Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Charles Celliers "For whites only" - review

So, now I have read the book, which I merely thumbed through before.
Book review
Charles Cilliers, For Whites Only. What White people think about the New South Africa, published by X Concepts Publications, 2009.

Described as “one of the most controversial books of the year”, a new book by Charles Cilliers is on the shelves: For Whites Only. What White people think about the New South Africa, published by X Concepts Publications, 2009. I heard him being interviewed on the radio recently and fielding questions and comments, before reading the book. I was certainly impressed enough to go out and buy the book on the strength of the interview.
For starters, the cover is not attractive. In fact it is fairly repulsive. I suppose neither is the subject – and that is the point. It is a colour cartoon of a man urinating on a food tray, placed on a toilet. The food-tray is labled “reconciliation”. The cartoon has obvious reference to the ghastly prank some white students in the Reitz residence of the University of the Free State played (and filmed) on some black workers in the institution. Be that as it may.
In the book, Celliers deals with a range of "white" issues - like, "My domestic worker is my best friend"; "I never benefited from apartheid"; "I always disagreed with apartheid"; "Affirmative action is reverse racism" and the one we all know and love (or at least have heard of, if not used) - "When Mandela dies, chaos is going to be let loose in the country" (aka the "Night of the Long Knives").
On radio, the author was sharp. A little bit too "Cairp Tahn" University sounding for my immediate liking - but razor sharp. He says the kinds of things most white people really hate hearing, like - that actually, the country is in a much better place now than when they were running the show; that there is no way that your domestic worker is your best friend; that every white person benefited personally, directly and very comprehensively from apartheid; that affirmative action is necessary to get the historically skewed situation (which white people made), corrected; and that it is highly unlikely that a frail, retired, 90 year-old is holding the whole thing together and that this kind of belief is a prime example of the unfathomable unwillingness of white South Africans to change.
There is a certain self-righteousness in the writing which, I have to admit, I found a bit tedious. Particularly when he records long conversations, where he put his father right on this matter and that. I found it a tad galling, despite the fact that I agree wholeheartedly with what he is saying. Indeed, he often puts his finger on the nub of the matter much better than I ever could. But that doesn’t make some of the style any less irritating.
My own view is much in agreement with Celliers - that the political settlement which took place in the country favoured white people far too much and it failed completely to deal with the sense of utter entitlement, arrogance and almost criminal ignorance which abides to this day in most white heads and most white families. I suppose that was the price of peace at the time. But surely not anymore! We are 15 years down the line. And 15 years down the line, white South Africans, in the main, still think black South Africans are lazy slobs; that every one of them is a criminal or a would-be criminal, or rapist or murderer; and that the government is full of crooks because they are black; and that present day crime has no relation whatsoever to the madness of the system white people invented, imposed and were perfectly happy to sacrifice almost anything and anyone for!
The point Celliers was making on the radio (and which he makes in less pithy form in his book, which I doubt will be read by many whites - naturally) is that White South Africans have not really changed at all, in the main. The problem is, if they don't change pretty soon, another dynamic may well kick into play. That scenario is not unlike the one presently playing itself out in Zimbabwe – where whites (and anyone in opposition, regardless of colour) are made into perennial scapegoats by a band of thugs and brigands, masquerading as revolutionary leadership. Celliers’ point is that there isn’t a hell of a lot of time left for white people in this country to actually make friends with black people, so that together, we both can craft a consolidated and unified future.Personally, I am very grateful indeed to Gordon Brown and David Cameron and the mostly white band of crooks they have in the leadership of their parties, for providing us with the kind of comedy of errors which has been the case in British politics for the past few months – and which has only been briefly interrupted by the death of Michael Jackson!). I have been extremely interested in the lack of comparison which white people in this country made with politicians in Britain. The same people who are usually so ready and so able to dismiss our politicians and a band of incompetent brigands and crooks and who hanker so profoundly for all things "civilized" (read British, European, Afrikaner or what-have-you).And please, this is not to say that crime isn't a problem and that idiots and lazy people don't get employed, or that corruption isn't becoming overwhelming. It always was a problem and it always will be a problem. It just isn't a racial problem. That's all. The racial problem in this country remains unchanged. It is still a white problem, by and large. That is what this book is about.

1 comment:

  1. Mr Charles Celliers,I would like to salute you in ganging up with X-gangster Gayton Mckenzie.I need you guys to publish my book titled ASYLUM (the place of refuge).Its a true life story about an illegal immigrant here in SouthAfrica and I dont want X-concepts missing the opportunity to publish this book & even producing a thriller movie out of it.PLIZ contact me on 0782267899 or