We are slowly becoming used to Julius Malema and other like-minded, equally foolishly misguided, individuals who catches a word, has no concept of its meaning, and then decides to use it to suit their own purpose and interpretation.
Colonialism is the latest. Destroy statues, it reminds us of colonialism. Rename towns, it reminds us of colonialism. Blame the state of the country on colonialism. All based on this one deliberate and evil misapprehension: That colonialism is based on race and that the black man of Africa is the victim.
Colonialism, to the best of my understanding, happens when a country and the people born in that country are being governed by an authority appointed by another country and responsible to that country’s government.
Certainly the scramble for Africa took place as a result of the competition among European nations for power and prestige and wealth – and it was not a beautiful story – the abuse of power and the exploitation of resources in the Colonies was a shameful act. But Africa was not colonised because it was inhabited by black people – it was colonised because the black people living in it could not manage to develop and manage it. After 2000 years not a single structure above one storey high stood on this continent, the wheel wasn’t developed, nor alphabet or engineering and religion was based on superstition and ancestral reverence. That is why Africa was colonised, because the inhabitants of Africa were too underdeveloped to defend themselves against colonialist powers. Besides, Africa wasn’t the only continent which was colonised.
In fact, King George III regularly referred to “Our American colonies” to the point where the Americans had to fight a war of independence to get rid of colonial rule. Now where would the race-element enter in that? Was the colonization of Manchuria by Japan a racist act? Or of Tibet by China? Was the occupation and exploitation of Bohemia, Moravia, Austria and Poland by Germany a racist act? Certainly Czechs and Poles and Austrians are as Caucasian as any German. And the 7 centuries of British occupation of Ireland…does that mean that the Irish are black and the English white? Even better: The colonization of the Iberian Peninsula for centuries by the Moors (black people from Africa!) – was that then not racist? The Spanish are, after all, white Europeans.
I would love to understand what one would call the destruction, genocide and forceful incorporation of smaller tribes into the Zulu nation – if not colonialism? And without black on black colonialism, Shaka would not have been able to create the Zulu nation, nor Mosheshwe the Basuthu or Mzilikazi the Matabele of Zimbabwe. THAT was Southern African colonialism at its cruelest ever- and not a European or any other white man in sight!
Let us take it a step further: Colonialism ended in Africa with the unilateral declaration of Independence of Rhodesia. From that day onwards, the former colonial powers had no authority left in Africa. And yet, they have been investing and paying billions in development aid and social support … year in and year out.
Now Mr Malema ad mr Zuma and a number of others regard Paul Kruger and Hendrik Verwoerd and even FW de Klerk as colonialists. One can think of quite a number of names to call FW de Klerk, but let us give the man his due: a colonialist he is not.
Who were the actual victims of colonialism then? The people who were forced to have their children educated in a language not of their own, accept an authority 11000 miles away in Europe, and who, after hardship and suffering had to fight and lose a war for freedom and pay the price in the form of nearly 30 000 women and children in British Concentration camps. White Afrikaner/Boer people being colonised by white European people. What was that war anything other than a Freedom Struggle? Or the Afrikaans Language Movements? Were they not anti-Colonialist Freedom Struggles?
Colonialism has nothing to do with race and even the suggestion of it is an insult to the people who were the real victims.
So if colonialism is not based on race, on what is it based then? In my opinion, on exploitation of people and resources. And as long as African leaders use and abuse their authority and enrich themselves through corruption and greed from the coffers of the state, building Nkandlas and nationalising resources, they are the colonialists of the 21st century.
The current regime in South Africa and everybody who supports the New South Africa are the colonialists of our time and they have no right, whether political, economical, social or historical, to call themselves victims of colonialism…you cannot be perpetrator and victim at the same time. South Africa slipped from one form of colonization to another- go figure.
Read the original article by Daniel Lötter on Front Nasionaal SA – blad
South Africa Today – South Africa News