today I want to share a short result of my quest to find out what lead to today's frazzled politics in South Africa.
I came here in 1982 and did not have any quests except from enjoying the solitude on a Free State farm, the beautiful nature, weather and freedom from having to comply to social norms. It was the time of apartheid, yes, but I was a guest and did not question, nor was interested in politics. Then there were some bombs, talks of civil war and then the start of democracy. All that was fine with me. I was growing herbs and pumpkins, having found profound happiness. Democracy could only lead to a better life for all, I thought. Well, that did not happen and I started to ask myself how is it, that the Europeans who allegedly had messed everything up, got to be here at all. Before the Africans from North Africa and the Europeans from North of the Equator fell into today's South Africa, it was a real and pure paradise, albeit with it's own savage cruelties. And a couple of years ago I started looking for the truth about South Africa. To my surprise I found out:
There is no truth about South Africa
Tons of books have well be written about this elusive truth, thousands of blogs and websites claim to have found it and are discussing it with great passion. That alone proves the non-existence of one truth. There are in fact millions of truths about my new home country. The more I researched, the more "truths" turned up. I would assume that this goes for the whole world, but here many truths are dramatic, violent and, yes, barbaric. The mine worker deep underground must of course perceive the truth different from a rural tribe, and the city dweller's truth is different from a historian's. A collective truth is impossible to find.
This time of wondering and searching was a nervous time and I want it to come to an end and go back to only the flowers, birds and bees colonizing my mind.
However, to illustrate the conglomerate of 'honest personal opinions' I want to cite 2 authors, whom we all know. 1. The creator of the famous 'Sherlock Holmes', Sir Arthur Canon Doyle's description of the 'Boers'; and Rudyard Kipling's (of Jungle book fame) poem
Canon Doyle was a hugely prolific writer and for some reason volunteered as a field doctor in the Boer Wars 1899-1902. He even came up with a whole book about the Boer Wars. The first chapter starts with a rather hilarious description of what he decided makes the Boer tick:
"Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer—, the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles."
As far as the Africans were concerned in this, they did not even have the smallest chance of successfully defending the country they thought was theirs. (It was not, they were immigrants too). They were the vast majority in numbers, but they could not use the animals like elephants, rhino, hippos etc. as horses, they had no firearms and there was no African unity (identity).
This solves my most important question as to how could so few Europeans get their feet into Southern Africa for good. Now, after another century+ the 'for good' part is not all that certain anymore.
Rudyard Kipling touches the 'why was and is unity (between black and white) nearly impossible' in the following poem:
The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk—
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.
The men of my own stock,
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wonted to,
They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy or sell.
The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control—
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.
The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.
This was my father's belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf—
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.
No, this conclusion of my findings does not exclude that there will be solutions in the future. Miracles happen!
To here: 2015
As far as the present is concerned: it is once again a jungle out there. And I rest my case.
However, nobody can stop me from dreaming my own peaceful and beautiful
SOUTH AFRICAN DREAM
Greetings from Yours Truly,