I’m white at a South African University. Am I still welcome here?

I’m white at a South African University. Am I still welcome here? By Steven Boykey Sidley.

A short time before the recent student protests I was invited to the Joburg Art Fair. As we were leaving, a guest arrived in a head-to-toe outfit that was covered in the words “Fuck White People”. People clustered around her as devotees to a prophet. The guest basked in the attention. I thought: it is an abstract political statement, I should not take it personally. And then I went home and thought little more of it.

But then the recent university protests arrived and a slow normalisation of this language took hold. A young white woman of my acquaintance arrives in class to find “Kill Whites” written on the whiteboard. This is not the first time. She now wants to leave the university she attends, despondent and bewildered.

Kill alll whites t-shirts at the university

Kill-all-whites t-shirt at the university. Not exactly welcoming.

A crowd of belligerent “Fallists” enter a lecture hall and point at the white students: “We have no reason to coexist peacefully with you, ever.”

Fallists” promote a “pan-Africanist identity, post-apartheid liberation ideology”, giving rise to fears of African fascist nationalism.

Another young white left-wing student in a politics class tries to make a point in an interactive session and is told: “Shut up, you white bitch, your view is irrelevant.” And so she changes her major, which she loved.

These are small matters, perhaps, when juxtaposed against apartheid or structural and longitudinal poverty or lack of access to this or that. But still, the reaction from others to such utterances is thunderous in its silence. Is anyone concerned about this? Or does it just become a background sibilance against the great cacophony of more important battles?

No, no one is concerned. The western press would only be interested if some people were saying “kill all blacks”.

You are in competition with those black students for future jobs and government positions–in the division of spoils of government and corporations. They have probably figured that your “white privilege” (read “IQ”) will put you at an advantage in any fair competition, but they can squeeze you out of the running and demotivate you by such behavior.

That no one is calling a stop to it or even discouraging this behavior means it will only flourish and get more intense, until at some point someone does put the brakes on it. How much worse will it get before there is some blowback for these people? Given the experience in say Zimbabwe, perhaps not ever.

My daily experience, for the most part, seems far removed from the vicious racism of some of the Fallists, or even the anti-white lashings of the EFF, and even occasionally by the ANC as it tries to seduce those voters who would approve of the sentiment. But as I move through my day there is rarely a hint of tension with the many people of different cultures that cross my path in every way conceivable – social, business, service and serendipity. Is this a mirage?

Perhaps my antennae for trouble is overdeveloped – for thousands of years my tribe has warily looked to see when the welcome mat will be pulled up. And then we leave as fast as possible. And it has not escaped my attention that Mcebo Dlamini, along with his vile anti-white racism, is only too happy to spice it up with dollops of vitriolic anti-Semitism and archaic but still dangerous tropes about world domination. And now, in jail, he is seen as a leader and model for thousands of students.

Perhaps your instinct is telling you something useful.

hat-tip Stephen Neil