Sowetan on 10 February 2016
Christi van der Westhuizen reminds us that while “apartheid has officially come to an end, white power persists”.
“Whiteness derives its power from operating invisibly. It is an unspoken regime of oppressive norms and so it is absolutely necessary to disturb whiteness by making it seen.” Social media has been abuzz from racist slurs which have caused outrage and sparked debates around the identity question. These racial utterances, problematic in nature, are not unique they are a mere reflection of the racially-skewed society we find ourselves in.
The privileged position of white South Africans lies somewhere in between their material gains from apartheid and how they identify themselves in contemporary South Africa.
Whiteness has been attached to privilege in South Africa as far back as the 17th century when Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. By the time he left the Cape in 1662, it is recorded that over 200 whites lived in what was beginning to look like a developing colony.