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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Bianca van Wyk: Sour Grapes — The Toxic Vintage of White Whine

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By Bianca van Wyk

South Africa is internationally recognised and celebrated for its exquisite quality of white wines. In 2023, our Chenin Blanc delighted international judges with its “opulent palate of crystalline pineapple, roasted nuts and burnt sugar.” Now that I have gently nudged you into the cosy embrace of “stronger together,” let’s pop the cork on this bottle of White Whine and dive headfirst into the juicy bits.

We also have an unusual local vintage known as White Whine. Vintage is manufactured and produced across the country. Its unique quality lies in its ability to leave a lingering, bitter after taste on the palate of those who refuse to partake. Like an overindulgence in regular wine, White Whine leaves behind a sour residue that taints the experience for anyone nearby who opts out of its toxic vintage.

Uncorking Grievances: The Solidarity Movement’s Vintage

White Whine is a toxic blend of entitlement, ethnic exceptionalism, and denial, fermented in antique oak barrels of privilege. One of the larger producers and exporters of White Whine is the Solidarity Movement (in “die taal”, Die Solidariteit Beweging). This White Whine producer boasts with over 500k dedicated consumers.

The Solidarity Movement adamantly refuses to acknowledge the systemic advantages afforded to those with skin paler than a chardonnay grape. They put great effort into decrying any attempts to level the playing field as an attack on the existence of their members.

This skilled producer of White Whine has a seemingly benign unique selling proposition. It is “helping its people lead a normal life in a normal country.” Does “normalcy” mean maintaining the status quo, which is built upon a foundation of systemic racism and oppression, where the playing field is leaning in favour of an elite white minority at the expense of others? It can also be argued that the Solidarity Movement’s goal of helping its people’s is inherently exclusive, prioritising the interests of its members, over those of other groups. By perpetuating the illusion of white victimhood and alleged discrimination, the movement seeks to maintain the status quo and resist efforts towards equality and social justice.

A Toast to Fear and Fiction: The Dangers of South Africa’s White Whine

As conservative leaders and enthusiasts from across the world gathered to exchange ideas and indulge in political theatre at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Hungary, representatives from South Africa’s Solidarity Movement eagerly rubbed shoulders and peddled their wares.

Attendees raised their glasses in a toast to fear and fiction. Enthusiastically buying into the Great Replacement Theory, that their host, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has embraced. Orbán’s government is known to stoke fears of migration and multiculturalism, painting a picture of Hungary under siege by outsiders. It’s the perfect backdrop for selling White Whine, a vintage that thrives on white victimhood and imagined discrimination.

It’s uncertain whether Ernst Roets, the Solidarity Movement’s Head of Policy, graced the stage at this year’s CPAC to share his pearls of wisdom on white discrimination in South Africa, or whether he chose to keep his vintage of insight corked for another occasion.

Last time around in 2023, representing AfriForum (a member organisation of the Solidarity Movement) at CPAC, Roets entertained his fellow compatriots with a tale of resilience amidst adversity.

Despite facing discrimination, white Afrikaners in South Africa, he claimed, were thriving thanks to their robust family structures and institutions.

He uncorked a bottle of White Whine, spinning tales of strength and superiority amidst the chaos. Unsurprisingly, instead of acknowledging the scars of apartheid left on this country’s family structures and acknowledging its painful legacy, the Solidarity Movement often chooses to sip from the cup of denial.

Uncorking the Afrikaner Accord: A New Vintage of White Whine

In the run up to the 2024 elections, a familiar tune resounds – the call for an Afrikaner Accord. Picture a network of leaders, representatives from various Afrikaner institutions (mainly made up of the Solidarity Movement and its member organisations), and individuals gathered around a table, swirling their glasses of White Whine as they drafted a joint statement.

Their concern? The supposed crisis facing the country and the Afrikaner community, a crisis they believe necessitates their unique solution. This echoes similar concessions made prior to the 1994 elections; a moment ingrained in the nation’s memory.

While the Afrikaner Accord may claim to have noble intentions, it ultimately serves to perpetuate the myth of white victimhood and justify the maintenance of the status quo.

White Whine is a vintage of exclusion, a bitter brew that threatens harmony and stands in the way of positive change in our society. From its toxic blend of entitlement to its denial of systemic advantages, this vintage leaves a sour taste in our mouths, and threatens the notion of South African unity in diversity.

* Bianca van Wyk is an independent researcher, writer and analyst.

** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of or Independent Media.

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