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

Tags: , , ,

  • Khaya Dlanga…white South Africans are trying
  • The intimate and unbearable shackles of racism
  • We need to talk about racism (TEDx Talk)
  • What the fake signing man really told us
  • 591 Responses to “Dear White People”

    1. Troopee #

      If you want to instantly remove power from the ANC, Zuma etc then this is it…

      “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.” – Gillian Schutte

      …other wise continue with your anti-black whinging and the ANC will rule till Jesus comes.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:08 am
    2. Charlie Marriott #

      Gilian, most of your letter is on point, particularly the point about listening better. Given what you could expect in the way of white response, it was brave. The various vitriolic responses suggest you have touched a deeply unconscious raw nerve. A pity that there is so little black response, but this is possibly explained, to some extent, by your comment on authentic black voices disengaging. However, your own letter is itself a contribution to the national debate, so it is disengenuous to discourage white involvement. Your letter is an expression of ownership. Do you wish other whites not to own their stuff? Because a lack of involvement in national affairs would amount to this. The sheer size of the continuing challenge around race means that the requisite evidence that Mr Cole is looking for would never fit into one mere letter. However, in the same spirit of challenge your letter is written, I challenge you to re-read Mr Cole’s comment regarding the extent of your ‘rightness’. It does have the affect of locking out others’ possible contradictory views.
      Speaking for the whole of any group is usually to be discouraged, but the good intentions of the letter far outweighs the generalizations you perpetrate. Biko repeatedly argued that whites should concern themselves primarily with helping to reform other whites’ behaviour. Your letter is a bold attempt to fulfil that role.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:23 am
    3. Frank #

      Go get a life

      January 5, 2013 at 1:21 am
    4. Afrikan #

      How racist, condescending and blatantly arrogant most responses to your open letter are? Sad, true and as white as the foolhardiness of most blacks. Today there are black africans. A while back the same Afrikans were nothing but Kaffirs, bantu, Non-white, Natives . . . To this day the same spoils of land dispossession, inequity and injustice prevail on account of a negotiated complicity to the continuum. True, honest and frank (Afrikan and White Settler) voices did not survive the negotiated delusion of the rainbow clap trap. Some were lynched by the same claimants to the so-called liberation. Liberation from what? A good many of them were without birth right on the land of their forebears. This land, which was usurped with religous deceit and desecrated by armies of conquisitors and their merchants, remains white settler possession. Thanks to the complicity of those who fought for white privilege claiming it is liberation. Except for their lies and deceit, what have they to show for their pontification? True! they are no different from the National Party. Nor are they different from the Liberal Party that created both of them. The one on “swart gevaar” ticket. The latter

      January 5, 2013 at 1:24 am
    5. BRAVO Gillian ! I am not South African. I am African and I live in Europe. Your letter is one of the most intelligent piece written by a White person on racism. And I think that your letter is adressed not only to White South Africans but to all Whites all over the World. And you are very right when u say that racism is phallocentered ideology. Before racism, there was sexism
      I am myself a theorician on anti-Black racism specificly and very involved in a global and deconstruction/reconstruction approach. I think that Blacks – all over the World – should be concerned at high level by your letter too. Not just because it attacks in a certain way the racist and suprematist White in front of them, but also because it targets the racist and suprematist White inside them (as a result of mental colonization and auto-colonization) and to whom they never address.
      Your Truth letter raise many questions too. Why Blacks in South Africa have – through TRC – apologized people (Whites) who through representatives never asked for apologies and who never respond to it, even symbolically? Why, if apartheid was a crime against humanity, the reparation issue is still not globally addressed? (it is not only a Ubuntu Philosophy necessity, but all over world, after a crime always follows reparation) Etc Etc
      Stay strong on your position. You are very right. All those who are against u are just some steps in rear, not yet able to deconstruct all deep & multidimention racist constructions. Thank…

      January 5, 2013 at 5:50 am
    6. Me #

      WOW!!! This letter could have been written to white folks in the united states…pay attention…

      January 5, 2013 at 5:56 am
    7. ntozakhona #

      Philip Cole just read a few comments above yours and then explain what is progressive about that? What is so sacred about the white race that it is deemed arrogant to write a letter to them?

      January 5, 2013 at 6:01 am
    8. Ntombi Dina #

      Ohh wow! And they are defensive, what a surprise! I wonder what’s there to defend if the article is a load of rubbish!

      January 5, 2013 at 6:27 am
    9. Troopee #

      Well said Gillian. Good article.

      January 5, 2013 at 6:29 am
    10. Deon Botha #

      Dear Ms Schutte,

      Thank you for your edification and insight into the imperatives of all “whites” I take it you know how to separate your colours to ensure that pure whites are identified.

      Your presumption is at best annoying and condescending. Instead of this wrist-wringing apologetic posture permanently buried in the past, I humbly propose that you apply your efforts towards promoting a new and shared identity for all South Africans.

      There is an enormous amount of work to be done if the current debacles in education, safety and security, transport et. al. are to be turned around. One thing is for sure: If we perpetuate the us-and-them mindset you represent, the convenient pigeon-holing that explains the troubles of the land by pinning it on the attitudes of racial stereotypes, we will struggle to get traction and generate some momentum on this path to a country that offers economic opportunity to all its citizens.

      I’m sure this intellectualisation of the issue makes for good debate and dinner talk, but I can’t see it really making a sustainable contribution to the real challenges facing this country we all love so much. We need leaders with vision and integrity, and then some good old elbow grease to get this wagon called SA out of the ditch it is currently stuck in.

      OK, I’m sorry, very sorry. So sorry. Can I now return to my safe enclave and tut-tut about the state of the nation and the miscreants in charge?

      Thank you.

      January 5, 2013 at 7:02 am
    11. Mr Africa (Eagles) #

      Well this article raise matters, behalf of Mr Africa and real African with heart of Son and daughters of sweetlands and understand Africanism.I have travelled and smell it, African are mostly accommodating, social and easy forgiving.Only when the stay in those countries with personal dominants like some cultures, Blacks become violent and kind of racial discrimination based on stress,and bad treatment they endures. when i grew up i was trained to forgive and love everyone.

      i remember how my father treat whites after the war,he accept them and give them water to drink and i thought my father was mad but i learn forgiveness from that day.Honestly i think some white still have to learn to be less discrimination.

      January 5, 2013 at 7:37 am
    12. Paul Eveleigh #

      Unbelievable Gillian – it must be tough living in your world of constant apologising. We all come from somewhere where our ancestors were attacked and dominated by another group but for farks sakes we have actually moved on. Should my celtic origins mean I should go around impaling my enemies heads on stakes because my ancestors did it – the point is we adapt as cultures by moving forward and learning from the past and progressing (I feel constant apologising isn’t part of the process). I would like to write a longer email but I think I will take the dogs for a walk….

      January 5, 2013 at 7:47 am
    13. Stuff #

      I have just read your article again after reading some of the comments. Still impressed with it. What amazes me is there have been over 44 000 views. That must be an all-time Thoughtleader record.

      January 5, 2013 at 9:11 am
    14. Heather #

      I disagree wholly. We look forward, can buy land on the open market, but this is a culture of handouts now.
      I am a young single parent of a child with significant medical needs. I came from a modest home, paid for my own diploma. Took pride and worked hard, starting with jobs school leavers today would turn their noses up at. For this I blame greed and consumerism, not Apartheid or lack of opportunity. I am paying for my own studies to move ahead. I pay my taxes so others can have free education, housing, electricity, water, social grants, soon the dole. So if you have white priveleged guilt get over yourself ok?

      January 5, 2013 at 9:16 am
    15. Gillian
      Thanks for the powerful letter, those who chose to ignore it or respond negatively, did it on their own peril. The right time to sort things out is now as nothing lasts forever,do it for generations to come.(The most powerful man in the world today is black(Obama)

      January 5, 2013 at 9:19 am
    16. Kreef #

      Wow . Settler Sister you make blacks look such losers .

      January 5, 2013 at 9:20 am
    17. Jenny Dugmore #

      We are beyond apologising for past wrongs – we know what happened and it was wrong. We are privileged to live in this incredible country. We enjoy the beauty and wealth that South Africa offers and choose to live here alongside each other. It is not fair that in this land of wealth so many children are hungry and have no access to the basic requirements and no way to change their situation.Taking responsibility for our fellow citizens and creating an environment wherein everyone has food and education will improve the lot of all – that is what we should mutually strive for.

      January 5, 2013 at 9:26 am
    18. Roux Nel #

      It is because to may people think the way you do that we are in this mess! Instead of pulling them to our standards, we are dropping to their standards which is why you don’t even receive proper service from a white person anymore. I’m certainly not sorry for what my ancestors did and I’m proud to be whom I am! Our ancestors came in peace and wanted to live in this country but were brutally murdered by these people as is still happening today, I think it is time you wake up and realize what truly is happening around you. If they get hold of you they will murder you the same way and your views and perceptions wont save you!

      January 5, 2013 at 9:29 am
    19. It’s a dogs world for Paul !

      January 5, 2013 at 9:31 am
    20. #ntozakhona

      It is just that according to Robert Subokwe there is only one race – the human race:

      “We aim, politically, at government of the Africans by the Africans, for the Africans, with everybody who owes his only loyalty to Afrika and who is prepared to accept the democratic rule of an African majority being regarded as an African.We stand committed to a policy guaranteeing the most equitable distribution of wealth… Socially we aim at the full development of the human personality and a ruthless uprooting and outlawing of all forms or manifestations of the racial myth.”

      Go back to your roots and read Sobukwe, Biko and Mandela.

      January 5, 2013 at 9:39 am
    21. Stephan Maritz #

      Gillian I voted yes for change in South Africa in 1994 because I then believed that the way blacks were treated was wrong and I’m still believing that. In doing that I belief that I’ve showed that I’m sorry for the way blacks were treated and because of that vote the blacks are in power today and in charge of their destiny.
      The time to keep on saying that we are sorry is long gone. All the sorry in the world will not change into a quick fix to pull poor people of all races out of their misery. It will also not reduce racism. The way the government govern is determining the level of racism and wealth creation for all. And racism is also not only limited to white people.

      January 5, 2013 at 9:46 am
    22. craig duncan #

      Dear white settler,
      You circle under your banner of ‘polarization’ with two left feet and flagelation whip.
      The rest of us will stride down the Mandela Road.

      January 5, 2013 at 9:47 am
    23. Afrikan #

      “To this day the same spoils of land dispossession, inequity and injustice prevail on account of a negotiated complicity to the continuum.”

      That is a myth, Whites only make up 30% of the middle/upper class in south Africa.

      Stop demanding the tiny White minority to uplift 50 mil people, it is a responsibility of middle/upper classes of all races now. But I guess you know that but just like your White middle class compatriots unwilling to share our countries wealth, that is why you keep on hammering relentlessly with your White liberals cheerleaders on that white guilt drum.

      January 5, 2013 at 9:48 am
    24. JOY #

      I love this letter! YES YES YES!
      I agree with you Settler Sister and want to yell out loud: “Stop the DELUSION of assumed superiority!”

      You have surely not let anybody down!

      It is time for every citizen in South Africa to look at all the other people around them as fellow citizens instead of being labeled by color! We are each valuable and precious AND UNIQUE! And we all have a wonderful contribution to make in South Africa.

      May we all embrace life-giving MORAL character and strive to contribute to the whole!

      I cannot change the past but I surely can make a positive difference in the present and the future.

      I will not live with guilt anymore though … once we are convicted of sin and sincerely asked forgiveness we are forgiven. It is time to live right NOW … and that applies to ALL South Africans.

      Two wrongs do not make a right!

      Be blessed with seeing the BIGGER PICTURE for when we compare our small-mindedness with eternity . . . Father GOD put each of us here ONLY to be a blessing!

      January 5, 2013 at 10:11 am
    25. Momma Cyndi #

      Roux Nel

      Hells Bells !!!!
      Paranoid much ?

      January 5, 2013 at 10:19 am
    26. Robert Leonard #

      I am an African. I was born in South Africa, my mother and father were born in South Africa. I didn’t choose to be born here. I never agreed with the apartheid regime, and as an English speaking South African there was nothing to do except emigrate. My vote meant nothing. As a white in South Africa I am in the same boat. My vote will never count. I do not ever apologize for someone else even when I am in total disagreement with what they do. Their choices and their actions are not mine.Democracy and majority rule are a falacy. If I use my white nose now and take a deep breath, what I smell stinks. Neither I nor anyone else can say this is my country. Nobody owns the country, we are all children of the country and as such we belong to the country. I am fistly a member of the human race. I don’t believe in any other racism. I am a citizen of the earth and finally I am a child of Africa and South Africa.

      January 5, 2013 at 10:25 am
    27. JOY #

      Quote: “Be grateful that you are still welcome in a land that was stolen.” That statement reveals a small-mindedness view … There is a BIGGER PICTURE that you do not see.

      Gillian, I truly believe that I belong here! Not because of the doings of my ancestors, but ONLY by the DIVINE HAND of the most HIGH GOD. And so are all the other cultures that are represented in South Africa. In the GRAND SCHEME of things South Africa is a GIVER nation that is marked with variety! :)

      Our calling is to be life-giving, to bless and birth new things and steward the resources entrusted to us. We do not own anything here! The truth is … NO ONE owns this land since FATHER GOD owns the WHOLE earth and ALL that is in it.
      We are called to have a generational world view in that we are called to contribute to humanity by making investments that will outlast TIME and culture! We have spent time kicking up a lot of dust and none of us have brought about ANY life-giving transformation as we were called to do.
      Hopefully we can stop playing the blame game and start focusing on our true purpose and BUILD the “fortress of righteousness” TOGETHER!
      Pain management and guilt-burdens bring us no where and neither does regret!

      With the rich giftedness that is laid up in this rainbow nation we should start contemplating our true potential and start focusing on a strategy that will enable us to make that LASTING investment and stop wasting time with futile faultfinding.

      SO let’s start NOW!

      January 5, 2013 at 10:57 am
    28. African Guy #

      Dear White Settler,

      Thanks so much for showing us how sorry you are for the wrong doings of your ancestors, and looking at your age through your picture, you surely enjoyed the white beaches too.

      Thank you for apologising so profusely after almost 2 decades of the forming of the new South Africa. We are now getting you back through taking your farms, preventing you to have jobs, or to be entrepreneurs through our BEE policies. Our country is ridiculed with crime, murder and poverty as our borders are open to all who wants to come and get some of our honey and milk abundance.

      Our government is doing all they can with the R70 billion that was stolen through corruption. The people that were all together in the struggle still have to walk miles to get a glass of dirty drinking water and defecate like an animal in the bush. This is while our president spend R100′s of millions on his house.

      The Afrikaner who came here and fought for their own rights, who’s woman and children died in the English concentration camps, who’s babies’ heads were crushed against rocks and the wheels of the Ossewa, who liberated the country from the Brits, who built industries and documented histories of all cultures, let them immigrate like they are. Let them flee and take their skills and resources with them, because we do not need them in our land.

      We have a great example through Zimbabwe of how things can be and we will strive towards that.

      Thanks again for being sorry for…

      January 5, 2013 at 11:14 am
    29. Percipient #

      Mommy Professor, leave my people be. Love your race folks, whoever you are.

      January 5, 2013 at 11:32 am
    30. TTRZ #

      This blog post and discussion is a sham. I wrote a thoughtful, non-abusive comment and it got moderated out. What is your agenda?

      January 5, 2013 at 11:52 am
    31. Robert Leonard #

      “I am an African. I was born in South Africa, my mother and father were born in South Africa.”

      Correct. Read Subokwe and others. But your birth right as an African will be trampled on if you don’t defend it vigorously because there are greedy racists who continually attempt to divide the nation. Read Trevor Manuel’s recent open letter to Jimmy Many. When you start looking at what the motivation is – it is to maintain the class-based status quo. Create a new second class citizen based on race and to distract from a nonracial socialist discourse, that is why Gillian/De Vos/Vice will desperately try to divide us with their divisive [capitalist] USA imported CRT, get us to fight each other again. But note who the Black commentators are, they are overwhelmingly from the Black middle class. The same people who voted for Lonmin BEE director, Cyril Ramaphosa, multi-billionare spending R18 mil on a buffalo, the Butcher form Marikana now *elected* deputy president of the ANC – all of that is not White people’s fault.

      January 5, 2013 at 11:57 am
    32. Robert Tannahill #

      Fascinating. So many good points and when it is all cast, such a fundamental inability to reach an accurate conclusion. This is where the education system goes so wrong so often. Facts are learnt. The ability to join the dots together is intelligence. The ability not to breathlessly saddle the first emotional spike that comes along, is discipline. I’m very proud of my family, right down to those who first landed on these shores and overcame considerable difficulties. I’m proud of my friends and they way they conduct their lives and overcome obstacles with hard work, imagination and sacrifice, to, hopefully, reach their goals. Try respecting people for what they accomplish, whatever the odds. But then what do I know. Std8.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm
    33. Zvama #

      I am humbly surprised by the way Gillian has approached this issue. What has happened has happened but it is never too late. As the proverbial: Better late than never. The way colonization was carried out was systematic, with varying degrees of brutality or marginalization. The South African ranks among the worst because of the denial of blacks to education. Disrupting a normal functional peasant communal farming required a reasonable replacement to the access to the means of production. I implore my South African friends and former colonial masters to take a leaf from New Zealand. Though Kiwis may have not completely satisfied all the Treaty requirements, they do their best and the government acknowledges wrong doing and most Kiwis feel very safe and have good nights’ sleep and are among the world leaders in high life expectancy. If nothing wrong was done in South Africa why are the former colonialist living in fear and susciption? Like I said there is still a chance for correction but only if people humble themselves and admit to build a new united, forward thinking nation, it starts with you and me. Thanks Gill

      January 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm
    34. Open Apology #

      I would like to apologise on behalf of white middle class South Africans for this article.

      I did not steal my land I took out a loan and worked very hard for 20 years to pay it off. I pay a lot of money every year in taxes to which the government use this to line their pockets and get rich quick (read build 250m houses).

      You show me one truly successful African country where medical, education, housing, infrastructure and economy are comparable to a western country and I will be inclined to agree with your viewpoint that there is a preconception of white superiority. There are very intelligent black people that I have had the pleasure of crossing my path but I have had the displeasure of seeing companies going under due to the incompetence of their workers.

      Stop reminding us of our past wrongs (I wasn’t in government I did not take any one’s land and I have never mistreated or wronged a black person) and start accepting that the problems of our country are no longer solely Whites fault. The ANC have had many years to begin the healing process and by the looks of it they are doing a spiffing job.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm
    35. Alan #

      PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN.

      Seven years outside of your country can help. 14 years, 21, might help more. But coming home (if I may say so) is not something I do lightly. I am not sure, after all, if I am welcome here. And I would not want to stay if I was not.
      Where do you go if you are not welcome in South Africa? Do you go to England or France or Germany or the Netherlands? If you are white that is.
      Most Zulu or Xhosa or Sotho or Swazi are happy to stay here and happy to feel welcome even if for a time they were not (dead forgotten history.) We are so happy, us settlers, that we still have natives to make us feel welcome.
      But if you are talking about what makes us proud, now, that is another matter. I have not found many occasions to wear that T shirt or have the logo painted onto my forehead. If you had designed one that said Not Proudly South African I might have worn it. And in place of a tick, please, I would have wanted a cross. Then I would have traveled all around South Africa wearing that T shirt and made myself a living punch bag for ever conservative in Bloemfontein and every liberal in Cape Town. I would have been so glad to at last bring all the whites together against a common foe that was not a black man. And yes, I would have at last been proudly South African with about 35 million Africans behind me. (To be continued…)

      January 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm
    36. Zvama #

      Why not take a leaf from NZ? Kiwis sleep in peace knowing that their forefathers covered for them. It’s never too late. Humble yourselves and admit past and present wrong doing and build Africa together, it’s the only place where most White Africans would survive anyway. In the first world they have enough of you and the competition is tough, it’s on merit, ask me I am seeing it here!

      January 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm
    37. sikhali #

      Once in a while, something worth reading pops up. Human race should be our common denominator people!

      January 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm
    38. addibernette #

      a lot said too late. we are still economically downtrodden by capitalist white empowerment..look at who heads big coporations in SA.riding on the back of ghost Black CEO’s and Management. Until our economic landscape and face changes it’s lilly-white persona, I do not foresee any immediate improvement in the day to day lives of the average SA citizens…this includes all ethnic groups of our society.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm
    39. Glorified #

      I congratulate u on a well written piece. White south Africans are still very angry and I still don’t understand why, u have done blacks wrong and u continue to be racist. I would like to say to my not so racist white people I congratulate u of letting go of the past And building south Africa, congratulations u have freed u’r selves of the spirit of hatred? Those angry white people out there if u say blacks are weak it’s only a mirror of yourself, I believe that’s how u see yourself. Forgive ur self and live ur life in this beautiful Country of ours.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm
    40. Stewart #

      Asseblief Gillian, don’t assume that all white folk share you thoughts, emotions and guilt. Some of us smelt the roses many decades back.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm
    41. White African #

      Firstly, it is this type of open gibberish that keeps us in the past and not moving forward, to apologize is looking backward instead of where we should be looking, forward. Apologizing for the past does not change the past, we can not affect the past but we can affect the future, lets moved forward for crying out loud.

      Secondly if you want too keep focusing on the past, lets look at history (the past) as an example. White fear is not based on any feelings or misunderstanding but on fact and that fact has been demonstrated in the rest of Africa. White rule built success and gave back to the majority what the majority claimed belonged to them on a silver platter only to watch the platter pillaged.

      Lastly, race has never been the issue to fixing the problems in South Africa, rather it is culture. Again lets look at history, demonstrate a single war based on race rather you will find all based on culture. like races have battled because of difference in culture not color. There is strong evidence of this in South Africa past and present. If we are to move forward it is not going to be by removing the racial blinkers or by apologizing for a racially different past it is only going to happen when we become a single culture, a single South African culture. I hate the term Rainbow Nation, because it refers to color and it maintains there is separation.

      If you where born is this beautiful country then you are not defined by our color but by the fact that we are South…

      January 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    42. impedimenta #

      There is truth here. Do we whities want to hear it? I hope so.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm
    43. Michael #

      Thank you Gillian!

      The greatest contender to a revised attitude to the gross injustice of our past is greed and narcissism.

      I humbly contend that those that oppose the truth of your words are folk that are ‘blinded’. They take a stand against the commandment of ‘love of neighbor’. It reflects the condition of their heart and the unfortunate consequence that may well await them in the life hereafter.

      As a very privileged white South African (totally undeserved by way of my parents ‘settling’ in SA to exploit the unjust laws), I am now enjoying the benefits of ‘corporate directorship’ for having a post graduate qualification. I hope that I develop an attitude and heart to always pursue a life of restitution to compensate for the inequality that provided me the unfair advantage. Only selfish greed could motivate that I would want it only for myself and not have a compassion for the pain and plight of our disadvantaged compatriots.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm
    44. Respect!
      Makes me think of those cats in Cape Town who came out with those “I benefited from Apartheid” t-shirts. Right on! There is so much to be learned and gained from being honest about what it means to be white in this world. I know there is nothing I can do about it, historically speaking, but when it comes to the future, living with an awareness of it somehow makes it easier to find my place in todays SA.

      January 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm
    45. Philip van Rensburg #

      A valid point that you made: Consciously or not, we are apt to take a stance based on our own conception of who we are or what we believe to be proper and true.
      Yes, white people are still at an advantage in the present system,and we should be aware of that.
      Your attack on the complacency of so many whites and the perpetuating of “supremacy” by our attitude of pride and self-centredness is justified.
      The question remains, however, not of the “why,” but the “how” to move away from where we are, and become better than those whom we blame for where we are at present.
      I, in turn, could attack your ideological stance and let it develop into another acrimonious debate that will divide us further.

      What I would like to suggest is,let us go back to the old values of humility and service, serving where we can, as we can, and not expecting either thanks or recognition.
      Those that are remembered best, are those that served best!

      January 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm
    46. Sinudeity #

      Rolling my eyes. Black consciousness is accepted, but its not accepted for there to be a ‘white conscioueness’ movement. Especially in South Africa. Its cool to have a black management forum, black journalist forum, black laywers association etc, but its not cool for white folks to have their own association.

      PS, as a post-apartheid South African, me and everyone my age, and younger, this letter is quite meaningless.

      But I can see how it would apply to apartheid relics, such as yourself.

      January 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm
    47. XzalD #

      Best Gillian.

      I am sorry and take empathy with each person who is faced with unjust suffering. However I do not apologise to anybody!

      You see, I am a son of a white family who moved out of the status qou as a rebellion against apartheid’s wrongs, so as not to be a part of it. Who, on returning to the country of my birth, had to face discrimmination and quotas in access to education and employment because there is a historical imbalance I had no part in. See on an individual basis there is now injustice based on race.

      Your letter is applicable to those that make the mistake of stereotyping, but to me and those of all races that have matured beyond the overly simplistic focus on race your letter is an insult.

      The terrible legacy of our past was as a result of unfair discrimmination, to perpetuate it will only guarantee a terrible future.

      I refuse to form part of your white stereotype, I will instead continue to live with the same love for every South African I live and work with, and will refuse to see them as anything else but individuals, equal to me.

      If Whites need to apologise and change, it is for not being a South African patriot firstly, and not making our country a better place for all. To those who are fellow citizens first and do not stereotype themselves or others, we are the constructive response to this destructive letter.

      January 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm
    48. Many Afrikaaners not Whites and their kin & keiths ( Coloureds and Indians) are proving to be a hinderance towards the reconstruction and de-racialisation programme in SA. Afrikaaners as of today still long for “old days”. The Boeres have not accepted the new order and thus are not willing to put their 2pounds in the same table as blacks to build the SA envisioned in the Constitution and recently in the NDP vision 2030. I say to you Gillian, you must remember that SA’s participation in International conventions and the fact that SA is operating in the democratic globalisation order will not stop it from implementing a programme that will deliver the grievances of the Black Man. SA is capable of taking that risk…

      January 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm
    49. Mary #

      Oh whatever- this letter is ‘t thought provoking or gound breaking. It’s old news with the same old accusations and so on. Generalisations like this is a big problem in racism because it assumes that ALL white people in SA feel a certain way- come on now- really??

      January 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm
    50. Spartacus #

      You seem to be afflicted with a severe case of White Guilt, Gillian. The human species consists of many races, most of which enjoy sticking with their own kind. Why then, out of all the colours in the rainbow is it only the white race that can be racist? If racism can be defined as one race believing they are superior to another, then does it follow that all those who cry racist believe they are inferior? The strong have been colonising the weak for centuries, The Romans invaded Britain 2000 years ago, The Vikings invaded Western Europe not long after that. Colonisation usually brought with it education, medicine and technology, making us all who we are today. Look where so many ex-colonies are today without the white man. Zimbabwe is a case in point. If only some people could recognise each other’s strengths instead of continuously polishing the chips on their shoulders, the world would be a much better place.

      January 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    Leave a Reply

     characters available