In South Africa, a supermarket looking to hire new employees targeted black recruits, drawing white backlash. The incident inspired filmmaker Roger Young to create t-shirts reading “I benefited from apartheid.” His goal was for white critics to “understand” how the legacy of apartheid persists, he said. But the t-shirts have only added fuel to the fire.

Mr. Young printed 40 t-shirts displayed under a sign labeled “Free t-shirts, white only,” and received mixed responses. Supporters thought it was a brave way to communicate the enduring effect apartheid had on the country, still palpable almost 20 years later. Naysayers were adamant that apartheid was a gift.

Margarita Barnard wrote on Facebook:

“I tell you who benefited from apartheid, it was blacks. I wish blacks would give whites apartheid. And I will tell you why I say this. Whites came to a country where there was nothing, just some black tribes living in mud huts killing each other. No roads no infrastructure no South Africa even. Blacks were always dying from famines when there were droughts, from tsetse fly [sleeping sickness], from yellow fever, malaria, name it they died in droves [...] They had no doctors, no writing, no schools no hospitals no roads, and worst of all and something which probably cause more deaths than the rest, no sewage system. Whites came and provided all those at the expense of whites, white know how gave blacks everything they take for granted today. Like clothes, pens, computers, everything of a billion things it needs to create a civilization. BUT whites couldn’t civilise them, so apartheid was necessary to keep whites alive.”

Barnard isn’t alone in her sentiments. Francois DeWet posted:

“Get me a dictionary or something that shows me how black Africans could be taught in their own languages subjects like maths, science and biology. Simple, you cannot teach in a language that does not have the terminology to do so. We didn’t place restrictions on the development of their languages and simply had to find another way to give them a start in live. So, alternative mediums were introduced to accommodate the lack of terminology, and they went apeshit!!”

The aforementioned posts and the hate mail Mr. Young has received only prove his point that race relations are still suffering from the impact of apartheid.

What do you think of Mr. Young’s t-shirts and the resulting backlash, Clutchettes?

  • dee

    Yo, the facebook comments are killing me. I seriously have no words for their ignorance.

  • hip.hop.says

    ignorance does what ignorance do….i find it interesting there’s no mention of the global communities’ divestment which helped exert pressure to break apartheid which would have sunk SA back to a financially developing country.

  • Shirl

    Why some whites feel that they are the Saviors of the human race is just beyond me. They are like a Tsunami leaving death and devastation in their wake..who in the hell told them that they are the chosen ones is what I’d like to know???!!! Get over it (white) people. All races have made contributions. YOU ARE NOT ALL THAT MATTERS!!! If you’re white and reading this and it doesn’t apply have a nice day -_-

  • myblackfriendsays

    I think his shirts are fantastic.

  • Rue

    “Blacks were always dying from famines when there were droughts, from tsetse fly [sleeping sickness], from yellow fever, malaria, name it they died in droves [...] They had no doctors, no writing, no schools no hospitals no roads, and worst of all and something which probably cause more deaths than the rest, no sewage system.”
    I would be LMFAO if this weren’t so serious. Who told y’all this ish? Remember the black plagie? Remember what caused that? Remember when Columbus came to the “New World” and thought the people were savages b/c they bathed often, and not once a month like the civilized folk in Europe? Remember the thing abt the origins of bridal bouquets?

  • Akos


  • NY’s Finest

    Sometimes all I could do is smh at the audacity of white folks.

  • Anonin

    They cant be serious

    Of course theyll mention the contributions their invasions made but wont say the negatives in the same sentence. I wouldnt care about the hate mail if i was mr.young

  • WhatIThink

    Because that is what they really believe which is why they have not given anything back to the black Africans, Native Americans, Australian Aborigines they stole everything from and tried to kill off over the last few hundred years. They know that they have had 300 years of affirmative action and socialism redistributing the wealth of others to white Europeans.

    However, what you have today is a bunch of PR that has been used to re-brand the “colonial” experience or “slavery” experience into something totally devoid of reality. America is the “home of the free” even though it was built on genocide, slavery and legal racism and oppression. White European culture is the epitome of “enlightened” thinking even though for the last 300 years it has been going around the world raping, stealing and fighting wars killing millions for global control and domination.

    South Africa wants to be like America and other European colonies and make itself appear to be a progressive enlightened country where white folks just “happen” to own all the land and have all the money and black folks just “happen” to be poor and living in shacks and we are supposed to be believe all this just came about by happy coincidence and not brought about through purposeful action as a desired result.

    But the facts of history say otherwise. Those elite Europeans who designed this system of global enslavement and oppression intended that their progeny would forever stay on the top and that everyone else would stay on the bottom. And that is what you see in South Africa, where the politicians have been bought out and are on the payroll of the white settlers and being used to support the next phase of the colonial agenda.

    Only black folks think they are actually free and actually getting somewhere because they get to buy some shiny trinkets that don’t mean anything.

  • AM

    why do white people feel the need to “save” Africa? Jesus died on the cross for dat!! Stop the madness my mealnin minus brothers and sisters. Just stop irr.

  • AM

    Forgot to add, @ Margarita Barnard, huts are pretty. They are the most green architecture, out thurr! I mean look at it this way, we can disassemble our huts and make clay pots, or fuel-when they are made out of cow dung, not to add the thatch roofs are great for lighting fire, sometimes weaving baskets.

    So when you talk about your ancestors having brought us civilization, I realy wonder if you’ve lost your marbles.

  • Africa is a Country

    There is no “race row” here; basically it’s white people quarreling; most black South Africans laugh at this kind of sideshow which does nothing to undo racial and class inequalities, and only serves as a great marketing strategy for the designers of the t-shirt.

  • YiaYia

    This is not a question to be offensive or a smartazz, but:

    Why are the black SA’s not nipping this in the bud? Sometimes taking the high road gets too stale.

  • Kay

    It’s funny whenever I hear Whites saying ish like this. Like “The Africans had nothing when we came here!” Oh, yes they did! They had gold, copper, diamonds and rare minerals. Things that even now, multi-national companies (headed by White businessman) try to get at any cost. Even if that means paying paramilitary groups to incite war and terror among local tribes. No one ever stops and thinks, “Why is Africa so poor, when they supply most of the world’s precious jewels, minerals, and stones?” It’s because people like these posters on FB feel that it’s okay to deprive them of these things and keep the profits. Because you can’t tell me that a majority of the people living on that continent reap the benefits of what their land holds. Let’s not even get into how mining and drilling for these things have wreaked havoc on local farms and ecosystems, causing famines, hunger, wars, etc……

  • binks

    Sadly because of their sense of privilege and entitlement.

  • Amy

    These people are stupid. There were empires in Africa like the Ghana Empire and the Mali Empire and they were pretty well organized. The first people to ever write were Egyptians. One important thing to know is that traditionally history and music were conveyed orally by griots in West Africa. Unfortunately, we may have lost a part of our history because of that and also because Europeans rewrote history as they wanted it to be.

  • NY’s Finest

    Smh at the audacity of white folk.

  • Anthony

    The fact was that first segregation and later Apartheid were tools that were used to undermine Africans who adjusted very quickly to the colonial economy as businessmen, especially farmers who supplied workers in cities with food. Africans also worked as prospectors for diamonds until they were forced out by whites. Africans were forced off their land and into poorly paid, low skilled labor.

    One aspect of Apartheid that tends to be ignored was that the government used civil service jobs and government contracts to transfer money to Afrikaners who were poorer than English speaking whites.

  • Anthony

    How closely do you follow South Africa? Black people are handling a lot of things from what I see.

  • bamilekequeen

    The Zulu empire comes to my mind also from south africa. Way before contacts we Euopeans, Africa was filled with empires from north east, west, central and the southern parts. Ever thought of why is it that you never heard of ancient stories of africans dying of famine, diseases, and poverty… does things were not the norm back, it was after contact with europeans that these things came around, HIV/other foreign diseases, and even famine.
    People fail to realize that the main reason why Africa is so poor is because of the legacy of european colonialism and the reason it remains poor is because of neo-colonialism.


  • bamilekequeen

    I also find it funny that one of them said that africans were killing each other before they came there. When in fact Europeans have the most violent history in this world. Europeans are responsible for the worst forms of atrocities in this world. i don’t even think i should name the 100 year world, world1, and 2, the belgium genocide of congolese.. and the least goes on and on.
    I swear white people in SA think that they are God’s gift to that country instead of it’s biggest trouble maker. smh.


    Lol and it was the Moors (when Hannibal slapped them fools up) they taught romans how to bathe. The moors also taught them to build bath houses. Look up moorish bath houses. White people weren’t washing their asses until black people aka as moor came through.

  • Shepherd

    Racist white South Africans always take it to the next level with their racism it beggars belief smh. I think the adamance comes from the fact that deep down they know all the atrocities they did to set up shop in a land they don’t belong and how awful they treated the black people there. The racism is borne out of fear I believe, they have to keep using some crazy logic to justify themselves. I don’t think I could live in that country if I came across one too many people inclined to the thinking of those fb posters, I think I would end up in jail…

  • MemphisFoo

    HIV? I’m sure HIV and AIDS was only a threat from +/- 1980′s and up.

  • WhatIThink

    It is sad and funny that whites who whipped the meat off the backs of blacks only 60 years ago in a majority black country feel comfortable telling the whole world…. “yeah I did it and so what”. That can only happen when you have a black majority population that is basically made up of cowards…. No other country on earth would tolerate such nonsense. And nobody should. The fact is that the continued economic disparities and injustice in South Africa will only continue as long as black Africans continue to tolerate it and tell themselves all sorts of lies to convince themselves that things are going to get better on their own without them actually doing anything about it.

  • Anthony

    I do ‘t know what country you are from or what experience you have in South Africa, if any, but that statement about black South Africans being cowards is either ignorant or just dumb. Black (Bantu) South Africans fought wars and rebellions clear from the middle of the 1700s until 1907. They went back to war in the 1960s until the 1990s. That is nothing to sneeze at.

  • WhatIThink

    You are correct and that is precisely why the white apartheid regime planned the release of Nelson Mandela in order to avoid being violently overthrown because they knew that if they were overthrown they would lose everything. They negotiated the terms of Mandela’s so called release and made sure that they would keep all the land, all the money and not have to spend one day in jail for all the crimes and atrocities committed by the whites against the blacks. And this ploy worked.

    Yes apartheid is over and the ANC has political power but the white minority still controls the wealth and owns over 90% of the land in a majority black country. And that was the goal of apartheid and everything that came before it, which was to make whites the permanent. upper class with all the money and power while the blacks are simply landless peasants working for whites and being happy and satisfied with the trinkets and gadgets that they buy from the company store. But that is not just South Africa it is all of Africa. South Africa and much of the rest of Africa is still simply one giant slave plantation, with a set of black politicians who are just a front for the white and foreign corporations who continue to take billions of dollars out of the continent every year.

    Would you let someone steal your wallet and leave you poor and them give you a few pennies every day from your wallet as some sort of “charity” as if that makes them some sort of savior? Of course not. But that is exactly what is happening in Africa with all the so-called NGOs and other “AID” groups who are pouring into Africa basically pretending to help but in reality are simply modern missionaries who are paid by the same people raping the continent in the first place.

  • Quakou

    Who is this. What does he even know about African history. Whites always claim they brought civilisation to Africa. What nonsense. As mentioned by some of commentators hereof, we had great empires before they came and disrupted it. Today, they have rewrite history to provide credit to themselves. Enough from these white craps. This reminds me of an argument where a stupid white lady asked that, what has ever succeeded an African way. This white guy above is full of nuts and just like one of his white peers.

  • Churtees

    That is extremely controversial no matter what race wears the t-shirt. It only gains to promote such a horrible time in history.

  • Heather Ferris

    It is essential that we open our hearts and minds to the fact that whites and colonialists everywhere have deliberately strategized to keep others (mostly indigenous people) down. It can be very subtle, not as overt as apartheid. Blame and guilt are not, in my mind, useful unless they raise our compassion. If we are part of the majority who has benefited at the hands of others, then we must own it. I do! This oppressive power is not always about race; it is now rising as capitalism and corporate greed. We can use the unearned privilege (all of it is unearned when we prosper because of race, inheritance, educational possibilities while others do not have equal access). How? We speak up for equal access, we ask how we can be an ally or advocate in a way that really serves others, not with missionary zeal thinking we know what is best. Take the time to get to know the ‘other’ without judging and making assumptions. As Lily Waker and Australian Aboriginal woman once said, “If you come here to help me you are wasting your time. If you come here because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us begin.” This is a time on this planet when we must work together as climate change affects all of us.

  • Yusuf Salaam

    I really don’t understand the racist that live in south Africa or anywhere (not saying he is but wouldn’t doubt it). If you don’t like the natives of the country then leave. Europe is suffering. If you think you’re so great go there and shower your greatest and leave the innocent people of the world alone.

  • Pingback: Props to Roger Young | I'm Such an AFROholic

  • Chouaibou Njoya

    Shut up and try to look at the effort this man is making towards racial peace by printing a tshirt that tells the truth. You sound like one of those verbose idiots who would kill another man for his opinions.

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