What's the hardest thing about SA history?

 

Getting people to agree on it, says Nik Rabinowitz and Gillian Breslin.

‘Oh great,’ you’re probably thinking, ‘a history lesson. I have bigger things to worry about. Why should I care about ancient history when the present is changing all the time?’

Our generation is all about change: regime changes, party changes, road name changes, province changes, Facebook status update changes. History books get changed according to who is in power, so we don’t know where we’re coming from.

Newspapers are censored and sanitised, so we don’t know where we stand. Twitter and Facebook are no use because they are full of people who lie and can’t spell.

And the future is uncertain, so we don’t know where we’re going. But sometimes, knowing where you came from can help you to figure out where you are going. Or at the very least, help you to win at Trivial Pursuit.

It may come as a surprise to you that South Africa was not always the raceless, classless utopia you see in beer adverts. Once upon a time this was a dark and dangerous place, beset by racism and violence. Like America, but with elephants.

So what happened? How did we get from primitive violent racists to sophisticated violent racists?

If you were educated prior to 1990, you might remember learning that the noble Boers and long-suffering British people were beset by problems caused by the bloodthirsty black tribes. That isn’t really a big theme in post-1990 teaching.

So we are here to set the record straight. This is the true, unabridged version of South African history.

Prehistory Millions of years ago, there were tiny, hairy hominids roaming the West Rand of Joburg. This is still true, but the original hairy hominids had not yet invented the wheel, let alone the tow-truck.

These original hominids were the missing link – the precursors to all mankind. We don’t know much about these guys, but we do know that they were incredibly clumsy, because we keep finding their bones down holes and in old riverbeds.

Since we don’t find many bones we assume they were either incredibly good at decomposing or they ate each other. We are going with cannibalism, since every good story needs a bit of cannibalism …

Then evolution happened. Unless you don’t believe in evolution, in which case God made some new and improved humans.

About the books:
The Youngsters series is a fresh, entertaining series of pocket books that feature prominent young South African voices worth listening to.

The books explores topics of interest to the youth, ranging from hair weaves to discovering who you are and what you should do with your life, as well as issues of race and gender, love and sex in the time of social networks, the music and radio industries, comedy, empowering yourself and more … The series shares the naked reality of being a youngster in South Africa and helps you to make sense of it all.


This exclusive extract is published with permission and brought to you by Pan Macmillan South Africa.

You can head on over to Kalahari.com to buy a copy of the books, which by the way, have been edited by award-winning journalist and author of Killing Kebble, Mandy Weiner:

South Africa A Long Walk to a Free Ride by N. Rabinowitz
Becoming by Shaka Sisulu
Take it from Me by Danny K
It Feels so Wrong to Laugh, but
by Anele Mdoda
In my Arrogant Opinion by Khaya Dlanga


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  By: Nik Rabinowitz and Gillian Breslin

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