To know us is to like us
- Xhanti Payi
- 02 Dec 2010 07:13 (South Africa)
Dear Ms Botes,
I trust this letter finds you well, and not hiding under the bed, avoiding the deluge of attacks from those who clearly despise the truth. I hope you will read this over a celebratory drink, proud that you, unlike so many of your recent critics, have served your country well. You were brave enough to say the things so many people think, or say behind closed doors. Truly Ms Botes, who are our heroes if not those who walk boldly into uncomfortable, even explosive territory to speak their truth?
I read that you were hesitant to express your views and sentiments even though they are genuine. That’s only natural, since you knew it would put you in disfavour. But I remind you, you were brave and patriotic. These will be very difficult times for you, but take heed in the words of Amilcar Cabral, “Tell no lies, claim no easy victories”.
All sorts of people will now attack you. There will be the ever-arrogant and patronising white people who will publicly rebuke you, insisting that they have changed and no longer see any colour since we are all the same and equal. On the opposite end, will be the insecure black people who get hurt every time a white person speaks their mind. Their feelings are not your responsibility. As Dr Phil in America would advise, they must own their feelings. You spoke your truth, they must take responsibility for their feeling. You don’t have to like them. It’s their problem that they want you to like them.
There are many people, as I’m sure you know, who agree with you. They exist in the media, in academia, in organised religion, in business and even in politics. You will find that many people, even those who have shared your sentiments at dinner and over salad-making for Saturday afternoon braais, have now deserted you. Do not be disheartened. I’m sure that you are a Christian woman, and you will remember that even Jesus was abandoned and denied for speaking his truth.
Some will even curse you and tell you to emigrate. You will probably find that you will even be fired from your job.
You say you don’t like black people, that’s absolutely fine. You say you avoid them, that’s fine too. You too have full citizenship of this great country, and must know that our democratic freedoms apply to you too, including the right to express yourself freely, and the right of association. Adopting the Constitution which gave you the rights I refer to, former President Thabo Mbeki said that you too, like the leopard and the lion, the elephant, the springbok, the hyena and the black mamba, are as African as you are. No one can say you are not African. Please know that I’m sincere when I say it is through people like you that societies become stronger.
With that said, dear Ms Botes, something bothered me in what is reported about you. It is said that you indicated that you do not understand black people. If this is true, then I would be concerned, and would plead with you to take steps in this regard. You can be accused of many things in life, but let ignorance and lack of understanding not be one of them. Knowledge and understanding is the centrepiece of our existence. So I would encourage you to learn more about black people, to understand them, particularly since there are so many of them in South Africa. They might even be the vast majority, which means that you will be bumping into them quite a great deal in years to come.
Perhaps you have the assistance of a black person to clean your home, or tend to your garden. Call on them and ask them some probing questions which will give you understanding. I promise you will find that they are quite like you, with sisters and brothers, children, friends and even parents. You might even ask them to show you if they have blood and compare it to your own. It is also important to understand them since they too, as you so well point out, are people like you and have the same rights. But I repeat, you do not have to like them.
If, after all your efforts to understand, and even like black people, you fail; if you still believe that they are generally murderous for no reason, when they could just steal and leave, and pose a threat to your life, then Ms Botes, even a raging optimist like me will have to agree that, yes, you must emigrate.
Go to another country where you will fully be appreciated for what you believe, and can like fellow beings. That too, is your right and you should exercise it without fear or shame!
- The ironic price of freedom
- A Mandela everything
- Is there hope for the Marikana Commission?
- A 60% wage hike is not enough, but will leave us all worse off
- What education did Mr Khohlokoane get for the money he didn’t pay?
- Long live the spirit of Margaret Thatcher!
- The ‘white’ stuff: Thanks, but no thanks
- Let them be plumbers!
- Mangaung: The fine arts of mixology and music
- Will black people ever move past the 'white' standard?
- What if Jacob Zuma is teaching us patriotism and leadership?
- Extending the fruits of democracy
- People of big ideas and no implementation
- Umlungu Mdala
- Our blackness condemns us to servitude
- A letter to a fellow almost-revolutionary
- ANC comes to terms with Malema's march
- Who is the real representative of public interest - Parliament or the media?
- Open letter to the directors of AfriForum
- Zille should say sorry as Winnie did at the TRC
- Unless candour prevails, reconciliation remains elusive
- No place for closet anti-racists
- Lifestyle audits, human rights violations waiting to happen
- Things money can buy this holiday season
- To know us is to like us
- The child is not dead, Khaya, just overlooked
- Intellectual arrogance poses a greater danger than intellectual inferiority
- Who is to tell Africa what 'excellence' is?
- Black man, you are not alone
- SA’s great grim reapers
- Worshipping at the temple of beauty
- Be shot down in Jozi or sidelined in Cape Town
- Freedom to trade or freedom of expression
- Is xenophobia a prophecy by Karl Marx?
- Becoming a man ain’t what it used to be
- Human dignity is no match for press freedom
- No more miracles for pansies
- Of snake myths and political realities
- Lies, euphemism and the clash of cultures
- To perform or not to perform – the strange world of ministerial ‘performance’