Sunday, 19 June 2011

Why I Left South Africa (Part 2)


The disease of White Moderates (indifference)

This post goes straight to my positivism about ZA as I recall it, especially as a result of the leadership of Mandela. All of us in SA were influenced by his leadership and vision. Of course it rubbed off, and of course we were all ready to do our bit. And of course I still have bit of that old “Madiba Magic” in me today, as jaded as it may be…

As a consequence of the 1994 elections I embraced transformation (More than most whites as will become apparent)

I worked in the centre of JHB and it was convenient for me to experience the New SA first hand during my lunch breaks…I trod the streets of JHB: Sauer street, Commissioner street, President street, Library gardens.

I lost count of the times I walked past Luthuli house.

I mingled with the street hawkers and bought roasted peanuts from the "Magog" (old black lady attendant) in summer.

In winter I bought her fresh vetkoek (fat cake) roasted in hot oil.

I bought 2nd hand clothes from the salvation army store as well as numerous other collectibles (mostly moth ball smelling stuff but it was for a good cause!)

I ate freshly grilled chicken licken (KFC) with my fingers together with the local blacks at lunch time.

I decided to adopt a charity which represented the poorest of the poor.

Called “Door-of-Hope”

This is the most desperate of all charities on the planet. It came about because of the ubiquitous practise of drug addicted and aids infected mothers who had just given birth, to abandon their babies…Literally to dump them in garbage cans and walk away.

This charity in Berea was set up in response by literally creating a “hole-in-the-wall” surrounding the property, which was basically a swing door with a nestled alarm that would alert staff when a new abandoned baby had arrived.

They would then collect the new born and attend to their needs, caring for them over the coming months, and eventually these babies would have a hope for a future life as adoptees elsewhere in the world.

I raised upwards of R10,000 for that charity and yes, I got the kudos, but when I really began to look around me, I realised I was alone…. I had immersed myself in the daily life of blacks fully, but had not been joined by any other fellow whites.

No, I don’t blame whites for their “moderation”, their indifference and their unwillingness to really grasp the nettle of transformation. It just that moderation was not for me. It was either/ or….

It’s just that I had developed a conscience, whilst my fellow whites who barricaded themselves in their gated palaces, with satellite TV, electrified fences, 4X4 Toureg, BMW or Mercedes, quietly quaffing beers and roaring whilst they watched the latest rugby games, had not.

The time had come for change, I was ready for that, it turned out that my fellow white South Africans were not. The "Rainbow Nation" was a lie. A crass, useless piece of TRC propaganda that I had bought heart and soul and later discovered with "buyer's remorse" was bankrupt. Perhaps my fellow whites were wiser than me, perhaps I was just a naif...

I grasped an even thornier nettle and emigrated. I had realised that ZA had remained polarised despite the so called "end of apartheid" in 1994. It was polarised five years ago when I left, and it continues to remain so as I write today.

(Please read my other posts entitled “Why I left SA” for a more holistic view of all my reasons for leaving SA.)

PS: Photos are all personal...

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