Only half of the story

Colin Jooste, Observatory

Everyone has the ability to – with hindsight being an exact science – articulate and put things into perspective.

Overwhelming negative eulogies and flashbacks at the passing of FW De Klerk, South Africa’s last white apartheid state president, makes it somewhat impossible for one not to join the fray – in defence of this icon.

From every corner of every province voices were raised in criticism of a man who had the courage of his convictions to turn this seemingly insurmountable and perceived unsinkable “Apartheid Titanic” around… notwithstanding the very real risks from radicals within his own verkrampte Afrikaner clusters (groeperinge) who posed a threat of assassinating him.

On a balance of probabilities, we must bear in mind that inasmuch as FW De Klerk went to his grave with many unanswered questions, Nelson Mandela by the same token, was buried with many secrets and stories not told in his Long Walk To Freedom.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Alex Boraine, worked painstakingly through the dynamics that govern the specifics of the extent of FW De Klerk’s involvement in the apartheid regime. Why is it now necessary to revisit a post-mortem that is done and dusted and consigned to the historical archives for posterity?

It doesn’t cement an already fragmented and dysfunctional nation – instead it opens old wounds and is the root cause of further polarisation of our fragile nation that are still licking the wounds and nursing psychological scars left by the unscrupulous handful of racist bandits who held our forebears hostage, not only since 1948 but for centuries since the first colonialists set foot in Africa.

My son repeatedly reminds me, “Dad free yourself from mental slavery… half the story has never been told”.

And so our ancestors have also gone to their graves not telling us of the many times they had to stare into the barrel of a gun, toe the line or get the bullet.