New Internationalist

Stop using white history as a smokescreen


The African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa celebrated a hundred years since its formation on the 8 of January 2012. An estimated 100 million rands was spend during the celebrations. Many questioned this kind of expenditure in a country with a very high unemployment rate, an alarming crime rate and a critical shortage of housing. But the amount of money spent by the ANC for its centenary celebrations is not what I am concerned about; after all, even larger sums have been spend on even more ridiculous causes all over the world.

What concerns me is the constant talk of the wrongs, the evil that the white perpetuated on the black community during the apartheid era. There was a musical that featured all the great artists of South Africa and it chronicled the history of the ANC and the history of the ANC means talking about the evil Boers. Didn’t South Africa have a Truth and Reconciliation Commission where people admitted to their apartheid era crimes and were forgiven?

I wonder how the white community felt during the celebrations. Were they squirming in their seats and praying for the whole thing to come to an end quickly? Granted, they are guilty of every bit of evil they are accused of, but the bottom line is that they were forgiven. Can’t we embrace the true meaning of forgiveness? Surely it is not possible to build a united, successful nation if we are constantly saying, ‘Do you remember what you did? Do you remember all the people you killed?’ All it boils down to is that ‘we are watching you, we haven’t forgotten and one day you will pay for your crimes’.

According to the ANC: ‘The centenary is at first and foremost a milestone achievement of the ANC, as a liberation movement. It seeks to celebrate our proud traditions, values and principles that earned our movement an indelible place in the hearts, psyche and soul of both our people and the people of the world. It reflects the ANC in all its facets and dimensions, for example, mass mobilization, the underground; armed struggle and international solidarity.’

Really? Isn’t it time to move on? Surely all this talk about the atrocities that were done in the past is not good for the development of a country. It has been talked about enough, let’s move on. All over Africa ruthless dictators harp on about the evil that the white man committed. All this is meant to blind us to the obvious shortcomings of our liberators. It is meant to blind us to their terrible human rights record.

Heidi Holland, the author of several books including Dinner with Mugabe and Mandela’s ANC, in an interview on Morning Live on South African Broadcasting Corporation 2 (SABC 2) says the struggle heroes are not as selfless as they would want us to believe. It was not only about liberating a people for them, but also about getting into power. About enjoying the luxuries that being in power bring about. Are they perhaps not sure about their standing that they have to constantly remind us of how evil the white man was? An ‘if it wasn’t for us, you would be in chains’ kind of syndrome.

A case in point is how Zimbabwe’s ZANU PF hogs a lot of airtime on national television and radio to remind the citizens of the evils of Ian Smith’s regime and how ‘they’ liberated Zimbabwe and that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. When the people of Matabeleland try to speak of the Gukurahundi genocide, they are thrown into jail. It is when that happens that you realize that it’s not about the truth, but about consolidating power.

Thirty two years after the independence of Zimbabwe, white people are still not considered citizens of Zimbabwe even if they carry Zimbabwean passports and most were born in Zimbabwe. There are a lot of white people who are second, even third generation Zimbabweans who can lose their property overnight without compensation at the whim of our so-called liberators. This circle is not going to stop until we stop this habit of always reminding ourselves of how evil the white man was. What’s the use of burying hatchet if we are going to put a market on the site?

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  1. #1 Angus 27 Jan 12

    >>I wonder how the white community felt during the celebrations. Were they squirming in their seats and praying for the whole thing to come to an end quickly? Granted, they are guilty of every bit of evil they are accused of, but the bottom line is that they were forgiven.<<

    I wholeheartedly support the point of your article but I think you should choose yours words carefully here. 'They are guilty of every bit of evil they are accused of'? Who is 'they'? Your writing implies 'they' are 'white people'. There are adult white South Africans alive today who have no memory of de Klerk's presidency. I agree - the ANC needs to move on, or it risks further alienating the white community and entrenching racial segregation. The first step would be to acknowledge that some white people do bad things, and some do good things. Some black people do bad things, and some do good things.

  2. #2 Charlie 28 Jan 12

    'the struggle heroes are not as selfless as they would want us to believe. It was not only about liberating a people for them, but also about getting into power. '

    The adoption of neoliberalism by the ANC and its consequential institutionalisation of inequality, saddens those of us supported the ANC in its days where is portrayed equality as the foundations of its ideology. The predominantly white bourgeoisie still rule South Africa and the black majority still live in the most appalling conditions begging for occasional unprotected casual work. The predominantly black new political bourgeoisie of the ANC are a disgrace for their support of this most vile form of capitalism.

  3. #3 EXPAT TEXAS 25 Apr 13

    The ANC is like a cancer. The fruits of their labour is no different to a puss infected cancerous flesh devouring growth. Corruption, crimes,fraud,butchering of innocent people will only continue as long as they are in power.

    Everything,from man, animals, property, laws, justice, equality, fairness, roads, electricity, water, schooling, education, safety, transport, government services, economy, infrustructure, court systems, hospitals, police service, army, public services, parks and beach facilities has all detoriated drastically and getting worse by the day under their managment.

    The only ones who truly benefited is the ex convicts,criminals and terrorists that are now in office.

    For a country that was so bad under apartheid, why did thousands of blacks, risk their lives crossing crocodile infested waters and risk death by lions , hippo's in the Kruger wild park to get into such a terrible white controlled country operated by a boere gustoppo so called black hating people?

    If it was that bad, why would anyone leave their wonderful peaceful home in rural natural africa to live without freedom and become a slave to white as thousands did during apartheid? Illegal immgrants were so numberous during apartheid years that the SA government had to pratrole it's borders to prevent blacks from illegally entering the country.

    The truthful history about South Africa has been surpress! The ANC is only but 100 years old. The propaganda spred by them during the apartheid years to win outside support was horrendous, yet successful. Lies that innocent people were being forced into camps and had no freedom is what set Europe on fire as they were still suffering from their own wounds of WW11 and Hitler's haulocast. The Afrikaaner was stupid in not treating blacks with respect and even more stupid for beleiving them a second time round. It appears that neither Afrikaaner nor Black in Africa learn from history. So on that score they are equal. But the worse of the 2 evils is ANC because being given an opportunity to lead a 1st world country in Africa and assist it's neighbors to a similar status was only a dream of white man. Black man is not a pioneer, inventor or dreamer for a civilized society. What Black man wants, is POWER and enslavement of his neighbors and other tribes at the cost of human life, which by the way, means less than a life of an ox.

    South Africa's ANC is falling nothing short of Maxistsm / Stalinsm communism and soon Hitlerism's genocide of the white race.

  4. #4 Pan-African Nationalist 30 Apr 13

    First I would like to start off by saying I am and (African) but born in America... No I don't like identifying myself as an (America) because I am a (AFRICAN) I study TONS and TONS of history and I love to read (African-Centered books) for instance authors I usually study from (Dr.Amos Wilson , Dr.John Henrik Clarke , John G.Jackson , Dr.Ben Jochannan , Walter Rodney , Kwame Nkrumah , Patrice Lumumba , Marcus(Mosiah) Garvey , Dr.Bobby Wright and others) so with that being said I know a lot about self and about my continent (AFRICA) , We need to stop using WHITE HISTORY to try and liberate us and use our own AFRICAN/BLACK HISTORY our history is beautiful though if you look at our history you will see the white man is the enemy but that doesn't mean we need to keep saying it ok yea we know that but what we need to do is start depending on ourselves , loving ourselves , and doing for ourselves ima pan-African nationalist which means I don't want to build Africans in America but everywhere on this earth but we must look towards Africa* its a must and im willing to help you in anyway possible if you have no read the book I advise you to read it by Dr.Amos Wilson (Blueprint for black power , and also his book Falsications of African centereness , physciatry of white supremacy and white domination) it will enlighting and inspire you too build up our people in a positive way even though the evils we face on a daily our people minds are twisted and backwards due to white supremacy but with the help of those who want to do good for our people we must organize and make a CHANGE !! (Africa for the Africans at home and abroad)

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About the author

Mgcini Nyoni is a playwright, theatre director, screenwriter, thinker, blogger and poet based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He is also the founder and creative director of Poetry Bulawayo.

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