Everyone who has a child knows or has heard of Peppa Pig, a children’s program that have the children under the age of 8 years old enraptured. In a few of the episode’s Peppa sings a song called Peace and Harmony in all the world. Life is wonderful but that is within the cartoon framework and not real. As humans, however, most of us want peace and harmony.
It pains me to see how many people want peace and harmony. You may ask why the pain? Peace and harmony are good, isn’t it? We are all tired of war, hate and anger, so peace is great and if we can all live together in peace, then life would be even better. Let me start by saying, I agree!
I have yet to come across someone in my life that doesn’t seek peace and harmony. The difference though between my peace and harmony as a person of colour and yours may just be that your idea of peace and harmony comes at the expense of others.
Allow me to elaborate: If you had peace in the past in your home, your work environment, the places you frequent and your church of worship, whilst outside war is raging, people are suffering, there are abject poverty and crime is “out of control,” was this really peace and harmony or was it your peace and harmony? Have you seen what happens when royalty walks the streets? The crowds are held back by security. This is exactly what happened to you during Apartheid. Your peace and harmony were there because we were held back by security in the event of us “bombarding” your peaceful existence.
You moan about people standing at the traffic lights begging for money, the homeless living under the bridges, the crime that is so out of control since 1994, the level of education that’s dropped and the unemployment you’re facing. You bemoan the fact that the beaches you frequent are “filthy” and that streets aren’t safe.
If you are one of those white people feeling this way, all I have to say is welcome to our reality!
Welcome to the feelings of powerlessness that consumes your thoughts whenever you wake up. The despair that grips your heart because nothing would have changed today except more of yesterday. The desire to flee this “godforsaken country” is something I identify with. The question is to go to where? To be a qualified doctor and sell biltong in Perth? To acclimatize to the ice-cold winters of Canada? Or to live in the United Kingdom where at least you can earn pounds and get as far away from the “black anger” and crime that penetrates every fabric of our society? To seek a better future for your children? A future that is “safe”, where there is virtually no crime and your children can grow up as you did and become “productive” citizens.
The ambitions and aspirations that you want are here! Right here! Within your reach! You just refuse to “work” for it! Yes, you read correctly, you refuse to “work” for it!
Your idea of unraveling the damage done by Apartheid is giving to charity, schooling an underprivileged child, paying for your domestic workers fare when she has to go home to a funeral and being nice to people of other races including never using the K-word. Whilst that’s admirable, there are black and brown people that have been doing that for years with zero recognition or accolades.
Your very real work starts with yourself. For Apartheid not to have won, you need to do some of the following: Stop telling black and brown people you had nothing to do with Apartheid it was your oupagrootjie and your mothers, brother’s wife’s father.
No one said you had anything to do with the physical implementation of Apartheid but that you inherited from a violent system. Now let’s not even talk in monetary terms. In other words, if you were told you’re brilliant, you worked hard for your home and so forth, it was done by you being handed opportunities not afforded to the oppressed. No one is saying you’re stupid (don’t get me wrong but any race or competition cannot and is not fair until it’s open to all participants. So your hard work was against others like you, not against black and brown people. Even if it was it still cannot be fair right now based on our oppression of the past as we are still playing “catch up.” You have to learn to be honest, sometimes brutally honest and know that your position in life began because you were afforded UNFAIR opportunities. I am not saying give it away, I am saying wake up to that fact and start unraveling what Apartheid did in your mind first.
Apartheid taught you to think of YOU, only YOU and of course those who look like you. You aren’t special because you have a degree or a PhD because you were allowed to study. Do you get it? It is people like Beyers Naude who stuck their heads out and realized: “Hey this isn’t right!” Why is it so difficult for you? You have the freedom to do it now so I can only assume that you choose not to.
Those of you, who watched a movie called The Truman Show with Jim Carrey, know that this man’s entire life from birth was designed by people i.e. scriptwriters, producers and directors who “engineered” his life to go the way they wanted it to go and what he thought was his world was a lie. So you should view Apartheid! As a show where people were steering and directing you to say, act and do certain things that are simply not true. Please know it was never true.
Your thinking you are superior, not true! Your idea that you’re special, not true! Your idea that you’ve earned your job, maybe now! But to earn it, you have to be given an equal opportunity to apply. You can’t go bragging about how wonderful South Africa was when that’s not a true reflection of life in this country.
Even in a simple children’s program like Peppa Pig, Peppa rights what is wrong and only then proceeds to hold hands with her friends before finally singing the peace and harmony in all the world song.