Let’s assume that the first Europeans to land at South Africa arrived in the year 1497, or between the year 1497 and the year 1502. That’s Vasco da Gama’s expedition from Portugal. They arrived to find local South Africans. That is people who were already inhabitants of present-day South Africa.

Let us consider that for the preceding few hundred years, the Europeans had been accustomed to their kings living in stone and brick castles and fortifications held together with concrete. They had vast experience of animal husbandry and agriculture, and were well versed in overland trading. Further to which they had established systems of government and of the clergy, being familiar with no less than three Abrahamic religions.

They arrived to find a rudimentary, village-based, economic system, and a people who were accustomed to their kings living in huts, made of branches and cow-dung. There was no commercial agriculture (as there was in Europe at the time) and there certainly was no overland trade economy that linked the economies of South Africa with the economies of West Africa and North Africa. Not even that which would have linked the economies of South Africa with the economies of East Africa. The East Africans were already trading with the Asians, both overland and by sea, as a time prior to the year 1497.

Bear in mind that the Europeans had already as at a time prior to 1497 been trading in North Africa, on the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea; and in West Africa on the Atlantic ocean coastline. The encountered sophisticated trading economies in both of these territories, and for the most part failed to do anything other than trade with the locals. So we can see that the North Africans and West Africans were able to hold their own against the European settlers or colonizers, only falling to colonization must later during the scramble for Africa in the late 19th century.

So my question is, Sir Thabo, of the author of “Black Empowerment” fame, who’s responsibility was it to compensate, and thereby to positively adjust the propensity of, the Black and African peoples, so as to enable them to compete and participate; socially, politically, economically and theologically; when the Europeans first arrived, in and just after the year 1497; and we found a disparity between the capacity of the Black and African peoples as compared with the capacity of the White and European peoples?

The problem that you and yours have attempted and failed to solve, existed in the year 1497 and there was no legacy of a foreign occupation that systematically discriminated against the indigenous people of South Africa; only an economic opportunity that was seized by the Europeans, who seeing the disparity in economic sophistication, exploited the opportunity to maximize economic returns, by out-competing the indigenous people of South Africa in the trade between the Europeans and the indigenous people of South Africa.

What you should have done is campaigned on the basis of the unethical nature of the European’s activities in South Africa from 1497 onwards – but the problem with this, is that the African National Congress, which you represent, is a crime syndicate that’s been stealing, through its members, from the Government, the State and the Republic of South Africa. So you’re not in any position to lecture anyone on ethics, are you?

It’s a pity your economics is so sketchy and socialised, because the aggressive, exploitative economic behaviours exhibited, by the Europeans, from the year 1497 onwards, are very similar to the winner-take-all approach of employment equity, affirmative action and black empowerment that has systematically transformed the public sector of South Africa over the last twenty-five years.

So I submit, Sir Thabo, that your thinking is a product of the fact that you are colonised. Perhaps you should decolonise your own mind, before prescribing a set of economic behaviours for the country.



Avishkar Govender

Avishkar Govender is the Chief Political Officer of MicroGene.

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