Forget about the individual events you may enjoy. Look at the bigger picture. We’re a race that’s a minority becoming an even smaller minority. Within the next 2 generations, based on the current birth rate, only 4.5% of our country will look like a wall yet, 20 years after the misnamed ‘end of apartheid’ and ‘beginning of democracy’, we have a festival that is mostly represented by drunk whites in restaurants and the SUVs they drove there in.
Sure, black people are allowed to participate and one was sure to stand out like a dot as he won a running race but, again, look at the bigger picture. Black events were in mostly black areas. White events were in the centre of town or on golf estates.
On the same day, in an orgy of ‘mismanagement’, Mi Casa, The ‘New’ Parlotones, a gospel group and Valiant Swart performed at different venues. None had good advertising let alone cross-cultural advertising besides Mic Casa’s posters being glued to the electrical box outside FNB in Main Street.
The ‘New Parlotones’ was a free show – 200 to 250 of us whities got to enjoy that whilst sitting at tables and illegally drinking alcohol as children ran around us (liquor laws don’t apply to all). No offence to the band but imagine if that free show had had a crossover artist and being advertised to the whole town as a genuine attempt at integration.
Then there’s the ‘fairground’ which is an unfair as it can get in a town with mass unemployment. The coloured community, which is the biggest in Knysna, used to love attending that, a family outing with fun but now choices are limited and it’ll cost you R10 per 20 seconds to ride a bull or shoot a paintball. 3 minutes of fun and a parent is down R180 for two children. Hornlee, where most coloureds stay, has, if i recall correctly, 43% unemployment. In sheer irony, the coloureds most likely to attend the festival are those working for the Knysna Municipality.
Why aren’t those coloured and black people in leadership positions aiming for integration too? The knife cuts both ways. If you complain about being treated unfairly by racists but don’t do anything about it except to yell, “racist” then you become a racist (of convenience) too.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not ashamed at my whiteness (no one should ever be ashamed of their colour). I loathe BEE and i’m more likely to listen to rock music than kwaito… but i am ashamed that my race group so utterly (and unashamedly) dominates the festival, a middle finger to integration and a South Africa we can all survive in the long run.
Look at the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival through the eyes of a black kid living in a township of Knysna. What do you see… is it the future?
PS: Read John Metta’s ‘I Racist’ at www.huffingtonpost.com/john-metta/i-racist_b_7770652.html. He may refer to America but when it comes to subtle racism, it applies to almost all of us.