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“Non-racialism is Dead”: Read an Excerpt from What If There Were No Whites In South Africa? by Ferial Haffajee

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?The Star has shared an extract from Ferial Haffajee’s latest book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, which provides thought-provoking analysis of our country.

In the excerpt, Haffajee unpacks the #RhodesMustFall movement and the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town, which marks the “generational shift in how transformation is understood”.

The reflection also turns inwards, as the respected political commentator and editor-in-chief of City Press writes about her relationship with her freedom and shares her own doubts and fears about writing this book.

Haffajee writes: “For me the political is intensely personal – freedom has been good for me and to me. I know it’s not the same for many, many South Africans, but there are enough of us who have benefited from freedom to build on it.”

Read the extract:

This is a generational shift, and a seismic one at that, in how South Africa’s transition is understood. It’s interesting to me that while Frank Chikane – liberation theologian, politician and democratic South Africa’s second director general of the Presidency – is a father of democracy, it is his son, Kgotsi Chikane, who is leading the #RhodesMustFall movement, a second transition.

In former EFF MP Andile Mngxitama’s words: “It was always about preserving white civilisation, ultimately. Because if this liberation movement was devoid of white anxiety (or anxiety about whites), it would have spoken in a different language.”

So, as I pursue my quest of understanding why I feel almost completely out of step with a generation I venerate, I realise that what we are living through is a generational shift. Those of us who admire South Africa’s transition and have studied the masterclass in pragmatism that underlined the painstaking negotiations for freedom are regarded as outmoded by a young, new establishment. We are regarded as compradors for striving for diversity and non-racialism. Non-racialism is, to all intents and purposes, dead.

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