File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
As a member of the white race - and another johnny-come-lately - I have a need to apologise to black South Africans and to compensate them for over 350 years of colonialism, slavery, apartheid and other forms of abuse.

We sabotaged their opportunities to flourish as human beings. We damaged their very souls.

With our technology and military might, we white people dominated South Africa, but the more power you wield, the greater your moral culpability. By that standard, we whites are failures.

Nelson Mandela’s initiatives in bending over backwards to avert a race war were successful, but he went too far. He reassured us to the point of rendering us passive and complacent and somewhat mindlessly continuing to enjoy the status quo.

Corruption in the new regime needs urgent attention, but the continual externalisation of blame allows us to distract ourselves from our own responsibilities.

Where is our concerted initiative as whites to make meaningful amends for a past that is still so glaringly present?

We shake our heads at our new rulers while we turn away from the men scrabbling in dustbins as we drive past.

We don’t want to face up to our part in the obscenity of the poverty gap.

Our homes on the best land in our cities, our vast farms, our fancy cars, our very complacency add insult to injury.

As I see it, the bottom line of compensation for the mess we whites made is reparations.

Black people need to feel our remorse and to witness us repairing some of the damage.

Essentially, the justification for reparations is a moral one We are in moral debt. We owe them.

Philip Getz

Camps Bay

Cape Times