It was during 1948 that the apartheid system was introduced in South Africa. Prior to that there was segregation, practiced world-wide. Countries that have removed the segregation factor from their system, are considered fully democratic, integrated societies with no racism or perhaps far less outburst of racism than in South Africa. The word Apartheid is an Afrikaans word meaning separation or keep apart, and it is the word itself that causes so much propaganda.
Under the apartheid regime, Indians, Blacks, and Colored people were the most disadvantaged and totally separated from white areas. They were the people who had to deal with the injustices that forced them to live in townships and carry identification passes. Yes, the Indians, Blacks, and Colored people were victims of oppression and were forced to live in fear.
Apartheid as seen through the eyes of Blacks, Indians, and Colored people was a structure to ensure the white minority lived in luxury while the majority remained oppressed and lived in poverty. The white minority was seen as a controlling force who would continue to execute their power to maintain control of the black majority.
There remains one group of people who suffered under the Apartheid regime, totally ignored and likened as the oppressor. The Indian, Colored, and Black communities after twenty years of independence fail to recognize the oppression of a white minority group who suffered under apartheid, perhaps not as drastically as they had but they were a victim.
White, English speaking South Africans, endured segregation, isolation, and intimidation by the popular dominant Afrikaans speaking people. They had to attend different schools, churches, sports facilities, and universities. There was the constant belittling of white children by the Afrikaans. The English speaking were often referred to as “Rooi Nek”, (red neck) and even though they had better privileges than the other races, all white people were brainwashed by the older generations into believing they were also superior to other races. Other civilized white groups like the Jewish community, the Portuguese, or Italian communities had to endure the dominant Afrikaner during the years under apartheid. This indicates that, during apartheid, there was certainly a division among white people.
Today after twenty years of freedom, the white population has learned to adapt and has extended their hospitality to the Black, Colored, and Indians communities. There are vast numbers of the different ethnic races who have also extended their compassion toward all the different cultures. It is simply a rainbow nation and we are all learning to live in a peaceful environment.
As a rainbow nation, we should move forward into a democratic nation, but there is a small group of people who would rather continue to vent their anger. Many intelligent Black, Indian, and Colored people will keep blaming their shortcomings on the apartheid era. It is so much easier to have apartheid as the scapegoat. After twenty years, if the nation still holds onto hatred for the white people then we will never have the benefit of a truly democratic society. English speaking South Africans still find it difficult to integrate into an Afrikaans society, and it was Zuma who said there was only one white group of people who were actually South Africans, the Afrikaans. English speaking people are an element of apartheid and still considered the ones to blame for the traumatic past.
People of all races continue to remain brainwashed by the government factors; it is always an element of conversation to refer to the apartheid era for the wrong doings instead of focusing on the most important issues of life. After twenty years, the majority of South Africans are still holding onto a past that will never come back. All cultures of South African people need to move away from the past and look toward a future of unity and democracy.
The different ethnic groups of South Africa keep crying to the world on how disadvantaged, how traumatized, or victimized they were because of apartheid, but we should not forget the suffering of the slaves in America, the forceful child labor around the world, and the fear of young soldiers who died defending their country. The genocide of the Jewish people is far worse than the apartheid victims of South Africa.
Until people let go of the past they will not move forward. Apartheid is gone forever, and it will not come back.
Written by Laura Oneale