Gillian Schutte
Gillian Schutte

Dear White People

I have decided to start the New Year with a letter to you all. It is a letter that implores you to wake up and smell Africa with a fresh white nose.

Before you get angry and defensive, think of this letter as a crash course survival kit for navigating a new reality, and please be assured that if you take heed of the call in this letter your life will change in miraculous ways. Once the blinkers are off the world is a much more colourful and celebratory place to engage in.

Let me begin by wholeheartedly apologising for what my ancestors did to the people of South Africa and inviting you to do the same. I reject their legacy as much as is possible and, as you already know, have made it a life mission to deconstruct the phallocentric white view of ”white as right” and the misguided precept that white is central to all reality.

I reject the discourse of white domination but I acknowledge that I was brought up in this construct. Though my single-mother household was never economically privileged we were privileged by virtue of our skin colour and my mother was given assistance by the state that a woman of colour was denied.

I call on white people to reflect on what it means to be born into unearned privilege, to excavate our long history of racist exploitation and assumed superiority — to acknowledge that this is what we were taught and then to reject it wholly.

I call on white people to acknowledge that whiteness has become invisible to us and we no longer recognise it for a discourse that perpetuates the dehumanisation of black people in ways so subtle that they appear normal.

I call on white people to admit that the rainbow nation is a myth and until we truly are able to recognise the humanity of all people we cannot claim to be post-racist.

I call on white people to acknowledge how white supremacy continues to play out in the media — in representations of blackness — in the constant accusation that black people are racist when they speak their truth.

I call on white people to recognise the black-bashing trend of our media, which is largely white owned, and to put an end to this dehumanising and destructive infantile idiocy.

I call on white people to recognise that by jumping in on national debates that do not concern them they are usurping a platform for authentic black voices to air their grievances about our leadership. You may have noticed that the black voices we need and want to hear choose to disengage because they are skaam to share the podium with a lot of cacophonic white outrage about the same topic but from a white racist perspective.

White people please just shut up for once and listen. Not everything is about white people being accused of racism. Sometimes it is about the black middle class and whether or not they have adopted vile white practices.

I implore you, white people, to listen to black voices calmly and not to react defensively to every outrage a black voice presents.

I call on white people to accept that they are not the only race that is entitled to rage, to hurt, to pain, to anger.

I call on white people, to recognise that they fear the emotions of black people — that it is this fear that makes them shut down black voices and defend themselves from the suggestion that they are complicit in the continued oppression of black people.

I call on white people to recognise that we have all been taught (in varying degrees) that black people do not have the same emotions and psychology as us and that this fallacy is built upon the double-edged sword of domination and fear. To dehumanise a people is to exploit them with no guilt. To recognise their collective pain is to admit the guilt thereby see the humanity.

I call on white people to recognise how whiteness has unconsciously used blackness as a conduit for its own darkness and unacknowledged savagery.

I implore white people to get over their fear that black people are out to slaughter them in a wholesale genocide of revenge. It has not happened yet and there is so much evidence that it will never happen in a country that has built its economic policy on global standards that favour whiteness and rely on the middle class as a buffer zone between the people on the ground and the elite corporate and political class. Just get over yourselves. White people of middle class are still safer than people living in townships.

I call on white people to work on a strategy to lessen the growing gap between rich and poor because, white people, it is the poor who are really suffering in this country and it is the poor who are the wretched fall-out from a more than 360-year history of white domination, slavery, subjugation and theft of livelihood.

I call on white people to understand that poverty and unemployment are social conditions. By renaming them ”laziness”, ”lack of ambition” and ”stupidity” you are furthering your own illogical delusions that whiteness has nothing to do with the untenable conditions that most black people are forced to live in. These are not inherent traits of being black, as many of you are fond of saying. These are the social consequences of a brutal colonial history and current globalisation — coupled with weak anti-the-poor leadership.

And please white people, when you feel compelled to criticise Zuma, as we all do, please ensure that you are critiquing him for his favouring of white corporates and the white middle class over poverty issues — for his pro-capitalist stance and his failure to deliver to the poor — for his patriarchal utterances that threaten to usurp women’s rights — rather than obsessing over his penis, his wives, his second-language command of English and using him as a scapegoat for all your fears and negative unconscious stereotypes about all black folk.

Oh and one more thing … asseblief white people, from well-meaning liberals to white supremacists — just stop telling everyone who is not white how to behave, what to think and when to say what. By trying to control the public agenda you are participating in your own imagined oppression and avoiding the possibility that we are all human and can co-exist very nicely.

Be grateful that you are still welcome in a land that was stolen.

And stop bitching and telling black people to get over their history. Goddammit — if those things had happened to white people there would be an entire world domination film industry built upon the “legitimised suffering of white people” so why will you not understand that colonialism was a holocaust of epic proportions and it will take many, many more decades for the pain to subside.

Instead of defending your privileges by denying them and nursing your guilt through misguided outrage — why not get your hands dirty while helping to restore this country to a space of dignity and respect for all.

Try now to reconsider the possibility of the healing potential of apologising collectively and genuinely for the wrongs our history has perpetrated against the indigenous people of this land.

Oh ja … and white people, please try not to respond negatively and vilely to my letter because I will never stop pleading with you to get over yourselves and get with the current programme. It is as easy as the blink of an eye.

Yours sincerely,

Settler Sister

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  • 591 Responses to “Dear White People”

    1. Mariana #

      I would have loved this letter if it didn’t sound so arrogant and preaching. Is your 2013 new year’s resolution to be sanctimonious and arrogant? Because your holier-than-thou attitude is realy tiresome.

      I think if you wrote this out of a place that was a little more humble and less self-righteous, you might have gotten a better response so this…

      I grew up in a rasist household in the apartheid era and I make the choice every day to be a fair, unbiased person (to all demografics not just ACI races), to try to unlearn learned behaviour and people like you who get up on your little soap box irritates the living daylights out of me.

      Get off your high horse and smell the reality with your “fresh white nose”. People will be people… All we can do is to try to be less arrogant, more patient and think before we talk/accuse/point fingers… A few things you should have done before you commited to the tone of this letter…

      We shouldn’t just stop telling “people who is not white how to behave” – I think it goes for just about everyone else… Including your readers… So take your own advice there.

      “white people, please try not to respond negatively and vilely to my letter because I will never stop pleading with you to get over yourselves” … you should follow your own advise here as well because your ego is blocking the page.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm
    2. Paul Barrett #

      @Mfana Ronald Conco: I don’t know that you will read this, but I thank you for your comments. They should serve as a guide to Gillian Schutte on how to write about this issue. For all her (and her defenders’) talk of how it’s our problem if we don’t like her overly aggressive and openly prejudiced approach, you manage to show that such an approach is not required in order to get the point across. In fact, many are likely to be more inclined to listen if more writers could do their jobs without resorting to generalisations and condescension.

      @Those who say “you wouldn’t be defensive about what Gillian has written if it weren’t true for you” I’d like to ask one question: If you were accused of murder without evidence, would attempting to defend yourself indicate guilt?

      I’m not going to comment much on the piece itself, except to say despite the heavy handed and clumsy manner in which it is presented, much of what it says is worthy of attention (excluding the ridiculous assertion that whites should butt out of national debates, and similar silliness.)

      One more thing: though the piece is filled with generalisations and condescension that a better writer would avoid, one in particular stands out – the claim that we were all taught that blacks are inferior. You may have been taught this, Gillian, but I certainly was not. If anyone had tried to teach me such, I would have rejected it. Not everyone allows themselves to be indoctrinated.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    3. Tofolux #

      @Mariana. it is an old practise to accuse someone of arrogance when one’s own response to issues lack articulation. Noting by your response and obviously others, when you insult someone in a debate it is a given that you cannot respond or you are unable to rebutt the content. Now I suggest that you and others be more constructive and rebutt with a well thought out reply. Surely this should be easy for you simply because you enjoyed a priviledged education by super intelligent educators. So can you please use this priviledge and super intelligence and stop your personalising your attack but articulate this is the same faith that the debate has been put.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm
    4. Doubt it #

      Thought leader? Nah….

      There is nothing new or original to your article. Not even the heading.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:31 pm
    5. radiodave #

      nice podium. i agree, this separation’s a bit of a mess, and people like you need to say so. i’m a white dude and my partner that i love is a black chick – she’s moved in with me and everything – for a while i thought i was the least rascist person i know. but by analogy, this article finds comfort in me at the fact that i changed my religious stance from atheist to agnostic. that way people just leave you alone and get on with their lives. while it needs to be said it need not be dictated. i understand though that sometime you’ve gotta throw toys, and thanks for doing so.

      January 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm
    6. Gosiame Peter Seleka #

      Well thought out resolution Gillian.You are truly upright within yourself.

      January 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm
    7. michael #

      This country is going to end up in tears.

      January 11, 2013 at 8:16 am
    8. Innocent #

      Dear Gillian Schutte,

      The “white man” has treated the “people of South Africa” very good compared to what happened in other countries such as the United States of America and Australia. In these countries the “white man” went in and killed as many of the natives as possible. To such a point that these natives are the minority. In South Africa the “white man” tried to teach the natives about God. I am not saying the South African “white man” did not make mistakes, but in most cases it was in self defense in response to the native’s actions and/or the British influence/involvement.

      The situation in South Africa is very complicated due to the “white man” always trying to co-exist with the natives in harmony. If the “white man” just killed the majority of the natives (as in other countries) then it would not be complicated at all. The situation in the USA and Australia is not as complicated as in South Africa, because they took a different approach. I do not agree with their approach, but I sometimes feel that people like you (Gillian Schutte) sometimes forget about the struggle the “white man” of South Africa went through to try and live in harmony with the natives. There are off course a few exceptions to the rule, as with everything, but the majority of people that fall under the “white man” group are not racist.

      January 11, 2013 at 9:25 am
    9. Riana #

      Dear Gillian

      You do make SOME valid points and I assume that you wanted to make South Africa a better place for all and you hoped to eradicate white racism. But
      really, the assumptions that you make, the stereotyping and generalisations of
      white people, the judgemental tone, these surely are not to your credit at all.

      I am glad that the whole situation seems so simple to you – white people
      are to blame for everything that was, is, and will be wrong in SA?
      My perspective is that the situation is a whole lot more complex than that.

      As a young adult I read Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena by Elsa Joubert and
      Call me woman by Ellen Kuzwayo and these two ladies did more to change my
      mindset than your sanctimonious and “eenogige” letter ever will. I try my best
      to treat all people who cross my path every day as I would want to be treated.
      I am glad you think you have all the answers, in principle you don’t seem to be
      much different from Hendrik Verwoerd, he was equally sure of what he deemed necessary. All I know is that I have to try to do my level best every day to roll stones out of people’s way. I cannot and will not be held responsible for what other people (white, black, Chinese, Muslim, Hindu) think or how they choose to act. It is the only way for me to deal with the overwhelming reality, both the ecstasy and the agony that is my homeland, South Africa.

      Please, do not denigrate the little that little people like me do! We have to…

      January 11, 2013 at 9:32 am
    10. Pat Allen #

      My experience as a white child growing up in South Africa: At home, I saw my parents, living on a gold mine, earning a pittance with which to raise 4 children, always treat people in our home with the utmost courtesy, friendliness, respect and generosity. They assisted in all things within their means, such as going directly to the employer of the husband of our faithful house-helper to have a percentage of his salary deducted and paid directly to the mother of his children, before he drank the whole amount each week, so that she would be able to feed and clothe their children. I recall those times, such as when our parents managed to afford anything new. The old item, still in perfect condition, was never sold, but given freely to the same faithful woman. In fact, much of her household was furnished with gifts from my parents. Her children were clothed with warm jerseys knitted on my mother’s knitting machine. Christmas presents for each one were sent home. She was fed twice each day with the freshest food, in enormous quantities. Her transport costs were paid by my parents, and a better-than-average salary paid to her. She was given medical care as necessary. My memories are not guilt-ridden but happy. Differences we were not responsible for were eased by the little my parents could do to help being offered freely. We did not receive tertiary education, due to a lack of money, but we had enough education to cope, and so did they. Apartheid was not good, but humanity…

      January 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm
    11. stan #

      Firstly let me dispel the myth continually being presented as fact by the misinformed and by those promoting their own agenda at the expense of the truth. Stating that there has been 360 Years of white domination, slavery, subjugation and theft of livelihood of the blacks is simply nonsense. To continually repeat this incorrect statement simply feeds the unjustified sense of entitlement and perpetuates racism.

      When van Riebeck landed in the Cape there were NO blacks, in what was to become South Africa, except for a few who were migrating down the East Coast. Where there were populations they were Bushmen and the Hottentots. Early explorers noted that the interior of the country was devoid of any human habitation. Whites did not come across blacks in any numbers until they met in the Eastern Cape when the whites were migrating up the cost and the blacks migrating down. This resulted in clashes and the Government found it necessary to bring in the 1820 settlers to act as a bulwark to protect the lands they had settled in – which were not previously populated by blacks. The slaves in the Cape were imported from Malaya and Indonesia and some from the African East Coast simply because there were no blacks around. In fact it was found worthwhile to rather import labour with a work ethic from India and China to work the sugar cane fields of Natal and the mines in the Transvaal.

      Both the Whites and Blacks perpetrated genocide on the indigenous inhabitants (the Hottentots and…

      January 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm
    12. The Big Fig #

      Gillian, that is very high ground you have taken to on your high horse in order to patronise ‘white people’.

      When the haters go forensic on you, what hypocrisy might be uncovered?

      The whole black/white issue is a distraction from the real problem that most ‘developed’ nations and indeed the world, through globalisation, are ruled by a corporate plutocracy.

      My intent is not to trivialise or ignore the race issue, but merely to point out that when looked at from above, some of the issues in the race discourse turn out to be less about race and more a symptom of corporate plutocracy. It’s just that in SA, the race issue is still visceral and all too easily gets conflated with other issues.

      January 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm
    13. keke #

      @innocent& @mariana I suggest to you a book called “things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe…a thought provoking read

      January 12, 2013 at 1:16 am
    14. ChrisMuis #

      If you want to give a balanced view, at least also list bad things blacks have done and is currently doing.

      Alternative, also list the good things the whites has done in South Africa.

      Can’t or won’t do it – then your dribble is only for silly emotional reasons and I would go so far as to say I won’t support your press freedom.

      January 12, 2013 at 2:04 am
    15. Theo #

      Creative writing, this is what it is. Nothing more.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:21 am
    16. Yaj #

      Great article.

      Now let us all join hands, black and white to tackle the rotten corrupt system of fractional reserve banking and compound interest which continues to rob and impoeverish the mass of humanity.

      Let’s unite behind a programme of fundamental monetary reform to 100% (full ) reserve banking and debt-free social credit and build a more non-racial and equitable society in which peole of all races calive in relative harmony.

      January 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    17. Gerard #

      I call on you to acknowledge that I was but an idea and single cell in daddy’s underpants when those pigs were perpetuating their terrible ideas.

      I call on you to recognise that everyday I drive through the streets of Stellenbosch (because I’m a horrible white who made the choice to be born into privilege and can thus afford a car even if it put myself in so much debt I won’t pay it off in tis lifetime) and feel ashamed every time I drive past a struggling person of colour asking for change at a traffic-light and am frustrated that I can’t live without guilt even though the guilt I feel stems from the action of people who lived and died before I was born.

      I call on you to step off your bloody pedestal.

      And most of all I call on you to shut the hell up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      January 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm
    18. Max #

      Just like a charlatan selling magic potions in chain letter from a religious cult:

      “Be assured that if you take heed of the call in this letter your life will change in miraculous ways. “

      January 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm
    19. Erik #

      Nice and long letter you got there. Now mind telling us why are you anti-white?

      January 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm
    20. Matthew Wallis #

      sounds like an over-intellectualized reasoning by someone who obviously has a chip on her shoulder or wants or needs to prove she doesn’t like to deal with history and facts, must be related to a politician or something………………

      January 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm
    21. Brian B #

      What is the point of racialising the ills of the nation?

      Surely its time to work together to make the best of the abundance of opportunity that we possess ?

      Go to your leaders Gillian and implore them to get off their backsides and do what they should be doing IE lead.

      January 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm
    22. Blantyre #

      @Innocent Whites teaching black people about God!!? What do you think Africans were believing in? Satanism? Islam? We always believed in one God! We believe that to get through to God you have to go through our ancestors hence the sacrifice to our ancestors. Remember that the tearing of the lace and Jesus has not been proven and it was presented to Africans as a scientifically proven occurence and belief. So please!! Read the chapter of “The church and layman” on Steve Biko’s I write what I like!

      January 14, 2013 at 10:32 am
    23. shingi #

      Everything begs the question: Is there one God?

      January 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm
    24. For need of more space in which to type my long responce, and a wish not to shorten it, I created a blog in which to publish what I wish to say about this piece. Please take the time to read this, Gillian?

      January 15, 2013 at 8:56 am
    25. AfriYah #

      The lesser evil is the missed opportunities that go begging due to unrepentant whites. The greater evil is the potential for complete break down of life as you know it due the the backlash that is lurking on the sidelines and is being fueled by unrepentant whites. I had a chance discussion in a London pub with two white brothers from a family that had a sprawling engineering/foundry business and massive ranching estates in Zim in the late nineties. They summed our discussion by saying “We forewarned these old geezers!”. The Mangaung proceedings have given the whites a change to address the black/poor anger has potential to definitely and irreversibly alter life as we know it for all. I would hate to the black guy who will be in another London pub musing that “we forewarned these white dudes”.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:10 am
    26. john #

      lets not be in denial ,the transitions never helped to heal the minds of those who were victimised

      January 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm
    27. Tofolux #

      @ Gerard, you should add that you are extremely angry as well. In fact, noting much of the responses can I ask why are whites in general so angry and full of angst?
      @ Blantyre, if you care to check our history it will be noted that we did not believe in God. In fact, Steve Biko is very clear that missionaries came here and not only corrupted our minds but taught us to fear what is in the heavens. We never knew this fear until our minds were skrikked into disbelief of our own beliefs. Please correct yourself in understanding the history of blacks in general but african in particular.

      January 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm
    28. Mama Gillian your letter is progressively key, i dnt care what the rest of the bunch are saying against it. we need more of this. i give it three words KEY KEY KEY:)

      PHIL MOYANA -UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA,BPOLSCI(political science &economics) student.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:15 pm
    29. Black #

      This was a fun read. Though the comments were a lot more telling. I would love to target certain ones, but I’m afraid that would get too boring..everybody’s doing it! :)

      Firstly this is something real and people trying to say that the race issue isn’t as big a problem, are usually NOT black. They don’t have to face the race issue when varsities (like University of Pretoria) have a percentage they stick to when it comes to accepting black students. They never go above that. Oh and then we wonder “why are black people so generally uneducated???

      Secondly, having a problem with the letter speaking in generalization is actually logically incoherent. It’s ONE LETTER ADDRESSED TO WHITE PEOPLE IN……….GENERAL!!!!!!!!! Hello!! It’s like people expect the writer to have every single person’s experience accounted for..
      OF COURSE there was the guy whose parents treated their worker “like family”, well, of course excluding them from the will and family vacations…but “like family”m nonetheless..
      OF COURSE there’s people who were “never taught to look down on black people”.
      You’ll find nice examples everywhere. It’s a really high level of arrogance to believe that because YOUR example was a good one, the the writer’s GENERAL letter was flawed. I’d love to say “Who do you think you are?” but the answer is most probably WHITE! (see how I said “probably” not “definitely?)

      And thirdly, saying “what happened in SA isn’t as bad as in other countries”…

      January 16, 2013 at 11:00 am
    30. KBE #

      @ Black, thank you very much, I couldn’t agree with you more. You saved me the time because your comment in response to the previous hate-spewing comments sums up just about everything I would like to say. Yes the writer’s approach and some of what she said were…debatable. However, let’s not forget the universal message, the motivation, at the end of the day, all she asks is that whites free themselves of this racial mentality and accept the black man as his equal. Thank You.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm
    31. Richard Cohen #

      London, UK

      Sad to see that after 19 years post-apartheid folk are still talking colour. Surely it’s enough now. There really is no such thing as “race”. “The overwhelming majority of our genes are shared…” – The Meaning of Race, Phillip Tobias 1972.

      The colonials were not nasty because they were “white” whatever that is (I hate even writing the word). The ANC is not corrupt because many of it’s members are “black”.

      There are good people and bad people. Surely race is yesterdays argument best left behind? Forget colour.

      Fight corruption instead! Fight for democracy and the rule of law.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm
    32. Thank you, Gillian! Well done. From the comments of your readers, you have obtained your primary goal: to reach the conscience of the reader! They will struggle with acceptance; but, surely, they now know that someone has put the whole issue into an honest perspective. I applaud you for your courage. I always wondered why I had not seen a white person make a speech/letter like this in recent years. Every word is true!

      January 16, 2013 at 4:34 pm
    33. Mato Ska #

      I find no need to begin the discussion where the author has. I have my lineage and I have my family. I find it worthwhile and necessary to address the political context of improving society and working to organize people. Unity is a factor and goals are a factor. Thoughts and attitudes are often misconstrued or at times manipulated to maintain division and maintain the political domination as it exists. Many white South Africans were banned during apartheid in South Africa because their voices were raised in unity with the united peoples’ struggle. Unity is developed in the course of addressing common needs and concerns as well as presenting the particular political demands within a coalition of constituencies. All people bring particular attitudes and preconceptions into a unified effort. When they impact on the common effort they need to be addressed. Common priorities and objectives can be developed. People learn from experience and from instruction. It remains important to remember this. Leadership styles are affected by colonial legacies and negative preconceptions. The sincerity of intentions is better judged as unity is forged not in presumptions made towards others. Allies against poverty, unemployment and oppression are there every day. Our task is to unite folks and establish mutuality towards each other. I’d rather begin the discussion there, where people can learn more concretely how their attitudes are misplaced than lecture them and lump everyone together.

      January 17, 2013 at 1:44 am
    34. Susan de Villiers #

      Thank you Gillian. I agree wholeheartedly.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm
    35. Tofolux #

      @Mato Ska, you must be definitive when you talk about those who fought with the majority citizens against apartheid. Their decision was based on the decision that our country should be non-racial, democratic and non-sexist. These principles were so strong that some decided to take up arms to fight the apartheid govt. Now clearly these strong convictions cannot be clouded with unity because a united South Africa was the outcome. Also, you cannot speak or articulate the views of those who fought against apartheid.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm
    36. A Black woman #

      Well said Gillian!

      January 18, 2013 at 10:29 am
    37. Kat #

      Yes, I am white, yes I have been privileged, but I was born after the end of Apartheid, and being told I cannot apply for jobs because I don’t meet BEE criteria, despite being fully qualified, is equally racist.

      Yes the white middle class exists, and the “older” generations of white people still dominate the commercial fields, but the youth should be treated equally irrespective of race. Theoretically we have free education, but these standards are not being upheld.

      No, I don’t think all black people are lazy, but unfortunately the current government has created a culture of entitlement in black youth – they don’t have to work to get what they want, they deserve it because they are black – sounds like the way whites behaved during apartheid. I much prefer working with my black colleagues from other African countries than black South Africans, as they have a far better work ethic.

      Let’s stop looking at race and look at the real problems – corruption, lack of basic education, lack of service provision, and a government that doesn’t seem to care about it’s people. How can we expect the youth to reach university, when their parents are illiterate, and the majority of teachers are not properly qualified?

      January 18, 2013 at 11:47 am
    38. The Naked Worker #

      Dear Gillian

      Over 79 000 views of your article. 545 comments. Not bad.

      Much water has passed under the bridge (debate) since you posted this on
      January 2.

      My thinking has undergone a change based on your letter and subsequent responses to it, plus hundreds of comments.

      Pray do tell, what is your thinking now.

      I look forward to your next post, write from the heart again. Progress is being made, even if it has taken a different direction to what you originally expected.

      There must have been things that surprised even you.



      January 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm
    39. ProudlySAstudent #

      Dear Gillian

      Your piece really resonated with me. The things you say are hard for some white South Africans to digest. I think that’s understandable – different people are at different stages of readiness to look at Africa with fresh eyes. I am grateful however that you had the courage to be so straightforward. It inspires me. I am surprised at how many of the comments complain about the ‘race issue’ being brought up again. Globally, many many years of oppression and inequality cannot be healed in such a short period. These things have lasting effects in ways that most white people can’t even begin to understand. I don’t think we should be comparing what happened in other countries to what happened in ours – that way we will never resolve anything. I am on board with everything in me to fight injustice and to empower the poor. None of us have all the answers, but we can work together to figure out what our country needs, and I’m honestly excited to be part of that generation. We need more of these conversations, and need we need to hear these words from different voices.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm
    40. Orietta L'Abbate #

      I have been reflecting and acting on this all my life, often ashamed of being white. I was told that I have a black soul, and this is the best compliment I ever received. I join your plea and thank you for your words.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:10 am
    41. David #

      I am very much interested in South African politics.I am not South Africans but I think most white Soouth Africans are racist,They have been born racist and they are inwardly in their hearts. Most of them have run away from that place and I always hear them speaking and discussing outa here. They were happy during apartheid.They are finger pointing to ZUma and comapny but instead of blaming the system that created the rift they are on the blaming game.A word for them.Things may be basty for them if they dont take part in the reconciliation process and really they must be genuinely involved.I have been to Cape Town and some part of Orange Free State hahaha lot sof apartheid around there.Watch out guys you may never know what will happen after the demise of the glue that binds us today….Mandela.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:18 am
    42. No #

      Dear Gillian,

      I hope you have sold your house in the vile “white” suburbs and moved into Alexandra. No? Why am I not surprised?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm
    43. DR #


      Exploring Racism in the New South Africa

      Racism does not fall out of the sky, neither is any man born a racist. People do not generate racism out of malice or nothing. Many of us on these forums are all reformed Liberals. We became what we are. What is it that makes whites become racists?… please take the time to read this

      January 20, 2013 at 1:15 am
    44. Ohno #

      I suggest if you get too fed up in SA move to the DRC or better still Mali, or Zim.

      January 20, 2013 at 1:38 am
    45. Sirctiano20 #

      Its nice to see a white person seeing some light and for that she deserves to be called an African coz of the loyalty she owes to the continent and to its indigenous people. Every point she made was just spot on. Its just flawless …

      January 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm
    46. DJ #

      This link gives a brief yet comprehensive history of South Africa and will dispell the information that Stan# put out- allowing one to draw their own informed conclusion.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:59 am
    47. Brandon #

      Dear Gillian.
      I just wanted to thank you for the letter you wrote to the white people of South Africa.
      As a young white South African, I have personally had enough of ignorant ideas and other angry statements regarding our country, its past and the implications thereof in conversations. I’m personally tired of trying to see the logic and through this logic form a fair opinion based on the issues facing out country and its past only to be shot down by an “I’m white so I’m right” approach. I refer to your description of white “entitlement” to certain emotional responses as a superiority complex, which is unfortunately preventing many white people from being a key contributing factor to the currently non-existent rainbow nation. The arrogance of some white people, which is proportional to religion in some cases, is astounding and I’m ashamed of them. Yes, I understand that us white people have our place in this country, but so does everyone else – and that needs to be remembered. So thanks once again for your letter!

      January 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm
    48. Lara #

      I don’t disagree with what you have written, but why now? In 2013? Why is this subject still even being written about?

      Move on.

      January 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm
    49. A de Lange #

      G Schutte’s address to all white people only came to my attention now (21Jan). Thank goodness – what a way to start a year! Dear Gillian, your arrogance is unmeasureable. Your views are your own and although it may find an ecco in a number of other people, kindly refrain from subjecting all white people to your un-educated verbal diarrhoee. If you feel the need to be the centre of attention, do find a subject you actually know something about. To understand what happened in the past in SA I suggest you start by reading history books of all countries all over the world. If you missed it (and it seems likely) the ANC has been governing SA for more than 20 YEARS! Two decades. The sorries and appologies are over. The rest of us are trying to build a FUTURE – together. In your pathetic attempt to ‘score points’, you seem to forget that we have coloureds, indian people and other denominations in SA which have been here for many many years. We are indeed a Rainbow Nation! We are different from each other, and proudly so. We are South Africans – diverse, with the most valuable heritage. Please go back to sleep and try and wake up with your nose in a different direction – maybe you will also regocognise the FUTURE we are building instead of ignorantly wining about the past! Oh yes, as for the colour of my skin (and others) you’ll have to take that up with GOD – He is the Maker and I cannot apologise for that, neither should ANYONELSE.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:19 am
    50. Thokoloshe #

      Welcome to the 21st century :)

      January 23, 2013 at 10:02 am


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