South Africa, the Boeremag trial and imprisonment has left more questions unanswered within the community. During November 2002, the Boer Force known as the Boeremag claimed responsibility for the series of bombings in Soweto. There was no doubt in the public minds that these men did not have the capability and weapons to destroy the new “rainbow nation.”
Essentially harsh prison sentences were given to the members of the Boeremag members and the extensive long case has raised questions. With the imprisonment of these members, will it mean there is an end to the inspired violent rebellion against the South African government?
Is there a chance that the lengthy sentences handed down to the Boeremag members be a deterrent to other South Africans, regardless of race to overthrow the current government? At the same time, could the criminal activities of the Boeremag stimulate the self-determination for the Afrikaner minority in South Africa? The key concepts in traditional Afrikaner ideology are group identity and nationalism. Federal principles in the form of a homeland for the Boers and Africans are not unreasonable or unattainable.
The transformed South African concept of a homeland is rejected, and the possibility of the Afrikaans language, culture and religion being diminished as an insignificant minority is true.
The Boeremag believed that an Afrikaner homeland was the key element for the survival of the Afrikaans people. Within a democratic society, there is nothing wrong with people who believe in constitutionally accepted ways to express their desire or need. The problem arises when people use violence to promote their ideas, as was the case with the Boeremag.
The ideas of the Boeremag were not carefully examined, and the inspiration for a state for the Afrikaner people was not considered. The government instead had an extensive propaganda resource to promote a dominant society where political power is used against the less influential. A political power to influence their own interests and find innovative ways of addressing the legitimate concerns of ethnic minorities.
Respect and recognition of the fears and aspirations of all groups of people are not visible. The government should take the initiative to address these real problems and find solutions for all the minority groups within South Africa.
Over the last 20 years, the rise in the service delivery protest across the country is a direct manifestation that the people of South African are not receiving even basic human rights, the right to electricity, water and education.
The transition from apartheid to democracy was the process of ending the white minority rule and applying equality to the country. During the process of establishing a new constitution, several political, civic, religious and community organizations contributed to the transformation outline.
This has failed miserably, and the political parties and communities must go back into talks and find a solution based on equality for all the citizens of South Africa. A discussion to release political prisoners is also biased.
The second phase of the change as discussed by the African National Congress is severely criticized by the fact that it remains one sided approach. The third phase of total transformation should have a prerequisite to release political prisoners, such as the Pan African Activists and the Boeremag. This bold and radical action would trigger a national healing and reconciliation.
There must be a reasonable effort to erase the damage of the growing flaw that threatens the democracy. The ethics of forgiveness and mutual trust is foremost a condition for real transformation.
Understanding the limitations within our democracy will produce success. The Boeremag myth needs to be understood and then erase the limitations that slow down the progress of democracy.
After the first democratic election in 1994, and for several years afterward, the current ANC government included the minority groups in their dream of a new nation. The exemplified ethics of forgiveness and mutual trust between different cultures inspired the world to watch. It soon drifted away, and the expectations of a real democratic country faded. The fear, the lawlessness, greed, and racism escalated to such an extent that healing our past was forgotten.
There is the right and responsibility as citizens of a democratic community to identify the different cultures, faiths and languages to the international community and to distinguish between the historical complicity of apartheid and the survival to fight for change.
The same rights and opportunities should apply to all. The conversation about the necessity of addressing the South African issue of the Boeremag is justified by the moral and practical need to bring transparency.
The decisions are made by political thieves and the hypocrisy of this could force the rise of another Boeremag body to respond in rebellion against the South African Government.
By Laura Oneale