Columnists

Let’s break down the Laager and have a Braai!

2011-05-30 07:15
After the municipal elections of last week, something shifted in the collective consciousness of our country. It was not simply a shift to the right, or to the left. The real value of the election lay somewhere else.

I was unable to pinpoint what was going on until I came across a fascinating article in last Sunday’s Rapport, entitled “Is Afrikanerpolitiek nou uitgedien?” by the philosopher of the new Afrikaans right, Dan Roodt.

“Indien Dr. Pieter Mulder van die Vryheidsfront Plus die erfgenaam van die Nat-tradisie is, het ons die afgelope week gesien hoe daardie tradisie ’n tweede dood gesterf het,“ Roodt wrote with an almost endearing honesty. In other words, the era of officially sanctioned Afrikaner nationalism is dead and buried, and a fitting footnote at the bottom of the gravestone would thus be ‘1948-2011’.

He also said: “Die VF+, die IVP, ACDP en elke ander party wat hom op ’n spesifieke etniese of Christelike identiteit beroep, het die afgelope week by die verkeerde partytjie opgedaag. Of hulle was in die McDonald’s en het gedink hulle gaan bobotie-en-geelrys daar kan bestel.” I love it when Roodt gets witty! Though, in this case, it is probably “n lag met ‘n traan”, for this state of affairs had obviously plunged Roodt into a state of immense sadness.

“Desnieteenstaande gaan die politieke zombies nooit heeltemal slaap nie. Kruger, Hertzog, Malan en Verwoerd spook steeds by ons,” he continues (using a rather apt metaphor to describe the old Afrikaner leaders), and: “Indien Afrikaner-kwessies heeltemal uit die formele politiek sou verdwyn, gaan die droom van Afrikanervryheid heel waarskynlik buiteparlementêr bedryf word.” I’m not sure exactly what he meant by this last statement. Presumably the Vryheidsfront Plus will cease to exist, and the remaining funds will be used to organise a huge bring-en-braai for everybody? Will Zuma be invited, I wonder?

New paradigm

Whether one agrees with this new paradigm, or whether one is filled with an immense sadness like Dan Roodt, I believe that he has summed up the situation correctly. We are indeed witnessing the first real signs of what could become an emerging common South African identity. Could this the first tentative blossoming of our own ‘South African spring’? If so, I would be perfectly happy to cancel the gloomy column I wrote last week (it contained an editing mistake anyway)!

Should this trend continue, it will not only be the dead Afrikaner leaders of the past – the Verwoerds, the Bothas, the Strijdoms – who will be cast forever on the rubbish dump of history. It might, in the long run, sideline ideological hardliners such as Hofmeyr and Malema as well. Unless, of course, they get with the programme. If Roodt was willing to face the inevitable – be as it may, with immense sadness – surely they can do likewise?

What we need in these times, are leaders who lead us forward towards an integrated multicultural state, and not leaders who attempt to lead us back into the Laagers and Kraals of white and black nationalist extremism.

Thank you, Dan Roodt, for helping me understand the signs of the times. 

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