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10 May 2001
African American 

This week I've received a challenge. Seems that an African American reader has some gripes about my attitude. Well, here's the mail I received (un-edited) :

" Loyalty to one's government is a fleeting vurtue anywhere in the world. As an African American who has never tasted the equality and basic democracy that you have access to there in So. Africa, I seriously challenge the racist suggestion that Black People can't govern a simple county like SA. Let me remind you that it was this kind of Euroracism that exploited Southern Africa in the first place. If you don't want to give the democratically elected leaders in SA a chance, then by all means get the hell out and make room for professinals like myself who would gladly reverse the "brain" drain that you create. Please have the guts to post this."

That's it, and I will not publish the individual's e-mail address. 

Herewith my response - Loyalty is a scarce virtue in our modern world. It is more patriotism that's keeping most people where they are. There are thousands of South Africans spread across the world, never forgetting this country nor what it means to them. Loyalty to the government is a different story alltogether! Laws are made that we don't agree with, corruption is rife which we also don't agree with. Government officials get away with murder (yes, murder) which I'm sure no-one in his/her right mind will agree with. Discrimination (in spite of our "liberal" constitution) and taxation no-one agrees with except that taxes are needed for any country to survive. Sure, I find it very hard to be loyal to the ANC government. The worst part of it all is the ANC bedfellows which include the worst of the worst looking at human rights abuse and blatant disrespect for their citizens and the rest of the world. We fought communism for more than thirty years on the South West (now Namibia) border. We fought them in Rhodesia and Mozambique, for what? Mandela was convicted of plotting to plant bombs which would've killed and maimed innocent people. He paid the price and rised above it all to become one of the most respected leaders in the world. 

Unfortunately for us, Mandela is a dreamer. In spite of what he accomplished in this country, South African people are far from being equal. Do not be duped into believing that there is equality in South Africa. There are too many stubborn and revengeful whites and blacks to let us forget about our terrible past. And is revenge sweet from the majority! All the world has to do is look at the state this country's infrastructure is in. Along with roads and sewerage systems colapsing, so is the educational, medical and law enforcement systems, along with so many others. 

I have never suggested that black people cannot govern a country. What I have done though is to point out that most countries in Africa (obviously governed by black people) have a history of constant war and human rights abuses. That would include corruption to the point that the Worldbank refuse to get involved at all, if not sanctioning countries. 

South Africa is not a simple country. With eleven official languages and a complex economy where the unions rule the roost (or try to), it is only made more complicated by corrupt government officials and their sidekicks. We have over fifty-million people, including Germans, British, Americans, Indians, name it we've got it, and all the locals. More than thirty percent of these people (mostly indigenous) are without a steady job. After coming into power, what has the ANC done for this country? Excluding the fact that they've been enriching themselves and their families, the average black citizen is still jobless, penniless and un-educated. To make things worse, it seems that the ANC is blocking whichever avenue available in providing anti-AIDS drugs. I do not understand that there are more jobless people, more poor people, less educated people, less disposable money and an economy about to collapse in South Africa. We have the infra-structure, we have the "old-school" knowledge (and plenty of "new school"), we have the manpower and cheap labour and we have the natural resources to make this a great country. 

The ANC brass sent their kids overseas to be educated during the apartheid years. They were offered scholarships at worldclass institutions with international support pouring in from all sides. They used it. See the results of that education? With the Rand dropping value faster than any other currency in the world, fuel becoming so expensive that we will become a nation of cyclists soon and company's closing doors on a daily basis, what have they accomplished? Personal enrichment, that's it. Amongst ourselves (that is the white folk) we frequently wish for miracles. That is what this country needs. 

But to give you back a bit of your own medicine - whenever we see riots and violence on television happening in the US of A, it normally involves African Americans, why? Can't we just make a deal and sort this out once and for all? Africa belongs to the blacks, all African Americans should therefore come "back home", we will go settle in your country (meaning the whites). Why is it that black celebrities always refer to this country as their "homes"? Why don't they come and live here?

I'll leave you with this little story :

On a British Airways flight from Johannesburg a middle-aged, well-off white South African Lady has found herself sitting next to a black man. She called the cabin crew attendant over to complain about her seating. 

"What seems to be the problem Madam?" asked the attendant. "Can't you see?" she said " You've sat me next to a k*ff*r. "I can't possibly sit next to this. Find me another seat!" "Please calm down Madam." the stewardess replied. "The flight is very full today, but I'll tell you what I'll do-I'll go and check to see if we have any seats available in club or first class."

The woman cocks a snooty look at the outraged black man beside her (not to mention many of the surrounding passengers). A few minutes later the stewardess returns with the good news, which she delivers to the lady, who cannot help but look at the people around her with a smug and self satisfied grin: "Madam, unfortunately, as I suspected, economy is full. I've spoken to the cabin services director, and club is also full. However, we do have one seat in first class." 

Before the lady has a chance to answer, the stewardess continues ... "It is most extraordinary to make this kind of upgrade, however, and I have had to get special permission from the captain. But, given the circumstances, the captain felt that it was outrageous that someone be forced to sit next to such an obnoxious person." With that, she turned to the black man sitting next to the woman, and said: "So if you'd like to get your things, sir, I have your seat ready for you..." At which point, apparently the surrounding passengers stood and gave a standing ovation while the black guy walked up to the front of the plane. 

Isn't it just a beaut?