Where have so many white liberals of South Africa dribbled away to, in the decades since 1948 when apartheid started? They’ve gone to colonialist countries that practise liberal democracy to their heart’s content because that’s what Western White people do. The few natives who were originally there, were further reduced by genocides, by John Wayne and the US cavalry, and by Australian armed police (as I choose to believe). The rest were corralled off into reservations. These latter are only human and they didn’t and don’t practise liberal multi-party majoritarianism when they are in the majority because it’s not in their tradition to do so. Liberal democracy isn’t some kind of natural default position for humanity to fall into.
In these colonies with very few natives, the colonists can give the vote to everyone and still be sure of having liberal democracy. Perhaps a liberal should choose to live in South Africa because it didn’t do enough genocides to make the whites secure.
This fleeing of South Africa to sit comfortably in whiter colonies, is immoral by their own standards. They used to go white and red in the face spouting indignantly against apartheid, then left, and don’t return to black majority-ruled South Africa.
i imagine these white liberals in the old days sipping wine in the foyer at a Fugard play, and mocking their benighted fellows who didn’t understand that liberal democracy would dawn as soon as Apartheid was gone. Of course it would! But they themselves then flew right over de-colonized Africa without dreaming of dropping in.
And they don’t come flooding back into post-apartheid South Africa. Some of them even left after apartheid was abolished. One reason was that they didn’t like the crime-wave now liberated from the black townships into the white suburbs.
Some of them fled to the United Kingdom, the arch-colonizer, who after Word War 2 slipped the rug from under their colonists, and left them and the natives to bloodbath, famine, and a level of corruption in Africa that beggars the mind. One could just about say that the UK destroyed the worlds of the native peoples and then helped destroy the new world that had replaced it; that’s what happens when you destroy what exists, in favour of an ideal.
In this idealism there was also ideological and class hatred of the sort of people who had left home to stride through the long grass of Africa, avoiding snakes, to knot wire fencing with their calloused thumbs and to build homesteads.
The poor old Boers did practise liberal democracy among themselves, and kept the hugely numerous natives out. That’s not all they did of course — they pushed them into reservations, stopped them making their way in this new country, and did torture and murder in police stations and on dark country roads.
The Great Adventure of Western Man began in the late Middle Ages. He sailed out onto the ocean blue in his little wooden ships with sails. His crew risked death by drowning, malnutrition, dysentery, or unfriendly natives . Only those with nothing to lose signed on. They conquered the natives, destroyed their ways of life, and their actual lives too.
That doesn’t mean that the natives, being human, weren’t as nasty or even nastier. At times, as I have read, they practised extreme torture and human sacrifice, cannibalism and slavery, and had rulers with power of life and death over their subjects, and ‘alternative healers’ who cynically took advantage of fearful believers.
South African white liberals now sit in North America or on the outer rim of Australia, and know nothing of the tribes they have replaced. They talk quite guiltlessly of their South African grandparents who fought in North Africa, or who doled out help and charity on the farms or in the townships. These ex-South Africans even get some mileage for themselves out of having grown up under Apartheid, which to their new compatriots is an unimaginable system. Even emigrants of colour do this.
Have these emigrants got some kind of cognitive or moral dissociation inside their heads? Perhaps the important thing for them is that they are not now blamed by the rest of the world.
The blacks who now form the majority in South Africa had colonialist forefathers who came down from Central Africa centuries ago and pushed the Khoi and San aside. I did read once (in an article about genocides by the white man in the Americas) that these Central Africans did genocides on the Khoi and San. But now I can’t find this story. The closest I can find is that they ‘mingled with and displaced them’.