Leon Lemmer: Blankheid, Afrikaans, Afrikaners

Daar is ‘n Institute for Strategic Reflection genaamd Mapungubwe, vernoem na ‘n voor-koloniale erfenisterrein vir swartes. Hierdie instituut se uitgewersnaam is Mistra. In 2015 het die instituut ‘n byeenkoms gereël in “the Women’s Gaol on Constitution Hill.” Hiermee is seker oorgenoeg oor die oriëntasie van hierdie instansie gesê. Eers in Augustus vanjaar is die voordragte gepubliseer, gevolglik is van die inligting verouderd: Whiteness, Afrikaans, Afrikaners: Addressing post-apartheid legacies, privileges and burdens (Johannesburg: Mistra, 2018, 153p, R220). Hierdie byeenkoms was ‘n uitvloeisel van ‘n navorsingsprojek waarin onder meer verantwoording gesoek is vir die volgende vraag: “Do the erstwhile colonial settlers … deserve equal recognition as members of the emergent nation?” (p xix). My standpunt is dat daar ‘n herwaardering behoort te wees van die bydrae wat die blankes en veral die Afrikaners tot die ontwikkeling van Suid-Afrika gelewer het. Pleks van blankes as tweedeklasburgers te behandel, soos tans ongetwyfeld die geval is, behoort hulle nie net dieselfde as ander inwoners behandel te word nie, maar veel eerder beter omdat blankes onteenseglik die waardevolste en onontbeerlikste bevolkingsgroep was en is. Ek moet byvoeg dat die drietal onderwerpe in die boektitel (blankheid, Afrikaans en Afrikaner) in sommige van die voordragte nie direk aangespreek word nie.

Vanweë “the absence of the white South Africans” in die genoemde navorsingsprojek is besluit om hierdie opvolgbyeenkoms te hou (xix). Die ironie is dat van die 16 voordragte net die helfte deur blankes gelewer is en daarby onder andere deur blankes soos Melissa Steyn en Christi van der Westhuizen; twee mense vir wie dit ‘n passie is dat die spreekwoordelike skaakbord net swart blokkies mag hê. Heelwat besonderhede word oor elkeen van die deelnemers verstrek (vii-xvii). Die voorwoord is deur ‘n ANC-kameraad en die uitvoerende hoof van Mistra, Joel Netshitenzhe, geskryf. Naspers is een van Mistra se borge (xxii). Wat ek by uitstek doen, is om die menings wat uitgespreek is, te belig. Ek probeer om my te weerhou van voor die hand liggende kritiek. Die 16 voordragte word in dieselfde volgorde as in die boek bespreek.

  1. Kgalema Motlanthe, die kommunis en tussentydse ANC-president (2008-2009), het die inleidende voordrag gelewer. “Whiteness … has historically privileged a particular racially defined social group by dint of skin colour” (1-2). Dit is ‘n gewilde leuen. Blankes was eeue lank in politieke beheer van die land, nie vanweë velkleur nie maar danksy hulle vermoëns. “Racial discrimination is neither permissible in our legislative framework nor allowed in the public domain” (2). Dit is nog ‘n leuen. Die 1996-grondwet verbied nie rassediskriminasie nie, maar laat dit ooglopend toe en die ANC-regering maak ruimskoots hiervan gebruik deur suiwer rassisties teen blankes te diskrimineer, bv by die vulling van poste en bevorderings in die staatsdiens.

Desnieteenstaande kom Motlanthe met hierdie beskuldiging: “South Africa is a colonial construct, meaning the notion of racism, or racialism, is rooted in its historical framework” (2). In werklikheid is daar rassisme in sowel die verlede as die hede. Hy verwys na “whiteness as a social construct” (2). ‘n Gewilde hedendaagse neiging, bv in die sosiologie, is om alles waarvan nie gehou word nie, ‘n konstruksie te noem. By begrippe vind daar noodwendig intellektuele konstruksie plaas, maar dit word op grond van waargenome kenmerke gedoen. In soverre daardie kenmerke bestaan, is hulle werklik en die boustene waarmee gekonstrueer word.

Motlanthe skryf die blankes se bevoorregte posisie toe aan die industriële revolusie. “The dawn of industrialism disproportionately empowered Europeans in comparison to the rest of the world” (3). Waarom het die Afrikane nie die Europeërs voorgespring nie? “[The] narrative of human history was Europeanised … all conscious efforts have to be made to decentre whiteness, through the creation of spaces for marginalised narratives, all of which have an equally [!] justifiable claim to the centre of historical consciousness” (3). Hy sê egter nie op grond waarvan bv Afrikane op gelykheid met Europeërs aanspraak kan maak wat bv prestasies betref nie. Waarvan hy nie hou nie, is dat blankes die norm is waaraan ander groepe hulle meet. Sy ideaal is “dislodging whiteness from its perch of normativity” (4).

Hy probeer sy uitvlug in “the commonality of humanity” vind; dus “that the pool of human knowledge has incrementally benefitted from all humanity” (4). Maar alle rasgroepe het seker nie in dieselfde mate tot kennis bygedra nie. Om die voor die hand liggende gevolgtrekking hier te ontduik – “the reigning toxic culture of ‘whiteness'” (5) – is sy raad “to reconstruct our world in line with non-racial principles” (5). Volgens Motlanthe is ons primêre identiteit dat ons mense is (5), gevolglik is “debunking whiteness … a shared moral duty” (6). En swartheid? Ten slotte haal hy uit die Grondwet aan: “All citizens are equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship” (6), maar dit is presies wat die ANC-regering vir blankes misgun.

  1. Melissa Steyn, wat aan die Universiteit van die Witwatersrand met “Diversity Studies” gemoeid is, is een van die radikaalste kritici van tradisionele blanke standpunte oor ras en geslag. Vóór 1994 was daar glo “the violent subjugation of the majority by a white minority in every dimension of national life” (9). “Racial injustice has been the organising logic of our social formation over generations” (12); dus sekerlik ook vóór die begin van apartheid in 1948. Afrikaners “were most overtly implicated in institutionalising and supporting apartheid … [they] could not deny their culpability, unlike [!] English South Africans who, despite being beneficiaries of the ‘racial contract’, were able to claim not to have been signatories to it during the apartheid period” (10). Blankes en veral Afrikaners reageer glo op ‘n drievoudige manier op hulle aandadigheid aan apartheid: “innocence, withdrawing, and claiming victim status” (10). “Withdrawal has been achieved through retreating into private spaces, such as ‘semigration’ to elite neighbourhoods” (11).

“Accusations of genocide, as in the right-wing rhetoric of farm murders … show a commitment to ignorance about how black South Africans have been, and continue to be, affected by the pervasive white preference of the system” (11). Sy verwys dan na “black pain” en beveel aan blankes “[should] educate themselves” (13). Sy noem nooit swart gewelddadigheid nie, maar wel “the burden of colonial and apartheid economic and social violence” (14). Wat volgens haar nodig is, is “a radical rearrangement of society” (14).

  1. Andries Nel het as die kind van ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse diplomaat in Brasilië skoolgegaan, daar polities verlig geraak en ‘n adjunk-minister in die ANC-regering geword. Hy haal Rick Turner (1941-1978), ‘n aanhanger van Steve Biko, aan oor “inequalities … being largely the result of exploitation and of inequality of opportunity” (19). Wat klaarblyklik veronderstel word, is eendersheid in talente. Maar Turner erken darem: “The maintenance of their cultural identity by white South Africans is a reasonable wish” (19). Nel maak twee opmerkings waarmee ek saamstem: “Obscenely generous executive renumeration” en “Leadership is required to ensure that unions share responsibility for the quality of services delivered, for improving the performance of government, and for fighting corruption and inefficiency” (22). Nel is gevra om oor “Where are the Suzmans, Slovo’s, Fischers and Naudés of today?” te praat, maar hiervan het min tereg gekom.
  2. Mary Burton is in Argentinië gebore, het ‘n leidende rol in die Black Sash gespeel en was ‘n kommissaris van die Waarheids- en Versoeningskommissie (WVK). Soos die WVK beveel sy aan: “a scheme be put into place to enable those who benefitted from apartheid policies to contribute towards the alleviation of poverty” (25). Oor die WVK noem sy ook “that findings made against the ANC remained a bitter source of resentment” (26). “It is apparent that, among those who choose to isolate themselves from the lives of the majority of South Africans, there are some who harbour racist and ignorant views about the state of present-day society, who criticise corruption and inefficiency as if these were racially defined characteristics” (29). “The white person’s burden today is not guilt, not leadership, but acknowledgement of past and on-going privilege; and the resultant responsibility to accept radical change and to participate in developing a more inclusive society” (32) – alles oorbekende politieke retoriek.
  3. Christi van der Westhuizen, ‘n dosent in sosiologie aan die Universiteit Pretoria, val weg met: “It is absolutely necessary work to disturb whiteness by making it seen, as it derives its power from operating invisibly as an unspoken regime of oppressive norms. Whiteness is therefore not skin pigmentation, but the meaning attached to pinkish, white-ish skin … The symbolic naturalisation of white superiority has a material effect, in the form of white privilege and black deprivation” (35). Apartheid word “an effective affirmative action scheme” genoem (36). Sy onderskei drie soorte Afrikaners: [1] “The Afrikaans African nationalists, [2] the neo-Afrikaner or Afrikaans enclave nationalists, and [3] the Afrikaans South Africans” (37). [2] is “the” Afrikaners (37), wat tot “inward migration” geneig is (38). Vir diesulkes “die taal is central” (39). “Afrikanerness … is a claim to effect separateness” (39).

Wat Van der Westhuizen se voordrag van die ander onderskei, is haar gebruiklike voorspraak vir homoseksualiteit; dus haar grief teen “heteronormality” (40). “The enclave version of Afrikaans whiteness draws the lessons of reinventing racism as culture, and heterosexism as family values … the family was centrally placed in colonial racisms” (39). Dit is juis die huisgesin en familieverband wat deur ‘n kulturele marxis soos Van der Westhuizen ondermyn word as een van haar bydraes tot die afbreking van Westerse kultuur en beskawing. “Racism and sexism [are] inherent in Afrikaner nationalism” (40). Haar ideaal is “an inclusive humanity based on social justice” (41).

  1. Lynette Steenveld, ‘n joernalis, begin deur blankheid as “a constructed social identity” te beskryf (45). Volgens die marxis, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), “the state … can be understood as a system of trenches which contain and organize the struggles among and within classes in ways that do not threaten the capitalist order” (46). Sy oorvereenvoudig en oorveralgemeen daarna met hierdie stelling: “The history of South Africa from colonial times is an anti-colonial struggle of the indigenous population against European economic expansionism” (46). Sy haal outeurs aan wat soortgelyke hoogs omstrede stellings maak, soos: “Black workers began building the modern labor movement, organizing on a formally non-racial [!] class basis, and soon displaced the racist unions as the institutional center of South African labor” (48). “We cannot theorise ‘whiteness as a position of advantage’ in South Africa without locating it in relation to the history of capitalist development and the struggles of working people against it, and the forms of state it engendered” (49).
  2. Bobby Godsell is ‘n bekende persoon in sake-, veral mynbou-, geledere. Hy erken die werklikheid van ras: “Race clearly is and will continue to be a powerful shaper of social identities, and an agent in the exercise of power and wealth in South Africa” (51). Godsell beweer: “This pattern of race-defined access to both power and wealth is not only a stain on our history, it remains a dynamic force shaping both our present and future” (52). Maar hy dateer hierdie skandvlek terug tot vóór 1994. Sy beskuldiging is teen die blankes gerig, terwyl dieselfde beswaar teen die ANC-regering geopper behoort te word. ‘n Historiese wanklank is sy verwysing na “Van Riebeeck’s hedge” as voorbeeld waarvolgens “land was increasingly reserved for the economic use and benefit of whites” (52). Lees in hierdie verband gerus die deurwinterde historikus, Dan Sleigh, se uitmuntend nagevorste artikel: “Politieke versinsels rakende die amandelheining” (LitNet 29.08.2018).

Godsell verwys na “our country’s legacy of a racist past” (55), maar hy versuim om die rassistiese hede, wat doelbewus deur die swartes geskep is, te veroordeel. Hy begeer “a fair society and a sustainable democracy” (56). “Fortunately, South Africa is not alone in its concern about social cohesion and social justice. In the wake of the 2006 financial collapse, leaders from all sectors of society and in many countries are looking for growth that is more inclusive and fair” (56). Godsell weet hoe om mooi broodjies te bak.

  1. Dirk Hermann is die hoofuitvoerende beampte van Solidariteit. Hy het sy voordrag aangebied in die vorm van ‘n brief wat hy aan Moeder Afrika skryf. Dit was sekerlik ‘n goed bedoelde poging om die saak van die Afrikaner en Afrikaans aan ‘n oorwegend vyandige gehoor te stel. Maar ek dink die inkleding van sy lesing het meegebring dat hy kwalik in sy doel kon slaag. “I was born of you, Mother Africa, a child of Africa” (57). “Our brothers, like the Sotho’s, the Matebeles and the Tswanas … But Mother, why do you build statues to honour the Mfecane of my other brothers, but I, I am the exploiter? Why is Shaka a freedom hero, but Piet Retief, the murdered one and other Voortrekkers are the ones who offend? Why is that which was done to my other black brothers by black brothers not called a crime against humanity? … Why are you so patient when it comes to black on black violence?” (58). “By your silence you are normalising violence” (61).

“Mother, I didn’t want to be subservient to European colonialists” (58). “I fought the First Anglo-Boer War or First War of Freedom as an African tribe, and I became the first African tribe to defeat a colonial power” (59). Afrikaans word sonder kwalifisering ‘n “African language” genoem (59). Hermann kry ‘n goeie hou in wanneer hy sê: “What astonishes me most is that you have made someone else’s language your language of aspiration. You gave up on our own language … In this way, you are going to lose your children; this makes them colonialists of a special type” (62). “White children … are experiencing discrimination by a system” (61). “I do not have a colonial motherland … [but] you don’t include me in the definition of African; your narrative is a simple good/bad narrative. White is bad and black is good. You are saying all problems started the day I arrived. You marginalise me and are upset when I keep myself aside. The racism of your other children is seen as legitimate demands; but my legitimate demands are racism. You refer to me as ‘them’ and your other children you call ‘us’. That makes me vulnerable for I am a visibly discredited minority” (62). “Mother Africa, are you a racist mother? (63).

  1. Ernst Roets is die adjunk-hoof van AfriForum. In sy voordrag vertel hy die linkses die waarheid. Sy lesing is myns insiens die hoogtepunt in die bundel. “I regard my cultural identity as an Afrikaner as an inseparable part of who I am. I regard my geographical identity as an Afrikaner as non-negotiable” (66). “White people … are currently being exploited … the story of post-apartheid South Africa [is] a story of double standards” (66). “If we discuss blackness we are only allowed to discuss how black people have been exploited in the past and not how black people need to change their way of thinking. Because the latter would be racist” (66).

“The Population Registration Act … was repealed because of its racist nature. Ironically, the laws that have been implemented since then continue to discriminate on the basis of race … ‘White’ is not defined in the Employment Equity Act, nor in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, nor in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act. ‘Black’, however, is defined as ‘a generic term referring to Africans, coloureds and Indians” (67) – in die ANC se orde van voorkeur. “According to our Constitution, every citizen has the right to freedom of association and unfair discrimination is prohibited” (67). Maar vryheid van assosiasie word oral in die openbare lewe (skool, universiteit, werkplek, sportveld, woonbuurt, ens) deur opgedringde rasse-integrasie ondermyn. Rasse-diskriminasie as sodanig (die hoofbeswaar teen apartheid) word nie in die Grondwet verbied nie, net onregverdige/”unfair” diskriminasie. Die ANC as ‘n nie-onbetrokke instansie en sy/die howe besluit wat as onregverdige diskriminasie beskou word.

Shaka en Mzilikazi het volksmoord gepleeg maar word as helde beskou. “Where black people killed each other, took each other’s land and even committed genocide, it doesn’t matter, because they were black” (68). Die Vlakplaas-misdrywe word dikwels in herinnering geroep eerder as dié in die Quatro- en ander ANC-strafkampe. In Amanzimtoti is Kingsway tot Andrew Zondo-straat hernoem, ter ere van ‘n bomplanter wat skuldig is aan “murdering a baby, a little girl and three women” (68). Roets verwys vervolgens na gevalle van dubbele standaarde ten koste van die blankes aan die Universiteit Pretoria, Stellenbosch, Vrystaat en Noordwes. Sodanige dubbele standaarde “can also be labelled black privilege. Black privilege is the privilege to implement racist policies and then call it transformation” (70). “Black privilege is the privilege to believe and argue that your race is so superior that you are excluded from the very definition of racism and that you can never be racist, simply because you are black. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the ultimate form of racism” (71).

  1. Xhanti Payi is ‘n ekonoom en kommentator oor die sakewêreld. Oordrewe geluk het die ANC-regering in 1994 te beurt geval: “It found a highly developed economy with a strong complement of infrastructure” (73-74). In dieselfde asem skryf hy egter van “the legacy of the dismal period prior to 1994” (75). Soms is sy opmerkings in die kol: “So restrictive is the rise in wages of the previously exploited that analysts blame this phenomenon for the stalling of economic advance. Thus, it is argued, the South African economy is not growing because it has become globally uncompetitive as wages in the country increase” (79). Dus, oorkompensasie van werkers vind plaas terwyl daar ‘n oorskot werkloses is wat lone laer behoort te dwing. Terselfdertyd word nie genoeg klem op die betroubaarheid, toewyding, doeltreffendheid en produktiwiteit van werkers gelê nie. “Rising wages and land prices constrain the repeat of wealth creation as achieved before 1994” (82).

Die bodemlose put-sindroom word aan die nalatenskap van apartheid en kolonialisme toegedig: “The majority of black young people in South Africa start on a negative footing since they spend their intitial years of work plugging the hole of unearned incomes by their forebears … The deficits or loss of income and wealth from apartheid and colonial exploitation of parents or families has to be repaid in this new era” (80). Dit is ‘n sotlike situasie. Niemand behoort in die hede oorvergoed te word vir die beweerde vorige ondervergoeding van ander mense nie. Deel van die probleem is dat van baie swart werkers verwag word om nie net na die behoeftes van hulle gesinne om te sien nie, maar van ‘n onrealisties uitgebreide familie terwyl van owerheidsweë nooit voorbrand vir geboortebeperking gedoen word nie. Veral swartes wend hulle tot lenings teen hoë rentekoerse wat hulle nie (kan) terugbetaal nie. Die ANC-regering moedig hierdie wanpraktyk aan deur die name van sommige wanbetalers periodiek van swartlyste te verwyder. Die ekonomiese las hiervan word op die meer gegoede inwoners afgeskuif: “The burdens of debt accumulated through the centuries of exploitation and exclusion are on the shoulders of the free and emerging middle and aspiring capitalist class” (83).

  1. Mathatha Tsedu is ‘n militante, linkse joernalis wat blykbaar geen goeie woord vir Afrikaans en Afrikaners het nie. Hy het sy skoolopleiding danksy Bantoe-onderwys gratis ontvang, maar daar is geen teken van dankbaarheid hiervoor by hom nie. Afrikaans was deel van sy skoolloopbaan: “It was, also, of course, an instrument of oppression” (87). Meer as een keer maak hy melding van die beweerde verwaandheid/aanmatiging/”arrogance” van blanke Afrikaanssprekendes (87, 88). As Afrikaners hulle saak stel, raak hy die moer in: Afrikaans “is still being used to sustain a legacy that shouldn’t be here with us today. And, for me, I was sad to hear Dirk [Hermann] and Ernst [Roets] here. I was angry, ja. I was angry” (89).
  2. Pieter Duvenhage is ‘n filosofiedosent aan die Universiteit Vrystaat. Sy voordrag oor “Afrikaner intellectual history” is gebaseer op ‘n artikel wat hy in 2014 gepubliseer het. Hy maak gebruik van Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) se onderskeid tussen negatiewe vryheid (“freedom from external interference”) en positiewe vryheid (“freedom to live a specific life – or being able to live a free life”) (99). Anders as voorheen, geniet Afrikaners glad nie meer (in dieselfde mate) hierdie twee soorte vryheid nie. Afrikaners het hulle vryheidstryd teen die Britse bewind aanvanklik in die Kaapkolonie en daarna in die Vrystaat en Transvaal gestry. Dit was terselfdertyd ‘n stryd van Afrikaans teen verdringing deur Engels en ook van Afrikanerkultuur teen oorheersing deur Britse kultuur. By Afrikaners het daar gevolglik ‘n sterk gevoel van “lotsverbondenheid” ontwikkel (98).

Die outeur het hom vir die vroeë geskiedenis in groot mate op AH Murray se 1947-opstel, “Die Afrikaner se wysgerige denke,” verlaat. Van onlangse of hedendaagse belang, is dat uitgewys word dat die Afrikaner in sy oorlewingstryd histories voorkeur aan federalisme gegee het (100). Federalisme is bv grondliggend aan Hendrik Verwoerd se beleid van afsonderlike ontwikkeling, bv die tuislande (107). Die groepie dwase wat in 1990/94 namens die blankes met die ANC onderhandel het, het feitlik sonder slag of stoot van federalisme afgesien en terselfdertyd in groot mate sowel die negatiewe as positiewe vryheid van Afrikaners vernietig. Hermann Giliomee skryf: Die liberaliste “have been very naïve in believing the ANC talk that it is a non-racial movement. I have always argued that it is a nationalist movement, using non-racialism only in winning and consolidating power” (111). Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) het na aanleiding van sy besoek aan Amerika in 1831 tot die volgende gevolgtekking gekom: “Minorities can only become part of the majority if they abandon the things that are really important to them” (111). Dus, Afrikaners kan Afrikane word en hulle met die ANC se nasiebouprogram vereenselwig, maar dit geskied ten koste van Afrikanerkultuur, insluitende Afrikaans.

Duvenage sluit sy opstel soos volg af: “This contribution has attempted to show how Afrikaners, in a variety of ways, have tried – and continue to try – to meet the central challenge of South African society, namely how to live with diversity. To do so has led to an intellectual tradition that is positioned between the two extremes that always tempt those who hold power in South Africa; that is, to overemphasise either difference or similarity” (112).

  1. Hein Willemse is ‘n ANC-aktivis en Afrikaansdosent aan die Universiteit Pretoria. Soos hy dikwels graag doen, beklemtoon Willemse dat 60% van die Afrikaanssprekers nie-wit is en dat Afrikaans “a creole language” is (115). Daarmee gee hy te kenne dat hy die deurslaggewende belangrikheid van die Afrikaans (in sowel die verlede as die hede en toekoms) van blanke Afrikaanssprekendes, oftewel Afrikaners, misken, asook dat hy die geringe bydrae wat nie-wittes tot Afrikaans gelewer het, heeltemal oorskat. Willemse erken sy spesialisering in eensydigheid: “I focus mostly on the black history of Afrikaans rather than the known hegemonic history inculcated by Afrikaner nationalist education, propaganda and the media. In the debate on language and culture we often hear only the Afrikaner Christian National version of the story of Afrikaans, but its history is a multi-faceted one to which many South Africans of every hue have contributed. While our recent socio-political history often casts Afrikaans as the language of racists, oppressors and unreconstructed nationalism, the language also bears the imprint of a fierce tradition of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and of an all-embracing humanism and anti-apartheid activism” (115-116).

Standaardafrikaans is in werklikheid nie ‘n kreoolse taal nie. Die Nederlander, DC Hesseling, het Afrikaans in 1899 tot ‘n gemengde taal verklaar, maar DB Bosman het hom in 1916 teengespreek (121). Die nie-blankes se bydrae is te gering om Afrikaans ‘n kreoolse taal te noem. Maar Willemse skryf (wensdenkend): “The creole language theory is in the ascendancy” (122). In die HAT word “kreools” gedefinieer as: “taal wat ontstaan uit langdurige kontak tussen twee taalgemeenskappe, een gewoonlik Europees en die ander inheems, wat eienskappe van elkeen behels en wat mettertyd die moedertaal van die gemeenskap word.” Wat Willemse doen, is om ingevolge sy politieke agenda ‘n Nederlandse taalkundige soos Hans den Besten (122) slaafs na te volg deur voor te gee dat die Khoi- (ensovoorts) stroom die hoofontstaanstroom van Afrikaans was en waarby die plaaslike blanke Hollandssprekers as die systroom later aangesluit het.

Die blankes aan die Kaap was polities en kultureel in beheer. Hierdie blankes se omvorming van Hollands was van deurslaggewende belang; nie dié van mense wat deesdae as benadeeldes geparadeer word nie. In watter mate Den Besten die spoor kwyt is, blyk uit sy volgende stelling: “Were it not for the agency of the ‘indigenous Khoekhoen and imported African and Asian slave labor … there would be no Afrikaans'” (122). Hier word mense wat dalk in geen ander opsig skeppingsvermoë geopenbaar het nie, voorgestel as diegene wat ‘n taal geskep het. Dit is ook belangrik om duidelik te onderskei tussen die ontstaan van Afrikaans, waarin nie-wittes ‘n (geringe) rol gespeel het, en die ontwikkeling, uitbouing en amptelike erkenning van Afrikaans, wat feitlik uitsluitlik aan die blankes, dus Afrikaners, te danke is.

“Mainly” in die volgende sin behoort net op Hollands/Nederlands betrekking te hê: “the simplified, creolised speech, with its roots mainly in Dutch, the seafarer variants of Malay, Portuguese, Indonesian and the indigenous Khoekhoen and San languages” (118). “The ‘first [Afrikaans] language movement’ (1874-1890) strenuously denied the creole nature of the language” (119). Die Afrikanernasionaliste van die Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (GRA) was deel van hierdie beweging. Die GRA het ‘n deurslaggewende bydrae tot die opkoms van Afrikaans gelewer. Maar mense soos Willemse en sy geesgenote verkies om die GRA (as “ethnic entrepreneurs”) met politieke retoriek soos die volgende te diskrediteer: “The nationalists of the GRA, sought to actively demarcate their language to the point of diminishing and stigmatising other speakers’ claim to it, declaring their own version of Cape Dutch as prestige Burger Afrikaans, the distinct ‘white man’s language'” (120). ‘n Opsig waarin die GRA volgens Willemse en diesulkes gesondig het, is “using written Dutch as the basis for its [Afrikaans’] codification” (120); iets wat Willemse se kreoliseringsmanie verwater. Moedswilligheidshalwe oordryf hy dan: “Afrikaans was constructed as a white language, with a white history and white faces” (121).

Oor die gesonde beginsel van moedertaalonderwys, wat tydens die politieke bewind van die Afrikaner (eerder as onder die Brit of Engelsman) voorkeur geniet het, skryf Willemse: “Under apartheid rule language was deployed as a tool of tribalism in the service of the divide-and-rule policy, and, instead of a sign of empowerment, it became a marker of under- and mis-education. One of the unintended consequences of the apartheid policy and Bantu Education was the level of self-loathing that speakers developed around indigenous languages, which they perceived as having little or no value in a contemporary business or educational environment” (123). As Willemse se uitgangspunt taal en kultuur was en nie politiek nie, sou hy waardering gehad het vir die beleid van afsonderlike ontwikkeling, wat gepoog het om iedere groep se taal en kultuur te bewaar en uit te bou. Dit is weens die ANC se sug na absolute mag in ‘n eenheidstaat dat gepoog word om taal- en kultuurverskille uit te wis, moedertaalonderrig aan al hoe meer kinders en studente te ontsê en patetiese onderwysresultate te behaal. Alle tale behalwe die koloniale taal Engels ly skade, maar dit hinder Willemse klaarblyklik nie, wat nogal eienaardig is by iemand wat veronderstel is om ampshalwe Afrikaans te bevorder.

Willemse is geen voorstander van Standaardafrikaans nie, al word dit deurlopend angepas, omdat hy Standaardafrikaans as blankes se Afrikaans beskou. Vandaar hierdie wensdenkery: “Black speakers are demanding the re-standardisation of their [!] language [Afrikaans], the recognition of regional varieties” (124). Waarheen Willemse eintlik mik, is die vervanging van Standaardafrikaans met geradbraakte Afrikaans, spesifiek die brouseltaal Kaaps. Daarom skryf hy: “Ons moet onthou dat die bruisende toekoms van Afrikaans … reeds in ons veeltalige [!] stedelike strate soos dié van Kaapstad en sy townships vorm aanneem” (Frank Hendricks en Charlyn Dyers, reds, Kaaps in fokus, Stellenbosch: Sun Media, 2016, p 75). Willemse vier sy militante politieke aktivisme deur op vandalistiese gebeure soos die volgende, waarvan hy deel was, te roem: “In 1976, UWC [University of the Western Cape] became the hub of the student uprising in the Western Cape” (Mistra 125). In die UWK se Departement Afrikaans is vervolgens begin met “reshaping academic thinking around Afrikaans” (126). Willemse se hoogs afkeurenswaardige houding teenoor Afrikaans is ‘n lewende bewys van wat hierdie UWK-strategie behels. Standaardafrikaans word verwring tot “Apartaans” (126), soos die polities misleide André P Brink dit genoem het.

Willemse sluit sy voordrag soos volg af: “Today Afrikaner nationalism has been severely diminished and, along with it, the standing of Afrikaans in the public sector. Nonetheless, in the private spheres of culture, private education, the media and subscription television, Afrikaans has seen an exponential growth. As suggested earlier, the very nature of contemporary Afrikaans, the white-speaker bias of its media products and dominant institutions, remain under constant discussion, and we still have to recognise the multi-faceted nature of the Afrikaans-speaking community, the numerical dominance of its black speakers, and the need to advance Afrikaans in a multilingual, all-inclusive, antiracist* environment, as an example and as part of the development and intellectualisation of African languages. We also have to recognise that Afrikaans is at the core of many fellow South Africans’ sense of identity, and that they are not necessarily white” (126-127). Let daarop dat Willemse geen kritiek uitspreek teen die afskaling van Afrikaans in die openbare sektor nie. Hy rep ook geen woord oor die bedenklike gehalte van Afrikaans in die private sektor nie. Pleks daarvan loof hy die groei van Afrikaans in teruggesnoeide geledere. Soos te wagte, word Afrikaans sonder meer as ‘n Afrikataal geklassifiseer pleks van sy Europese herkoms en wese te erken. Afrikaans behoort sekerlik tot die kern van Afrikaners se kultuur. Dit geld nie in dieselfde mate vir nie-Afrikaners nie; veral nie vir die bruin elite waarvan Willemse deel is nie. [* Asof Willemse tot so iets in staat is.]

Om Willemse se blatante dislojaliteit teenoor Afrikaans se illustreer, kan lesers gerus na die webwerf van Tydskrif vir Letterkunde op die internet gaan. Willemse se gesindheid jeens Afrikaans blyk nie net uit wat hy sê en skryf nie, maar ook uit wat hy as redakteur van daardie vaktydskrif doen; ‘n tydskrif was eens naas Standpunte die mees gerekende Akrikaanse letter- en taalkundige publikasie was. Op die “Afrikaanse weergawe” van die tuisblad, wat uitsluitlik in Engels is, staan dat hierdie tydskrif “articles on theoretical, applied or comparative aspects of African literatures and cultural practices” publiseer. Die inhoudsopgawe van die jongste uitgawe toon 12 artikels waarvan nie ‘n enkele een in Afrikaans is nie, en twee huldeblyke geskryf deur Willemse. Dáár word genoem Willemse is die “eeste bekleër van die Leerstoel Zuid-Afrika: talen, literaturen, cultuur en maatschappij aan die Universiteit Gent, België.” Willemse se aanstelling is geloof, onder meer op LitNet, as wonderlike erkenning van Afrikaans in die buiteland. Myns insiens is Willemse se aanstelling deur linkse politiek* gemotiveer eerder as iets wat spesifiek in belang van Afrikaans is. Willemse as die eerste bekleër van daardie leerstoel sal nie Standaardafrikaans nie en allermins Afrikanerkultuur bevorder; net so min as wat Nelson Mandela se voorlesing van Ingrid Jonker se gedig, “Die Kind”, tydens sy inhuldiging as president in 1994, ‘n blyk van erkenning van Afrikaans was. Albei gevalle is wesenlik manifestasies van linkse politiek. [* Die Belgiese regering het 30 miljoen euro aan die ANC-regering ter ondersteuning van onteiening sonder vergoeding belowe (Netwerk24, 10.09.2018).]

  1. Nico Koopman is ‘n teoloog en is as vise-rektor van die Universiteit Stellenbosch (US) daar om pluraliteit, diversiteit en multikulturaliteit op die bestuursvlak te verwerklik. Hy is ‘n voorbok by die verengelsing van die fakulteit teologie en die universiteit in sy geheel. Die huidige topbestuur besef klaarblyklik nie dat hulle lippediens aan pluraliteit, diversiteit en multikulturaliteit onversoenbaar met die gedwonge, gelykmakende, monokulturele verengelsing van die US is nie. Ten spyte van sy voorkeur vir Engels, is Koopman deur bv die Afrikaanse Taalmuseun en -monument genooi om ‘n toespraak oor Afrikaans te lewer. Soos by Hein Willemse trek Koopman die streep van sy hibridiese biologiese oorsprong deur tot by die wenslikheid dat Afrikaans (maar nie Engels nie) ook maar hibridies, dus ‘n heksebrousel van Afrikaans en Engels, mag wees.

Koopman bak mooi broodjies soos: “We have beautiful stories to tell about our liberation from racism and of our victory over racism” (134). ‘n Uitlating soos die volgende drup van naïewe heuning: “Forgiving love … is embodied in the life and person of Nelson Mandela. This absurd, forgiving love was experienced at the hearings of the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission]. Manifestations of this love granted South Africa the wonder of a transition to democracy” (136). Lê die absurditeit nie veel eerder daarin dat vergewende liefde toegeskryf word aan die stigter van die gewelddadige MK nie, asook aan die ongebalanseerde, bevooroordeelde WVK? Koopman swyg oor die skandes, misdade en onbeskaafdheid wat tydens die “bevrydingstryd” plaasgevind het, asook die voortgesette owerheidsgesteunde en -toegepaste rassisme.

Hy erken darem: “There are still bad things happening in South Africa” (134), maar hy sal slegte dinge eerder by die blankes as die swartes soek, of as hulle by die swartes te vinde is, sal dit aan die nalatenskap van apartheid toegeskryf word. Ons moet glo kleurblind wees, behalwe as ons kleur ten koste van die blankes kan bysleep: “Do we need to refer to each other in colour categories? Yes, we need to do this for the sake of trying to make some reparations for wrongs that were done along colour lines for centuries” (134-135). Hier dink Koopman aan rassediskriminasie vóór 1994; nie aan die huidige diskriminasie teen blankes nie. Laasgenoemde soort diskriminasie behoort volgens hom ‘n “interim arrangement” te wees (135). Het hy al ooit van ‘n enkele ANC-kameraad gehoor dat rassediskriminasie teen blankes in die afsienbare toekoms, indien ooit, afgeskaf gaan word? Gaan onteiening sonder vergoeding kleurblind toegepas word? Nee, dit sal sekerlik by uitstek en selfs uitsluitlik ten koste van die blankes geskied.

“It is not possible to claim excellence in a diversified society if you do not show hospitality to a diversity of persons, contexts, perspectives and ideas” (135). Die Wim de Villiers-US gee hoog op oor sy strewe na akademiese uitnemendheid. Is Afrikaans as diversiteitsfaktor net so welkom soos Engels in die US- klaskamers, op sy verhoë en in sy administrasie? ‘n Kenmerk van ‘n universiteit van hoë akademiese gehalte is dat ‘n diversiteit van idees nie net toegelaat word nie, maar deurlopend aktief aangemoedig word. Hierdie toets vir akademiese uitnemendheid dop die huidige US skouspelagtig. Die De Villiers-US duld geen regse of selfs bloot tradisionele, polities-behoudende aktiwiteite of openbare toesprake op sy kampusse nie. Die “ander kant” van ‘n linkse saak word onderdruk en nie gestel nie. Geen regse of selfs bloot nie-linkse politikus of Afrikaanse blanke skrywer of rasegte Afrikaner sal deur die huidige US met ‘n eredoktoraat vereer word nie.

Al druip die huidige US die toets van veral ideesdiversiteit skouspelagtig, beweer Koopman waaragtig: “The type of university that enhances life together in diversity is plausible. It is a moral imperative … A truly South African university is therefore a university that strives to make a transformative and healing social impact” (137). Hierteenoor stel ek ‘n waarheid soos ‘n koei: Die ongetransformeerde US van weleer was suiwer akademies-wetenskaplik in vele belangrike opsigte ‘n voortrefliker opvoedkundige inrigting as die huidige een.

Teen die einde van sy toespraak kom Koopman onvermydelik by sy “ethos of

hybridity”, dus ongebreidelde deurmekaarboerdery, uit en draai hy al sy politieke en ander ideologiese krane oop: “where boundaries are not rigid but porous so that osmosis can take place, where people get rid of defensive and anxiety-filled minimalist identities, where they develop playful and liberating, cosmopolitan maximalist identities that make us say: yes, I am a Mandelian coloured, but through my hybridic living, my life in proximity and osmosis with my black/white/Indian brothers and sisters I am also more than coloured; yes, I am a Christian, but through my hybridic living with other religious and secular faiths I am more than Christian; yes, I am a South African, but through my osmotic living with brothers and sisters of other African countries I am more than South African; I am African, but through my life in interpathy with people from other continents I am more than African; I am heterosexual but through my hybridic living with people from LGBITQA+ communities I am more than heterosexual; I am male, but through my hybridic living with women I am more than male” (137). ‘n Mens kan seker sê hier is ‘n “heterosexual+” en ‘n “male+” aan die woord.

  1. Achille Mbembe is ‘n Kameroener wat oor Afrika-geskiedenis en politiek skryf. Sommige van die dinge wat hy sê, klink vir my meer aanvaarbaar as die uitlatings van sommige plaaslike swartes; moontlik omdat hy meer objektief kan oordeel. Hy sê bv: “There’s a huge need to take the immaterial wealth very seriously” (145), bv Afrikanerkultuur, insluitende Afrikaans. Hy dink byeenkomste soos hierdie een “are indispensable if we want to detoxify our public sphere” (141). Ek dink nie ontgifting is moontlik terwyl die ANC aan die bewind is nie. Idealisties praat Mbembe van “reopening the future for all” (141) en dan verduidelik hy: “Only those who are recognised have a chance to be heard” (142). Hopelik dink hy hier met deernis aan die blankes: “They have the feeling of being subjected to permanent misrecognition” (141). “What is going on is that a new cultural temperament is emerging, is in the making. We see it in a number of signals, the most important of which is the recent student movement. We see this new cultural temperament in events such as the decolonisation movement, ‘Rhodes Must Fall’, ‘Fees Must Fall’, the shift to a vocabularly of almost everything has to fall” (143). Dan vra hy die voor die hand liggende vraag: “What has to replace it? We talk about destroying that which exists rather than inventing or imagining what it is that we have to put in its place” (143).

Hy het die sin om van “the suffering of yesterdag, and of today” te praat (144). “There’s a ‘politics of time’ that is shifting. The ‘politics of waiting’ is being replaced by the ‘politics of impatience’. People are willing to sharpen the contradictions; force them into the open and bring them to a point of hopeful resolution and, if necessary, through violence” (144). Hy noem dat hy baie mense teëkom wat die voorliefde vir geweld openbaar wat deur Frantz Fenon (1925-1961) verkondig is. In daardie opsig kan die nalatenskap van die “bevrydingstryd” nog hel vir die ANC en die land veroorsaak. Mbembe sê: “We [cannot] build a decent society if we do not address the question of indebtedness” (144-145); dus nie net besinning oor die nalatenskap van apartheid nie, maar ook besinning oor die nalatenskap van die onbeskaafde, gewelddadige “bevrydingstryd” en bowenal besinning oor en dankbaarheid vir wat al die inwoners van hierdie land aan die prestasies, kundigheid, toewyding, ens, van blankes, veral Afrikaners, te danke het.

“The politics of difference and identity … is everywhere these days as opposed to the politics of commonality. I think that we thought that, with the end of apartheid, we could transcend the politics of identity and difference, that we could conflate nationalism with what is called ‘celebration of difference’. But the celebration of difference cannot be solid ground upon which to build a nation, especially in an era when nationalism is besieged by the forces of capitalist globalisation. And, insofar as capitalist globalisation is about denationalisation and deterritorialisation, we have to find a different way of dealing with the question of identity by highlighting not difference but commonality. We cannot be celebrating our differences: that’s what apartheid wanted us to do. What we have to celebrate is what it is that we share and what we share is our common humanity” (145). Dit is bloot ‘n herhaling van die geykte “oplossing” waarvolgens almal in dieselfde keurslyf gedwing word. Dit bied geen realistiese oplossing vir ‘n land soos Suid-Afrika nie omdat die groot kultuurverskille wat in die bevolkingsgroepe aangetref word, nie goedsmoeds met ‘n nasieboumanie oorbrug kan word nie.

  1. Mathews Phosa, ‘n vorige premier van Mpumalanga, was die laaste spreker. Hy was ‘n MK-kameraad wat in Mosambiek Afrikaansonderrig aan terroriste verskaf het sodat hulle meer doeltreffend dood en verwoesting kon saai. As vergoeding het Naspers ‘n bundel van Phosa se Afrikaanse rympies gepubliseer asof hulle gedigte is. Wat hy in sy voordrag sê, is egter nie sonder verdienste nie, bv “We are all migrants … We must not burden ourselves with the past but … build a future that is admirable and deserving” (147). “It is often convenient to pitch our tents in the past – that way it is easy for us to blame everything that is not working on everyone else – rather than to build our own home of the future with due cognisance of the shortcomings and good things of the past” (149). “A successful and cohesive nation engages in practices where everyone is treated equally, without favour” (153). Ook: “We must welcome critical debate and thinking that does not necessarily reflect our own” (148-149) – ‘n les van die US-bestuur nog moet leer.

Hy val egter uit die minibus met die geykte opmerking dat Nelson Mandela “the father of our nation” is (147). Myns insiens is daar geen omvattende Suid-Afrikaanse nasie nie. In soverre daar plaaslik ‘n swart nasie is, kan kwalik van Afrikaners verwag word om kultureel deel daarvan te voel. Hy beweer ook dat mense soos Nelson Mandela en Desmond Tutu “positively influenced world events” (149) terwyl dit nie eens sonder teenspraak van Suid-Afrikaanse gebeure gesê kan word nie. Aan die positiewe kant sê Phosa: “The Afrikaner has a role to play in the future of our country. I hear that some of the Afrikaners feel that they are threatened by the government’s policies on issues of empowerment, land and quotas in sport … this is undeniably true” (150).

Hy verwys na “our underperforming economy” en skryf dit tereg toe aan “our consistent disregard for sound economic growth principles” (149). “Our economy is ambling along at a substandard level as a result of our inability to gather and direct the skills and expertise that are available, as well as from interference by government in employment policies and practices. Successful nations are built on education, skills development and the harnessing of experience” (150). “Let’s open the doors and welcome those skilled and experienced Afrikaners and other whites who abandoned their beloved country in search of security and stability; and acknowledge their skills in our economy. Let’s make it easy for them to return and to stay” (151).

Oor die gebrek aan wet en orde sê Phosa: “Often, government is nowhere to be found, arriving on the scene only when the smoke is thick and the security forces are tested to their limits … we must define the foundations of a new dispensation before further militant action equivalent to that of the 1980s is forced upon us” (151). “The exciting [?] road we chose in 1994 is long gone. Deep potholes and divisions are now threatening the very order on which our democracy is built. Populist calls for unfair land alienation and other suicidal economic policies threaten South Africa and its place in Africa and the world … prosperity can only become the norm if we abandon the idea that we are a revolutionary state” (151).

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