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Friday, 5 October 2012

My Apology to the Black People of South Africa**

Dear Black People of South Africa

I have noticed that you have deeply ingrained hatred and anger for me and my family simply because our skin has less melanin in it than yours. I know that you think that I am rich because I am white and that I profited from Apartheid. I know that you feel that I have "stolen" your wealth because my skin tells you that. I also know that you think that I am a racist if I even dare to criticise your beloved ANC government - or rather that I am automatically racist because I have a paler skin. It is with the above in mind that I now write this heartfelt apology to you all.

I apologise for the fact that I am white. You see, it was not my wish to be born white, its a genetic disease that I happened to have inherited from my parents. Its actually hereditary this "whiteness". It is not something that I can change nor can I wish it away. Trying would be futile. Thus it so happened that two white people just ended up with three lily white daughters - its a family thing. When my parents got married it was illegal for them to be involved in interracial relationships and, because my parents are law-abiding people, they did not entertain the idea of interracial relations. So you see, being white and having a skin that is a little short on melanin in the summer months is not my fault.

I apologise for the fact that my parents were married and had integrity. In white culture its the norm for a man to marry just one woman and for those two people to raise a family. Not to mention the fact that neither of my parents would have dared disrespect their own parents by conceiving a child out of wedlock. My father was in the army for the first ten years of his marriage and yet he did not once cheat on my mother. Nor did he indiscriminately father children wherever he was stationed and then up and leave the woman to fend for herself and a child alone. My parents respected the vows that they took on their wedding day and remained faithful to each other.

I apologise for the fact that I lived in a house with electricity and running water while I was growing up. Neither of my parents came from rich families. In fact while my father was firmly middle-class growing up my mother actually came from a very poor family. So poor, in fact, that she and my uncles would often go out and catch birds to eat because there was no money to buy food. What did my parents do when they started their own family? They made sure that we were taken care of. Both of my parents worked full-time. My sisters and I were left in the care of our grandmother while my parents went to work just so that they could provide for us children. There were many nights when we were in bed long before my parents got home simply because they were doing their utmost to make ends meet - you see, neither of them could afford to attend a university and thus made do with their matric qualifications. It was through the hard work and determination of my parents that were were lucky enough to have a roof over our heads and food on the table even if there was very little left over for luxuries. And to make matters worse my father was retrenched in 1997 and could not find a new job because he was a white man over the age of 40. This meant that my mother worked two or three jobs at a time to make ends meet. Did this see my father descending into a routine of drinking at the pub daily? No! He took over the care of us children on a daily basis. he cooked and cleaned and ran the home. That is the type of integrity that my parents had and the extent of their determination to give their children the best life possible.

I apologise for the fact that I am educated. Remember how my mother and father were not rich? This was in part because they paid a huge portion of their humble earnings towards paying school fees. We did not attend private schools - we in fact attended a public school and the majority of my classmates had a darker shade of skin than I did. I worked hard throughout my school career because I knew that I deserved to live a better life (although I will always be grateful for what my parents gave me). So I had one goal - to obtain a university degree. I put as much effort as I could into achieving the top results I could and applying to the best university. After I finished third in my matric class I applied for a bursary - but I was denied one because I did not meet the criteria - I had too little melanin in my skin. But no matter, I obtained student loans and continued my student career. I finally graduated in the top ten in my class four years after starting having amassed almost R250 000 in student loans which I am still paying off. I also had to get a part-time job just so that I could pay for the rest of my meals (you see when in res at Tuks only 42% of your meals are covered by your residence fees), buy clothes, toiletries and possibly go out with my friends every now and again.My parents could not afford the extra expense so I took the initiative and did it myself. After starting work I also took it upon myself to earn a masters degree as well - I knew that the better qualified I was the more likely I would be to get a well-paying job. I am now working on obtaining my second masters degree - all paid for by myself.

I apologise for the fact that I have a job. Not long before graduated I started the tough task of finding a job after graduation. This was made even more difficult by the strict BEE policies in most places. I forget how many times I was told that they would love to hire me but that my skin was the wrong shade. I eventually found myself a job in a very small company. As expected, I started off at the very bottom doing the most basic of tasks and earning the most basic of entry level salaries. As time went by and I was trained more and more by my bosses I was slowly given more and more responsibility. And with each rise in responsibility, there was a corresponding rise in salary. There was no time that I was allowed to get by without doing anything and there was no way that I was going to be paid for doing nothing. I worked long hours and over weekends and always did more than was expected of me. Today I am an equity partner in the company earning a commensurate salary with perks - but still have a long way to go before I can even think about buying my dream house. And I still work my backside off.

I apologise for the fact that I am in a relationship with a white man. I know many of you will see this as racist but I have only ever been involved with white men. This has nothing to do with me being racist - this has everything to do with the fact that I have more in common culturally, morally, religiously and emotionally with a white man that I would have with a man of any other race. These are very important factors to me seeing as I do not indiscriminately jump in and out of relationships - I actually try to make them work in the long run. and you can only do this when you have enough in common with your significant other to minimise the damage that differences can cause.

I apologise for Apartheid. I wasn't even a twinkle in my dad's eye when there was a concerted effort to begin disbanding Apartheid during the 1908's (I was only born in 1985). I was 5 years old when Nelson Mandela was released from prison, 7 years old when Apartheid was officially abolished by the 1992 referendum and 9 years old when the ANC took power. I cannot ever remember what it was like to be separated from people of other races. I cannot see how this regime benefited me in a direct manner seeing as my parents were not Apartheid beneficiaries of anything other than an education. But I will apologise unreservedly for the emotional and physical pain caused to the men and women and children who lived and died under the Apartheid regime. For those people whom Apartheid dehumanised and unempowered. For those born after 1990 I have no apologies for. If my parents could make an effort to give me and my sisters an education while being without tertiary educations and not having a trust fund I see no reason why your parents could not - especially with the free schooling provided by the ANC.

So I hope you will accept my apologies and read and understand my reasons for those apologies. And then I can only hoe that you will see and understand that it is not our skin colour that makes us different - it the pride that you have in yourself and the drive that your parents have to make you a better person than they were. So I apologise for making a success of my life (even though I am white) where you haven't made a success of yours. It is not a black or a white thing - its and integrity thing. What I will NOT apologise for is the fact that I am a success IN SPITE of all the ANC has done to make sure that I wouldn't be.

Yours sincerely

**Disclaimer: This is not directed towards those commendable black individuals who have done their utmost to change their situations and to better themselves. This is aimed directly at the bunch of self-righteous Malemalike leeches who seem to think that because I am white I owe them everything I have in "payment" for a harm that was not done to them.

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