Last time I was in South Africa I spent two weeks deep in the Karoo, that desiccated wasteland in the Northern Cape which is home only to a handful of jackals, the occasional springbok and supporters of the Afrikaaner Resistance Movement. I had been visiting Orania, a smallish town in which no black people are allowed. Set up by the son-in-law of Hendrik Verwoerd, its existence now is very grudgingly protected by the South African government under regulations which preserve minority cultures — ah, the irony.
I was doing a documentary, the gist being: ghastly, ghastly, racist white people. I have to admit that I, as a white supremacist bigot, was a little more equivocal about the issue than the rest of the crew, which is perhaps why the programme never got on TV. Even back then — this was 2011 — white farmers were being driven from their land by the blacks and fleeing to Zambia, or the UK, while senior members of the ANC demanded the spilling of Boer blood.
Didn’t the Orania people therefore have a point, I wondered, even if it was one only of self-preservation? The point — a dream, for some of them — was to carve out a new nation for Afrikaaners across a hugely unprofitable swathe of the north of the country, from Kimberley to the coast. A new Boer trek, a new homeland. And of course they would make it work, despite the aridity and the inhospitable landscape, because when it comes to farming and modernity they are extremely competent. Racist and competent, while the blacks were racist and hilariously incompetent. Orania was thriving and, like Israel (which is not a bad comparison), turning the desert green.
Prim, reserved, polite, little kids marched in line to the schoolroom like creatures out of a John Wyndham novel, or maybe an Amish community in the south of Ohio. In the pleasant and leafy high street, baking in the heat, I spoke to a woman doing her shopping. She would have been about 80, I’d guess. I asked her if she liked Orania. Yes, she did indeed. But what about the fact that there are no black people allowed into the place? ‘That, young man, is the very best thing about it,’ she replied. Horrible old cow, everybody agreed, viewing the shots later.
By this point the ANC was well on its way to reducing a country which, during apartheid, was easily the richest on the continent south of the Sahel (and afforded its black citizens the highest average wage and longest life expectancy in Africa) into a typically corrupt, massively useless, vicious and racist one-party state which is on the verge of civil war and where the blacks are worse off than ever and the whites are being murdered or evicted.
Hell, only sayin’, you know? That is what has happened. We may not like to accept it, but that’s how it is. I believe something similar happened next door in Zimbabwe, no? Still, at least in both countries the black majority are in charge of their destinies and that fact necessarily trumps every other. There’s nothing quite like white liberal self-flagellation to create misery for all races — it’s worse, in its effects, than colonialism. Incidentally, virtually nobody inhabited the Karoo before whitey got there. The Afrikaaners have at least as much right to the territory as the people who have taken it off them.
The plight of the South African whites does not much bother us these days. They’ve got their comeuppance, the bastards, is the approved view. We prefer to agonise about the real or supposed privations of people who fit into our expedient political worldview: the Rohingya, the Palestinians, the black Africans.
There is another narrative about South Africa to the one I have presented here, and a narrative which has almost as much force and should be heard. That other narrative is the only one you will hear, pretty much. Indeed if you were a foreigner and dared to articulate my narrative, you might well be kicked out of the country.
Shockingly, almost I might say unbelievably, a Canadian libertarian blogger has been refused entry to the UK because she subscribes to the narrative which I outlined above. Lauren Southern believes that genocide is being enacted against the whites in South Africa. Any other brand of genocide and she’d have been courted and asked to give evidence to a select committee, and probably be guest-editing Newsnight and presenting Woman’s Hour right now. She arrived at Calais, was interrogated and told: no entry. Two other supposed alt-right speakers were also denied entry to the UK, via Luton airport. What the hell is going on? I rang the Home Office and the only thing they would tell me is that they considered Southern’s presence here was ‘not conducive to the public good’. No further explanation.
There are an awful lot of people in the UK right now whose presence here is not conducive to the public good, beginning with the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd. She is palpably no good to anybody. We have just waved goodbye to a state visit from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, whose grim, totalitarian, misogynistic regime is responsible for a grotesque humanitarian disaster in Yemen and whose country is the no. 1 exporter of Islamic terrorists to the rest of the world. Over the last 15 years we have let in Islamic fundamentalists who want us all dead, racist Palestinians who want Israel wiped off the map, and all manner of deranged leftist academics who believe that the West — and in particular the UK — is to blame for every evil present in the world. They all got through immigration OK. Most of them were feted, mainly at the taxpayer’s expense. What happened to Lauren Southern is, frankly, chilling. Her views are broadly in line with those of the US President — and a fairly hefty proportion of our population, I would guess. Why has there been no furore?
The argument continues online.