I benefited from apartheid

  • 7

Roger Young recently co-designed a T-shirt with the wording: I benefited from Apartheid. Naomi Meyer asked him about this project.

Hi Roger, is that the correct description – your “project"? 

You can find some information here.

Why the T-shirts?

See above. I truly just find myself quite irritated with people who say things like, "Apartheid was 20 years ago, why can’t just we get over it?" The fact is that white people in general can be very lazy about transformation, and the lazier they are, the more vocal they are on this level. 

Is apartheid really and truly over? And if not, why the past tense ("I benefited ...")?

Legally, yes; economically we’re very far from it. And the time when we can hope the government will fix everything is over. All South Africans need to participate in our democracy on a more hands-on level. 

So about the past tense: it’s a sticking point. I still benefit, it’s true, but we thought the present tense might be too much for some people to take on board. Maybe that should be our next shirt. 

What is the next step, after we’ve been there and worn the T-shirt?

That’s going to be different for everyone. Should people even wear the shirt? I don’t know. The idea was to start a conversation about white privilege and what we should be doing with it. I just wanted to make them so that I could start conversations with very specific people. Those conversations have been very fruitful.

  • 7


  • Roger
    I would really like to know what you understand under 'apartheid'.  I've got 'n vuil spesmaas that, what you have in mind, never existed.
    Jan Rap
    PS If that slogan is your well considered opinion, rather donate those T-shirts to those you feel you have wronged instead of wasting money on the printing.

  • Avatar
    François Verster

    To slobber and stress about who benefited from what, when and how seems to have a time demarcation stamped on it – human beings have been around a couple of 100 000 years now and a lot of wrongs have been done. Nevertheless, there is a fixation on certain incidents and groups – just as we seem to believe certain groups have always been there or there, although history tells us humankind has always been on the move. So who will stand up for Neanderthals – someone must have exterminated them and robbed them of their land? 

    Recently one of our most respected academics, Prof. Hermann Giliomee visited Turkey and was told there that they also had slavery, but their slaves had been white! Black and Arab slavers were also involved in this crime against humanity, everywhere we know of cases of human trafficking, and  this is still going on, but nobody claims that they should beg for forgiveness. Or that the obscenely rich British royal family pay up for instigating slavery on a grand scale or ... no man, rather devise solutions for Africa than spinning your wheels on wrongs of the past.

    Most of all, your cheap exhibitionism is pathetic.


  • Ag.

    Why all the hypocracy. 

    This ou  is just trying to make a quick buck for himself  out of an opportunistic situation.

    Jaco Fourie

  • Avatar
    François Verster

    I agree with you Jaco, exept with the word "just."

    Young says " I truly just find myself quite irritated with people who say things like, 'Apartheid was 20 years ago.'" Well, his words irritate a number of others as well, so which "hypocracy" are you referring to?  Surely he wanted reaction, which is what he got - although not a lot, in the end.

    If this is what you mean; that he should be ignored, maybe you are right.


  • Francois

    My English is obviously not on par with yours, but you are correct.  The ou is making a fast buck whilst at the same time taking a hypocrytical stance.

    Jaco Fourie

  • Francois, Jaco, waarvoor dif hok skryf julle in Engels vir mekaar?  Ek moes byvoorbeeld nie eers in Engels kommentaar gelewer het nie maar julle weet hoe dit is as jy met ’n Engelssprekende (meeste van hulle) Afrikaans praat; hulle kyk jou aan met sulke hout-soek-in-die-woestyn-oë.  Jule twee, egter, is albei Afrikaans.
    Ek stem nie saam met julle dat die ou huigel nie; hy is werklik, uit hoofde van ’n gebrekkige begrip van Suid-Afrikaanse politiek en geskiedenis, onder die indruk dat hy bo  Duitsers, Finne, Noorweërs en dies meer bevoordeel is waar daar nooit sogenaamde apartheid was nie.

  • Ag Jan


    Ek kry so min geleentheid om my Engels in te oefen, hier in die Vaaldriehoek hoor 'n mens dit nooit. Sien reeds hierbo het ek fout gemaak vir regstelling. Nou komaan jy was die eerste een om Engels hierbo te skryf, en maak nie donner saak dat die man Engels is nie.  Als S.A. is hy veronderstel om Afrikaans te kan verstaan


    Jaco Fourie

  • Reageer

    Jou e-posadres sal nie gepubliseer word nie. Kommentaar is onderhewig aan moderering.