PROUD TO BE A RACIST openly challenges the stereotype that white people who complain about the state of the economy, crime and politics in South Africa are racist.
The seeds for PROUD TO BE A RACIST were sown as far back as 2004, when then President Thabo Mbeki harshly branded white commentators writing about violent crime in South Africa, as bigots who want the country to fail. Mbeki accused journalists in particular of distorting reality by depicting black people as ‘barbaric savages’ who liked to rape and kill. The current commissioner of police, Bheki Cele, later supported Mbeki, by saying that white people who complained about crime should emigrate.
Boshoff questions the racialisation of political criticism in PROUD TO BE A RACIST. The work contains a series of statements about social issues currently plaguing South Africa, such as corruption, crime, the poor state of public healthcare and the education system.
In speaking about this work, Willem Boshoff staunchly supports the right to speak one’s mind: “The Druid [which is a metaphor for the artist himself] is on the side of the loser, the outcast, the person who is unwanted. There is a bit of the Druid in everything that I do. I want to defend the defenceless. I try to save words or plants that are about to become extinct by resuscitating them. If I see people unable to defend themselves, I will try to defend them. In the case of crime, I’ll defend people who have been silenced by murder.”