by Hannes Wessels
I am 63 now. I have lived, worked and watched events unfold from a close distance in most the countries of southern Africa. While I have been blessed to have lived a fulsome, exciting life I have also spent most of my years watching the socio-economic fabric of towns and countries being destroyed along with millions of people being condemned to needless and undeserved poverty. In one country after another I have looked on as ‘liberation-leaders’, coming to power riding a wave of widespread optimism, have dashed the hopes of their citizens and delivered little other than poverty and egregious misrule. Now I watch in sadness mixed with anger as South Africa follows the same well-worn road to ruin; and I feel I have seen enough of this for one lifetime.
Against this backdrop, to make matters worse, I, like the rest of my European compatriots, must accept full responsibility for these tragedies because in the modern world of cultural marxism and identity politics, the only bad people are white people who, simply by dint of skin colour, are inherenetly racist. This horrible racist meme is now orthdox in most western nations, even to the extent that the evils of ‘white privilege’ and colonialism are now compulsory subjects in many primary schools.
A heterosexual, I am suspected of being a homophobe, and coming from a Christian upbringing, I am most likeley considerd an Islamaphobe. As someone, inherently patriotic and defensive of the country in which I live, I am scorned as a right-wing nationalist. Because I believe we all have to take responsibilty for ourselves and our dependents, that people should only have the children they are able to sustain rather than expect the taxpayers to take on the burden, I am seen as a heartless capitalist.
I am only one of many, like-minded people in this benighted country who is branded thus. But this sort of twisted thinking lays a convenient platform for the new rationale, which has gained widespread traction in South Africa to excuse the gross malfeasance, dishonesty, incompetence and outright criminality that permeates every nook and cranny of the country’s political and bureaucratic establishment.
It was the abhorrent, previous ‘apartheid regime’, so this particular shibboleth goes, that was so utterly corrupt and incompetent, that set the standard for the new ruling class to follow and that is the reason why the governing ANC is behaving so badly; they, poor people, are only following the example set by the last, ghastly white rulers. A massive perversion of the truth, but even more distressing is being witness to virtually the entire, liberal intelligensia, here and abroad, embracing this rubbish. Unfortunately, that includes most of academia so schoolchildren and students throughout the land are being taught, that the real blame for the country’s march to mayhem lies with the whites and of course their apartheid.
This then, adds further fuel to the political firepower being aimed at dismantling what is often referred to as the ‘white monoply capitalists’ that allegedly retain a stranglehold on the private sector. From President Ramaphosa down, the ANC chorus calls for radically reduced white representation at management and executive level in the private and public sectors and the rapid replacement of these highly skilled people with the ruling party appartchiks and cronies who have just about finished destroying the public sector and are busy doing the same to once well run and profitable para-statals like ESKOM, SABC and South African Airways.
When the president draws breath from hurling abuse at the people who are striving mightily to make a success of their farms and businesses, in a country where the transport and energy infrastructure is collapsing, where the unions are in full flight and the politcal space is hostile, he then exhorts foreigners to invest in the country. One can only assume, the thinking is, bring your billions, buy your businesses and we will then show you how to run them properly.
However, the blame-game does not end there. Lack of education is the other reason frequently given, for the abysmal performance of African administrations, not only here in South Africa, but across the length and breadth of the continent. It was the selfish, self-serving Europeans who have been horribly remiss in failing to provide fine education up to the highest level for all those eager Africans in search of knowledge. If it wasn’t for this mean-spiritedness, our children are taught, Africa would be a prosperous paradise. Underlying this premise is the arrogant presumption that black Africans can only develop on the back of European intellectual capital but few will find the courage to explain that resources are normally finite, education is expensive and maybe the colonisers were a little strapped for cash when they arrived so only so much could be done in the allotted time with what was available.
But surely the 40-65 years since most of Africa became independent has given sufficient time for the ‘new’ black nations to redress these colonial imbalances, to invest in education and to liberate the intellectual capacity and potential of the dark continent? Why has this not happened, in contrast to the successes that former colonial administrations achieved in much the same timescale.? Perhaps those in power who are responsible for the educational policies in their countries could provide us with their insights into this intriguing phenomenon.