I can’t even engage with the article What Exactly Did We Steal From You? by a South African white supremacist blogger that goes by “Shane” in which he basically argues for the age-old colonialist mentality that black people had nothing before Europeans came, and asks why blacks feel entitled to anything in South Africa when they didn’t make any of it.
The reason I can’t even begin to have a round with this is that it’s set up in a Western arena in which no one can imagine development as anything other than Westernization. Even Africans find themselves a little bit stung by it because it seems to make some points. But only in the way French people can make the point that they speak better French than Swahili people. Only in the same way someone can beat me to Johannesburg because I was headed to Durban. Only in the way that you can beat me at Kings when I was playing blackjack. Yes, you do make a point, you played better Kings, but I was playing Blackjack!
Africans are constantly marked against a European rubric, instead of against what we were trying to do. And in this Western and colonial frame, no one addresses the deaths, poverty, suffering, inequality and disease that have been brought in by industrialization and urbanization. What about what migrant labour did to African life? What about what Christianity did to African religions? What about what money is doing to the country’s moral fabric? What about the fact that this Western version of development is not the least bit sustainable?
What did you steal?
The African family unit,
A shit load of land.
Sucked up countless rivers,
A bunch of gold
And many people’s lives!
Destroyed oral traditions,
Sustainable localized communities,
and farming methods, to name a few things.
But if you can only see loss in a material, industrialist, or capitalist sense of your own design, then I will not argue with you. You cannot set the rules of the game, choose the referee and still expect me to play.