The end of the apartheid alibi

The end of the apartheid alibi. By R.W. Johnson.

During the local election campaign Ferial Haffajee wrote about the sad state of her part (and every part) of Johannesburg: litter everywhere, potholes, street lights and traffic lights that don’t work, irregular water, irregular power, uncollected rubbish and all the rest of it. When she recited this lament to the ANC she was angrily accused of “nostalgia for the white city”.

In today’s South Africa it is, of course, politically inadmissible to say that the whites got anything right so instead Ferial recorded sadly how in the years before 1994 there had been lots of bold talk by the UDF about how much better in every respect things would be in the new, liberated South Africa. The developmental state. People’s education. Reconstruction and development. The comrades gave such inspiring speeches about these matters.

Ferial is a nice woman but her perspectives are so encased in a sort of terminal political correctness that she can’t call a spade a spade. But imagine the angry black voters of Soweto or Ekurhuleni who booed Ramaphosa, or the Indian voters of Chatsworth, or the Coloured voters of the Cape Flats: if you accused them of “nostalgia for the white city” you’d be told “Absolutely. You bet. So’s everybody.”

It is indeed a no-brainer. Cheap, plentiful and reliable electricity. Sewage and water systems that work properly. Street lights and traffic lights ditto. Decent roads, litter that gets collected, law and order: what’s not to like?

The point is this. Whenever anyone tries to hold the ANC responsible for anything its first instinct is to find a way of blaming apartheid. But in the local election campaign this was impossible. They’ve been in power for 27 years so if people don’t like the mess they’ve made of their towns and, indeed, of their country, there’s no one else to blame. So the best the ANC can do is try to invalidate their complaint by the accusation of “nostalgia for the white city”. Quite obviously it didn’t work and won’t work.

Moreover, it carries the suggestion that the broken state of the towns and cities is what you ought to expect in an African-run country, that things not working is somehow more authentic. This is a very dangerous notion: “Vote for us! We expect to fail, and we will! We stand for backwardness, for candles not electricity.” This leads nowhere. …

Knocking another lefty lie on the head:

There is no nostalgia for apartheid and nobody among the minorities argues for its restoration. There is a general acceptance that democracy is irreversible. …

This is important because as the ANC declines it relies ever more frantically on the allegation that if whites are allowed back to power they will abolish social grants and restore apartheid. If this is not believed then the door is open for African voters either to choose a white-led administration or, by their abstention, allow one to come to power.

In this election we saw the overwhelmingly Zulu electorate of Umgeni, in KwaZulu-Natal, elect an administration headed by a young white mayor.

And, of course, something similar has been happening in the Western Cape for some time. In this election a Cape Town electorate which is overwhelmingly African and Coloured chose a young white man as mayor.

For the ANC this is a nightmare come true, with Black and Coloured people electing a white simply because they think he will govern better – and the ANC plummeting to under 19%. …


The ANC has taught young black South Africans that African government doesn’t work, that their politicians are crooks and that it’s not worth voting. The exact opposite of Mandela’s dream.

Moreover, the party was handed on a plate the richest country in Africa with the best infrastructure, the richest mining industry and the most productive agriculture. Within a generation it was an almost bankrupt country in which very little worked. What to say after that?

Glenn Reynolds:

What did socialists use before candles? Electricity!

It’s not black rule. Botswana next door is well-run. It’s rule by leftists, which always makes everything suck. And they always use race as an excuse for their failures. You can see that in the deep-Blue parts of the United States.

Zimbabweans nostalgic for the old days of Rhodesia. By Nick Kristof, from 2005.

The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970’s.

“If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we’d do it,” said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. “Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job.”

Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.

An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: “I want the white man’s government to come back. Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today.”

His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. “I miss the days of white rule,” she said.

Nearly every peasant I’ve spoken to in Zimbabwe echoed those thoughts.


They just can’t bring themselves to admit that European culture, and the people who embody it, are an obvious net plus for humanity.

Western culture has a lot more to be proud of than it does to apologize for, and it drives them crazy.

It is vehemently denied by the politically correct because it blows up their world view, but different groups of people have significantly different statistical characteristics. Average IQ is lower in Africa, and the left cannot pretend poor black achievement is due to systemic racism because there are barely any whites. After extolling the wondrous effect of decolonization in the 1960s, and how Africa would catch up with Europe, they have run out of excuses. South Africa is proving the point again — no wonder they don’t want to talk about it.

Perhaps it will please some on the left that this inequality is reducing. According to some western researchers, the average IQ of whites is dropping below 100, on course by 2100 for about 85 — the average IQ of blacks in the US. This will presumably make socialism in the US more likely, while reducing competence and making modern liberal democracy near impossible.

As the old joke goes, “What’s the difference between Zimbabwe and South Africa?” Ten Years.

The new joke might be “What’s the difference between South Africa and the United States?” Hmmm.