Thursday, 30 November 2006

Who impoverished the rest of Africa, Mamphele? / Wie het res van Afrika verarm, Mamphele?

(English translation from African Crisis, Original Afrikaans version from Praag)

English Translation:

Who impoverished the rest of Africa, Mamphele?

The African culture of blame is still standing strongly in South Africa. Just recently the previous official of the World Bank, Mamphele Ramphele, made a declaration to the University of Cape Town that “people under apartheid were deliberately impoverished, and if we don’t tackle it, we must not be surprised when there is anger and brutality on our streets.”

http://www.news24.com/Beeld/Suid-Afrika/0,,3-975_2035231,00.html

Ramphele’s statement contains two elements: an acceptance (apartheid deliberately impoverished people) and a threat (if there is no redistribution of wealth, or “compensation,” there will be violence). Her statement can also be read as an explanation for the anarchy and violence that has been rife in the country since 1994, and which places South Africa at the top of Interpol’s list for murder and rape.

Ramphele’s “stature,” if one can call it that, rests on the fact that she was the lover of the murdered Steve Biko. Biko was a Black nationalist and some of his interviews with the BBC can be found on the internet. During these he reveals himself as a typical Afrocentrist whose ideas are not far removed from those of Robert Mugabe. For someone whose “great intellect” has been praised to high heaven, it is surprising that he could not express himself properly in English. Perhaps he spoke better Xhosa.

However, Ramphele’s “expert” opinion about apartheid will not withstand the test of cold logic.

Firstly, why would the previous NP regime want to “deliberately impoverish” the country? Was it in order to collect less in taxation, draw more international criticism, or just because they were somewhat crazy?

When we look at the previous policy and statements of the previous regime from the time of Verwoerd, it is clear how the country always regarded Black development as a high priority. Apparently more money was spent towards Black development, whether in the previous homelands, or in the urban areas than the total amount spent in all the UN’s development agencies on the Third World since 1945.

It is probably true that Black South Africans on average are poorer than Whites. However, their level of skills, training, entrepreneurship, etc, is lower than that of Whites, as well as that of the Indians. The latter were also regarded as being “victims of apartheid,” that they should receive racial priority before that of whites. Yet the Indians in five of the nine provinces of South Africa are on average wealthier that Whites!!

No government in history, except that of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who enjoys much admiration among South Africa’s Black elite, has ever attempted to impoverish its population – least of all the previous White governments in this country.

While Blacks are poorer than Whites or Indians for obvious reasons, South African Blacks, however, are far, far wealthier than their peers in the rest of Africa. Something like 38 countries south of the Sahara receive aid and support in some way or another, whether it be food assistance, development assistance or whatever. According to the World Bank the average GNP per head in Africa south of the Sahara was exactly $577.10 in 2002. In comparison, South Africa boasts with a GNP of $3630 per head – thus six times more than that of the average African country!

Should one accept Ramphele’s absurd hypothetical argument, she should be able to answer the question: who then “deliberately impoverished” the people elsewhere in Africa? Was it the African governments that were out to create as much poverty as possible, like Mugabe has done, for the past forty years?

Apparently the answer is more complicated than that. Just as African leaders did not try to deliberately impoverish their countries, a previous cabinet committee did not decide to try to stem economic growth and prosperity in South Africa. Or does that represent the latest Black consciousness theory that Blacks represent better rulers than Whites? For if we accept Ramphele’s opinion that people in Africa do not have wealth and prosperity, but pursue poverty, we have to agree that Black governments elsewhere on the continent succeeded far better with their $577 per head than Verwoerd and P.W. Botha ever did.

However, let us try to be less ridiculous and conduct a serious political and economical debate. Africa (and its poor) can only benefit by it, provided people like Ramphele – who, through her experience at the World Bank – should know better and rather come forward with logical facts and arguments for a change.

The plea for compensation because of apartheid is modeled on the now hollow-ridden claim for compensation because of slavery that was brought up during the UN World Conference on Racism in 2001. The world recognized and rejected it for what it was – just another variation of the cupped-hand salute that Africa is so well-known for.

Dan Roodt


Oorspronklike Afrikaanse weergawe:

Wie het res van Afrika verarm, Mamphele?

Deur Dan Roodt

Die Afrika-blaamkultuur staan nog sterk in Suid-Afrika. So pas het die vorige amptenaar van die Wêreldbank, Mamphele Ramphele, 'n uitspraak aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad gemaak dat "mense onder apartheid opsetlik verarm is" en indien "ons dit nie aanpak nie, moet ons nie verbaas wees as daar woede en brutaliteit op ons strate is nie".

Ramphele se stelling bevat twee elemente: 'n aanname (apartheid het mense opsetlik verarm) en 'n dreigement (as daar nie herverspreiding van rykdom of "kompensasie" plaasvind nie, gaan daar geweld wees). Haar uitspraak kan ook gelees word as 'n verklaring vir die anargie en geweld wat sedert 1994 in die land heers en wat Suid-Afrika bo-aan Interpol se lys vir moord en verkragting geplaas het.

Ramphele se "statuur", indien mens dit so kan noem, berus op die feit dat sy die vermoorde Steve Biko se minnares was. Biko self was 'n swart nasionalis waarvan sommige onderhoude met die BBC byvoorbeeld op die internet te vinde is. Daarin openbaar hy hom as 'n tipiese Afrosentris wie se denke nie te ver van Robert Mugabe s'n verwyder was nie.

Vir iemand wie se "groot intellek" intussen ten hemele aangeprys is, is dit nogal verbasend dat hy homself nie behoorlik in Engels kon uitdruk nie. Miskien het hy beter Xhosa gepraat.

Hoe dit ook al sy, Ramphele se "deskundige" mening oor apartheid sal nie die toets van koue logika deurstaan nie.

In die eerste plaas: waarom sou die vorige NP-regering mense in die land "opsetlik wou verarm"? Sodat hulle minder belastings kon in, meer internasionale kritiek kon ontlok of sommer net omdat hulle bietjie mal was?

As ons na die beleid en uitsprake van die vorige bewind vanaf Verwoerd kyk, val dit op hoe hy voortdurend swart ontwikkeling as 'n hoë prioriteit gesien het. Blykbaar is daar meer fondse aan swart ontwikkeling, hetsy in die voormalige tuislande, hetsy in die stedelike gebiede bestee as die totale som geld wat al die VN se ontwikkelingsagentskappe sedert 1945 op die Derde Wêreld uitgegee het.

Dis sekerlik waar dat swart Suid-Afrikaners gemiddeld armer as blankes is. Maar hulle vlak van kundigheid, opleiding, entrepreneurskap, ens. is insgelyks heelwat laer as dié van blankes - asook dié van Indiërs. Laasgenoemde word natuurlik ook beskou as "slagoffers van apartheid" wat tans rassevoorkeur bo blankes moet ontvang. Nietemin is Indiërs gemiddeld ryker as blankes in vyf uit die nege provinsies van Suid-Afrika!

Geen regering in die geskiedenis, behalwe miskien dié van mnr. Robert Mugabe van Zimabwe wat soveel bewondering by Suid-Afrika se swart elite afdwing, het nog ooit opsetlik sy bevolking probeer verarm nie, allermins die vorige blanke regerings in dié land.

Terwyl swartes om bepaalde en maklik verstaanbare redes armer as blankes en Indiërs is, is Suid-Afrikaanse swartes egter veel, veel ryker as hul eweknieë elders in Afrika. Iets soos 38 lande suid van die Sahara ontvang een of ander vorm van hulp en bystand, hetsy voedselhulp, ontwikkelingshulp of wat ook al. Volgens die Wêreldbank was die gemiddele BNP per kop in Afrika suid van die Sahara in 2002 presies $577,10. Hierteenoor spog Suid-Afrika met 'n BNP per kop van $3630, dus meer as ses keer dié van die gemiddelde Afrikaland.

Indien mens Ramphele se kennelik absurde hipotese argumentsonthalwe sou aanvaar, behoort sy vir ons die vraag te beantwoord: wie het dan die mense elders in Afrika "opsetlik verarm"? Was dit die Afrikaregerings wat die afgelope veertig jaar, soortgelyk aan mnr. Mugabe, daarop uit was om soveel armoede as moontlik te skep?

Waarskynlik is die antwoord meer ingewikkeld as dit. Net so min as wat ander Afrikaleiers met opset hul lande probeer verarm het, net so min het 'n vorige kabinetskomitee 'n besluit geneem om Suid-Afrika se ekonomiese groei en voorspoed te probeer stuit.

Of verteenwoordig dit die jongste swartbewussynsteorie wat wil hê dat swartes beter regeerders as blankes verteenwoordig? Want as ons Ramphele se aanname aanvaar dat mense in Afrika nie rykdom en voorspoed nie, maar armoede nastreef, dan moet ons toegee dat die swart regerings elders op ons vasteland met hul $577 per kop soveel beter daarin geslaag het as Verwoerd, Vorster en P.W. Botha…

Kom ons probeer egter minder belaglik wees en 'n ernstige politieke en ekonomiese debat voer. Afrika (en sy armes) kan net daarby baat indien mense soos Ramphele wat weens haar ervaring by die Wêreldbank van beter behoort te weet, vir 'n slag met feite en logiese argumente kom.

Die pleidooi vir vergoeding weens apartheid is gemodelleer op die nou reeds bekende aandrang op kompensasie weens slawerny wat ook tydens die VN se Wêreldkonferensie teen rassisme in 2001 geopper is. Die wêreld het dit herken en afgewys vir wat dit is: maar net nog 'n variasie van die bakhandsaluut waarvoor Afrika so bekend is.

Oorsprong/Source: Praag/African Crisis
http://www.praag.org/rubriek313d.htm
http://www.africancrisis.org/ZZZ/ZZZ_News_9584.asp

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