18 March 1992
"Do you support continuation of the reform process which the State President began on 2 February 1992, and which is aimed at a new constitution through negotiation?"
OK, it’s water under the bridge. The chapter is written. Too hastily I now realise in hindsight. Words now fail to express the depth of my feelings. I am plagued by regret and a sense of loss of an opportunity that I can never possibly recover. I sold out cheap. You see, I voted YES to that question above. For the wrong reasons. I had no idea what I was doing. I now feel I owe someone an apology. I feel indebted somehow and I am seeking absolution, in my own way.
To the eight hundred and seventy five thousand of you in 1992 that voted NO, I’m sorry. You see, I misunderstood. I thought you were voting for war. You see how stupid I am? Look at that question again. It was vague, insipid and meaningless. I never realised that what you were voting for was not war, but solidarity. You got boxed in and you were forced to make a decision, which you proudly and defiantly did. I too felt the pressure, but I took the easy way out. Coward that I am!
I laughed at you. How I regret that now. I was so smug and full of my own liberal superiority at the time. I cringe now. What a lot of water under the bridge, and believe me, I’ve had time to rue the decision seeing the mess that followed since then.
For my sister, I am humbled. You had the guts to vote NO and I laughed at you too. It pains me now to recall how I mocked you after the vote by doing my little “Hitler” march, with finger on my top lip mimicking the madman in front of you. I dared to compare you to a monster like that! My gentle, proud, strong sis. I’m sorry.
You were right, it was too quick, and too easy. We gave away too much, far too quickly. Jeez, in hindsight it looks like we were just hurrying along, wanting to get it all over and done with! I guess the last laugh is on you hey? You left SA soon after 1994 but it took me another ten years to wake up. Now I find myself in the UK, running away again! Tail between the legs. Ironic isn’t it?
Dad, I apologise for not being stronger. You convinced me a YES vote was for the best. How the hell did the two of us conspire to that? I should have convinced you, but you convinced me. In the end, I was not a peer to you, and a weaker man as a result.
A thousand “sorries” can't undo what has been done and it won't ease the pain in my heart. I keep asking myself “would I do the same again?”
I don’t know. Talk about a wimp! All of you on the other hand, at least you were strong! Principled. Proud. Each time that I think of you, each one of you, I get angry with myself because I can imagine all the bitter tears you have shed.
Well, a mistake is a mistake. I know I don't have the right to ask anything from you when I have betrayed you all and wimped out as I did.
Neither would I expect forgiveness, but I beg you to at least accept the following from me, unconditionally; I was wrong, you were right. I wish now that back then there were more of you, than there were of me…