Ben Kelly
Ben Kelly

Time to banish Old South Africans

One of the parts of South African life that I hate more than everything else is going to a braai. Not the act of getting together with friends and family to break bread and burn dead cow over an open flame, but having to deal with the white South African male.

Not just any old South African male, but a unique sub-species that I like to call Old South Africans. We all have a few of these friends. The ones who you know deep down still wish the National Party was in power and black people knew their place. The ones who, when on their own or in the workplace, are perfectly civil and will get on with everyone. The ones who hide their racism deep down and seldom let it out.

These are also the ones that still don’t know the words to the first half of the national anthem. Because I was lucky enough to go to a Catholic school and participate in the Catholic society at university in the early 1990s I knew the words to the anthem long before it was the anthem, but 15 years after the current version of the anthem became official it is simply inexcusable for anyone not to know the words. But for these Old South Africans not knowing the words isn’t laziness, it’s a badge of honour. If you want to see this simply go to a Springbok rugby game and listen for the massive rise in volume when the words “Uit die blou van ons se hemel” come around.

But back to the braai. One-on-one these Old South Africans hide their true colours, like snakes in the grass. But put them together around a braai, with a sympathetic gathering of like-minded racists and they are emboldened and the racist rhetoric starts to fly. Suddenly all their colleagues, who they work with on a day-to-day basis, are kaffirs and niggers and any other manner of racist claptrap that they can think of. The country is going to shit and the companies they work for are full of incompetent kaffirs who only got where they are because of the colour of their skin.

And you wonder what these people do? Are they poor whites who only got a standard eight and had their security blanket ripped away by the fall of apartheid? No. These are professionals, these are engineers, these are teachers.

Actually it’s the teachers that get up my nose the most. How can you stand in front of a classroom of students and educate them when in your heart of hearts you think that everyone who has a higher melanin count than you is somehow an inferior human being?

I am actually ashamed about how I deal with these people, because I do nothing. I would rather continue to be invited to my friends’ houses than speak out against these people. This might be because those of my friends that are more Old South African are not the ones making these comments. the comments are being made by their friends. I know what I should do. I should put down my beer and announce to the host that I am sorry that I can’t stay because I refuse to listen to this racist crap any longer. But I don’t. I am a coward. I sit quietly and let them continue. Part of me says that making a scene would not make a blind bit of difference to these people. They will continue to spout racist hatred as soon as the first beer hits their gut and the firelighters have been ignited.

The strange thing was that, at the latest instance, someone referred to Orlando Stadium as “that kaffir stadium” and then went on to extol what an awesome time they had when the Bulls played there.

My only consolation was finding out that this person will soon be leaving our fair shores and heading for Australia. I don’t like to see people leaving, but in this case it’s good riddance and I won’t shed a tear to see the last of their kind jetting off to the land where they can sit around the barbie with an expensive can of Castle and spout their racist claptrap with more of their kind. And leave us who know the words of the national anthem to enjoy our country in peace.


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  • An open critique of the Nieuwoudt et al (2019) study on coloured women
  • Don’t call me “kaffir”