About 20 years ago, at the tail end of the Apartheid era, the Ant was driving along South Africa’s then excellent roads, from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Feeling the need to stop, she pulled off the national road and in to Lindley, a small town in the Orange Free State.
As she drove in to the centre of town, she noticed something strange: There appeared to be no ‘white’ centre. All the other towns she had visited had a separate section where the blacks lived, with their own shops, dirt roads, rubbish, and beggars, and another clean, well organised, litter free section where the whites lived in relative peace. Lindley, however, had no identifiable white section.
Instead, all the roads were lined with beggars and drunks, half the shops were boarded up, and in the rubbish strewn main square, a large group of blacks were swaying to the beat of some very loud music playing on an outdoor sound system. A few food stalls were doing a roaring trade selling ‘pap and vleis’, the staple diet of the African population.
The Ant spotted a parking spot near a clearly white run supermarket, and decided to park, for a short time, to buy provisions. As she approached the Afrikaans woman at the checkout, she asked what had happened to the once pristine town centre, to which her reply was, “It’s the New South Africa”. “Do you like the New South Africa?” asked the Ant. “No, not really.” came the reply.
The Ant revisited the same town a few weeks ago, but this time in a 4X4 vehicle, part of an armed convoy, and observed that there was absolutely no sign of any white people at all, anywhere, and the town was falling apart. The roads were virtually impassable by ordinary vehicles, and the centre of town had no identifiable shops at all. The park in the town square was now a shanty town, and rubbish and broken glass littered the streets. Even in an armed convoy, Lindley was now too dangerous to stop in.
The Ant recalled the woman in the shop, and reflected that she is probably dead, having been raped, tortured and murdered by an ANC death squad. This picture, from a local newspaper report, could easily be her:
The Ant thought about all the rabid ‘Anti Apartheid’ movements of the 70’s and 80’s, and wondered if this is the result they were looking for. If so, she hopes they are proud of their very impressive achievement.