Apartheid has done a good job shellacking our minds

BLACKS have good hearts, or apartheid has done a good job shellacking our minds.

BLACKS have good hearts, or apartheid has done a good job shellacking our minds.

Let me begin right inside my home, where I lived for years with my beloved grandmother who feared God, the ancestors and whites.

Spurred on by whatever must be driving ANC Youth League Julius Malema, I from time to time found myself discussing politics with the old girl, and it emerged in the conversation that I did not address whites as "baas" and "missies".

She gave me a sympathetic look grannies give to badly brought up boys, smiled lovingly and admonished me: "So you are more clever than the whites? You are lost my child. You have no respect. You rude (sic)."

The exchange became more heated as it went along, until I stopped arguing, realising she was about to break into tears of genuine hurt at the "loss" of her grandson to the devil. She wanted only the best for me and my "rudeness" was a source of grave embarrassment to her.

One day, when we continue the discussion in heaven, I hope to convince her that I was not wrong.

There must be a dozen explanations and excuses why an old woman, who grew up on a farm calling white boys "klein baas", ends up thinking what my grandma thought.

There are fewer reasons, though, why a much younger fellow (a former neighbour) - raised in a township in the era of John Vorster, PW Botha, Steve Biko, June 16 - should espouse very much the same sentiments.

In quite a bizarre way, he thought of himself as a revolutionary - "I will never call a white baas. I only say morena, finish".


More bizarre was his mantra that he would never give blacks a lift in his car ... "but I will never pass a boer. Boers are good, bra. You give blacks a lift and the next thing they bewitch you".

Memories of grandma and the zany neighbour were aroused by another bleeding-heart black I encountered at a hardware store this week. The store employs a white fellow to do odd jobs, including loading stuff onto people's cars.

I had gone to buy a few bags of cement and as the white worker began to load the cement into my boot, a nattily dressed (black) customer, also awaiting his turn for service, hastily threw a plastic bag he was carrying to the ground and rushed to help the worker.

His offer to help was gently rebuffed, and as he turned around to face me and other customers, he murmured: "We have to help each other, of hoe?"

Indeed brother. We have to help each other. It is called botho.

But what you were doing was not driven by a desire to help. You felt embarrassed that a white man was doing "black" work, for you nogal.

Nevertheless, blacks have good hearts, or apartheid has done a good job shellacking our minds.