South African Human Rights Activist Ernst Roets on Political Developments in South Africa

May 14, 2022

Saturday, May 14, South African human rights activist Ernst Roets visited Utrecht to discuss with us South Africa’s political and social developments of recent decades. Roets is deputy director of AfriForum, a civil rights organization that advocates for the position of minorities in South Africa, especially Afrikaners.

What did we discuss?

South Africa is a country with a sensitive history. Even today, it faces significant challenges including poverty, corruption, and violence. Under the African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled the country since the end of apartheid, the infrastructure is crumbling, and hopes for a prosperous “rainbow nation”—the vision of the future from Mandela’s time—are slowly disappearing. Where once the racism of white supremacy ruled the country, now it is an emerging black nationalism that threatens the rule of law. Minority languages (such as Afrikaans) are used in fewer and fewer places or even banned. Increasingly, both governmental and private positions are filled on the basis of racial quotas.

Amidst these regressive developments, AfriForum fights for individual freedoms, the right to education in one’s own language, and local autonomy for Afrikaners. For example, Roets wrote the book Kill the Boer on the farm attacks, in which he describes the role of the South African government in the emergence of this problem, and its passive role in tackling it. He also made the documentary Tainted Heroes, which shows how the ANC transformed itself from a peaceful organization to a power-hungry party that did not shy away from intense violence. These contributions have often been dismissed as biased or unfounded, however. As a result, an incomplete narrative prevails in South Africa and the Western media.

What may we conclude?

AfriForum stands up for the position of Afrikaners and contributes to the debate by highlighting neglected sides of politics and history. As long as the battle of ideas is not conducted thoroughly, it hardly remains possible to create a comprehensive solution that allows for freedom and prosperity for all South Africans.

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