Saturday, 19 April 2008

A South African emigre speaks

Interesting comment from Paul, a South African refugee in Chigago on my earlier post (Zimbabwe 2007 = South Africa 2017?) .

I just watch a documentary on Tibet. About half way through – and utterly convinced the Chinese are way out of line – I thought to myself: what does the world think of Apartheid? I searched a few sites; found the words "BLACK PEOPLE CAN NOT GOVERN THEMSELVES" amid a massive polarization of opinions on Apartheid and the prospects for post-Apartheid South Africa; and felt compelled to write this.

I've heard those words before by the way, many times.I’m not for a second contending Apartheid was right. But, assuming most of us agree it was wrong – was it more wrong than what is happening in Zim now? [On this point see this post, which asks what would you have done had you been living as a white under apartheid] I would wager that those on the ground – whether they are tied to tree being forced to drink diesel by 16 year-old “war-vets”, or one of the ones getting publicly beaten in Operation Makavhoterapapi for voting MDC, or just stuck in a petrol queue in the relative comfort of their own car – would scream a resounding “no!”

You see, I left Joburg – post-grad degree under belt – for Chicago a little over two years ago. Not that it should matter, but in the context of this discussion it would be an insult to all of you to pretend it doesn’t: I’m white – I was born that way. I like Chicago. I could even grow to love it in time. However, having left friends, family, the Atlantic and Indian oceans, Sunday braais, my swimming pool, thunderstorms, Table Mountain, and my dog – I miss South Africa very much.

Or do I? There are, of course, things I don’t miss: having to stand in line at the police station; or, even worse – getting face to face with the unfathomly unqualified person at the front of that line; the bad roads; depressing newspaper headlines; the senseless use of tax-payers money renaming airports; watching the president publicly condone Mugabe’s actions; and yes, most of all, leaving the second place issue leagues behind, the crime.

I was in school while Apartheid was getting phased out and was able to gradually observe the change for the better – and worse – in the country. I watched as some evils merely got exchanged for others. Living in the U.S. these last 2 years has brought me to the conclusion that people who have never lived in Africa will not – should not – try understand it. It is a beautiful and savage place.

If you haven’t witnessed first-hand what it is like there, please don’t be too quick to judge the pretty strong opinions that come through on a blog like this. In my humble opinion, Savant is spot-on with his analysis; South Africa will self-destruct, just like Zim, just like many other African countries have done in the past – when left to their own devices.

True, it will take far longer than any other country on the continent, but it is inevitable. Is there anyone out there who has lived in South Africa who will bring a realistic argument against Savant’s piece above to the table? If you’re an idealist or have a romanticized opinion of the “struggle” then please don’t even bother as you couldn’t possibly have lived there.

This seems a fair analysis to me, and convinces me more than even that SA will face a tragedy that will make Zimbabwe seem a cake walk. Again, I post so frequently on SA not least because it provides an invaluable lesson for Ireland, and the West in general: And that is - large numbers of blacks will bring even the most advanced society to its knees over time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My Aunt Sharon lives in South Africa. I could sit and listen to her talk about SA for hours! Sharon is an "Aunt" through marriage, so I've really only gotten to know her in the past ten years, and in that time I was absolutely stunned at how different SA is as opposed to how it is portrayed over here in the US. Way back in 2000, Sharon told me that witch doctors told black Africans that having sex with a virgin cures AIDS, so there was/is an epidemic of child rapes sweeping SA. I thought this kind of insight really put the African AIDS epidemic in a whole new light, but I was amazed and shocked that this kind of barbaric behaviour brought on by superstition was almost completely ignored by the press. In fact, nearly ten years later, I only recall one news article ever mentioning what these witch doctors were preaching!

Don't get me wrong, my Aunt Sharon loves Africa and considers herself an African. She doesn't hate black people either--as we Americans have been taught to believe about white South Africans. In fact, she blames US interference for the state of affairs in SA.