When I attended South Peninsula High School during the high noon of apartheid, teachers were expected to fill our minds with Christian-National separatist, inferior shit.
But many of them did not.
Often, and indeed, usually, teachers such as Wally King, Daphne Wessels, Mogamad-Noor Moerat, Fred Coker, Waxie Daniels and Richard Rive threw textbooks aside and took us on intriguing journeys about life.
Our lessons then revolved around what was really happening in our country. What happened to have brought us to where we were? And what would we have been doing had South Africa been a true democracy?
They taught us never to give up dreaming – for that day when we would have a new future for ourselves, our families, and our country.
The message to us always was special: ‘Dear children, they may stand on your necks, but never, never let them tell you what to think.’
This is what the apparatchiks of the apartheid state tried to do – but we refused to allow them to succeed.
I have raised this matter because a crisis is slowly unfolding in schools in our townships.
We must not allow a system to take root in schools in which pupils are fobbed off with inferior education – because they are deemed to be inferior.
It has long been said by many that victory in elections by the DA in most municipalities in the Western Cape would signal a return to many of the worst aspects of apartheid.
This has been denied, of course.
But consider this….
Helen Zille, the former leader of the party still wields an inordinate amount of power in the drawing up of policies of the DA.
In fact, many believe she is still its REAL leader.
I have no doubt that the Zille of 2021 has taken the party on a road to mumbo-jumboism – a road that will kill it eventually but do untold damage to black communities in the Western Cape in the short term.
Zille’s buy-in into a brand of nutcase politics has been built on the right-wing nutcase politics that was refined by a man who refused to accept defeat in the last US presidential elections, Donald Trump, and his followers, including, let me add, Tony Leon’s former disciple, Joel Pollak, and Pollak’s mother-in-law, the South African, Rhoda Kadalie.
It is hard to say whether this is deliberate or not, but Zille has latched onto two American terms – and turned it into something she believes will destroy South Africa if she is not allowed to march in to save us all: being ‘woke’ and being admirers of ‘critical race theory.’
Let’s put it in simple language: being woke is the act of ‘being alert to injustice, especially racism; and in the US, critical race theory, states that social institutions such as the criminal justice system, the education system, the labour market, the housing market, and the healthcare system, have laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that have disadvantaged black people.
It is as simple as that – and perfectly understandable.
Zille has given both terms a South African bent.
It is hard to say when it is considered that black people in South Africa have had a far tougher time than black people in the US.
I will not call Zille dishonest (because I am a nice person), but I will say she is wrong. And I will ask why she is now insisting on using the terms ‘woke’ and ‘critical race theory,’ when it is so much easier to say exactly what it is.
Zille is trying to reverse the suffering of black people under apartheid and by some sleight of hand making it seem as if white people are the real victims.
This is ridiculous.
White South Africans marched seamlessly from apartheid to democracy, without sacrificing a thing.
Let me state it clearly: there is racism in large proportions in South Africa and black people, have been severely disadvantaged in matters such as land, health, education, and housing – even after the advent of ‘democracy.’
Is Zille saying the industrial scale land theft during apartheid was nothing? That housing shortages for poor – almost exclusively black people – do not run into hundreds of thousands of units? That township schools are not horrifyingly overcrowded and under-resourced?
I could go on and on.
Here is my fear. As I have said before, as far as I am concerned, Zille still runs the DA, and still has an enormous following in the party.
In the Western Cape, nutcase policies must not be allowed to be forced into township schools. Principals and teachers must resist any attempts to crush what Zille and her followers consider to be ‘woke-ist’ or akin to ‘critical race theory’ practices.
And while I am at it: when are forward-looking members of the DA going to say ‘enough’ to people like Zille and her followers – and send them to Orania or Florida, in the US?