After the 2021 local elections, the results were shown on interesting maps, where a colour (say green for the ANC, blue for the DA) represented the leading party.

Eight out of SA’s nine provinces were green and one, the Western Cape, was blue. Was this because the ANC and the DA had different policies in the Western Cape from the rest of the country? Well, no. It was entirely because the majority population of the Western Cape is “Coloured” (to use the official term of the ANC and apartheid) and white, whereas the majority population of the other eight provinces is “African” (which means “Bantu”, the more accurate, scientific and honourable term).

If you go into finer resolution, you see pockets of green among the blue in the Western Cape. They represent the black townships, including Masiphumelele, a kilometre from where I live in the “Deep South” of the Cape Peninsula. In the rest of South Africa, you see the IFP leading only in areas with a high Zulu population. And so on. In other words, the voting map of SA looks like an ethnic census. The best predictor of people’s votes is their race.

Both racial preference and sexual jealousy are features of human nature (and even more so, of animal nature). We must recognise them, as Christians recognise original sin, and try to overcome them. How to do so?

Where race and religion are distinctive and obvious, people vote in accordance with them rather than by policy. Class plays a subservient but interesting part in voting intentions. It seldom persuades people to change their racial vote but often determines how they vote within a race. A prime example is the voting pattern of white South Africans under apartheid. The working classes voted overwhelmingly for apartheid. Resistance to apartheid came overwhelmingly from the white bourgeoisie. The richer and more upper class you were, the more likely you were to oppose apartheid. I found the same pattern among the classes in England when I lived there in the 1970s.  Voting patterns are not set in stone. They can change. They have changed.

In the 17th Century, Europe was wracked by religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, causing bloodshed and misery on an appalling scale. The Thirty Years War (1618-48) was worse for Northern Europe than the First World War (fought for tribal rather than religious reasons). In the English Civil War (1642-51), religion played a primary part in the slaughter and the political preferences. Today this is almost all gone. Religion matters hardly at all in the politics of the Continent, or in England – although it still does matter in Northern Ireland. Why? Religious differences in Europe went away because people lost interest in them. Unless religious hatred was deliberately stoked, it burnt out. Indifference conquered bigotry. In Northern Ireland, for reasons of history, religious hatred was deliberately stoked by both sides. Northern Ireland’s problems would end if people did nothing, and stopped putting a lot of energy into doing something.

Can racial differences in politics fade away as religious differences have done in Europe? I think so. Here is the most important message. You do not end racial differences by deliberately trying to eliminate them. You end them by stopping people trying to perpetuate them. If you do nothing, and leave people alone to mingle or separate as they wish, to follow their own pursuits or common pursuits, to do business freely among themselves, to respect each other without making demands on each other, racial differences will fall away as surely as snow melts before the summer sun. But this is anathema to the new racists. The whole purpose of BLM and CRT and expensive diversity workshops (besides making big piles of money) is to keep racial hatred alive. For them, racial harmony is death.

In America, after the terrible Civil War (1861-1865), the end of slavery was followed by a hundred years of misery and discrimination for black people. This has ended. Now there is no formal discrimination, no systemic (why is this used instead of systematic?) discrimination. But now we have BLM and CRT. After the end of apartheid, and now under the ANC, we have diversity lectures with pompous white people making fortunes by telling other white people how awful they are and how helpless black people are. All of these horrible racists are not behaving this way because they fear formal racial discrimination; they are behaving this way because they fear the end of formal racial discrimination

The ANC and the EFF are desperate to keep racial politics alive. The DA flounders about, delivering good services where it rules, sometimes ignoring race as it should, sometimes making silly racial gestures, sometimes saying appointments should be made only on merit, sometimes saying the opposite. Some smaller parties show an encouraging vagueness about race. Since 1994, the racial voting map has become slightly less distinct. Blacks did vote for the DA in many urban areas. The DA can probably rightly claim it is the most multi-racial party in South Africa. Now it must strive to become a non-racial party.

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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