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16 December 2006/Geloftedag

We were in Badplaas on 16 december this year. As it was a public holiday lots of people visited the place, more than on other days and subsequently more black people too…lots more. The normal frustration accompanied by this type of situations dwaned on us as our family rolled in to the entrance of the resort.
Okay, so nothing wrong with this. It’s just a lot of people, doesn’t matter what colour. It’s just, I didn’t see any other white people pee at the side of the road with his front to the cars while we were waiting in the queue to pay our entrance fee…
We went there to fetch my brother after their outreach has finished. There was a Geloftedag church service and we attended it.
Now, people understand Geloftedag completely wrong. For those who do not know, it is a day that Afrikaners keep as a sacred day (or supposed to) because on this day in 1838 they were saved by a miracle from God from an army that would have killed them all at Blood River near Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Why do I say people understand Geloftedag the wrong way? Because you get sms’s like “Lets remember a time when the afrikaners stood together to get things done”. I also brought up the topic that night on a chatroom on mxit and someone responded by saying it is the new South Africa, it’s time to let go of “that idea”.
This is not what Geloftedag is about. It is not a “old SA/new SA”-thing. It is about keeping a promise that our forefathers made to God: that they would honour this day and date and tell their offspring how God saved them. They would keep tis day as a Sabbath to the honour of God.
Now, by doing this we are not “anti-reconciliation”. I like the idea of reconciliation. I say idea, because reality is showing me a different story at this stage in SA. People doesn’t want to reconcile. They want to eliminate, destroy and take everything for themselves and then they can’t understand why the other party feels betrayed.
Keeping up Geloftedag is like Hannukah to the Jews: God saved them by a miracle and they are honouring that. (By the way, I don’t see why Christians can not also celebrate hannukah? Any reason why not? It was pre-Jesus, wasn’t it?). God also saved that particular boer-army, that is why we must uphold their promise. We can not hide from that or ignore it just because the charicature it has become has a negative connotation. It is not a day to hate the blacks; it is a day to celebrate God’s trustworthiness.
What does this have to do with Badplaas? While we were waiting in the line at the supertube, I overlooked one of the big swimming pools. On the one side all the black people were swimming, enjoying themselves. On the other side all the white people were swimming, enjoying themselves. Everybody had a good time, although they were in the same pool. Sounds like a mini-SA cosmos?! Nobody forced them to do that, it’s just the way it happened…naturally.
I smiled to my dad when we saw this. This is the real miracle of SA: a transition that took place rather smoothly, contrary to other such insidents in history when one country’s reigning people were replaced by another.
But now I am not so sure anymore. I don’t feel save in this country anymore and that is why I have decided to take a break directly after I have finished my studies. The sunny beaches of California are calling me louder everyday. Maybe I can live there without fearing for my life everyday, without a political system that is ridiculous to say the least, without having to apologize everyday because I’m white, male and Afrikaans. I know I sound cynical, but if anyone can convince me why I should stay in SA permanently, please, feel free to do so.

  1. Annemarie Venter
    January 8, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Wow, heavy stuff.

    You say that racial division is natural. I agree. But what if we can break that division? What if we can bring different races together? Without forcing anyone. Make it a natural process. What if we can make a difference?

    I beleive it’s possible. What do you think?

  2. Aldi
    January 15, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Did you know that all public celebrations of 16 Dec was stopped after 1939?. It was only in the late 1880s that Paul Kruger revived the celebrations. There is reason to believe that Kruger believed the earth was flat till the day he died.

  3. Aldi
    January 15, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Sorry – correction: celebrations was stopped after 1839 (not 1939) only one year after Bloedrivier.

  4. Ida
    March 9, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    I understand exactly what you are saying and as i was reading the bible (Jeremiah 37) today was convicted and are praying by writing this note God will convict and lead those who call themself Chirstians to confess and go back to keeping the oath our forefathers made, and trust, in God to make the difference and not in man.
    And now”Though the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, keep the good things that have been entrusted to you.” Tim 1:14

  5. Dorothy
    November 24, 2008 at 4:05 am

    Please stop trying to intergrate different cultures and colours. I don’t want their place in the sun, but I’m not willing to give up mine. I will celebrate 16th Dec. and thank God for giving us the victory. Will all NZ Afrikaan speaking people get together to celebrate this day. After all Jewish holidays are honoured even Idian special days are honoured – why not our day of 16 Dec?

    November 30, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Why was all celebrations stop in 1839 and only restarted by PK in the late 1880’s??? Can someone give a proper reason??? based on facts??

  7. December 16, 2010 at 9:58 am

    On this day I discovered your blog and I wonder where you are. Did you leave South Africa? Please know that racism is all over the world, well and alive. I know you are not a racist, as many in South Africa.

    Die 16de Desember sal altyd Geloftedag bly vir my.

    South Africa is my country and I intend to stay here until I depart to my eternal Home … and in peace. No matter what others may do.

    Edengroete hier vanuit George!

  8. Jasper Coetzee
    December 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Myra, Ek loof die Here vir sulke geloof – ek is saam met jou! I also wondered what became of your intentions Tiaan? I do hope your are still in the land of sunshine. My position is that a Maroela tree (such as myself) will simply die when transplanted. The Voortrekkers did not flinch in the face of adversity, but trusted in God to lead them on their way, whether that be a path leading to death, like in Piet Retief’s case, or in victory, as was the case with the battle of Blood River. They built their hopes and their future on a rock solid faith in the triune God, who did not hold back his Son from a cruel death on a Cross to redeem his children.

    Wonderful greetings in the name of Jesus the Christ,


  9. February 7, 2011 at 1:57 am

    ‘:* that seems to be a great topic, i really love it -;”

  10. Natasha
    December 1, 2011 at 4:44 am

    WOW – I can’t believe this was written in 2006 – I left SA March 2006 for the same reason and now in 2011 it seems worse …

    I’m here Jasper because God opened doors for me to get out… and live…. I will not take my 3 year old by the hand and lead him to death…..

    May we respect those families who are dealing with a lot of Grief and death this Christmas!!

  1. January 9, 2007 at 7:51 am

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