Friday, February 20, 2004

Trekboer Photographs

It seems my last post on the Afrikaner past has excited accusations of "racism" from some quarters. To dispel any doubt that I'm not just posting anti-Afrikaner propaganda, I present here a few photographs that attest to the veracity of my claims about the material circumstances of most of the voortrekkers.

Trekboer Home

Trekboer Family

Presenting the historical truth isn't equivalent to "racism" in my book, and I wouldn't even be bothering with any of this if I weren't fed up with encountering Afrikaner after Afrikaner whining about how South Africa was supposedly a paradise for all, how apartheid was erected for the benefit of blacks, and how the country is rapidly heading downhill now that the National Party no longer runs the show.

I've stated before, and I'll state it here again, that I think those who have truly broken with the past should be welcomed without recriminations, and that the last thing South Africa needs is a new blacks-first majoritarianism to replace the old order's "whites only" policies, but frankly, few things make me feel less like hectoring Mbeki and company than hearing the beneficiaries of apartheid rubbishing the present government over "racism", when precious few of them lifted a finger to combat the genuine article as long as it had no adverse effects on their own lives.

There are noble Afrikaners who fought against the system when there was still a price to be paid for doing so - Beyers Naude being perhaps the most important, with André Brink and Nico Smith being others - and the apartheid system could not have lasted as long as it did without at least passive collusion from white English-speakers, but the pathetic reality is that the National Party was entirely an Afrikaner creature, and the overwhelming majority of Afrikaners enthusiastically supported its' policies throughout the apartheid years; when they did break with the party, it was usually to join even more extremist organizations like Andries Treurnicht's Conservative Party. The racist attitudes that led Afrikaners to support apartheid were near-universal amongst them from the very beginnings of white settlement in South Africa, and British imperialism, as bad as it could be in practice where racial matters were concerned, simply didn't go in for the sort of blatant, etched-in-stone discrimination Afrikaners practiced once they got in power. If it is "racist" to point these things out, then anyone who talks about America's antebellum south or Nazi Germany is also a "racist" according to such reasoning.

UPDATE: Anton Raath has some images of just the sort of extreme-right Afrikaners I was talking about, all dating from the early 1990s. Memories are short indeed if some can now claim that Afrikaner racism was overstated or a thing of the distant past alone.