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05 November 2012 at 09:55 - Posted by Anonymous

The White Tribe of Africa


There are so many words and phrases in Afrikaans that I love. Words that just can’t be translated because they would lose all meaning. But there is one phrase that sums up the Afrikaans people completely, a phrase that says it all: 

‘n Boer maak ‘n plan.

‘n Boer maak ‘n plan’ loosely translates to: Don’t worry people, MacGyver over here has this shit under control and everything is going to be OK! 

No fire? Moenie worry nie, ‘n boer maak ‘n plan

Translation: No fire? Right, how attached are you to that tree in your backyard ? I’ll have it down in a jiffy and we’ll be warm before you can say “jeez it’s cold out here”. And while I’m at it, would you like me to quickly throw together a new kennel for your dog with the left over wood? Oh, and I can also make your kid a tree house while we’re waiting for the meat to defrost. 

I’m not joking. 

The Afrikaners make things work. They’re not interested in hearing about how it can’t be done or what the problem is. They find a solution and a way - always. They walked over the Drakensberg mountains, THE DRAKENSBERG!!! And they did it, barefoot, through 500 feet of snow, dragging tired oxen and wagons behind them. A mountain in the way? Moenie worry nie, ‘n boer maak ‘n plan. We’ll just drag animals, family and all our worldly possessions up this side of 'Mordor' to get to where we want to get to. And then we’ll farm the shit out of the place when we get there. 

Afrikaners are the rocks upon which this country was built and I am so proud to be married to one.

Afrikaners are simply some of the greatest people you will ever meet and know. They are strong, fearless, loyal, committed and they will do anything for you. They are all well brought up with superb old school manners. Barry was the first man I dated who opened a car door for me to get into and out of the car. They respect their elders and discipline their young. There is a hierarchy in the Afrikaner culture which maintains good old family values. Most Afrikaners are very devout and their faith is the centre of the home. They have a greater love of the land they live on than any other people I know and they will work hard to provide for their families and communities to ensure that everyone wins. 

How many South Africans have had the experience of breaking down in the Karoo - only to have your car towed into the tiniest dorp where the owner of the repair shop insists that you stay with his family for the night. You’re welcomed at their table like a long lost relative and then in the morning you are sent on your way with enough meat to last you through a cold winter and a car that only cost you R200 to fix.

They are true, honest, salt of the earth people who just keep walking forward. No matter how many doors have been shut to them, they’ll find another way and keep going. Did I mention that they walked over the Drakensberg? Barefoot. In the snow!

If any of you are going to start sniveling here about apartheid then please go away and stop reading my blog. Yes, I acknowledge that it was one of the worst times of South African history. Shocking, terrible things happened. But you can’t wipe out an entire cultural group based on the actions of a few. There were as many Afrikaans people who fought against apartheid as there were who perpetuated it. There were many Afrikaans freedom fighters who were strongly opposed to the apartheid government and fought alongside the black population to see it abolished. Afrikaners were an important part of bringing down the apartheid government, but that seems to have slipped everyone’s minds.

There has been 18 years of Afrikaner-bashing since the ANC came into power and I’m sick of it. 18 years down the line you cannot keep blaming the Afrikaners for what’s not working in this country. It’s enough.

In spite of being ignored, dismissed and passed over for jobs because of their ethnic origin for the last 18 years, Afrikaners have survived and carried on, regardless of the position they’ve been relegated to in South African society. They don’t whine about it, they don’t sit there feeling sorry for themselves, wondering when someone else is going to make their lives better. No, no, no -  ‘n boer maak ‘n plan. They will do what they need to to provide for their families and they’ll do it honestly and with integrity. I have never met an Afrikaner with a victim mentality. It’s not in their DNA. They don’t feel entitled to anything, they work hard for what they get. They don’t want hand-outs. Nothing is beneath them. Just give them any opportunity and they’ll take it with both hands and make something of it. 

An Afrikaner is an immovable force. Try as hard as you might, you simply cannot budge them once they have set their mind to do something. And if you keep trying to start shit with them, then good luck to you. Seriously. Because no-one quite dishes out poesklaps like the Afrikaners. Poesklap - another phrase which translates to “I’m gonna hit you so hard, you’ll be picking up your teeth from your neighbours backyard and you’ll struggle to remember the correct spelling of your own name for at least a week. Oh yeah, and you’ll have to drink your food through a straw. For a month.” A poesklap is one of those flat-handed smacks to the side of the head which will leave your ears ringing for the rest of the year, and they are especially scary when they are dished out by the women of the tribe. I like to call it a Faulty Trajectory Corrector - nothing like a poesklap to set you back on the straight and narrow.

In all seriousness though, I have a huge place in my heart for the Afrikaners.

They are fierce yet deeply compassionate. They are powerful yet humble at the same time. They can be strict disciplinarians which is tempered with a gentle nature that can be surprising. They are proud of their people, their tribe, their history, their contribution to this country and their legacy.

And so am I. 

I’m not saying that the Afrikaners are better than any other ethnic group in this country. All groups, races and cultures here are wonderful and make this country such an exciting place to live. I’m simply taking the time to acknowledge a group of people who have been marginalised for far to long now. A place at South Arica’s table needs to be made for them again. They need to be recognised for who they are and the amazing contribution they make on a daily basis in South Africa in all areas and industries. They need to be given a break.   

So, to my fellow Afrikaners, my family through marriage, thank you for who you are and what you do. I thank the great spirit every day that Barry came into my life and that he brought his tribe with him. It has changed my life for the better in so many ways. 

South Africa would not be the great land it is without you.


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