To take a knee or not, plus five talking points from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

29 October 2021 - 06:25 By TIMESLIVE
Proteas batter and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
Proteas batter and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
Image: Reuters/Rogan Ward

It bothers me slightly that I may never play for the Springboks, writes Piet Croucamp in this week's edition of Vrye Weekblad.

My entire life I have refused to sing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. The first part glorifies gods and the second part has a militaristic rhythm that glorifies apartheid, and both phenomenons have caused humanity great harm. Neither is an innocent phenomenon I am prepared to honour symbolically, he continues. 

So were I to be included in the Springbok team playing the All Blacks tomorrow (may the Lord help South Africa) I shall probably have to withdraw from the team because I refuse to sing the national anthem. 

There is damning judgment of anyone who does not conform to the symbolism of uniformity. 

Racism is as endemic in sport as it is in schools and everyday social life. Sport is an important public platform and a good one to make the point against racism. If you are a racist, you should withdraw from a team that includes the best South African fast bowlers if you are uncomfortable with the colour of their skin.

Maybe you don’t have a problem playing sport with black players as long as they don’t come to your house and ask your daughter’s hand in marriage. Yet you bend a knee for the sake of your career. Quinton de Kock has a problem with people like you. 

No racist should represent South Africa in sport. There are in all likelihood many racists in our sports teams and some of them may even kneel without integrity. 

We admire independence of thought in our children; in our sports personalities, it becomes a condemnable abomination.

Most white South Africans will not readily agree to any symbolic ritual that includes a clenched fist. The argument that the raised fist represents the ideological assumptions of black power is not unfounded. A black power salute is historically a valid expression of black South Africans’ struggle against apartheid, colonialism and systemic repression and should stay that. In the US it is a powerful symbol against systemic racism.


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Since then complex philosophy developed around the salute, with strong undertones of black consciousness and political liberation. More recently the Black Lives Matter movement as well as critical race theory and cancel culture became part of the doctrine. Most ordinary people can’t really distinguish between these intertwined sociopolitical phenomena. 

The contradictions are rather peculiar. If Derek Hanekom raises his fist at an ANC rally, he is still a white man who raises his fist in solidarity. He never becomes part of the identity. He has had all the benefits and advantages of white privilege and it limits the value of his action to a show of solidarity. In fact, a pale skin’s raised fist borders on cultural appropriation.

The insistence on uniformity is petty, ideological and the upshot of fascist philosophy.

Like religion, the evil of ideology or stifling narratives such as critical race theory is the extent to which it brooks no criticism and tends to include a condemnation clause. You either conform to the letter, word and rituals of the philosophy, or you are a heretic, racist or apartheid apologist.

No conflicting opinion or idea should be condemned in any way other than that it is not factually correct. Racism is not an opinion, it is simply cruel and unfair to judge anyone on the basis of race.

And with that, I would like to inform Lawson Naidoo that I am not available for the match against Holland. 

Read the full column, and more news, analysis and interviews in this Friday's edition of Vrye Weekblad. 


Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

KIDNAPPED! | The nightmarish kidnapping of the four Moti children in Polokwane is just one of a wave of similar crimes in which mostly rich businessmen are targeted daily. 

BURNING DOWN | In a part of SA that nobody cares about fires are raging while the only fire truck in the area is slowly making its way to the scene. There is load-shedding and there is nobody to vote for in the upcoming local government election.

WILD THINGS | There comes a time in every parent's life when they have to let go of the child that they brought up with so much care, love, prayer and threats and hand them over to the adult that they have to be. 

ABOUT GRIEF  | You always realise too late that the distance between life and death is only one breath deep. Is there a correct way to grieve?

WHAT IS KAGAME DOING? | Rwanda remains the darling of the West, but SA and several other African nations don't trust what is happening with the Rwandan presence in Mozambique.


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