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‘Ek is wit en trots daarop’

”Ek Laaik Nie ‘n Houtkop Nie Sou What (sic) [I Don’t Like Woodheads, So What]” — the Facebook group started by North West University students that was shut down by other members this week — is one of numerous racist profiles accessible on social networking sites.

”Ek Laaik Nie” showed a photograph of a young, white man posing next to what appeared to be the body of a black youth, like a hunter with a trophy.

When it was revealed in the media, anti-racist newcomers hijacked the site and expelled its 50-odd members.

But there are many other similar groups.

”Ek is WIT en FOKKEN Trots Daarop [I’m WHITE and FUCKING Proud of It]” has almost 9 000 members. The administrators claim they are not racist, only proud to be white.

The profile has an English counterpart, ”I’m Proud to be WHITE”, which could muster only 23 members, despite its generous display of Ku Klux Klan and Nazi insignia.

The Afrikaans group logo is a white baby, while the English group goes with the Transvaal Republic flag, the Vierkleur.

Its catchphrase is: ”You call me Boer, Whiteboy, Famma, Maboeroe, Lekoa, Whitey, Settler, White Trash, Dutchman and that’s OK. But when I call you, nigger, Kaffir, piksteel, houtkop, muntu or Gook, you call me a racist.”

In a discussion about the current turmoil in the ANC, the Afrikaans group’s administrator complains that blacks are destroying everything in South Africa.

”But I still have not lost hope,” he continues. ”At least they are now fighting among one another [spring onder mekaar in]. That and Aids should create a significant hole in their psyche.

”It does not bother me that little will remain of our country. Remember when we got here 300 years back there was fuck-all, except a bunch of houtkoppe who begged and walked naked [kaalgat] on the beach all day. They will need us; like the rest of Africa they will again come and beg before the white boss.”

A founder of the group, Sidney Gilroy, mocks the university students’ group and its small size.

”They will shit themselves when they see my group,” he writes. ”Be warned. [The media] will sniff around this group. Thus be sure to spell words like kaffer, houtkop etc correct. We are not dumb racists.”

The group abounds in racist jokes and complaints about the oppression of white people by the black government. It tries to organise a campaign against Vodacom in protest against the company’s BEE deal.

One member declares that ”white liberal trash in South Africa is first on [his] hit list if the shit hits the fan”.

The Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) is actively recruiting through its own Facebook group and boasts more than 5 000 members — most of them twentysomethings who were still in nappies in Eugene Terre’Blanche’s heyday. The group calls on 18- to 35-year-olds to join the party’s youth wing, saying: ”Jou volk het jou nodig [Your people need you].” The AWB’s insignia decorates the profile.

Other South African-based racist groups that feature on networking sites are much smaller, with 10 or fewer members, and tend to use photographs to identify themselves.

Many of them mysteriously closed after this week’s controversy.

One is called ”Now I’ll Call You a Racist”, which also justifies the use of racist terms for blacks by listing anti-white terms allegedly used by blacks.

Also on Facebook is ”Die Houtkop is Nie ‘n Bedrygde (sic) Spesie nie! [Woodheads are Not a Threatened Species]”, which carries a photograph of a threatening black crowd.

Another is ”Eks Nie ‘n Rassis Nie, Eks net Bang vir die Donker!! [I’m Not a Racist, I’m Just Scared of the Dark]”, which adds complaints about racial quotas in sport to the standard racial mud-slinging.

South African Human Rights Commission chairperson Jody Kollapen said he was disturbed by the youth of the participants. ”You would expect this kind of rhetoric from older people. But seemingly young children grow up around these attitudes and now express them. It’s bitter knowledge.”

Kollapen said the commission would actively engage Facebook to close down the sites.

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Yolandi Groenewald
Yolandi Groenewald
Yolandi Groenewald is a South African environmental reporter, particularly experienced in the investigative field. After 10 years at the Mail & Guardian, she signed on with City Press in 2011. Her investigative environmental features have been recognised with numerous national journalism awards. Her coverage revolves around climate change politics, land reform, polluting mines, and environmental health. The world’s journey to find a deal to address climate change has shaped her career to a great degree. Yolandi attended her first climate change conference in Montreal in 2005. In the last decade, she has been present at seven of the COP’s, including the all-important COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. South Africa’s own addiction to coal in the midst of these talks has featured prominently in her reports.

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