Reading this article on the GuardianUK site reveals just how low the ANC government has stooped. Not content with attempts to eradicate the history of the Boers and Voortrekkers, the ANC, in its all out obsession with black racism and African Nationalism, is slowly cutting out the historical contributions of white liberals made to SA and the eventual success of the ANC itself.
Its a feeding frenzy. The ANC has become an inward looking, race obsessed organisation where the only qualifying criteria for merit is your black skin. Only black people are exulted and venerated. Ask Helen Zille, ask David Bullard, ask Jonathan Shapiro, ask Llewelyn Kriel. These are all liberals that were previously vociferous opponents of the apartheid regime, now shunned and hated by the very ANC they helped bring to power. Does any one remember Bram Fischer? Yes, even the dead white heroes of the so called "struggle" are being forgotten and all trace of their contributions are being wiped away. This is the thanks you will get liberals. A swift kick up the arse and consignment to oblivion. Wake up!
This is a longish article and from a left perspective, but the predictions being made and the outcome that is being glimpsed, even by the liberal left in the UK, does give me some hope that at last the world is starting to cotton onto the real ANC.
South Africa is in danger of airbrushing non-black anti-apartheid campaigners, such as Helen Suzman, out of its history.
On Monday night I went to honour and celebrate the life of one of the greatest anti-apartheid heroes at the South African High Commission. She was Helen Suzman, who died aged 91 on the first day of this year.
For 36 years Suzman was a white liberal member of the South African parliament who represented the interests of the disenfranchised black majority. She used the privileges of her position to expose the evils of the apartheid system and personally visited and supported many black leaders imprisoned on Robben Island, including Nelson Mandela.
Her daughter Francie Jowell, a friend, organised the London event which included a screening of the filmed speeches made in Helen Suzman's honour at a memorial celebration in Johannesburg earlier this year.
A hundred or so people assembled in a stuffy screening room in the bowels of the landmark high commission building on Trafalgar Square. I left moved and angry.
Moved by a life of moral clarity and public service. A woman who believed that an individual could make a difference. A woman who was tested beyond endurance. For 13 years the sole opponent of apartheid in the South African parliament was vilified on a daily basis. But she triumphed with her integrity, piercing intelligence and ready humour intact.
I was angry that there was no sign of a representative of the present South African government. No high commissioner welcoming Helen's family and friends. No cultural attache. No first secretary. No one. Shame on them.
Francie did it all herself and graciously thanked the high commission for making the space available. Apparently the high commission usually charges for the use of its facilities but in this case it waived the charge, but could not provide any refreshments. Not even a glass of wine to toast one of its heroes!
Helen Suzman was of the world's greatest parliamentarians. She was made a dame and bestowed with 30 honorary degrees and doctorates from leading universities. She was a shining example to us all – women and men. Why had the high commission not initiated and organised the event itself? It should have been an honour.
I knew another extraordinary white South African hero – Helen Joseph. Unlike Suzman she decided to try to effect change from outside the parliamentary system, with the black activists. She focused on the plight of black workers, especially women. She was the first person, white or black, to be house-arrested – for over 20 years. She devoted her life to the cause. She made a difference. Today few people in South Africa know she even existed.
In the 15 years since South Africa shed the apartheid system there has been a Soviet-style airbrushing-out of the contributions of those who helped undermine and expose apartheid, who were and are not black or members of the ruling party – the African National Congress or the South African Communist party. Post-1994 Suzman was sidelined, forgotten and virtually written out of history. At her funeral the acting state president made an appearance and the country's flag was flown at half-mast that day. Too little, too late.
There may not have been many white heroes in South Africa, but there were a few who tried to signal to the oppressed black majority that not all white people supported and were actively complicit in one of the cruellest systems of racial discrimination ever known.
Watching the filmed speeches of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others recalling Suzman's massive contribution to the undermining of apartheid, her tireless energy and her humanity, I was struck by the absence of any senior member of the South African government in that university hall. Yes the ex-president, Thabo Mbeki, was there. As was Graca Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela. But like the audience at the high commission on Monday it was mainly a sea of grey-haired white people.
As South Africa faces the challenges of the immediate future – the effects of the recession; 40% unemployment; xenophobic violence; corruption in government and the public services – it is most likely that the white people of South Africa will be made the scapegoat and racism will flourish once more. All the more reason then to hold up to the light the contributions of those few white heroes.
A country that forgets its heroes is condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. Shame on the South African high commission. Monday night was not your finest hour.
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