This week, I happened upon this Facebook status:
“I was born in 1975. Apartheid ended in 1994. If you do the math, I have lived a “privileged life” for 19 years… for 18 of those 19 years I did not have a right to vote, I didn’t own a home, therefore never took any land from anybody and I never got a job that was meant for “Whites only”. And before you judge my family as beneficiaries of apartheid, please know that I grew up in a house where my parents struggled to make ends meet every single month. It has been 21 years since apartheid ended. I have spent the biggest chunk of my life so-far under a multi-racial flag. Under a government who accuses me of stealing land. Under more accusations about how I thought myself superior to black people. (Proof of such allegation will be found NOWHERE, as I have never done that, and never will.) I don’t have the same rights to jobs or to business contracts as my black counterparts. My children (who were born free) don’t have the same opportunities in this country as black kids as whites are openly being excluded from scholarship programs and sport teams…”
This seems to be a common reaction of many of the white South Africans that I’ve encountered when South African discourse veers towards discussing racial dynamics. (Why is everything a race issue? Answer: Because our history makes it so). This encompasses so many problematic issues that it would be a shame not to dissect it further. So lets start.