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Thread: Cultural vs national identity

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Cultural vs national identity

    A discussion in the members area has certainly given me pause for thought.

    For members, the starting point is probably here, and a number of responses that followed from that. Nothing too earth shattering for a while, until a link was posted to this piece - Boer, Afrikaner Or White - Which Are You?

    Certainly the headline question itself isn't earth shattering in itself - it's only when you have read the first few paragraphs, and absorbed the paradigm behind it, that the real issues this piece raises start to emerge.

    This family history is being repeated by every Boer family in South Africa right now - people are again losing their ethnic identity and confused about what to call themselves - Boers, Afrikaners or whites, which are you?

    They are losing their ethnic identity - and it's not the first time this tragedy is occurring.

    So who are these people - first called the Grensboere, then the Voortrekkers, then Boers, then Afrikaners - and who again being degraded to "whites" - people in other words, who have no right to live on the African continent.
    So having no claim to be a Boer or an Afrikaner myself, quite clearly the writer would classify me as "only white", and thereby having no right to live on the African continent!
    Which certainly is very different to my personal view of myself in the matter.

    It's coming face to face with these sharp fractures in paradigms that tend to get me doing some of my deepest thinking. And I've been scurrying down all sorts of rabbit holes for quite a few hours now.

    Trying to set out some of those rabbit holes here would certainly make for a long, tedious post. Just the first rabbit hole of "if the writer is right, where do I actually belong then?" could end up with a post of thousands of words on its own. So let's cut to the chase on the question posed at the end of one particular rabbit hole that I think is quite important for the future of South Africa, and perhaps other parts of the world too.

    One of the main themes of the piece is the issue of cultural identity, and the author believes that cultural identity defines our right (among other things) as to where we live and "belong" geographically.

    True?

    Or is the author confusing cultural identity with one's own national identity?

    And if you associate yourself with your national identity (in my case, South African), is that enough (to make you a valid South African)?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Well my answer is “if my bloodline isn’t good enough to be here” send us home. I am so very tired of all this crap anyhow. I mean our families spilled the same blood in the same mud for over 100 years. See this also just boils down to entitlement. They can call themselves whatever they want. I know my family history so I don't need there approval.

    Don't worry about it Dave, you are as much a South African then what I am.
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Gold Member vieome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    So having no claim to be a Boer or an Afrikaner myself, quite clearly the writer would classify me as "only white", and thereby having no right to live on the African continent!
    I think that the danger is if we remove the classifications, then in a sense it erasers ones history, and that is the point the writer is trying to make. It is ones cultural identity that ties them into the national identity, thus it is better to be classified as say example, a British South African, then to be classified as simply white. The British tag ties you to your culture, and the SA tag ties you to the national identity. However in terms of Africa, a simple classification system such as you are white, will tag you as foreign.

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    My Grandfather on my Fathers side came over to SA from England with the then 'Colonial Post Office' and was just old enough to fight and get wounded in the 'Anglo Boer War'
    After the 2nd World War my father joined the South African Navy, and being English Speaking was discriminated against literally his entire career.
    So by now as English speaking South Africans, born here second generation, we are quite used to discrimination, (This too will pass) we just need to hang on for another fifty or so years until the 'Born Free's' are in Government before we will see an improvement.
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Maybe the problem starts with the narrow minded "little people". Those minorities that feel threatened because they do not have the intellect or education or the will to make a difference in this world. They have always been dependent on the government or the church or a cultural leader to give them guidance and a cause to "fight" for.

    The Nat government warned about the "Swart gevaar, the Rooi (communist) gevaar and even the Catholic church. This covered race, religion and politics and in some cases even the language issue. People put their faith in government who could solve all problems including drought, floods and business disputes. (exactly the same mistake the ANC cadres are making today)

    Because people allowed themselves to be manipulated and because they could not think for themselves, their world collapsed when their government collapsed and a new (even more corrupt) government took over. Fortunately this urged a number of threatened, retrenched whites to get off their lazy butts and to start doing something for themselves. The explosion in franchises and entrepreneurs over the past 20 years is evidence of that.

    Over the years I have had many friends from minority groups including Jews, Muslims, Italians, Swiss and Germans etc. While some of them complained and even went "back home", most of them returned to South Africa where the sun shines on everyone. They do speak their native tongues in addition to English or even Afrikaans. They do indulge in their cultural festivals but they are not exclusive, they fit into their communities. They share their food, language and culture with anyone interested. That is how we picked up recipes, art and music. I love my samoosas, pizza, eisbein, spatzle, spiced lamb and all the wonderful things I have picked up from other cultures.

    I have learnt from them that I am firstly a South African and then a proud Afrikaner. I will not die if I speak English, I do not have to live in a Boerestaat. I am not dependant on government or a political party to think for me. I am free to practice my own religion and don't have to listen to dogma. I have learnt that I am a child of the Universe and that I have a duty to care for God's creation. I have learnt to do my part to earn a living on this earth. I have learnt that I must put back more that I am taking out.

    Hopefully I will overcome my failings and will try to leave this place in a better state than I found it.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vieome View Post
    I think that the danger is if we remove the classifications, then in a sense it erasers ones history, and that is the point the writer is trying to make.
    Perhaps. But she also attaches consequences to the point. Which I guess is where this line of enquiry is heading.

    Quote Originally Posted by vieome View Post
    It is ones cultural identity that ties them into the national identity, thus it is better to be classified as say example, a British South African, then to be classified as simply white. The British tag ties you to your culture, and the SA tag ties you to the national identity.
    Well there's my "apparent" issue right there, which is what some replies have picked on.

    I am (to my mind anyway) quite simply an urban, English speaking South African (who by virtue of inherited genetic code is white). I have absolutely no affinity or sense of connection to my "British ancestry", which lies so far back in history it certainly has no bearing on how I feel I should be defined today.

    I've even visited the UK, and I had absolutely no sense of connection with the people or the place whatsoever. A foreign land, with foreign people. In fact all it did was strengthen my identity as an African (who happens to be white), much like my visits to other parts of the world too.

    In essence, my cultural identity that I associate myself with is a South African one. It doesn't exist anywhere else - it has evolved here.

    Thus probably easier for me to say than for others, I guess - but ultimately it seems to me this emotional attachment to historical cultural heritage and trying to use it to justify one's presence in a country etc. just creates problems. What we should be dealing with is the current situation - the here and now.

    Society evolves.
    Culture evolves too.
    And as it evolves, it doesn't necessarily wipe out the history of that culture.

    Most of all, we can't allow really old history to define and dictate our present or future.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  8. Thanks given for this post:

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    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    In a 1000 years from now we will all be “coloured” A mix of Caucasian, African, Asian and Other races. We can then call ourselves the Wordian race
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    This discussion is incredibly disturbing.

    We have no control over where we are born. The nation in which we are born, determines our birth rights. We are the fruit of that nation's loins, so to speak.

    Should we try to superimpose the historical baggage & bondage of our forefathers/fore-mothers onto our future lives?

    Would it not perhaps, be simpler to walk our own road, free from hindrance & bondage?
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

  11. Thanks given for this post:

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    My bloodline defines my genetics. My mind defines me for who I am. If people want to elevate their importance trough historical backgrounds and there social standing not to mention income then they already lost t the plot.

    They must also remember without us the “little people” there is no “them”
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    One thing is for sure, I will never call myself “African”, as some white South Africans do. Although I am South African I don’t have an African worldview I have a European/Western worldview. I am more similar to my ancestors than I am to the indigenous people of Africa.

    I identify myself as a proud South African, who views the world through the Western paradigm.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

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