Ag Shame

This website is for me and a few of my white friends who wants to journey towards growth, love and justice.

Today I wrote a blog for my black friends. I wrote everything I think, but am not allowed to say. We mos said enough. It is our time to be quiet.

So I wont publish the blog. Because whiteness disqualifies us from having legitimate or relevant opinions on black people. Mostly because our sincerity is doubted and also because it feels bad to have the oppressor (which is really not the oppressor any more) say stuff that makes sense. It reminds of power and disempowerment.

So, because I have many black friends I care about, I will at least mention that I woke up this morning and wrote a blog for black people. The first one since I started this site.

But, I wont share it. A little bit out of being spiteful and a little bit because we all have to reach our destination at our own time.

Many people allowed me space and freedom to develop in my own way and at my own rate. So I will afford others the same.

Long live Biko, long live.

Three Words

Toe ek jonk was het ek gehou van praat.
Ek was ‘n kranige debat kampioen.
My entoesiasme en naiwe goedgelowigheid
Het my gewild en geliefd gemaak.

Deesdae hou ek nie van praat nie.
Wat ‘n inspuiting was is nou ‘n ontrekking
en my woorde maak my bang.
Bang vir deelwees van dwaasheid.

Ek prober deesdae my woorde beter kies
Maar dis so moeilik en selfs onmoontlik,
Want elke paar ore luister so anders
en wat vir een sin maak is goedkoop snert vir ‘n ander.

Ek soek na nuwe vorms van praat
om die leegheid van preke en praatjies te vermy.
Hoe kies ek woorde wat stories en begrippe saamvleg
en eenvoud met diepte dek?

In pleks van sinne, bied ek dalk net woorde:

opoffering
paradoks
dapperheid

– sleutels na nuwe plekke
– grysheid kom die wyshied
– kaal voor onsekerheid

Sacrifice- sleutels na nuwe plekke
We sometimes get confused. The systems and voices around us infect us and taint us. Our worldview and fundamentals often make way for cheap popular constructs. It’s tricky to recognize when this happens. Do you have a plan, a way of realizing when your worldviews clash with concepts that can derail your belief system?
A myth that affects us is the concept popularized by Covey: win-win. Sometimes win-win is possible and advised. Often, it is impossible and an illusion. For many of the most important things in life we face an either-or. You cannot be faithful and have an exciting affair. You cannot choose family and work as your top priority. You cannot be friends with some people without neglecting others. You cannot spend money on education, holiday, toys, food, houses and investments without the one impacting the other. Budgets and hours in a day are limited. If I use a Rand on this, I chose a million things not to spend it on. If I use an hour on this, I chose a million other things not deserving of that time. Each choice kills a thousand others. And in the end we become the sum total of those choices.

Our culture shaped us into generally homogenous beings. We might differ on our brands or whiskey and clothes or the place we buy a house and car, we might differ in the number of kids we make, or the years and things we studies, but by en large, we try and live very similar lives. Lives constructed to minimize risk, maximize safety and predictability, while allowing for indulgences that make us feel good and alive. That is normal. We attach our self-worth to the appearance of our gatherings, be it stuff or achievements. This predictable path towards a specific definition of the good life makes sense and is good. If it didn’t make sense everyone would not be following along the well trodden steps. It makes sense, especially of your worldview places you at the center of the universe.

To escape the corridor of self, we have to unlock new doors we are not familiar with. Each of these doors have a key. And each key is a sacrifice. To discover a new room and a new world, we have to sacrifice something of our current lives. The magic of turning sacrifices into keys and unlocking new things is a skill you have to practice. There are no short cuts. These are not concepts to grasp intellectually and talk about. Words and what-ifs count for nothing. You either gain experience in walking and doing or you don’t. You create experiences by doing, or you don’t. Our culture is not big on sacrifice. Yet, every hero, every sport star, every icon reached their heights by sacrificing many things we tend to cling to. At least we can associate with heroes when we sit in the cinema, or at home using box-office, which removes the strenuous discomfort of driving to the movies, parking, buying a ticket and using public toilets. Tough world… Sell everything and give it to the poor

How many stories of sacrifice do you have? I’m not talking about loss. I’m talking about giving something up on purpose, something that you could have had and that would have made you happy.

I have my list:
When I became a Christian at school I gave up drinking, smoking, secular music, dancing.
I sacrificed my dream of becoming a lawyer, going for theology which I thought God called me to.
Instead of doing a fancy gap year in the USA at Mel Gibson’s church, I decided to go and live in a tent on a missions farm in rural Mozambique.
Studying I decided to go to res, even if I was 21, I enrolled as a full first year and went through initiation, by people my own age.
At University I sacrificed the excitement of residence life and being Primarius of our residence, in my second year, I voted against myself so I wouldn’t be deputy Primarius. It was a big deal back then.
Then I stopped studying to make a theological point. I was in effect a varsity drop out.
I sacrificed a job at the ‘best’ church in South Africa to go and live in Mozambique.
I sacrificed my calling to be a preacher in a shift to being a servant, doing stuff without words.
I sacrificed being a Christian who wants to convert people, to become a Christian who helped people on their terms.
I sacrificed my time and ego and finished my degree.
I took a scary plunge and started a new direction of studies until had a Masters cum laude, not without hours of hard work and intellectual turmoil.
I gave up a title due to affirmative action
I gave up a cozy permanent job to start an uncertain project
I gave up that great feeling of a new car as I bought a second hand Jazz
I gave up my church because they wanted to stay Afrikaans and white.
I sacrificed my safe independence as I finally settled in a long-term romantic relationship
I sacrifice things to do and stuff to buy on a daily basis. I sacrificed my entitlement as a white man in Africa.

What’s next for me? Maybe sacrificing comfort and arrogance and learning to speak isiZulu. Maybe not going to restaurants so others can have food on the table. Maybe losing white friends as I refuse to indulge racism. Maybe sacrificing the integrity of grassroots training so I can do the corporate work our organization requires. Maybe I have to change my mind about certain topics like Afrikaans at university or sacrifice my views on land-reform.

Each sacrifice I have ever made opened a new door. I often got back the thing I sacrificed. Sometimes immediately, sometimes after years. Sometimes I never got it or anything back in return.

How do we know what to sacrifice? Again, no short-cuts. As we life an integrated life of integrity, we get glimpses. Glimpses that come from friends, glimpses we read or see, moments of grace when we feel a hunch that there is more, there is something higher and more beautiful. There was a guy that use to be the expert in these kind of things. Some say he took it too far. We were supposed to follow, but we efficiently placed him in a mythological box of irrelevance. We seldom follow. In fact, despite all our talking, we generally organize our lives in exactly the opposite way than what he advised. Which is fine.
If only we had the guts to be honest about it.

Paradox- met grysheid kom die wyshied

When I was young I was fanatical about the idea of truth. Relativism was the anti-Christ devil dragon I had to slay. The dragon made me scared, because it threatened all the mechanical handles I had on God. Relativism threatened the glasses with which I viewed God and it threatened the constructs that helped me to see an invisible Savior. It never touched God, it touched my tangible crutches. Most of us keep saying ‘don’t touch me on my studio’ until the day we die. The older we get the more permanent our crutches become. We lose the distinction between our interpretation and the principles and concepts behind our intent. The best things are not easy to grasp, they are impossible to measure and they evade us through constant flux. We as humans such at uncertainty, so we build things that represent the higher things. The golden calf becomes a service once a week, the golden calf becomes a verse every morning, it becomes defending a petty dogmatic technicality. We replace the uncertainty of connecting with the Creator of the universe with the conviction that no one says shit in church, that girls should not love each other romantically, that evolution is satanic or that everyone who doesn’t say the sinner’s prayer will burn in hell for all eternity.

I’ve stopped arguing about things I’m not sure about. We normally argue most about the things we are not sure of ourselves. Have you ever argued with anyone who said the earth is flat, that all Christians are healed when they pray, that blacks are animals or that slavery is defendable? No, we don’t argue when we are sure that something is silly. Like the kid who knew his dad’s Nissan Maxima was the best car and his dad the greatest. Do you remember the add? “And what did you say? Nothing dad I just smiled.”

The most important things are not black or white, but grey. In the grey areas of open mindedness we have to sacrifice certainty and arrogance in exchange for the humility of not knowing.

Again, moving from the abstract to the concrete, let me share some of my examples of grey paradox:

As a white man I learnt that I will never be at home in Africa, yet as a traveler in Africa and on earth, I can live a satisfying and rich life, full of meaningful connection.
As a Christian I cannot judge other faiths, and decide who goes to hell, I live with the knowing that Jesus is the Way for me, but that each individual, tribe or nationality have to find their way.
I believe that all my money belongs to God, not 10%, yet I chow a huge chunk of that every month to indulge myself instead of sharing with my needy brothers and sisters. Give away that second coat.
I’m uncertain about the future of our country, yet I live in a way that shows I have hope and ownership.
My faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin and they feed on each other.
I believe that evil exist, but I regularly doubt satan, deamons and and little ghosts that sit on our shoulders to whisper temptations.
I try to have an open house where a diverse range of people are welcome, but my hospitality often makes way for my sense of deserved privacy.
I pray, but I pray only at certain times and for certain things. I invite God, into half my life.
Every day I face a midlife crisis as I struggle with extreme nihilism and existential vanity at the same time!
I feel happy with myself and proud of myself, while simultaneously, I doubt my impact and my success.
I want to be fit and in shape and I make some effort, yet sitting in front of the TV and eating sugary nonsense compromise my so-called value of health and being in shape.
I resist modern culture and consumerism, yet I’m a die-hard fan of the Bulls and Arsenal.
I say that Environmentalism is important to me, yet I choose not to recycle, to fly, to buy things I don’t need, I buy imported veggies and I walk past litter every day without picking it up.
I sacrificed preaching, yet, here I am writing this blog.
I believe in forgiveness, yet some people have been maneuvered out of my life in cold ruthlessness.
I’m good and I am bad.
I’m learning and I’m stagnant.
I’m hopeful and in despair.
I love and I’m selfish.
I speak yet nothing is said.

Courage- kaal voor onsekerheid

These grey areas and sacrifices that plunge us into uncertainty, requires unknown strength and courage. It requires a courage and braveness that we don’t see modelled around us that often. Mandela had it. Many other unknown people have it, but we ignore them. Their courage doesn’t fit our story of blame, victimhood, entitlement and diversion. If you find a courageous person that embrace a life of sacrifice and uncertainty, don’t let them go. Friendship with such every day heroes is the greatest gift you can ever gain. But do you even have the ability to identify these individuals? It takes one to know one. Before looking for one, ask yourself if you are one? A mirror can be a terrifying thing.

Uncertainty requires courage, not to face the world out there, but to face the world and the thing inside of you. Surely, the struggles out there are very real and can be extremely testing, but how we handle those battles all depend on the substance you have in yourself. When I see someone choosing against adventure, when I see someone too scared to take a chance, I have some sympathy for their situation, but I also learn of the sad storyline that writes their biography as a struggle of self-love and self-doubt.

The weird thing about courage and taking plunges is that they are self-perpetuating. Momentum can be your greatest ally, except when you are stationary. To learn a new habit can be very difficult. The habit of being okay with not knowing, with being uncertain is one of the hardest to learn. In order to really learn we sometimes have to admit that we were wrong, that we thought stupid things in stupid ways. We instinctively avoid vulnerability. We instinctively crave security. Not just physical and material, but also emotionally and psychologically. Those who have experimented with the journey with conscious vulnerability and embracing of uncertainty, have learnt that the scary thing is only scary until you face it. First, we get used to it, we see we stay alive, and later we discover that it is not only doable, but indeed a guarantee to safety and peace. Vulnerability carries its own reward. It is not just an exercise to try and be mature or advanced, it is a way of being that advance happiness and fulfillment. Why? Because vulnerability enables connecting. If you are hardened, your human connection options are limited. Every bit of vulnerability you cultivate allows for more connection. Attempts at pseudo-strength is therefore an activator and indicator of loneliness.

I suppose I have to also now list some things I feel called to engage with, things I need courage for because they make me feel vulnerable and naked.
To drive into a township and try and be friends with poor black youths.
To commit to a romantic relationship beyond dating.
To share my struggles with racism.
To speak about my doubts about the faith.
To learn a new language.
To face and show my body without being shy.
To ask when I don’t understand something.
To forgive and speak to someone that hurt me.
To share money instead of saving for my retirement.
To sing or dance, which I hate.
To drive up to Beitbridge Border post and Zimbabwean roadblocks.
Walking through Windsor suburb.
Confronting people who act unethically.
Conflict in general.
Telling a friend if they are engaged in destructive behavior.

Ke Nako

The end of words – this can refer to the last words or the goal of words. For me the ending of words takes us into the meaning of the preceding words. In simple terms, talking is important only if there will be a time of non-talking. Dialogue as preface to action is a beautiful thing. Discussion can create or reduce distance. When my partner in love says: “liefie ons moet praat” I don’t get excited. The “ons moet praat” often opens up issues where I heart her and my subsequent guilt makes me move away. Still, we have to talk. If its doing based talking.

I’ve been mostly silent on issues of race. Mostly because I doubt people’s sincerity. Politics, race and religion share the same temptation of intellectual masturbation and pseudo heroism. When I was young I spoke a lot. Often I spoke nonsense: a 17 year old Schalk would say: “apartheid was bad, but the developmental effect was good compared to the rest of Africa” or “God’s plans with Israel failed so plan B was Jesus and those who now reject Jesus will burn forever”. I was so smart back then, so smart and sure.

These days, I’m not so sure anymore and the things I’m surest about I don’t like speaking about. Most of my replies nowadays are tears or smiles, both of which can be filled with joy or sadness.

I have my own story. Smart people call a story a narrative, as they call talking dialogue. It’s actually funny, for the poor we speak of life-skills and the rich life-coaching. Resilience and co-creation replaced character and working together. Words are very naughty and tricky little things. We often mix words into sentences and sentences into constructs, without an appreciation and awareness where they come from. Yet every picture in our head comes with baggage. I mention this, because the topic of race comes with more baggage than a Sandton girl going camping.

I wont try to represent or duplicate all the theory on race. On my journey I came across certain no-brainers though: Race is not just about colour, it has to do with power. Race is not just about the colour of skin but with the link between poverty and that skin colour, be it material or emotional poverty. Sometimes race is not about skin colour at all, but culture and ethnicity. In chats about race, we all have our ‘buttons’ those words or ideas that get’s us defensive and upset, those statements that stops our listening and activates our fighting mode. Emotional maturity and patient, respectful listening remains elusive, even amongst us so called adults.

I’m going to give a white example now, not because I equate white history with black history, but simply because I am a white Afrikaner, and I will always speak first and investigate my own history, issues and constructs. The lessons I learn or parallels drawn from that to the situation of others is something I consciously resist. Understanding my own people does however help me to open up my imagination and understanding of other people’s issues. White Afrikaners and English speakers in South Africa look the same, yet they are often very far apart. I’ll spare you stories of the Anglo-Boer war, concentration camps, derogatory action, etc. But I will tell you that my own father, a lovely and great man, learnt to speak perfect English and made a relative success of his life, but he is still insecure about white English South Africans. For my dad, at 70, the struggle continues, there is a ‘us’ and ‘them’ that will stay with him until he dies. It is 100 years after the war, the Afrikaners got out on top, took over the country, but the issues persisted. Some Afrikaners moved on and have no issues with amaBritish, others didn’t. I have a thousand times less issues that my father, but I still have issues. I love it when my black friends tell me: “I’d rather work with an Afrikaner than English, at least we know where we stand with you, you are more real than the fake snobbish English who smile in front and gossip behind our backs”. I resent white English South Africans and all whites in Europe who after years of building their empires on black slavery talk about Afrikaners and apartheid as something they had nothing to do with. When I’m honest with myself, I see my issues with whites that are not Afrikaners. The big issue is: if I meet an English person today, how do I look at him or her, what do I think and how do I act? It’s a journey.

Staying on the topic of white, I also have a relationship with my own tribe, the Afrikaners. To be honest, I’m very proud to be an Afrikaner. They way I was raised by the Afrikaner subculture I was exposed to makes me proud and I think there are many fantastic things about Afrikaners and Afrikaner culture. There are also many stupid things. I resent the Afrikaners before me for implementing apartheid, I’m proud that 68% of whites voted in the referendum to stop apartheid, I resent the millions who ignored or spat on Mandela’s gracious forgiveness, I’m embarrassed by poor Afrikaners dumb opinions and classless expressions of coolness. Today I view the majority of Afrikaners as selfish cowards who are too scared and narrow minded to go on the next Groot Trek, a Groot Trek into South Africa. Yet, when I meet an Afrikaner and instantly judge their class, intellect, style and character, I enter the same battle as when I stand before any other tribe. What is the story behind the story, why is this person like this, here, today? Will I give each new Afrikaner, not only a neutral chance, but a positive expectation in love and hope?

Sometimes I’m surprised by an English person, a Jew, an Australian or even an Afrikaner. Sometimes I’m disappointed by them. What is weird is that the good surprises I link to individual uniqueness and individual beauty. The bad experiences I bank in my racial or ethnic stereotype memory… I discover my racism when I catch myself thinking: “tipies” or “that’s not surprising” when someone does something stupid.

Considering the above, I’d have to be crazy to act as if I don’t have black racial issues and stereotypes. In fact, as I got closer to ‘black’ people I inherited further issues whereby I’m tempted to view certain tribes as arrogant, lying, stupid, violent, etc. As Afrikaner and white, I inherited much baggage about ‘black’ people. The issue is not how true these stereotypes are. Even if something might be true for 80% of a tribe of race, where does that leave you with the other 20%? Whites are trapped in a struggle where they genuinely believe their negative racist stereotypes are true. We think, yes, there are exceptions but most of them are like this and they will always stay like this. Again, what I learnt is that this estimation is a completely unhelpful and damaging exercise. Whether 20% or 80% of Afrikaners are racist, whether 10% or 90% of Zulu men beat their wives, whether 40% or 70% of Nigerians are involved in crime is not the issue, not smart questions to ask and it is a way of thinking that is fundamentally flawed. Yet we are trapped in stereotypical judgments and somehow call that realism; to what end?

I discovered that racism is most poisonous and paralyzing when discussed on broad terms, meta-narratives, bulk assumptions, abstractions and generalizations. These discussions seldom lead to life giving internal revolution and outward reconciliation. The antidote, for me is not so much in the content of the topic but the vehicle that houses the discussion or interaction. Generalizations easily paralizes and easily hurts. The antidote, is a movement to the individual, one on one level. This, let me immediately say, is not a compromise in denial of structural injustice or societal violence that needs to be addressed. No, instead of being a cop out it is the essential legitimizing act that gives credibility to the whole process. I cannot talk racial reconciliation or diversity if I don’t have my own story, my own friends and my own actions. My modelling of the end-dream is what validates all my words, all my appeals. My constant learning and changing is the engine that keeps the whole discussion real. The notion to start all racial reconciliation and integration at a one-on-one level is not an escape, it is an appropriate first step.

People throw around the word ‘restitution’ and say they won’t talk before restitution, before the average black man and white man has the same level of wealth, education and privilege. Is that a sentiment aimed at voicing frustration or a real proposal aimed at a real outcome? Restitution is not something white people need to fear. Nor is it something black people need to fear. Unless you are greedy governed by desire for power, money and increasing luxury. Poor whites, and there are many cannot make restitution in many ways, some of them don’t even have professional nor life-skills to share with others. Many whites don’t have much to share and due to their social circles, lack of education, lack of money, and self-destructive behavioural patterns, they do not even have access to ‘white privilege’. They become psychological victims of anglo supremacism, BEE punishment, renting wealthy members of their tribe, stuck in petty arguments and struggles with friends and family members and all sorts of mental traps they create for themselves, they have a victim mentality. Victims never see themselves as privileged and their lack of gratitude sucks the joy out of life. Whilst many of the challenges facing poor whites are real, like with all poverty, the add-ons, the self perpetuating destructive thought patterns and habits is what keeps them poor. I drink because I’m depressed about my poverty and the drinking escape keeps me poor… Poverty has no colour. Yet, some colours have been dealt bigger servings of poverty inducing circumstances. That is why I made a decision not to spend my money in South Africa on poor whites. That will infuriate many people, but each person must make his or her own decisions. And the first lesson of charity is that you can’t help everyone.

So, some whites will struggle with restitution due to their own material, psychological and intellectual poverty. The flip side of that coin are the millions of privileged blacks who are smart, educated and part of a middle class that could reach out and share in skills, connections, opportunities and dignity. What does the black South African with a degree, driving a Jaguar want from the white South African with grade 12 who drives an old Etios? An apology for apartheid? Friendship? Introduction into his/her circle of friends? Many white people call themselves middle class, but they are really rich. Compared to everyone. Many black people do not realize that the cash and toys they have today is way more than what the average white family had during apartheid. The “it’s our time now to eat” is one of the most distorted views and sentiments currently doing the rounds. If it is a competition between the super rich of then and the super rich of now competing to drink R600 bottles of whiskey, wear R3000 shoes, drive Ferrari’s then its fine, compete and waste your money on nonsense. 90% of whites never lived like that. We were one of the richer families in our town, yet we never bought a new car, never went on holiday and went to the restaurant twice a year. I compare that with what I see around me today in Joburg. Why do I make this point? To deny white privilege, to negate black struggle? Not at all, in fact the opposite. Back then and now if the rich, the privileged of whatever colour, spend their resources and luck on self gratification, the poor, the majority black poor, will never get their slice of the pie. Individuals need to look inside and decide what is right. If its cool to buy a Ferrari while your neighbor is hungry, then it will be cool for white and black. Entitlement is a disease that doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor, black or white. Nor is materialism and consumerism. What people often think is (and was) an issue of race or religion, was really issues of power and money, with race and religion as legitimizing excuses. If we deny this basic human tendency towards greed we will never crack the race issue. It pertains to macro-policies, structural adjustment, neoliberalism etc, but firstly it pertains to you and me, what happens in our hearts and in our wallets. Don’t run from that, white or black. Our planet either runs on morality, human right and ethics of communal care or it runs on survival of the fittest where the strongest survive. Whether Shaka chases another tribe due to greater strength, the British take control due to having guns or whether you buy a Aston Martin whilst paying someone else minimum wage; survival of the fittest and smartest will always stand in contrast with human dignity and compassion. Integrity: you cannot speak against apartheid on the basis of human dignity and then live a life based on ‘strongest and smartest will survive’. If you think people are entitled to take what they can, to make what they can without a shared responsibility, you behave the same way as a slave owner. If race is not about colour, but about power, we all have to look at what we do with our power and money. If we don’t do that the conversation, the dialogue will never have legitimacy and race discussions will always be hi-jacked by individuals with hidden agendas and selfish motives. Black or white, if you cant bring your wallet to race talks, you are playing games.

All poverty is not linked to race. In South Africa, black poverty is linked to race. The fact that millions of black people today are out of poverty and that a fifth of whites struggle with poverty is evidence that skin colour is not the only issue at play when it comes to poverty. Average white, average black stats can be a very unhelpful way of thinking. It is good to know as a starting point, but using such to stir the pot without pragmatic solutions and next steps perpetuates hatred and resentment. Sometimes we get excited with stats and new quotes. We share it with enthusiasm, but without a plan. I cannot deal with racism if I don’t gave a clear picture in my mind of what a good person looks like and what a good life looks like. Sometimes race becomes a tool to ensure we are the ones who end on top. The old masters make way for new masters and life for the poor remains the same. The poor in Africa will probably always be predominantly black, and so racial resentment is fueled and perpetuated. We fight when we don’t know how to build. And we don’t know how to build because we a) do not know what we want to build and b) are not willing to be affected personally by the new vision. Never underestimate personal comfort and self-interest.

Yet, even if we are all willing to share and contribute, there are still little foxes that can eat away at the integrity of the process. Helping in patronizing ways can be very harmful. Help in itself can perpetuate unequal power dynamics. Good intentions doesn’t guarantee the absence of wrong thinking. Yet, the learning has to come from the foundation of mutual trust and friendship. I discover wrong thinking about race, about black stereotypes every month and I will still discover many ways in which my thinking is immature and reactionary. But I can discover these insights within the context of loving friendships with real black people. These are not things to be argued about, thrown around. Humans have a great capacity for compassion and care, which leads to sincere connecting. The moment you sacrifice that in the name of resentment, being right or anger, you cut off your own leg. Which inevitably leads to more noise. If someone stands in front of me I should firstly see a human being. There are infinitely more that binds us, that we have in common than what divides us. Part of who stands before me is skin colour or gender. Skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion, income level and many other things will be part of my journey with this human being, but none of them can be the main thing. The thing walking through your door is neither a white nor a black. The thing has a name, the thing is a person with a personality. Missing that, will shackle you to the extent where every sentence aimed at freedom tightens the chains of distrust. Hardkoppigheid maak mens hardegat. Almal kan hardegat raak en daarom is dit belangrik om versigtig te wees met jou eie hardkoppigheid.

Most of the militant black pride, anti-white stuff I hear come from people who are not the poorest of the poor. They might say that that is precisely the point, the poor are too blind or stupid to speak up for themselves, so the wealthy blacks and wealthy white liberals generate a lot of noise around white privilege, racism, apartheid, colonialism, slavery, etc. You might think I exaggerate, but I often hear youths who actually complain about what the Romans did, slavery in the 1700’s and so forth. Clearly apartheid will be part of the national psyche for many years to come… We are 20 years beyond apartheid many whites want us to ‘move forward’… By moving forward, they mean of course, forget about it and leave me alone to make money and enjoy my life. It wont be left. But to what end? My family was in British concentration camps, how does that affect my relationship with English people today? Should it? It’s been hundred years. I think the answer to the question of “how many years” is simple: the years will be determined by when you feel equal to the previous oppressor. If after 3 years you feel free and equal, you can move on and look forward. Some will not feel and be equal for hundreds of years. World history has proven that. Inequality is not just a feeling however. There are vey real things that make people feel unequal: he racial mix of patrons and waiters in a restaurant, the colour of faces you see on TV, the ethnic profile of people in jail, who drives the truck and who sits on the back, and thousands of other small and not so small things. When to look forward? I personally think you can only look forward if you are willing to embrace and fix the past. Moving on, beyond apartheid or slavery, is only possible when both parties agreed the wrong and commit to walk forward in reconciliation and restitution. Fixing things is a journey and I think, a privilege. When this journey is demanded instead of invited, things gets tricky. That is why I continue to say that if you are very clear of your future picture, you will be able to choose a mature strategy that won’t become counter productive.

We all have many wrong perceptions about the other party. We can learn about that through cross-cultural friendship. Spreading the love. I wont jump for every person throwing around accusasions of racism or calls for unity. For me to take another human serious, I want to see how they treat their ‘other’? How they treat their Muslim, Nigerian, Zimbabwean, Shangaan, gay or political opposition. That is how I discern and differentiate who wants to talk to me, learn with me and journey forward, and who are the ones who wants to make noise. There’s a fair share of ‘hardkoppigheid’ in me and I am no Jesus. Part of my Afrikaner heritage and war with British is a pride that won’t stand for unfair abuse. I can be soft, I can listen, I can say sorry, I can help, I can be vulnerable, but I can also say no.

Whites I speak to are also trapped in a fight. Instead of wanting to change they feel entitled to some form of fairness and justice. Here’s how they think: Blacks tell me to learn isiZulu. Yet amaZulu doesn’t want to learn English or Sotho? Some will say, teach your kids to love all people and not be racist, yet xenophobia is commonplace. They say share your money with the poor, don’t build high walls, yet the first thing a poor black man does when he buys a house is build a wall and everyone just looks after their own biological families. Sometimes I share these questions or frustrations. Yet, Goodness 101 teaches us that our decisions and morality must be intrinsic and not dependent on other people’s actions. We have to be the example ourselves. If you try and be the example and then still get accused of silly things, let that just roll of your back and don’t open your heart. That’s why we have to decide who we engage with, who we learn from, because there are many foolish people on both sides of all divides.

A confession: as I mentioned I am not perfect at all, my struggles are many and daily. Many things in my head are angry and reactionary. I want to give an example of the automatic ‘Afrikaner’ emotions and thoughts that sometimes tempt me: Here is where I get genuinely upset. No surprise, it pertains politicians and media: I don’t have a problem with the great majority of the country. But I do feel frustrated with politicians and those who echo their statements in the media. Some blacks, like the ones who wear t-shirts saying kill all whites, like to group all whites together and urinate on any attempt at growth or reconciliation. In my moments of weakness I want to ask them: ufunani? What do you want? Who wants what from whom? Who must pay and who will benefit? The land taken in Zimbabwe and bought in South Africa benefited elites, not the poor. I wish I could farm, but I know as a white man in Africa I cannot own land and a farm, some teenager will kill me and still think he has the moral high ground, that he did what was right, that the boer got what he deserved. So, where I’m different is, I say, take all the land if that is what the majority of people want. If there is a drop in production and food needs to be imported, make higher tax and buy food from other countries. If you have political power you can do what you want. So no need for crying and fighting, vote for those that will give you what you want and take charge. Nationalise the mines, take the land, increase tax, make a white tax, double BBBEE implications or whatever. Do it. Take charge and live with the consequences. I don’t mind all of that, whatever system is in place many Afrikaners will dig in and make the best of that, we will comply and we will excel. Afrikaners are not good at being blamed. I share this paragraph to show that liberalism or conservatism are not clean cut constructs that drop into our heads from above. We, I, have to struggle with many competing thought patterns. That is okay, as long as I keep going on the journey.