Mental slavery remains: iLIVE

23 November 2012 - 02:07 By Keith Garrod, Noordhoek
Professor Jonathan Jansen. File photo.
Professor Jonathan Jansen. File photo.

Jonathan Jansen is undoubtedly very clever for a "black" South African. ("'Clever' slur lives on", yesterday).

Professor Jansen is able to coherently articulate a reasoned argument. Sadly, most black South Africans I encounter can not do this.

I do not mean that as a racist comment. I am in no way suggesting that white people are superior to black people.

However, what is clear and indisputable is that the average level of education of the white people in this country is far higher than that of black people.

This is the root cause of most of the problems that we face in South Africa, including racism.

The high correlation between race and education level makes it far too easy to prematurely judge a person's intellectual capacity on the basis of their skin colour.

If people were as "equal" when they left school as they are when they are born, racism would be relegated to the lunatic fringe, as it is in most developed countries.

Bantu education was the greatest of the atrocities committed by the apartheid government. Our democratically elected government's failure to redress that crime after 20 years is no less an atrocity.

The difference is that now there is no one to blame but ourselves. What is the point of our hard-won democracy if we don't use it to fix these fundamental problems?

As a person of European descent, I can say my traditional culture has made some wonderful contributions to the world, such as formal education and law, and some shameful ones, such as colonisation and slavery.

Learning and law are contributions that we can be proud of. The practice of conquering and enslaving weaker nations is one that is better abandoned.

Culture is not fixed at a point in time. It is, and should be, constantly evolving. If we really want to create a better life for all, we need to keep what works for us and abandon what works against us. It is futile to cling to traditions for the sake of it.

If we keep doing what we have always done, we will keep getting what we always got.

Sadly for Africa, that is not much.