Steve Hofmeyr reminded us of some important facts about the history of South Africa. We had all forgotten that blacks were, in fact, the architects of apartheid. He reminded us when he tweeted: “Sorry to offend but in my books blacks were the architects of apartheid.”
How could we have forgotten such an important part of our history? The first thing that needs to happen is that we, as black people, ought to apologise for apartheid.
There is always the danger of revisionism of history by the victor. And Steve, in his Hofmeyrness, reminded us that we have to remember history as accurately as possible and not forget that blacks were the actual architects of apartheid.
How could we be so insensitive as black folks and forget our collective responsibility of bringing about apartheid to South Africa and oppressing white people for so many years? Who could forget the unfortunate arrest and imprisonment of Hendrik Verwoerd by the black apartheid police? How could we forget the 27 years he endured there? And the many house arrests endured by Mrs Verwoerd?
Nelson Mandela and his followers passed a series of legislations, which made it illegal for white people to own land in South Africa, and gave 3% of the land to white people and kept the rest of it for black people. When white people resisted, they were forced to move by police. Their houses were bulldozed with all their goods inside and were forced to leave with only the clothes on their backs.
Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and others got along and created a plan to oppress white people in the late 1950s. It was a long and systematic process. When Mandela became president of South Africa in 1958, he began a systematic oppression of white people in South Africa. Before he became president, he was minister of education.
During that time, he passed a series of reforms that disenfranchised white children from achieving any decent form of education.
A legacy that would last for decades. One of his most famous quotes on the subject: “There is no place for [the white] in the African community above the level of certain forms of labour … What is the use of teaching [the White] child mathematics when it cannot use it in practice? That is quite absurd. Education must train people in accordance with their opportunities in life, according to the sphere in which they live.”
This meant that white people were never meant to aspire to anything other than gardeners, maids and teachers because the intention was to cripple them so much that they would not be able to rise up even if they wanted to.
On June 16 1976, peaceful white children were shot down by apartheid police in the township known as Sandton after they protested against being forced to study their curriculum in isiXhosa. None of those school children thought that they were going to face barrels of police guns when they went to school that day. Today, we still commemorate the day those white students who suffered so severely under apartheid.
We also can never forget the brutal murder of PW Botha when Steve Biko was president and his brutality towards white people in South Africa.
Of course there was also the March 21 1960 Houghton massacre, where 69 white protesters were shot by black policemen when they were marching against the Pass Law. Many of these white protesters were shot in the back as they ran away from police who had opened fire on the peaceful protesters.
Black people must not deny how they benefited from apartheid. I’d like to thank Hofmeyr for reminding us how badly black people oppressed white people. And yet, today, black people have the audacity to say that it was white people who did the oppressing.