We will never see a unified and prosperous South Africa without sacrifice. Blacks will be quick to point out that they are the one’s who have sacrificed the most already! My gut instinct is that it is true, but then I wonder about the distinction between sacrifice and suffering. Black people have suffered. Sacrifice implies voluntary laying down of comfort and privilege. I look around me and I wonder what black sacrifice, not suffering looks like today? Sacrifice is when you want to sacrifice, not when it is thrust upon you. Pertaining to biological relations, I see a lot of sacrifice and the idea of black tax certainly includes the ‘burden’ of looking after biological family. When it comes to kids, parents and siblings I see a lot of sacrifice. Why I don’t include this type of sacrifice in the definition under discussion in this specific writing, is because it is natural, almost an animal instinct for us to look after our family.
The sacrifice I’m calling for is not suffering due to lack of means, nor is it based on natural affinity. I am talking about giving away comforts and security in order for strangers to benefit. I am talking about giving without an immediate feedback loop. The sacrifice I refer to impacts the type of whisky I drink and the brand of shoes I wear, it impacts the car I purchase and the house I live in. The sacrifice I speak of gives up an expensive holiday so someone else can study or it takes someone along on that unaffordable holiday.
Due to the suffering black people went through, their call to sacrifice is mostly not material today, although it is also not uncommon. Some black friends have told me they sacrifice their violence, not killing or chasing us whites. That type of ‘sacrifice’ sounds to me like the rightwing Afrikaners who think they ‘sacrificed’ in 1994 by allowing democracy without putting up a fight. Threats of violence turns us into animals, ruled by survival of the fittest and there is no place for moral discussion and neighbourly love in such a dog eat dog competitive world. Hence my refusal to entertain such self-righteous threats; from both sides.
While black people will indeed not ‘catch up’ as a group without letting go of certain constructs, white people, soaked in privilege are the ones who really need face the mirror of self and history. There are poor whites who do not have money, they don’t have education, they don’t have confidence and they don’t have style. Even they have certain things they need to sacrifice in order to be free. It might be false notions of superiority or it might be booze. Still, my writing is aimed at those wealthy whites who call themselves middle class. I am one of these whites and what I write for my brothers and sisters, I write for myself.
We need to firstly sacrifice our tendency to be smart ass. We need to sacrifice our need to always be right and that implies learning to change our minds. Our thoughts are well protected by our emotions. And that makes us stupid. We are trapped by our own fear and hurt. When considering topics such as BBBEE, land reform, Afrikaans at state universities, quotas in sport and many others, we need to lay down our de facto stance and defence. We will gain more by exploring context, history and answering the why questions. As whites, we tend to cling to things gone by, and that clinging is what stops us from moving forward. Anger and resentment, despite being misplaced has the power to literally destroy your life and your happiness. Who are you angry at? What makes you angry? Welcome to your prison.
Jesus was very smart. He said that #seedsmustfall. Jesus told us that something’s gotta give. Paul reiterated that we will gain our life after losing it; a mystery few of us have discovered. We cling. How and where can I allow things to die in my life, things that when sacrificed will produce an unexpected harvest. We are trapped in cycles of selfishness, schooled in consumerism we became addicted to laagers of comfort and security. Sacrifice can break open these laagers as others are invited in. The first thing to sacrifice is the idea that you are in a war, the us vs them battle is an illusion. Where we see enemies we should be seeing family, not biological family, but human family.