Lessons of Apartheid through the Lens of One White South African’s Cruel Insensitivity

Some white privileged South Africans got left behind! I don’t mean on the Continent, per se – I mean in their ability to move away from their attachment to justifying one of the most racist and bigoted institutionalized discriminatory systems known to humankind – APARTHEID.

Over twenty years after the liberation of South Africa’s black majority and after the heart wrenching Truth and Reconciliation process, there are still those who have the audacity to attempt to condone the putrid system that not only cost lives but also resulted in what is still an unresolved inequity upon which privilege continues to prey!

When I saw the post below on a Facebook page by a white South African, – I was stunned!   In all honesty I am not sure whether to attribute it to absolute ignorance, stupidity, racism, or an insidious attempt to mask guilt?

What was South African Sasha Silberman thinking when she posted this?  However first let me note: – please do NOT judge all white South Africans through this absurd post – as most who I know would be up in arms at this. In fact the Facebook comments took her to harsh task..

By posting this without any explanation or disclaimer, it would seem fair to assume the poster is condoning the ridiculous, ludicrous, imbecilic, harebrained, cockamamie, irrational, illogical, nonsensical, incongruous, pointless, senseless notion that Apartheid, born from Colonialism, was the white man’s favor to South Africa:

This awful flawed paternalistic, irreverent reflection fails to take cognizance of the basics of Apartheid and the hurt and pain it brought to South Africa:

Let me be clear NOTHING – ZERO – ZILCH – can be an upside to Apartheid:

After the National Party gained power in South Africa in 1948, its all-white government immediately began enforcing existing policies of racial segregation under a system of legislation that it called apartheid and it legislated more intense white supremacist type laws. Nonwhite (one of their many terms for people of color) South Africans (a majority of the population) would be forced to live in separate areas from whites and use separate public facilities, and contact between the races would be limited. Despite strong and consistent opposition to apartheid within and outside of South Africa, its laws remained in effect for the better part of 50 years. :

No Vote: the black majority did not have a right to vote for South African parliamentary reps or country leadership.

The Group Area Act – assigned racial groups to different residential and business sections in urban areas in a system of urban apartheid. An effect of the law was to exclude nonwhites from living in the most developed areas, which were restricted to Whites. It caused many nonwhites to have to commute large distances from their homes in order to be able to work. The law led to separation of families, with nonwhites being forcibly removed for living in the “wrong” areas. The nonwhite majority were given much smaller areas to live in than the white minority, who owned most of the country.

Property Ownership: Whites only!

Pass Laws: This led to the Pass Laws – which required that nonwhites carry ‘pass books’, and later ‘reference books’.. which designated areas the person had permission to reside or work in. This led to much police harrassment, police violence and many people detained or imprisoned for infringing these laws.   Children trying to visit mothers who worked in white only areas were often arrested. I could go on

The Immorality Act – races could not mix – could not be in relationships- could not have intimate relations – and could not drink alcohol together.

Separate amenities –
black and white people could not share restrooms, public transport, park benches, restaurants etc. And the White people amenities were far superior.

Unequal education
– black people could not go to the many well developed and excellent schools, designated white only by virtue of being in white areas.  Black children were forced to learn in Afrikaans, the language of their oppressor, instead of their own traditional languages.

Job reservation –
Certain jobs were reserved for white people only.

And more….

So let me ask – what about Sasha Silberman’s post “THE LIE OF APARTHEID” could possibly be enlightening? Not even could a disclaimer justify posting it for all to see –  and here was my initial response:

So what have you learned from  her post that can help you abhor Apartheid?  Nothing! Right?  Except the fact that she had the chutzpah to post it at all. So when she saw how many people had taken her to task she posted this rather inane mea culpa:

Why would Sasha Silberman think her post is enlightening or educational – what does it teach?  What is she learning from it – even if she was ONLY in her teens during Apartheid? Did she accept the hair-brain attempt at justification? Does she see any good in it? Why repost?  What are the lessons it seeks to impart – beyond invoking anger and indicating a deep insensitivity.  Do those stats speak to her about the goodness of Apartheid?  Was Apartheid good for anyone?  Asserting that Apartheid may have enriched other parts of Africa is not exactly helpful to the majority of  South Africans who had no vote and who were subject to its conscripts.  Is she possibly endorsing that  offensive notion that nonwhites in South Africa are better served through Colonial paternalism? ……………….   EISH –  The answer escapes me!

Who is Sasha Silberman? – Facebook:  Married to Mark Anderson – From Kosmos, North-West, South Africa:

  • Former Co-Owner and Co-Founder at Eco-Aspects cc
    Former Estimator at Continental Shopfitters cc
    Former Estimator at Craftsman Shopfitters cc
    Studied Modelling (sic) Course at Leigh Downing Modelling (sic) Agency

    I don’t know her – though I see that her Facebook Page themes ‘injustice to white people since the end of Apartheid.’ My hope for her is she understands just how offensive her Facebook post really is. That she takes it down – hits delete!  Instead of communicating with me she chose to block me.  Perhaps she was angry that I suggested she get her next boob and botox job at Baragwanath hospital – as it was back in 1979 – when us ‘whites took such great care of South Africa’s nonwhites.’  The very hospital which her post lauds for its services to Soweto’s population during Apartheid.

Lessons of Apartheid are numerous but not the one her post seeks to advance.  The South African democracy is a young 20 years old- and the country is still finding its feet amidst disappointment in leadership, deliveries, corruption, crime and xenophobic turmoil. If there is any lesson – surely it is about moving forward and not looking back – about working peacefully and resolutely, in unity, and for it to evolve into adulthood through connectivity and not division…

2 thoughts on “Lessons of Apartheid through the Lens of One White South African’s Cruel Insensitivity

  1. Sasha Silberman”s Facebook page shows she has not posted even one photo of any person of colour, and does not have even one Black friend. Unacknowledged white S. A. Privilege, still fighting for white rights, she posted a petition fighting for white Africaaners’ rights.

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