My last, flippant post on the death of Eugene Terre Blanche brought an interesting comment thread, in which not only did we attract some new South African commentators, we started up interesting disagreements along unusual fault lines between regular commentators. So I thought I might probe further with something less flippant.
I am not actually in favour of hacking people to death as a form of political action. But I am unrepentant at failing to be moved by the death of an out and out Nazi, who thrived in apartheid times in a system in which he was able to put his ideas of racial dominance into practice over his staff and black neighbours.
The apartheid regime killed many thousands, and dispossessed, disenfranchised and enslaved millions. Almost all white South Africans were implicated in it and enjoyed its benefits. Never forget that.
Through colonialism, apartheid and neo-colonialism, white people took control of Africa’s best farming land – in areas where white men could survive the climate – and its amazing mineral resources. Throughout Africa white people still reap the great majority of the economic benefit from African oil, gold, diamonds, rutile, bauxite, uranium etc. The backbreaking labour falls to black people and so does the pollution. That benefit that does come to Africans largely falls to tiny corrupt white-educated post-colonial elites.
In South Africa it is still the case that the large majority of the wealth of the nation. the controlling interest in the gold and other mineral resources and much of the best farmland still lies with white people.
There are some white South Africans who had a genuine moral abhorrence of apartheid and yet become unfortunate victims of violence whose root cause lies in massive disparity of wealth. There are however not many white South Africans lining up to shed their wealth meaningfully to black South Africans.
White dominance over African resources has been maintained brutally and often with the use of mercenaries – officered by the British upper classes and with South Africans doing the actual killing.
That is not to excuse corrupt African elites and misgovernment by the Mugabes of this world. But Mugabe being a dreadful old tyrant does not justify the continued white ownership of land stolen by force from the indigenous peoples. Indeed some of the worst white farmers are close to Mugabe, like Prince Harry’s appalling girlfriend’s family.
Even in a country like Kenya, the recent ethnic conflicts can be traced back to colonial land grabs by white farmers dispossessing one tribe into another tribes’ lands.
I cover all of this with vastly more depth and subtlety in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo. I do hope those commenting will read it.