South Africa History!!
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South Africa History!!

by Atsushi
(Ibaraki)

The only thing I knew about South Africa is that the World Cup was held there. So I investigated about South Africa. South Africa launched the apartheid abolition in 1991, and made a democratic government in 1994.

Former President Mbeki is known as a leader who represents a powerful Africa. Moreover, the warm climate and rich nature are also famous.

It is located on the ground of an important place. There are so many days of fine weather through every year, that it is called a solar country.

Moreover, it is also a treasury of animals and plants. Nature and cultural ruins are also rich. The large country and its complicated history consist of black persons, whites, coloreds (half-breed), and Asians.

There is a very complicated history in South Africa. However, I think that it is a very good country.

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Mar 22, 2012
Clearing up some misunderstandings
by: Gary Wolff

>Japan is made up, for the most part, of a homogenous race of Japanese citizens and so they don't have to deal with difficult issues like racism or discrimination the way America or South Africa does.

Are you sure about this, Luke? What is the extent of your knowledge about "racism and discrimination" in Japan? Most Japanese would likely challenge you on that statement.

>In South Africa "coloured" is neither outdated nor is it offensive and has nothing to do with the American definition, etc.

Perhaps you didn't read this part of the Wikipedia passage I quoted: "In SOUTH AFRICA, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the term "Coloured" refers both to a specific ethnic group of complex mixed origins, which is considered neither black nor white, and in other contexts to people of mixed race; in neither context is its usage considered derogatory."

>Atsushi stated that "Former President Mbeki is known as a leader who represents a powerful Africa." Now to me that sounds like he is glorifying Mbeki saying he uplifts africa.

Once again, I believe you are taking what he said out of context. As one who has taught English to the Japanese for nearly 21 years, I'm going to beg you once again not to take what he said literally. English is his SECOND language. Furthermore, the word "powerful" here is an adjective modifying "Africa," not "Mbeki."

>Whichever way you look at it he is saying something that the majority of South Africans just wouldn't agree with.

I don't believe he was trying to please (or agree with) South Africans, but merely expressing his own opinion, which is what our class project was all about. :-)

>I found it strange however that you are so overprotective of your students. Not only that but an ex-student.

I wasn't being overprotective. FYI, in this class project students weren't required to register their email address so that they would be notified of future comments to their stories. So there is no guarantee that he is even reading this. Plus, as a non-native English speaker, he (nor any of the other students in our class) does not yet possess the English language skills to properly respond to some of your misinterpretations to the extent that I have. And even IF Atsushi is reading this, I can assure you he doesn't understand most of our dialogue. :-) That's why I'm responding to your comments on his behalf.

Furthermore, since this is MY website, I control everything that goes on it. If I don't like it, or if I feel something is dishonest, vulgar, unfair, etc., the content is simply deleted. Please keep that in mind with future comments. :-)

Luke, because I have more pressing matters at the moment, regrettably I won't be able to respond to any more of your comments on this story. Thanks so much again for visiting & sharing your insightful viewpoints, & best wishes to you, too !!

Mar 22, 2012
Comments on Comments of Comments
by: Luke

1. Yes, I guessed the language issue was the reason why he used that term, but it was still funny nevertheless. In South Africa people let things out in the open and are not afraid of offending others. I believe in Japan there is a polite face to uphold so I apologise if I seemed rude.

2. I don't think "mixed race" is a politically correct term in SA. Lots of coloured people in SA would probably get their backs up if you ever happened to call them that. I just suggested it as a better term then "half-breed" which is just plain insulting to any culture or individual. To add to that, South Africa is a very politically correct country. Japan is made up, for the most part, of a homogenous race of Japanese citizens and so they don't have to deal with difficult issues like racism or discrimination the way America or South Africa does.


3. When I wrote about "coloured people" I was referring to the coloureds in South Africa. I thought that would be obvious since this section of your website is on South Africa. In South Africa "coloured" is neither outdated nor is it offensive and has nothing to do with the American definition, etc.

4. Atsushi stated that "Former President Mbeki is known as a leader who represents a powerful Africa." Now to me that sounds like he is glorifying Mbeki saying he uplifts africa. Unless there is another interpretation of that sentence I'm pretty sure that my comment was viable. Whichever way you look at it he is saying something that the majority of South Africans just wouldn't agree with.

I thought your graduate comments were interesting as a South African. It's always intriguing to hear what other people think of your own country. I found it strange however that you are so overprotective of your students. Not only that but an ex-student. Different from South African lecturers in general.

Anyway. Best of luck with your website. Luke

Mar 22, 2012
"Colored" people in South Africa
by: Gary Wolff

Hi Luke,

Thanks for sharing your comments & perspective on race in South Africa.

In defense of Atsushi, my former Japanese university student, first of all, please be mindful that his native tongue is not English, so it is probably not a good idea to take literally terms he has likely translated from a Japanese dictionary or borrowed from a webpage about South African history in expressing his opinion.

Secondly, regarding your comment #1, you make a good point that the term "mixed race" is probably better, if one is trying to be politically correct or to not be offensive.

As a cultural note, however, you should be aware that the Japanese people thankfully aren't burdened by the same "political correctness on steroids" that is presently ruining America.

Furthermore, you might be interested in this passage from Wikipedia's page on "colored":

**************
"Today it ("colored") is generally no longer regarded as a politically correct term. However, even that is debatable, due to its continued accepted usage, most notably its use in the acronym NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Carla Sims, communications director for the NAACP in Washington, D.C., said "The term 'colored' is not derogatory, [the NAACP] chose the word 'colored' because it was the most positive description commonly used at that time. It's outdated and antiquated but not offensive."

In other English-speaking countries, the term has varied meanings. In South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the term "Coloured" refers both to a specific ethnic group of complex mixed origins, which is considered neither black nor white, and in other contexts to people of mixed race; in neither context is its usage considered derogatory."
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colored
***************

Lastly, regarding your comment #2, if you'll go back and carefully re-read Atsushi's statement about Former President Mbeki, he didn't say "Mbekei" was powerful, but that "Africa" was.

Thanks again for stopping by, reading my students' stories, and sharing your comments. I hope to visit your beautiful country someday...

Cheers,
Gary

Mar 22, 2012
Just a few comments
by: Luke

I think that your research is very good. I just have a few comments as a white South African citizen.

1. I thought it was very funny when you called coloured people "half-breeds"(sounds like a dog), although I don't think they would feel the same way and would probably take it as an insult. I would rather use the term "mixed race" or "diverse race". Contrary to some people's belief, coloured people actually come from a variety of different cultural groups and are more related to the South African bushmen or "koisan" (light brown skin) rather than the north African tribes (darker skin).

2. I don't think South Africans would agree that Mbeki represents a powerful African as he was educated in Britain, was not active in the development of the country and was forced to end his presidency because of corruption. The african ideal is someone who can relate to the poor and keep african ideals, take a active role in changing the country and have integrity.

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