I am an Afrikaner, I owe my being to this continent
June 12, 2009
I am an Afrikaner. My people started Apartheid. Yes, many others have segregated communities. Many others were racists. But my people started Apartheid. That which I now confess to be a herecy. Racism, the root of Apartheid, which I now confess to be a sin. I cannot escape the fact that I have taken advantage from this system. I was educated by schools that was set up by this system. My forefathers voted in elections, and they kept on voting the National Party, and with it Apartheid, into our laws. I also recognize that many of my people didn’t know what was going on. Many of my people fought against Apartheid with everything in them. I, I am an Afrikaner.
But, as an Afrikaner, I can also say the following words with Thabo Mbeki:
I am an Afrikaner.
I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land.
I owe my being to the Khoi and the San whose desolate souls haunt the great expanses of the beautiful Cape – they who fell victim to the most merciless genocide our native land has ever seen, they who were the first to lose their lives in the struggle to defend our freedom and dependence and they who, as a people, perished in the result.
I am formed of the migrants who left Europe to find a new home on our native land. Whatever their own actions, they remain still, part of me.
My mind and my knowledge of myself is formed by the victories that are the jewels in our African crown, the victories we earned from Isandhlwana to Khartoum, as Ethiopians and as the Ashanti of Ghana, as the Berbers of the desert.
I come of those who were transported from India and China, whose being resided in the fact, solely, that they were able to provide physical labour, who taught me that we could both be at home and be foreign, who taught me that human existence itself demanded that freedom was a necessary condition for that human existence.
Being part of all these people, and in the knowledge that none dare contest that assertion, I shall claim that – I am an Afrikaner.
My people are the people who gave away the power they had, and gave power to those who they oppressed. Maybe the only oppressor ever to give away the power they had without a full-scale war. My people cannot be Europeans, never again, although some are trying at the moment. We are Africans. Under the sun of Africa we find joy. Here we search for peace, Amahoro.
I will try to blog on my Afrikaner identity in the coming days. Please take part in my journey with questions, critique, thoughts, or whatever you’d like to share.