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Race-cognisant whiteness and responsible public theology in response to violence and crime in South Africa

by George Jacobus (Cobus) van Wyngaard

Presented to the Faculty of Theology as part of the requirements for the degree Magister Theologiae Dogmatics and Christian Ethics University of Pretoria

PRETORIA January 2012 Study Leader: Prof. D.E. de Villiers

Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS................................................................................................... I ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... IV ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................... V CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................... 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 PUBLIC THEOLOGY IN THE DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA ............................................. 1 TO SPEAK ABOUT RACE, AGAIN ................................................................................. 2 REINTRODUCING RACE IN A VIOLENT DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA............................... 4 PUBLIC THEOLOGY FROM THE SOCIAL LOCATION OF BEING WHITE ................................ 6 FOCUS OF THE STUDY.............................................................................................. 8

CHAPTER 2: PUBLIC THEOLOGY AND BECOMING CONSCIOUS OF THE SOCIAL LOCATION OF BEING WHITE ....................................................................................... 9 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 DIVERSE PUBLIC THEOLOGIES .................................................................................. 9 ETHICS IN ETHICAL ANALYSIS................................................................................. 14 CRITICAL REFLECTION ON OUR ETHICAL ANALYSIS OF VIOLENT CRIME ........................ 16 THEOLOGY AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCES ................................................................... 17

CHAPTER 3: WHITENESS IN POST-APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA ......................... 19 3.1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 19 3.2 INTRODUCING RACE, RACISM AND RACIALISATION ..................................................... 19 3.2.1 Towards the origin of race ........................................................................... 21 3.2.2 The ambiguity of skin colour in race ............................................................ 24 3.3.3 Scientific accounts of race ........................................................................... 26 3.3.4 Race as (non)-existent ................................................................................ 27 3.3.5 Racism ........................................................................................................ 29 3.3.6 Racialisation ................................................................................................ 32 3.4 THE THEOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE WHITE AFRIKANER .................................. 34 3.4.1 The racialisation of soteriology .................................................................... 35 3.4.2 Theological whiteness in South Africa ......................................................... 37 3.4.3 A fluid theology constructing a people ......................................................... 38 3.4.3i Foundations: The theology of the elect people of God ............................ 38 3.4.3i(a) The early church in the Cape colony ................................................ 39 3.4.3i(b) Theological underpinnings of Afrikaner race ideology ...................... 41 3.4.3ii Defining moments: Violence and the construction of the Afrikaner .......... 43 3.4.4 White theology and apartheid ...................................................................... 45
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3.4.5 Reimagining whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa ............................... 47 3.5 EXAMINING THE UNEXAMINED: WHITE RACIALISED IDENTITIES .................................... 48 3.5.1 Introducing whiteness .................................................................................. 48 3.5.2 Whiteness as privilege................................................................................. 51 3.5.3 Invisible whiteness ...................................................................................... 54 3.5.4 Colour blindness and an active silence about whiteness ............................ 56 3.6 SPEAKING FROM THE INSIDERS POSITION ................................................................ 58 3.7 CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................ 60 CHAPTER 4: SPEAKING WHITE ABOUT VIOLENCE................................................ 61 4.1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 61 4.2 UNDERSTANDING VIOLENT CRIME IN SOUTH AFRICA ................................................. 62 4.3 WHITE RHETORIC ON VIOLENCE .............................................................................. 65 4.3.1 Crime as the biggest problem of a post-apartheid South Africa .................. 65 4.3.2 Whites as victims of violent crime ................................................................ 66 4.3.3 Blacks as perpetrators of violent crime ........................................................ 68 4.3.4 The ANC Government and violent crime ..................................................... 69 4.3.5 Reconstructing whiteness through speaking about violence ....................... 71 4.4 WHITE PUBLIC CHURCH RESPONSES TO VIOLENCE AND CRIME: THE CASE OF THE DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH .................................................................................................... 72 4.4.1 Sources used .............................................................................................. 72 4.4.2 Participation in the public sphere ................................................................. 75 4.4.3 Elements of a response to violence and crime ............................................ 78 4.4.3i Playing a positive role in South Africa ..................................................... 78 4.4.3ii Violence, crime and corruption ............................................................... 80 4.4.3iii Violence and crime affect all people in South Africa ............................ 82 4.4.3iv The role of government and police ....................................................... 84 4.4.3v A stronger justice system as answer to violence and crime .................... 87 4.5 CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................ 90 CHAPTER 5: SUGGESTIONS FOR A RACE-COGNISANT WHITE THEOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE AND CRIME .................................................................... 92 5.1 INTRODUCTION: WHEN WHITES SPEAK FOR OTHERS .................................................. 92 5.2 RESISTING A WHITE PUBLIC VOICE .......................................................................... 95 5.2.1 Opting for ecumenical dialogue ................................................................... 95 5.2.2 Opting for an active silence ......................................................................... 99 5.3 TO INSIST ON WHITENESS IN DIALOGUES ON VIOLENCE AND CRIME ........................... 101 5.3.1 For the privileged to speak ethically about victimhood .............................. 101 5.3.2 Ethical analysis in context and history ....................................................... 104 5.3.3 Traitorous whites, theological conviction and a dialogue on public policy . 107 5.4 CONCLUSION ...................................................................................................... 114
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CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION ...................................................................................... 115 ADDENDUM A ............................................................................................................ 119 VERKLARING OOR MISDAAD EN GEWELD ....................................................................... 119 A TESTIMONY TO THE AUTHORITIES .............................................................................. 122 XENOFOBIE STEL OOK EISE AAN KERK .......................................................................... 125 CONCERN OVER VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA ............................................................... 127 PERSVRYSTELLING NA AANLEIDING VAN DIE MOORD OP MNR EUGENE TERREBLANCHE.... 130 BIBLIOGRAPHY ......................................................................................................... 132

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Abstract
This study explores the importance of social location in public theology, seeking to explore ways in which a self-critical public theology, which seeks to critically engage the social location from which we participate in public discourse, can be developed by those who are in a privileged position. It seeks to develop a deeper understanding of whiteness as a social location in post-apartheid South Africa, drawing on recent research in the growing field of whiteness studies and bringing this into dialogue with research on theology and race, and particularly the theological development of white Afrikaners in South Africa. Through this, aspects of whiteness relevant to post-apartheid South Africa are developed as a lens with which to study particular church responses to issues of public concern. The study focuses on violence and crime as a particular issue of public concern which reflects a highly racialised public discourse in post-apartheid South Africa. Official public responses of the Dutch Reformed church are discussed in dialogue with identified aspects of white responses to violent crime. By engaging these official public responses as example of a possible white church response to violent crime, alternative public theological and church responses to violence and crime, cognisant of the social location of whiteness, are suggested.

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Acknowledgements
Writing is a constant reminder that our thoughts develop in community with others. Through many dialogues, debates, and the occasional monologue where someone is willing to listen to us ramble while we try to create order out of the sea of thoughts which is slowly emerging over time. To repeat the refrain-like statement which too many students and authors have felt compelled to write: I can never thank everyone who has contributed to the formation of these thoughts, and neither can I hold accountable those who I do thank for the mistakes I have made. An endless stream of conversations on Facebook, Twitter and many blogs has shaped and continues to shape my thoughts since 2006. The influence of countless links shared, comments made, counterarguments provided and support given can never be summarised, but is archived on various websites as reminder of how thoughts are formed in community. Two people need to be mentioned in particular for the way in which they have helped me towards reflecting on my own whiteness: Tom Smith and Reggie Nel. Reggie took the time to continuously challenge a young blogger on the assumptions I held, and Tom embodied the possibility that those of us who are white can become honest about our own whiteness, inviting me onto a journey which no longer seek to defend a privileged position. My relationship with Professor De Villiers started many years ago, when he made time for an undergraduate student who had many questions. From the very beginning he invited me to participate in a dialogue and develop my own voice, rather than merely copying his. The many conversations we had as this study developed usually drifted deep into the years under apartheid, where his reminders of where we come from were invaluable, as well as far into the future of what the church might become, where he

continuously pushed me to consider that reality might be even more complex than I would sometimes want to assume. Aspects of this research were presented at two conferences: First at the conference on Violence in the Democratic South Africa: A Challenge to Theology and the Churches, organized by the Centre for Public Theology at the University of Pretoria in 2010, and then at the conference on Church Activism and Contested Post-Racialism in South Africa, the U.K., and the U.S., organized by the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race. The willingness of the organisers to provide space for a graduate student to participate has presented me with important opportunities to test aspects of these arguments, and the participants in both gatherings were both challenging and supportive. I believe that I have less unclear formulations thanks to these opportunities. Years of breakfast, lunch and dinner while I was still living in my parents home often resulted in fierce debates on issues concerning the church, our particular community and society in general. My parents have created an environment which encouraged challenging the status quo, but also instilled in us a firm conviction that we have a responsibility to work towards the common good of society, and the whole of creation. The influence of my parents was invaluable as I confronted the difficult questions associated with this study. My wife, Maryke (Redelinghuys) van Wyngaard, knows many of these arguments as well as I do by now. Not only did she endure my countless monologues as I attempted to formulate my thoughts, she also read through every part of this dissertation, correcting mistakes and pointing out where my writing doesnt make sense for anyone but myself. But even more important was the way in which she has over years called me towards a new imagination of what being white in a post-apartheid South Africa might look like. Our first child was born in the time that the bulk of this dissertation was written. George van Wyngaard will never remember the times he sat on my lap while I was reading or writing, nor the fact that I often handed him to his mother so that I could continue working deep into the night. His presence was a constant motivation to continue
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working towards a future less marked by the deeply divisive history that remains visible in much of South Africa. My prayer is that he will grow up in a South Africa committed towards healing the many divisions still visible on the landscape of our hearts.

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Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Public theology in the democratic South Africa
Although there was a time when some secularisation theorists predicted that religion would be eradicated from public life, at the end of the first decade of the 21st century we can conclude that the privatisation of religion is not a historical trend. Although the relation between religion and public life remains problematic, it is clear that, at least for the moment, religion will continue to play an important role in society. But the questions confronting us when religion does engage issues in the public sphere continue to call for critical reflection on public theology (Dreyer & Pieterse 2010: 1). The transition to a new political dispensation in South Africa has created new challenges for churches from different sides of the apartheid struggle. The traditionally Afrikaans churches lost their privileged access to government, and those churches that supported the liberation struggle found that their support did not translate into a similar privileged position within the democratic South Africa (De Villiers 2011: 9-13). So although it would seem that religion will continue playing a significant role in the public sphere in South Africa, the exact shape that this will take shape within the democratic South Africa remains contested. History has taught us that the participation of religion in the public sphere does not necessarily contribute to the good of society; on the contrary, in many cases religions did exactly the opposite and legitimised violence and the oppression of people. South Africa is not the least significant example. There is general agreement amongst theologians [concerned with the ethical quality of life] that the Christian faith has public implications and should form part of public discourse (Bezuidenhout, 2007: 8). The emphasis on forming part remains important as the churches rediscover their role in post-apartheid South Africa: the church is a participant in the formation of a good society, not the final authority. In his analysis of the public theology of German theologian Jrgen Moltmann, Scott Paeth concludes: This, then, is the public task of the Church. It is a contrast society, not in its separation from the rest of society, but precisely in its participation in every dimension of society
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(2005: 230). He goes on to say congregations become public companions insofar as they share the burdens of other institutions and involve themselves in the questions of the overall good for society (2005: 230). We might be at a time when both theologians and social theorists agree that religion should have a role in public discourse, but this role should be seen in partnership, in dialogue, with other voices from the public sphere. Those coming from different sides of the struggle against Apartheid, whether privileged or oppressed in the public role they played under the Apartheid government, will have different routes in discovering an appropriate approach to public theology in the democratic South Africa. It is the journey of the white Afrikaans churches that supported Apartheid, which will be discussed below.

1.2 To speak about race, again


Like a refrain Ive heard the question: do we have to speak about this again? in conversations over the past few years, made up primarily of white participants, where race was reintroduced as a critical question for understanding South Africa and our role in it. Although the approach by those who attempt to silence critical reflections on race by drawing on the ideal of a non-racial South Africa will be discussed later, a few comments in reaction to the question mentioned above, usually asked as if rhetorical, need to be made here. In his inaugural lecture sub-titled On Racial Reconciliation as Unfinished Business for Theology in South Africa and Beyond, Van der Borght (2009: 5-7), following the SA Reconciliation Barometer, reminds that race continues to be an issue in South Africa. Although the SA Reconciliation Barometer considers race to be second to income inequality as a source of division1, race continues to be a strong predictor of an

Mary Hobgoods (Hobgood, 2009: 42-43) argument that class is the material basis of all oppression is an important reminder for our own context. Addressing inequality in South Africa, as elsewhere, ask that we go beyond addressing race. Furthermore, there is the danger that focusing on race can hide class oppression, a danger that needs to be acknowledged. On the other hand a contemporary Marxist political theorist such as David Harvey notes that race is important in keeping in place the classes in the workforce, and argues that working against racism remain an important factor in bringing about economic

individuals economic position as well as an important divisive marker in society in general. What is worrying is that there seems to be a decline in what is measured as the peaceful coexistence of people of different races. This should serve as a reminder that theologians who seek to speak about unity, reconciliation and justice have a task to speak about race, again. One of the conclusions from Van der Borght which is important for my own approach is his argument that the practice by ecclesial bodies to go public with texts that present identity politics that lead to violence as a problem of the secular world and not of the church as examples of bad public theology (2009: 24). In relation to this he reminds us of the role of theology as a tool of internal critique for religion (2009: 25). He argues that we need to search for a critical theology which acknowledges the power of social identities in individual believers and in faith communities, but at the same time transcends these because of the new identity in Christ (2009:24). This study can be seen as taking this responsibility seriously, particularly focussing on the first part, acknowledging the power of social identities in faith communities, and seeking to develop a more responsible public theology through this acknowledgement. To stress the importance of what Van der Borght argues even further, one of the assumptions on which Jeorg Rieger builds his analysis of mission and colonialism needs to be mentioned. Rieger draws on Lacan to argue that what has been repressed from the symbolic order from the realm of language and open discourse, from the stories that we tell about ourselves - returns in the real. In other words, if we repress our colonial and neocolonial histories, they will come back to haunt us all the more (2004: 202). For the white churches in South Africa this means that they need to work through the history of apartheid and our historic racial heritage as well our continued racialised identities, or face the danger that this will haunt us all the more. In developing the responsibility of theology as tool of internal critique for religion and the churches, white theologians, as part of the racial elite, have a particular responsibility to develop a deeper understanding of race and racism if we are to understand our own
change (Harvey 2010: 61, 258). Addressing societal injustice and inequalities requires a multipronged approach.

social location. The pattern that Cone (2004: 341-342) identifies in North America and Europe seems to have its parallel among South African white theologians: He notes that while in other disciplines (literature, anthropology, sociology), white academics are actively engaging issues of race, white theologians are particularly silent on race and racism2, preferring to give issues of class and sex/gender more attention than race. Although analysis of class and gender is of similar importance, and the three cannot be isolated from each other, what follows is an attempt at focusing specifically on race while working from a racially privileged social location.

1.3 Reintroducing race in a violent democratic South Africa


The transition to a democratic South Africa was described by many as miraculous, among other reasons because of the ways in which violent conflict was avoided. But as we approach two decades after the transition to the democratic South Africa, violence continues to plague the post-Apartheid South Africa. Questions concerning violence, in its various forms, remain important in our public discourse: both in the popular discourse in the media, and in academic forums. It has been increasingly noted that the public discourse on violence and crime continues to be patterned according to race. A particular concern, which leads to the focus of this study, is the overemphasis on white victims of violence in the media reporting of violent crime, and rhetorical strategies that single out white people, and at times Afrikaners, as the primary targets of violence and crime. A few examples illustrate this: Kevin Bloom (2010) writes: The truth, told time and again in official statistics, is that the vast majority of murder victims in South Africa are not white or privileged. In Gugulethu, where Anni Dewani, a tourist from the UK, was slain last weekend, more than 700 people have been murdered since 2005, yet it's only due to the
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While there are many examples of white theologians who participated in the dismantling of apartheid, the construction of race includes more than the political policies of apartheid. We are still learning that dismantling the political system of apartheid does not automatically lead to the dismantling of the ideology of race. One danger of enjoying the aftermath of the miracle of the dismantling of apartheid, is that we fail to sharpen our sensitivities on how race continues to function in society. Simultaneously, particularly because our dismantling of race was limited to responding to a political system, we have not yet begun to speak about race. We are still learning how our identities have been racialised beyond that peculiar political system for which our country, and Afrikaner people in particular, have the dubious privilege of being remembered.

death of Dewani a wealthy, foreign honeymooner that the situation has been highlighted. In a Litnet essay Johan Pienaar (2008) point out that in a specific month the number of reports on violence with white people as victims on the websites of Die Burger, Beeld and Rapport was four times higher than those concerning black people. This despite of the fact that in the post-Apartheid South Africa black people, especially in the townships, are still at much greater risk of being the victims of violence than white people in general. In a paper analysing the rhetoric of Afrikaans letters to the editor of Rapport, Melissa Steyn points to the way in which crime is used to recast white people as the victims in the post-apartheid South Africa. She states that While crime in South Africa is real enough, the choice to cast this as targeting primarily whites, and as if Afrikaners are being singled out for persecution is a deliberate rhetorical option (2004: 154). David Bruce summarises this situation saying that consistently, it is when middle-class and, particularly, white South Africans are victimised, that violent crime is seen as a matter of concern, while the impact of violence on poorer people is disregarded (2011). Public discourse on violence in the post-apartheid South Africa remains highly racialised, and the function of this discourse in the continued construction of racial identities within the post-Apartheid South Africa needs to be understood if we are to proceed towards a responsible public theological response to violence. Since 1994 violence and crime have been on the agenda of every General Assembly of the Dutch Reformed Church, and a number of media declarations concerning violence have been made. The historical connection between the white Afrikaans community in South Africa and the Dutch Reformed Church, and its continued influence as the largest religious organisation in which white Afrikaans-speaking South Africans claim membership, require that we critically reflect on the role this church is playing in a racialised public discourse on violence and crime.

Like so many things in the present South Africa the public role of churches and theology can only be adequately understood when account is taken of the fairly recent transition from an undemocratic political dispensation based on apartheid to a new democratic political dispensation (De Villiers, 2011: 6). If we are to seriously take this into account, I would like to argue that we will have to engage the insights of critical whiteness studies3 in our reflection on the public role of churches and theology. Public discourse concerning violence carries with it many of the questions concerning the selfunderstanding of white people in the post-apartheid South Africa. Reflecting on violence therefore will serve as an example of the importance of continued critical reflection on race in working towards a public theology in South Africa.

1.4 Public theology from the social location of being white


It has become customary to reveal a certain amount of autobiographical information at the beginning of our socio-political discourse. While this serves to acknowledge the understanding that we are speaking from a specific embodied social location, it often serves as a mere disclaimer against ignorance when no critical interrogation of this particular location is made. This is particularly true for those speaking from dominant social locations (Alcoff 1991: 25). The question of how I choose to define my social location is also important. Does the fact that I am white imply that I can speak for white people regardless of class of sex/gender distinctions? Why do I focus on whiteness rather than being male? How does the fact that I have spent most of my life among those being identified as Afrikaners impact on whiteness and masculinity, and vice versa? These questions help me to remember that even though I acknowledge that I am speaking from a particular embodied social location, I need to remain in continual dialogue with others, and that a plurality of critical engagements is needed. The study will put particular emphasis on a critical interrogation of the social location of being white, and the focus on whiteness as particularly important. This particular

This will be the focus of chapter 3. Whiteness studies turn the critical gaze of racial analysis towards those who have been racialised as white, focusing on how the racial elite keep their privileged position in

autobiographical element of the dissertation serves not as a mere disclaimer, but rather as an introduction to important aspects of the study. In his introduction to critical whiteness studies Garner writes Put bluntly, if you are a white academic or student reading Du Bois, Baldwin, Wells, hooks (sic), Hughes, Ellison, etc., you are forced to identify yourself within their narratives. Even though you might place yourself ethically on the side of the oppressed in this process, in relation to the structures that place parameters on collective development, progress and freedoms, you are inescapably granted advantages (regardless of gender, age or class) that you would not enjoy if you were not racialised as white. (Garner, 2007: 4) By consciously engaging the white position, drawing from both theology and recent research in the social sciences, I hope to reflect critically on the whiteness problematic, and so force myself to identify my position as privileged, and through this to become more sensitive to the instinctive conclusion that my white subjectivity would lead to. In this study this would be the instinctive white public responses to violence and crime. We need to take these insights seriously if we are to understand the role of the churches in public life. I will show that the ideal of an innocent white position is nave, and that in simultaneously unconscious and invisible (at least to the untrained white observer) ways well-meaning white voices (including the collective and official voice of the white church), help to keep a privileged white position in place. The second important autobiographical note concerns my choice of focusing on violence and crime, as well as drawing on examples from the Dutch Reformed Church. The focus of the study grew out of a personal involvement in publicly responding to violence and crime at a congregation in Kameeldrift, close to Pretoria, where I was an ordained minister when this study started. While I believe that much can be gained from a critical reflection on this particular attempt at a church response to violence and crime, I will not use specific examples in which I have been personally involved. But these

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experiences have never been far from my mind while working on this topic 4. My personal involvement in the Dutch Reformed Church has to a large extent influenced the choice to draw on church responses on violence and crime from this particular denomination.

1.5 Focus of the study


South Africa and South African theology have been at the heart of the 20 th century discussion of race in a unique way. But white theologians and white churches have failed to internalise critical perspectives on race and whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa. This study will seek to contribute to a further understanding of how whiteness continues to function in public discourse on violence and crime, focussing particularly on the role of the church in this regard. The insights gained from this will be used to critically reflect on a number of public statements on violence and crime made by the Dutch Reformed Church in recent years. This reflection will serve as an example of the value of a focus on whiteness for public theology in post-apartheid South Africa. Finally, suggestions will be made for a response to violence in South Africa that is cognisant5 of the social location of being white. I will suggest that although responses to violence and crime often help to reinscribe racial identities, our responses can contribute to the dismantling of race and racial privilege, helping to undermine the racialisation of society that was established through centuries of colonialism and decades of Apartheid, and that continues to prove problematic for South Africa today.

Media reports on the violence and crime in Kameeldrift regularly drew on short statements from ministers in the area (see for example Keppler 2008 and Jackson 2010)). Roelf Opperman (2010) provides an overview of the church responses to the experience of violence and crime in Kameeldrift. 5 I use race-congisant or cognisant to refer to awareness or being conscious of how race, racism and racialisation, concepts which will be discussed in detail in chapter 3, impact on my own subjectivity as white and the relations between people and groups of which I am part. A similar use of cognisant with reference to awareness about whiteness can be found in Bailey (1998) speaking about privilegecognisant white character which she connects with a particular understanding of traitorous whites, which I will draw upon in chapter 3 and chapter 5.

Chapter 2: Public theology and becoming conscious of the social location of being white
2.1 Diverse public theologies
South Africa remains a country that continues to carry the marks of the colonial missionary enterprise. It is a country in which the majority of citizens describe themselves as Christian, but also one where this group broadly defined as Christian is fragmented to the extent that it represents almost every historical branch of Christianity. The landscape still marked by the doctrinal and political differences which the churches of Europe brought to Africa through the missionary project during the time of colonialism. But the ecclesial landscape does not end with the churches started by various missionaries during the initial centuries of the colonial period. The biggest single group of churches is African Initiated Churches, which grew out of the context of Africa. Furthermore the American Pentecostal and charismatic revivals had their counterparts in South Africa as well, with Pentecostal churches today being the fastest growing group in Africa. The movements in American Evangelicalism and Prosperity Theologies continue to blow over the soil of this continent, and to bring even more diversity to the South African church scene. Lastly South Africa has brought to the ecumenical church its own contribution to liberation theology through the various voices in Black Theology. This broad picture should already make us wary of any claim towards an approach towards theology in South Africa that hints at providing a single vision that the whole South African church would, or should, supposedly subscribe to. For the sake of this study the observation of Smit (2007b: 42-43), that we have various public theologies, among other reasons because of the various theologies, and therefore ecclesiologies, participating in painting the ecclesial landscape, is important.

Smit also says that the meaning we attach to the notion of public in relation to public theology is important in understanding the intended approach to public theology (see for example Bezuidenhout (2007); Cochrane (2011); De Villiers (2011) and (Koopman) 2011a). A short summary of the argument will thus suffice in helping to clarify the approach of this study. Smit points out a minimum of three interpretations of public that guide public theology today. Firstly, David Tracy talks about the three publics which should be addressed by theology: Church, Academy and Society. Working from this notion of public, this means nothing more than the acknowledgement of the fact that any form of theology always addresses a specific audience; it is aimed at a specific public (2007b: 40). According to Smit this group sees the publicness of their public theology as nothing more than a value-free description of the fact that they have specific publics in mind in their theological activities; they do theology with a view to a specific audience (2007a: 446). If the approaches identified by Smit are to be put on a spectrum, the approach of Tracy would be the vaguest (2007a: 442). It is the other two possibilities that will be important to distinguish within the scope of this study, and that have caused some debate in the South African context (De Villiers 2011: 14). On the other end of the spectrum, the public in public theology can be understood in relation to the work of Jrgen Habermas. Habermas worked with the idea of an ideal public sphere, where an informed public opinion is formed and maintained, able to resist the powers of politics and market, and characterized by critical discussion between equal participants, free of constraint, threat and self-interest (Smit 2007a: 433). The image that describes this public sphere is the coffee houses and salons of England and France in the 18th century, where all were regarded as equals, regardless of their status, descent or positions of economic or political power (Smit 2007b: 15). Habermass account places strong emphasis on a society built on rationality, where rational communication can take place (Smit 2007b: 17-19). This is described as a normative approach to the public of public theology. In South Africa this approach has been criticised because, among other things:

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This normative ideal does not describe the reality we find ourselves in. We do not have a country of equal citizens where everyone are equally human, in spite of all our talk about human rights (Maluleke 2011: 85-86), and only a very limited number of people, we might say only a certain class of people, have the ability to participate in this public sphere. This ideal public sphere does not engage the voices of the marginalised (Cochrane 2011: 55).

Rather than opting for a collaboration of various theologies, public theology seems to search for a renewed universal global theology where common universal issues should be discussed. Its attempt at integrating all into one public discourse ordered by predetermined rules and assumption reject the lessons learned from the various versions of liberation theologies: that such attempts at an integrationist theology would always choose voices that fit the model, and in effect exclude the angry voices (Maluleke 2011: 84-85).

With this critique in mind let me give a quick description of the third possible interpretation, according to Smit: When we talk about public theology, the public is often understood to refer to the third public of Tracys approach, namely: life in general. In contrast to the previous interpretation mentioned, in this sense public takes on a descriptive meaning, referring to life with everybody (Smit 2007b: 34). It is about life in the world; in short, with the whole of creation, history, culture, social life, reality and humanity (Smit 2007a: 437), and, at least in English language circles, it is in this sense that public has been primarily used in recent decades (Smit 2007a: 437-438). Used in this sense, public theology becomes a broad notion, almost a catchall term, for attempts at engaging with the questions that face humans and creation as a whole, and contributing from our treasury of faith (Forrester 2004: 6), while acknowledging that this need not necessarily be in tension with commonly acceptable values of a democratic society (Smit 2007b: 27). It allows one to acknowledge that elements such as liturgy and liberation are both legitimate forms of public theology (De Villiers 2011: 17).

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It is in this broad descriptive sense that this study can be described as being focused on public theology. Rather than starting with a predetermined approach towards what constructive public theology would look like, I want to ask whether the participation is contributing to the common good of the whole of creation, including those voices marginalised from participation in the public sphere of the democratic society. Drawing from the above-mentioned critique of public theology, and building on a normative understanding of public, let me suggest another aspect of our diverse approaches to public theology. I believe this is already implied above, but it deserves further attention since it provides the framework within which this study should be understood. In explaining the why of Black Theology Boesak (1981: 184-185) states The "why" of black theology is not difficult to answer. Until now, Christian theology has lived under the illusion that it has been a "universal" theology, speaking for all those who called themselves Christian. The truth, however, was different. Christian theology has been cast into a white Western mold, reflecting the beliefs of the rich and the powerful as prescribed by their position of wealth, comfort, and power, rather than the cries and the faith of the poor and the oppressed who were not white. The anxieties of the slaves of the white Christians, the fears of the people killed by them to claim their land, those who were kept in economic and political servitude through the systems white Christians created, the plight of these people - these were not even considered in Christian theology. And inasmuch as this has happened, Christian theology has become a white theology, an ideology justifying the privileged position of those in power, rather than the critical sword of the gospel revealing the truth of God's mercy and justice. Thus one lesson of Black Theology6 is That theology cannot be done in a void. It is always done within a particular situation. The situation of blackness in South Africa is the unavoidable context within which the theological reflections of black Christians take place. We

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have come to realise that persons are influenced by their social and economic environment, and that their thinking is influenced by the social conditions in which they live. We recognize that Christians living in different situations will have different understandings of life, as well as vastly different understandings of the gospel and its demands on their lives (Boesak, 2009: 49). Drawing on these insights, the social and economic location of the public theologian or public church should be taken seriously if we want to understand the various public theologies as well as the specific contributions towards the public discourse which can be broadly defined as theological. After what weve learned from contextual theologies during the 20th century, we can no longer work from the nave assumption that the social and economic location of the analyst or theologian can be ignored. In the South African context various examples can be pointed out, both past and present, where it is important to keep this insight in mind if we want to understand the forms of public theology that developed. The comments referred to above remind us of the opposing forms of theology that developed in response to Apartheid, developing within the social locations of the white Afrikaans churches, which had a privileged relationship to the Apartheid government, and the anti-Apartheid liberation theologies developing out of the experience of oppression. Dramatic changes around 1994 raised new questions about the role of church and theology, and the social location of public theologies and theologians. The white Afrikaans churches had to redefine their role in relation to government, since they lost the privileged position they had had, and tend to now be critical of many measures introduced by government to promote transformation (De Villiers 2011: 12). Similarly the reality of those who participated in the anti-Apartheid struggle is that former comrades are now in government, and there is a temptation to feel uncritical loyalty towards the democratically-elected government (Koopman 2011b: 5).

The same could be noted by drawing from other forms of Liberation Theology, on account of the scope of this study specifically Black Theology being taken as a primary interlocutor.

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Within the scope of this study, critical perspectives on whiteness will be developed to understand the social and economic location of those who have been designated as white. This impacts both the subject and object of the study, since this will be used to analyse the participation of a historically white church in the public discourse concerning violence, but also because I study this while recognising my own position as white.

2.2 Ethics in Ethical Analysis


In the process of suggesting an ethical methodology as a form of public discourse Wariboko (2009: 4) responds to the question what is ethical analysis? by saying that: Ethical analysis is about identifying a problem that threatens the moral fabric and stability of society, showing how the particular problem has moved it away from that which underlies its existence and expresses itself in it as the ultimate concern, and indicating that by solving the problem the society will be brought in close responsiveness to its ultimate concern. Wariboko connects the ultimate concern of society with that which we call God. A philosophical-ethical approach would of course proceed from a different description of the ultimate concern, but within a theological-ethical analysis we consider God to be the ultimate concern, and examine moral problems through this lens. The construct of God (in dialectical interrelationship with other theological terms) is used to grasp and interpret the crucial dimensions of the problem and its possible solution. (2009: 5) The ethical concern that is the primary focus of this study can, however, be described as theological-ethical analysis in itself. I call the responses of the churches theological because of the commitment of churches to talk about God as ultimate concern, and it is ethical when the particular concerns touching on our life together is reflected in the speech of the churches. Wariboko argues that ethical analysis is not a process of producing some other good, but doing ethics well is the goal of ethical analysis (2009: 4).

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Our theological-ethical reasoning is an ordered speech that attempts to link forms of human sociality to perceived inner thrust of Gods liberatory activity in the world (Wariboko 2009: 4). Wariboko takes pain to explain his choice of the word perceived: it is a reminder that we do not have a perfect guide for discerning Gods movement in the world, but have to make decisions about where God is at work. In our process of ethical analysis we draw on a vision of the good life or the common good, of the kingdom of God, searching for the obstacles that need to be overcome as we hope to realise this common good (Wariboko 2009: 6). In theological-ethical analysis this vision, drawing on our construct of God, can be described as that which affirms human flourishing in the name of an ought to be, and this ought to be is the demand for justice for everybody everywhere (Wariboko 2009: 6-7). But our process of ethical analysis bring us into various places where the choices we make can themselves become a moral problem, and can become an obstacle that needs to be overcome if we are to realise the common good, if we are to seek justice for everybody everywhere. I point these out by looking at the identifiable steps in the process of ethical analysis described by De Villiers and Smit. There are many problems we might react to in this world, so we are inevitably forced to which ones we wish to give our time and resources to. The choice of which problems I consider to be my responsibility is already an ethical question. For example, should I focus all my attention on problems which are far from me, while ignoring that which is wholly my responsibility, there is an element of guilt involved (De Villiers and Smit 1996: 34-35). I would add to this that if our choice of focusing attention on a specific problem that challenges the common good becomes part of a process of diverting attention from other challenges to the common good, our analysis in itself becomes an obstacle which needs to be overcome.

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In our process of describing a problem, of analysing the context in which the problem originated and the causes of the problem, we will have to make certain selections and summaries. Reality is always more complex than our analysis, and therefore our choice of which aspects of a problem we wish to highlight, how we relate the problem under discussion to the historical developments which gave rise to it, and how we choose to summarise our analysis all carry moral implications (De Villiers and Smit 1996: 36-37). At various points in their argument, De Villiers and Smit point to the fact that those who participate in an analysis will determine the direction the analysis take. This concerns our choice of experts and other academic disciplines which we choose as dialogue partners (1996: 36), and even more specifically the perspectives held by the individuals participating in an analysis. Similar to Waribokos reminder that we work with a perceived inner thrust of Gods activity, and by implication our perspective on the common good requires choices made by the analyst, De Villiers and Smit point out that the choices made on what an appropriate response towards the perceived obstruction to the common good would be is guided by perspectives of those who are making the analysis, including, but not limited to, theological convictions (1996: 43).

2.3 Critical reflection on our ethical analysis of violent crime


During this study I will consider public theology, those specific forms of participation in public discourse which draw on God as the ultimate concern, and the specific responses to violent crime, as an articulated ethical analysis. This implies that we assume that every statement being made, which reacts to violent crime involves at least the above-mentioned choices, whether this is done intentionally or not. Chapter 3 will reflect on the social location of being white. While in dialogue with voices from various perspectives, I will attempt to approach this as an inherently

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theological task, and through this to open up perspectives that are important if white people are to participate as public theologians. Chapter 4 will focus the discussion on whiteness on the particular way in which responses to violence and crime continue to contribute to the racialisation of society. This will draw on aspects of popular white discourse before focussing on official statement made by the Dutch Reformed Church. The assumption is that public statements on an issue which is considered an obstacle to the common good reveal a particular process of ethical analysis. Since both these chapters involve a high level of dialogue with other social sciences, I end this chapter by reflecting on the role of social sciences in responsible theological reflection.

2.4 Theology and the Social Sciences


The use of the Social Sciences in theology has been discussed thoroughly and from various perspectives. With this short overview I seek to merely explain the use of two primary social scientific sources, and how they relate to this specific study in public theology. The first is the broad field known as whiteness studies, and the second research in analysing violence in post-Apartheid South Africa. I will follow Perkinson (2004: 2) in arguing that whiteness is inherently theological. Even within a secularised society it remains a theologically defined subjectivity. This approach assists in pointing to some of the theological resources needed to participate in overcoming of obstacles which we find in analysing ethical questions associated with participating in the public sphere from the social location of being white. However, central to the study of whiteness over the past twenty years is the argument that whiteness functions and continues to function by remaining invisible, by being the normal and unexamined subjectivity (Garner, 2007: 34-38). Therefore the subjectivity found among those racialised as white need to be actively brought to light.

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De Villiers (2004: 120) justifies the need for theology to be in dialogue with the social sciences by stating that the social sciences need to challenge religion and theology when the views religion and theology instil in people are negative for society. If the white position was constructed theologically, as will be argued in the next chapter, and remains largely invisible, one of the tasks of the social sciences should be to challenge white theology where it continues to keep racist notions and a hierarchy of races7 in place. Public theology, as theology which seek to contribute to the common good from its own repertoire of faith, operates from the default assumption that dialogue with the social sciences is important for gaining a deeper understanding of the problems being analysed (De Villiers and Smit 1996; Wariboko 2009). If we work with a vision of a just society, and seek to find the obstacles which keep society from becoming what we believe it ought to be, then the social sciences are important both in keeping this vision of what ought to be in check, thus as a challenge to theology on whether the ultimate concern we bring to the table truly contributes to the common good, but also in understanding what obstacles keep society from becoming what it ought to be, and how they should be overcome. In reflecting on existing ethical analyses in the public realm, as this study seeks to do, I will draw on research on violence in South Africa to see whether the analyses that have become part of public discourse that will be identified might not be providing a simplistic or even misguided picture of the causes of violence, simplifying reality in such a way that it participates in distorting the public perception rather than contributing to a better understanding of the problem (De Villiers and Smit 1996: 36-37).

The concepts race and racism will be discussed in chapter 3.

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Chapter 3: Whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa


3.1 Introduction
Key to my argument is the idea that although public theology aims to talk about that which is of ultimate concern, which Christians call God, and to articulate the implications of the activity of God for the social reality within which we find ourselves, we can only talk about a perceived inner thrust of this activity, noting that any talk about God rests on particular decisions made by the one who is speaking. More to the point for this chapter, the social and economic location of the one who is speaking about God and speaking about that which concerns our life in general, that life we share with everybody else, has a decisive effect on our particular perception of where we see the activity of God, and how we analyse the reality within which we find ourselves. The particular social location with which this study is concerned is that which has been described as white, particularly as this position has been constructed in South Africa. Working from an insiders perspective, since I have been socialised into this location which I am describing, I will argue for a more conscious awareness of the way in which those who were socialised into this position think and perceive the world, in order to develop a self-critical approach of participation in the public sphere. Of particular concern would be the theological identity of this group, since it will be argued that the white position has developed in relation to specific theological convictions which underpinned this identity, but also since the theoretical orientation of this study concerns the study of public discourse which can be called theological, in the sense that it draws on God as ultimate concern and reflects on issues of public concern drawing on the language of the activity of God in the world.

3.2 Introducing race, racism and racialisation


At the outset of this short overview on race, we must start by noting that race does not exist. Part of the discussion will be to clarify how race can be studied responsibly while
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recognising that race does not exist, and also elaborating on this key assumption that race has no material existence nor does it signify any essentialised identity. The approach followed can be described in the words of a recent study on race in South Africa: The approach consistent throughout the contributions is a priori to dismiss race and racial categories as valid entities as deployed in scientific racism, but nevertheless to utilise the terms in recognition that they are socially constructed features that have historically reflected and impacted on the nature of social relations in South Africa and across the world and continue to do so (Stevens, Franchi and Swart 2006: xix). With this key assumption mentioned, a comment on language needs to be made: where the above assumption is shared, references to race are sometimes made in inverted commas (for example: Garner 2010: 20) or the prefix so-called is added when referring to racial categories (Stevens, Franchi and Swart, 2006: xix). I will refrain from any such distinctions, although sharing these views on scientific racism. During Apartheid various groups were constructed according to which society was regulated. These categories overlap with the international constructions of race, yet they have their unique meaning in the South African history. I will at times use the terms Indian, Black, Coloured and White (I refer to these using capitalised words) to refer to the four groups found under Apartheid rule. Again, the use of these terms does not imply that their existence and division is legitimate, but since South African life has been ruled according to these categories, it remains important to examine how our lives are still patterned according to them, in order to better understand the possible enduring effects of Apartheid into the present age. These categories will therefore be used exclusively where the changing social realities are examined, such as changing patterns of being victims of violence. Apart from the above four categories from the South African legal system, I will most often refer to white and black (not capitalised, thus distinguishing them from the above interpretation) in relation to race and racism. In these cases I take the use of black from
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Black Theology, where black is not used in the biological sense as with the construction of white scientific racism in the 19th and 20th century, and is not opposed to those identified with other racial labels by systems of white superiority. Rather, black refers to those who are oppressed by systems of racial injustice (Boesak 2009: 49), and we can therefore say that black South Africans have been divided into Indian, Coloured and Black. The use of white will receive particular attention below, but can in short be described as referring to those who benefit, whether directly or indirectly, and whether by choice or without choice, from these same systems of racial injustice. En route to our discussion on whiteness, a few key elements of what is implied with the concepts race, racism and racialisation need to be pointed out. This is approached as merely a cursory overview leading us into the more specific concept of whiteness, which will be used throughout the rest of the study.

3.2.1 Towards the origin of race


As a bare minimum we might say that race implies some biological or genetic similarity within a specific group of people, with this physical appearance being linked to culture and behaviour (Garner 2010: 2). Keeping these two aspects together is important. While recognition of difference in physical appearance can be found in various ancient civilisations, these are not connected to an evaluation of a certain quality or behaviour that is inherently connected to this physical appearance (Rattansi 2007: 13-19). It will be pointed out that talk about race which satisfies this bare minimum of connecting physical appearance with an inherent quality is a late development in human history. Furthermore, as we take a glimpse at some of the instances in the development of race two things need to be kept in mind: First, concepts related to race do not develop in the same way or at the same time in all places across the globe. This overview therefore gives examples of how race has been articulated, aimed at a general understanding of what is implied when we speak of race, rather than tracing the development of race in the South African context. Second, the complex relation between social existence and the development of intellectual ideas needs to be kept in mind. The intellectual development of ideas on
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race at times developed as an attempted rational foundation for societal prejudices, while at other times it provided early arguments for what was regarded as commonsense at a later stage (Dubow 1995: 8-10). However, popular racism exists as a matter of unstated assumptions and unthinking responses; it often has more to do with the absence than the presence of considered thought and is therefore particularly intractable to deal with (Dubow 1995: 7). Taking note of the intellectual debate on race therefore provides a valuable context within which to study popular racism, but does not necessarily reflect popular racism. Choosing to draw primarily on the intellectual development of race, particularly for the first section of the chapter, therefore has certain limitations, but will nevertheless provide a clear enough perspective to move beyond nave assumptions on race and racism. Some of the earliest forms of what later developed into race can be found in anti-Jewish sentiments in European Christianity of the Middle Ages. From the 4th century onwards notions that Jews were lewd and gluttonous, murderers of the Lord and companions of the devil, began to be propounded by Christian preachers (Rattansi 2007: 15). AntiJudaism grew during the Middle Ages, seen for example in the massacres of Jews in 1096 in France and Germany, and later in Britain. Finally, on 31 March 1492, all Jews were expelled from Spain. However, despite the history of oppression against this specific group, there is little early evidence that Jewish qualities were inherently bound with Jewish physiology. The connection with the Jewish nose and foot would only be made at a much later stage (Rattansi 2007: 15-16). In Jennings Theology and the Origin of Race (Jennings 2011) he notes aesthetical comparisons at play which would later develop into racial theories (see also Rattansi 2007: 27-29). In 1444, on the arrival of the largest group of slaves in Lagos, Portugal, an event that is also important because it included slaves from hithertoundiscovered lands, the chronicler of Prince Henry of Portugal, Zurara, writes: And these, placed all together in that field, were a marvelous sight; for amongst them were some white enough, fair to look upon, and well proportioned; others were less white like mulattoes; others again were as black as Ethiops [Ethiopians], and so ugly, both in features and in body, as
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almost to appear (to those who saw them) the images of a lower hemisphere (Jennings, 2011: Chapter 1). Already here Zurara invokes a scale of existence, with white at one end and black at the other end and all others placed in between (Jennings, 2011: Chapter 1). Similar evaluations can also be found earlier, in a work known to both Prince Henry and Zurara, titled The Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms. In this work, black flesh is described as burnt by the sun, as harmed flesh. The people from India however, are described as beautiful, the moist air close to the sea being described as the cause. However, in spite of this aesthetical judgement, The Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms describes black Christians as men of good understanding and good mind. In Jennings words: Christian and black are juxtaposedthe one overcoming the other (Jennings 2011: Chapter 1). We will return to similar statements at a number of places below, but for this first overview it is important to note that (b)efore there were black and white people, there were Christians and Heathens. In Christian symbolism, white had positive connotations (purity) while black had the opposite, hence the type of negative meanings attached to the term black. The evidence suggests that ideas about explaining difference frequently focused on religion, climate and labour status, without giving the concept of race the detailed content it was to receive later (Garner 2010: 13). The origin of race should therefore not be found in reflection on biological markers. It is worth understanding something more about the ambiguity of biology in the early development of race. The biological markers came into play in the later development of race were not limited to skin colour, but included skull shape, nose form, teeth and other characteristics. Yet the predominance of skin colour not only in popular understandings of race, but also in the language that developed concerning race, warrant a few remarks, as this further illustrates the way in which race was developed primarily as a marker for the place of a group in the world.

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3.2.2 The ambiguity of skin colour in race In spite of the growing consensus in Europe and in colonies of European countries during the colonial era and Enlightenment about a world in which there was a hierarchy of races, with white at the top of this hierarchy, the question of who exactly should be identified as white changed over time. Let me take a first example from the slave ships: It mattered little what had been the cultural or ethnic background of the sailor, for he would, on the ship and coast of Africa, become white, at least for a time, as the vast machine helped to produce racial categories and identities. It was the common practice for everyone involved in the slave trade, whether African or European, to refer to the ships crew as the white men or the white people, even when the crew was motley, a portion of it colored and distinctly not white. The sailors status as a white man guaranteed that he would not be sold in the slave-labor market, and it marked him as someone who could dispense violence and discipline to the enslaved on behalf of the merchant and his capital (Rediker in Jennings 2011: Chapter 4). Interracial marriages and sex have always, although in different ways, been central to talk about race. In the 1789 autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, the first Black Atlantic writer to publish a text that was not edited by a white editor (Jennings 2011: Chapter 4), he writes: Soon after my arrival in London, I saw a remarkable circumstance relative to African complexion, which I thought so extraordinary that I shall beg leave just to mention it: A white negro woman, that I had formerly seen in London and other parts, had married a white man, by whom she had three boys, and they were every one mulattoes, and yet they had fine light hair (Jennings 2011: Chapter 4). The words white and negro are placed next to each other, not to speak of the children born out of this marriage, but to speak of a black woman married to a white man. Jennings describes this as a black womans body made white (Jennings 2011:
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Chapter 4). We thus find an example of a slaves imagination, where being white was not merely a description of the pigmentation of the skin of an individual, but seems to portray something of her place in society and the relations in which she is bound. A more common example that is often discussed in studies on whiteness is on how the Irish in North America became white. The situation we find in 19th century is that Catholic Irish immigrants to North America were not considered white, while they would be considered white at a later stage. They illustrate the ambiguity of skin pigmentation in the social construction of race. Whiteness in the 19th century North American context, referred to four overlapping factors: colour, degree of freedom, level of civilisation, and devotion to Christianity (Garner 2007: 121). Again the overlap between race and religion is found, yet, in this instance, it is Catholicism which is described as backward and premodern, and which contributes to the construction of Catholics as not quite white (Garner 2007: 122). But more than religion was at stake. Some of the scientific methods used in the construction of racism are found in relation to the Irish as well, in that their skulls were considered Africanoid, and that they were described as ape-like, and drawn as apelike in popular art (Rattansi 2007: 39-41). But over time the Irish in North America became white. This was due, at least in part, to their attacks on blacks and their opposition to black suffrage and emancipation. By the late 19th century the definition of white in North America developed to include the Irish (as well as other groups that also became white at a later stage, such as Italians and Jews) (Rattansi 2007: 42). These short examples show that the attempts to fix notions of race as if these have a foundation in biology were a rather late development. The example of the Irish in North America also shows that these scientific accounts of race only filtered into popular thought over a long period. Many have come to see the Enlightenment as mainly responsible for race developing into the distinct category which we came to know during the modern era and under Apartheid.

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3.3.3 Scientific accounts of race


The German philosopher Immanuel Kant can be seen as the first proper theorist of race. He developed his theories in the late 18th century (Rattansi 2007: 27). Although his approach is an initial attempt at a scientific account of race, his example will illustrate the type of approach dominant until after the Second World War. As illustrated in some of the examples above, racial stereotyping and oppression can be seen in the early colonial era. However, the intellectual justification Kant provides with his theory on race is typical of what has provided the intellectual foundation of the well-known examples of modern racist societies. Drawing on Carters analysis of Kant (Carter 2008), I will illustrate some of the key notions of modern concepts of race. Kant situated questions concerning race in the biological sciences. He naturalizes the very notion of race race has always been with us - thus granting scientific legitimacy to the category of race (Carter 2008: 86). He does this by stating that the seed of the various races is embedded within the human species. Kant constructs a distinctly teleological account of race. The purpose of this seed is to allow the human species to inhabit the whole earth with its various climatic conditions. Air quality and sunlight could be the most important factors activating these seeds so that the process of raciation can start. However, after a period of time, this activated seed will stifle the other seeds, so that a race will become fixed in the reproductive processes (Carter 2008: 85-87). But not only is the existence of races justified through the sciences, the superiority of whites is defended as well. The basic argument is that the prototype of these races will be found in the most moderate climatic environment, since from this place humans could most easily adapt to other climates. This most moderate climate would be found between the 31st and 52nd degrees latitude of the old world, the place where white people live, which Kant also considered to be the place where the greatest riches of the earth are found (Carter 2008: 87-88). Lastly, Kant provided breakdowns of the races, where those identified with the various external markers of colour were also described by their inherent qualities. He describes the limits in educating various races, as well as the different limits of and ways in which the various races are motivated. He then describes the white race saying: The Race of
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Whites contains within itself all motivations and talents. Therefore, one must consider it with special care. To the race of whites belongs the entirety of Europe, the Turks, and the Kalmucks. If ever revolutions occurred, they were always realized by whites. The Hindus, Americans, Negroes have never had a part in them (Carter 2008: 91). The important development is that race was now assumed to be part of the natural order of things. The superiority of the white race and the inferiority of other races (no consensus ever emerged on what exactly the other races would be) would also be normalised in the years to come through inherent qualities linked to those who bear specific biological markers, justified by good science. During the 19 th and 20th centuries various other similar approaches developed, which need not be discussed for the sake of this argument. What is important is that it involved almost the entire modern scientific enterprise, and continued to reflect the scientific methods of each era, while constantly justifying a view of the world based on race.

3.3.4 Race as (non)-existent


This system of scientific justification for race began to break down after the Second World War. Where the burden of proof for arguing in favour of equal racial ability rested on critics of racial difference until at least the late 1930s, just over a decade or so later anti-egalitarians found themselves in a distinct scientific minority (Dubow 1995: 288). While the scientific consensus was shifting, centuries of abuse of black people by white people, and the final horror of the Holocaust, helped to influence and accelerate the shift in scientific consensus (Dubow 1995: 288; Kelley 2002: 20). Today, and for most of the second half of the 20 th century, we have a broad intellectual consensus that race, this biological or genetic marker which constitutes some kind of an inherent quality, does not exist. As Kelley writes, following Diamond, Scientists could classify people by antimalaria genes, lactase, fingerprint patterns, or skin color. Each method would produce radically different configurations completely disconnected from geography. Biologically, there is no more reason to group Swedes with other Europeans than with Africans, or with American Indians, Italians, and New
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Guineans; it all depends upon which biological criteria become essential to the classification system (Kelley, 2002: 20). Describing race as normal and in some way scientifically justifiable came to be regarded by most biologists as pseudo-science, implying that it is built upon science that has been found to be without proof. However, Dubow reminds us that the category of pseudo-science should not be used too fast. The scientific argument for race represented the mainstream scientific thought of the day during the 19th and 20th centuries. Respected scientists contributed to the formation of races, and historically the science supporting race was commonly accepted (Dubow 1995: 3). Although we can use the category of pseudo-science with the clear vision of hindsight, we have to remember that historically the construction of race was firmly embedded in proper science, a reminder that the construction of racial categories wasnt merely a slight mistake resulting from scientific ideas that shouldnt have been taken too seriously. Rather, at least as far as the Western (white) societies are concerned, race was reaffirmed over and over again, proven by using any and every possible means, and up to the mid-20th century was accepted without question. We might today call it a myth, yet it was myth held onto without any doubts, and was justified using methods that modern society had held in high regard. Merely pointing to the emergence of a new scientific consensus on the non-existence of race does not end the discussion. For one thing, as mentioned earlier, there remain differences between intellectual articulation of ideas concerning race, and the popular interpretation of these; this alone should warn us that the effects of arguments on race will continue to influence society (and indeed, in popular discourse some of the influential arguments such as the difference in IQ of various races continues to surface from time to time). While we find ourselves in a post-racial era in the sense that the scientific arguments justifying race have been shown to be flawed, race continues to exist as a social construction, which we now know is what it has been all along. That is, while we can argue convincingly against the existence of the scientific notion of race, the effects of
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centuries of language, habits, laws, economic policies, relationships etc. continue to exist. And not merely the effects carried over from a political system of the past, race continues to function as a social construction in ever-new ways. The challenge De Vos describes can help in understanding the task before us: Instead I am arguing that we should begin to question and undermine the very essence of the system that race is destiny, that race exists at all while at the same time addressing the invidious effects of that system of racial discrimination that is very much still with us today. Any suggestions of how to pull off this very difficult trick of recognising injustice resulting from racism, while at the same time questioning the very notion of race would be much appreciated (De Vos, 2009). While the rest of the study does not claim to pull off this very difficult trick, it should be read as participating in this. We have to acknowledge that there is the constant danger that our continued investigation of race might contribute to entrenching the exact categories which should be dismantled, while at the same time we today have to recognise that simply ending all reference to race will not end deeply entrenched racial injustices.

3.3.5 Racism
Up to this point I have been keeping the use of the words racism and racist to a minimum. These words have been interpreted in ways that make them at times less than helpful when following the line of argument described up to this point. The following examples are not an exhaustive list, but simply illustrate the problematic ways in which references to racism can be found. The first approach is to relegate racism to the fringes of society so that it becomes an extreme abnormality not shared by the majority. When this happens racism is defined as those overt acts of blatant discrimination, vicious oppression or hate crimes in comparison with which the everyday exercise of privilege and perpetuation of advantage pales into insignificance (Steyn and Foster 2008: 31). This understanding

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can be seen with the recent example of Darren Scott8 (TimesLive 2011), where racism is associated with his use of the word kaffir, while we are reminded that Scott never considered himself a racist. This incident is presented as unacceptable, but as an exception. Another problematic popular approach is when racism is seen as any reference to race. The problem, which is identified with the word racism, is then those who continue to speak about race, in whichever way, including pointing out continued inequalities according to race. This approach is closely connected with what has been described as colour-blind whiteness, which will be discussed later in the chapter. This approach might draw on the above-mentioned critique of scientific racism, while failing to take account of race as a social construct. The third approach, which provides reason for caution when using the word racism is that racism is used to refer to attempts at redressing past inequalities, often called reversed racism. This is usually found in language surrounding affirmative action, and seems to be borrowed from other racialised societies where affirmative action started earlier than in South Africa (Steyn and Foster 2008: 41). The language of racism is used to talk about oppression of white people (Steyn 2001: 70), skewing perceptions about the reality of the continued privilege of white South Africans, and presenting any attempt at creating a society where all are on a more equal footing as marginalisation of white people (Steyn 2005: 131). With these problems in mind I will provide some keys to understanding racism which would move beyond popular uses of the word. Garner (2010: 11) argues that the following three elements, at the very least, should be considered when we speak about racism: 1. A historical power relationship in which, over time, groups are racialised (that is, treated as if specific characteristics were natural and innate to each member of the group).
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Scott was accused of calling a black colleague a kaffir at a work teambuilding event. According to news reports Scott chased him away from the bar because the collague owed Scott money, and when he later

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2. A set of ideas [ideology] in which the human race is divisible into distinct races, each with specific natural characteristics. 3. Forms of discrimination flowing from this [practices] ranging from denial of access to resources through to mass murder.

Although the use of biological markers can at times still be seen in popular racist rhetoric, the absence of biological references does not necessarily indicate an absence of racism. Race has always been intertwined with culture, class, gender, nation and ethnicity, and continues to operate while at times using elements from these. While popular examples of how people continue to identify others as having particular characteristics (such as trustworthiness or being lazy) can still be found, merely keeping to correct language does not guarantee the absence of racism. Entrenched assumptions continue to be reinforced through various habits (Sullivan 2006), manifest in instinctive decisions, and is kept in place through the structuring of society, which continues to reflect racial patterns. Furthermore, although examples of blatant acts of violence or oppression connected to racial ideologies can still be found, discrimination more often takes on much subtler forms. Much has been done to explain what is known as institutional or structural racism, various systemic forces which have the effect of keeping entrenched racial inequalities in place (Rattansi 2007: 140-146; Garner 2010: 102-116). In this understanding, processes which result in the continued economic and educational inequalities (among others) according to race are described as racism, although it does not involve the use of racial slurs (and at times actively rejects the use of racial language). To give but one specifically South African example: During the apartheid era, laws determined educational quality and opportunities, as well as access to employment on various levels according to race. Even though these laws were changed, schools, with a
returned to the bar Scott repeatedly called him a kaffir.

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few exceptions, continue to follow the patterns of apartheid. The patterns of students staying in school up to matric continues to show that White students have a higher chance of writing matric, and matric results continue to be patterned according to race, with White students and students in what used to be White schools gaining better results than students from schools that were oppressed during apartheid (Perry & Fleisch 2006: 123). However, not only do White students tend to receive a better and longer education, their education also weighs more. When White and Black receive the same quality of education, spend the same amount of money on education, and achieve the same level of education, the White students in the post-apartheid South Africa will still end up on a higher salary level (Keswall 2004: 9, 20). Understanding the forces that cause for these patterns to continue is to understand what is known as structural racism. Noticing structural racism helps us to move beyond mere simplistic definitions where racism is reduced to individual acts of prejudice, but this does not tell the whole story of race and racism. We need to understand how white people are constituted, not merely historically, but particularly how certain identities are perpetuated and recreated in the present.

3.3.6 Racialisation
Like De Vos, Kelley summarises the current impasse concerning race as follows, which shows the need for working with a perspective of racialisation: Race remains a particular vexing category. It seems to have no intellectual grounding or legitimacy, yet it has negatively impacted the lives of millions of people for hundreds of years. It is now accepted by very few serious intellectuals, yet for most of the modern era it was accepted by virtually all serious intellectuals in virtually all academic and religious disciplines. We have thus reached a bewildering paradox: if we accept the reality of race then we may be on the slippery slope towards legitimizing racism, yet it we deny its reality we become powerless to confront it. If we wish to get anywhere in our discussion we need to find a way to recognize the historical centrality of race without falsely
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elevating race as a biological category. We need to take race seriously without giving in to racial thinking. We need, in short, to look at race as a social and intellectual construct (Kelley 2002: 23-24) Although race as a biological category, fixed by nature, has been shown not to exist at all, ideas on race continue to function in ever new and more complex ways in so-called post-racial societies (Rattansi 2007: 86-113), including South Africa. When investigating race, we are then investigating the social construction, an identity being given to racial groups which otherwise would not have existed. With this as background, a key concept which academics use to make sense of the meanings of race is to talk about racialisation (Garner 2010: 19). Racialisation implies that race has no existence except for a social existence (Garner 2010: 22). We could start by simply saying that Racialisation refers to the social and political processes whereby racially distinct groups are constituted (Skinner in Garner 2010: 21). Or for a more complex definition: Racialisation tells us that racism is never simply racism, but always exists in complex imbrications with nation, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality, and therefore a dismantling of racism also requires, simultaneously as well as in the long run, a strategy to reduce relevant class inequalities, forms of masculinity, nationalisms and other social features, whereby racisms are reproduced in particular sites (Rattansi in Garner 2010: 22). In the short overview on race above, examples of how this happened at certain times and places in history have already been provided. Race was intertwined in the construction of slave and master on the slave ships, where white and black referred not merely to external identification markers, but to being a sailor or a master. South African history provides ample examples of how race was interconnected with nation, ethnicity etc. In Garners words: Indeed, whatever problems remain, racialisation represents an essential sociological tool because it draws attention to
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the process of making race relevant to a particular situation or context, and thus requires an examination of the precise circumstances in which this occurs: who the agents are; who the actors are. In other words, who does what and how? It provides us with an alternative to the binaries of racist/antiracist. Racialisation does not necessarily include ideas of intention, but it does reintroduce ideas of race and force us to look hard enough at our subject to realise that making racial identities also necessitates other forms or social identification (Garner 2010: 21-22). An important qualification needs to be made, however: saying that race is a social construct might lead to the erroneous view that race is merely a sort of veneer laid over a nonraced human core (Sullivan 2006: 32). Sullivan argues that we can indeed speak of race as ontological, even while admitting that it is not eternal or unchanging. Race is constituted through habits, micro-processes of subjective existence, and the transactions between a raced world and those who live in it, so that our very beings are being racially constituted (Sullivan 2006: 32). However, this does not mean that change is not possible. In the words of Sullivan again, Among other things, being historical means being capable of having a different future (Sullivan 2006: 3). The only legitimate use of the racialisation paradigm (or the whiteness paradigm as will be argued below) is as part of an anti-racist approach, that is, in contributing to ending the deeply embedded systems of oppression according to race still found in our societies. By its very definition working with racialisation may never be considered a last word, as if no escape from our racialised identities is possible. In speaking about race as a social construct, I seek to contribute towards the further dismantling of racism.

3.4 The theological construction of the white Afrikaner


In this section of the study, a fine balance between race and ethnicity needs to be kept. Although I will focus on the Afrikaner community and churches embedded within the Afrikaner community, it would be a mistake to place this in opposition to whiteness, or to lift Afrikaners out of global whiteness. The specific construction of whiteness in South Africa, and the underlying justification that it received from Afrikaner theologians and Calvinist religiosity is unique in its blatant obviousness (at least compared to other
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places in the second half of the 20th century). It is also revealing in that it is connected to the trope of modern Western whiteness (Steyn 2001: xxxi). After the choice is made to focus on the specific ways in which whiteness was constructed among and through the Afrikaners, the question regarding where to start this narrative needs to be asked. This concerns not only the practical limitations of space, but also involves choices made regarding the interpretation of history. On the one hand we need to be reminded that racism came to South Africa in 1652 with Jan van Riebeeck (Van der Borght 2009: 6, following Tutu), while on the other hand keeping in mind that race is not a monolithic construct, and that it developed and changed in South Africa, as it did all over the world. My concern is with the place of theology in the construction of South African whiteness as it found a specific articulation within the Afrikaner community. To help in this reflection, I draw on an early European example of the racialisation of theology and simultaneous theological construction of race. The example is a post-Reformation Jesuit voice, and I do not attempt to imply relation of causation between this early European and South African theological whiteness. But this example helps to illustrate the relation between theology and race, and, more specifically, how what would become an important theological thread in South African whiteness was already visible in the 16th century.

3.4.1 The racialisation of soteriology


Although we might draw on various theological notions in our articulation of the continued theological construction of race, our reflection on salvation has both historical significance in South Africa (as will be pointed out below) as well as relevance for our reflection from within a violent society. The Jesuit Alessando Valignano lived and worked in the second half of the 16 th century. His task was one of spiritual discernment: he had to evaluate the authenticity of Christians in the new lands - Africa, India, China and Japan, determining not only the possibilities of salvation of the various proto-racial groups, but also the possibility of members of those groups becoming a priest, or even a fellow Jesuit. Underlying
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Valignanos whole approach is the assumption that the white European is the elect of God, and is able to discern the saving work of God (Jennings 2011: Chapter 1). Jennings explains the roots of Valignanos thinking, and what would underlie centuries of theological thought afterwards, as what is known as supersessionism. What informed Valignanos powerful spiritual discernment of the salvific possibilities of alien flesh was the presence of the most decisive and central theological distortion that exists in the church, a distortion that was growing in power and extension with each new generation. That distortion was the replacement of Israel, or, in its proper theological term, supersessionism. Crudely put, in supersessionist thinking the church replaces Israel in the mind and heart of God. . At this point one can begin to glimpse the supersessionist effect in Valignanos comparative thinking. This effect begins with positioning Christian identity fully within European (white) identity and fully outside the identities of Jews and Muslims. The space between these identities, Christian on the one side and Jews and Muslims on the other, became the space within which one could discern authentic conversion. This discernment constituted an ecclesial logic applicable to the evaluation of all peoples (Jennings 2011: Chapter 1). Valignano uses the categories white and black as a marker of intelligence, the kind of work a group is destined to do, the possibility of self-governance etc, but important for our discussion, all this is embedded within the theological frame of whether salvation is possible for those with black or white bodies. Europeans reconfigured Christian social space around white and black bodies. If existence between Christian and non-Christian, saved and lost, elect and reprobate was a fluid reality that could be grasped only by detecting the spiritual and material marks, then the racial scale aided this complex optical operation (Jennings 2011: Chapter 1). His conclusions reveal early assumptions about race as it was connected to questions of salvation. Valignano doubted whether Africans had the ability to grasp the Christian faith and definitely did not regard them as fit for ministry. If they were to become Christians, there would always be doubt cast on their sincerity, just as was the case with
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Jewish converts. They are markedly stupid and lacked culture, and were destined for menial labour. His discernment leads him to evaluate them not merely as not elected, but as judged by God. Their lives will lead to nothing. On the other hand the Japanese were believed to be white, of superior intelligence and culture, and this made it possible that they would become as good a Christian as any European (Jennings 2011: Chapter 1). Black and white became the opposing markers which provided a lens for interpreting the world. Valignanos reading of the world is inherently theological, and shapes the world around an interpretation carried through the use of theological categories. Similar arguments have been made concerning the role of Calvinism in South Africa, to which we turn now.

3.4.2 Theological whiteness in South Africa


The focus of this part of the study is not the creation of the political system of apartheid, but rather the process by which white people were formed, focusing particularly on early processes, before legalised segregation. I approach this primarily as a theological project, pointing to the way in which notions of God play into the construction of the white Afrikaner identity. Boesak describes a conversation with a security policeman where he realised how deeply religious apartheid was: But the most important point I took away from my conversation with Mostert was the value of the conviction of the Afrikaners that apartheid was Gods will, that it could be justified by scripture and that they, and their policy, could be recognised as Christian. He spoke with political conviction but with religious fervour. Coming from a non-theologian, a security policeman, I found this enlightening indeed Apartheid would not be complete, not understood, I knew, if not in its twin dimensions: as a racist, political, socioeconomic system and as a religious construct essential to those who believed in it (Boesak 2009: 43).

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Reading the development of Afrikaner whiteness as a theological development, albeit one almost indistinguishable from the political and social circumstances from which it grew, has been a common approach for many decades. Yet, this is not exclusive to South African whiteness. Various recent publications (Carter 2008; Jennings 2011; Perkinson 2004) have argued that not only racism, but the very construction of race is inherently theological. I would therefore suggest that when we read the historic development of white Afrikaner identities in South Africa as something which is inherently tied with theology, we do this not with the idea that this phenomenon of an interrelatedness of theology and race is an almost exotic development of South African whiteness, but rather with the recognition that South African whiteness is, in its blatant use of theology, unveiling what underlies the historic construction of whiteness globally.

3.4.3 A fluid theology constructing a people


3.4.3i Foundations: The theology of the elect people of God Perkinson claims that whiteness has functioned in modernity as a surrogate form of salvation, a mythic presumption of wholeness (Perkinson 2004: 3). In short, both in America and in South Africa the pigmentation of your skin, white and black, identified you as being either elected or damned by God (Perkinson 2004: 58-59). Much has been written about the ideology and theology underlying the Afrikaner and the development of apartheid. I will mention some of the key elements, but first two warnings need to be mentioned: The first should be obvious from what has been written so far: the theology underlying the racial constructs in South Africa is just as fluid as the development of race portrayed above. This will be pointed out in the overview below, and needs to be kept in mind at all times. The second is that the idea of the God-fearing Afrikaners engaged in an unrelenting pursuit of an unrealisable vision (Dubow 1995: 247) creating the impression of an almost irrational approach built on fundamentalist theological presuppositions should be tempered. While Christian-nationalism can only be understood with reference to its own
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internal logic, and contains ideological elements which seem to defy interest-group or class analysis, it should nonetheless be read as a form of realpolitik, seeking to defend white privilege more than blindly holding on to ideological commitments (Dubow 1995: 247-248). 3.4.3i(a) The early church in the Cape colony

In Borchardts description of the church in the early colony, he repeatedly mentions that there was no racial feeling9 in the early years of European settlement at the Cape (Borchardt 1986). A few comments about this statement are called for. Firstly, read from within Apartheid South Africa (Borchardt writes in the 1980s), this is an important observation. It reminds us that the racial constructs as we know them did not always exist, as was pointed out above. On the other hand, the comment of Tutu about racism coming to South Africa in 1652 should also be kept in mind. Although the first colonists did not arrive with fully developed theories of race, since these would only develop in Europe after the colony at the Cape was established, the proto-racial ideas which developed into fully racist ideologies was already commonly held in Europe, and did come to South Africa with the first colonists. In the early colony marriages between European settlers and freed slaves or Khoi women were not a total taboo, although marriages between slaves and free colonists were not allowed. It is possible that the most common marriages were those between Europeans and free non-Europeans until 1800. Children were baptised together, and at times masters and slaves sat together at the Eucharist table (Borchardt 1986: 70-73). Still, a sense of superiority on the part of white European settlers was already at work in the early colony. Early markers can be found even in Borchardts description, such as the different laws made for slaves born from European fathers and who could speak Dutch (Borchardt 1986: 71). Borchardt then continues to give an overview of the developments in the churches and official decisions of synods of the Dutch Reformed Church. Proto-segregationist church practices can be found in the second half of the 18 th century, such as separate
9

rassegevoel

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baptismal registers being kept, and although official segregation in churches was constantly warned against, the truth is that the 19 th century had a constant growth in de facto segregated churches. It would seem that white congregations had few nonEuropeans attending services, and what came to be called mission congregations few European members. Furthermore, even where one congregation existed, specialised services for those who were converted from the heathens started appearing (Borchardt 1986: 74-75). All this happened before the 1857 decision where separate Eucharist services for those members from the heathen were allowed, the first official decision opening up the possibility that a separate church could be created was taken. Finally, in 1880 the Dutch Reformed Mission Church was started (Borchardt 1986: 76-77). These developments occurred at different times in different congregations, and there were always voices against the growing segregation in the churches. Some always held on to the ideal that all should remain in one church. Since what concern us are the theological ideas underpinning racial constructs, a few comments need to be made on this history. The idea that everyone, regardless of race, should theoretically belong to the one church remained the official position of the church until deep into the 19th century. Although segregation was becoming increasingly visible, this was not yet justified through official decisions. However, the continued assumption that some belong to the heathens (heathen was also used as synonymous to the black other, see for example the quote in Bosch (1984: 17-18) which reminds us of the many earlier European analyses of society, where some are seen to have a more inherent capability to become Christian than others, and that special teaching is needed for those who do become Christians yet belong to groups that do not have this natural tendency to become Christians. We could read the early history of the church in the Cape colony as sharing the assumption, so commonly held that it neednt even be mentioned, that white bodies fall within the grace of God, while black bodies might fall within the grace of God. Christianity was racialised, with Christian and heathen denoting racial types (Steyn 2001: 28-29). It anticipates a world organised according to distance from God, where this soteriological distinction is simultaneously used to create a hierarchy of races. The equating of black with heathen,
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with the assumption that Christianity is a white religion, was still used by some threads of racist rhetoric during apartheid (Bosch 1984: 14). 3.4.3i(b) Theological underpinnings of Afrikaner race ideology

In tracing the development of scientific racism in South Africa, Dubow concludes that scientific constructs of race have been more prevalent in South African history than might have been suspected in the past. In spite of this, however, the racial constructs of apartheid South Africa were not as dependent on science as was the case in other countries (1995: 2). Rather, science was called upon to legitimate already-held ideas. At times, scientific notions of race were even consciously rejected by those arguing for apartheid, since the international intellectual environment after World War II made scientific constructs of race highly unpopular (1995: 275-281). As official segregation developed over time, so did the underlying theological justification for an ideology of race, which finally grew into apartheid. Bosch describes what used to be the dominant interpretation of the roots of Afrikaner political conviction as follows: virtually since the beginning of the Dutch settlement at the Cape, and increasingly during subsequent centuries, the Dutch-Afrikaans segment of the population was inspired by a strictly Calvinist life- and world-view. This led them to regard themselves as a chosen people, to identify themselves with Israel of old, and to believe that they had been called by God to christianize and civilize the original inhabitants of the subcontinent. This awareness of being a chosen people blended with the Calvinist doctrines of election and predestination and led to the belief that they the Afrikaners were the elect of God in contradistinction to the other races; because this was so, any form of gelijkstelling (=equal treatment) of Blacks with Whites) would be contrary to the ordinances of God (Bosch 1984: 15). This view has, however, been challenged, and the relatively late development of these notions has been pointed out. There was no ideology of a chosen people with a national mission (Andr Du Toit in Bosch 1984: 16) before 1850.
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Bosch points to three forces shaping Afrikaner religio-political climate: Dutch Calvinism with an evangelical stamp was exported to the Cape Colony after the Second Reformation and had an influence on the Dutch church through Scottish and English evangelicalisms. After Britain annexed the Cape Colony, the influx of Scottish ministers further strengthened the evangelical piety in the Dutch Reformed Church. Pietism was not so much a theological foundation for Afrikaner civil-religion, but rather a negative influence through its dualistic understanding of reality and emphasis on a personalised faith (Bosch 1984: 25-26). Secondly, the Dutch Calvinist revival under Van Prinsteren and Kuyper informed the South African situation, especially after the Anglo-Boer War. The call for isolation, which in the Netherlands referred to isolation-for-mission, was adapted as isolation-forsurvival. The most important South African force was S J du Toit10 who provided an early rationale for the exclusivist strategies of the Afrikaner (Bosch 1984: 26-28). Du Toit developed an equation between the Afrikaner and Israel which provided theological justification for much of what would develop after the Anglo-Boer War. For example, in writing about Nehemiah He systematically developed religio-political parallels between the Afrikaner and Israel. Nehemiah is portrayed as pious patriot, in whom patriotism and devoutness, a spirit of liberty and the courage of faith, love of the fatherland and religious zeal were united. Like Israel in Nehemiahs time (Neh 13:1-3) the Afrikaner should neither fraternise with foreigners nor break down the walls of racial separation instituted by God; like Israel, the Afrikaners salvation lies in racial purity (Bosch 1984: 28). The third force Bosch identifies is that of German Fichtean romantic nationalism. Through young Afrikaners who studied in Germany, neo-Fichtean ideas were carried into the South African conversation. The nation was lifted up as the highest goal, the most complete community. Love for nation and love for God, service towards God and service towards my nation were brought together, and a metaphysical base was given
10

Father of Jakob Danil du Toit, better known as Totius.

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for the ethnic purity of the nation, leading the law prohibiting inter-racial marriage being one of the very first to be promulgated after the Nationalist government came to power (1984: 29-32). Dubow describes the last two forces mentioned as showing much overlap because of a common Romantic inheritance: Both lay stress on the organic link between culture and nationhood, the idea that the creativity of the individual is best expressed through the collectivity of the group, and the belief that nations are subject to divine historical destiny (1995: 261). It should be noted that in the above race, ethnicity and nationhood cannot be separated from each other. To this we might also add class. These various markers are indissolubly interwoven in the making of the Nationalist Afrikaner identity. However, to merely mention various ideological threads does not explain the making of Afrikaner Nationalism. To this a specific experience of violence needs to be added. 3.4.3ii Defining moments: Violence and the construction of the Afrikaner Whiteness and Afrikaner identity in South Africa did not develop in isolation from international white superiority, but in Afrikaner history the Anglo-Boer war of 1899 to 1902 is the defining moment in the formation of Afrikaner identity. In understanding the Afrikaner nationalism, this event is generally regarded as having provided the vital stimulus for the development of Afrikaner nationalism as a mass movement (Dubow 1995: 248). Bosch writes that (F)or Britain, the war was no more than a passing episode; for Afrikaners, who lost eight times as many women and children in the concentration camps as soldiers on the battlefield, this was the most crucial event in their history, the matrix out of which a new people was born. (Bosch 1986: 207). There is, however, a second motivation for starting with the reflection on this event: this experience of violence that was crucial in the formation of Afrikaner whiteness continues to play an important role in the post-apartheid white response to violence which will be discussed later.

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A note of warning is in order at this point, which might assume elements from later in the argument: speaking about the experience of violence runs the danger of reconstructing the history of the Afrikaner as merely those continually under siege, forgetting their own contribution towards violence in Southern Africa during these events. I will reflect further on the problems associated with our choices in speaking about violence in the next chapter. However, for the sake of this argument, it is the experience of the Afrikaners which is of concern, since this will help us in understanding the context in which a specific process of racialisation occurred. Although the Anglo-Boer war should be considered the defining moment, some of the ideological building blocks which were used after the war were already present in some form before the war (such as the Kuyperian ideas of S J Du Toit). The events leading up to the defining moment of the war should therefore also receive some attention. On the eve of the Anglo-Boer War a pamphlet was published that summarised a century of British attitudes and actions towards the Afrikaners (Bosch 1984: 22). The title of this pamphlet was Eene eeuw van onrecht (A century of injustice) and described the Afrikaner experience of injustice influenced by the British. Until the time of the British occupation of the Cape colony, the colonists were by and large just an extension of the population of Holland (Bosch 1984: 21). The British annexed the Cape in 1806, roughly at the same time that the clashes with the Xhosa on the eastern frontier became more frequent. The Afrikaner settlers soon found themselves caught in a pincer between an alien and unsympathetic administration, bent on Anglicizing them, and the advances of the numerically vastly superior Black armies (Bosch 1986: 206). The statement that the government was failing to provide for their security and was threatening their way of life (Thompson in Ehlers, n.d.: 3), referring to the British summarises the frustration they experienced. In an attempt to escape this situation, rather than on account of any form of conscious nationalism, some moved across the Orange River, however, the British annexed one newly acquired Afrikaner territory after the other (Bosch 1984: 21). Added to this was the fact that the early Afrikaners moved into land in which they were vastly outnumbered, and they exchanged their war with the Xhosa for clashes with various
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other tribes across Southern Africa. In this constantly experienced threat Afrikaners found their identity and security, in a literal and figurative sense, in the laager, where their ox-wagons, drawn into a circle, would protect them against the outside world (Bosch 1986: 207). It is this laager mentality, carried through some of the ideological notions described above, which is immensely strenthened by the Anglo-Boer war events. While 3000 Afrikaner soldiers died, almost 26000 woman and children died in concentration camps (Bosch 1984: 22), the scorched earth policy which had Afrikaner farms and homesteads burned down left many without livelihood (Steyn 2001: 34), and generally, an already very poor group of people were left even poorer after the war, again governed by the British Empire, and forced to be further Anglicised. Simultaneously, the black majority was still experienced as a threat, in that they competed with poor whites for jobs, with black labour being a very real threat to poor whites. The Afrikaner of the 20th century has been described as a deeply mythologised group (Dubow 1995: 246) and central to this mythology is the Day of the Vow (Ehlers, n.d.: 1). The covenent was not widely celebrated after the events at Blood River, not even by those present in the laager as Ncome/Blood River, but grew in popularity after the British annexation of Natal (Ehlers, n.d.: 5). After the Transvaal victory over the British in 1880, the celebration of the vow was connected to both the Transvaal victory over Britain as well as with the Voortrekker victory at Blood River. After 1902 the vow was used both as an explanation for the defeat (because the vow was not celebrated) and as an inspiration to overcome the political and economic losses of the war (Ehlers n.d.: 6). The celebration of the vow continued to be an important event in the development of nationalism, and the laager remained part of the language of these celebrations (Ehlers n.d.: 8-9).

3.4.4 White theology and apartheid


The development of apartheid and the particular role the church, specifically the Dutch Reformed Church, has played in this, has been studied in detail. I will merely make a few notes to show how this developed in the 20 th century, as a background to the discussion on whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa that follows.
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The Afrikaner experience of poverty in the early 20th century is linked to the Anglo-Boer War.. While poverty cannot be exclusively connected to the war, it worsened the already precarious situation of Afrikaners. After the war many Afrikaners who had lost everything moved to the cities and because of little education began working particularly in the mines. Black unskilled labour was considered a specific threat in this context and the church pleaded for industrial segregation (which finally became a reality in apartheid job reservation). Very little concern is found at this time for the effects that job reservation would have on black South Africans (Bosch 1986: 18-19). The importance of the poor white problem on the agenda of the church illustrates the commitment the Dutch Reformed Church (as well as the other Afrikaans Reformed Churches) had towards Afrikaners by the early 20th century. But the almost unchallenged assumption that the primary problem is white poverty, rather than poverty in general, illustrates the assumption held that whites are entitled to a more privileged position than blacks. The 1935 mission policy of the Dutch Reformed Church, which developed out of these ideas of the Afrikaners as the elect people of God and assumptions about a metaphysical division between ethnic and racial groups, was an important formative document in the development of apartheid. White superiority is connected with a particular responsibility to look after intellectually and morally inferior blacks, and the existence of various groups is considered to have godly sanction. It is significant that this document introduces various ideas about segregation and separate development that would become important in the later development of apartheid (Coetzee 2010: 4356). Ideas about being the elect people of God were used to justify the idea that there can be no equal treatment of whites and blacks. This assumption can be seen in the response to the poor white problem, as well as the developing missiology of the 20 th century. The strict division between groups, and assumptions about a naturalised difference between races, is seen in the highly emotional discourse concerning interracial marriage and sexual relations. The perceived dangers of such a mixing of races became a strong argument used by the church for the further segregation of

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races, as well as more strict legal mechanisms regulating the interaction between people of different races (Coetzee 2010: 70-71; 73-74). Underlying all of this is a theological justification for the superiority of whiteness and the continued existence of racial groups. Most of this is not unique to South Africa and Afrikaners, as was seen in the first part of the chapter. However, while notions of race were largely discredited after the World War 2 and the implication of racism was seen in the Holocaust, South African whites fortified themselves into one of the most extensive systems of legalised racial oppression found in the modern era. While legalised racism was ended throughout the world, with South Africa being the last to follow, the racialised identities of modernity have not been dismantled by the official changing of laws (important as this has been). Assumptions about a privileged position for whites, colonial (and neo-colonial) mission patterns, and an aversion to interracial marriages all continue to some extent both in South Africa and among whites elsewhere. But the changed political situation has brought about decisive changes in how whiteness is being constructed. It is the continuing construction of white identities which will be the focus of the rest of this chapter.

3.4.5 Reimagining whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa


The end of apartheid has created a new kind of crisis for whiteness in South Africa, where the changing circumstances require that white identities be constructed in new ways What has happened in South Africa is particularly interesting because we have seen here a sudden and fairly decisive decentering of whiteness within the society, from a position where white advantage was legally entrenched, to where it is actively disciplined. Whites have lost political power. They largely maintain economic power, and because Western cultures are held in esteem as the believed key to internationalism, they still hold cultural power. The decentering of white power is therefore unequal in terms of social capital; their position is certainly not that of
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marginalization. Nevertheless, the pressure within the new society is toward dismantling, and indeed deconstructing, old social relations. In such circumstances, being "white" is replete with dissonance. Whites need to find new narratives to explain who they are, what they are doing in Africa, and what their relationship is to the indigenous people and to the continent (Steyn 2005: 122). Whites in South Africa, and Afrikaners in particular, have to work through a history where the growing laws of racial segregation developed against the backdrop of growing international rejection of the intellectual support for a racial interpretation of humans. The local formation of whiteness has been reconnected with international whiteness after the end of apartheid, and the reconstruction of whiteness has to conform to the international injunction against openly prejudiced discourse (Steyn and Foster 2008: 28).

3.5 Examining the unexamined: white racialised identities


In the American context (s)ocial scientists began interrogating what white racialised identities meant at the end of the nineteenth century. The first to do so were African Americans (Garner 2010: 117). I will begin by discussing some of the key notions used when theorising whiteness within the international debate. This will provide a lens which can help in reading the South African construction of whiteness today. From this we can then proceed to look at possible ways in which white identities function in post-apartheid South Africa.

3.5.1 Introducing whiteness


Racism is a specifically European development. Races are constructed not from within themselves, but through the white European gaze. As this was recognised, much has been done in the past to study how those who became the other through this white gaze has been constructed. Focusing on whiteness changes the object of the study. Taking whiteness as an object of study is seen as a critical move in race studies. It involves redirecting the academic gaze: from "racism," the way in which the center constructs the margins, to the way in which the center constructs itself (Steyn 2005: 120).
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The recent attempts at an academic reflection on whiteness as one approach to understanding racism emerged in the early to middle 90s (Garner 2007: 6). Whiteness studies grew out of African-American attempts at an anti-racist recasting of the world through a focus on existing power relations (Garner 2007:149). The focus on white people as a race like any other brought to the fore that indeed whiteness is unlike any other, since whiteness was constructed as the dominant, normalised location. Everything else was measured according to the distance from selected white norms of society (Garner 2007:6). Steyn summarises the approach of whiteness studies as follows: The issue, rather, is to reconceptualise racial polarization as a white problem to be located and addressed in the discourses, socialization, political and economic privilege of white people, the racial elite, rather than coming from the existence of blacks. This critical strategy follows the same logic as Fergusons feminist strategy of shifting her analysis from the traditional problematizing of the position of women in society to the man problem, and Wittigs move to challenge heterosexuality as the problem rather than marginalized homosexuality (Steyn 2001: xxix). She lists fields such as legal studies, literary criticism, history, cultural studies, anthropology, communication studies, sociology, psychology, music history, art history, dance history, humour studies, philosophy, linguistics, folklore and more (Steyn 2001: xxv) where books and articles reflecting on whiteness have increasingly appeared. Although her list does not include theology, studies in theology can also be added, such as that of Hobgood (2009) and Perkinson (2004). Perkinson describes his own approach as an attempt to reexamine white race privilege in relationship to its historical genesis as a modality of lived theology, and its practical continuation as a habit of secular embodiment (Perkinson 2004: 3). Whiteness studies is a predominantly North American enterprise, focused on the USA (Garner 2007: 3), which has caused some to raise serious questions on the use of the set of perspectives growing from this approach in other contexts (Garner 2010: 117). Two points need to be made about approaching whiteness in South Africa: First,
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whiteness, as with all other social constructs, is specific to time and place, and needs to be particularised for each context (Steyn 2004: 145; Garner 2007: 1). At the same time we need to recognise that whiteness is a global phenomenon. The ideas and perspectives which historically carried white superiority were intentionally borrowed across various contexts in order to justify racialised societies in Europe, as well as in the various European colonies. This process continues into the present, as can, for example, be seen in the way South African whites have borrowed international language of reverse racism to respond to affirmative action (Steyn and Foster 2008: 41). With this in mind we might effectively draw upon international research in whiteness, while at times needing to particularise ideas within the South African context. Furthermore we have to remember that whiteness is not a monolithic construct even within a specific context. Although patterns exist, and white people cannot escape the complex process of racialisation constantly at work, individuals and groups draw on different aspects of white identities in a process of sense-making in a specific context, and reinterpret their whiteness in divergent ways. This can be seen for example in the different ways identified by Steyn (Steyn 2001; 2004; Steyn and Foster, 2008) in which white South Africans narrate their white identity in a post-apartheid South Africa. Using the whiteness-problematic is not without its problems. Garner (2007: 7-11) lists some of the pitfalls. I mention two, which I believe need to be kept in mind within the scope of this study. The focus on whiteness as a racialised social construct may create the impression that whiteness is a racialised identity similar to any other. However, whiteness exists exactly by being dissimilar to any other racialised identity, because of centuries of systemic advances given to those racialised as white. Creating the impression of a level playing field of racialised identities opens the door for narratives of white victimhood which have been shown to be used to keep whiteness in place (Garner 2007: 8-9). Another pitfall relevant here is to assume that analysis of whiteness would necessarily contribute to anti-racism, as if the responsibility ends when we can point out how whiteness as a privileged racialised identity is kept in place (Garner 2007: 10). Illuminating that which is white in society is merely a step towards breaking down the processes which keep this privileged position in place.
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Although aspects of whiteness have already been mentioned in the paragraphs above, as well as earlier in the chapter, a brief definition of what is implied with whiteness can help us to orient the discussion: What, then, is whiteness? I believe it is best understood as an ideologically supported social positionality that has accrued to people of European descent as a consequence of the economic and political advantage gained during and subsequent to European colonial expansion. The position was originally facilitated by the construction of "race," which acted as a marker of entitlement to this position. The phenotypes, especially skin color, around which the notion of "race" was organized, acted as a useful means of naturalizing what in fact were political and economic relationships, supporting the fiction that the inequalities structured into the relationships were the result of endogenous, probably genetic, inequalities between "races." Whiteness is the shared social space in which the psychological, cultural, political, and economic dimensions of this privileged positionality are normalized, and rendered unremarkable (Steyn 2005: 121). In the next few sections I reflect on what whiteness would imply in a society where the active advantaging of white people is no longer allowed, and how this is kept out of sight, rendered unremarkable.

3.5.2 Whiteness as privilege


Steyn writes about the legacy of the time before 1994 that South Africa has the undesirable distinction in the contemporary world of being the white supremacist Apartheid society (Steyn, 2001: xxi). In order to understand what is implied by white privilege, the idea of white supremacy needs to be understood, where I will relate to Apartheid as a specific legalised system of white supremacy. Sullivan defines white supremacy: As I use the term "white supremacy," it refers to conscious, deliberate forms of white domination, such as those found in the law but also in informal social mores. Although racist
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groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nation offer some of the most obvious examples of white supremacy, one need not be a member of them to be a white supremacist. All one needs, so to speak, is a style of transacting with the world in which white domination is consciously embraced and affirmed. White supremacy has not disappeared with the shift from de jure to de facto racism (Sullivan 2006: 5). The white supremacist view is the normalised approach of colonialism, where equal citizenship is denied. White supremacy is an idea that is largely adopted consciously (Sullivan 2006: 51-52). This does not imply that every individual white person in white supremacist societies has consciously weighed the arguments and chosen an articulated theory of race, yet, there is an awareness that people occupy different positions within society based on racial categories, and the dominance of white people is consciously accepted, thus with the full knowledge that white people are dominant because they are white (albeit with other inherent qualities such as intelligence added to this to justify and explain the supremacy of white people). Our transacting with the world is not limited to that which has been encoded in laws, and the list of actions endorsing white supremacy will encompass all spheres of life. We will talk about white superiority where explicit racist slurs are used, or opinions which blatantly support the oppression of people because of race are voiced, or with those groups who blatantly support a privileged position for white people and the oppression of those who are not white. However, as Sullivan reminds, (t)he flashy obviousness of white supremacy will be its downfall in a civilized world that prides itself on its democratic tolerance and inclusiveness (2006: 187). This is true of the acceptable discourse of post-apartheid South Africa as well, where the international injunction against openly prejudiced discourse is being conformed to (Steyn and Foster 2008: 28). In the process of problematising whiteness as a construct in societies where racial discrimination has been outlawed, a key approach is illuminating continued white privilege.

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Privilege can take on various forms, as illustrated by what Peggy McIntosh, in an oftencited article, has called an invisible knapsack (McIntosh 1989). These include various transactions where society reinforces the advantages of being white. One could also add intergenerational economic and educational advantages which continue into the present (Jansen 2009: 60). Vice makes an important observation concerning the use of the word privilege as associated with whiteness: Privileges, for instance, often refer to goods that one cannot expect as ones due, that one has not got a right to, and it is clear that many ways in which whites are advantaged are, in fact, ways that all people should be able to expect as their due. But I retain the term for it does, at least, suggest the sense of unearned, unshared, nonuniversal advantages (Vice 2010: 325). While the keeping in place of white privilege does not necessarily deny access to resources to those regarded by whites as the other, it is particularly sensitive when the privileged position of whites is being challenged. It therefore often explicitly rejects continued oppressive practises towards black people, but assumes that the privileged situation concerning education, health care, security and access to employment and secure living is the norm which may never be challenged. Concerning post-apartheid South Africa, Steyn and Foster note that (I)n this new context, the central question for whiteness, as the orientation which takes its privilege as normal and appropriate, can be put simply: how to maintain its advantages in a situation in which black people have legally and legitimately achieved political power (Steyn and Foster 2008: 26). While white South Africans will often express their concern for the poor black majority, any approach which threatens the privileged position of whites is met with fierce resistance. Even when the relative privilege of those who were white under apartheid can no longer be denied, those who break with blatant notions of white superiority but continue to assume a privileged position for whites find ways of making the effect of whiteness invisible.

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3.5.3 Invisible whiteness


One of the key concepts in understanding whiteness in the European and NorthAmerican landscape is that whiteness functions invisibly. White people do not consciously think of themselves as white, nor do they think of their whiteness as something which provides them with any kind of advantage. When saying that white people do not think of themselves as white, it does not imply a nave idea where the notion of pigmentation of our skin is somehow absent. Rather, it implies that white people do not consider the fact that they are white to influence what they say, what they have achieved, or the privileged position in which they find themselves. Steyn describes it by saying: As the privileged group, whites have tended to take their identity as the standard by which everyone else is measured. This makes white identity invisible, even to the extent that many whites do not consciously think about the profound effect being white has on their everyday lives. In sum, because the racialness of their own lives is edited out, white people have been able to ignore the manner in which the notion of race has structured peoples life opportunities in society as a whole (Steyn 2001: xxvi). However, in a later publication, when reflecting on the unique situation of South Africa, she writes that (t)he particular historical and political configuration in South Africa has meant that whites have never experienced their whiteness and the advantage it afforded them as invisible - one of the key components in the way whiteness is theorized in the metropolitan heart of whiteness (Steyn 2005: 122). When Vice reflects on white South Africans aware of their whiteness, who acknowledge that their whiteness is a problem, that they are, in the words of Alcoff, inherently tied to structures of domination and oppression irrevocably on the wrong side (Vice 2010: 326). Although the awareness which Vice sketches is important, this could be described as what is being revealed by anti-racist approaches, approaches actively working towards the dismantling of systems of racial oppression and continuing racial

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inequality.11 . To state that white South Africans has historically acknowledged that they are white, and acknowledged that their whiteness has provided certain advantages, does not necessarily imply that white South Africans are aware of their being tied into structures of domination and oppression. On the contrary, key to the success of the ideology underlying apartheid was the fact that Afrikaners believed it to be a just and morally good system (Dubow 1995: 283). Apartheid was explicitly portrayed as something other than Nazism, as a positive policy that would minimise racial conflict and create a system of equal opportunity (Dubow 1995: 276). A belief that whiteness is somehow superior, and a justification for the privileged position of White South Africans was tied to the apartheid ideology, but awareness of being white wouldnt necessarily imply that white South Africans considered themselves as tied to a system of oppression and domination. Rather, the form that white supremacy often took in South Africa is that of taking it upon itself to look after the natives (Dubow 1995: 251), with those who did not occupy the white position described as weaker people (Dubow 1995: 267) or children (Dubow 1995: 49), metaphors instilling white superiority in ways which attempt to create the impression of being inherently benevolent and caring. One effect of the recent history of explicit racial identification of white people is that this creates a situation where admitting the errors of the past might assist in creating the exact kind of invisible whiteness which carries whiteness as a normalised identity into the future. Where a past existed where white people were allowed certain privileges because of my being white, at present all people are seen have equal opportunity. The white position becomes invisible in as much as those racialised as white fail to recognise how their whiteness continues to provide opportunities not available to those who are racialised into those positions not-white. Ballard points out that whiteness has become increasingly invisible in the post-apartheid South Africa, as white people opt to rather describe their identities in terms of their ordinariness as citizens of a modern, Western, developed world (Ballard 2004: 55). Some have pointed out that

11

Vice is very specific regarding the group of white people she is writing for, and doesnt imply that all awareness of being white is connected with an awareness of being tied with domination and oppression.

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contemporary whiteness (internationally) has become less invisible when on the defensive because of changes in the social dynamics (Steyn 2004: 146).

3.5.4 Colour blindness and an active silence about whiteness


One way in which white privilege is defended against scrutiny is by arguing that race is no longer an issue. At times it presents itself by drawing on a scientific consensus concerning the fact that race as a biological category does not exist. Within a racialised society, this however serves to silence questions on white privilege. Steyn and Foster describe how this is connected to South African discourse on non-racialism: Non-racialism, the attempt to build a society which is not skewed by racial (dis)advantage, is probably the main plank which drives the policies of the government led by the African National Congress. In NSAS12 non-racialism is transmuted into the liberal power evasive colour blindness that has become ubiquitous in white discourses internationally. By denying the effects of racialization, colour blindness is a powerful mechanism in building white consensus and enabling the reproduction of racism (Steyn and Foster 2008: 29). I approach this last aspect primarily as a reaction to popular critique against continued investigation of race and explicit attempts at redressing racial imbalance in the postApartheid South Africa. A recent example can clearly illustrate how this critique functions. A comment made by Archbishop Tutu concerning wealth tax in 2011 (Tutu 2011) was widely discussed in the South African newspapers and other media. In an official response on behalf of the FW de Klerk Foundation, the executive director, Dave Steward, used language of non-racialism to critique the idea that a continued responsibility for the inequalities in South Africa should be asked from white people.

12

New South Africa Speak. Steyn and Foster identify discursive repertoires drawn on by white South Africans. NSAS attempts to portray a certain level of compatriotism, stresses the importance of such values as democracy,social development, non-racialism and non-sexism, reconciliation, equality and freedom, and is used when whites need to portray themselves in a positive light (Steyn and Foster 2008: 28).

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Steward draws on the principles and rights upon which our new society has been established and writes: One of those principles is non-racialism and the idea that we should no longer adopt laws that are aimed at one or another racial group. It would accordingly be unconstitutional to impose a wealth tax only on one of South Africas racial groups. It would require the reintroduction of racial classification and of many of the other demeaning racial distinctions that were associated with apartheid (Steward, 2011). In the previous section we pointed out that whiteness and the fact that white people are being privileged based on their being white was not invisible within the South African history. Within the post-apartheid South Africa however, we find a growing attempt at silencing talk about whiteness. In response to Tutus comments pointing out economic inequalities existing between racial groups which he attributes to a long history of racialised policies and actions, Steward suggests that Tutus approach reminds of apartheid, and even hints that it is un-Christian. In other contexts certain approaches that seek to ignore the racialisation of society, and which argues that admitting to seeing race or talking about race is in itself racist, have been described as colour-blindness. The suggestion is that everyone should be treated as individuals and as equal, regardless of the way in which they are embedded within groups, and regardless of the particular history and continued racialisation of groups within society (Garner 2007: 38). In South Africa a common strategy is that the constitution or the ideal of a non-racial democracy is called upon to justify positions which seek to silence talk about continued racism and racial inequalities. We therefore find an active silence on race, where silence about issues of race, a racist history and the continued effect of a history of racism is actively pursued. It is of this kind of silence that Steyn writes: a desire to close the discussion on the past, is one strand within a general pattern of denial. The appeal to let sleeping dogs lie hides the crucial issue of which dogs are still holding
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onto the bones. It is an evasion of the extent to which the past permeates the present, of how the legacy of social injustice continues into the future. It is a refusal to acknowledge that sustaining normal white life perpetuates the disadvantages of others (Steyn 2001: 112-113). In spite of the continued acknowledgement of the historic problems with categories of race, insistence on silence relating to whiteness and issues of race contributes to maintaining the status quo of power relations and the entrenched inequalities in society. Silencing the public discourse on race in a modern democratic society plagued by a history of racism easily serves to keep the already existing privileges in place. In conclusion: speaking about racialisation and using the whiteness problematic seeks to pull off this very difficult trick which De Vos mentions. There are dangers in using whiteness, and those using this perspective to analyse our racialised society need to constantly be reminded of them. But pretending that questions of race are behind us when in reality they continue to plague society entrenches existing inequalities and racialised identities. To conclude this chapter a few comments on studying whiteness from an insiders perspective need to be made, and finally some of the implications of focusing on racialisation and whiteness for public theology will be pointed out. To this we now turn.

3.6 Speaking from the insiders position


After elaborating on the need to take account of our subjectivities when engaging in public theology, and in this chapter providing a glimpse into the complexities associated with being white, there is a danger that the very fact that this can be articulated might somehow serve as a form of salvation from being implicated in a continued system of racialised inequality. Yet we need a continued recognition of our whiteness as we reflect on this raced society. Put bluntly, if you are a white academic or student reading Du Bois, Baldwin, Wells, hooks (sic), Hughes, Ellison, etc., you are forced to identify yourself within their narratives. Even though you might place yourself ethically on the side of
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the oppressed in this process, in relation to the structures that place parameters on collective development, progress and freedoms, you are inescapably granted advantages (regardless of gender, age or class) that you would not enjoy if you were not racialised as white (Garner 2007: 4). The act of researching fellow white South Africans creates a process of othering which can create the sense that the author is somehow separate and immune to what is being described (Steyn 2001: xxxiv-xxxv). One danger facing scholarship conscious of its racialised whiteness is the belief that the ability to describe this reality dissolves our being complicit in this. There is a temptation to take the position of being the observer of whiteness, and in this to dissolve being implicated in the continued system of racialised privilege. This position of an academic transcending of race, forgetting the racialised reality of which we are part, becomes a mere repetition of that which we are describing, in the sense that the whiteness of the white observer is silenced. The conscious act required is, however, to recognise ourselves as implicated in the structural privileges associated with being white, and as continuing to benefit from the intergenerational economic and educational advantages presented to those who are white. After recognising the problems of white participation in society, we have to continue to admit that (m)erely to "live, move and have one's being" on the contemporary landscape without protest, is, for those of us who look vaguely like me, to be complicit (Perkinson 2004: 14). The position required might be described as that of the race traitor. In a context where silence is expected on issues of race and its continued effect in society, "(t)raitorness requires me to insist on my whiteness - to insist that I and others recognize my whiteness as always relevant, always a factor in the way that I conceive the world and others; and to detect that factor in the places where it is presently most undetectable to me" (Sullivan 2006: 159). The traitorous position does not make me less white in the sense that the various systemic privileges provided with being white can somehow be denied. It does however mean that the normalised constructs are being destabilised

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when the common assumptions held by those who are white are being questioned by those who are supposed to be insiders (Bailey 1998: 32-33).13 In this sense reflecting on whiteness while recognising ones own white racialisation creates a certain experience of emotional struggle. It is not merely identifying oppression from within the ivory tower of ethical analysis, but assuming that ones own position is that of undeserved privilege connected with oppression based on race.

3.7 Conclusion
Wariboko describes ethical analysis as faith seeking resistance, with this seeking aiming to overcome resistance to the common good (Wariboko 2009: 6). In a certain sense the rest of this study can be understood as seeking resistance to the common good by using perspectives on racialisation and whiteness, seeking resistance among racialised white identities and white responses to violence. In pointing out the whiteness of certain assumptions and actions, this very act of pointing out, of making public, becomes an attempt at overcoming resistance by destabilising the racial centre.

13

Alcoff (1998: 14-21) points out how some drawing on the language of becoming race traitors has suggested that this implies that white people can somehow reject their own whiteness, assuming that the privileges associated with being white no longer exist. Such an interpretation does not fit within the argument made so far, rather the exact opposite, recognising my own whiteness, carries my use of the notion race traitor.

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Chapter 4: Speaking white about violence


4.1 Introduction
Drawing on the insights from the previous chapter, I will continue to discuss whiteness with specific reference to white responses to violent crime in the post-apartheid South Africa. With some of the aspects of white rhetoric on violence in mind, I will then discuss the specific contribution of the Dutch Reformed Church, a historically white church, to the public discourse on violence and violent crime. This chapter out of necessity will fall into the trap of generalising. As already mentioned, that whiteness is being reconstructed in a variety of ways is generally recognised today). We cannot therefore talk about a singular white response to violence. The first half of the chapter reflects those places where violence has been explicitly identified as a strategy in constructing whiteness, and therefore ignores various attempts at speaking about being white in which violence is not regarded as of particular importance. The second part of the chapter focuses on particular responses to violence and crime originating from within the church and from a white Afrikaner perspective. The focus is therefore not on an overview of white perspectives on violence and crime, but rather on how the choice to explicitly refer to violence and crime contributes to the construction of whiteness. One of the most common aspects of post-apartheid South Africa being discussed, both locally and internationally, is the continued high rate of violent crime. Speaking about crime and violence against white people at times seems like a favourite pastime of white South Africans. It is constantly examined in the newspapers, and, most important, it has become an important factor in how white people define their position in a post-apartheid South Africa. This contributes to a particular analysis of society which allows those who are white to reconstruct themselves as victims, and therefore innocent in the continuing injustice in South Africa.

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A great deal is at stake in the battle over whose definitions of the current and transforming social, economic and political arrangements and developments should prevail, both within the country and abroad. White talk presents an evaluation of post-apartheid South Africa as if it emanates from the objective character of the political and national life of the country (Steyn and Foster 2008: 26). The idea that a white analysis and description of the state of violence and crime in South Africa reflects some objective position will be challenged in this chapter, pointing out how our analysis of post-apartheid South Africa can contribute to the construction of whiteness in this context. The first section will draw on various analyses of whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa and will summarise aspects of white rhetoric on violence, providing background for the analysis or particular church participation in public discourse.

4.2 Understanding violent crime in South Africa


There is a danger involved in theologians reflecting on statistics and analyses of a particular problem. In attempting to overcome the more common problem of a disregard for research into societal issues, we run the danger of going about research selectively, using only that which supports our argument14. The short description provided therefore only highlights a few of the factors that are generally regarded as important in understanding violence and crime in South Africa, acknowledging that each of these requires in-depth discussions in its own right, which falls outside the scope of this study. However, taking these broad arguments into account will help us to notice some of the problems with white rhetoric on violence and crime. The goal is therefore not to provide an authoritative analysis of violence and crime, but rather to gain deeper insight into the way in which white participation in the public sphere contributed towards keeping white racialised identities in place.

14

See for example Van Niekerks (2002: 166-169) overview of some of the problematic instances of church reflections on poverty.

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In response to the case of Brandon Huntley15 a group of academics wrote a letter to the head of the Canadian diplomatic mission in which some of the common misconceptions concerning violence and crime, and specifically how they relate to racialised perspectives, are summarised (other questions such as affirmative action were also discussed). While this does not provide a detailed overview of the problems, it does give a general starting point for an alternative to common misconceptions, particularly, but not exclusively, misconceptions illustrating how white public discourse concerning violence and crime function. Concerning violence and crime they write: The outrageously distorted representation of contemporary South Africa does not square with the realities in our country, by any factual measure. While the crime rates in South Africa are high as a consequence of numerous interrelated factors - many of which are the working through of the past brutalization of our society by the system of white supremacy, and none of which relate to inherent criminal tendencies in black people - it is simply untrue that white people are being targeted disproportionately. Black South Africans are much more likely to be victims of crime, largely because they are less able to afford the protections and security measures which most white South Africans, as still privileged citizens, are able to acquire (Steyn et al. 2009) I will elaborate on some of these statements. Official SAPS crime statistics are not recorded according to race, the deliberate purpose of this being so that crime statistics cannot be used to reinforce racial prejudices (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2007: 131), yet in responding to some of the notions found among whites in relation to whiteness and violence we will have to take note of how violence continues to differ according to race. Gavin Silber and Nathan Geffen argue that when violent crime (they focus primarily on murder and rape) is considered, poor and predominantly black and coloured communities are disproportionately affected (Silber and Geffen 2009: 37-41). Crime and violence are not equally distributed across the country but

15

In 2009 Brandon Huntley applied for asylum in Canada, arguing that white South Africans are targeted by black criminals, and that the government does nothing to protect them. This was initially granted, but repealed in 2010.

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reflect a distribution where a few crime hotspots account for the majority of violent crimes (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2007: 114-117). The CSVR report notes that the wealthier class, which in South Africa, due to our history, often translates into the white part of the country, has a disproportionate influence on the media and other social resources, which skews the public perceptions concerning violence and crime to reflect the biases held by this group. There is therefore a lack of understanding of the nature of violence and crime in poorer communities in the country (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2007: 30-31). Although final answers to why South Africa has such a high level of violent crime is difficult, no coherent explanation can be given without recognising that it is not a postapartheid phenomenon. We have to connect it to a long history of violence in South Africa. South Africa has been exceptionally violent throughout its history of colonialism and apartheid. Extensive (often foreign) military power was utilised in the control of indigenous groups (Niemandt 2002: 400-401) and the use of the police as an excessively violent force during apartheid is well documented. Urban violence connected to gang culture can be seen from the late 19th century around mining cities (particularly Johannesburg), with pass laws, migrant labour and the criminalisation of black labourers creating a constant flow trough prisons, many times the place where a violent culture was strengthened rather than defused, contributing to a culture of urban violence. Although developing later and to a smaller extent than in Johannesburg, a gang culture and a growing culture of violence also developed in other mining towns along with migrant labour and the cycling of African and Coloured males through prisons (Kynoch 2008). Although it is difficult to know the extent of criminal activity during apartheid, partly since the police was used as a oppressive power, and crimes were therefore less likely to be reported (Samara 2003: 285-286), crime and violence did not originate out of the bad management of the ANC government, rather, the ANC majority government inherited a violent country from the apartheid regime. The history of colonialism and apartheid further affects the continuing problem of violence and crime through the peculiar levels of economic inequality in South Africa. It
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has been recognised internationally that economic inequality (rather than merely poverty) leads to higher levels of violence and crime. While this might at times be attributed to the fact that crime is a more effective road to generating income than the legal route of participating in the economic sphere, or at times the only possible option available to someone, this does not provide a sufficient explanation, since much of the violence and crime in South Africa do not lead to any economic gains. Rather, the psychosocial effects on the excluded individual and group, such as feelings of exclusion, resentment and anger, can sometimes translate into violence (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2008a; Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2008b: 52-59). While this does not answer all the questions on violence and crime, it does point out some of the most obvious misconceptions found in much of the popular white discourse on violence and crime.

4.3 White rhetoric on violence


4.3.1 Crime as the biggest problem of a post-apartheid South Africa
Various studies in white public rhetoric points out an analysis of post-apartheid South Africa which portrays crime as the biggest problem facing society, as well as the dominance of crime in white rhetoric. The debate on violence and crime is one key area in which the racialised battle over the interpretation and definition of what is happening in South Africa is played out. In an analysis of two weekly newspaper columns from The Sunday Times in 2000, the largest Sunday newspaper of the time, Steyn and Foster (2008:34) point out that both argue that crime is the biggest problem facing South Africa: The biggest problem facing our nation is crime. It is the constant theme of our every conversation . . . (Ronge, Back to Front, 4 June) The fight against crime is our single greatest challenge. (Mulholland, State Needs to Recognise Crime as Greatest Challenge, 6 August)
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These voices reflect the Afrobarometer public opinion data, which has also pointed out that crime and security is listed by Whites (and also by Indians) as the number one problem facing South Africa, while Blacks and Coloureds describe unemployment as the biggest problem (Ismail 2010: 7). In an analysis of letters to the editor of Rapport, a national Afrikaans Sunday newspaper, Steyn (2004: 156) points out that crime is the most common element found. A note needs to be made on the use of language at this stage. While crime is often used to describe the problem being faced, this might at times allow for a lack of clarity on what is implied. However, if the literature concerning white rhetoric on crime is read, it is specifically violent crime which is of concern, as will become clear as we proceed. This corresponds to mass media stories of crime which concentrate on murder, rape and hijackings, while other forms of crime are not reported on (Allen 2002: 54).

4.3.2 Whites as victims of violent crime


One of the ways in which white people divert the gaze away from the privileged position of being white is by arguing that the balance of justice is being turned against the white (and often male) population (Garner 2007: 9). This is often associated with affirmative action and Steyn and Foster (2008: 41) point out that white South Africans have adopted the international language of responding to this, through for example the notion of reverse racism. When whiteness is described as a victimised position by Afrikaners, it draws on narratives deeply embedded in the white Afrikaner psyche in the course of a history through which they came to regard themselves as a perpetually persecuted ethnic group (Steyn 2001: 80). Fourie points to the importance of the fear of violence and crime in letters to Beeld, the largest Afrikaans daily newspaper, in the period between 1990 and 1994. She describes this as resulting from an internalised psychosis of the myth of the total onslaught. The fear existed that whites will be murdered and that South Africa is headed towards a second scorched-earth policy, this time under the ANC (Fourie 2008: 263-264). By 2004 white victimhood was connected in some letters to the

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idea that the government are intentionally slow in acting because victims of murders are white (Fourie 2008: 265). While emigration might be the most extreme example of reacting to a sense of experiencing oneself as a victim, not all white people find this to be an alluring option. Migration from Gauteng to Cape Town (perceived to be friendlier to whites) and withdrawal into gated communities and security estates all form ways of distancing oneself from the general public space without leaving South Africa (sometimes called semigration). These moves are often motivated by fear of violent crime (Ballard 2004a: 60-61). In an extreme case of this phenomenon, Brandon Huntley was granted asylum in Canada during 2009 by making a case that whites (and he himself) are disproportionally affected by violent crime in South Africa, while also using the connected argument concerning the fact that his employment was endangered because of affirmative action (Silber and Geffen 2009: 35; Steyn et al. 2009). The withdrawal into gated communities is also often discussed as example of this. Fears concerning unemployment, falling standards in education and crime (to name but a few) are not unrelated, all of these are experienced as threats to the sense of a continued secure future in South Africa (Ballard 2004a: 59), yet violence presents itself as a particularly effective and emotional strategy in presenting whiteness as a form of victimhood in a post-apartheid South Africa. Fear of violence and crime cannot provide a final explanation for the complex phenomenon of white emigration and semigration as it happened in South Africa over the past two decades. However, it has been a constant theme emerging in relation to emigration, as well as semigration, both attempts at keeping a privileged and secure white position in place and justifying it by portraying those who are white as being under threat and victims of violence and crime, the assumption being that either whites are being affected worse by violence and crime, or that it is somehow worse when whites are affected by violence and crime.

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4.3.3 Blacks as perpetrators of violent crime


A key aspect of studying race in various racialised societies is the way in which black people, particularly young black males, are stereotyped as particularly prone to violence and crime, or even inherently criminogenic. A number of international examples explain some of the effects and can help to make visible what is happening in South Africa: In the aftermath of the hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in the USA, reports about the black population (the majority of the poorest residents of the city, who werent evacuated) looting the city and raping women and children were widely circulated. These reports turned out to be largely false. iek describes this as a process where we attribute to the subject that which the subject is supposed to do. In this case, blacks left in the devastated city was supposed to engage in large scale criminal activities. The important observation made is that even if ALL reports of violence and rape were to be proved factually true, the stories circulating about them would still be pathological and racist, since what motivated these stories was not facts, but racist prejudices, the satisfaction felt by those who would be able to say: You see, blacks are really like that, violent barbarians under the thin layer of civilisation! (iek 2008: 99-100). Garner describes the effects of this assumption that blacks are barbaric and prone to violence in America in more detail. The first is that black men are assumed suspect by the police and public, and subjected to an excessive amount of investigation, while white perpetrators are at times discarded as suspects even when there is no evidence supporting this. Furthermore, when black perpetrators are guilty of homicide, their treatment by the judicial system is race specific. Specifically, the chance that a white murderer of a black victim will be executed is much smaller than is the case for a black murderer of a white victim (Garner 2007: 20-22). The racialised nature of the justice system has also been argued to contribute to the great disparities of those incarcerated in America (while Black and Latino make up 13% of the population, they are 60% of the prison population) (Samara 2003: 284). The suspicion that similar biases influence the

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treatment of different racial groups in South Africa has been expressed (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2007: 133). In South Africa an important response from the white, generally middle-class and elite, population is that poor people endanger their security since they are prone to violence. This becomes visible in responses to informal settlements, where the proximity of these settlements are seen as problematic for the suburban communities close by not exclusively, but importantly, since poor people are prone to violence and crime (Ballard 2004b: 54-58). Sometimes blackness is identified as a causality of crime, but in a context where this is seen as discredited, such comments are usually kept to familiar company (Ballard 2004b: 56). This is illustrated by a micro-study on white women in Johannesburg, where anonymous interviews inside their homes reveal fear of blacks as a dominant theme related to security. Areas with a large number of black people, such as taxi ranks or townships, are singled out, and a perception exists that blacks are angry because of apartheid and that this leads to revenge against whites. Black people are seen as particularly responsible for violent crimes, while whites are rather considered responsible for nonviolent economic crimes. Black people are seen as more violent and sexual than white people, with a variety of explanations given: culture, history, or simply that disrespect for life is an African thing (Allen 2002: 72-76). This approach connects not only with international stereotypes, but also reaffirms apartheid-era white perceptions of specifically young black men as connected with violence and being out of control (Samara 2003: 297). Although it is seldom expressed in public, since obvious racial rhetoric is no longer acceptable, it underlies much of the fear expressed by whites.

4.3.4 The ANC Government and violent crime


Probably one of the most common themes in white discourse on violence is failure of the ANC Government to address violence and crime. Where the idea that blacks are more violent than whites is at times not explicitly stated in public discourse due to the fact that such blatant racialised language is found to be unacceptable by those whites
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who attempt to be part of a new South Africa, few such inhibitions seem to exist when speaking about the ANC. Even when this is not explicitly stated, the assumption is that the ANC is a black political party and underlying assumptions about Africas inability to rule is at times revealed. In Fouries analysis of letters to Beeld, she notes that letters in the years before the 1994 election contain almost no references to the ANC as a liberation movement involved in a legitimate struggle, but rather refer to the ANC as a communist party that is creating a violent South Africa (Fourie, 2008: 264). By 2004, some of the language about the ANC had changed. Letter writers wouldnt speak about the ANC as a communist organisation, but crime and violence are constantly connected to the role of the ANC government. The police and justice system is described as inefficient in dealing with crime and violence, and the inability of the ANC to act against high levels of crime is at times seen as a hidden agenda, some stating that the government approve of the murders taking place, and does not act because the victims are white (Fourie 2008: 263-265). While the conspiracy-like notion of the ANC approving of violent crime might represent extremist views, reducing the cause of violence and crime to the inability of the ANC government to control crime is more common. Lemanski notes that since the middle 90s whites see rising crime as representing the new (black) government's inability to rule (i.e. protect citizens), blacks attribute increased crime to unfinished democracy and African Immigrants (2004: 109). To keep this interpretation in place, competing interpretations that violence today is connected to the past of South Africa is actively silenced (Steyn and Foster 2008: 38). Connecting violence and crime primarily to the inability of the ANC government to create a safe society sustains the perception that the crisis of violent crime is a problem that emerged after the end of apartheid. This approach assumes that a more efficient, and at times harsher, justice system is the answer to crime and violence, something which the ANC is seen as unable to bring about. The gaze is shifted away from perspectives connecting continued violence and crime to the history of oppression and the continued inequalities and social exclusion of the poor visible in South Africa today.
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This argument reveals deeply held suspicions among white South Africans. In a 1987 survey asking white participants what would happen if South Africa had a black government, between 78% and 91% of Afrikaners and between 70% and 78% of English-speakers answers yes to the following: Would blacks discriminate against whites? Would communist policies be implemented? Would black men molest white women? Would white living standards decline? Would the physical safety of whites be threatened?

(Van der Westhuizen, 2007: 317-318)

4.3.5 Reconstructing whiteness through speaking about violence


Following on the previous chapter, it is important to note that the above cannot be seen as essential to whiteness (as if no other response is possible) nor can it be seen as common to all white South Africans. What this does illustrate is some of the important themes emerging when violent crime is drawn on as a discursive strategy to construct whiteness in a post-apartheid South Africa. Portraying whites as the victims par excellence of violent crime does not reflect the situation in South Africa. Those most affected by violent crime continue to be poor black and coloured South Africans. Constructing white people as those most affected by violent crime should be seen as a rhetorical strategy (Steyn 2004: 154). Positioning yourself as victim has dangerous moral implications, since this allows the shifting of blame, justification of outrage, and even a backlash mentality, among other problems (Steyn 2004: 156-157). In South Africa, this approach, connected with the portrayal of blacks as inherently prone to violence and crime, serves to reinscribe deeply help beliefs concerning the identity of black and white, and the inherently strained relationship between those constructed as opposites in a racial hierarchy. It also confirms old suspicions of what would happen if ever South Africa had a government where the majority is black.
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Throughout this, white South Africans are whitewashed, reconstructed as innocent bystanders in a country increasingly falling apart, somehow creating the perception of a peaceful past which was ended after apartheid, and upset by an ANC government. Whiteness is thus presented disconnected from the atrocities of apartheid and the continued effect of a history of oppression on the current situation, presented as innocent, while blackness, especially as associated with the ANC government and the realities of a post-apartheid South Africa, is presented as incapable and responsible for the continued violence and crime in South Africa.

4.4 White public church responses to violence and crime: the case of the Dutch Reformed Church
This last section of the chapter will focus on a particular white church response to violence and crime. I will draw on public statements of the Dutch Reformed Church as an example of how the participation in public of white churches continues to be racialised. It is important to note that this is not an analysis of Dutch Reformed responses to violence and crime. The approach officially favoured by the Dutch Reformed Church is to respond to violence and crime as part of the work of the local congregation in the community (Dutch Reformed Church 2007b: 212), an aspect of the churchs response to violence and crime which warrants further study, but which is not considered within this discussion. In this particular analysis, official public responses originating from the moderature of the General Assembly will be reflected upon. That the public role of the church is more than official statements should be kept in mind, but these provide a possible glimpse into the public rhetoric of the church.

4.4.1 Sources used


In this section I will work from public responses of the Dutch Reformed Church concerning violence and crime from 2007 to 2010. These responses were found on the

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official website of the Dutch Reformed Church16, which contains public statements from 2007 to 2011, with the statements which fit the criteria of this study all originating between 2007 and 2010. The statements used are only those focused on violence and crime. This at times implies that violence and crime was one of the topics discussed in a statement, or else that this was the explicit and exclusive focus of a statement. In two cases this includes statements reflecting on specific incidences of violence (xenophobic attacks and the murder of Eugene TerreBlanche). In the discussion I refer to these statements by their titles as indicated in the summary below. The focus is on white responses, and ecumenical responses were therefore excluded, except for one joint statement made together with other Afrikaans Reformed churches. Lastly statements presented on the Dutch Reformed church website, but which originated from a particular regional synod, are not discussed. The public statements which will be discussed include: Verklaring oor Misdaad en Geweld, a public statement by die moderature of the Dutch Reformed Church, described as originating from a recent meeting of the moderature (Verklaring oor Misdaad en Geweld) (Dutch Reformed Church, 2007a). A document titled A Testimony to the Authorities released by the three Afrikaans Reformed churches, The Dutch Reformed Church, The Netherdutch Reformed Church in Africa17 and The Reformed Churches in South Africa. This document was released both in Afrikaans en English. For the purpose of this discussion the English text will be used (A Testimony to the Authorities) (Afrikaans Reformed Churches, 2008). A statement by the moderature in response to the xenophobic attacks in 2008. This statement differs in style from the others in that it is addressed primarily to the churches, speaking about the role of the church in response to xenophobic

16

http://www.ngkerk.org.za/index.asp?bodyType=as_verklarings, accessed 25 November 2011. See Addendum A

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attacks. However, at times attention is moved away from the churches and focuses on questions to government, which fall outside the sphere of influence of the church. It is these statements which will be the primary focus in this discussion (Xenofobie stel ook aan die kerk eise) (Dutch Reformed Church, 2008a). A document which is untitled in the final text, but is described in the index of statements on the website as Concern over violence in South Africa. Large parts of this document is a translation of the statement Verklaring oor Misdaad en Geweld, yet changes was made which reflect an attempt to explain the role of the moderature in public (Concern over violence in South Africa) (Dutch Reformed Church, 2008b). A media statement made in response to the murder of the leader of the AWB, Eugene TerreBlanche. The statement was signed by the moderator and general secretary of the Dutch Reformed Church (Persvrystelling na aanleiding van die moord of Mnr Eugene Terreblanche) (Dutch Reformed Church, 2010). Among that were excluded are: Statements by the Dutch Reformed Church on various other questions: These concern a variety of topics ranging from matters which relate specifically to the image of the Dutch Reformed Church (for example Eerste Vroulike Redakteur vir Kerkbode, 29/03/2011 and NGK Mediaverklaring oor Beeld-berig se opskrif, 07/07/2011) but also contain statements on other issues of public concern such as the elections (ASM oor Plaaslike Verkiesing, 11/03/2011) or the Protection of State Information Act (NGK Mediaverklaring Wet op Beskerming van

Staatsinligting, 22/11/2011). Statements reflected on the website, but not made by the Dutch Reformed Church: Apart from the statement by the three Afrikaans Reformed churches, which reflect the position being discussed, a number of other responses to violence is found on the Dutch Reformed Church website. These include:

17

Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika

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o statements by the South African Council of Churches (example SACC Statement, 08/06/2011) o a joint statement by the family of Dutch Reformed Churches (Kerke dring aan op aksie ten opsigte van die kultuur van geweld in die Suid-Afrikaanse Samelewing, 05/06) o statements by other churches (Xenophobic attacks on refugees, 20/05/2008 made by the Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa) o statements made by one particular regional synod of the Dutch Reformed Church (example Geweld en landbou, 21/01/2010).

4.4.2 Participation in the public sphere


Public theology faces, among other things, questions concerning the language to use in the public sphere. When the church speaks in public, as the statements under discussion aim to do, one question is whether it seeks to use language common to the public sphere, or to bring the distinctive discourse of the Christian faith into the public debate. We might add to this the question faced in South Africa of how the church speaks when the majority of people profess to be Christian, while official political discourse is largely secular. Two main strategies employed by the church in the past, which provide almost opposite suggestions, can be called the common currency approach and the distinctive discourse approach. The first seeks to participate without explicit reference to religion. This can be done by appealing to human reason, as in Roman Catholic natural law theory, or more common to Protestants, by deriving guidance from scripture, yet translating it into allegedly neutral language. The second approach seeks to make an explicitly Christian contribution, out-narrating secularism (Marshall 2005: 14-16). While critique has been brought against both, and more integrated approaches suggested, noting these distinctions opens important perspectives in understanding the statements being discussed. Explicit religious references responding to violence and crime are almost nonexistent in the statements under discussion. The statement on xenophobic attacks differs from this
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pattern, but since this was primarily addressed to churches the change in style can be explained. The other three documents discussed all follow the general pattern of being devoid of any religious references in the analysis of and response to the situation, yet change the language in the concluding sections, drawing on general religious and at times explicitly Christian language. In Concern over violence in South Africa prayer and the duty to make a prophetic voice heard is mentioned in the concluding paragraph: We are praying, as is fitting for believers, without ceasing for the government and especially the police while assuring them that we are aware of the almost impossible task they are facing. At the same time we are duty bound to make our prophetic voice heard. The commitment to prayer for government, found in the above paragraph, is also found in A Testimony to the Authorities. The testimony ends with A call on the President and the government, and thereafter A call on all fellow believers and citizens of South Africa. The only explicitly religious reference in response to government is: We assure you that we pray for you and the government continually. The call to believers and citizens also contains a clear distinction between what is said to citizens in general on the one hand, and believers in particular on the other. When speaking to citizens, the language remains accessible to all, but when speaking to believers, the language draws exclusively on a repertoire of faith: Many people are traumatised and suffering. Many people live in poverty, fear and uncertainty. Pessimism is rife. We call on all people in South Africa to work together to eradicate all wrongdoing in our society. We want to urge members of our various churches and all fellow believers to be strong in the faith in these difficult circumstances and to put our faith in God. Our future is in his hands now and always. As believers we have to live responsibly before God in all circumstances. Maintain the values and virtues found in the Word of God. Comfort, console and support one another. Pray for and help those that suffer. Pray that God will give
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his wisdom to those that govern us. May God grant that we will live in freedom and peace in our beautiful country! In responding to the murder of Eugene Terreblanche (Persvrystelling na aanleiding van die moord op Mnr Eugene Terreblanche), two explicitly religious references are made. The first is to equate the values of the Christian community and that of human rights, revealing the belief that basic human rights are supported by the Christian tradition. Vreedsame skikkings en n effektiewe staatsapparaat wat die Bybels-verantwoorde regte van mense beskerm, is onontbeerlik. Sulke regte is onder andere die reg op lewe, op n verantwoordelike vryheid van spraak en die reg op n gefundeerde, onderlinge meningsverskil; The second is quite similar to the use of commitments to prayer mentioned above, a rather broad statement that South Africans in general need a change of heart. Even if this statement includes a reference that only God and the Word of God can bring about this change, it should probably be read as part of the general approach in which the Christian character of these public responses is recognised in conclusion, while generally speaking in a way which is accessible within a secular society, rather than a call back to a Christian country. [dat] Suid-Afrikaners n hartsverandering nodig het. n Hartsverandering wat alleen deur God en sy Woord bewerk kan word. A similar reference is found in Concern over violence in South Africa, where the will of God is mentioned in passing to affirm the commitment to South Africa, yet found within a statement devoid of other religious language. Our Church in Southern Africa exists through the grace of God and will remain here as long as God wills. It would seem that the approach favoured in these statements is to speak in public with a voice which can be read as participating in a secular public discourse, while it is still described as a prophetic voice, and the particular Christian position of the church is constantly mentioned. By taking note of this we can see the particular commitment to participating in a specifically public debate on an issue of concern for life in general.
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While this creates difficulty in noting the particular theological assumptions underlying what is said, it does allow us to take note of what the practical implications of a theological reflection are considered to be.

4.4.3 Elements of a response to violence and crime


I will identify and give a preliminary discussion on some key elements found within these public responses. Of particular concern is how these statements fit within the general white discourse on violence and crime, at times producing alternative ways of portraying the place of those who are white in relation to violence and at times affirming aspects of what is found in popular white rhetoric. 4.4.3i Playing a positive role in South Africa

Although this is not constantly mentioned, the response to violence it is at times motivated by describing it as originating from a commitment to South Africa and Africa, and of an attempt at positive cooperation with government. This commitment is made as a defence against those who claim that responses to violence serve merely so criticise, but it is also pointed out that this at times sets the moderature at odds with ordinary church members. An experience of being in conflict with its members can be understood when seen against the backdrop of popular anti-ANC sentiments among white South Africans. When Verklaring oor Misdaad en Geweld is translated into Concern over violence in South Africa it is changed to include an even stronger reminder of the commitment to making a positive contribution. When the Dutch Reformed Church points out certain problems in its statement, it is prompted by a concern for the country and its people. We would like to stress this since declarations on violence have in the past been met with accusations of disloyalty to the country. Our Church in Southern Africa exists through the grace of God and will remain here as long as God wills. We have repeatedly committed ourselves not only to South Africa but the entire continent. Our aim is not to be overcritical or negative or to continually find fault. Since 1990 we have gone to great lengths to encourage a positive stance by our members towards the country and have encouraged our members to
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act constructively towards improving the wellbeing of our country and its entire population. Where ever possible we have cooperated with government and other organisations to the extent that the church leadership has been hauled over the coals a number of times by its members (Concern over violence in South Africa). Welfare projects by local congregations are highlighted as part of the churchs response to the problems facing the country, and in following the previous paragraph, are seen to be part of the proof that the church attempts to make a positive contribution, and that critique shouldnt be read as being excessively negative. We are not unaware of the many problems facing our country and are pleased to say that literally hundreds of welfare projects have been instituted and are run by local Dutch Reformed congregations. However, our community has been shocked once more by the latest spate of violence to which there seems to be no end (Concern over violence in South Africa). The commitment to making a positive contribution towards South Africa stands in stark contrast to approaches that argue that the only possible option for white South Africans is to emigrate, or withdraw from the public life of society. It provides an alternative understanding of the role of white South Africans after apartheid, where a positive contribution can be envisioned. However, the problems with the power relations associated with welfare projects and the ways in which colonial relations are kept in place through these have been pointed out repeatedly. Rieger (writing from the North American context) reacts to these approaches, where literally hundreds of welfare projects can be listed, by acknowledging that though this marks a break from the self-centredness found in many churches, which exist purely for themselves without any involvement in the broader community, yet it maintains the same power relations, and remains one-directional in its approach, from a rich giving church towards a poor receiving group, and fails to lead to a more critical self-knowledge that takes the perspectives of those receiving seriously (2004: 212-214).

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4.4.3ii

Violence, crime and corruption

The relation between violence and crime is not always clear, and the use of these terms will differ according to the context used. In the CSVR report on the violent nature of crime, a legal definition was used which limited the focus to the applications, or threats, of physical force against a person, which can give rise to criminal or civil liability, whether severe or not and whether with or without a weapon (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2007: 33). This definition includes negligent actions which induce pain or death and which can result in civil, although not criminal liability (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2007: 34), yet this would not necessarily be implied when talking about violent crime or violence and crime. Instances where violence might not be perceived as crime include domestic violence, bullying at schools and violence between men where there is a level of aggression on both sides (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2007: 36-37). In legal terms crime is then a broader category than violent crime. More important for our discussion here is that violence is ethically defined much more broadly than criminal acts of violence. The Dutch Reformed Church responses are, however, specifically focused on violent crime. The language used differs somewhat across the various statements, but the implication seems to remain similar. The media declaration released after the murder of Eugene Terreblanche speaks of geweldsmisdaad, which is connected with both politically motivated violent acts as well as acts not motivated by politics. In Concern over violence in South Africa violence and crime as well as criminal violence are used. It is specifically the criminal acts of violence and the violent acts of crime that are of concern in these statements. The examples used in these statements reinforce such an interpretation: Farm attacks, being shot on your way to the shops (Concern over violence in South Africa), murder, rape and child molestation (A Testimony to the Authorities). One exception to this is the constant referral to corruption along with statements concerning violence and crime.

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Innocent people are subject to crime and violence. Inhabitants of our country are senselessly and cruelly murdered daily. Rape, child molestation and corruption have become an integral part of our daily lives (A Testimony to the Authorities). When government starts to see it as their duty to set an example, condemns and brings to book any trace of corruption and immediately puts into place a credible and workable strategy to curb crime, confidence in the government will be restored and all sectors of the community will contribute willingly and eagerly to create a South Africa which is precious to all and where we all want to live in peace (Concern over violence in South Africa). iek (2008: 10) points to the fascination with subjective acts of violence, those identifiable acts of physical and verbal violence perpetrated by social agents, and how the strong call to end violence distracts our attention from the violence imbedded within the good functioning of a system, particularly the exclusionary effect of the economy, to which I will refer as systemic violence. Prioritising violence and crime in South Africa, pointing towards this as the most important challenge facing government, carries the danger of drowning out the critique against continued economic inequality, which remains one of the most important causes underlying the high levels of violence and crime. However, the addition of corruption (particularly government corruption) to the list draws on another popular category of white analysis of the state of the post-apartheid South Africa. While it is true that corruption remains a problem in South Africa, there is a tendency to consider African politicians as inherently corrupt, which is common in afropessimistic language (see De Vos 2010). Within these statements the choice of focusing on government corruption can be explained by noting that the addressee of the statements is the government, yet we the choice of crimes discussed also reflects the agenda of a popular white discourse. These statements should be read in relation to how government is discussed, and will be discussed further below.

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4.4.3iii

Violence and crime affect all people in South Africa

No reference is made to whites as the particular victims of violence and crime. Rather, in line with a commitment to South Africa and all the people living in South Africa, violence and crime are addressed as a problem facing all South Africans. This is sometimes implied in the language used, such as A Testimony to the Authorities stating that At present most of the people in our country experience worry, uncertainty and even fear. The following trends contribute to this: (emphasis added). The first trend identified is crime, violence and corruption. The implication is clear, that this is not a problem merely affecting those who are white, but a national problem. This position is stated even more clearly in Concern over violence in South Africa, where examples from both sides of a historical divide is pointed out: Farmers and their workers are prime targets and feel increasingly vulnerable to attacks by hostile elements. In our cities and townships the lives of innocent people - both rich and poor, black and white - are willfully destroyed by mindless deeds of criminal violence. Violence and crime serve as a unifying experience within South Africa. This is the one problem that is seen as threatening everyone, regardless of race or class. However, when looking at the use of people it becomes less clear whether the church is speaking on behalf of all South Africans or primarily on behalf of its white members. Due to the way in which whiteness assumes a normalised position, it is common that when white people speak about being white it is hidden behind the language of people in general (Steyn 2004: 144). This is due to the way in which whiteness is constructed and experienced as normal, and how those in a privileged position remain blind to their own subjectivities. Statements made by a white church towards the majority government calling on the universal category people need to be critically examined:

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People no longer feel safe and have lost all faith in the police services to protect them in dangerous and life threatening situations. What is more worrying is the air of negativity, defeatism and anger which is taking hold of our people. People are beginning to give up hope because they feel that the situation is out of control and that there is no real attempt or will to change the situation. More and more we are hearing about people threatening to take the law into their own hands. To us this is a matter of deep concern which needs to be addressed (emphasis added) (Concern over violence in South Africa). The slip from people to our people might reveal the knowledge that these statements are not drawing on the universal experience of South Africans, but rather reflect the particular views of members of the Dutch Reformed Church, since the us and them distinctions remain important markers of racialised identities when explicit references to race are silenced. Highlighting actions against crime as the particular issue which will help people to believe in the potential of the country, rather than unemployment and poverty, which is the main concern for the majority of people in the country, again reveals how the use of people in general hides the fact that particular white concerns are under discussion: We are appealing to the government to act decisively with regards to violence and crime in order to make it possible for people to continue believing in the potential of the country, to continue investing and to help create a future for every child in this country (emphasis added) (Concern over violence in South Africa). A similar pattern can be identified in A Testimony to the Authorities. Although focusing our attention slightly wider than responses to violence and crime, the full list of trends that are said to contribute to worry, uncertainty and fear for most of the people, pick up many of the popular themes from white discourse. The list associated with the perceptions of most of the people includes: That bad management and shortage of skills are to blame for the country rapidly deteriorating (although no fixed point in the past is given as point from which the
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country is deteriorating), this reminds one of the often repeated perception among white South Africans that the country is falling away from a perceived glorious past under the white government. Language rights, home language teaching and affirmative action, popular topics with which whites bemoan their lost privileged place, are brought in among a list associated with the majority of South Africans. Zimbabwe and the fear that we are on our way to become like Zimbabwe is the last element on the list, urging the presidency to take a strong stand against Zimbabwe. Unemployment, economic inequality, the unfinished transformation, poverty, HIV/AIDS, all issues which can be considered to create worry, uncertainty and even fear for the majority of South Africans, are missing from the testimony (or are mentioned as part of what is creating the perception that the country is deteriorating, not as issues which themselves contribute to the fear of people). The testimony carries a worrying resemblance to what Steyn describes as the dismal refrain of South African white talk which is endlessly resung: crime, Zimbabwe, falling standards in education and health care, economic decline and so on and on (Steyn 2004: 156). While identifying the white bias within what is said does not automatically disqualify the analysis of what needs attention in society, the way in which issues of particular concern to white South Africans are attributed to South Africans in general continues the pattern of making whiteness the norm. 4.4.3iv The role of government and police

The most common theme running throughout the public statements on violence and crime concern the role of government and police. On the one hand this is to be assumed, since government is addressed, whether explicitly or implicitly, in most of these documents (Xenofobie stel ook aan die kerk eise is the exception, although even in this statement, primarily addressed to members of churches and congregations, reflections on the role of government are found), but the overlap with language which

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reinscribes a white identity in opposition to a failing black government and particularly the AND warrants some reflection. Frequently the church acts as the voice of a reporter echoing and amplifying what people say. The church reports popular perceptions of the people to government. The fact that the authorities are not trusted by the people is often repeated. The prevalence of crime, violence and corruption has reached a stage where many people have lost all confidence in the authorities. People come to the conclusion that the authorities are not able to maintain law and order (A Testimony to the Authorities). People no longer feel safe and have lost all faith in the police services to protect them in dangerous and life threatening situations People are beginning to give up hope because they feel that the situation is out of control and that there is no real attempt or will to change the situation (Concern over violence in South Africa). The threat of counter violence is also expressed repeatedly. This is part of a motivation for calling on government to address violence and crime, as well as a reminder of the fact that the people perceive government as unsuccessful in responding to violence and crime: This untenable situation causes people to take the law into their own hands to protect themselves. This is a prelude to anarchy and unnecessary bloodshed (A Testimony to the Authorities). [The moderature] have also taken cognizance of the growing levels of hopelessness, frustration and threats of counter violence. More and more we are hearing about people threatening to take the law into their own hands (Concern over violence in South Africa).

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Concern over violence in South Africa starts by pointing out two interrelated problems: the first is violence in South Africa, to which there seems to be no end, the second is growing levels of hopelessness, frustration and threats of counter violence. The statement attempts to advise government on what needs to be done to create a positive public sphere, ending with the promise that if government is to follow the advice given a positive public will be the result: When government starts to see it as their duty to set an example, condemns and brings to book any trace of corruption and immediately puts into place a credible and workable strategy to curb crime, confidence in the government will be restored and all sectors of the community will contribute willingly and eagerly to create a South Africa which is precious to all and where we all want to live in peace (Concern over violence in South Africa). The inability and lack of commitment on the side of government is seen as central to the problem of violence and crime. Three underlying problems contributing to the hopelessness and negativity of people are pointed out, and each one questions the governments ability and commitment to dealing with the problem of violence and crime: In our view there are certain underlying problems that need to be addressed. Firstly, in our opinion, the reluctance on the part of the government to commit itself unequivocally to combating the wave of violence and criminality in all its forms is cause for concern. The public are getting conflicting messages (the latest being the recent statement by the president) which frustrate and demoralize them. In addition a number of occurrences have undermined the public trust in the police. The apparent protection of a high ranking official in one of the metro councils and the special privileges afforded to certain ANC members who have been sentenced to prison, have cast doubts on the governments ability to dispense justice fairly and equitably. There is also a laxity and ineffectiveness perceived in certain sectors of the police force which is unacceptable. We are aware that often lack of equipment plays a part and we are grateful to the many members of the police force who risk their lives daily and

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work tirelessly in the fight against violence and crime. (emphasis added) (Concern over violence in South Africa). The inability or lack of commitment from government is noted in response to xenophobic attacks, and in response to the murder of TerreBlanche, particularly associated with President Zumas seeming lack of ability or willingness to address Julius Malema, who is charged with heightening racial tensions. Berigte dat ons regering nie voorbereid was op die huidige vlaag van onrus nie en nie ag geslaan het op waarskuwings en verslae nie, verontrus (Xenofobie stel ook aan die kerk eise). President Zuma se beroep op kalmte en wetsgehoorsaamheid word verswak deur sy skynbare onvermo of weiering om Julius Malema hieroor vas te vat. Sy belofte tydens die onlangse ete met Afrikanerkultuur- en kerkleiers om aan hierdie saak aandag te gee, het net mooi niks opgelewer nie (Persvrystelling na aanleiding van die moord of Mnr Eugene Terreblanche). Here we find a broad overlap with popular white discourse, where the problems facing the country are attributed to the inability of the ANC government to tackle them, while there is a total silence about the history out of which these problems developed, and more important, about the influence of the high levels of economic inequality (from which whites continue to be the primary beneficiaries). Solving violence and crime becomes the primary test for government. The particular response required from government further reveals the strategy found in these statements. 4.4.3v A stronger justice system as answer to violence and crime

The common call found in public statements is that the authorities should maintain law and order. This is sometimes placed together with other actions. Rape, child molestation and corruption have become an integral part of our daily lives. People come to the conclusion that the authorities are not able to maintain law and order. On behalf of millions of Christians in South Africa (75% of the population) we beseech you to take drastic measures to
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restore law and order according to the Constitution (A Testimony to the Authorities), In response to the murder of Eugene TerreBlanche, the state is urged to maintain law and order, but also to find peaceful settlements. This comment must be read within the broader argument of the media declaration where the growing tension between various groups is addressed. [dat] die reg, wet en orde in Suid-Afrika gehandhaaf word. Vreedsame skikkings en n effektiewe staatsapparaat wat die Bybels-verantwoorde regte van mense beskerm, is onontbeerlik. Sulke regte is onder andere die reg op lewe, op n verantwoordelike vryheid van spraak en die reg op n gefundeerde, onderlinge meningsverskil (Persvrystelling na aanleiding van die moord of Mnr Eugene Terreblanche) The response to xenophobic violence includes a call for the churches and Christians to respond with mercy. But the call to the government is to maintain law and order, partly to create an atmosphere of peace in which the Christian calling to acts of mercy can be lived out. The distinction seems to be that while the church should act in mercy, the states function is to maintain law and order. Ware barmhartigheid geskied in n atmosfeer van vrede. Daarom moet die handhawing van wet en orde juis daarop gemik wees om wetteloosheid, geweld en lewensverlies te voorkom (Xenofobie stel ook aan die kerk eise) The maintenance of law and order is clothed in language of immediacy and drastic measures. Notwithstanding many representations made by many different sectors of our society and calls that the authorities have to do something decisive about the situation, there is no improvement (emphasis added). On behalf of millions of Christians in South Africa (75% of the population) we beseech you to take drastic measures to restore law and order according to the Constitution (emphasis added) (A Testimony to the Authorities).

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We are appealing to the government to act decisively with regards to violence and crime (emphasis added) (Concern over violence in South Africa). Furthermore, apart from the general call for the maintenance of law and order, the responses reflect the popular lexicon of drawing on military and violent language in describing the needed actions. Farmers and their workers are prime targets and feel increasingly vulnerable to attacks by hostile elements. the reluctance on the part of the government to commit itself unequivocally to combating the wave of violence and criminality we are grateful to the many members of the police force who risk their lives daily and work tirelessly in the fight against violence and crime (Concern over violence in South Africa). [dat] geweldsmisdaad, of dit nou polities gemotiveer word of nie, uitgeroei moet word. Dit is ironies dat n menselewe soms so min werd is in n land waarin die doodstraf afgeskaf is (Persvrystelling na aanleiding van die moord of Mnr Eugene Terreblanche). Although churches have a responsibility to reflect ethically on the use of violent language in reacting to issues of public concern, this is not the focus of the current argument. What is important is that in contrast to the apartheid government, the approach favoured by the National Crime Prevention Strategy in 1996 was towards crime prevention rather than crime control, stressing that crime prevention stretches across various departments and cannot be the exclusive task of the police and justice system as was the case earlier (Bruce 2006: 31). The language used above favours short term solutions over longer term goals of tackling crime through a focus on underdevelopment and a history of oppression. It reveals a re-emergence of old apartheid-style, but also contemporary American, responses to violence and crime (see Samara 2003: 287-289).

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4.5 Conclusion
There is no denying that South Africa indeed has very high levels of violence and crime. Although South Africa is not unique in this, it is one of a fairly small number of comparable countries (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2009a: 3-4). Pointing out the racialised nature of responses to violence and crime does not seek to silence the public outcry on this important issue, but rather to participate in a way that reflects cognisance of how the topic has been racialised, and particularly, how it relates to the reconstruction of a white identity in the post-apartheid South Africa. In summary three relations between whiteness and public discourse on violence and crime can be pointed out, which will be discussed further in the next chapter: First, casting those who are white as the primary victims, or as victims on account of their whiteness, reflects the broader approach in which whiteness is understood as detrimental, rather than as a privileged position. Even describing whites as victims like everybody else ignores the relatively safer position of whites in South Africa, and that Black and Coloured South Africans are far more likely to be victims of violent crime. 18 The ethics of portraying oneself as the victim in this situation needs further reflection. Secondly, describing violent crime as a post-apartheid problem, or ascribing the continuation of a culture of violence and crime primarily to the inability of the ANC government diverts the gaze from the way in which the privileged position of white South Africans can be linked to the culture of violence and crime. Furthermore it denies the way in which colonial and apartheid history and the construction of whiteness throughout that period contributed to the culture of violence and crime. Thirdly, the exclusive focus on combating crime as the solution to violence and crime focuses the responsibility on a predominantly black government, ignoring the responsibility of other role-players. It reintroduces language from the apartheid justice
18

Without going into another detailed discussion, I have to state at this point that I consider all incidences of violent crime to be tragic. I believe that the only ethical stance is to be critical of all incidences of violence (while taking into account a more complex understanding of violence which includes systemic violence). The point of my argument is not to grade incidences of violence and crime and consider which is the most tragic, but rather to recognise an already racialised public discourse on violent crime which is silencing the experience of some.

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system. It analyses the problem in a way that is a-historical and a-contextual, suggesting a course of action focusing exclusively on the symptoms of violence and crime, rather than the broader system within which violent crime should be understood, in which the relation between privilege and violence in seeking a non-violent future needs to be seen. In short: there is a general silence about the connection between a culture of violence and crime and a history of white superiority, and about the connection between a continued privileged position of whites (and the black economic elite) and the crisis of violence and crime. In the next chapter I will suggest ways in which the question of violence and crime can be addressed while taking note of the continued privilege of being white.

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Chapter 5: Suggestions for a race-cognisant white theological response to violence and crime
5.1 Introduction: when whites speak for others
In chapter 2 I argued that various elements in our ethical analysis of a particular problem (including our choice of which problems we analyse) become moral questions in themselves. The social location of the ethicist or public theologian is particularly important. I have described the problematic nature of whiteness as a marker of a privileged social location, and specifically how this plays into our public discourse on violence and crime. In this chapter I wish to argue for ways in which those who are white can participate in a public discourse on violence and crime in a way which is responsible and cognisant of being white. The chapter will follow broadly an essay by Linda Alcoff addressing the problem of speaking for others (Alcoff 1991). In as far as public theology claims to speak about a common good we are bound to speak on behalf of others in one way or another. Most commonly this implies speaking on behalf of a broad public on what we consider to be of ultimate importance, and what the problems are that we identify as creating resistance to the common good. The dangers of those privileged engaging in such an act should not be underestimated and justifies further reflection. In this process of seeking the common good we recognise that the social location of the one speaking affects the agenda and the analysis, as shown in the previous chapter. This, I would argue, remains underexplored by those who are privileged in general, and by whites particularly. A position of privilege creates a certain level of ignorance and isolation, since the physical world of the privileged allows them to move primarily within spaces that they control, and receive knowledge about the world that reinforces the status quo (Hobgood 2009: 21-25). In a racialised society that privileges the language and experience of those who are white, whites can live their lives largely unaware of

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black voices.19 Furthermore, when the public sphere, both locally and globally, is set up to take notice of white voices speaking, it contributes to skewing the public perception on a particular issue. The privileged amplify those voices whose interpretation of reality confirms the perception of those who are privileged. For white theologians this demands that the skill of listening to silenced voices, and the commitment to incorporating these voices into our analysis, needs to be taken much more seriously if we are to make any contribution towards identifying a common good and towards identifying what is creating resistance to the common good. But even when this is recognised, the extent to which white theologians are willing to voice concerns that challenge the privileged position in which they find themselves, remains in question. While it can be argued that those who are white would benefit in the long term from a dismantling of this system of privilege (Hobgood 2009: 19-21) they rarely contribute to it, and little short-term incentive is provided for those privileged because of race to question this privileged position. White churches and theologians engaging on issues of public concern need to examine themselves to see whether they have the ethical will to challenge situations that they themselves benefit from. However, merely focusing on the contents of our analysis and contribution to issues of public concern doesnt exhaust the problems associated with privileged voices speaking on the common good. The very act of speaking from the location of being white, in as far as whiteness is connected to a system of privilege and oppression, carries political meaning. Who is speaking, who is spoken of, and who listens is a result, as well as an act, of political struggle. Simply put, the discursive context is a political arena (Alcoff 1991: 15). Alcoffs central point is:

19

It can be argued that South African politics has created a situation where whites are forced to be confronted with black voices, because whites in South Africa are a minority. But in many spheres, such as church, living environments, circles of friends, media, and academy whites still tend to be isolated and continue to be largely unaware of black voices. And those black voices that do penetrate the white stronghold then reinforce a class privilege, where the middle and wealthier classes can live in a world unaware of the perspectives of those who are poor (in South Africa this continue to be the majority of black voices). Lastly, even when black voices are heard by whites, the way in which whites were racialised to assume that black voices cannot teach whites anything causes whites to disregard the black voices.

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In order to evaluate attempts to speak for others in particular instances, we need to analyze the probable or actual effects of the words on the discursive and material context. One cannot simply look at the location of the speaker or her credentials to speak, nor can one look merely at the propositional content of the speech; one must also look at where the speech goes and what it does there (Alcoff 1991: 26) The implication is that in spite of the content or validity, a statement of whites speaking on behalf of all South Africans cannot be disconnected from the construction of blacks as incapable of speaking for themselves. Furthermore, criticism of the ANC government, even where legitimate, cannot be disconnected from a deep colonial and neo-colonial perception that African governments and leaders are incapable of governing, and need to be guided by superior white voices. In the topic we are discussing (violence and crime), we do not enter an empty public sphere devoid of meaning: white public theologians enter into a deeply racialised public discourse on violence and crime, and the question we need to consider is what effect our participation in the public sphere might potentially have. Those in privileged positions definitely need to develop the ability to listen to the silenced voices in our analysis of problems. We also need to reflect on our own resistance to criticising a status quo in which we continue to enjoy special privileges. But we also need to recognise our own social location and ask what particular contribution the white church and theologians should take responsibility for within the politicised and racialised public discourse in which we seek to participate towards the common good. Alcoff argues that anyone who speaks for others should only do so out of a concrete analysis of the particular power relations and discursive effects involved (Alcoff 1991: 24) and then point to a number of practices which should guide our speaking. The last of these (looking at the effects of speaking rather than merely the content of the speech or the social location of the one speaking) has already been mentioned. Three others include:

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Analysing the impetus to speak and fighting against it. If we are more prone to speaking for the less-privileged than listening, the impulse to speak should be resisted and interrogated.

We must interrogate the bearing of our social location on what we are saying, noting possible connections between our social location and what we are saying. We need to take responsibility for what we are saying, and commit to being held accountable. This implies being open to criticism, and a wariness where we note a quick rejection of criticism in ourselves (Alcoff 1991: 24-26).

5.2 Resisting a white public voice


5.2.1 Opting for ecumenical dialogue
Although it can be argued that those who are white should want to challenge the system of racial privilege it rarely happens, and the perception that there is little short-term incentive for those privileged because of race to challenge this privileged position does not help. The motivations for those who engage in self-critique, attempting to become traitors to their own privileged location and who imagine a world beyond the hierarchies of race could be varied. For Christians it might be connected with the growing emphasis on the humanity of Jesus, on how Jesus challenged the status quo through open table fellowship with outcasts and with a lifestyle in which women and slaves were treated as equals (Hobgood 2009: 34-36). This same commitment to the life of Jesus also contributes to what appears to be a growing appreciation for the Bonhoeffer phrase that the church exists as a church for others. Bosch, following Charles West and Theo Sundermeier, pointed out how this phrase in Bonhoeffers context reflects the idea that Western Christians know what is best for others, and appoint themselves as guardians of others (Bosch 2004: 375). But this approach remains influential among white Christians (not exclusively, yet it raises particular questions for those who are white) who, exactly because of their commitment to the Biblical references to justice (and it is important to recognise this) attempt to do something for the oppressed. It was also reflected in the public responses of the Dutch Reformed Church analysed in chapter 4, and provides an important entry point into a
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discussion on how white churches and theologians should participate in South African public discourse. While the notion of being church-for-others is not exclusively connected to participating in public discourse with the intent to speak on behalf of others,20 I limit my argument to this particular aspect of church responses to violence and crime. Bosch argues that we should rather speak of the church-with-others, seeking true coexistence (Bosch 2004: 375). In Boschs account we see this functioning particularly in the ecumenical relations between churches in the First and Third world, where all the churches are considered equal and the recognition exists that churches everywhere need each other. But it remains an ideal while a donor syndrome exists among churches in the West and a dependency syndrome among churches of the Third World (Bosch 2004: 379-381). In the South African context of vast inequalities between churches concerning access to resources as well as a long history of racialised superiority and inferiority affecting these relationships (Koopman 2007: 102-104), a situation exists where this being church as church-with-others to a large extent continues to be an ideal at best. This shift is important, and although the complexities of this possibility should not be underestimated, Alcoff (1991: 23) considers the position of speaking to and speaking with to present the best possibilities for those in positions of privilege. She points out that dialogue continues to be an undervalued possibility for those in a privileged position. For the white church and theologians participating in debates on issues of public policy a continuous dialogue with the broader ecumenical church 21 (for white academic theologians a similar opportunity might exist in the continued dialogue with

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See for example Van Niekerk (2002) for a discussion on Dutch Reformed participation in poverty alleviation where the problem of acting on behalf of the poor, becoming a church for the poor rather than involvement with the poor that leads to greater understanding, is discussed. 21 I find this term somewhat problematic since it might be read in an overly institutional way. I believe that for white Christians the task of participating in dialogues on all levels of society should be important, and that spaces for dialogue between Christians beyond the confines of denominational relations might at times create an even better opportunity for such a space, or that dialogues which go beyond religious affiliation should also be important. However, in as far as the broad institutional church in all its forms is considered, and particularly when official public responses are being made, which was used as example in the previous chapter, a continued emphasis on the institutional ecumenical church is important.

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black theologians and ethicists) might be the most important aspect of participating on issues of public policy. While I would maintain that a position of speaking with others presents the best possibility for white public theologians in South Africa to contribute towards a responsible public theology, it is not without dangers and limitations: First, Alcoffs call is for dialogue to be opened in every possible space available, hospitals, workplaces, universities and more (Alcoff 1991: 23). In so far as dialogue between the churches continues to be limited to institutional ecumenical bodies, this suggestion is unlikely to be followed in what should be described as public theology. Creating spaces where white churches and theologians in various spheres, from individual Christians, congregations as they contribute to public life, academic theologians etc, can speak to and with black South Africans concerning issues of public concern, continues to be a long-term task. Central to such spaces of dialogue is that white voices must be held accountable for the way in which their privileged perspective results in the isolation and ignorance. Questions on the possibility of accountability bring me to the next point. Secondly, the exact same politics and relations of power existing in society are carried into our ecumenical dialogues, which therefore require a continued reflection on the part of those racialised as white on participating in a discourse (albeit a internal ecumenical discourse) on issues of public concern. What Bosch identified between churches in the First and Third world continues to plague the ecumenical landscape in South Africa. Creating a dialogue of equals while churches reflect the vast inequalities of society remain difficult. Furthermore, the racialised identities of superiority and inferiority continue to affect dialogue between churches and individuals (Koopman 2007: 102104). This limits the extent to which whites will be held accountable. Precisely because we attempt to create a space where all are equal partners, we fail to recognise the deeper inequalities and differentials in power. Unless we recognise how we are indebted to white assumptions of superiority and the effects this has on our relationships and dialogues, we cannot learn from others or share authority (Rieger
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2004: 215-219). In its worst form the presence of well-meaning white theologians, church leaders or Christians, particularly if they remain unaware of how race continues to determine issues of power, carries the danger of creating limits to what black interlocutors are willing to say. We need to develop a sensitivity to the way in which our presence determines the agenda of such dialogues. Relationships in themselves do not constitute a challenge to the way in which whiteness continues to assume a privileged position in participating on issues of public concern, but merely provide an opportunity for deeply-held assumptions to be challenged. The extent to which whites are open to becoming aware of their privileged status, combined with the extent to which conversation partners are willing to criticise their views, will to a large degree determine what happens in such relationships. This brings me to the third point, which concerns the responsibility of those who are white in an already racialised dialogue. Committing to speaking with others, learning from others, and being held accountable is important, but, whether in an ecumenical dialogue or in the public sphere, white voices still speak into a racialised and politicised discourse, and church and theology need to develop an appropriate way of speaking, which recognises the fact that white voices are white, and that whiteness continues to be a privileged position. Furthermore, in the context where white voices continue to influence the public discourse in a way that keeps this privilege in place, those who are white and churches representing white Christians have a responsibility in addressing and participating in a recognised racialised discourse. This implies speaking for and about white people, but also speaking for the common good by addressing the way in which those who are white exist in relation to the rest of the world. I therefore continue to reflect on the responsibility of insisting on my whiteness when participating in dialogues on issues of public life, particularly violence and crime. I focus my attention on the public discourse on violence and crime, but much of what is argued for also relates to the internal ecumenical dialogues in which white voices become open to critique and are held accountable. The first suggestion continues the reflection of

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resisting participation in public discourse, while the following three suggestions consider the act of participating as a white public theologian.

5.2.2 Opting for an active silence


Among some sections of American feminism there has been a popular suggestion to retreat from all practices of speaking for others, arguing that one can only speak for oneself (Alcoff 1991: 17). Alcoffs suggestion is that such a response can indeed at times be important. If one's immediate impulse is to teach rather than listen to a lessprivileged speaker, one should resist that impulse long enough to interrogate it carefully (Alcoff 1991: 24). In what has become an influential article within the South African debate, Samantha Vice has argued that a humble silence might be the appropriate position for white South Africans (Vice 2010: 324). The silence she argues for is particularly connected to silence in the political sphere (Vice 2010: 337), with whites realizing that it is not ones place to offer diagnoses and analyses, that blacks must be left to remake the country in their own way (Vice 2010: 335). She is not suggesting a passive withdrawal into a privileged enclave, but rather that the primary responsibility of whites is working on themselves (this implies that silence also comes with the responsibility of listening to black voices) (Vice 2010: 335). This is further motivated by stating that whiteness continues to be problematically charged, that those who are white cause further distortion in their participation in the public sphere (Vice 2010: 337). Her suggestion is not without problems, but it still needs to be taken seriously by those who are white. Those who are white have been taught that we are more likely to have the truth, while others have been taught the opposite, and if they speak at all, it will often be haltingly and with apologies (Alcoff 1991: 24). Furthermore, if the way in which some of the popular responses to violent crime are considered (such as that whites are the primary victims of violence and that blacks are inherently criminogenic) it becomes clear that whiteness can indeed contribute to a further distortion of perceptions in the public sphere. In as far as those who are white use their privileged position to maintain the status quo of inequality and privilege. If that is so, the appropriate response might

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indeed be to rather revert to silence and work on our own whiteness, allowing black South Africans to reimagine South Africa. Vices suggestion requires serious consideration by the white church and theologians that continue to assume that our voice is more likely to be true, and where public discourse continues to give greater weight to the voice of whites. Where violence and crime are made a public concern primarily when it concerns those who are white or middle-class (see argument below), the appropriate response for whites might at times be to reject the option of insisting that white victims receive public attention. While this in no way argues that the violence perpetrated against anyone is not of concern, the media can never report on every incident of violence and crime. At times the appropriate response of whites, cognisant of the privilege of being white, might be to insist where possible that incidents of violence against whites should not be used to further skew the public discourse into making violence and crime of concern only when those who are white or middle-class are the victims. Where violence affects primarily those who are poor and black, it might be appropriate for whites to remain silent while seeking a deeper understanding of what the reality of violence and crime implies for those most affected by it, rather than suggesting public policies that reflect the isolated and ignorant location of those in a privileged position. Such policies would, in effect, only deal with the particular forms violence takes when the victims are white or economically privileged, or might focus exclusively on the geographic areas mostly inhabited by whites, while hiding the larger problem of violence and crime. Since the argument is also that we should consider not merely the propositional content of what we are saying but also the actual or probable effects, silence might at times be appropriate when speaking would reinforce racialised identities: such as in a context where speaking would serve as a reminder that those who are white are more knowledgeable and have a greater right to voice an opinion. Silence should be considered as one particular way of participating in dialogue. Silence is appropriate as an alternative to speaking behalf of others, or draining out the voices of those silenced.
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It is appropriate to actively listen to the dialogue of which we are part, aware of the limits which my privileged position place on my own experiences, creating space for black voices to inform whites on aspects of violent crime that are hidden from the public discourse, and to form a different public discourse on violent crime. While acknowledging that the inward focus of whites, working on their own whiteness, is indeed important, this kind of retreat might not be politically effective. We might choose silence out of fear of making errors and continuing injustice, but errors are unavoidable in a political struggle (Alcoff 1991: 22). Perhaps participation in ecumenical dialogues and the public sphere, with the full knowledge that this will receive critique from black voices pointing out how our participation keeps the status quo of racial inequality and a racialised discourse in place (and nevertheless remaining in a place of dialogue where this can be pointed out, actively inviting such accountability), might be exactly the place where my own commitment to my privileged white position is made visible. The argument up to this point was that we should seriously reconsider white participation in the public sphere. This might be because silence is an appropriate response, but more probably this should be because of a commitment to dialogue. But when participating in such a dialogue on violence and crime, how do we do it while remaining cognisant of how we were racialised into being white? Furthermore, how do the white church and white theologians speak as whites within an already racialised public discourse or internal dialogue, specifically concerning the issue of violence and crime? These questions will be the focus of the rest of the chapter, and will be the place where the responses identified in chapter 4 are reflected upon in a more concrete manner.

5.3 To insist on whiteness in dialogues on violence and crime


5.3.1 For the privileged to speak ethically about victimhood
Speaking about violence has become an important way in which those who are white are defining their own position in South Africa. Whether it is through a portrayal of whites as the primary victims, or as victims just like everyone else, whites who
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experience their position in South Africa as under threat use violence and crime as a tool which divert attention from how whiteness continues to assure a certain amount of privilege and power. One of the privileges assured to those who are white is that incidents of violence in which they are the victims will be seen as more noteworthy. [C]onsistently, it is when middle-class and, particularly, white South Africans are victimised, that violent crime is seen as a matter of concern, while the impact of violence on poorer people is disregarded (Bruce 2011). A very important observation made by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation was that public discourse concerning violence and crime do not reflect the reality of the specifically poor and black experiences (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2009b: 61). Not only do poor people face deep and intractable problems related to structural economic factors, but their exclusion is reinforced when their voices and experiences are not admitted into public discourse (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2009b: 13). Between the ways in which victimhood becomes a strategy to hide racial privilege and a public discourse set up to amplify white experiences of violent crime, there is a deep moral crisis, which an ethic taking cognisance of racial privilege needs to take into account. While white South Africans are not exempt from violent crime (although the experiences of whites are not the same as those of the poor and black majority), the way in which victimhood is publicly portrayed is not innocent. The problem of white victimhood can be understood by starting to reflect on the morally dangerous process of remembering wrongs suffered in general. In so far as public responses to violence and crime recall a history of victimhood, these can be considered part of a process of remembering publicly, and of creating public memories of wrongs suffered. I loosely draw on the work of Miroslav Volf (2006) on ethics and memory in the context of violence in this section and the next one to explore the problematic ways in which we speak about violence and those who are victims of violent crime. To remember wrongs suffered is generally considered to be positive, with psychologists urging victims to remember as a prerequisite to healing. But memories of wrongs
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suffered can be dangerously undetermined, contributing to injustice as much as it contributes to salvation. Volf considers the public remembering of wrongs suffered to be an act of justice, since it acknowledged the experience of injustice against the victim. But if this public remembering is an act of justice, then silencing memories of wrongs suffered becomes an act of injustice. In this case, a double injustice: first in the experience of violence and next when the act of injustice disappears (Volf 2006: 27-29). My focus is not merely on the individual act of injustice, but on how it affects groups in South Africa. In a public discourse that continually reinforces the idea that violent crimes against white victims are worth remembering and acknowledging, while violent crimes where black people are victims can be disregarded, or at least receive less attention, the very process of public remembering is fraught with injustice. In so far as public remembering of white victims of violence serves as an argument to hide the privileges of those who are white, public acts of speaking about violence and crime contribute to the injustice against silenced voices. Where it concerns the very lives of people, the skewed public discourse on violence and crime suggests that social location determines the value of life. In this context speaking about violence and crime in a way that affirms that it is more tragic when those affected are white implies that some lives are of lesser value. For those steeped in the tradition that all people were created in the image of God, the skewed public discourse on victims of violence and crime becomes a theological problem. Remembering the wrongs perpetrated against us can potentially generate solidarity with victims everywhere. However, the opposite is also possible, where, on account of our own suffering we become indifferent to the suffering of others. Memories of wrongs suffered are potentially dangerous in that they can create indifference to the suffering of others (Volf 2006: 30-32). Describing whites as victims not only becomes a way of rejecting responsibility, but also of justifying largely negative sentiments (Steyn 2004: 156-157). While using experiences of wrongs suffered in ways that contribute to further divisions in society should always be pointed out as problematic from a Christian position committed to reconciliation, it becomes even more questionable in a public discourse already skewed to misrepresent victims of violence and crime.
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Speaking publicly from a position which equalises all, stating that all people in South Africa are affected by violence and crime, continues to deny the privileged position of whites. This privilege is both in how whites continue to live more secure lives in more secure communities, but maybe even more because whites have the privilege of seeing a public acknowledgement of wrongs perpetrated against those who are white. Insisting on making visible that which keeps whiteness in place would imply an insistence on a more just public discourse, where victims are acknowledged because of a shared humanity, where the unique experience of violence and crime of the marginalised will be presented. However, on its own, such an insistence coming from white public voices can contribute to other problems. We might insist that the experience of violence of the poor black majority be recognised merely as a further proof of the inability of a black government to maintain law and order, even implying that the ANC government doesnt even care about the suffering of their own people. It can also be used to reinforce ideas of blacks as inherently criminogenic, pointing out that they dont even care about killing their own people. Acknowledging the wrongs suffered by primarily Black and Coloured South Africans without critically reflecting on the deeper problems of crime and violence and the possible solutions can easily become just another strategy of reinforcing a general white afro-pessimism.

5.3.2 Ethical analysis in context and history


That ethical dilemmas need to be analysed by looking at the broader context within which the problem is situated, and taking the historical development of the problem into account is such a commonly assumed step in any analysis today that it barely needs arguing. Furthermore, that our social location influences the analysis we would make is also largely accepted and has been argued for in chapter 2. The difficulties22 associated with doing such an analysis in many cases accentuate the problematic nature of my particular social location. While responding to much of the popular and even church discourse discussed in the previous chapter with a call for even better research would

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certainly be appropriate, it is questionable whether this would help us to move beyond the racialised discourse on violence and crime, since we would still be working from the social location of being white. In response to this, the suggestions already argued above could be extended to our analysis of a problem with reference to the broader context: we need to commit ourselves to a position in which we will be held accountable and commit ourselves to listening to the voices of the marginalised. Yet, in as much as we do continue to speak in various spheres, and voice our concern over violent crime, cognisance of our being white calls us towards a particular moral responsibility in what we choose to bring into focus in an already racialised public discourse. iek argues that the fascination with direct physical violence can distract us from the true forms of violence, the violence that sustains relations of domination and exploitation, allowing us to actively participate in them (iek 2008: 9-11). I believe this pattern can be identified in much of our white 23 public discourse on violence and crime. Violence and crime are talked about as if it is a mere technical problem, a problem which will be solved if only government and the police would be more effective. The CSVR report on perpetrators points out that in the popular media violent perpetrators tend to be portrayed as faceless and nameless monsters; the brutality of their actions appears completely inexplicable, the result of a senseless evil (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 2008: 6). The description of perpetrators disconnects them from the context and history which contribute to the pervasiveness of violence and crime in South Africa. Both the description of government and the description of perpetrators creates a cry that violence and crime should be focused on directly, and should be solved as a problem in its own right. But such approaches reveal an unwillingness, even active rejection, on the side of whites to engage with the continuing effects of colonialism and apartheid on the current situation (Steyn 2005: 129). This reflects the popular call of some whites, asking that we

22

Choosing the facts which are appropriate to the analysis; choosing the theories with which to interpret a situation; determining how far back in history we need to go to understand a problem well enough to be able to offer long-term solutions.

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should just forget about apartheid, or in the words of a popular Afrikaans song kan ons maar net aanbeweeg, meneer24. As a response to violence this becomes a particularly emotional cry asking that we stop bringing the past into our analysis of the present. In the sarcastic words of one of the columnists analysed by Steyn and Foster: And then, dear hearts, when we look for someone on whom to blame our crime rate we blame apartheid and violence in Hollywood films (Steyn and Foster 2008: 38). In silencing the history of oppression and its continuing effects in our analysis of violence and crime, we create easily identifiable scapegoats (monstrous perpetrators and an ineffective justice system) which can be held accountable. Furthermore, arguing that the problem that the goverrnment must deal with most urgently is violence and crime, becomes a distraction from considering relations of oppression, much of which sustains a culture of violence and crime. Two aspects of violence and crime with particular implications for white voices participating in a public discourse were mentioned in the beginning of chapter 4: the history of violence in South Africa and the high levels of economic inequality. These are not the only contextual factors which need to be taken into acount in order to understand the culture of violence and crime in South Africa. The construction of masculinity and the culture of alchohol and drug abuse are also factors important to understanding violent crime in South Africa. Recognising the legacy of apartheid and economic exclusion as contributing factors to violence and crime does not reveal anything truly new to a public discourse, indeed this has been mentioned by the National Crime Prevention Strategy in 1996 as well (Bruce 2006: 31). However, publicly acknowledging these specific factors as continuing to fuel a culture of violence and crime goes beyond committing oneself to contribute to the well-being of society, and demands shared moral responsibility for the culture of violence and crime. Admitting responsibility doesnt mean that white South Africans can somehow fix the identified problem. But acknowledging a shared moral responsibility for

23 24

And not exclusively white, as will be discussed in the next section. The words translate into can we just move along sir. This song is often used as illustration for popular responses to apartheid today, see for example Jansen (2009: 40) and Van der Westhuizen (2007: 288).

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violence and crime at can help to break down the us-them language that has marked white rhetoric on violence and crime. Such an approach might contribute to the dismantling of current contructions of whiteness in two ways. Publicly redefining the problem of physical violence by admitting that its root is, at least partly, the violent exclusion of some, both historically and continuing into the present, calls for a changed agenda. Where violence and crime have often been been regarded by whites as the most important task on the agenda of government, attention needs to be focused on issues of economic exclusion (often identified as unemployment), which affects the majority of South Africans. Next, the reminder of a long history of violence in South Africa admits that denial of the continuing effects of apartheid, an important strategy in constructing whiteness today, creates a skewed interpretation of current issues. Lastly, the focus on inequality rather than poverty challenges popular attempts at describing the causes of crime, and focuses our attention not merely on the poor, implying that welfare and development is the answer, but also on the privileged, asking questions about injustice. It seems appropriate that when whites who are cognisant of their whiteness and the privileges this continues to bestow on them participate in public discourse of ecumenical dialogue, they should start with the particular aspects of the context that are connected to their social location This might not lead to any unique contribution to public policy, but it does change the conversation on our own responsibility, and move beyond the popular racialised discourse. Mostly however, committing to emphasise these aspects implies that we become traitors from within in a context where the silencing of these very aspects is important to keep the status quo of whiteness in place. 5.3.3 Traitorous whites, theological conviction and a dialogue on public policy I have argued that public theology seeks to contribute to issues of public concern from our unique repertoire of faith. Drawing on God as the ultimate concern, we seek out resistance to the common good. To a large extent the argument from that point onwards has sought to display the problematic nature of participating in issues of public concern from the social location of being white. As a last suggestion for a race-cognisant white participation on the issue of violence and crime in South Africa, I want to return to
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participation from our repertoire of faith, making a single suggestion for a theological contribution to public policy which seeks to remain sensitive to the privileged location from which I am speaking. I will do this in dialogue with the suggestions discussed in chapter 4,25 using one dominant white response to violence and crime as a counterweight against which I present a possible alternative. The way in which these statements use language acceptable in a secular public discourse was discussed in chapter 4. I do not wish to reject such an approach, and believe that it indeed has value when the context in which the church participates in public calls for it.26 But there is one problem associated with such an approach that is important for this argument. This approach filters out the elements of a Christian worldview that cannot be verified in public, which at times are the most distinctive elements of Christian ethics. How do we translate love of enemies, uncalculating forgiveness, and self-sacrifice into language accessible in secular public discourse? In the context of violence and crime this might silence the most radical ethical contributions the church might have to make. Furthermore, this approach results in a removal from continued theological scrutiny by the community of faith drawing on Christian resources, since the language used is disconnected from the repertoire of faith (Marshall 2005: 14-15). I do not wish to imply that church participation in public discourse drawing on language which is publicly accessible is never suitable, indeed, I believe this remains an important skill that churches and theologians need to develop. However, we do need to recognise that this poses certain challenges. In the introduction I mentioned the role of theology as a tool of internal critique for religion. Recognising the secular language in church responses to issues of public life does not reduce the responsibility of theology to function as a tool of internal critique, but rather means that such a process of internal critique becomes somewhat more difficult, since the underlying theological convictions is not explicitly
25

Various other suggestions can also be found among Dutch Reformed Church decisions on violence and crime. What is presented can therefore not be described as an alternative to the church as such. I merely use a specific set of public responses as a starting point for creating an alternative theological response. 26 Whether this is indeed the appropriate approach for the Dutch Reformed Church in the South African context is a matter that requires further reflection, but it does not really affect this argument.

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mentioned in language which needs to be publicly accessible. However, I will use the rest of this section to attempt to responsibly construct such an internal critique of the church responses discussed in the previous chapter. After the 20th century, with various versions of Liberation Theology and a growing ecumenical conviction that the Christian gospel can no longer present salvation as otherworldly, disconnected from the realities of suffering in this world, we can safely argue that any public theology by its very definition commits the church to seeing salvation in the context of human society en route to a whole and healed world (Bosch 2004: 399). In response to a theology that was historically rather withdrawn from issues of public life,27 recent developments, although not without problems, have seen a growing conviction within the Dutch Reformed Church that issues of life in general need to be on the agenda of the church. Whiteness has been constructed partly in response to assumptions on what a whole and healed world would look like, and where salvation is to be found. Perkinson (2004: 3) describes modern whiteness as a surrogate form of salvation, a mythic presumption of wholeness. The assumption of whites28 is that salvation can be found for themselves without addressing questions of how their own salvation disregards the healing of the world. It functions as a pseudo-gospel where peace can be found in isolation while this very position of peace is intimately connected with violence outside of my own intimate sphere. Read in this way, apartheid was founded on a pseudo-soteriology which held that wholeness and healing can be found for whites in a segregated society. For Afrikaners, racial differences were considered so fundamental that it became impossible to imagine that a racially integrated future could be good in any way, or lead to any form of salvation whatsoever (Coetzee 2010: 37). How do we respond then to an almost exclusive focus on fighting crime through the strengthening of the criminal justice system? Does this not continue the same
27

This was illustrated by the important role of Pietism in the Dutch Reformed Church in chapter 3. Naud (2010: 143-144) points to research indicating the continued privatisation of faith in the Dutch Reformed Church into the 1980s. 28 A similar argument can be made about maleness and the capitalist class, which function as other privileged social locations.

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assumption? The assumption that the privileged position of some, intimately connected to a history of violence and a continuation of systemic violence through systems that exclude participation of the most marginalised groups, can be defended by strengthening the power of government, without addressing the healing of society? The assumption that violence and crime, easily identifiable as in opposition to a healed and whole world, can be strangled to death by a powerful police force even while vast economic inequalities continue to reign, and many continue to experience their own position as being of lesser value, as it was constructed through the white gaze over centuries, official policies of segregation for decades, and a continuing systemic exclusion from the global economic system facilitated by the economic elites, and disproportionately affecting blacks globally, and in Africa in particular, and visible in the tension existing between neighbouring communities in South Africa. The challenge continues to be soteriological, and rightly so. To continue using the language of Bosch: Marginalized groups in many countries of the world lack every form of active and even passive participation in society; inter-human relationships are disintegrating; people are in the grip of a pattern of life from which they cannot possibly wrench themselves free; marginality characterized every aspect of their existence. To introduce change, as Christians, into all of this, is to mediate salvation (Bosch 2004: 400). The call to end violence and crime through the strengthening of the police while simultaneously remaining silent about the way in which the privilege of a few and the inequalities in society contribute to sustaining this violence, reflects a continued pseudosoteriology that finds salvation in the existence of segregated pockets of peace inherently connected to a larger culture of violence.29

29

Is this not most clearly seen in the growth of gated communities? Places which promise an experience of wholeness and peace, often connected with a renewed connectedness with the ecological environment, while sustaining in its very essence a process of excluding the marginalized from full participation in this community. See for example Ballards (2004: 61-62) description of the planning of Heritage Park, which included a blatant continuation of apartheid style segregation. See also the discussion of Lemanski, where she noted that, in spite of an excessive fortification of residential living

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But white responses to violence and crime, and the churchs participation in public discourse, do not happen in isolation, and in spite of references in the statements discussed in chapter 4 to the prophetic task of the church, which prompts them to voice a critique of the government, there is a strange overlap between many of the white suggestions on violence and crime and the overall political climate, which require a short detour in our argument. In 1992 the ANC stated their position on crime and national security in their document, Ready to Govern: Underdevelopment, poverty, lack of democratic participation and the abuse of human rights are regarded as grave threats to the security of people. Since they invariably give rise to conflict between individuals, communities and countries, they threaten the security of states as well National security and personal security shall be sought primarily through efforts to meet the social, political, economic and cultural needs of the people (quoted inSamara 2003: 286). Similarly, the National Crime Prevention Strategy of 1996 focused primarily on crime prevention, focusing on four pillars: 1) reforming the criminal justice system to make it an effective deterrent, and improving access to the system for disempowered groups; 2) reducing crime through environmental design; 3) public values and education campaigns intended to involve communities in addressing the crime problem; and 4) addressing transnational organised crime (Samara 2003: 286). However, initial evaluations of the National Crime Prevention Strategy pointed out that resources were made available exclusively to crime control, and that virtually no attention was given to the social pillars (Samara 2003: 287). Massive investments were made in the expansion of the South African Police Service/Force (Bruce and Gould 2009: 15). While elements of social crime prevention have not been entirely absent from government responses since the late 1990s, the predominant approach of the Criminal Justice Sector has been to focus on crime control and a strengthening of law
spaces, their fear of the increasingly unknown outside has exploded, leading to further fortification and, hence, deeper fear (2004: 106), and further how the existence of gated communities facilitates social exclusion, enhances urban segregation and disrupts urban planning and management(2004: 107).

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enforcement (Bruce and Gould 2009: 17). Of particular importance for this discussion is that the public rhetoric, including that of the political elite, is consistently focused on a war on crime and getting tough on crime. The demand is for instant results, and the cheapest and quickest way to get this seems to be through a focus on a stronger police and justice system (Samara 2003: 285-292; Bruce and Gould 2009: 17). In the church statements discussed in chapter 4 there is a strong focus on a more effective police and government response to violence and crime and a lessening of corruption.30 But these elements of critique, even though described as part of the prophetic task of the church, might hide the general agreement between the Dutch Reformed Church public statements on violence and crime and the language of the political elite. Samara has noted a similar relationship with the media: Although the ANC frequently criticises the media for its negative coverage, especially for its coverage of the ANC, there seems to be a relationship between the state, the more affluent, urban public, and the English press that mediates the debate around crime and government priorities in South Africa (Samara 2003: 295). I do not wish to argue that crime control and an effective criminal justice system is unimportant in the current South African context. However, the public debate seems to be drawn towards an overemphasis on short-term solutions. When this becomes part of a process of establishing a white identity in a post-apartheid South Africa, it creates the opportunity to reject shared responsibility for a culture of violence in South Africa, deflecting critique from entrenched white and middle-class privileges, and a history of colonialism and racism and how this is connected to the current culture of violence and crime.31 Where does this leave us? It might not be the task of the church to present society with a detailed policy on crime prevention. But we need to develop a response that rejects

30

Admittedly, corruption is generally regarded as detrimental to the well-being of society, and there seems to be a challenge to the effective functioning of some of the South African public systems, including the criminal justice system (Bruce and Gould 2009: 15-16) 31 Bruce and Gould (2009: 18-19) conclude that addressing violence and crime in South Africa will require more than social crime prevention through developmental programs, but also addressing these deeper issues. Furthermore, although this might take us beyond the scope of this study, there have been

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approaches that present salvation to the world through attempts to maintain and continue systems of exclusion. Public theology amidst violence and crime needs to contribute from a theological well which is committed to the healing and wholeness of society at large. But these broad statements cannot suffice: on the one hand they run the danger of being meaningless theological jargon if not connected to the public lives of people, and on the other hand they are open to another round of universal suggestions for the healing of society, if not connected to the very position from which this whole argument was developed. To this I finally turn. To speak of salvation in a way that recognises that it implies wholeness within creation and society requires that we become cognisant of how the very construction of whiteness has relied on a hierarchy of people and assumptions which privileged some at the exclusion of others. Without disregarding the complexity of violence and crime in South Africa, part of the systemic violence that creates the backdrop against which subjective violence develops is the very existence of race, the history of racism in South Africa, and the continued process of keeping a privileged position for a few in place. There is a soteriological challenge to how white people and the church respond to violent crime. Although written in a different context, the words of James Perkinson are strangely prophetic in our own: what if salvation actually is all about salvation, that is to say, that there indeed is no wholeness at any level without wholeness at every level? What if, in fact, we are interlinked in such a way that the first world cannot become healthy without the two-thirds world also becoming healthy? Not as a matter of prescription, but as simple description? What if the suburb cannot quiet its angst without the city32 finding answer to its anger? (Perkinson 2004: 514).

arguments that the focus on strengthening crime control at the expense of crime prevention might not only be ineffective in the long run, but might add to violence and crime. 32 In South Africa we might also want to say What if the suburb cannot quiet its angst without the township finding answer to its anger?.

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What if the only way for white people to rid themselves not only of violence in the postApartheid South Africa, but also of the constant fear that is characterising the white experience today, is by reconciling with their black neighbours, by facing the injustice of the past, and by recognising that there is no salvation possible by holding onto any supposed privilege or entitlement connected with being white (Perkinson 2004: 511)? Taking cognisance of my whiteness implies a responsibility to start at a specific place when participating in any dialogue, whether public of ecumenical, on violence and crime: a commitment to dismantling deeper systems of exclusion from which I recognise myself as being privileged. Working from this commitment white theologians and churches might be able to participate in a public discourse in ways that slowly dismantle, rather than entrench, racialised identities.

5.4 Conclusion
I present these suggestions not as a ready-made blueprint for white theologians participation in the public sphere, but rather as ways in which we might seek to overcome the resistance which whiteness continues to provide towards the common good. To some extent these suggestions might leave us with a sense of frustration, since it doesnt create any easy way in which the church can be a light-bearer to society. But this might be the very resistance that needs to be developed through a cognisance of whiteness: the resistance to presenting to the world ready-made answers which imply that whites bring a universal ethic into a public discourse that will lead to the salvation of all if only their white guidance is taken seriously.

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Chapter 6: Conclusion
True to the hesitancy which cognisance of whiteness should create, a conclusion should be a conclusion seeking response. The assumption should be that oppressed populations often know more about the power position (and modes of identification) of their oppressors than the oppressors do themselves (Perkinson 2004: 3), and that I should be held accountable by black voices for the extent to which I have engaged critically with my own social location. In seeking to do this responsibly this study has followed the following path: Chapter 2 has argued that the social location of those reflecting on an issue of public concern should be taken into account. The insights of Black Theology and critics of public theology, voices working against the grain of a long tradition of universal theologies that excluded marginalised voices were considered important reminders for this. The way in which social location creates a number of moral questions as we proceed in a process of ethical analysis of something which we consider to be an issue challenging the common good was also noted. The choice made for this study was to focus on whiteness as a social location particularly important in our analysis of violence and crime. Chapter 3 sought to gain deeper understanding into the process of racialisation from a white insiders perspective. The unique history of South Africa was reflected upon, and brought into dialogue with international theories on white racialisation. Voices from a variety of fields of study, particularly philosophy, psychology and sociology, were engaged together with those of theologians and church historians in order to develop a sensitivity towards white subjectivity. The appropriate stance for those speaking from the insiders perspective of a position of racial privilege was described as becoming a traitor to my own social location. This should never be understood as a way of denying my own whiteness, but rather as a commitment to challenging the common assumptions held by those who are white.

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Chapter 4 engaged with a topic which is generating extreme emotions in South Africa, particularly among those who are white, and which has proven to be an important topic in the public rhetoric of the white Dutch Reformed Church. Drawing on studies in postapartheid whiteness various elements popular in white responses to violence and crime were described, and a number of public statements of the Dutch Reformed Church were analysed as an example of a white public theological participation in response to the issue of public concern under discussion. Chapter 5 concluded by attempting to suggest appropriate ways for white public theologians and churches to participate in the South African public discourse, drawing on the previous discussion on violence and crime to illustrate and develop this. The five suggestions can be summarised as follows: The default position for whites, who run the danger of speaking for others, is to commit to speaking to and with other South Africans. Ecumenical relations were described as one important place where whites can participate in an internal dialogue on issues of public concern, and be held accountable. Silence was considered an appropriate and underdeveloped choice for white public theologians. Whether in public or in ecumenical dialogues, a sensitivity at times to not speak is important for whites who have been racialised into a position of always speaking and knowing. Within a public discourse in which the experiences of poor and black South Africans concerning violence are excluded, this at times mean that whites might also insist on silence so that white experiences of violence and crime will not be used to further skew the public perception. In the context where whites use violence and crime to publicly describe themselves as victims, reflection on wrongs suffered was described as ethically dangerous. One responsibility of white voices speaking about violence and crime would be to insist that the privileged position of whites, both in their relatively safer existence in South Africa as well as the recognition they receive when affected by violence and crime, be continuously remembered, refusing to allow violence and crime to become an excuse for rejecting responsibilities.
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The way in which violence and crime are disconnected from their historical and contextual developments was pointed out as an important strategy for turning the gaze away from the history of white oppression in South Africa. Placing violence and crime within the broader context that continues to sustain it calls us towards a shared moral responsibility and a changed agenda, since violence is seen against the backdrop of deeper problems in society.

Connected to the last point I have argued that whites need to commit themselves to a soteriology that rejects the possibility that salvation will be found in any kind of segregated space. The salvation of whites should be connected to the salvation of all. This was described as a rejection of key elements of the theological construction of whiteness, but also as important within the debate on violence and crime in South Africa, where the examples of the church statements discussed in chapter 4 (as well as the rhetoric of the political elites) tend to overemphasise crime control.

One aspect which has been hinted at but not discussed fully is the question of agenda: in chapter 2 I have pointed out that we need to also ask ourselves why we choose to focus on a particular issue. While violence and crime remain a very important issue in South Africa, white South Africans do tend to see it as a higher priority than the broad population. If white South Africans are to be held accountable, the question of agenda is of utmost importance: not merely how we reflect on a problem, but also the problems which we choose to reflect upon is closely tied to the social location from which we are speaking. The innocence of choices to highlight certain concerns while remaining silent about others should be rejected, and a deeper dialogue developed if white public theologians in South Africa want to contribute through a reflection on that which is considered of utmost importance by the most marginalised groups in the country and the region. In short, we need to be open to be challenged about the priority given to violence and crime. To conclude: Samantha Vice has stated that an honest and sincere public dialogue about race has not yet happened in South Africa (Vice 2010: 324). In the history of South Africa it seems to be inevitable that this should happen at some point in the future
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if we are to honestly work through the pain of the past and the inequalities of the present. In as far as churches continue to be important formative spaces for many white people, churches and theologians have a particular responsibility to be educated on issues of power and race, and should contribute to the dismantling of deep racism that continues to plague South Africa in many ways.

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Addendum A
Verklaring oor misdaad en geweld
Die moderatuur van die NG Kerk het by afgelope vergadering met diepe kommer kennis geneem van die geweldsituasie in ons Suid-Afrika wat net nie beter word nie. Ons het met nog groter kommer kennis geneem van groeiende vlakke van moedeloosheid, frustrasie, en dreigende teen-geweld. Dit is veral in di lig dat ons hierdie verklaring uitreik. Wanneer die NGK in die verklaring op bepaalde probleme in ons samelewing wys, is dit omdat ons omgee vir hierdie land en al sy mense. Ons s dit eksplisiet omdat verklaring oor geweld in die verlede met verwyte van dislojaliteit aan die land beantwoord is. Ons kerk is hier in Suider-Afrika solank as die Here wil, om te bly. Ons het onsself reeds by herhaling tot Suider-Afrika en tot die kontinent verbind. Ons is ook nie kritikasters wat heeltyd negatief is en probeer foutvind nie. Ons het sedert 1990 baie moeite gedoen om ons mense positief te stem oor die land en hulle aan te moedig om konstruktief mee te werk aan die welsyn van ons land en al sy mense. Waar enigsins moontlik werk ons saam met die regering en ander organisasies tot so `n mate dat die leierskap al meermale daaroor gekritiseer is. Ons is bewus van die groot probleme van ons land en is dankbaar om te kan s dat daar letterlik honderde diensprojekte in die land aan die gang is wat vanuit plaaslike NGK gemeentes bedryf word. Ons kerkgemeenskap is egter weer `n keer die afgelope paar maande intens geskok deur die vlaag van geweldadige misdaad in SA wat net nie einde kry nie. Boere en werkers op plase ontgeld dit en voel weerloos uitgelewer aan vyandige elemente. In ons stede en townships word onskuldige mense ryk en arm, swart en wit se lewens en geluk verwoes deur sinnelose dade van misdadige geweld. Dit is inderdaad moontlik om op pad winkel toe, beroof en selfs geskiet te word. Mense voel nie veilig nie en glo

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nie meer dat die polisie in staat is om hulle te help in gevaarlike en doodsbedreigende situasies nie. Wat ons amper nog meer bekommer is `n gees van negatiwiteit, onverskilligheid en wrewel wat by mense aan die opbou is. Mense begin hoop opgee omdat dit vir hulle voel dat die situasie buite orde geraak het en daar geen werklike wil is om dit reg te kry nie. Ons begin ook hoor van mense wat dreig om die wet in eie hande te neem. Vir ons is dit `n bron van diepe besorgdheid waaroor ons moet praat. Ons sien `n paar probleme. Die belangrikste na ons mening, is die huiwering van die regering om hulself ondubbelsinnig en toegespits te verbind aan die beswering van geweld en misdadigheid in al sy vorms. Daar word gemengde boodskappe gestuur (waarvan die onlangse uitlatings van die president `n voorbeeld is) wat die gemeenskap frustreer en moedeloos maak. Verder het ` n reeks voorvalle die vertroue van die publiek in die leierskap van die polisie ondergrawe. Die onskynlike beskerming van `n hooggeplaaste wat die sekuriteit en veiligheid van `n metroraad bestuur en die bevoorregting van gesiene ANC figure in tronke laat mense twyfel aan die regering se sin vir billikheid en regverdigheid teenoor almal. Verder is daar n laksheid en oneffektiwiteit in sommige afdelings van die polisie wat net onaanvaarbaar is. Ons weet dat dit soms met `n gebrek aan toerusting te doen het en is ons dankbaar vir baie lede van die polisiemag wat hulle eie lewens dag vir dag waag en onvermoeid werk aan die bekamping van geweld en misdaad. Ons doen `n beroep op die regering om deur doelgerigte, sterk optrede t.o.v. geweld en misdaad dit vir mense moontlik te maak om in die land se potensiaal te bly glo, om energie en geld hier te bly bel en `n toekoms vir elke kind in die land te help bewerk. Wanneer die regering die voorbeeldigheid van leiers ernstig neem, enige sweem van korrupsie ten sterkste veroordeel en aan die kaak stel en onmiddellik met `n geloofwaardige en suksesvolle strategie kom om misdaad te beperk, sal die vertroue in die regering herstel word en kan al die sektore van die gemeenskap vrywillig en toegewyd werk aan `n Suid-Afrika wat vir ons almal dierbaar en waarin ons graag vreedsaam wil woon.

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Ons meen ook dat die tyd nou ryp is vir die samestelling van `n sterk, gedepolitiseerde alliansie uit die burgerlike samelewing om die polisie te begelei, te adviseer, en by te staan in hulle taak. Ons bid, soos wat dit gelowiges betaam, voortdurend vir die regering en spesiaal vir die polisie en is bewus van hulle haas onmoontlike taak. Maar ons is daarom ook verplig om, wanneer dit nodig is, ons profetiese stem te laat hoor. Moderatuur NG Kerk Vrydag 19 Januarie 2007

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A testimony to the authorities


The Church believes that the authorities have the responsibility to govern in such a way that the safety and quality of life of all citizens are safeguarded and promoted. We are thankful that we have a Constitution entrenching the rights of citizens. As believers we want to abide by the laws of the country and we are strongly opposed to any form of anarchy. At present most of the people in our country experience worry, uncertainty and even fear. The following trends contribute to this: Crime, violence and corruption. The prevalence of crime, violence and corruption has reached a stage where many people have lost all confidence in the authorities. Notwithstanding many representations made by many different sectors of our society and calls that the authorities have to do something decisive about the situation, there is no improvement. Innocent people are subject to crime and violence. Inhabitants of our country are senselessly and cruelly murdered daily. Rape, child molestation and corruption have become an integral part of our daily lives. People come to the conclusion that the authorities are not able to maintain law and order. This untenable situation causes people to take the law into their own hands to protect themselves. This is a prelude to anarchy and unnecessary bloodshed. Shortage of skills and infrastructure. There is a perception among most South Africans that the country is deteriorating rapidly as a result of bad management and a shortage of skills. These factors cause a collapse of the infrastructure in many areas such as the provision of electricity, health care,
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education, the road network and the increase of poverty and HIV/Aids. Injudicious transformation and affirmative action are partly to blame for this. An ever-increasing stream of people emigrating gives rise to a further loss of necessary expertise. Racism. Instead of reconciliation racism is escalating (white on black and black on white). Stereotyping and the inclination to blame racism for everything that goes wrong, heightens the tension and leads to conflict. The disparagement of language rights and home language teaching of minority groups as well as irresponsible affirmative action heightens the feeling of powerlessness. Agriculture and food supply. The excessive rises in input costs, for example fertiliser and fuel prices in the agricultural sector, make it impossible for producers specifically in the corn trade to survive financially. This fact, coupled with an increase in the violent and cruel murders on farms, uncertainty concerning ownership rights and an apparent lethargy on the part of the authorities to support and protect them, lead to the fact that many farmers leave the sector. This can give rise to food shortages, calamity and famine on a scale never before seen in South Africa and the rest of Africa. Crisis in Zimbabwe. The hesitancy of the authorities and the President to take a strong and clear stand on the immoral and undemocratic actions and accompanying violation of human right of the ruling party in Zimbabwe strengthens the perception that in time the same will also occur in South Africa.

A call on the President and the government On behalf of millions of Christians in South Africa (75% of the population) we beseech you to take drastic measures to restore law and order according to the Constitution. We assure you that we pray for you and the government continually. Hear the desperate plea of the largest part of the population of South Africa before it is too late!

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A call on all fellow believers and citizens of South Africa Many people are traumatised and suffering. Many people live in poverty, fear and uncertainty. Pessimism is rife. We call on all people in South Africa to work together to eradicate all wrongdoing in our society. We want to urge members of our various churches and all fellow believers to be strong in the faith in these difficult circumstances and to put our faith in God. Our future is in his hands now and always. As believers we have to live responsibly before God in all circumstances. Maintain the values and virtues found in the Word of God. Comfort, console and support one another. Pray for and help those that suffer. Pray that God will give his wisdom to those that govern us. May God grant that we will live in freedom and peace in our beautiful country! On behalf of: The Dutch Reformed Church The Netherdutch Reformed Church in Africa The Reformed Churches of South Africa Pretoria 6 May 2008

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Xenofobie stel ook eise aan kerk


Moderatuur van Ned Geref Kerk Verklaring 22 Mei 2008 Die Ned Geref Kerk is saam met ander kerke in Suid-Afrika diep bekommerd oor die aaklige werklikheid van die geweld in Gauteng en ander plekke wat op hierdie stadium aan xenofobie of vreemdelinghaat en etniese oorsake gewyt word: Geweld wat die potensiaal het om wyer uit te kring. Hierdie haat en geweld druis in teen die goeie beeld van verdraagsaamheid teenoor vreemdelinge wat Suid-Afrika het. Alle mense, of hulle nou vreemdelinge of buitelanders is en of hulle van ander etniese groepe is, kan met reg aanspraak maak op die barmhartigheid van die Christene. Die antwoord op die onwettigheid van immigrante of die wrewel van ander etniese groepe is nie geweld, die beskadiging van eiendomme en selfs moord en doodslag nie, maar die wyse of oorwo handhawing van dit wat reg of wetlik aanvaarbaar is. Berigte dat ons regering nie voorbereid was op die huidige vlaag van onrus nie en nie ag geslaan het op waarskuwings en verslae nie, verontrus. Ware bramhartigheid geskied in n atmosfeer van vrede. Daarom moet die handhawing van wet en orde juis daarop gemik wees om wetteloosheid, geweld en lewensverlies te voorkom. Uit gesprekke met van die betrokkenes wil dit ook voorkom asof SuidAfrikaanse wette op buitelandse immigrante nie vir almal in alle opsigte duidelik is nie. Hieraan kan ook aandag gegee word. As kerke en gemeentes moet twee sake op hierdie stadium vir ons prioriteit geniet: 1 die fisiese behoeftes van SA burgers n buitelanders ten opsigte van skuiling, kos, klere, mediese hulp en veiligheid. Behoeftes waaraan die kerke op die korttermyn kan en moet help aandag gee. 2 Die vasstelling van die werklike oorsake van hierdie onrus om soortgelyke voorvalle in die toekoms te voorkom. Die kerke kan ook n rol speel in die hantering van die geestelike of etiese redes vir die onrus.

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Indien daar lidmate, gemeentes, ringe of sinodes in die NG Kerk is wat van hierdie fisiese hulp wil verleen, kan hulle met die volgende kerklike instansies skakel: SARK: Finansile bydrae kan aan die SARK (Gauteng) of MES aksie.gemaak word: Gauteng Council of Churches Nedbank Fox straat Tak: 190 342 Rek no: 1903392209 Dr Andre Bartlett is voorsitter van die Gauteng Raad van Kerke en kordineerder. MES Aksie Bied aan om as vrywilligers te gaan help by MES natasha@mes.org.za or natasha.felix@up.ac.za of by 073 238 7739 www.mes.org.za Prof Piet Strauss Namens die Moderatuur Algemene Sinode NG Kerk

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Concern over violence in South Africa


June 13, 2008 The moderature of the Dutch Reformed Church at their recent meeting has expressed its deep concern over violence in South Africa, to which there seems to be no end. They have also taken cognizance of the growing levels of hopelessness, frustration and threats of counter violence. It is especially in light of this that the statement has been issued by us. When the Dutch Reformed Church points out certain problems in its statement, it is prompted by a concern for the county and its people. We would like to stress this since declarations on violence have in the past been met with accusations of disloyalty to the country. Our Church in Southern Africa exists through the grace of God and will remain here as long as God wills. We have repeatedly committed ourselves not only to South Africa but the entire continent. Our aim is not to be overcritical or negative or to continually find fault. Since 1990 we have gone to great lengths to encourage a positive stance by our members towards the country and have encouraged our members to act constructively towards improving the wellbeing of our country and its entire population. Where ever possible we have cooperated with government and other organisations to the extent that the church leadership has been hauled over the coals a number of times by its members. We are not unaware of the many problems facing our country and are pleased to say that literary hundreds of welfare projects have been instituted and are run by local Dutch Reformed congregations. However, our community has been shocked once more by the latest spate of violence to which there seems to be no end. Farmers and their workers are prime targets and feel increasingly vulnerable to attacks by hostile elements. In our cities and townships the lives of innocent people - both rich and poor, black and white are willfully destroyed by mindless deeds of criminal violence. It is indeed possible to be robbed and even shot on the way to the shops.

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People no longer feel safe and have lost all faith in the police services to protect them in dangerous and life threatening situations. What is more worrying is the air of negativity, defeatism and anger which is taking hold of our people. People are beginning to give up hope because they feel that the situation is out of control and that there is no real attempt or will to change the situation. More and more we are hearing about people threatening to take the law into their own hands. To us this is a matter of deep concern which needs to be addressed. In our view there are certain underlying problems that need to be addressed. Firstly, in our opinion, the reluctance on the part of the government to commit itself unequivocally to combating the wave of violence and criminality in all its forms is cause for concern. The public are getting conflicting messages (the latest being the recent statement by the president) which frustrate and demoralize them. In addition a number of occurrences have undermined the public trust in the police. The apparent protection of a high ranking official in one of the metro councils and the special privileges afforded to certain ANC members who have been sentenced to prison, have cast doubts on the governments ability to dispense justice fairly and equitably. There is also a laxity and ineffectiveness perceived in certain sectors of the police force which is unacceptable. We are aware that often lack of equipment plays a part and we are grateful to the many members of the police force who risk their lives daily and work tirelessly in the fight against violence and crime. We are appealing to the government to act decisively with regards to violence and crime in order to make it possible for people to continue believing in the potential of the country, to continue investing and to help create a future for every child in this country. When government starts to see it as their duty to set an example, condemns and brings to book any trace of corruption and immediately puts into place a credible and workable strategy to curb crime, confidence in the government will be restored and all sectors of the community will contribute willingly and eagerly to create a South Africa which is precious to all and where we all want to live in peace.

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We feel that the time has come for the creation of a strong depoliticized alliance emanating from civil society to guide, advise and support the police in their task. We are praying, as is fitting for believers, without ceasing for the government and especially the police while assuring them that we are aware of the almost impossible task they are facing. At the same time we are duty bound to make our prophetic voice heard.

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Persvrystelling na aanleiding van die moord op Mnr Eugene Terreblanche


5 April 2010 Die moord op die AWB-leier, mnr Eugene TerreBlanche, het groot nuusgolwe binne en buite Suid-Afrika gemaak. Voor- en teenstanders van die standpunte van TerreBlanche keur sy wrede, weersinwekkende moord af. Sulke optrede teen openbare figure, wat die motief ookal mag wees, lei nie tot oplossings nie. Dit verhoog die spanning tussen mense in Suid-Afrika en vergroot die kloof tussen verskillende radikale en minder radikale groepe. Die moord op TerreBlanche beklemtoon andermaal die noodsaaklikheid dat: die reg, wet en orde in Suid-Afrika gehandhaaf word. Vreedsame skikkings en n effektiewe staatsapparaat wat die Bybels-verantwoorde regte van mense beskerm, is onontbeerlik. Sulke regte is onder andere die reg op lewe, op n verantwoordelike vryheid van spraak en die reg op n gefundeerde, onderlinge meningsverskil; emosionele liedere en slagspreuke wat rassespaning verhoog nie deur die land bekostig kan word nie. President Zuma se beroep op kalmte en wetsgehoorsaamheid word verswak deur sy skynbare onvermo. of weiering om Julius Malema hieroor vas te vat. Sy belofte tydens die onlangse ete met Afrikanerkultuur- en kerkleiers om aan hierdie saak aandag te gee, het net mooi niks opgelewer nie; geweldsmisdaad, of dit nou polities gemotiveer word of nie, uitgeroei moet word. Dit is ironies dat n menselewe soms so min werd is in n land waarin die doodstraf afgeskaf is; Suid-Afrikaners n hartsverandering nodig het. n Hartsverandering wat alleen deur God en sy Woord bewerk kan word.

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Prof Piet Strauss Moderator NG Kerk (0825573414) Dr Kobus Gerber Algemene Sekretaris NG Kerk (0828955680)

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