The White Protester.
You are mistaken. You think I am leaving my office tomorrow, for the biggest march in South African history, only because my white privilege is under threat. You are wrong. You think the reason I am showing face in protest is because my wallet has now been affected by Zuma’s guerilla tactics in capturing the state, and the fall of the rand. You are wrong. I love my country. I love South Africa. I love the people. I hate what the government has done with it’s twenty year reign after apartheid was abolished. Nothing has changed.
I am third generation white South African. Yes, I am privileged. I grew up in apartheid South Africa. I lived in a safe, white suburb where there was a good school. I got an education. My parents had enough money to get me a beat up old Mazda that got me to college. Which they also paid for. I could then get a job. I did not have an unemployed, extended family that ate up my whole pay cheque every month just to stay alive. I could get a bond to buy a house and a nice car. I have children who I can now educate with the same standard of education I had. I do not for one minute take this for granted.
I have come to know the evils of racism through stories. The atrocities of apartheid. Not just the “whites only” signs on benches in parks and public toilets and beaches. Not just the physical removal of people of colour from their homes and dumped as far away from white towns as possible. But also the hidden implications and the psychological torture of the ripping apart of families where children grew up without their fathers. Sometimes without their mothers too. Who had access only to minimal education so were set up for unemployment from childhood. The brainwashed notion that being a black made you inferior to a white purely because the government had literally beat it into your elders, who in turn passed it, unconsciously, to you. It takes generations and generations to undo that kind of societal damage. I understand where the hatred of me comes from.
But it was not me. My grandparents and great grandparents sowed the poisonous seeds. I did not take your land. I did not deny you an education and job. I was not even born when these things happened to your fore fathers. I took part in those first exciting democratic elections as a naive teenager only just old enough to vote. I can never undo the shameful acts of my predecessors. I read books and stories about how bad it was for people of colour under apartheid. I cry. But I cannot undo it.
What I can do is NOT jump on a plane with my European-passport-holding husband (kids and investments in tow) to go and live in another country. I can stay. And pour my white, privileged education and knowledge back into the economy by working and paying taxes. And protest. Hoping that the government introduces decent, free education to everyone so that BEE can actually be successfully deployed. Where it can benefit the whole underprivileged population and not just an elite few. It’s been twenty years.
This is my country too. Whether you like it or not. And I will fight for it just like you. Next to you. I will be awkward and probably break out into Kumbaya My Lord, so you will have to stop me and teach me how to be an effective protester. Amandla! And what comes after it. I have had no experience in standing up to the government for anything. I know that the Gupta alliance which is now in full control of our country is more damaging to those poor, hopeless, underprivileged souls first abused by apartheid, and now abused by the ANC. The nobodies. The ignorant, vulnerable mass of voters. Our people. I am marching tomorrow because they will suffer the most. Again. From a crippled economy destroyed by greed and crony-ism among the very people they faught for freedom with, and who they appointed to lead them.
I am the white, inexperienced protester I ask you not to hate. Jacob Zuma is not my president. Not because is black. But because he is a greedy rapist. He has raped women. He has raped South Africa. While the rest of the ANC have stood as bystanders and watched the sadistic violation of our country.
He must go. Now.