David Maimela
David Maimela

Born frees do not exist

Post-apartheid South Africa has many myths in different spheres of public life. The sphere of the battle of ideas has its fair share of such mythology. Since 1994, concepts such as South African exceptionalism, rainbow nation, lost generation, post-colony, white genocide, white fears and recently, born frees and many others have emerged across the political and social spectrum.

As a working definition, concepts are theoretical constructs drawn from reality, concretely or imaginatively but always attempting to grapple with dynamics of human life or nature. Concepts have at least two uses. They describe a phenomenon and they inspire action. In the socio-political arena, they have the power to mobilise or demobilise in whatever direction depending on the intentions of the user or propagator.

Today I’m concerned with the false concept of born frees. The concept of born frees is one of the biggest myths in post-apartheid South Africa. It is said that the children born in 1994 and after, are born frees. Although nobody has ever defined what born free means, one can reasonably deduct that the so-called concept refers to the coincidence of being born in a free South Africa.

Consequently, two extremes of appropriation have occurred with the concept. Firstly, there have been formations such as AfriForum, VF+ and others who claim that white children born after 1994 should be cleansed of entrenched and systemic white privilege. Secondly, there has been a lulling chorus that says all children born after 1994 are free, born free. Two problems arise out of these two extremes. Firstly, there is no attempt to explain what kind of freedom is spoken about. Is it total or partial liberation? Secondly, both applications of the concept are ahistorical.

Now, it is dishonest to pretend that there is no distinction between political, economic and even cultural freedom, even as we know that they are always dialectically related. The ahistoricity of the concept arises when propagators want to make us believe that history proceeds in a linear fashion and that there is a Chinese wall between the past, present and future. In truth, the present is born of the past and the future is born of the two and together they are one continuum.

Yes, changes in time and space produce qualitative and quantitative realities of a different nature, but the imprints of the past are always present. For example, although the Group Areas Act is abolished, apartheid spatial development is stubbornly gawking at us daily. The movement of a few blacks to white suburbia must not mislead us into thinking that the structural legacy of apartheid in this regard is undone. In any case, there is no reciprocal movement of whites into townships, except for the few reported instances of white shack settlements.

Indeed, in comparative terms, the majority of black youth who live in townships and rural South Africa still have lower or no incomes at all and have to spend more on transport to access better opportunities in the urban centres than their white peers. Another example: the drop-out rate at university is unfavourably skewed towards black youth.

I also have a problem with the origins of the concept. It does not originate from the youth themselves. It originates from our liberal media and it perpetuates misinformation and miseducation. In addition, it originates and is appropriated by various interests in society in the course of the battle of ideas, jostling to shape society in their own image. Young people must fight forcefully for their right to cultural freedom that enables them to define themselves. I know that as a strata, the youth are not usually coherent but I believe a generally progressive movement must exist somewhere to free the youth from the myth of being born free.

The Sowetan of January 7 2014 screamed with a big front-page headline: “Born frees fly high.” Well, many of these born frees will face corporate ceilings in the private sector due to the race question, which some fear to discuss today, whereas in the public service, they normally soar higher. The reason is simple; history weighs heavily on the shoulders of the present generation.

This is not to argue that the past 20 years have seen no progress and that the youth must not see themselves in positive frames of being “free”. But it is to underline the fact that we have an arduous task to define the meaning of freedom and to do so honestly. Young people must be in the forefront of this task.

I’m afraid, for the laborious work standing before us, the myth of born frees is demobilising and the price to pay is too harsh to contemplate. We must do everything to free ourselves culturally and materially.

Finally, we must defeat this laziness, miseducation and misinformation and uproot it from our vocabulary. Born free does not exist. It demobilises and lulls us into slumber. To say “children or great grandchildren of Mandela” is better but not sufficient.

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    • PrettyBelinda

      Children of Mandela sounds good. In Cuba ‘born frees’ were called the Children of Che.

    • Momma Cyndi

      Define ‘free’.

      You seem to imply that ‘freedom’ means freedom from responsibility. Freedom, in reality, is a two edged sword. You are free to succeed and you are free to fail. Your fate is in your own hands.

      Our ‘born frees’ are free. They are free to go where they like, study what they wish to, elect the government they want, change their stars or stay exactly where their parents were. It is their CHOICE. That is all freedom is – free choice.

      Freedom isn’t always all it is cracked up to be. Ask any young person who leaves home. Being an adult is freedom from the parental leash but you now have to pay your own rent. With every right you gain, you gain a responsibility too. It is past time that our countrymen learned that harsh reality. Nothing is truly free in this lifetime

    • The Cleaner

      A phrase spun from the ANC propaganda machine. Take it up with our esteemed number one!

    • Davilge

      I understand what you are saying David and I agree to some extent. I think though that if we want to be honest we should also dis-enthrall ourselves from the coherency of race.

      The analysis of class is more valuable and instructive in our country. While class and race have been inseparable for most of our history, this is also becoming less and less true – although at present they do overlap to a large extent. However, to believe that people are in solidarity with the poor even if they are fellow blacks is tenuous. The tender entrepreneurs that build poor quality and often dangerous housing for example are the most extreme example. As is the conspicuous consumption of the upper classes – both black and white. The government’s use of our taxes for wasteful things such as Nkandla and 1.2 Million rand cars when it could be given to uplifting the poor is another example.

      The rainbow nation and born free “myths” go beyond the liberal media. They are used by all and sundry for their own agendas. The solidarity of race over class is just as big a myth. The barometer for our future and how we help people to be genuinely free must be through class solidarity and if needs be; class struggle.

    • http://richardwooding.com Richard Wooding

      While I agree with the gist of your article , don’t kid yourself “AfriForum, VF+”are jokes and hold no political clout.

    • aim for the culprits

      A well written and thought out article.

    • Chris Stevens

      What an excellent piece! I whole heartedly agree with what you have said, it is indeed a myth that those born post ’94 live ahistorically. I would like to say, however, that the attempts to remedy the injustices of the past are not sufficient. By this I do not mean that we must intensify BBBEE, but rather that we must move towards development programs which target broad based poverty alleviation programs through legislation of corperate social responsibility programs (a trend developing in many multi-nationals) rather than a system based on race, which is subject to corruption and nepotism. Although the majority of those living in abject poverty are indeed the previously oppressed, we must not aim to rectify this through an “eye for an eye” mentality and should focus on an all-inclusive, broad based development program which targets poverty rather than race. The current strategy also intensifies the divide within race relations as many black people feel entitled to economic empowerment (which to an extent they do), whilst leaving a foul taste with other ethnic groups, including but not limited to white and coloured demographics…. All the while poverty flourishes.

      Thank you for this excellent article, you are indeed onto something here. All to often the true nature of life in South Africa is swept under the rug of idealism.

    • Cam Cameron

      Well, if you were born under ANC rule and you’ve not been freed of whatever it was that shackled your parents 20 years ago, you might as well accept that those shackles will never be removed, no matter what the ruling regime boldly promises. Today is pretty much as good as it will ever get. In a democracy you always get the government you deserve.

    • michael

      The hard reality is that political freedom does not feed people and increase the standard of living.Africa just cannot get its head around this.

    • Andrew Dicks

      Please will you try to move on (all nations and populations have crises’ of different stating points)……there can never be growth, personal or otherwise if you do not start to take responsibility for your own state of being. This applies to you as an individual and also the Nation. The ongoing blame game is an excuse for a lazy outlook on life that screams for entitlement. Cut the apron strings of the past and go forth and create the future instead of smoldering in ongoing analytical reasonings for failure.

      A line in the sand to delineate a ‘born free’ is just as ridiculous a concept.

    • Andrew Dicks

      Sorry – line 2 should read different “starting” points

    • MC

      Well written and insightful David, but offers no proposal for a solution. I think that is the biggest problem today – lots of talk about inequalities of old but no workable and sustainable solutions. Any idea why?

      In my opinion, the only workable and sustainable solution is heavy investing in QAULITY EDUCATION and infrastructure. That will set the coming generations free. Yes, there should be some form of “unfair” opportunity for black children given the past, but that should happen through bursaries, job opportunities in the government and private sector and through access to finance to start and grow real sustainable businesses. I am not an expert on rural land and will stay out of that one.

      Unfortunately the above is the road to true broad based participation in the economy. There is a saying: “Dividing wealth does not multiply it”. This is very true – just taking from one (white) to give to another (black), still leaves you with one rich person and one poor person. On the contrary creating an environment where business can be done through infrastructure and supplying the market with skilled people to create, run and work in these businesses creates a wealth for all forever.

    • Brianb

      Oh for goodness sake !

      Are we going to continue with this racial blame game for generations to come.

      The term ‘born free’ is a blue sky concept which at worst is pretty benign and at best just might inspire youngsters from different backgrounds to cast off the older generations real and imagined shackles and create a brighter future for themselves.

    • Jay

      David, I really appreciate your article. I agree with most of of it. I grew up middle class; though my parents have both worked in very vulnerable sectors viz. my father worked in textile manufacturing, and my mother worked in a high school as an administrator. As per your article, the apartheid era economic stratification and spatial-planning are still a blight on South Africa since 1994. What is worse is that economic transformation has been pitiful, with far too little investment being made in the QUALITY of the factors of social transformation. In favour of protecting mega industry which does virtually nothing by itself either in developing the greater South African society. The slap in the face to the working class, poor South African, is that the last twenty years have pretty much been “business as usual”. Any successes on their part, have been, almost cynically, largely fortuitous.

    • Hadon

      What the author has failed to acknowledge in his dismissal of the concept of “born frees” is the potential present in this generation born post-1994. It is misguided to discount the freedom from legal racial oppression that this generation is the first to experience from birth. No one is arguing that the born free generation is immune to the structural legacy of apartheid, or that they don’t face many challenges. But the POTENTIAL that is present in this generation because they are not strictured by laws defining what they can be based on their race is enormous. Referring to this generation as the “children of Mandela” fails to acknowledge all of the others who struggled for racial equality for their children and grandchildren.

      If concepts about who we are and how we define ourselves are not to come from our media, our intellectuals, our society, where should they come from? Concepts like “baby boomers” and “generation x” have their roots in popular culture, created by journalists, artists and authors.

      Born frees is a fitting name for a generation born under a system that does not define the value of its citizens based on the colour of their skin.

    • Sicelo

      David, your point is taken. Summarily, your argument is that children born after 1994 cannot be said to be free when their life condition in the period concerned is informed heavily and impacted upon directly and consistently by the conditions of pre 1994 period – this regardless of their color. This much is true.

      But then, your argument ignores a most critical psychological aspect and whose role has reaching implications and consequences than even economic freedom or possession of wealth – an experience of direct, legalized racial oppression.

      The fact that this particular group of people have no real experience of the meaning of the unbanning of liberation political organisation or the excitement at the release of Nelson Mandela, or queuing at the polls to test ‘white opinion’ on the need for abandonment of apartheid, is actually highly significant as an outcome of the liberation struggle.

      Effectively, it means they were spared a particular historical painful experience dominated by racial segregation and attendant issues, thereby positioning them for a liberation struggle with a completely different character, central to which is strife for full emancipation, and which strife is no longer unique but universal.

      Simple put, this group of people were born under poor conditions yet within an environment that is universal in its character, bar the certain extremes reflecting on the unique history of their own country.
      For this reason, yes, they are born…

    • David Maimela

      Thanks for the feedback so far.

      I think intellectual dishonesty is very serious crime and that’s why you can be failed or sued for plagiarism. I’m not saying anybody has plagiarized but I’m trying to illustrate the serious of the crime: intellectual dishonesty.

      Anyway, let’s go the substance of the issues. A friend of mine puts it better than me when he tells a story about an eminent Sudanese patriot Mohammad Amin Hodeib who protested his imprisonment by the British Government in 1919. My friend says and I will quote him at length:

      In one such letter to the Chief Justice, dated May 20, 1920, Hodeib wrote:

      “I searched for the Law and Justice under which I was imprisoned and my houses pulled down but I could not find them except in The Law of the Elephants and the Justice of the Monkeys.

      “The Law of the Elephants is that under which an elephant trampled the nest of a lark and killed its small birds. The lark appeared before the King of the Elephants and with due respect, enquired from him about the reason for killing birds and whether the action was with or without intention. It received no answer but roughness and disregard to its complaint. It then left the case for the Almighty.

      To be continued in the next post…

    • David Maimela

      “The Justice of the Monkeys is this: there was once a crow and a hawk who were in dispute over a piece of cheese. They decided to appoint a monkey to divide the cheese equally among them. The monkey swore on his honour to exercise perfect justice. He then brought a balance and divided the cheese into two pieces.

      “The larger piece of course brought its side down, so the monkey cut and swallowed a portion of it so that it became lighter than the other. He repeated the same thing again and again – swallowing the bigger side that brought the balance down.

      “When the two adversaries saw that in the end there will be nothing left of the cheese, one of them said to Judge Monkey, “Sir, I have no objection to take this small piece and my adversary will take the larger one.” But Judge Monkey said: “Justice would not allow this and you should get equality by this balance.”

      “They were pained to see their cheese eaten by the monkey in this way. I find myself between the Law of the Elephants and the Justice of the Monkeys. In asking for my rights, I got results as the lark from the elephant and the two adversaries from the monkey.”

      Now, some of you are subjecting us to the Law of the Elephants and the Justice of the Monkeys in you posture and tone. And quite frankly, we have had enough of this kind of social injustice and we are daily confronting its legacy in many ways, more so as blacks.

      To be continued in the next post…

    • David Maimela

      Nowhere in my piece do I suggest that we must be prisoners of history. On the contrary, I’m suggesting that instead of demobilizing the youth, as the myth of born-frees does, we must mobilize the youth to be their own liberators, including liberating them from the shackles of mythological concepts such as the one I discuss.

      But I think I must return to my main thesis. The centre of my argument really is about proving conceptually that the concept of born-frees does not exist, that it is just that: a myth. And I don’t hear or read a counter argument conceptually. Instead, I read a lot of defensive undertones from some and from some, voluntary retirement clothed in high sounding phrases. Those who are defensive, why do they feel the need to defend? What are they defending? How long are they going to defend? Is defending in their long-term interests?

      Unless we are not reading the same piece, otherwise I believe I do suggest what is to be done and I invite you fellow South Africans to do a rejoinder to my piece and suggest more ways forward. Well, that’s if you agree with my diagnosis and the main thrust of the argument. For those who disagree, I also invite you present a counter-argument…

      We are living in interesting times indeed. For now, I thank you…

    • David Maimela

      By the way, I also sense a major contradiction. Some among us want to suggest, quite strangely that history does not matter, that history operates in the past only. Well, they contradict themselves because they are indirectly implying that they don’t exist and do not do so in their current form and conditions. In simple terms, they are saying they were not born. They have no evolution, no genealogy, no family, community and national history. In other words, they are saying they are ghosts.

      As for class analysis, I thought it is perfectly clear that I use both class and race categories in my analysis. I don’t have to say so in words. In my understanding, class analysis is embedded in the piece. Thanks for raising this point so I could clarify it.

    • http://Nicholasjakari.com Re-born free

      From next Wednesday I shall spends most of the next 13 weeks in the company of 14-20 year old ‘born frees’ and trust me they are that. their minds have never known the shackled existence of a collective oppressive blanket of obliteration that was the time of the dispossession.

      These kids are cool in a way I have never experienced in my plus 4 decades of working in classrooms. Their limitations are those of any normal children.

      They are also the children of those who stormed the barricades during the 80’s. We also produced a 94% pass rate in the recent national certificate. It is also possible I might have one learner from e previously advantaged texture… And I am routinely asked where all these (so-called) “white” people are that are routinely referred to in lessons, because apart from the few of us working in the place they never see such persons: and frankly neither do I.

      “Born Free” is strictly a marketing definition similar to the one you may be at the top of : Generation Y, I am very much a baby boomer.

      So while your argument has particular areas of veacity, you have not taken into account the debilitating effect on the mind of oppression and irrespective of social condition which has the same corrosive effects worldwide the fact that they are FREE is of vital effect.

      Before 1994 no one was free, and I mean no one. Now irrespective of how one feels about the state of the nation the key fact is that we are free.

    • Marc

      There is no attempt to distinguish between positive freedom (enabling) and negative freedom (liberating). Positive freedom requires me to actively and responsibly use the resources made available to me (freedom FOR). Negative freedom is simply ‘freedom FROM’.
      The ANC has made so much available to young black school-leavers; and strengthened job opportunities through AA, BEE, grants (called ‘bursaries’), and so on. Universities bend over backwards to privilege black students today; whereas whites have to basically mortgage their homes to educate their children.
      I have very little sympathy for young black graduates/students who complain about not being free — particularly after 20 years of it. What more can be offered?
      Also, there are many more myths that are at large in South Africa today that are not considered in this blog. Firstly, that anyone not-black must automatically be rich and privileged. This is just not true.
      Another is that whites still own the majority of business. True; but what does this mean? It somehow invents categories of “the whites” and “the blacks”, and through some ind of mental gymnastics superimposes a tiny proportion of a population onto these, creating one vast falsehood from which a further set of dubious fallacies are then constructed and promoted.
      Articles like this one require a good course in logic in order to deconstruct the tortured fallacies it promotes.
      To anyone buying this crud: “Take the opportunities the government…

    • Marc

      The title of this blog should read “Frustrated Entitlement”.
      Of all the myths at large in South Africa today, the one that is more damaging is the belief that because you are black, you are automatically ENTITLED to anything that people NORMALLY work a lifetime to achieve.
      Young people today expect to walk into high-paying jobs with almost no skills, and very dubious degrees that are, frankly, given away.
      The myth is that everyone is entitled to a degree, that then entitles them to a high-paying job; that entitles them to a fast car; that entitles them to a big house …. etc.
      When economic reality kicks in, and demolishes the myth, writers like this one complain that they are lied to; that they aren’t ‘born free’.
      What on earth do they expect.
      He should get his head out of his a$$ and smell the pure air; and look around elsewhere in the world and see where else he can get better privileges than are available to him in South Africa today.
      Young blacks in SA today will NEVER have it as good or better than they have it today. They are probably the most advantaged people in the world today — advantaged with OPPORTUNITIES. But because these take a little bit of work and competition, and failure is seen to be systemic rather than personal.
      Sorry. Articles like this one are just the self-pitying musings of a loser. This poor fellow just wants everything dished up to him on a plate, free and gratis.
      Opportunities for him today almost are completely free, with no…

    • http://thoughtleader.co.za/luckyntuli Lucky Ntuli

      For the love of all that is reasonable, honest and real; they definitely exist.

      Freedom is in a nutshell self accountability for who you are, what you do, how you abide by the law, exercise your rights fully and most importantly, how you hold those in office through your vote accountable as you hold yourself accountable for your own actions.

      It starts with your mind set as a point of departure; nothing can hold you back if you intent to succeed, economically or otherwise. It takes a lot of hard work, glass ceiling my foot. Work for it and you will be rewarded accordingly, just because of ones skin colour does not mean you are entitled to anything. If ZA or else where in the world.

      You deserve nothing just because of your skin colour.

      Good grief, this is going to be a long hard ride

    • http://www.xen.co.za Hugh Robinson

      You have many of your questions answers at the tips of your fingers. All it needs is for you to get off your behind and become the employer in place of the employee who wants it all beciuse he thinks it a right.

      As far as Born free is I think not, Nothing is free. All you kids are trapped in a loop of bad education, plus misinformation on one hand and the desire to blame the world for not doing it for yourself.

      Understand one thing Blacks only have it really good today. Never in this countries history has somuch been spent on so many who have no chance in hell of success or providing a good service. Pre 1994 we had a thing call co lateral and the SBDC to fund our entrupeneurship. Today you have a flood of money ready to be wasted.

    • RubinB

      My first effort at responding was censored, so here I go again:
      Your problem lies with entitlement: teachers belonging to SADTU are too arrogant to subject themselves to any form of inspection, so education will remain at the low level it is currently at, and black students will remain uncompetitive in the job market. They will therefore remain frustrated, and will keep on blaming white folks for their plight.
      Nobody, regardless of skin colour, is entitled to a job, a house, etc. One has to earn it.
      By the way, from the quality of your grammar I have deducted that you have attended a (previously white) Model C school, or a (previously white) private school. (Previously) black schools have teachers affiliated to SADTU, and therefore they will seldom produce students with this much grasp of the English language. Am I right?

    • David Maimela

      How is liberation or ‘liberating’ freedom negative? How do you construct such a phrase?

      I have sympathy for the defensive responses.

      Anyway, I hope we become honest and abandon all pretence.

      I just think the issue I’m raising is avoided deliberately to pursue the very demobilisation I discourage you from.

      I guess I will defend to death the right of all of those who hold on very tightly to the Law of the Elephants and the Justice of the Monkeys. You have a right to believe.

      For my part, I will do whatever I can to do what is in my conscience, right.

      Enjoy your weekend.

      D.

    • Momma Cyndi

      David Maimela

      I don’t see any comments which imply that history never existed or that it it irrelevant. Our present is an accumulated journey of our past. People and countries that we will never hear of have impacted our lives along with our own past actions.

      We need to be mindful of history so that we can learn from it. We cannot live in our history though. We have to pave our own road forward so that our children’s children can learn from the history that we create. Any parent will tell you that their history consists of striving for their children to have a better life than they had

      Every family has their ‘firsts’. My brother was the first in our entire direct family history to ever attend university. Our present is full of steps which create our family history. For the first time in 100 years, the child who is in some run-down school and who is studying in some sauna hotbox in a squatter camp has that ability to start their own steps forward. Don’t take that great gift of potential away from them.

    • Lara Reddy

      Mmmm… although I am also inclined in some ways to agree about the general apathy and ignorance and lack of real efforts and actions of the youth to better the inequalities in SA society, I must also point out certain things to the writer of this article.

      Firstly, we are all “born free”- It is society that enslaves us, so the concept born free cannot be only held to a certain generation only, if we had to universalise the concept.

      Secondly, in the SA historical and political concept, “Born Frees” do exist- those born in a democratic SA as opposed to children born under Apartheid SA regime- who, clearly, did not enjoy the many freedoms that youth “born frees” fortunately have today- freedom of association, organisation, multi-racial and cultural schools, sport, music, technology, oportunities….the list goes on and the potential the means that the “born frees” have for change and to revolutionise society in SA is huge with all their freedom’s- but alas- as the lost generation knew, and as the born free’s themselves know- the majority- they are also trapped by material, and political conditions, injustices, and broad working class struggles- where SA today is the most unequal nation on the planet. So- the “Born Frees”, yes- I agree, with all their freedoms, even, are trapped i some sort of illusory rainbow nation, where only a few are still given the paint brushes to paint a new society- even if they could!

      Also, do not think or assume that

    • Mr. Direct

      @David

      You are suggesting that, in the South African context, individuals are not free because they are shackled by poverty. I do not understand why you feel finance has any relevance to one’s freedom. It perhaps changes our outlook in regards to our ambitions, but money does not set us free. Money gives us the chance to buy more goods or services, nothing more. Our assessment of our opportunities, ambition and drive to achieve them, and our freedom to pursue them are far more important than money to subsidise them, for this can be found if the other elements are firmly in place.

      There are far too many examples of people escaping poverty to become successful to say that we are not free to do so. Some were confined to a definite set of rules pre 1994, so the concept of born free is real.

      Take our beloved President, the Honourable Mr. Jacob Zuma. A man that did not come from wealth, or access to education, could become the most powerful person in the country. Surely this is your proof enough that freedom truly exists.

      And on history, it does not define us, it only influences our choices. So choice is all that matters for our future. We can choose to accept parts of our history, or we can choose to ignore them for the sake of our future.

      Without choice we are not free.

    • bernpm

      I agree with Brianb who says”
      “Oh for goodness sake !
      Are we going to continue with this racial blame game for generations to come.”

      I totally disagree with the implied conclusion that blacks are in a disadvantaged position as proven by: “Another example: the drop-out rate at university is unfavourably skewed towards black youth”…..

      The drop out rate is simply skewed towards blacks because there are more blacks in this country. In Europe the drop out rate is most likely skewed against whites.

      On “born free”?? Freedom is a relative concept but most people have some degree of freedom to do as they decide within certain responsibilities and certain limitations. They have the freedom to take on the challenges or not.

    • Kgositsile Mokgosi

      ‘Class’ is the myth in attempts to unravel the SA situation. It is the cry of liberals to destroy black solidarity under the pretext of black solidarity being a nemesis to white existence in Africa. Africans are human beings and respond to circumstances in exactly the same way all human beings do. To expect them not to have been psychologically scarred by years of oppression is ridiculous. Even the bizarre concept of “all whites are rich” or “freedom means all Africans becoming rich” , (something that says if they are not rich they are not free) does not suggest to anybody that there is something psychologically amiss with Africans coming out of years of oppression. Steve Biko’s struggle had as it’s main mission drawing African people to find their humanity, freedom meant finding that human dignity within themselves, being proud of who they are, and each working towards the upliftment of each other which would obviously uplift all humans in the country. I cannot say one is free when he is not mentally free to understand that his destiny is in his own hands, white people are no longer making laws to stifle his progress neither do they still have the will to do so, but the world is not made only from what whites have put up, it is still possible to contribute to the progress of the world even if you are black. It is understanding that you are able to choose who should run the affairs of the country and to remove them if they too are still a barrier to your desired…

    • http://maravi.blogspot.com/ MrK

      Marc,

      ” the one that is more damaging is the belief that because you are black, you are automatically ENTITLED to anything that people NORMALLY work a lifetime to achieve. ”

      You mean, like under that great meritocritous program called Apartheid? You should google: projection freud

      According to Wikipedia: “Psychological projection was conceptualized by Sigmund Freud in the 1900s as a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world.[1] For example, a person who is rude may accuse other people of being rude.”

      Could you subconsciously be rejecting the privileges bestowed upon you by half a century of Apartheid, and project the same desires on black folk?

    • David

      I could not have put it better than MrK

    • David

      I do not know how many times I must emphasise that we are not prisoners of history. However, I must emphasise, the past is always present. I want to insist that to the extent that there are successful struggles to create anew our reality, then the relationship between the present and the past can at best be described as ‘discontinuity’. But, to the extent that these struggles do not succeed to transform our past in all its guises, then we have ‘continuity’. The extent of continuity and discontinuity varies in time and space.

      I refuse t o marry the intellectually dishonest view and discourse that wants to make us believe that history does not matter, that history has no presence in our present times, that we must focus on the future at the expense of forgetting or obliterating the past. For I want to argue, if we do not understand our past in all its depths and complexity, we can fashion a dynamic future.

      I guess we must also accept that we come from different philosophical persuasions and perhaps may have to agree to disagree.

      And please do not tell me that, as some may argue, they are not philosophically inclined in their world outlook because that will be another intellectual dishonesty. Philosophical neutrality is an illusion.

      Otherwise, I wish that the conceptual debate I raised can be understood for what it is: a conceptual argument that speaks to practical reality.

    • http://Mail&Gadian sbahle

      well written artitle David, and thanks for clarification of Born Frees

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