In South Africa, a supermarket looking to hire new employees targeted black recruits, drawing white backlash. The incident inspired filmmaker Roger Young to create t-shirts reading “I benefited from apartheid.” His goal was for white critics to “understand” how the legacy of apartheid persists, he said. But the t-shirts have only added fuel to the fire.

Mr. Young printed 40 t-shirts displayed under a sign labeled “Free t-shirts, white only,” and received mixed responses. Supporters thought it was a brave way to communicate the enduring effect apartheid had on the country, still palpable almost 20 years later. Naysayers were adamant that apartheid was a gift.

Margarita Barnard wrote on Facebook:

“I tell you who benefited from apartheid, it was blacks. I wish blacks would give whites apartheid. And I will tell you why I say this. Whites came to a country where there was nothing, just some black tribes living in mud huts killing each other. No roads no infrastructure no South Africa even. Blacks were always dying from famines when there were droughts, from tsetse fly [sleeping sickness], from yellow fever, malaria, name it they died in droves […] They had no doctors, no writing, no schools no hospitals no roads, and worst of all and something which probably cause more deaths than the rest, no sewage system. Whites came and provided all those at the expense of whites, white know how gave blacks everything they take for granted today. Like clothes, pens, computers, everything of a billion things it needs to create a civilization. BUT whites couldn’t civilise them, so apartheid was necessary to keep whites alive.”

Barnard isn’t alone in her sentiments. Francois DeWet posted:

“Get me a dictionary or something that shows me how black Africans could be taught in their own languages subjects like maths, science and biology. Simple, you cannot teach in a language that does not have the terminology to do so. We didn’t place restrictions on the development of their languages and simply had to find another way to give them a start in live. So, alternative mediums were introduced to accommodate the lack of terminology, and they went apeshit!!”

The aforementioned posts and the hate mail Mr. Young has received only prove his point that race relations are still suffering from the impact of apartheid.

What do you think of Mr. Young’s t-shirts and the resulting backlash, Clutchettes?

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  • Quakou

    Who is this. What does he even know about African history. Whites always claim they brought civilisation to Africa. What nonsense. As mentioned by some of commentators hereof, we had great empires before they came and disrupted it. Today, they have rewrite history to provide credit to themselves. Enough from these white craps. This reminds me of an argument where a stupid white lady asked that, what has ever succeeded an African way. This white guy above is full of nuts and just like one of his white peers.

    • Chouaibou Njoya

      Shut up and try to look at the effort this man is making towards racial peace by printing a tshirt that tells the truth. You sound like one of those verbose idiots who would kill another man for his opinions.

  • That is extremely controversial no matter what race wears the t-shirt. It only gains to promote such a horrible time in history.

  • Heather Ferris

    It is essential that we open our hearts and minds to the fact that whites and colonialists everywhere have deliberately strategized to keep others (mostly indigenous people) down. It can be very subtle, not as overt as apartheid. Blame and guilt are not, in my mind, useful unless they raise our compassion. If we are part of the majority who has benefited at the hands of others, then we must own it. I do! This oppressive power is not always about race; it is now rising as capitalism and corporate greed. We can use the unearned privilege (all of it is unearned when we prosper because of race, inheritance, educational possibilities while others do not have equal access). How? We speak up for equal access, we ask how we can be an ally or advocate in a way that really serves others, not with missionary zeal thinking we know what is best. Take the time to get to know the ‘other’ without judging and making assumptions. As Lily Waker and Australian Aboriginal woman once said, “If you come here to help me you are wasting your time. If you come here because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us begin.” This is a time on this planet when we must work together as climate change affects all of us.

  • I really don’t understand the racist that live in south Africa or anywhere (not saying he is but wouldn’t doubt it). If you don’t like the natives of the country then leave. Europe is suffering. If you think you’re so great go there and shower your greatest and leave the innocent people of the world alone.

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