Wednesday 22 July 2009
Sunday 19 July 2009
To start - I am an Afrikaans dissident who absolutely refuses to be referred to an "Afrikaner". In fact that term conjures up images and memories of our fascist past, stuffy old boys clubs like the nefarious Broederbond and the equally disgusting Jong Dames Dinamiek, and who can forget the Afrikaans churches who wholeheartedly preached Apartheid from the pulpit? I refuse to be called that and I inform everyone of it. By pure chance I happened to have been born into an Afrikaans family of French Huguenot origins, who gave up le francais for practical reasons since they lived in a Dutch colony in 1688. They discarded their language and most of their culture for a place to live free of religious persecution. (Of the 400 000 Huguenots that fled France only 200 came to Afrique du Sud.) I happen to be a descendant of those 'heretics'. The Dutch mingled with Malay, German, French and English and became known what is the language of Afrikaans today - mere more than a century old.
My ancestors of the 1800's were not Voortrekkers and they were not party to the great exodus out of the Cape. They arrived in what is now known as the North West Province about 50 years later. Uncannily one of my direct ancestors were one of the Afrikaans bible translators of 1933 - his monument declares Dr. Fourie - co-translator of the first Afrikaans bible - and the tomb is on the premises of the Reformed Church in the rustic town of Groot Marico, 40km from where I grew up. Nevertheless, despite all of this, I have no sentiments regarding my linguistic heritage since it is in fact not my antecedent language. I have expunged that language from my written communications and speak it only as it is easy, but I am by no means a puritan and those will have aneurisms when they hear how I speak it. I do not do the Cape-dialect with the disgusting accompanying accent - I just intermingle a lot of jargon which is English, French, German, and Latin.
I have more of an allegiance to the LGBTIQ community than my supposed stuffy linguistic fraternity. I do not wish to live in an Afrikaans "bantustan". In fact I have often only contempt for those who just happen to speak the same language. I hate their patriarchal and fundamentalist culture, I hate their culture. Period. I have been to the Voortrekker momument but it was no emotional experience. I often make jokes at their expense and laugh at them when I happen to drive by Loftus and curse at the road closures, obscene detours and ubiquitous over-zealous car guards all because they want to indulge in some biltong, klippies & coke, testosterone and rugby. Puke. So, if you want to hear how dysfunctional this group of people are, ask a dissenter who by some similarity are grouped with these fools.
I was thus quite perturbed when a friend of totally different heritage made a comment that it is in the Afrikaans populous' DNA to want autonomy and independence since they are from Dutch, French and German descent and fled to claim their own republics in the north of South Africa.
Even though I have no allegiance towards the supposed "Afrikaners" I completely understand why they did not want to live under Colonial/Imperial British rule where the Brits came and usurped which was not theirs. This was the same raison d'être behind the American revolution and the subsequent establishment of the Federal Republic known as the United States of America. It is also the raison d'être of the French revolution where the first modern democracy was instituted. I find the system of government in Britain very antiquated and not befitting our Zeitgeist. It is a vulgar remnant of the Medieval Feudal system which in fact should be phased out. The class system is even manifested in parliament - they have a House of Commons and a House of Lords. They have a jury system where the proletariat play amateur judges. But hey, what can we expect from a country with no Constitution. Yes, you heard right, I was equally flabbergasted, they have no written Constitution.
Identity politics is always a sticky issue. People within certain demographic and psychographic groups are by no means homogeneous in their outlook on life, philosophy, and other aspects which makes identity.
I could probably be classified into three categories: Afrikaans, Gay, South African. And I am the quintessential of neither.
I am not quintessentially Afrikaans since I don't braai, I do not label myself an Afrikaner and I harbour no sentiments regarding our history and heritage. I see my heritage as French. I am not a puritan when it comes to verbal language use and I do not correspond in it. I find the Cape-dialect and accent horrible and would rather die than speak like that, which makes for a puritan contradiction. People from the Free State and the Cape often have no clue when I am speaking Afrikaans since I have the habit of speaking with the pompous Pretoria East accent. People have asked my mother why I speak Afrikaans with an English accent (I don't). When I say 'a' they hear 'o'. When I say 'ek' they hear 'ak'. Both my brothers also speak like that.
I am far from being quintessentially gay. I do not do interior decorating. I am often unconcerned about how I look. I am not obsessed with dance music and I do not listen to Barbara Streisand. I also refuse to follow some convoluted protocol just because I happen to be gay.
I am not quintessentially South African. I do not particularly like the country as a whole and dislike the Republic of Cape Town. I identify as a citizen of the world rather than a South African citizen. I do not really feel 'African' and I am more than often dismayed by the flagrant human rights abuses in the continent. I am not a formal member of a political party and I will definitely not die for my country. I am not very patriotic, have no idea what the lyrics of the national anthem is and frankly do not care enough to know.
Maybe I'm one of the grumpy old white people that one of my friends wrote about...
I have friends the world over and globalisation has lead to a confluence of culture and the commercialisation thereof. We also have a culture of disposability. We have disposable nappies, disposable cameras and cellphones, disposable music (especially dance music which has a very very short shelf life, same for pop) and disposable relationships.
Do we know who we are? Maybe more or less but it doesn't bother us much. And frankly should it matter?
Friday 17 July 2009
Saturday 04 July 2009
My brother of second birth had a fairly recent religious rebirth of such and is in essence a huge fundamentalist, bigot and conservative. He maintains that the term 'liberal theologian' is a contradiction in terms. I have not the faintest clue what sparked this spiritual revival and subsequently bestowed upon him the title of His Excellency Pious III.
I am on the other hand quite ambivalent and uninterested in mainstream religious thought and have a pet hate for self-righteousness and religious fundamentalism and radicalism. I am not very tactful when it comes to conversations with Pious III and very often invoke his ire and raise his blood pressure. I see the religious texts as an allegory where it is not designated as historical narrative. I am completely confounded by the very selective applications of the plethora of antiquated and stuffy laws contained in Leviticus. Frankly those laws are the embodiment of sexism.
My baby brother of 19 did not say a word but got more agitated the more we debated. He is slightly more liberal than Pious and not a fundamentalist but a real wise-ass, and is very patronising, rigid and throws temper tantrums not befitting someone approaching 20. I call him petty and infantile and his ranting is often fraught with an obsession with rules and routine and structure, adherence to the most futile and inconsequential doctrines.
I think they both strive to be the complete antithesis of what I am and while I see myself as conscientious, kind, and compassionate they make me seem a reckless, carefree, hedonist, indulgent, and manipulative creature.
I have little or no holy cows and almost anything is fair game. I am adept at getting Pious contradict himself and prove my point for me which I very quickly point out, I am adept at nudging the conversation in a certain direction which with some interjecture leads to my intent - refuting the opposing argument. I am adept at doing it with not anyone but only specifically with those that I know very well - like Pious in this instance.
Since science and the medical fraternity has proven the innate and immutable nature of sexual orientation and gender identity and issued stern warnings and denounced reparative therapy as lacking efficacy and producing intense harm - the sole basis and premise of reparative therapy lies in the doctrine of the almighty nature of god and the dogma that nothing is impossible for him. You know, that's why the earth is six thousand years old, mortals rise from death and miracles happen and that the whole world was under water.
Pious believes the good book by letter in a literal sense. I told him that the story of Adam and Eve, the snake and the tree of wisdom is a meme just like the great flood which coincidentally is also in what is known as the Gilgamesh Epic. Pious was not impressed by my outlook.
The more contemporary examples of such allegories or memes are the so-called fables from midieval Europe - the most uncanny the story of little red ridinghood which is said to trace back to the tenth century in Romania. The girl symbolizes defiance and her red apparel denotes her promiscuity with the wolf being a sexual predator such as a rapist - these were manifestations of the oral history told by wise elders and all of the fables have been mutated over the years just as the religious texts more than likely also mutated over the years with the early Roman church having a vested interest in using memes to prevent defiance, provide for subservience and the quelling of freedom of speech and freedom of individual thought. The Roman church saw the efficacy of spreading guilt feelings as a measure to control and manipulate society. Hence the notion of 'inerrancy', the 'sinful nature' and using all these emotional manipulations to achieve their goals.
It is very easy to control a society of people too afraid to question things and take things at face value with no independent thought. It is also then very easy to impose prejudices en masse.
This, I think, is the gist of it, the origins and motivations. And sadly people are fooled to this day.
The old French adage is very true: plus ca change, plus c'est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same)...