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.