Having just arrived home after a hellish day, I find that I have a hellish evening in front of me.
Although I wanted to blog about Justice Malala’s column in The Times this morning, I have to empty the old study completely this evening so that it can be converted into a playroom for the kids – tomorrow – even though my new study (or my new playroom, depending on how you look at it) is yet to be completed. Thus, I am going to be struggling for space and connectivity for a week or so and I have absolutely no time spare for blogging this evening. Joy.
Anyway – that column had some iffy writing at the start (in my humble opinion), made some rather unfounded claims in the middle and ended with a weak, watery and emotional conclusion, but did hit a few nails on a few heads in between.
The real problem with the Huntley decision is its unbelievable ignorance. Those from the middle classes, such as myself, suffer from crime daily. The majority of this class is white. This class happens to have a voice, reach and power. The stories of middle-class and primarily white suffering from crime make the news headlines every day.
This is not to say these stories are not true, or that the murder of a white woman in Parkview, Johannesburg, is less painful or tragic than that of a black woman in Soweto. However, the story of the woman in Parkview is more likely to make the news headlines than that of a woman in Phiri, Soweto.
Democratic South Africa is 15 years old. Before that we had 46 years of apartheid racism characterised by ruthless enforcement of policies aimed at keeping blacks down and pushing whites up. The division and racism that characterised apartheid South Africa can still be seen in many parts of our country: in business hierarchies, in school pass rates, in academia.
The number of blacks who have broken out of the poverty imposed by the apartheid reality remains minuscule. We can have debates about how one resolves this, but the reality exists — and persists. And therein lies the rub. Are whites targeted by criminals? The Canadian panel seems to have swallowed this story. In its own perverse way, the panel’s decision reflects the hugely skewed manner in which many in our own country and others in the outside world view South Africa.
For this grouping, white supremacy has been replaced by black supremacy. White terror on blacks has been replaced by black terror against whites. That view is as wrong as it is dangerous. The reality of a unique democracy in Africa, with the complexities of race and poverty and division thrown in, is too hard to engage with.
Which is basically what I have been saying all along. It’s not that Huntley’s stories were untrue – it’s just that they were unrepresentative. That’s why there’s been all the fuss about the whole affair and that’s why – apparently – he’s about to be kicked out of Canada.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to get kicked out of my study.