Celia Wolf-Devine (Awesome name right…?), a renowned American lawyer and philosopher, once stated the following when asked the question – Whether similar policies, like AA and BBBE, like we currently have in South Africa should not be partially implemented in America due to their former apartheid like system, which icons such as Martin Luther King fought against.
American View On Racial Quotas In South African Sport
Her answer was short, simple and correct, Celia Wolf answered :
“The law (that is American law) does not allow people to collect for wrongs done to their parents and grandparents or past generations… ”
The above quote makes for a very interesting debate when it comes to South African sports and more specifically the recent rule enforced by Fikile Mbalula on 50% black representation by 2019, however before we look at it from a sporting perspective let us first take a brief tour through world history.
It is not just victims of apartheid who have been treated unjust, history is full of injustices of varying natures, some much worse than apartheid (i.e. not just racial segregation).
The following touch on just a fraction on past injustices, regarding people who have been treated horrendously in years gone by.
- Consider events such as the Nazi Holocaust where millions of Jews were murdered.
- Events such as the Anglo-Boer War, a Boer fight for independence, where hundreds of thousands of Boers were placed in concentration camps and starved to death by the British. (According to the current South African system the British should be forced to give Boers preferential job placements & selections.)
- The Angolan border war veterans, during apartheid times, who put themselves in great danger for their countries sake, with little to no compensation or recognition today.
In my opinion, there is absolutely no doubt that both the war veterans, survivors and victims of apartheid are due some form of compensation for the horrendous ways and / or conditions they have had to suffer. (Notice the selection of words SURVIVORS)
However, one has to draw the victim line somewhere and that is where another world famous philosopher, Gertrude Ezorsky, who has written numerous best sellers such as “Freedom In The Workplace” and “Racism & Justification” to name but a few, echoes the words of the lawyer Celia Wolf-Define.
According to Gertrude Ezorsky in one of his lectures he mentions:
“people who were NOT directly present during the time of discrimination and now wanting to claim compensation or current advantages due to past evils, and past discriminatory laws, lay their claim purely on being part of a group or certain ethnicity and not much else, this is arguably used to exploit the struggles of those who came before them”
To put this in more simple terms if someone smashed into your car 25-years ago, sure you can sue or claim compensation to that person who smashed into your car, but you cannot go to his uncle, brother or other relative and claim compensation, since they (the relatives) were not responsible for the accident.
Putting the Above Into a Sporting Perspective.
Now putting the above quotes into a sporting perspective and more specifically the selection quotas which have been enforced by the South African sports ministry.
Merely belonging to a racial group who WAS previously discriminated against does NOT, or should not, give an unfair advantage (read quotas) to an individual, simply because of injustices done to members of his PREVIOUS generation.
The only group of people who should be allowed to claim compensation, such as preferred job placements or selections, are those who were DIRECTLY affected or oppressed during apartheid or any other past injustice.
Because of apartheid, it’s not the only reason but certainly a contributor, an overwhelming majority of South African black people today live in poverty.
Instead of enforcing ridiculous and borderline unlawful transformation policies on national and provincial teams rather go into poor previously disadvantaged communities try to uplift them and promote sport amongst them. Especially rugby which the government seems so hell bend to transform.
By doing this you will ensure lasting change, both in terms of strengthening South African rugby and how the team’s demographics will look like in the future, not just throwing a blanket over the issue which is currently happening with the 50-50 representation rule by 2019.
Furthermore I would like to add Apartheid ended nearly 23-years ago, considering the average age of players in the Springbok and provincial teams is around 25/26 years old, none of these so called “quota” players were old enough to be DIRECTLY affected by apartheid, the same can be said about veteran players in their 30’s.
The great Madiba was smart enough to realise that sport can be an immensely powerful tool in unifying a diverse nation, however by enforcing racial selection policies, as done by the current incompetent South African sports minister, it only serves to further divide a nation and promote racism. Which is totally against which Madiba stood for. It is said to see how far modern day South Africa has drifted from the values of equality which Madiba fought against with most of his life!