Black people are seeing apology from De Klerk where there is none

FW de Klerk, the last president of the apartheid government, is holding hands with Nelson Mandela, the country's first democratic president. The writer says De Klerk seems to have forgotten how apartheid singled out black people who were murdered in the Sharpeville, Langa and Boipatong massacres.
FW de Klerk, the last president of the apartheid government, is holding hands with Nelson Mandela, the country's first democratic president. The writer says De Klerk seems to have forgotten how apartheid singled out black people who were murdered in the Sharpeville, Langa and Boipatong massacres.
Image: Reuters/ Juda Ngwenya

Black people have been conditioned to so love apologies that you can murder half their population and grab their land and compensate them with a lousy verbal apology.

Prior to the State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Thursday, the leader of the white racist and apartheid regime, FW de Klerk, defended apartheid and denied that it was a crime against humanity as the UN General Assembly decreed in its 1966 Resolution.

De Klerk seems to have conveniently forgotten that apartheid amounted to structural violence. It singled out black people who were murdered in the Sharpeville, Langa and Boipatong massacres.

It is the same apartheid violence that murdered Onkgopotse Tiro, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Solomon Mahlangu, Chris Hani and countless others.

It is this crime against black people that ensured millions of them were denied education, while trapped in townships which functioned as labour reserves. It is the historical results of this crime against humanity that it is black people who constitute the 10.3-million unemployed people and the upward of 33-million people hopelessly trapped in poverty.

It is the momentum of this crime that makes other black people with political authority see nothing wrong with dumping their own folks in RDP shacks tied to the bucket toilet system.

The minds of black people have been so damaged by white racism that they don't realise these shameful settlements add to the insulting of black people's human dignity.

It seems as though South Africans had forgotten De Klerk was "a murderer whose hands are dripping with the blood of black people" until he openly defended apartheid.

Long after apartheid has been removed from the statute books, white racism has remained hidden in SA society. Racism can not be uprooted through litigation. Racism is a power-based political problem that will require a radical political solution to eradicate.

With much ado, there is a concrete reason as to why there is a plethora of racist outbursts in SA, while you may find none in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has been honest and outright in dealing with the problem of white racism, while embarking on development projects geared towards the restoration of black people's dignity.

Almost everyone in SA is now jumping up and down like frogs after rain because they believe De Klerk has apologised for his apartheid-defending outburst. We are missing the point.

It is not the verbal outburst that matters, but the social and power fabric that feeds and sustains racism. We must destroy the entire system.

There is no De Klerk that has apologised. Hardly a day after Sona, the FW De Klerk Foundation issued a statement insisting apartheid was never a crime against humanity.

It was only after public condemnation that it "decided to withdraw its statement unconditionally and apologises for the confusion, anger and hurt it has caused".

Now, where is this De Klerk apology everyone is talking about? We are so apology-obsessed that we accept apologies that were never made.

All of a sudden, there are calls for the Nobel Peace Prize De Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded "for ending apartheid" to be withdrawn. How on earth did De Klerk and Mandela jointly end apartheid? De Klerk and his regime had no choice because black people fought to be free.

For the sake of Biko, Sobukwe and Hani, we have to realise that an apology is not equivalent to the eradication of racism and apartheid. Black people have to be lifted to a level where they can practically not be equated to animals.

*Qekema is director of research and content development for the department of science & technology

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