Racial hatred in SA – there is Hope

Sadly, the Hope in question is Christopher Hope, writing for the Guardian on Eugene Terre’Blanche – his life, his murder, the trial and what it does (or rather what it doesn’t do) for South Africa.

It’s been a while since I’ve been drawn into an article in the way I was drawn into this one. Informative, personal and brutally honest, it’s a really interesting view into Terre’Blanche’s life, his views and his attitude. He even (quite rightly, in my opinion) compares ET to Julius Malema:

It is said that Terre’Blanche has no heirs but I’m not sure about that. He constantly vowed he would die for the volk. This is one of those coded games the power-hungry have always played in South Africa and it rarely fools anyone. Pious protestations to the contrary, what drives politics in this country is fear and anger, and what counts in the end is firepower.

When people speak of dying for their beliefs, they mean, all too often, that they will kill for them.It is a sentiment that has even been set to music. Julius Malema, the ANC youth movement leader until he was suspended recently, has made a song of the struggle years, Kill the Boer, into his theme tune and though a court has condemned it as “hate speech”, it continues to be sung. Hatred is not something that can be suspended by court rulings. There is very real anger in the country and it has not been addressed.

And in closing, more honest truths:

Outside the Pennywise Pawn Shop an old ox-wagon waits on the sidewalk, unlikely ever to find a buyer. The clocks on each bell tower of the three Dutch Reformed churches had stopped; the old order they represented has gone. Gone, too, is Eugene Terre’Blanche. What remains is the bitter disillusion on all sides of the racial divide that his murder has laid bare. You may kill the Boer, as the song invites, but the anger – what will anyone do about that?

It’s something that was unsurprisingly brought out into the open by the murder of Terre’Blanche, but these days, almost everything seems to elicit the same sort of reaction. The DA march to COSATU House was, apparently, not about politics, but about whites inciting  black on black violence. The Spear saga turned from being about having the rights of dignity and of freedom of speech, to being a debate on racism – forget the fact that JZ is the President, how could a white artist have portrayed a black man in that way?

In backing down and removing the artwork from their gallery and website, The Goodman Gallery has apparently saved themselves a court appearance but their action risks the issues which divide the country being swept back under the rug. The trouble is, each time this has happened, it results in a bigger and bigger lump and I have this horrible feeling that someone is going to trip over in front of the fireplace very soon.

So yes, however uncomfortable this is, we need to get these issues out in the open.
The trouble is that those who should be leading the process and guiding people in this regard are actually the ones crying foul.

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