By Willem Liebenberg
I am a Karoo child. It played a decisive role in the formation of my identity as a Christian and an Afrikaner.
I could often be amazed at the people around me who seem to be as satisfied with their lot as Boer people who often had to struggle through droughts to be able to experience good seasons again. We have often experienced severe droughts as well as good seasons. This created the context for incredible appreciation of life. Karoomense always found a reason to get up and go again.
Get up and move on
I want to stand up for the truth in the midst of a crooked and twisted South Africa in which we live today.
During droughts there were these toll bushes that broke loose. The toll bushes, driven by the wind, rolled and rolled until somewhere they got stuck against a wire or other bushes that were firmly anchored in the ground. The tollbooths have always been symbolic to me of people who always move on when the going gets tough. The old stone anchor posts were the symbolism of the Karoomen who never gave up, firmly anchored in their faith in their God and Creator.
The younger generation of Afrikaners today often choose to emigrate for various reasons. I am often in conversation with them and there were some reasons that stood out why they wanted to emigrate.
Affirmative action, black economic empowerment and the need for positive association were by far the predominant reasons. The younger generation, generation X, the millennials and generation Z are more easily driven by positive association because of the immense impact of social media.
Because of apartheid and the stigma attached to it by the media, many of the youth are further alienated from their origins, history and the negative association that is linked to it. The easiest way out is to emigrate or simply remain silent if you cannot emigrate. Therefore, the voices of the minority have turned into a deafening silence that screams to the heavens.
The younger English generation apparently does not bear the moral burden of the historical past, because the entire historical past’s guilt burden which includes English colonialism was very conveniently collectively thrown on the shoulders of apartheid. Afrikaners are also all too willing to bear the burden of the entire historical past.
The tremendous role that the media played in this and still plays remains for me one of the greatest evils today. We are living a tremendous lie and the English are walking away scot-free regardless of the atrocities committed by them against Afrikaners and black citizens during the Anglo-Boer War.
Stand up and say something
My own generation and contemporaries, the “Baby boomers”’s actions, however, are the most disturbing aspect of the times we live in today. We were part of the generation that had to do military service and had to fight against the ANC and SWAPO. My generation of people are locked in silence. Those who could not emigrate because they were not or are not financially able to go there, built ramparts of high walls around them, put better security in place and many hide behind their wealth. For how long? They also encourage their children to emigrate after their studies in order to seek a better life elsewhere.
During the border war, we were often subjected to extremely dangerous combat situations. We often had to secure ourselves in trenches or bunkers. The trenches and the bunkers have just changed shape. The trenches have now become walls or deafening silences. We can probably tell many stories, but our voices have fallen silent now. Although freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitution, we no longer hear the other side of the truth. Only a few brave women now and then stick their heads out to tell the other side of the story. I wonder what happened to our incredible acts of bravery and manhood. It evaporated like fog before the sun.
Ironically enough, before 1994 a terrible end was predicted if apartheid continued, rightly or wrongly. Today we face an endless fate of horror under the ANC government. Communism has become a reality, as predicted at the time, as it is currently playing out under the ANC. More and more power is centered within a communist ANC.
The situation unfolded very differently than the liberals presented it to us at the time. South Africa today is a failed state that is on the verge of collapse because of the corrupt ANC that was presented as the utopian government.
I did not fight to maintain apartheid, but against the ANC who committed terrorist acts with communism as the cradle of their ideological way of thinking. The liberals deliberately ignored and kept quiet. Today they rarely talk about it. I think of the necklace murders, ANC prison camps, bomb plantings, land mines, and so much more.
Ironically enough, the moral high ground has continuously been awarded to the ANC in the midst of these open atrocities. The ANC has meanwhile been unmasked as an extremely well-organized crime syndicate maintained by deployed cadres under the guise of a democratically elected government. Transformation through affirmative action and black economic empowerment has now become the politically correct accepted norm.
Moreover, there are a lot who are all too willing to sell their own people by loudly propagating transformation in the hope that their position can be maintained to ensure a secure retirement. There is no difference between apartheid and the ANC government. Racial discrimination is still a part of our lives with dire consequences for rich and poor. There have been 116 racial laws since 1994. Constitutional equality has now degenerated into an 80-9-9-2 racial formula that is nowhere defined in the Constitution.
Racism is fostered by racial discrimination. Equal outcomes are driven by the ANC at all costs. Equal opportunities no longer exist at all. Race is rewarded and excellence is punished.
My generation no longer leads by example. They fell into deafening silences. There is very little left of the incredible stories of heroism and courage that set us apart. We now hide in the trenches of silence, in the continuous false expressions of political correctness, the voluntary play along to sell each other and hide behind sky-high walls around our homes.
We have brave conversations next to barbecue fires that die a silent death with the embers when the barbecue is over. It does not show bravery. This shows absolute cowardice. Meanwhile, the whole truth is concealed and the lie is cheaply dished up as the truth. Moreover, many of our contemporaries believe it. It is time to wake up and stand up from the trenches for the truth.
Stand up for the truth
What example are we setting for our children of how to live the truth to which they emigrate? Just please be quiet my child! Please be as inconspicuous as possible! Never promote your interests. Always stand back first. Keep the peace at all costs regardless of the price. What did it do us? Are we better off or worse off? Flip Buys puts it so aptly. South Africa is now moving backwards into the future or forward into history. Very few move forward into the future. Those who try to put the past behind them are denounced as insensitive racists. This despite my complete salvation in Christ Jesus.
In the Karoo we have experienced adversity and prosperity. It built people’s character to stand up again and again. It has a distinctive humor built into our DNA that is timeless and precious. It took the Karoo’s silences to bring me back in touch with myself again and again. Those were good silences. Today’s silences are bad silences. Silences to flee from the truth and stand up. The silences have become tollbooths driven unwillingly by winds of political subservience to blow somewhere in other countries where unknown winds of foreign cultures blow.
The tollbooth is symbolic of the people driven by ideology. The thread and the anchor posts that hold the thread up are symbolic of the small minority that is not ideologically driven, but value and principle driven. People who speak and live the truth unashamedly regardless of the situation. You don’t need trenches or high walls to speak and live the truth, just sheer courage and the conviction to speak the truth regardless of the situation.
How do we live the truth today? Are we simply silent because we are the minority or have we lost the courage to stand up against lies and dubious ideologically driven arguments. South Africa today is the direct result of deafening silences where the truth is concealed. Therefore, we have become secret agents operating clandestinely around barbecue fires and stumbling to work during the week in resounding silences.
Meanwhile, our children are sent overseas to create even more worlds of silence. Forgotten are memories of heroic deeds during life-threatening situations and incredible camaraderie, unprecedented economic growth, law and order, discipline and safe living. All that is left are the silences of an identityless and futile generation that is not prepared to stand up for the truth. Unfortunately, we are dragging posterity along on this senseless trek to nowhere.
Stand up for the future
Your identity determines your future. The media played a very large role in the constant proclamation of half-truths and blatant lies to create a new narrative. This turned into a horrible nightmare among the ANC.
What identity have I passed on to my offspring? The identity of daring and rock-solid character, built on the whole truth and a Christian outlook on life, seems to have been lost. The identity built on the new narrative is now lamentably playing out as one of the greatest tragedies ever.
Moreover, a new identity is now apparently being built that ignores all differences between cultures. It is a dream. There is no golden mean. The undefinable identity created by the media and ANC politicians is leading to an identityless disaster and endless terror.
- Willem Liebenberg is a member of SU Council.