Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cornerstone

In Westworld, they build identity around a cornerstone. An event around which the host builds their character, decisions and dreams. For me, and for many in South Africa, that cornerstone event is still Apartheid. Europe's Apartheid is of a slightly different flavour, and one that would mess with a host named Sophie Frica's narrative. The concept of 'White' disintegrates as you travel through Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, to the land where Jesus came from.


I started High School the year before the end of Apartheid. I was nine when the Berlin Wall fell ending the Cold War, and removing the UK and US from the support team of racial segregation in South Africa. Mandela was released the next year.


Gradually people who weren't 'White' started joining our schools. Part of Apartheid's legacy was that White Schools were significantly better than Black Schools. By design. Apartheid South Africa believed that it was only necessary to train Black people to be able to follow instructions in order to do manual labour. The State also paid for the good quality education for White people with high quality 'almost free' schools.


Part of the Apartheid peace deal was that things mostly continued as usual, but 'the doors were opened' to those who could afford it. Prices started to rise fast from 'almost free'. I can still remember the very first 'non-white' pupil that came to my school. She was my neighbour too. Her family came from Iran. I only later learned of the irony there. 



Much of Apartheid's philosophical underpinnings came from the National Socialism of Germany. The Afrikaans population was still bubbling with anger after the Concentration Camps and Scorched Earth policy of the Anglo-Boer Wars. An enemy of Britain was a friend of the Boer.  Iran changed its name from Persia. Ērān is a middle Persian word derived from the same place as Aryan. In 1935, the country asked the International Community to name the country Iran. Germany had tried to get military cooperation from Persia and had convinced them that they indeed fell under the 'Aryan' definition.

South Africa's 'White' population hail mainly from the Germanic tribes (Dutch, English, French Huguenots). 'White People' wasn't even a thing at all until the 17th century, and only became a quasi-scientific notion in the 19th century. 'White People' in the Apartheid sense certainly don't exist throughout Europe, despite the attempt since the advent of Nation States to divide people up by race.

It is a delicious irony that the Nederduitse Gereformerde Kerk (NGK) which provided the religious underpinnings of Apartheid would not have accepted historic Jesus into a white school. That would have messed with the Cornerstone of their identity. Scientific Racism targeted people that weren't white and people who were Jewish. Scientific Racism targeted people like Jesus.

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