Thursday, March 25, 2010

The economic liberation of Afrikaners

From News24.

It is an ironic twist of fate that so far the real beneficiaries of the ending of apartheid are the people who were supposed to have benefited from it whilst it was in existence - the Afrikaners.

During the years of apartheid, there was a culture of entitlement among the volk. With a good education you could end up as a Cabinet minister, a top civil servant, head of a parastasal or a senior executive in an Afrikaans-owned business like the Trust Bank or Sanlam. If you weren't so privileged, you could get a job on the railways as an artisan, join the ranks of the army or police or work for a municipality.

After 1994, all these expectations came to an end. Suddenly Afrikaners were out of power. They had to take a leaf out of Steve Biko's book: you are on your own and you will have to fend for yourself. And they have done so - fantastically well. I was told the other day that the fastest growing element of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are companies owned and run by Afrikaners. The whole coast north of Maputo in Mozambique is now a string of safari lodges and dive shops established by entrepreneurs from Pretoria. The list goes on and on all around South Africa, and increasingly north of the border and elsewhere in the world.

One could call this phenomenon the great trek into business. Adapt or die, John Vorster said. The Afrikaners voted for the first option individually and collectively. Rather like the Jews in America, the Pakistanis in London and the Chinese in Australia, Afrikaners have a collective consciousness which is the spiritual foundation of an effective commercial network. Language, religion, culture and a common outlook on life bind them into teams that are almost unbeatable when challenged by less cohesive competitors. This trait obviously extends into sport as well. It is a form of ubuntu: you help me and I will help you because together we can achieve more. It's just that you have to speak the taal!

This article was prompted by my wife and I staying one night last week at a brilliant place called Bergwaters Eco Lodge just outside Waterval Boven. It was a real pocket of excellence in the Elands Valley. Run by a young Afrikaans couple, it offered everything from a long, beautiful walk to great food to a comfortable bed. But it was the entrepreneurial spirit that impressed me. She wants to give every room the theme of a herb and he has just bought a local hardware store as a second business. Music to my ears. You should always want to improve, no matter what the current state of your business is.

This all goes to show that we need an entrepreneurial state in contrast to a developmental state. California is the sixth largest economy in the world with only 36 million people. There is no sense of entitlement there. Everybody follows the Steve Biko code: you make it yourself. It would be a real shame if, by replacing one entitlement culture with another, we undermine the truly entrepreneurial spirit that South Africa undoubtedly possesses in its population as a whole. The Afrikaners were liberated by creating a level playing field. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Entitlement shackles it.

I conclude with a question: why do you think Jews, Pakistanis and Chinese people perform so much better on other people's playing field than on their home grounds? They know the result depends entirely on their own efforts. Afrikaners have managed to make this psychological adjustment without having to emigrate. Good for them. The next job is to liberate our black brothers and sisters in the same way.

10 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

"The next job is to liberate our black brothers and sisters in the same way."

-- You can't do for a man what he should be doing himself. Does BEE and AA not already prove that?

AMB said...

I don't think this only applies to Afrikaners - although they're the most vilified under the ANC. I think all SA whites have to make a success of their lives as we're not in line for any of the government entitlement programs - our money is only good for SARS. Against the odds, and to the consternation of the ANC government, we continue to do well all over the world. It shows you that hard work; morals and work ethic rise above petty politics and discrimination. The Blacks have still to learn this lesson...and most likely never will due to their low IQ's and inability to see the truth.

Anonymous said...

News24 really suck.

I wrote a reply to the Clem Santa piece, but they declined to publish it. How wonderful that free speech is only applicable to certain view points.

Have you ever heard the saying: "You can't keep a good man down"

In economic terms it should read that you cannot keep an intelligent, hard working man down.

You can pass legislation to prevent him from gaining access to employment, but that still won't bring him down. All you've done is to force him to stand up and rely his own entrepreneurial spirit.

Let's face it BEE and AA is less about upliftment of the blacks, that it is about the suppression of the whites.

Quite ironic if you consider that the whites are now economically more powerful, considering that they are self employed and should they ever consider a economic revolution in terms of the withholdment of tax, it is much, much easier to do so if you work for yourself.

Max said...

Lets look at an example of how the blacks will never be liberated. A farm has been in a white farmers family for the last 100 years and they have been farming it successfully for many generations. On that same farm there is also his black workers who have also been working there for the passed 100 years.
Now land distribution comes along, takes the farm away from the white farmer and gives to the black "farmer". After 100 years you would think the blacks had some sort of clue of how to run a farm after watching the white farmer for 100 years. But what happens? Failure and failure only. No friends if you can't teach these people something after 100 years how do you think we will do it after 10years?

Anonymous said...

"News24 really suck."

News24 belongs to Naspers who also owns Die Burger. You cant beleieve anything they print.


Anonymous said...

@Anon - I stopped posting comments as they never publish them. I suspect they can see I post from outside of SA and therefore don't post my comments. I could be wrong. I never use inappropriate language or post derogatory remarks so it can't be due to my content.

Viking said...


your point is taken, but I strongly suspect that the actual black farmers who worked there for generations are not the ones who get the farm - the local taxi boss is first on the list (as long as he is ANC and his brother is on the council).
I saw on Carte Blanche the other Sunday how an local Indian family landed themselves with a farm after having cheated the farm workers!

Anonymous said...

What a stupid article!

Firstly: Does nobody remember that the Bantu Nations had their own countries where they could serve in Government, Military or Management during Apartheid, whereas today the Boer Nation doesn't have anywhere to work for themselves?

Secondly: I personally think community orientated countries, containing a single Nation, work much better than those countries where "jews, pakistanis and chinese" arrive to make a quick buck, usually at the expense of the Natives. (Why the "author" chose such different Nations - one millenia old and another 50years old - only he knows).

Ivan said...

Many young South Africans leave SA.

If many young unemployed whites leave SA, the overall unemployment rate of whites left in SA stays low. The same is true about income: if young and rather penniless whites tend to leave, the average wealth of whites SA increases or stays high for a while (until they retire).

Statistics thus look great for a while.

You're funny Clem said...

Clem said : "California is the sixth largest economy in the world with only 36 million people. There is no sense of entitlement there. "

California is bankrupt and one of the most "progressive" states in the USA....