Some Whites fear Genocide if Madiba Passes, so the thesis by a group of Conservatives
(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is speaking in her column about life as a South African now living in Germany. The South African journalist lives in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).
It seems like a joke – a throwback to the early 90’s where whites packed tins in anticipation of civil war as negotiations between politicians got testy. It is deadly serious – there is a sector of the white population who fear if former President Nelson Mandela dies, there will be a bloodbath and they will be the victims.
This is the small part of the white population who accepted Mandela as a legitimate black leader and who have disputed all others since he retired from politics.
Madiba spoke to all when he came out of prison. For whites who feared that they would be punished by the recently unbanned ANC, Madiba was the temperate, calm black man who encouraged sitting down at a table and talking it through, taking special care to listen to all concerned and often making concessions.
He was not just a leader – he truly rallied behind the country in all aspects – his support of the much maligned mainly white rugby team saw that they won the Rugby World Cup. We were invincible – South Africa was new and had hope and the man to steer us into the world’s spotlight was the unmistakable President Mandela with his iconic Madiba African-print shirts and willingness to do his soft-shoe shuffle with total delight when he heard music that made his feet tap.
For many whites, the reign of Mandela is one that will never be topped. The time was fraught with tension – what would happen to their well-established lives and businesses? He reassured and brought in extra foreign investment and went on world tour to promote our country. International pop stars knew it was kosher to play in SA again and soon we were flooded with MTV, American clothing labels, more cars and the Yuppies realized that life in SA could be one with infinite possibilities.
When Madiba’s one term of office came to an end, it became quickly apparent that filling his shoes would not be easy and soon voters realized that SA politicians are much the same as any other politicians worldwide. The honeymoon for many was over yet the affection for Madiba has remained. He could’ve left Victor Verster Prison and vowed righteous revenge – inciting a bloodbath as retribution. He didn’t – he spoke with thought and foresight and his actions ensured that the current constitution is one of the most democratic in the world.
So if the reports from ex-colleagues are correct, a group of conservative whites fear that when Madiba passes and the initial mourning period has been observed, it will be a free-for-all for angry blacks to massacre them. There is no logic to this – Madiba has been out of politics for many years – the younger generation have heard of him but do not consider him a leader – the young folk of the ANC Youth League and the successful businessmen in the townships are their new role models. The passing of Tata will not inflame blacks – it will elicit nationwide mourning. Mourning in Africa means days of wearing black and wailing to the sky, it does not mean taking traditional weapons and killing whites. Mandela will die of old age – not because he was murdered. If he had been assassinated by a white person – then the chances would’ve been high that revenge attacks could’ve happened but his passing due to the circle of life closing – that will just see sadness, not anger.
The rightwing have often bleated loudly in the past but they are like toothless dogs. I hope they do not incite violence if Tata passes. As Mandela said, “I am a sinner who keeps trying” – so we should take a leaf out of his book and forgive the conservative white fears and try to reassure them that they are safe in their country, alongside the other residents.