To Luhann and everybody else who would like me to have a bit more guts and give my opinion.
I have thought for a week about your question – about where I stand; what I propose Afrikaners should do if it isn’t the VVK. Also, while I am engaging with these ideas, I’m engaging with some black people who are quite “over” reconciliation too and I’m a bit exhausted. But here is the answer I promised, as best as I can write it for now.
When I was growing up, I didn’t really believe that white people had anything at all to be angry about. It was clear to me that black people have a history of inhumane oppression at the hands of white people, and I was not surprised at their bitterness.
I had no empathy at all for white racists. I also tended to see any white complaints and anger and bitterness as mixed with vicious disdain and hatred towards blacks. I was often right, but not always.
I wrote a whole long story now, which I will spare you and maybe share with my close friends, documenting my walk with God from realising the corporate guilt in which I share; the years of shame and despair; the decision to accept forgiveness from God and then letting Him lead me wherever He wants. It has been very difficult. One of the things it included was going to the VVK meeting.
Going to the VVK meeting, and having a couple of painful discussions with a beloved white friend who didn’t grow up in the idyllic Western Cape, are pulling at the curtains I’ve drawn over white people’s suffering. I haven’t really suffered in the new South Africa at all, so the special kinds of suffering of white people was initially easy to ignore. And now… it really complicates the picture when you believe that both black and white have done wrong, and not just one group. It is also shocking to me how little white knows what black thinks of them and of life; and vice versa.
I guess I’m coming to accept that white people, all of them, also deserve human dignity. I am very humbled to realise what a bitch I’ve been to some white people in the past while preaching universal love and understanding. I’m sorry. And I know I will have to keep listening to them even if doing so currently troubles me.
But if you forced me today, to either join the ranks of the campaign for Afrikaner freedom, or remain a part of the “terminally ill rainbow nation”, I would choose the latter. This country is very very sick, but to me the whole country is my country and every unemployed person or person living with HIV and person living in a shack and raped woman in this country are my people. And every former Apartheid policeman, and every airheaded English liberal city girl are my people too.
I don’t side with the VVK, because they want to withdraw from this pain into an imagined safe place. But I don’t believe that they will have any rest until they’ve had healing, no matter how high they build the barricades to ensure their physical safety in their Nuwe Boererepubliek. They won’t be able to think straight with all those negative emotions running through their minds; through their souls even I believe.
I also don’t believe black people who go through the world despising me and other white people will have any true rest. Not only do I need their forgiveness, but I think they need to forgive me too. Else they won’t be able to think straight either, even if they try to ignore white people in their country. It is difficult to emphasise this point because it sounds demanding, so I won’t.
That is where I stand. I am grateful to know that a lot of my sentiments here are shared by other South Africans of all races, many of them also Christians in whose lives I believe God can impart wisdom and direction. (Please understand that I do not imagine my faith to be a simple means to finding solutions.) But I would like to live in this country and work with others to heal the injustices of the past and the present; the suffering of black and white.
There is no formula for national healing. But I will spend my life pursuing it. And there are others like me.