embarrassment, guilt, shame, humiliation: memoirs from a bar in joburg


I consider myself always available to acknowledge the wrongs of settler colonialism in Australia, but I do not like being cornered in this way. I can already tell that I won’t get along with this amnesic, misinformed, green-eyed git. The matter is serious, though. I sigh in brief repose, and then my beer glass goes down – expressive hands will come in handy to push through all the irony and the irksomeness of the interchange that’s about to ensue.

Of course I know enough about apartheid-era South Africa to offer a superb rejoinder. I could cane him with just the ‘a-word’ alone, and proceed to recount – as so many latte-drinking lefties of all backgrounds love to do here – a particular rendition of South Africa’s recent history: you know, a story in which terrible white racists are cast as antagonists, and Mandela and the African National Congress play the heroes; a story full of all those nasty bits (wrongful imprisonments, torturings, assassinations, bombings, beatings, etc.); a story winding off neatly in 1994.

But this is not what I do.

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