Western Cape premier and former leader of the Democratic Alliance Helen Zille has tried to explain her comments on colonialism that landed her in trouble -- even with her party. Published in the Daily Maverick on Monday, she gives colour and context to her news-worthy Twitter faux pas last week in which she defended colonialism, citing Singapore as a perfect example for South Africa to follow.
For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 16, 2017
She later apologised "unreservedly":
I apologise unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 16, 2017
But just as this apology wasn't REALLY apologetic, so too wasn't her explanation. In the piece, she defended her initial argument by criticising her party's treatment of her and what she calls South Africa's "contours of political correctness". There are plenty quotables, but here are the Huffington Post's selection of the quotes that best show just how unapologetic her "sorry, not sorry" actually is:
While travel broadens the mind, I tend to forget that, on returning to South Africa, it is best to shrink your mind again to fit the contours of political correctness. Especially if you are white. We pay lip service to equal citizenship. In reality, every opinion is judged on the basis of the colour of the person who expresses it. "Speaking while white" is considered the ultimate sin, in terms of the increasingly popular ideology called "critical race theory".
I was reminded of what President Nelson Mandela had said of the missionary schools, where so many African leaders of his generation were educated: "These schools have often been criticised for being colonialist in their attitudes and practices," said Mandela. "Yet, even with such attitudes, I believe their benefits outweighed their disadvantages." He could not have tweeted that, because Twitter did not exist then, and also because it is more than 140 characters long. But with a little editing (to make it less controversial) he would have had 15 characters to spare: "These schools have often been criticised for being colonialist. Yet, I believe their benefits outweighed their disadvantages."
I have always known that African racial nationalism is the central tenet of the ANC. But is it becoming the philosophy of the DA? I am deeply grateful for the DA's legacy (dare I call it colonial?) of due process of law, including audi alterem partem (hear the other side). If I am charged, I will have a fair trial and the panel will reach a conclusion, consistent with the DA and South Africa's Constitution.
South Africa's version of 'transformation' [is] bribe-based black elite enrichment, masquerading as black economic empowerment[..]an incomprehensible amalgam of racism and corruption designed to ensure economic failure.
I was blown away by the boldness of Singapore's vision, that a small country with no natural resources had in a single generation moved from extreme poverty to the cutting edge of modernity.