During my hermit phase as I tried to process the loss of my sorely missed and much-loved Dad, I spent far too much time on Twitter. It’s been great getting to speak to such a wide range of people and has taken me smack-bang into the middle of SA’s current social ructions.
Scary and saddening at times, this little journey has opened up so many subjects – with great trepidation I’m going to sum up just one aspect (for now): what I hear most white South Africans saying.
Because I tend not to entertain lunatic-fringe rants, I’ve focused on the opinions of the majority and mostly I pick up frustration and withdrawal.
You just don’t find the majority of white SA commenting or engaging regarding this subject on social media – you really have to search between the usual loudest suspects; either the crazy contingent or professionals who are involved in media, companies or various social organisations.
When you find ordinary white South Africans speaking up at all, their responses vary from apologising for apartheid to defending themselves. But the deeper refrain I hear is:
- If I use the privileged education I received, I’m seen as a know-it-all
- If I stay in SA, I’m seen as a colonial throwback
- If I leave SA I’m seen as someone who ran away
- If I start a company, employ people & prosper I’m seen as white rich statistic
- If I don’t do well because life’s messed with me, I’m despised for not having used my privilege
- If I have never been a racist, I have to lie and say I was racist in order to be heard
- If I was to hand over all I owned, who would I give it to & would it change anything?
Personally, I don’t know the answers to any of this – it’s just my own survey after a year of social media.
Mostly, the sense I get is that white South Africans don’t want to rule Africa, they just want to be allowed to use what they have been given unfairly to make a difference. They don’t want to be in charge, they really just want to be adopted.