days in Mark, we quickly see how shit the religious leaders of the day were. Allow me the grace to infuse my contempt with a bit of Mzansi flavour: It’s easy to note the conniving, spiteful and useless batch of Gupta-like, EFF behaving, Zuma-led and apartheid inspired Jewish Council (Sanhedrin). I mention all the associations South Afrians won’t like in 2017 to highlight what a bunch of bad apples this little broederbond was. They bloody killed God’s Son! How bad do you have to be to take out the ‘94 Madiba in such a public and disrespectful manner? If I was member of the Jewish Council I would have handed in my badge a long time ago. At worst I would have walked out when I realised they were about to kill the King.

2000 years ago however, I was not even in Heerde, Holland yet. There was no Schalk, nobody to hand in a badge. Who was there though, was a guy called Joseph. Not the famous Joseph who got a kid without getting lucky; another Joseph. Joseph of Arimathia. A peripheral figure in the Gospel story. Obviously important in that his request ensured a verification of the death of Christ, fulfilled a prophecy about the Messiah’s tomb and important for giving a dignified burial to the person who deserved it more than anyone else.

Joseph of Arimathia, like the book of Mark in general makes a quick, strong statement. Plain and simple: a bit of info, a bit of action and a bit of effect. I take encouragement form Joseph of Arimathia, and if I were to ever establish an order of The Arimathians I would base five founding principles on this short account in Mark 15 (also considering the other Gospel variations).

1. Sacrifice: Joseph not only used his money to buy a linen shroud, he gave his own grave. He gave time to attend the body of the dead. Without giving time and things nobody can be part of any story. Joseph had bucks, apparently, but Joseph knew about sacrificial giving.
2. Living expectantly awaiting the Kingdom of God: He did not sulk and blame when JC died, when things didn’t pan out the way everyone expected, his convictions were activated and his expectation transformed into duty. His expectation made him courageous and he included others like his chommie Nic. We cannot expect the KoG as a one man show.
3. Respected amidst the rot: Pravin Gordhan was fired, he did not walk out. We now know how big the gap between him and JZ was, but Pravin stayed and served the country amidst a box of rotten apples. Joseph of Arimathia stayed in the Jewish Council, although it must have driven him up the walls. Not only did he stay, he was respected.
4. Secrecy: Joseph of Arimathea did not perform and talk on the public platform when Barabas was released. Joseph’s contribution was done behind the scenes, he contributed to the unspectacular, away from the stage and attention. He bought burial cloths and no PR company was hired to profile his good deed. (Yet here I sit in PNL 200 years later blogging about him)
5. Joseph of Arimathea (J.A.) cared for Jesus’s body. An Order of Arimatheans would care for the body of Christ. Today, the body of Christ is the church. Not only did Jay Ay (J.A.) stay in the Jewish Council, he cared for the body of Christ. It is plain to see how I make the link between the actions of Jay Ay, and me (or us) faced with a decision to stay in or get in the NGK and FGK in particular.

Today the Jewish Council and the Body of Christ is often the same thing- a thing in desperate need of Arimatheans willing to care in sacrifice, secrecy, expectation and resilience.

I am left with the question: is caring for the Body of Jesus a calling or a duty?