white sa protesterWhite people make up about 9% of the South African population. The Afrikaans-speaking Dutch descendants known as the Afrikaners make up about 61% of the White South African population, followed by the Anglophone descendants of predominantly British colonists who make up about 36%. The remaining fraction includes groups such as the Portuguese descendants of 1975 (allowed to enter South Africa when the two former Portuguese colonies, Angola and Mozambique, became independent in 1975), Americans, Austrialians, and other recent immigrants.

The Afrikaners have been in South Africa since 1652 when the first permanent white settlement in Sub-Saharan Africa was founded at the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch under Jan Van Riebeeck. The British descendants permanently settled in South Africa somewhere around 1820 when several groups or parties of white British colonists were settled by the British government and the Cape authorities in the South African Eastern Cape. In other words, white South Africans have been in South Africa for over 3 centuries.

I came across a very interesting question on BBC a few days ago. Do White South Africans have a future in South Africa? Well, my answer was "why not?". White people have been in South Africa for over 350 years. The current generation of White South Africans know nowhere else but South Africa and if they have no future in the land of their birth then where else?

Do African Americans and other minority groups have a future in America? I personally think it is quite insane for anyone to think that white South Africans are Europeans rather than Africans. Despite their European origin, white South Africans are Africans first. Their roots go deeper and deeper by the centuries and by generations upon generations. South Africa belongs to all racial groups and every racial group has a future in South Africa the same way all racial groups can rightfully boast of America as their homeland.

The racial issue in South Africa today however, isn’t just a problem of wrong identity. It is also a problem of economic and social injustice. Although apartheid (the worst form of racial discrimination the world has ever known) is “over” on paper, apartheid still exists in the hearts and souls of some people today and unless the roots of apartheid are completely and permanently removed, racial issues will forever remain hot topics in South Africa just like in the United States, Brazil, and other racially-charged communities around the world.

Because of the great sacrifices made by Nelson Mandela and others, South Africa is in a better shape today than it has ever been but that doesn’t necessarily imply those problems Madiba and others fought against are completely over. The structures of apartheid remain in the very fabric of the South African society and those structures continue to discriminate, oppress, and deny access to some of life’s possibilities to millions of people (blacks, whites, mixed, etc.) all across South Africa.

Economically speaking, white South Africans are generally better off than other racial groups in South Africa today. Take South Africa’s unemployment rate for example. The unemployment rate among the white population group – ranging between 4.1% in 2008 and 7.3% in 2014 – is the lowest of all the population groups by a large margin. The unemployment rate among black South Africans currently sits around 39-40% and most have been looking for jobs for years. 

Some white South Africans have worked and continue to work very hard to build better lives for themselves and their families. Most of these hardworking white South Africans had nothing to do with apartheid. In fact, most of them were even victims of that oppressive system and I think it would be rather unfair to discredit all their hardwork and dedication.

On the other hand is another group of white South Africans. This group keeps getting angrier and angrier by the day. Why? Because this group feels the current system does not favor them like it used to do in the days of apartheid. The major problem with this group of white South Africans however is that, In today’s South Africa, the only “official” privileges available are the privileges one enjoys for being South African and not just for being black or white. To this group of white South Africans, life today is way harder than it used to be and they are right.

We keep seeing "White Genocide in South Africa" all over the news but is there truly "White Genocide" going on in South Africa today? The answer is Yes and No. Yes because more and more innocent White South Africans (especially farmers) continue to die for no crime of theirs. On the other hand, the answer is "No" because it isn't just one race suffering in South Africa today. South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world and this applies equally to all of South Africa and not just one racial group. In fact, statistically, taking the population fractions and the number of recorded deaths into consideration, more blacks die in South Africa than Whites. There are several white supremacist groups operating in South Africa today and the idea of "White Genocide" is a major tool they use to recruit new people. To the average White South African however, life may be hard today but there is hope for a better future.

The issue of race remains a hot topic in South Africa today and most white South Africans fall victims every now and then. The root cause however goes deeper than the current generation. It goes deeper than even apartheid and South Africa has a long way to go as far as racial issues are concerned. In today's South Africa, some young black South Africans feel they simply face greater hurdles to success because of the apartheid structures still in place. On the other hand, most young White South Africans feel the current system does not favor them at all.