by Hannes Wessels
The new buzz-word in South Africa is ‘transformation’. It’s on everyone’s lips; politicians, newspaper-editors, talk-show radio hosts, sports-coaches and celebrities. I’m trying not to pay too much attention because I feel nauseous when I do. Obsequious radio-people are doing their bit to go with the current flow. But everybody seems to love it. We are also routinely told it will help more ‘historically disadvantaged’ people recover the dignity they lost to the beastly Boers. This despite the fact a lot of the more energetic and vocal ‘transformers’ weren’t even born when the ‘palefaces’ ruled. That was a horrible time we all know but it was also when nobody knew what ‘load-shedding’ was, the president didn’t spend R 20 million on a swimming pool in case the thatch on his house caught fire and he only had one wife. But nobody seems keen to rock the boat and the good ship ‘Transformation’ has set sail.
A watershed moment in the process happened earlier this year at the University of Cape Town when Vice Chancellor Max Price quickly capitulated in the face of a faece-hurling attack on the statue of Cecil Rhodes by Chumani Maxwele. ‘General Chumani’ led a band of raiders in a daring attack on a metal replica of the man who contributed mightily to making UCT one of the world’s great seats of learning. Ironically, and of no relevance to anyone in these days of ‘Rhodes-hate’, he also dreamed of a world in which Africans would one day become integral players at the vanguard of Western civilisation and wanted to do what he could to make that a reality. Chumani insists the statue had to go because many find it ‘offensive’ and his action is aimed at rectifying past imbalances. Well if smearing a statue with excrement improves the lot of ‘previously disadvantaged’ students I’d be inclined to hold my nose and allow for the fact that the end sometimes justifies the means but I’m afraid I don’t see how it does.
A particular disappointment during this process was noting that not one of those distinguished academics at that esteemed institution could find the voice or the gumption to offer the slightest resistance to this moronic initiative. This supine response to reckless demands for ‘change’ has manifested on the academic front where there has been more ‘transformation’ with the introduction of 30% pass rates so UCT will soon be another ‘was once a great university’ and the degrees will only be of any use in a frame filling wall space.
The ease with which ‘victory’ at UCT was achieved has emboldened a similarly inclined body-politic ever since and now all options are open. Well no not quite; everything that seems to be functional and productive has to be ‘transformed’ not the other stuff. So, for instance, this means most of Africa will not need to be ‘transformed’. That’s because it’s broken, bankrupt, mired in poverty and misery and all the systems and structures built by the hated whites have been gutted and now lie derelict. A recent ‘transformation’ success story comes out of Zimbabwe where the majority are back to living standards similar to those enjoyed a 100 years ago. Somalia needs no attention because it has ceased to be a country in the true sense of the word and other ‘sort-of-states’ nearby are quickly following suit. Malawi, Burundi, Central African Republic and Niger can also expect to be ignored because their combined GDP is about the same size as an American hyper-market.
So the big continental challenge is now well and truly overcome, the ‘transformers’ have done a swell job and now they and the people who have enjoyed the ‘transformation’ want to go to Europe so they can ‘transform’ that too. The Europeans, driven by mad utopian impulses are going to follow Max Price and raise no objection so they are destined to go the same way as old Cecil Rhodes and into the dust-heap of history.
Closer to home I’m not sure Escom is under too much pressure to ‘transform’ because it’s falling apart and the same probably applies to the South African Defence Force, the Railways, South African Airways and the Football Association to name only a few. All these are failing or have failed so they will not need to be ‘transformed’. SA Rugby looked like a candidate but having lost to Japan they might get less attention and who knows, Julius Malema might be the man to replace Heyneke Meyer!
But God alone can help if there is an institution that retains any semblance of pride in its history, language and ethnicity and wants to retain its reputation for academic and sporting excellence. Those credentials drive ‘transformers’ into an apoplectic rage making the future certain and bleak for those who trigger their anger.
Such a place is Stellenbosch University and that is why the institution and students are under attack by Chumani Maxwell-wannabees and all the powers in the land along with the media are in full and vocal support. A few beleaguered Afrikaner student leaders have suggested they disagree but they have been quickly denounced. And this will come as a big surprise but they have been handed the ‘racist’ tag and some dire warnings about the consequences of ‘white resistance’. Plucky defenders of their history and heritage notwithstanding, these ‘recalcitrants’ have little chance of stemming the tide.
Just how this new fix-all form of home-bred social engineering will make South Africa a better more equal place and one that lifts the lot of the ever-suppressed majority seems of little consequence to the motivators.
In the midst of this destructive lunacy I have not heard one person ask one simple but critical question of the proponents of this process. Where is the single solitary example of an institution, company or system ‘transformed’ that produced a better result? Well I suspect it won’t be asked because I think everyone knows the answer and it’s embarrassing; ‘there isn’t one’.