10° 40' N, 61° 30' W

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

In both his books and newspaper columns, Lloyd Best has used the phrase "Afro-Saxon" to describe the Afro-Trinidadian (and, more broadly, Afro-Caribbean) elite. In an article in this week's Spectator, Andrew Kenny uses the phrase to describe post-independence leadership in Africa:

An Afrikaner commentator with a vivid turn of phrase, Dan Roodt, described our black leaders as ‘Afro-Saxons’. This is marvellously apt. President Mbeki of South Africa is a good example and President Mugabe of Zimbabwe is even better. You cannot really understand Mugabe’s behaviour and Mbeki’s support of him unless you understand what black racism really means.

A white racist is someone who believes that white civilisation is superior to black civilisation, and is happy about it. A black racist is someone who believes white civilisation is superior to black civilisation, and is furious about it. Robert Mugabe exactly fits this definition. He is Dan Roodt’s perfect Afro-Saxon. Mugabe reveres all things European and sneers at all things African. He loves English lords and ladies, and regards African peasants as backward coons. He shops at Harrods and dresses like an English gent. For 20 years he was quite content for white farmers to own a large part of Zimbabwean soil. It was only when he knew that the African electorate was going to vote him out that he dreamed up his present policies of ‘land reform’, whose main intention was to terrorise black farmworkers. And then the phrases of hatred against Europeans came naturally to him, since, like all black racists, he hates the thing he adores.

I somehow doubt that this is what Best had in mind for the West Indies.