Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
I look to the future with trepidation when I see clearly that the day is about to dawn when it will no longer be possible to blame apartheid for anything.
When I was a debater in my high school days, I argued incessantly with absolute conviction that every crime committed by a black person could be justified through apartheid.
People stole because apartheid made them poor, others killed because apartheid had either deprived them of an education or fed them the poison that was "Bantu education". I justified everything: rape, drunken driving, assault, the whole gamut.
And I believed it, silly me. Those who thought I was a brilliant debater told me I made good sense, and I wallowed in ecstasy when I heard some of my colleagues repeat my "facts" in debates I did not participate in.
Sadly, not too long from now, we will look back with nostalgia and think of the bitter-sweet old days when we could say it was because of apartheid that the townships were filthy, children were roaming the streets instead of being at school, women and children were raped in their homes with alarming frequency, and service delivery seems to have ground to a halt in black neighbourhoods before the fruits of uhuru could be seen to be enjoyed by all.
For example, we (blacks) have for decades yelped about how we respect our dead and blamed white municipal chiefs who left our graveyards looking like dumping sites while they planted lush green lawns at theirs.
The vast majority of our municipalities are black-controlled now, but look at our graveyards. You can't be surprised when those who can afford it want to bury their loved ones in the suburbs, can you? We have to find a new excuse. Apartheid won't wash anymore.
A mate of mine who had been driving around with a fraudulent licence was eventually caught out when he had an accident and had to produce the document for insurance purposes. Someone at the insurance house realised that the licence was issued when my mate was 10 years old. Something just did not click: either the licence was a fraud, or there was a mistake with the birth date.
The discrepancy was pointed out to him, and he went livid with rage: "Eish! This is all apartheid."
I sat him down and tried to calmly explain the obvious fraud to him, but still he would not listen. He accused me of supporting apartheid and trying to confuse him. If it had been a white man involved, all the gemors would not be happening, he said. He was eventually fired.
Recently, a swanky fellow with not much grey matter between his ears, presented a stack of Lotto tickets in a shop to check if he had won anything. When the machine operator informed him he had won nothing, he exclaimed with anger as he walked out of the shop: "Mas**pa ana a apartheid ha a so fele!" (This apartheid sh** has not ended). Amen.
l Charles Mogale is the editor of Sunday World