EYE SAY – DON’T TELL US HOW TO FEEL ABOUT OUR PAST

It never ceases to amaze me how so many people who could vote when I was not allowed to, are letting their broekses become all tangled up because I refuse to forgive or forget what apartheid tried to do to me, my family and communities all over the country.

It pisses me off to hear arrogant shit along the lines of, ‘Living in the past means you’ll never get to your present or your future.’

How do these self-styled experts know?

This ‘move on’ crap is …well … crap.

It just makes me more determined to remind South Africans about our history – and about the shameful role so many played in it.

A Facebooker called Lesley Stuart is another to shove her nose into something she’d never understand.

A story written by a friend of mine, about how his family was kicked out of Simon’s Town – in terms of Group Areas legislation, sparked a show of petulance by her.

In my opinion, he has every right to be angry about this show of apartheid jackbootism – for the rest of his life.

Stuart claimed the right to express an opinion on Group Areas legislation on the grounds that – and I’m taking her word for it here – her family had never owned any land, her living quarters consisted of one room, she had no hot water or television set and that she did not own a car.

And, to drive home her point, she added: ‘So much for white privilege, specially if you come from the only province where the Nats never ever won an election, and you went up against the Nat Government.’

Do I feel sorry for her?

Absolutely not.

If white people had nothing during apartheid, it was not because legislation denied them everything every other citizen was entitled to.

As for her boast about the voting record of her compatriots in elections in the then Natal – tra-la-la … obla di, obla dah.

Whites only elections meant nothing to me. Besides, those who voted against the National Party didn’t do so because they were against apartheid.

Here’s a gentle reminder….

On April 1, 1950, The Group Areas Act, No. 41 divided the whole of South Africa into areas in which inter-racial transfers of land and immovable property, as well as the rights of occupancy, were controlled.

From these controlled areas, group areas were cut out of cities and towns where either occupation or ownership (or both) was restricted to persons belonging to a specific racial group.

It was a vicious piece of legislation, full of amendments aimed at kicking coloured people and Indians out of areas they had occupied for generations (other legislation had a similarly devastating effect on African people).

Apartheid could never be fair – it was all about giving whites the best of everything.

Thus, on 6 June 1958: when Cato Manor in Durban was declared white, 1,000 whites had to move, as opposed to 75,000 Indians, 8,500 coloureds and an estimated 81,000 African people.

In 1961, South African courts showed where it stood on matters of equality….

Appeal Court Judge JA Holmes, in delivering judgement in the matter between the Minister of the Interior v. Lockhat (a case attacking the validity of a proclamation which resulted in the substantial inequality of treatment of Indians in Durban), said: ‘The Group Areas Act represents a colossal social experiment and a long-term policy. It necessarily involves the movement of Group Areas of numbers of people throughout the country.

‘Parliament must have envisaged that compulsory population shifts of persons occupying certain areas would inevitably cause disruption and, within the foreseeable future, substantial inequalities.

‘Whether all this will ultimately prove to be for the common weal of all the inhabitants is not for the court to decide’.

Some things were just plain ridiculous.

In Durban, in 1962, a football team consisting of Indian, White and African members were acquitted by the Natal Supreme Court on a charge of violating the Group Areas Act. The court found the players had not sat down together for refreshments as customers in a club, restaurant or tearoom.

In this same period, the government decided that Indian, Coloured and African areas would not be allowed to surround ‘white’ towns, because this might prevent possible future expansion of the white areas.

Moreover, mosques in newly declared white areas would have to apply annually for permits.

The Western Cape too was not ignored….

From the early 1960s, the areas between Salt River and Retreat and from Hout Bay to Zeekoevlei were declared white, as was Green Point in 1965.

A year later, on 11 February 1966, proclamation 43 of the Act declared the majority of District Six a white area, banishing between 20,000 and 33,000 people to the barren wastes of the Cape Flats.

In 1967, coloured and African people were also kicked out of Kommetjie, Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek.

Still leaning towards equality. Well, then….

In Parliament, on 7 February 1968, the Minister of Community Development, Blaar Coetzee, reported that in terms of Group Areas legislation, 656 white families, 58,999 Coloured families, 784 Chinese families, and 35,172 Indian families had become ‘disqualified’ to stay in their homes.

Up to then, 497 White families, 25,587 Coloured families and 17,723 Indian families had been resettled.

In 1971, in yet another disgraceful action, the National Party promulgated Amendment Act, No. 68 of 1971 which gave the Community Development Board the right NOT to pay an owner any of the appreciation value of their property from five years to eight years.

Moreover, if a person who had become disqualified sold their property for more than the basic value, they were required to pay the Board 50 percent of the difference as an ‘appreciation contribution.