Write on

Christine Zama gives her forthright opinions on South African politics and says Paul Kruger was correct about the uitlanders.

SOUTH AFRICA'S dwindling band of white liberals has had a field day bashing Robert Mugabe. Just because of a few administrative problems during the election, no worse than occurred her in 1994, they and their backers in Western governments refuse to recognise his legitimate victory. But where were these same critics when the infamous Jameson Raid of 1895 laid low King Lobengula and annexed the independent state of Rhodesia into the British Empire? The truth is they had nothing to say then. They were silent about this infamous act of imperialism carried out by the racist warlord Cecil Rhodes.

When I made this point at a recent editors' forum some of the white liberals present stooped to arguing that they had not been born in 1895. Others tried to confuse the matter by arguing that the Jameson Raid was made into the Transvaal and never reached Rhodesia, wholly ignoring the role of Jameson as Rhodes' well-known racist collaborator. At heart, they cannot accept the national democratic revolution and continue to resist transformation in an unpatriotic spirit. How correct Paul Kruger was to call them "uitlanders".

It is the genius of President Thabo Mbeki to have thrown new light on the progressive, anti-imperialist strand within Afrikaner nationalism by creating the alliance of the ANC with the NNP. After the Anglo-Boer war there was no shortage of Afrikaner renegades such as Louis Botha and Jan Smuts willing to throw in their lot with the liberal imperialists in a racist alliance aimed at the oppression of the black masses. Only the so-called "bitter-enders" refused to join this sell-out and gradually they reconquered the hearts of Afrikaners, leading to the victory of 1948 and the achievement of the republic in 1960.

Many Africans found it difficult to appreciate the progressive nature of these changes overshadowed as they were by "swart gevaar", "baaskap" and apartheid. Even so it is impossible not to agree that men such as Verwoerd had formed a just appreciation of white liberalism. A true African nationalist can only applaud the way they hated and fought the ideology of capitalist privilege.

That, indeed, is the historic significance of the recent alignment of the NNP with the ANC. At last the progressive, anti-liberal side of Afrikaner nationalism has triumphed and decided to join the African Renaissance. No wonder that, having now forsaken their racist and anti-democratic alliance with the DP, the likes of Marthinus van Schalkwyk and Renier Schoeman seem born again as true apostles of ubuntu and African union. It is only fitting that as lobola for this new marriage of principle the NNP has turned over the "white homeland" of the Western Cape to ANC rule.

But instead of applauding the better life that this will deliver for the masses, liberals choose to focus on the mistakes of our sister liberation movement in Zimbabwe. Of course they neglect to mention the role of white racist farmers and the former colonial power in frustrating the movement's good intentions these past 20 years. It suits liberals all too well that Mugabe should fail. Indeed, they suggest that our own liberation movement may follow the same "downward" path trodden by Zanu-PF. How can liberals be so blind? The answer is simple: they refuse to learn the lessons of history.