Archive | March, 2012

The Whiteness of FW de Klerk

16 Mar

Earlier today a tweet from the FW de Klerk Foundation floated into my timeline. I gave it scant regard but it called me back.

He wrote it all, in the Mail & Guardian

He argues that the ANC is undermining ‘the sustainability of the new South African nation that I believed was born on March 17 1992.’

The date of the national referendum where Whites voted to continue reform. He calls on all South Africans to defend that new nation which the White vote created.

Using that line, in the 1992 victory speech, is fully acceptable. 20 years later locating the date of birth of the New South Africa, as the day when Whites voted grants all agency for the creation of the New South Africa to the White population.

There are a number of other inclusive dates that can be called the birth of the New South Africa.

27 April 1994 – When all South Africans came together and ‘voted’ in a largely peaceful manner. By doing so, all South Africans proclaimed their commitment to the New South Africa.

4 December 1996 – The day the Constitution of South Africa was approved.  Since his argument is really about the Constitution, 1996 would have been consistent.

By choosing the referendum, he strips away inclusivity. He brings it back at the end  ‘ time has come for all our communities — not just White South Africans, as was the case 20 years ago — to stand up for the values and rights on which our new society has been based.’

He makes a stand as a White leader not a ‘Rainbow Nation Leader’

Kony 2012 has been criticised for removing agency from Africans and locating it anywhere else., while FW de Klerk manages to ignore years of contribution to South Africa.

Kony 2012 garnered outrage. FW de Klerk – silence because we are used to it by now.

Is it deliberate? No, it is just his framework.

Many South Africans claim that race is no longer relevant but continue to position White experiences and issues as the central ones. It is a  missed opportunity for a call to action for all South Africans.

Transcending race is a 2 way street.

cartoons 2010 back polar baear cartoon