Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE


@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Afrikaans’ Category

The Faceless Puppeteer Behind the Boipatong Massacre: Read an Excerpt from Gruesome by De Wet Potgieter

GruesomeGrusaamDe Wet Potgieter’s latest book Gruesome: The crimes and criminals that shook South Africa (also available in Afrikaans as Grusaam: Die dade en geweldenaars wat Suid-Afrika geruk het) follows the trail of a number of criminals in South Africa’s history.

The investigative journalist started his career in 1975 and has worked at numerous newspapers, including the Sunday Times and Rapport.

In Gruesome, Potgieter shares stories that the public has never known, for instance the reason why André Stander become a bankrobber, how Gert van Rooyen’s victims are connected to a human-trafficking network and the events that really happened on the night of 17 June, 1992 in Boipatong.

Read the extract about the Boipatong massacre:


* * * * *


Chapter 2
Boipatong, Trust Feed and the Third Force


In 1994, shortly after South Africa’s first democratic elections of 1994, two AK-47 rifles were shoved into Sergeant ‘Pedro’ Peens’s hands, accompanied by the command ‘Get rid of these very quickly, or we shall hang’.

     With the two ‘hot’ rifles in the boot of his police car, Peens was panic-struck. He knew full well he had dynamite in his hands. He pondered what to do with the weapons, his stomach tied up in knots while he paced restlessly trying to work out a strategy. He realised he was on his own now. He dared not ask for advice, as the politics in South Africa had become so dangerously fluid that no one could be trusted any longer.

     Colonel Eugene de Kock, commander of the state-sanctioned death squads at Vlakplaas, had already been incarcerated and was awaiting trial, while policemen and members of the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB), the notorious covert unit operating under the South African Defence Force (SADF), had begun to sing like canaries backstage in an effort to save their own skins.

     The dark truths had begun to come to light, and Peens had no idea when it would be his turn in the spotlight. He knew that those two rifles were the key to a horrible, bloody truth that would cost him and many other people dearly should they end up in the wrong hands. He had to act quickly …

The beginning

Early in 1992, during one of the bloodiest periods in South African history, the multiparty constitutional negotiations of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) were under way, with the National Party (NP) government and the African National Congress (ANC) as the principal players.

     Prior to the formation of Codesa, the South African president, FW de Klerk, had been trying to put out fires related to the ANC’s continuing allegations of a ‘third force’ at work systematically mowing down the organisation’s supporters in the townships. Gangs armed with AK-47s, pangas and knives were waging a reign of terror on suburban trains. During morning and evening peak times they moved from carriage to carriage, assaulting anyone who looked like an ANC supporter and sometimes throwing them off the moving trains.

     De Klerk was also worried about the ANC alliance’s rolling mass action, which had started off with aggressive demonstrations. Sit-down strikes, boycotts and occupying government buildings would follow, all aimed at destabilising the government.

     The ANC president, Nelson Mandela, accused De Klerk’s government of being behind the faceless third force allegedly responsible for the violence on the trains and in the townships. The growing crisis was driving a wedge between the two high-profile political leaders. After Mandela had walked out of Victor Verster Prison in Paarl a free man after 27 years of imprisonment, he and De Klerk initially had a good relationship. But the mass action, violence and third-force allegations were complicating matters. At the opening of Codesa 1, on 20 December 1991, the two leaders had engaged in a spectacular public quarrel on these issues. Their relationship would never fully recover after that.

     Nevertheless, Codesa carried on – and so did the violence. While the negotiations at Kempton Park in the first half of 1992 were at a delicate stage, South Africa was burning. The country was on a knife-edge and people feared that the ongoing violence would quash peace efforts.

     De Klerk did not have the faintest idea of his security forces’ hand in the bloody violence, and the generals laughed in their sleeves at their president’s dilemma, exploiting his uncertainty and spurring on the politics of blood and violence. Actually, it was just a continuation of the old NP trick: divide and rule.


In the winter of 1992, the Boipatong massacre drove the country to the brink of civil war. Years later, during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings, the deputy chairperson, Dr Alex Boraine, described the night of 17 June 1992 as ‘one of the darkest days in the history of South Africa’.

     A heavily armed band of Zulus, or impis, allied to the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) sneaked into Boipatong that night. Their actions elevated the obscure black township between Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging to international newspaper front pages and television screens the next day. The fear-stricken residents were, like numerous others in black townships across the country, caught up in the bloody power struggle between the ANC and the IFP, which, in those days, was primarily a Zulu organisation. That night, in the biting winter cold, the people of Boipatong lay in their beds, listening to the invaders entering the dusty streets.

     ‘We were already asleep when we heard them walking and talking in Zulu,’ Dinah Manyika later testified before the TRC. ‘I lay listening as they walked through the streets shouting, “Wake up, you dogs!” The next moment they kicked open my door and one of them said, “Here’s a bitch, kill her!”’ Terrified, Dinah fled outside. When she returned half an hour later, she found her two brothers hiding under the bed. A neighbour took her to where her 47-year-old mother had been hacked to death with pangas. Manyika’s father later died in hospital as a result of his wounds.

     Klaas Mathope recounted how he had fled into the bushes when he heard the Zulus approaching. He sat shaking in the dark, listening to people being hacked to death in the squatter shacks. He also heard someone saying, ‘Zulu, catch him!’ in Afrikaans. When it became quiet, he went back and found his wife’s body. She had numerous gunshot wounds and her intestines were lying outside her ripped stomach. His son, Aaron, had also been killed, while his daughter-in-law later died in hospital.

     Jane Mbongo, a young mother who hid under the bed with her two-year-old daughter, Victoria, had to listen to her husband being stabbed until he died. Afterwards the attackers continued sticking assegais through the bed until Jane crept out. She clutched her child, looking the men in the eye, and then watched as an assegai was driven through the little girl’s body. They stabbed Jane too, and chopped her fingers off.

     In that night’s gruesome massacre, the attackers went from home to home in Boipatong, mowing people down indiscriminately. Some survivors later maintained that white policemen had assisted the Zulus by transporting them there in Casspirs. The final death toll was 45, with many more wounded.

     And somewhere behind all these atrocities sat a faceless master brain. Three days later an irate Mandela suspended all Codesa negotiations with the government, accusing De Klerk of sitting with his arms folded while ANC supporters were killed in numbers. The negotiations were resumed only much later, after De Klerk had undertaken to control the security forces.

     Shortly afterwards the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 765, demanding an incisive investigation into the events and requiring that the offenders be brought to justice.

Book details

» read article

Video: Kobus Galloway gesels oor Where’s Zuma? en hoe skerpskerts sy selfvertroue opgebou het

Kobus Galloway was onlangs ‘n gas op kykNET se aktualiteitsprogram Flits waar hy met Bouwer Bosch gesels het oor sy Idees vol vrees-reeks en sy nuwe boek, Where’s Zuma?

Met die intrapslag is Galloway reeds op sy stukke. Bosch: “Welkom Kobus, lekker om jou op die show te hê … huge fan, ou.” Galloway: “Jy hét ‘n bietjie gewig opgetel.”

Where’s Zuma?Idees vol vrees
Idees vol vrees: Volume 2Idees Vol Vrees 3Idees Vol Vrees 4

Galloway vertel dat die kunsgogga hom al op vyfjarige ouderdom gebyt het en die komedie het kort daarna gevolg. Sy ouers het hom as kind na ‘n kunsskool in Bredasdorp gestuur, en toe sy juffrou sy katte aangesien het vir leeus was die koeël deur die kerk.

Oor sy jongste boek Where’s Zuma?, wat gegrond is op die gewilde Where’s Wally-reeks deur Martin Handford, vertel Galloway: “As jy die president klaar gekry het dan’s daar ‘n lysie van ander mense wat jy kan soek. As jy hou van Afrikaanse musiek kan vir jy Steve Hofmeyr gaan soek.” Ander versteekte bekendes sluit in Die Antwoord, Jack Parow en Oscar Pistorius.

Oor sy loopbaan as komediant vertel die komediant-kunstenaar dat hy vanaf 2009 vir drie jaar “geskerpskerts” het: “Ek het altyd ‘n probleem gehad om met mense te praat of as my foon lui wil ek my broek natmaak, so ek het dit gebruik om self-confidence op te bou en met mense te praat.”

Galloway gesels meer oor sy kreatiewe proses, hoe hy kritiek hanteer en hoe hy voel oor mense wat plagiaat pleeg. Hy vertel ook dat hy baie daarvan hou wanneer onderwysers sy spotprente in klaskamers gebruik om idiome te verduidelik.

Kyk na die video:

YouTube Preview Image



» read article

“Jy is nou ’n Springbok” – Rugbylegende Frik du Preez onthou die grootste oomblik in sy sportloopbaan

Boots en brannewynFrik du Preez ken van stories vertel. Die oud-Springbok en skrywer van Boots en brannewyn: Snaakse stories uit die rugbywêreld het verlede jaar staaltjies met Bun Booyens gedeel oor hoe dit was om in die 1960′s rugby te speel.

Netwerk24 het die storie opgespoor, afgestof en weer gedeel, en hoe bly is rugbyaanhangers nie daaroor nie?

Du Preez het vertel hoe dit was om destyds vir die beroemde afrigter “Dok” Danie Craven te speel. Hy’t verder gesels oor 1965 wat ‘n besonderse moeilike jaar was vir die Springbokke, hul groot kragmetings teen Nieu-Seeland, Frankryk en Brittanje, die moeilikste speler wat hy ooit teëgekom het en die grootste oomblik in sy sportloopbaan.

Lees die artikel:

Wie was die moeilikste ou teen wie jy gespeel het?

Hulle was almal moeilik, maar [die All Black] Colin Meads en sy broer Stan. Hulle het mos saam gespeel, maar Stan het net daar in Nieu-Seeland gespeel, want iemand moes na die plaas kyk. Hy was baie beter as Colin in die lynstaan. Stan het vir my gas gegee.
Dan was daar Benoît Dauga. Daar in Frankryk het hy my geëet in die lynstane, maar gelukkig was daar nie televisie nie, so die mense kon nie sien hoe gee hy my pak nie.

As jy nou terugkyk, wat is die grootste oomblik?

Toe ek gekies is vir die Springboktoerspan sonder dat ek vir Noord-Transvaal gespeel het. Daardie Saterdagaand luister ek nie eens na die spanne nie, ek het nog ’n meisie drive-in toe gevat. Ek hoor toe die ouens langs my begin hande klap, maar ek is te skaam om te gaan vra. Toe ek by die huis kom, sê hulle vir my: “Jy is nou ’n Springbok.”


» read article

“Die skryf van die boek was by tye ’n baie traumatiese ervaring” – Jana van der Merwe oor Grave Murder

Grave MurderJana van der Merwe, ‘n deurwinterde joernalis, het gedink sy het al alles gesien, tot die dag toe Welkom geruk is deur die grusame moord op Michael van Eck.

In ‘n onderhoud met Vista vertel Van der Merwe hoe sy daardie aand gevoel het toe sy die nuus ontvang het en die vreemde omstandighede waarin die storie gehul was.

Van der Merwe gesels oor die uitdagings wat met die skryf van Grave Murder: The Story Behind the Brutal Welkom Killing gepaard gegaan het, onder meer om die sielkundige motiewe te verstaan wat Chané van Heerden en Maartens van der Merwe daartoe gelei het om Michael so wreed te vermoor.

Lees die artikel:

Hoe het die boek jou, Jana die skrywer, geraak?

Die skryf van die boek was by tye ’n baie traumatiese ervaring. Ek was baie geskok deur die foto’s wat ek gesien het, ook die oorspronklike foto’s wat Chané en Maartens baie liggeraak van die skending geneem het om hul dade te dokumenteer. Weereens ’n bewys dat hulle reeksmoordenaars in wording was – die hou van trofees en die dokumentasie het vir die kenners getoon dat veral Chané weer en weer genot uit haar dade wou put of dit herleef. Sy is ’n skrikwekkende karakter. Die skryfproses was soms – veral aan die begin – baie frustrerend, maar die uitwerking ook baie swaar op my gestel. Ek was by tye baie depressief, ek het gesukkel om te slaap – deels ook omdat ek seker so obsessief was om te bly krap en te verstaan.

Lees ook:



» read article

Join De Wet Potgieter and Jacques Steenkamp for the Launch of Gruesome at Exclusive Books Kolonnade

Invite to the launch of Grusaam

Gruesome: The crimes and criminals that shook South AfricaGrusaamZebra Press and Exclusive Books would like to invite you to the launch of Gruesome: The crimes and criminals that shook South Africa (Afrikaans: Grusaam: Die dade en geweldenaars wat Suid-Afrika geruk het) by De Wet Potgieter.

Potgieter will be speaking about his book with Jacques Steenkamp, author of The Griekwastad Murders.

The launch will be taking place at Exclusive Books Kolonnade on Thursday, 22 October, at 6 for 6:30 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

Book Details

» read article

Presenting De Wet Potgieter’s Gruesome: The Crimes and Criminals that Shook South Africa

GruesomeGrusaamZebra Press presents Gruesome: The crimes and criminals that shook South Africa by De Wet Potgieter:

In this book, investigative journalist De Wet Potgieter follows the trail of a number of criminals in South Africa’s history. These violent crimes, perpetrated from the late 1980s into the new millennium, vary from fanatical far-rightists who killed their innocent countrymen, to assassins who executed high-profile, state-sanctioned murders. He takes the reader behind the scenes of some of the most controversial events in our country and, with his fearless style of writing, pulls you right into the belly of the beast.

In Gruesome, he shares information that has never before been made public. What really happened on the night of 17 June, 1992 in Boipatong? What motivated the horrific attack on Alison Botha? What caused the ostensibly conformist policeman André Stander to become an unscrupulous bank robber? Who was the first person to see the connection between Gert van Rooyen’s victims and a probable human-trafficking network?

Potgieter relates how, as a journalist, he went about reporting on each of these cases. This book takes you back to the bloody newspaper headlines of yesterday.

Also available in Afrikaans as Grusaam: Die dade en geweldenaars wat Suid-Afrika geruk het.

About the author

De Wet Potgieter’s productive and sometimes controversial career as a journalist started in 1975, shortly before the Soweto riots and South Africa’s invasion of Angola. Initially he worked as a military correspondent and crime reporter for several newspapers. In 1988 he was appointed as an investigative journalist by the Sunday Times. He worked there for seven years before moving to Rapport, where he delivered front-page stories for 11 years. A number of sensational books have appeared from his pen in which facts stranger than fiction have been revealed. Among them are Contraband: South Africa and the International Trade in Ivory and Rhino Horn, Total Onslaught: Apartheid’s Dirty Tricks Revealed, Kwart voor ’n bloedbad and Black Widow White Widow. In the latter he lifted the veil on Al-Qaeda’s activities in South Africa. He also regularly conducts extensive investigations into international criminal syndicates. Potgieter lives in Centurion and, after more than 40 years, is still writing full steam.

Book details

» read article

Win a Rugby World Cup Book Hamper!

Zebra Press is giving away a hamper of ten books to celebrate the Rugby World Cup. The books are everything a Springbok fan could want to read as the tournament unfolds.

The hamper includes South Africa’s Rugby Legends: The Amateur Years by Chris Schoeman, Call It Like It Is: The Jonathan Kaplan story by Jonathan Kaplan and Mike Behr and the forthcoming Springbok Rugby Quiz:

South Africa's Rugby LegendsThe Greatest Springbok TeamsWynie - My bloed is blouCall It Like It IsMitch: The Real Story
The Poisoned ChaliceWhen the Lions Came to Town100 Memorable Sporting Moments100 South African Sporting Legends

To stand a chance of winning, enter the competition on the Random House Struik Website before 31 October. Terms and conditions apply.


Book details

» read article

Deel van transformasie is om die volle geskiedenis van Afrikaans te openbaar – Dennis Cruywagen (Video)

Brothers in War and PeaceKabous Meiring het onlangs vir Dennis Cruywagen genooi om op Prontuit te gesels oor sy rubriek vir Netwerk24 oor die huidige taaldebat aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch.

In die artikel skryf die Brothers in War and Peace-outeur dat dit tyd is dat “bruin mense hul stem dik maak vir Afrikaans op Stellenbosch”.

Cruywagen vertel meer die geskiedenis van Afrikaans en die “geskiedkundige deurbrake” wat gemaak is in Genadendal, en verduidelik waarom Afrikaans nie uitsluitlik aan die onderdrukker behoort nie.

Lees die artikel:

’n Begrip van die geskiedenis van Afrikaans gee ook ’n begrip vir die bydrae van die eerste nasies. Hul nasate het rede om te vrees vir die toekoms van tersiêre opvoeding vir hul kinders. Weens die vrees vir viktimisasie en dat hulle as rassiste uitgekryt sal word, is min van hulle bereid om uit te praat oor hul reg tot onderrig in hul moedertaal.

Maar dit is nie nou die tyd om stil te bly nie, dis ’n tyd om die stem dik te maak. Luister het klippe in die bos gegooi, maar dit wys net ’n deel van die groter prentjie.

Dit sê niks oor die regering se segregasie van die swart gemeenskap in Afrikane en nie-Afrikane nie. Dit sê niks oor die toekoms van bruin mense wat hul onderrig wil voortsit in Afrikaans nie.

Hoeveel langer gaan hierdie onteiening voortduur?

In die video-onderhoud, wat uit twee dele bestaan, gesels Cruywagen oor sy kinderdae tydens apartheid en die dag toe sy gesin die Distrik Ses-uitsettingsbrief ontvang het (wat terloops ook dieselfde dag was toe hy besef het sy pa is ongeletterd).

Cruywagen vertel hoe die trek na Heideveld sy familie se lewe onherroeplik verander het en besin oor Meiring se vraag of hy kwaad is oor hierdie tydstip in sy lewe.

Kyk na die eerste deel van die onderhoud:

YouTube Preview Image

In die tweede insetsel verduidelik Cruywagen waarom Afrikaans nie die taal van die onderdrukker is nie.

“Ek dink dis ‘n goeie ervaring vir enigeen om Stellenbosch toe te gaan,” sê hy. “Transformasie beteken nie jy dwing jou wil op ander mense af nie. Transformasie beteken ook jy bring jou deel in, en so verander die plek.”

Cruywagen vertel dat die eerste Afrikaanse koerant, Die Bode, in 1859 in Genadendal, sy ma se tuisdorp, uitgekom het. “As jy nie intiem vertroud is met die geskiedenis van daardie lieflike plek nie, dan weet jy dit nie.”

“Deel van transformasie is ook om die volle geskiedenis van Afrikaans te openbaar en te sê weet jy wat, die eerste vryheidsvegters in hierdie land het Afrikaans gepraat,” sê hy. “Transformasie beteken noodwendig in my boek dat die ouens wat sê Afrikaans is die taal van die onderdrukker, moet die geskiedenis van Afrikaans gaan leer.”

Kyk na die tweede deel van die onderhoud:

YouTube Preview Image


» read article

“Dit is donker waar hulle is” – Jana van der Merwe gesels oor Grave Murder (Plus: Uittreksel)

Grave MurderJana van der Merwe het onlangs met Vicus Bürger gesels oor haar boek, Grave Murder: The Story Behind the Brutal Welkom Killing, wat pas by Zebra Press verskyn het.

Grave Murder vertel die verhaal van die grusame moord op Michael van Eck wat in April 2011 in Welkom plaasgevind het.

Van der Merwe gesels oor die skryfproses en vertel dat die skrikwekkende feite haar soms aan depressie laat ly het. Sy sê die boek gaan grootliks oor die moordenaars, Chané van Heerden en Maartens van der Merwe, en hul motiewe: “Dit is donker waar hulle is. Dit is nie ’n plek waar ’n mens te lank wil wees nie.”

“Die slagoffer kon enigiemand gewees het. Die manier waarop Michael se familie van hom beroof is, is bitter erg. Hy was die middelpunt van hul bestaan.”

Lees die artikel en ‘n vertaalde uittreksel uit Grave Murder:

Chané het doodluiters die deur van die kleiner vrieskasgedeelte aan die bokant van die yskas oopgemaak … Nel en Steyn het toegekyk terwyl Chané versigtig haar hande indruk en ’n afgeplatte plastiekkruidenierssak – wat tussen ’n klein pakkie bevrore ertjies en ’n pak suikermielies ingedruk was – van die onderste rak uithaal.

Met groot sorg het sy die plastieksak op die kombuistoonbank gesit en die inhoud daarvan verwyder wat soos ’n plat pizzabasis gelyk het.

Nel het nie eens gegril toe sy kyk wat dit is nie – ’n makabere masker van Michael van Eck se gesig.

Nie almal het die boek met ope arms ontvang nie. Netwerk24 het berig oor Michael van Eck se ma se reaksie op Grave Murder:

Die ma glo nog vas daar was ook ander mense by haar seun se moord betrokke.

Henriëtte is baie kwaad oor die boek en meen dit doen afbreuk aan haar seun se nagedagtenis.

“Ek het haar (Jana) mooi gevra om dit nie te skryf nie … Hoe teer ’n mens op ander mense se smart?”


» read article

Video: Geskiedkundige Fransjohan Pretorius vertel waarom Louis Botha so merkwaardig was

Louis Botha's WarWie was Louis Botha, en waarom is sy nalatenskap belangrik in ‘n moderne konteks?

Fransjohan Pretorius, ‘n bekende geskiedkundige van Tukkies, het vroeër vanjaar op kykNET se aktualiteitsprogram Prontuit met Kabous Meiring gesels oor dié man.

“‘n Ongelooflike taktikus, ‘n man wat oorwinnings behaal het wat jy nie kan glo.”

Só beskryf Pretorius die boere-leier wat later politikus geword het wie se volle lewensverhaal in Louis Botha’s War deur Adam Cruise vertel word. Hy gesels oor die man se geskiedenis en beantwoord die vraag, “Waarom is hy steeds vandag merkwaardig?” Hy doen ook ‘n beroep op kykers om na geskiedkundige leiers te kyk binne die konteks waarin hulle gefunksioneer het, en lewer kommentaar op die herrie wat vroeër die jaar rondom standbeelde geheers het.

Kyk na die video om meer uit te vind oor Botha, die heel eerste Eerste Minister van die Unie van Suid-Afrika:

YouTube Preview Image


» read article