Letters to the Editor

Letters for July 5, 2001

An expatriate gets exasperated: Today as I walked past the newsstand, my country's flag shouted out to me. I was so excited to read what you had to say about the flight of the South African population ("Generation Exodus," Amy Roe, June 21), but to my surprise or should I say no surprise at all, all you focused on was the past.

As you said in your article, apartheid ended seven years ago. And much to the delight of most of the white South Africans (I'm sure you are surprised that I say that), we all knew change was coming and welcomed it. What we did not welcome was the murdering of our families and friends -- black and white. You people have no clue what life in South Africa is like. We come from the most beautiful country in the world, and I've traveled some. Our people outshine many, and our country is warm, welcoming, and as I said, beautiful. There is so much to say about S.A., but I want to get back to your article. As for no one going back "without the carrot of increased salaries," that is nonsense. If our government would do something about the crime, murder, rape, and disorder, trust me, we would all go back -- even Lauren Pannicco and Gus Fabian.

If you think it's only the whites who are afraid in the new South Africa, then let me assure you, it is the black people who are suffering the most. Just because the country is under black rule doesn't mean the black people are happy. They are the victims of horrible crimes every day, and their stories are never told. Children are raped and nothing is done; women are abused and nothing is done. But all the world in general ever does is blame apartheid. Well, now there is no apartheid and no whites to blame for the past seven years. And what has the government done for its people? Built safe homes? No. Done away with townships? No. Created jobs? No. Unemployment is higher now than before. Boy, I could go on forever, so before you blame apartheid till the end of time, take a look at what's been done since. Nothing! Things have only gotten worse.

By the way, they talk of how the country handled its problems in the past; well, war is never pretty -- and we were at war. You Americans should know. Look what you did to the natives of this country. At least we want to make things better, but who can wait until their whole family is murdered in the process?

To all the South Africans who are trying to make a life elsewhere, I am proud of you. I also had to leave the place I call home, and it is the hardest thing in the world. To those who comment on things they don't know about, go live there and don't be such a coward. And as for Lauren Pannicco (who argued 99.9 percent of white South Africans are racist), why don't you tell us where you lived in South Africa and how many maids you had -- and still have? I call you a hypocrite. And who do you think you are, telling us not to enter your "new home," when you ran away like the rest of us? The only reason you live in an "economically and racially mixed neighborhood" is because that's all you can afford.

Now that I have said my piece, I want you to know that 99.9 percent of us have not left because we're racist, it's for our safety, and there is no reason for us to sacrifice any more than the American people should suffer because of their past.

Viva South Africa, black and white!

Candice Castro
via the Internet

Mbeki = Botha: I felt the need to respond to "Generation Exodus." Firstly I am a white South African, and although I do not share your ideas and consider your article biased, I will say that you have provided some useful information for South African ex-pats who are new to South Florida. I was not aware of Floyd's hostel, nor did I know the Kalahari Bar is a local meeting place for homesick white South Africans.

Secondly it is clear to me that you are not a South African. A South African of any race would spell the word bri correctly (correct spelling, braai). After reading your article, I realize that you probably have done some research on South Africa but, like most reporters of your opinion, have never, ever been to South Africa. I surely respect your opinion, but I hardly consider writings of a person who has studied a couple books and spoken to a few people legitimate information. This makes me understand why your story is biased.

Thirdly I strongly condemn Lauren Pannicco's notion that 99.9 percent of white South Africans living in South Florida are racist. Has this lady done a survey perhaps? Does she know for sure that 99.9 percent of white South Africans living in South Florida are racist? I think not. A lot of white South Africans are NOT racist, and therefore her accusation makes me sick! Most expatriate white South Africans are sad for their country. This is due to several facts including, most important, the escalation of violence and crime that takes place on a daily basis, the countless deaths of citizens from disease, and the lifestyle people find themselves having to live.

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