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Yes, kiddo, apartheid is still haunting us

By unknown | Nov 05, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

LET'S get a tad serious just this one time .

LET'S get a tad serious just this one time .

A minor incident in a restaurant a couple of weeks ago moves me to say what I should have said there and then - had I had the guts to butt in uninvited on a conversation I shamefully eavesdropped on.

Ashamed I might be, but there is a popular African adage that says the ear has no lid. So blame no one for my hearing anything.

The incident was nothing more than a cordial chit-chat between a couple and their model C-type fatso son. I missed the gist of the exchange but clearly heard the boy remonstrating with his parents for something they had apparently said about the evil of apartheid.

That must have been precipitated by an elderly whitecouple who had moved tables as soon as the black family took the table right next to theirs.

There might have been another reason, but to me, and apparently the family, it looked as if the white folks were not too keen to dine while breathing the same air as blacks nearby.

Bemused, the youngster's mother said at stage-whisper volume: "They can voetsek! That sh*** is finished". She then plonked her ample bum on the chair.

Everybody minded their own business then, but the family's conversation must have drifted back to the earlier scene, or to apartheid. Then the youngster burst a nerve and, between an overloaded mouthfuls of greasy burger, he chided his parents: "You guyz bedda ged over it. It's done. It's all in the past. Get a life, hey."

No, my boy, apartheid is not done yet. The evidence stares you in the face every day.

The millions of poor, illiterate, unemployed and unemployable blacks you see each day are the product of the apartheid you want us to forget.

If your parents - and they looked monied enough - can get you on to a plane to anywhere in South Africa, just look out the window and guess right. The myriad shanty towns and slum dwellings you see are black neighbourhoods. The leafy suburbs with lush gardens, swimming pools and tennis courts are white.

Another youngster elsewhere, much dumber than you are, once told me that we cannot blame whites for being clever enough to amass wealth while we spent our days drinking and killing one another.

What he did not say - or know, perhaps - was that by decree of parliament, blacks were fed an inferior education that taught us gardening, sewing, Afrikaans and not much more, while white kids dabbled in science, economics and maths at an early age.

How does it educate me to know: "Jan melk die koei. Die koei is swart. Die koeie is in die kraal."? Or the vernacular: "Nana o bona mama. Mama of mema Mimi."

And that on the back of bloody massacres of innocent people who protested against carrying passes (Sharpeville and Langa), and students who refused to be taught in Afrikaans, a language they did not understand in the first place.

The paperwork (read laws) has changed, and for that we should be grateful. But no, fatso, the sh** is not finished.

Right now are are still eating it, and we are going to be eating it for years to come.


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