‘Newspeak’ in the Rainbow Nation

Sebastiaan Biehl

A regime that seeks to transform the entire society rules not so much through brutal force, but through the control of the public debate and the manipulation of certain key terms.

Of course, most regimes sugarcoat their hard ideology with nice-sounding words and catch-phrases, so that their ideological goals will sound innocent and benign. In contemporary South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled South Africa since 1994, boasts of having freed the black majority of apartheid and white minority oppression. The ANC’s representatives continually regurgitate a variety of such words that have been stripped of their original meaning, in order to sell a left-wing ideology. In his famous book 1984, George Orwell used the name “newspeak” for such ideologically-twisted words, which frequently mean the very opposite of what they seem to mean. Here are a few of the ANC’s most popular “newspeak” words:

Affirmative Action: This term presupposes that something that is wrong has to be “affirmed” or put right. Actually it means for the ANC that the whole society and every aspect thereof has to become black-dominated and that nowhere in the country can an institution, club or company exist where minorities (i.e., non-blacks) can be the majority. The ANC argues that under normal circumstances, all population groups would be evenly spread and in equilibrium, but that because of apartheid era laws, whites have an unfair advantage and are overrepresented in too many places.

This state of affairs, in turn, has to be rectified by lawmakers. On the surface, such an argument may sound reasonable, but it is in fact specious, as it makes “representativity” an absolute that can only be achieved through means of state interference and discrimination. When representativity becomes an absolute, what is conveniently forgotten is the fact that only institutions that serve the population as a whole can and should be representative.

But in fact, there are very few institutions, departments and companies that focus evenly on the population as a whole and therefore must be representative. Most companies or institutions focus on certain core groups or constituencies. For example, a company that sells cosmetic products would be ill-advised to employ 50% males only because it would be “representative” of the population as a whole. Surely business will not do well. Or a business that serves the Xhosa-dominated areas of the Eastern Cape province would make a mistake to employ Afrikaans- or Sotho-speakers according to national language distribution. A Christian church cannot be representative of religious affiliation of the whole population, with its share of Moslems, Hindus and atheists among its members and staff. In fact, the noble-sounding word “representativity” in fact represents a smokescreen and a sham; the aim is in fact to dominate every aspect of the society by filling it with people who share the ANC’s socialist and a anti-white racial ideology.

Transformation: This word, which sounds neutral or even positive, is used to indicate that what was bad and evil will now be replaced by something that is good and acceptable by most. “Transformation” is also used in the same sense as “change.” Change is unavoidable, the ANC spin doctors declare and cannot be resisted, and one who is “against change” clings to a bad and unjust past and is fighting a losing battle, according to these same disingenuous hucksters. Every time another Afrikaans school or university becomes English and has to give up its Christian ethos in favour of a secular and socialist one, then this is called “transformation”, so that every action that makes the people angry can be subjugated under the high and noble ideal of transformation towards an “open society”. In fact, “transformation” only means that no differences from the culture of the majority are countenanced, and no other opinions are tolerated. “Transformation” essentially means forced Afrikaner dispossession.

Democracy: this word has already been misused for decades, and not just in South Africa.. Everybody claims to fight for democracy and nobody seriously can in today’s world oppose democracy. In its true sense, democracy describes a form of government of public participation, based on non-negotiable rights, that tries to balance the interests of different stake-holders. The ANC actually claims the sole mandate for democracy, because they managed, after many years of a communist-inspired and sometimes violent struggle, to get out on top in the first general, “democratic” election in 1994.

This means, conveniently enough, that whenever parties other than the ANC win an election (for example, in the Western Cape Province where the National Alliance or NA, has long held sway), “democracy” is removed and the utmost must be done to reinstall it…. through somehow, by hook or by crook, ethically or otherwise, engineering an ANC victory, no matter how majority of the jurisdiction might actually be voting!

The ANC’s complete intolerance towards any opposition– be it from within or without the party– proves its understanding of democracy. It is sometimes nearer to the socialist “people’s democracy” than to western style “liberal democracy”. For the ANC, “democracy” means that they have received through the “freedom election” of 1994 the mandate to transform the country according to its ideology, not just for the next term, but forever. No leader of a legitimate democracy has ever claimed that his party will govern “until the second comingof Christ”, as South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma did, and that everybody who will not vote for the governing party is going to hell.

Freedom: As with “democracy,” this word has been misused so many times that it can mean anything for anybody. For the conservatives and the classic liberals, it means to be free to do the right thing, without being directed by the government. Freedom thus implies the freedom to create, to be you self and to take care of yourself. But for left-wingers and especially for African nationalists, it means liberation from something or somebody.

The ANC claims that only they, and they alone, brought “freedom” to South Africa, and that only they know the meaning thereof. For the ANC and its allies, only black people strive for freedom, while white people are oppressors who want to take the other’s freedom away. For the ANC, the emphasis is not on what you do with your freedom, but how you choose to stick it to your former “oppressor.”

Thus, while “twenty years of freedom” are loudly celebrated, lawmakers increasingly favor aggressive interference in the economy, land expropriation, forced racial quotas at companies and institutions, and the awarding of advantages to the so-called “formerly disadvantaged” groups, etc. There never has been a time when any African nationalist leader or government admitted that its people are truly liberated,and one cynically wonders if such a time will ever come. The list of evils from which the people still have to be liberated goes on without end: the inheritance of colonialism, unjust and oppressive structures, racism, capitalism, domination by economically successful minorities, foreign interference and exploitation etc. Thus the ruling party, in this case the ANC, is given the right to rule perpetually, and challenging their leadership is seen as akin to treason.

Diversity: Here we have yet another nice-sounding but deeply disingenuous and misleading term weilded by the ANC ruling claque. “Diversity” in itself, after all, only means a great amount of variety. Where you have a wide variety of items to choose from, diveristy is a good thing. If however, you are told exactly what you must “choose,” its value ceases to be apparent.

South Africa always was an extremely diverse country, even in the times of strict apartheid. There always was a wide variety of ethnic groups, creeds, languages, traditions, landscapes, life-styles etc. The ANC’s interpretation of the past is, however, that South Africa was a white, Afrikaans and strictly Calvinistic society back then, one that oppressed anybody else.

Today, favoring “diversity” means practicing intolerance towards everybody that does not adhere to what the ANC considers “diverse”. Instead of accommodating diversity through institutions like schools, universities, churches and societies for each and every group and language, the ANC instead demands that only the black, English, and pagan-animist hues of the “rainbow nation” be celebrated for their righteous “diverse” qualities. Those elements of the population which are white, Afrikaans and Christian, on the other hand, are seen as not properly “diverse,” and therefore implicitly regarded as unfit to be embraced as fellow countrymen.

This kind of intolerance in the name of diversity was recently illustrated by comments from the rector of the University of the Witwatersrand, Adam Habib, when he declared that a mainly Afrikaans and white (and by implication Christian) university– for example the University of Potchefstroom– was incompatible with the ideals of the new, democratic South Africa, because such a university is not “diverse.” A university that is overwhelmingly black and has only English as language of learning is, according to this logic, “diverse.” Diversity therefore means in practice: “Become like us, the majority.” Diversity, in true newspeak-fashion, comes to mean the very opposite of what it seemingly connotes. War means peace, freedom means slavery, and diversity means white extinction.

Sebastiaan Biehl is a German-born resident of Orania in South Africa.