Butthead’s Beat: Human right to braai

Bevis Fairbrother

YOU can bet your bottom rand that many South Africans see most public holidays as just another opportunity for a ‘tjop en dop’.

Except for Christmas, New Year’s Day and Good Friday, one may as well just brand them all… ‘National Braai Day’.

Tuesday, March 21, is one such public holiday and a quick survey of friends and family has shown that few actually know what the occasion is supposed to be.

For the record, it is actually Human Rights’ Day.

Yes, it is your basic human right to braai on this day if you want, but at least spare a few moments to chat to your choms around the fire about how important this day actually is for South Africans.

Human rights in this country prior to 1994 sucked.

There are many examples that spring to mind, but one stands out. It involved a white farmer and his black maid being caught in ‘flagrante delicto’ and charged under the infamous Immorality Act.

For some unknown reason, the accused were tried separately. The ‘maid’ was found guilty and given a stiff sanction. The farmer, who could afford lawyers, was subsequently acquitted for… ‘lack of evidence’. True story.

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Then along came Nelson and suddenly we were all equal in the eyes of the law.

But are we all equal in each other’s eyes?

Sadly, the answer has to be: “NO!”

One only has to listen to ‘casual banter’ at golf clubs and other former bastions of white supremacy to realise that there is still an undercurrent of racism.

The worst example must be a common statement by whites: “They (previously disadvantaged) must get rid of the chip on their shoulder. Apartheid is dead.”

That’s easy to say if you were not a victim of apartheid, even if it was more than 20 years ago.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of white people in this country were given a false start, thanks to a really shameless system and it will take generations for everyone to really be equal.

But we all have to make a conscious effort to try and try again to get along.

For starters, that thousands of farmers have been brutally tortured and murdered is certainly unacceptable and hats off to King Goodwill Zwelithini for speaking out against it in Pietermaritzburg recently.

But white farmers in particular should play their part as well. Next time a worker calls you ‘baas’, perhaps you could smile and reply: “Just call me Piet.”

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