Oor gebrokenheid

transgenerationaltrauma

Ons gaan sit op ‘n trap na die Amper, Vrystaat vertoning by Innibos. Dis gek om dadelik in die kar te spring en saam met die massas by die een hek te probeer uitkom. Ons het genoeg aan chroniese padwoede in Limpopo, ek gaan nie my Innibos ervaring daarmee versies nie. M en ek sit en gesels oor die vertoning. So Millenialtjie met ‘n  blonde poniestert, Lenin donkerbrilletjie, meelsakkortbroekie -die pype nog bietjie korter opgerol,  bootse met sokkies om die slanke enkeltjies en BBP-toegangskaartjie om haar nek, sit ook daar naby en rook.  M, altyd nuuskierig vra waar kom die kind vandaan. Die Kaap.

Sy vra wat ons al gedoen het. Ek vertel dat ons maar Innibos met die swaar eerste afgeskop het. Ons het Reza de Wet se Asem die oggend gaan aanskou. Wat dink ons van Amper, Vrystaat. Ons het dit tot staande ovasie toe geniet. Sy haak af dat Asem nou nie vir haar aangetrek het nie, “die tema is nie meer relevant nie.”

Ek stik in my verontwaardiging. Die verliese van ons oupas en oumas, die skaamte en skande, die veragting, die reaksie op al die vernedering wat op aaklige apartheid uitgeloop het, is dit nie relevant nie?

Ek is sommer gallerig opgeklits, en doen toe in my binneste presies waaraan ons ou Afrikanerhartjies aan ly van altyd af. Die Kapenaars is nie ons mense nie – wat sal hulle nou weet!  Ja, nee, sit twee van ons bymekaar en daar is dadelik twee kerke, twee skole, twee politieke partye.

Dis hartseer dat verwysings na die ABO en verwysings na oorwinning of verslaenheid, verwysings na ‘n era wat verby is as irrelevant beskou word deur ‘n jonger geslag. Het ons so ver wegbeweeg van ons herkoms dat ons geen verlede het om vir ons konteks te gee nie?

Is ons al so verwilder en verbrokkel dat daar nie meer ‘n ons is nie? Het die Ingelse so met ons land se mense gemors dat daar geen onse in ons pond oor is nie?

Dit bring my by die volgende:

Image result for apartheid britain's bastard child

Ek lees tans Apartheid: Britain’s bastard child van Hélène Opperman Lewis

Lewis is ‘n sielkundige, en dit het haar ‘n hele vyftien jaar geneem om die boek  tot publikasie te bring. Sy kyk na die rol wat vernedering van die Afrikaner deur die Britte gespeel het in apartheid. In onderhoude beklemtoon sy dat dit ‘n poging is om uit ‘n psigohistoriese oogpunt te verstaan  waarom Afrikaners in 1948 apartheid tot stand gebring het, en nie goed te praat nie.

Dis harde werk,  dié lees oor waardeur ons Afrikaansgeit  en al die ander volkere hier aan die suidpunt van Afrika is. Sleg gemaak van kleins af. Soveel so dat ons, wat my aan betref almal liederlike mistastings begaan het.

Ons is geneties skaamkwaad, verdedigend, agterdogtig. Kwaai en moerig. Wegtrekkerig. Die Duusman, die Xhosa, die Zoeloe, die  Pedi, die Shona, die Matebele – ons het ieder en elk onder die rooibaadjies deurgeloop, deeglik. Eintlik is al die volke van Suid-Afrika erg getraumatiseer, gestroop aan kultuur, en eenheid, dit vir goud en diamante…

Plaas ons onthou het wat ons almal onder Queen Victoria se lakeie aan eie bas gevoel het en sorg dat niemand na ons dit moet deur maak nie. Maar nee, vertraptes gaan heen en trek hulle aan ander vertraptes se skoenveters op. 1948 gebeur en maak 1994 onafwendbaar.

Vir  ‘n wyle na 1994 voel dit of Mandela gaan slaag om die reënboognasie te maak werk. Ons gaan vergewe word, maar nee. Eeue se wrok en vernedering maak jy nie sommer weg nie. Mandela sterf, Mbeki die ontkenner word in Polokwane onttroon. Zuma word Zupta, ons land gestroop en  2017 en Suid-Afrika skel dit oor kolonialisme en wit monopolie kapitalsme. Die Afrikaner, so voel dit, die vark in die storie, die Engelse met hulle kwasi- nie-rassisme onder die wanindruk dat hulle nie oor ons kam geskeer word nie. Eish, mense se koverte-rassisme onderrokke hang oral uit.

Ek is nou halfpad deur die boek – ek ween, ek skel, ek bid. Wanneer sal ons leer?

Ek wil ‘n storie oor ‘n sandput skryf waar elf kindertjies lekker kon speel, tot daar ‘n boelie met ‘n rooi hemp bygekom het. Of wat van ‘n storie oor  mense wat verskillend vir dieselfde God bid, maar mekaar nie verstaan nie en mekaar verguis en verneder en so geen weg na saamwees  kry nie, en God ween?

Ag, ek weet ook  nie. Miskien kan slim  Gertruida en haar makkers se outeur iets hiervan maak….

Lees  ‘n onderhoud met Lewis, Apartheid, Britain’s Bastard Child.

Gedeeltes daarvan is hieronder gespoeg en geplak:

“Do you think English-speaking South Africans are still in denial about their role in apartheid? Afrikaners were perhaps conveniently singled out as scapegoats. What is the psychological driving force behind this? Is it their Übermensch mentality and their class-conscious obsession, or just vulgar hypocrisy?

Before answering, let’s clarify the thorny issue of racism first. And let’s be clear – white racism arrived with the arrival of all Europeans in southern Africa. It’s not something that suddenly surfaced in 1948! And it certainly is not something peculiar to southern Africa only!

There are different shades to racism. Firstly, for the British and white English, their racism is mostly covert, rooted in the superior man’s cloak of social Darwinism. It spread its myth of racial superiority to different races – including other white races – cultures, social strata, etc.

The covertness of this prejudice makes it convenient and easy for the perpetrator to deny any prejudice. According to psychohistorian and psychoanalyst Joel Kovel in his book, A psychohistory of white racism, covert racism is more difficult to confront, and, like all unspoken “secrets”, more insidious, and therefore more harmful and damaging in the long run. It renders its victims defenceless and silences them with denial, consciously and unconsciously – a bit like not acknowledging the king has no clothes on.

The second form of racism is overt racism. Afrikaners’ overt racism (apartheid) – the “Whites/Blacks Only” entry signs – were a glaring example of overt racism. It was out there for everyone to see, and could not be denied like covert racism can be. Ironically, it was precisely this overtness of Afrikaner racism that made the struggle possible.

The latter is also the reason why the white English South Africans, in general, deny they are racist, because they think there is only one type of racism – overt. The early Afrikaners’ racism was, however, based on distinguishing between believers and non-believers. The believers, of course, were the chosen ones, and the rest, the unbelievers and sinners, were to be avoided. With Afrikaners being exposed to British prejudice (covert racism) and British humiliation (from 1795), their overt racism became infused with a good dose of racial superiority, too.

What is less well known is that apartheid was introduced formally in South Africa by the British with Cecil John Rhodes at the helm in 1894, with the Glen Grey Act. The Afrikaners tightened the screws after 1948.

Most white English-speaking South Africans conveniently deny their share, their gain and their contribution, directly or indirectly, to apartheid. They don’t understand the difference between covert and overt racism.

Most probably also don’t really even know about the atrocities that have been committed by their forebears in this country. My impression is that “apartheid = Afrikaner” in white English-speaking South African minds. They don’t even think about it twice. You even hear the presumed innocence and the blame and prejudice against Afrikaners from their children’s mouths. Why else is it that every so often, when white people are discussed in the media, it states specifically white English-speaking South Africans and Afrikaners?

Why not just white South Africans? Most Afrikaners speak English, and, anyway, many white South Africans are not English, either. Why the distinction? This is nothing but maintaining an old and convenient prejudice – denying any responsibility. That’s why they were shocked (and still are) about the black fury over the Rhodes statue, and why some don’t understand why listing the “positive contributions” of colonialism infuriates black people. In the world of the humiliated, that is totally irrelevant, psychologically.

What we need to deal with and learn from is why it all happened, and not get stuck in “I told you so” refrains. It’s my hope that this book will be an important contribution in that sense. We owe it to the children and future generations to understand, or they will be stuck in shame and guilt.

Part of doing that is understanding why black people are now so furious, and why so much irrationality prevails – which, to a large extent, though not solely, is due to the humiliation we have subjected them to. We need to take responsibility and own up. And for that, we need to apologise and hold their hands where we can. That will enable our healing, too.

A silly question, nevertheless important. Why should people buy this book?

People are ready to appreciate the contribution psychology makes in understanding human behaviour. Psychohistory is, in a way, psychology applied to our histories.

A black woman once remarked on a TV discussion, “We black people are having all these discussions … when are you white people going to have your discussions? Trying to understand why you did what you did?”

Pondering her words, I thought to myself, she hit the nail on the head.

So, here we are!”