ONE of the problems of our postapartheid reality is the attempt to construct a nonracial society on the basis of lies and the manipulation or distortion of truths about the relationship between our past, the present and the future.

In the same way that nostalgia buries in our subconscious things we are either ashamed of or refuse to be ashamed of, the evils of apartheid are beginning to recede into what in Xhosa we call "ichibi lokulibala" - the lake of forgetfulness.

In reality, those who swim in this lake are not suffering from amnesia. They have found a way of foregrounding from our apartheid past that which they want us to believe was noble about the crime.

To accuse them of guilt substitution as I have done in the past is actually not correct, because they feel no guilt for presiding over one of the most evil periods in human history.

In fact, as I argued last week, what they are trying to do, with some success, is to impose a counterreality in which the sins of apartheid are being erased by the sins, failures and weaknesses of the African National Congress (ANC).

The intention is to erase the racism of the past and present with the corruption, lack of delivery, moral degeneration and the pursuit of narrow individual interests which, for reasons I will unpack in another article, form part of the dominant narrative in South African politics and radio talk shows.

In other words, apartheid was not so bad after all. And because apartheid was not so bad after all, as evidenced by the unbridled racism of those who respond online to columns and articles that are published in this newspaper, the arrogance of some white people has itself become a significant component of this dominant narrative.

What I have described is part of another problem of postapartheid SA - the fact that racism has become the sauce that makes meals more sumptuous at the dinner tables of some homes and the dinner parties of those who have learnt not to be racist in public spaces.

Further, racism is a virus that mutates not always in response to a changing and hostile environment, but in response to an environment that has changed, but not to the detriment of the accumulated benefits of apartheid.

In short, the difference between a verkrampte apartheid leader who was honoured with a Nobel prize and the ANC government is that, for 46 years those who now deny that they benefited from apartheid and that the racial content of post-1994 developmental and economic indicators is a product of apartheid, supported the criminal apartheid state because it delivered effectively to them.

The fact that some economists are beginning to attach themselves to this logic of denial by peddling lies (statistics) disguised as economic truth does not fool all of us, at least not all the time.

And as long as these lies persist, I will continue to write about the connection between apartheid logic, the social, cultural and economic marginalisation of those who are victims of apartheid, and the failures and weaknesses of the ANC.

As for FW de Klerk and those who are created in his image, the time has come for the rest of us to declare that apartheid denial is the moral equivalence of Holocaust denial.

The problem, however, is that some among us will refuse to see the moral equivalence because, after all, the victims of apartheid are not as human as the victims of the Holocaust and the concentration camps of the so-called Anglo-Boer War.

Having said that, we must not be diverted from the daunting task of building a nonracial and prosperous society by the apartheid denialists in our midst.

In addition, we must not squander the anger of moderate voices because it may find expression in the words and deeds of those bent on charting an extremist and polarising course.

Also, we must not allow voices of reason to be abused by those who seek to use them as a buffer zone between the aspirations of the majority and the fears of apartheid denialists.

. Matshiqi is research fellow at the Helen Suzman Foundation.