The following is an exclusive excerpt from my article “The Niggers of the Earth,” concerning my travels among the Afrikaners last December. The full piece will run in the first issue of Radix, the new print journal put out by the National Policy Institute, the organization which funds Alternative Right. To find out more about Radix or to order a subscription, please see Alternative Right’s main page.
I only have to imbibe this schizophrenia-inducing atmosphere—whereby, day after day, one hopes for tranquil normalcy while at the same time gravely fearing a sudden spasm of violent calamity—for a mere two weeks, and it nearly wears me out. One night I wake from ambiguously horrifying nightmares, gasping desperately for air, having been briefly assailed with some variation of cerebral shell-shock. If merely visiting South Africa produces such a reaction in a person, then how much more severe must be the psychic response to actually living here?
Dan Roodt, a distinguished writer and long-standing Afrikaner activist, meets me at an upscale “garage” halfway between Jo’burg and Pretoria. As we sit together and munch on our sandwiches, he reflects on what he calls this “extremely bizarre” set of contemporary circumstances in his country.
“In South Africa, we have the most violent peacetime society in the world,” Roodt says. “It’s almost like a low-intensity war. And there is always a risk that some incident could trigger riots and unrest.”
Roodt blames the “climate of hate” created by an ANC-dominated education system, which he holds responsible for much of the virulent racial antagonism raging among the country’s citizens today.
“South African Blacks are more anti-White than any population in the world,” he observes. “It’s a part of this whole ‘victim’ mentality. The ANC has created a fictional past ‘reality’ that feeds the present violence.”
By endlessly harping on the supposed evils of past White rule, and at the same time cynically playing on base tribal superstitions (President Zuma recently told voters that their ancestors would afflict them with sickness them if they voted against the ANC in coming elections), the present rulers of South Africa have “insured that they’ll never be voted out of office,” Roodt owns. At the same time, he says, many Blacks old enough to remember the Apartheid years will admit that, in many ways, things were better for them then than they are now.
“They (the Blacks) had jobs back then, and things were predictable,” Roodt says. “Social services were competent, unlike now,” he adds, noting the collapse of infrastructure and the graft, corruption, and incompetency that runs rampant among members of the current government.
Roodt is a lean, elegantly handsome, rather patrician-looking 54-year old man with a full head of thick silver hair and a gentle, unassuming, soft-spoken manner that seems in some ways at odds with his passionate, at times almost strident rhetoric. Like many Afrikaner intellectuals his age and older, Roodt began his academic career as a man of the Left, furiously critical of the National Party and its Apartheid policies, only later to take a severe Right-ward turn following the ascension of the ANC to power and the troubled times that followed.
“Our generation had the sense that our parents were conformists,” he says, recalling his turbulent adolescent years. “There was a sense of rebellion at the time. At our schools, some of the older teachers were bullies who abused their authority over us… Once I began rebelling against the way things were, I just went further and further.”
In fact, Roodt went all the way to Paris, France, in part to avoid being conscripted into the armed forces and forced to take part in the border wars South Africa was fighting against hostile Communist-backed neighboring regimes at the time. But he eventually became dismayed by the brazen ignorance and despicable malice displayed by many of his Parisian comrades-in-arms at the time.
“That was my first reality check,” he reflects. “These people I came to know looked at South Africa in a completely simplistic way.” Their perspective, in fact, was ludicrously “black-and-white”: that is to say, the Whites were brutal oppressors, and the Blacks were noble and righteous seekers of justice and liberation.
Roodt became irritated by such instances of typically Leftist hive-minded groupthink, and he also began to resent how his home country got assailed with one economic sanction after another by country after country as the years rolled by. “Why should we be singled out for ignominy, when other countries have much worse human rights records?” he asked others at the time, never obtaining a satisfactory answer.
Then came the crucial turning point of his self-imposed exile from South Africa. In the late 1980s, Roodt was invited to meet with the cultural section of the African National Congress in a seminar set up by a certain left-wing “liberation theology”-minded church group in Germany. His experiences at this seminar led him to suspect that an ANC takeover would be disastrous to those of his ethnic and racial background.
“Even though I was still a trendy, liberal literary scholar, I felt a sense of rejection from the Blacks and Coloureds present,” he recalls. “That sent me thinking. On the way back from Germany, I realized that I couldn’t betray my own people to become one of these unreconstructed Communists.”
These days, Roodt is contemplating the best way to continue the struggle for Afrikaner self-determination. Among other projects, including forays into politics, he has alighted upon a (literally) novel concept: he is in the early stages of composing a science fiction manuscript, set on another planet in a distant future, that explains the contemporary clash of races in an allegorical sense. Through such an unusual format, Roodt said he hopes to open minds that are currently paralyzed by rigidly enforced PC dogma surrounding the issue of racial differences.
“I’m at the stage where I feel like I need to do something extraordinary to change people’s minds,” he says.