As everyone knows, South Africa is the most Western and European country in Africa. The other day I was walking through the military museum in Johannesburg where tanks, cannons and aeroplanes are lovingly preserved, even German ones belonging to our former enemy in two world wars. South African military aircraft from the First World War onwards used to have the old Dutch “Prince flag” on the tail, the orange white and blue banner brought here by the father of our nation, the Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck who arrived on 6 April 1652.
We Afrikaners have therefore been living in this country as long as the Americans have in America. Like Americans, albeit on a smaller scale, we have been involved in European affairs and wars for hundreds of years. Until 1994, as the famous Harvard political scientist, Samuel P. Huntington, also observed, we imagined ourselves being “part of the West”.
Next to the war museum is an imposing sandstone memorial built by the British for their dead during the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902, causing a young man in our company to remark: “This could have been in Europe! It reminds me of the Brandenburg Gate.”
However, the coming to power of the ANC in our country has changed all that. We have one of the most anti-Western governments in the world, consistently voting with China, Africa and the Arab countries at the UN. Not only that, but people of European descent like Afrikaners or the English South Africans have been legally and otherwise defined as foreigners in their own country.
Whereas non-Western minorities in Europe or North America enjoy special privileges, protection and subsidies from taxpayers, exactly the converse applies in South Africa. We, the Western minority in our formerly Western country with its European architecture, laws and system of government, are being punished for not being truly African, really black. In the Orwellian terminology of the new government, we are the “non-designated group”. Designated people are blacks, coloureds (of mixed race) and Indians.
The myriad laws that place restrictions on whites represent the culmination of American affirmative action, which is also being applied in some European countries such as Britain and France. The difference is that whites are still the majority in most of the Western world. So the injustice of these affirmative-action laws - or “positive discrimination” as the French call it – only affect a minority of whites, unlike here where all whites have to bear it.
Many people in the world today wonder what it will be like for Europeans to become minorities in their own countries, given present demographic patterns. Recently in Japan more nappies were sold for the elderly than for babies and that day surely cannot be far off in Germany, Italy and many other European societies where the indigenous populations are set to age and decline.
South Africa today represents a laboratory for a future world, predicted by UN demographers, in which whites will find themselves in the minority in most countries. That future planet in which Africans will number two billion and Europeans less than 500 000 will come soon, in about 30 to 40 years.
For one thing, it will be world of racial quotas, as in South Africa. Sports teams will only be allowed to have a small percentage of whites. Places at university will be limited for whites and there will be “racial verification” to make sure that people do not lie about their race when applying for university or for jobs in both the government and the corporate sector.
I predict this because a few weeks ago a student who had gained admission to the medical school of Stellenbosch University lost her place after it was ascertained that she was white and had mistakenly crossed the box for “coloured”. The Stellenbosch medical school reserves only 30% of all places for whites; the rest must go to the “designated groups”. The town of Stellenbosch was founded by our forebears in the seventeenth century and the university dates from the nineteenth. The university there was built, developed and funded by Afrikaners through their taxes and private donations. And yet today the children and grandchildren of Afrikaners are not allowed to study there or study there in large numbers, simply because they are of European descent.
Does that not seem like the ultimate irony? Or the grossest form of injustice, far grosser than, say, segregation as it existed in the American South or in many parts of British-colonial Africa including, of course, South Africa? After all, to study at a segregated university, as many blacks had to do in apartheid South Africa, was something of an insult, a kind of psychological wounding. On the other hand, to this day many American blacks prefer to study on their own at so-called “black colleges”.
At least the segregated student is still allowed to study. But under a system of affirmative action or racial preferences, such as exists in South Africa, many members of the white minority are excluded from education because the black majority must dominate in all fields, regardless of its talent, its performance or its merits.
South Africa is also the most violent peace-time country on earth. Seventy percent of all women are raped in their lifetimes. The murder rate is about 50 times that of Germany. In some parts of the country, such as downtown Johannesburg, the murder rate is 500 times that of Germany! It is routine to encounter people who have been attacked or have relatives who have been murdered, often in the cruellest manner possible. Children, even babies or toddlers are not spared, such as the two-year old Willemien Potgieter who was picked up by her hair, almost like a doll, and shot point-blank in the head by a black man. Her parents too were massacred in the town of Lindley, in the Free State.
Sometimes the media carry stories about such incidents, but generally they are likened to natural disasters that “simply happen”. And then life goes on.
South Africa is also extremely corrupt. According to a recent international survey, 56% of people who encountered state officials last year had to pay a bribe. The effects of corruption and government profligacy can be seen in clubs and bars, in luxury shops and on the streets of Johannesburg where tens of thousands of South African blacks parade their large, expensive German cars, supplied by Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Normally these cars are black too, as if there is some secret quota for car paint, as there exists elsewhere in society.
The burden of all this falls mainly on the white middle-class who strain under the costs of their security, education and high taxes meant to finance the ostentatious lifestyle of the ruling class.
Growing accustomed to the “new South Africa” is hard. If ever our system had to be extended world-wide, as seems likely to happen, we would have to talk about “a new earth”, a radically new planet where Europeans would have become a dwindling minority suffering discrimination and calumny, as well as random violent attacks.