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Archive for the ‘Politics’ 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.

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White Power Today: Christi van der Westhuizen Chats to Aubrey Masango (Podcast)

White PowerChristi van der Westhuizen recently took part in the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) “Roundtable on Whiteness – Whites, Afrikaans, Afrikaners: Addressing Post-Apartheid Legacies, Privileges and Burdens” where thought leaders like former president Kgalema Motlanthe, Achille Mbembe, Mary Burton, Mathews Phosa, Ernst Roets and Nico Koopman disucssed topics like “Being White Today” and “The Place of Afrikaans”.

CapeTalk’s Aubrey Masango invited Van der Westhuizen, an associate professor at the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender at the University of Pretoria, on his Late Night Talk show to reflect on what was said during the event. Her topic on the day was “White Power Today”, following up on her 2010 book White Power: The Rise and Fall of the National Party.

“Apartheid has officially come to an end, but white power persists. Whiteness derives its power from operating invisibly. It is an unspoken regime of oppressive norms and so it is absolutely necessary to disturb whiteness by making it seen,” Van der Westhuizen wrote in an article for the Sunday Times after the discussion on whiteness, expanding on some of the things discussed at the event.

Read the article:

Whiteness is not skin pigmentation, but the meaning attached to pinkish, whiteish skin. People with such skin are seen as “naturally” belonging to the top, while darker-skinned people are racialised as black, to be placed as “naturally” at the bottom. This has a wide-ranging effect on the distribution of resources, resulting in white privilege and black deprivation.

Democracy has been good to white people in South Africa. The average annual income in white households was R125,495 in 1996 – in contrast to R29,827 for black households. White households’ average annual income rose to R530,880 in 2013, in contrast to R88,327 in black households. Out of 4.5million whites, only 35,000 live in poverty, according to StatsSA.

Masango wanted to know more about Van der Westhuizen’s article and the MISTRA conversation in general. She opens the interview by explaining: “If there is anything like ‘an Afrikaner’ I regard them as part and parcel of the South African nation. Within the South African nation there is of course different ethnic groups and I regard them as one of them”.

Van der Westhuizen identifies three different groups of Afrikaners: Afrikaans African Nationalists, the Neo-Afrikaner Enclave, and Afrikaans South Africans. Listen to the podcasts to understand this differentiation and for Van der Westhuizen’s fascinating insight to Afrikaners and white power today:

Listen to part one of the interview:


Listen to part two of the interview:


For more about the MISTRA Roundtable on Whiteness, read here:


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“Mission Accomplished, Actually” – Max du Preez says He Made His Point about SAA, Despite Legal Bullying

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez, veteran journalist and author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, was threatened with a court order after sharing a link to an internal SAA memo that reveals the airline’s insolvent status.

Du Preez spoke to Stephen Grootes on CapeTalk/Talk Radio 702 about why he decided to share the link to a document he knew was subject to a interim court order, and why he chose to submit to SAA’s demands and delete his social media posts. He calls the airline management “a bunch of bullies”, and as a private individual he cannot take them on in court.

Although he has now deleted his posts, Du Preez is satisfied because the public has access to important information about an organisation being funded by their tax, and SAA’s court orders will likely be overturned anyway. He says: “Mission accomplished, actually.”

Listen to the podcast:


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Max du Preez Forced to Remove Social Media Posts Linking to SAA Documents

A Rumour of SpringThe ongoing controversy surrounding South African Airways – which saw an interdict being brought against Business Day for publishing internal documents – has developed even further with threat of a court order against political commentator and award-winning author Max du Preez for sharing the documents in question on his social media.

“My different posts and tweets with the link to the document were shared well over 2 000 times – and then shared again and again. It is today truly a public document,” the author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy writes in a post on Facebook, explaining why he complied and deleted the posts in question.

Du Preez goes on to say, “This legal action only applies to me,” noting that it will not affect anyone who might have shared or liked his links on either Facebook or Twitter.

Read Du Preez’s explanation of the situation, published on his public Facebook page:


SAA is a state owned enterprise – owned by the people of South Africa. It has been seriously mismanaged, to the point that it is bankrupt and unable to meet its financial commitments. Many billions of state (our) funds have been spent to prop it up, but the rapid decline continues. It is not a private company; it should not have secrets from us, the owners.

So when I learnt that SAA management had obtained a court order to prohibit some media outlets from reporting on a memo to management by SAA’s legal people – painting a very dark picture – I posted a link to that document on Twitter and Facebook. I believed that it was our right as citizens to know what kind of crisis SAA was in. I did not believe the court order applied to me.

I have more than 14 000 Twitter “followers” and about 24 000 people follow my Facebook posts.

My different posts and tweets with the link to the document were shared well over 2 000 times – and then shared again and again. It is today truly a public document.

Last night the SAA’s lawyers phoned me and demanded that I take the tweets and posts down immediately or they would get a court order to force me to do so. I eventually got them to agree to give me time until this morning to try and put up a legal defence. The lawyers said they would launch a court application in Johannesburg at 10:30 this morning (Thursday) if the tweets and posts were not removed.

I had no intention to show contempt to the court in question, even though I believe it should never have made the decision it did. I regard our judicial system as a key pillar of our democracy and freedom.

I told the SAA lawyers that the decision to force me to remove the internet link to the document was silly, ridiculous and absurd because many thousands of South Africans have now read the document. It made no impression on them.

The little legal advice I could get in such a short time indicated that I could run a risk of incurring vast legal costs if I opposed the SAA’s court application and that there was a chance that I could lose.

I think the point has been made. The truth is out. I have achieved what I wanted to achieve.

I have just removed the FB posts and the tweets with links to the SAA memo.

This does not mean FB and Twitter users that had shared my posts and tweets are vulnerable or under any obligation to remove their tweets and posts. This legal action only applies to me.

Antoinette Slabbert reported on the dispute between SAA and Moneyweb, Business Day and Media24 – the three news outlets being taken to court for the way they have covered the story:

This follows SAA indicating on Wednesday that it is not prepared to abandon the interdict it got against the three news outlets on Tuesday. The interdict was to prevent the publication of a leaked internal report by its General Manager: Legal, Risk and Compliance, Ursula Fikelepi.

SAA got the interdict in the early hours of Tuesday morning after an unopposed application in the South Gauteng High Court. The airline contends that the report contains a legal opinion and is as such privileged and not for public consumption.


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“You’re Not an Honourable Person, Mr McKaiser” – Max du Preez Responds to Eusebius McKaiser’s New Book

A Rumour of Spring“Guess who’s the book’s main villain, the ‘racist’ that takes up a whole section of the book, thirteen of the 200 pages? Max du Preez, of course.”

In a recent post on his public Facebook page, Max du Preez, political journalist and author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, rebutted the accusation of racism Eusebius McKaiser makes against Du Preez in his latest book, Run Racist Run.

Du Preez says that he has never met or personally interacted with McKaiser, adding that he is occasionally attacked by him on social media. Du Preez says that McKaiser disregards volumes of his writing against racism, and has labeled him a racist on the basis on an interview Hanlie Retief Rapport had with him, and the article that came out of it.

Read Du Preez’s comment on Facebook:

Racism, subtle and unsubtle, blatant and camouflaged, is still one of South Africa’s most serious problems, threatening our stability and progress.

When someone abuses the racism issue to make a name for himself, promote his own brand or to settle scores with critics or opponents, such a person should be publicly named and shamed, because this phenomenon seriously undermines the real struggle against this dangerous scourge.

Eusebius McKaiser is such a person.

I picked up his book Run Racist Run (more a word-selfie than a book, actually, full of personal anecdotes and mentions of friends’ names), at the airport this week. Guess who’s the book’s main villain, the “racist” that takes up a whole section of the book, thirteen of the 200 pages? Max du Preez, of course.

I have never met the man or spoken to him. I’ve noticed that he’s not a fan, because he occasionally attacks me on social media. I really can’t explain his obsession with me.

If McKaiser wondered whether I was really a racist monster, he could have consulted the more than 800 columns I had written the last 15 years, many of them touching on the topic, or he could have read the lengthy chapters on race, racism and identity in my books Pale Native and A Rumour of Spring.

But he prefers to ignore all that and focus on a single article in the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport early this year after an informal chat I had with one of its reporters. That’s it, no other source or evidence.

I attach that Rapport story (not the link, because it is behind a paywall). Read it and judge for yourself; see if you can spot the nasty racism. (There’s a throwaway remark about McKaiser in there – could his book be revenge for that?)

You’re not an honourable person, Mr McKaiser. You’re a fake and a poseur.

Deur Hanlie Retief 25 Januarie 2015 09:01

’n Knobbelrige man onder ’n knobbelrige boom.

So, dís waar liberale lefties eindig as hulle anderkant 60 trek. Onder ’n witkaree met ’n Savanna en ’n pakkie Stuyvesants en ’n kop vol ontgogelde menings.

“Die koelste plek in die hele dorp is onder hierdie boom,” reken Max du Preez en laaf homself met ’n sluk Savanna.

Dis vanmiddag bliknerswarm op Riebeek-Kasteel. Die son bak die werf bleek.

Maar vir hitte het dié ou kraagmannetjie van Kroonstad nog nooit geskrik nie. Daar sit hy. Wars en werkloos, vir die soveelste keer in sy loopbaan, oor beginsels vir hom meer tel as rande.

Óns weergawe van Amerika se Hunter S. Thompson, noem sy ou kollega en vriend Tim du Plessis hom. Die leeu van Kroonstad, aldus Tim Knight, Kanadese uitsaai-joernalis en Emmy-wenner.

“Jakkie, jy moet vinnig verbyloop, anders hoor jy hoe lieg ek,” sê hy vir Jacques Pauw. “Ek wou nou-nou kom espresso drink en toe’s jy nie hier nie …” kla hy soos ’n ou man met ’n blikbroek.

Hier by dié tafel, in dié koelte.

Vier jaar terug het Jacques, tot onlangs een van ons groot ondersoekende joernaliste, hierdie Red Tin Roof-restaurant gaan staan en koop.

Nou skryf die Pauw nie meer ’n woord nie, hy maak pizzas. En in Piet Retiefstraat herinner Max se akkertjie mielies hom aan sy Vrystaatse grootworddae.

Al van 1987 af saam, hierdie ou kamerade van die Vrye Weekblad-loopgrawe. Dorpenaars nou, met vroue en honne.

Nee, hy meng nie eintlik met Jakkie nie, hy eet net sy kos, korrigeer Max.

’n Reeks-moeilikheidmaker, is Max al genoem. En soos sy luide bedanking verlede week as rubriekskrywer by Independent-koerante, só was Max-oorloë nog altyd uiters openbaar.

As jong Beeld-joernalis was hy die eerste Afrikaanse stem teen Suid-Afrika se besetting van Namibië. By Vrye Weekblad het die Afrikanerestablishment hom gekruisig, jis, hy’s amper opgeblaas, maar ’n held in die swart gemeenskap. Ironies kryt dieselfdes hom nou uit as rassis.

Sy WVK-program op TV is toegejuig, maar toe hy by Special Assignment op die nuwe elite se tone begin trap, is hy daar uitgewerk.

Nou weer, ná sy stuk oor ons “one-man wrecking ball”-president en dié se korrupte verhouding met Schabir Shaik, het die Independent-groep ’n “regstelling” en askies geplaas oor Max se “feitelike onakkuraatheid”. Tipies Max bewys hy toe hy’s 100% reg enfire homself voor Independent se groepsredakteur, Karima Brown, die moed daarvoor kon bymekaarskraap. Hy sou nog kon saamleef met die apologie, sê Max. Maar daai ANC-kleure wat Brown-hulle gedra het na ’n ANC-jol …

“En jy’t ’n poepol soos Eusebius McKaiser wat sê wat’s hiermee verkeerd! Miskien is ek ’nboring old fart, maar nooit in my amper 40 jaar in die joernalistiek het ek ’n joernalis gesien rondparadeer in Nasionale Party-kleure nie. Nie eens ou Alf Ries sou ’n NP-stickeropgeplak het nie, en ons het geweet waar hý staan.”

Moenie nou kom huil nie, ou Max, jy wou mos hierdie swart regering gehad het, nou kom byt hulle jou in die gat, hekel wit koortjies hom in kommentare.

“Dis ’n tema, nè, die laaste klompie ¬jare. Sulke mense verdien nie eintlik ’n antwoord nie. Wou hulle nié ’n demokrasie gehad het nie?”
Hy kyk vir my, oë pensioenblou agter sy ontwerpersbril uit Brussel.

“Dinge gáán erger as wat ek gedink het. Maar steeds, as ek in 1985 geweet het wat Jacob Zuma met my land sou aanvang, sou ek dieselfde gedoen het. Met ons geskiedenis is daar g’n manier hoe ons 20 jaar later ’n kumbaya-liberale-sensitiewe-demokrasie kon hê nie.”

Hy’t nie die ANC se toewyding tot nasiebou en goeie regering erg oorskat nie?

Nee. Hy was “aangenaam verras” deur Mandela en die ANC-in-onderhandelinge. Oor Mbeki, so “kleinserig” en “oorver¬dedigend” het hy later kop gekrap. En Zuma, wat hy in die 1980’s leer ken het? “Niemand het in sy wildste drome gedink hý sou president word nie.” ’n Vloek van omstandighede, noem Max dit.

“Bygesê: Ek’s bleddie aangenaam verras deur hoe ons as ’n nasie vaar.”

Die meeste Suid-Afrikaners, lyk dit vir hom, is meer Mandela as Zuma.

“Die meeste Afrikaners is kwaad vir verskynsels soos Sunette Bridges. Soos in: Waar val jy uit, sussie? Ons is nie almal só nie – ek hoor daai refrein oor en oor.”

Wat wil hy vir hulle sê, vir Bridges en Steve Hofmeyr-hulle?

“F*ck off en die. Hulle is die vyande van Afrikaners, van wit mense. Hulle en Dan Roodt doen meer skade aan die saak van Afrikaanse mense as enigiemand die laaste 100 jaar.

“As ons wil oorleef as eersteklasburgers saam met die res in hierdie land, moet ons sulke stemme uitskuif. Moenie vir hulle platforms gee nie, sê duidelik vir almal: Ons is nie só nie. Steve en Sunette is malletjies op die ekstreme rand.”

In hierdie Januarie met sy erge rassedebatte het hy ook slegte nuus vir daai Facebook-likers “wat nou so handjies klap oor ek die ANC kwansuis op¬donner”.

“Sorry dudes, julle steun my om die verkeerde rede. Steun die beginsel van vrye spraak en onafhanklike joernalistiek. Dis waaroor die fight gaan. Ek is g’n vegter vir wit voorregte nie, nie ’n uppity Boer wat vir die k*ffers wil sê ken julle plek nie.”

Hulle’s vir hom aanstootlik, dié wat so koor: “Ja, maar jy weet mos hoe’s húlle (die ANC/swart mense),” blaf hy. “Miskien moet ek vir ’n rubriek skryf sodat ek vir dié mense ’n slag kan sê: Kyk in die spieël, al is jy nice met jou tuinier en jou domestic help, jy’s ’n rassis en jy sny jou eie keel af.”

Soos iemand vir hom skryf: “Hierdie Eskom-ding is besig om van my ’n rassis te maak.” Dan wás jy nog altyd ’n rassis, antwoord Max.
“Die regering maak nie droog oor hulle swart is nie, hulle jaag aan oor hulle slegte politici is. Dis nie ’n swart-wit-ding nie, dis ’n vrot-korrupte-politici-ding.”

Max kry dit ook van die ander kant af. Van sy swart en bruin vriende sê dit sterk rassiste in hul kwaad as hy die ANC so aanvat.
“Dis deels onvermydelik. As Sunette Bridges sê rooi is mooi, stem ek met haar saam. Maar dit maak my nie die walglike rassis wat sy is nie.”

Hy voel Zelda la Grange se pyn ná haar oorhaastige Twitter-tirade verlede week wat haar in ’n rasse-spervuur laat beland het, knik hy. Hulle deel ’n erg openbare Januarie …

“Wat sy probeer sê, is legitiem, maar jy kan nie so iets in 140 karakters verduidelik nie. Zelda moenie haar steur aan almal wat so die hol uit die hoender ruk, haar boeke op Facebook verbrand nie. Ek het ’n vel soos ’n gepantserde seekoei, maar sy’s nie ’n gesofistikeerde politieke aktivis nie. Sy’s net Mandela se darling wat ’n boek geskryf het. Sy word nou geweldig misverstaan.”

Die hele Jan van Riebeeck-debat wys hoe ons mekaar nog nie mooi verstaan nie, sê hy. “Zuma is reg: Met Van Riebeeck se aankoms het al die moeilikheid begin. Kolonialisme. Ons Afrikaners verstaan wat dit aan mense doen, ons was onder Britse kolonialisme.

“Swart Suid-Afrikaners kon nog nie mooi hul koppe om die feit kry dat ek en jy nié kolonialiste is nie, dis ons voorsate, maar dis nou 400 jaar later. Ek is ’n inheemse Afrikaan, nie ’n settler soos die wittes wat in die 1950’s of 1960’s in Zimbabwe gaan bly het nie.

“Ek het geen illusies wat met ons gebeur het van 1652 tot vandag toe nie. Maar hulle is nie ek nie. Ek was nie op Vlakplaas nie. Ek het nie die Khoi voor die voet doodgeskiet in die Riebeekvallei nie. My voorsate het. Maar dis nie my persoonlike skuld nie. Omdat ek ’n goeie Suid-Afrikaanse burger is, het ek die reg in my eie hart om te sê dis hulle, my voorvaders. Ek neem verantwoordelikheid, maar dis nie my skuld nie.

“Ons moet op ’n mooi manier vir swart Suid-Afrikaners sê: Deal with it. Hoekom is Suid-Afrika anders as die res van Afrika? Hoekom kan óns ’n Wêreldbeker-sokkertoernooi aanbied? Toe ons wit voorsate hier aangekom het, het hulle verskriklik aangejaag, maar ook ánder goed gebring, en dis die mengsel wat nou hier is. Swart mense kan nie sonder ons klaarkom nie, en ons nie sonder húlle nie. Maar wit mense moet ook verstaan: Jy kan nie 300 jaar se houding dat swart mense minderwaardig is, in een geslag aflewe nie.”

Maar hoe moet wit mense leef in hierdie land?

Hy bly lank stil. Sê: Dis ’n belangrike vraag.

“Hoe moet ons leef? Met ’n helse klomp meer respek wanneer ons ons monde oopmaak en skryf. Selfs al bedoel jy dit nie as rassisme nie, as dit só ervaar word, dan moet jy jou woorde beter kies. Moenie klink soos ’n meerderwaardige wit dude wat trap op ander nie.

“Maar ook: Jy mág nie jou bek hou nie.”

Max het nie. Nie vir die NP nie, nie die ANC nie. Vir niemand. Nog altyd. Van die dae toe ons in die strate baklei het, soos iemand anderdag sê, tot nou waar ons op Twitter veg.

Het al sy vuurstorms hom verander? Of sê hy, soos Bart Nel, ek is nog hy?

Hy krap die restaurant-brak se kop. ’n Droogheid trek oor sy gesig.

Nee, al wie hom kom verander het, is klein Francis. Sy jongste dogtertjie het in sy lewe gekom toe hy 52 was, onverwags, onbepland. “En sy’t net ’n faset in my lewe gebring wat ek nogal nodig gehad het, van minder baklei en meer lief wees.”

Maar daar was soms twyfel, erken hy, en vat nog ’n hap van Jacques se biltongpizza. “Ek hét gewonder: Moet ek verander, begin gatkruip?”

Sy psige is seker maar te simplisties om draaie te loop en te lieg, van “sê wat gesê moet word en vat die pyn.”

Seker ingeteelde Calvinisme, daar in sy Vrystaatse Christelike grootwordhuis.

“Nie vreeslik van ’n gelowige self nie”, maar “dik van die dominees om my”. Sy broers, albei sy vrou se ouers, sy swaer.

Dan sirkel ons weer na die vraag: Hoe moet wit mense hier lééf?

“Hulle moet meer begin omgee vir hul mans en hul vroue en hul kinders. Sorg dat hulle self gelukkig is in hul verhoudings. En hulle moet goed eet, oefening kry, hul huise mooimaak en op lekker vakansies gaan. As jy self gelukkig is, gaan jy nie haat oorhê nie.”

Die mymeringe van ’n ou man onder ’n boom?

“Wel, ek sou dit wragtig nooit op 19 gesê het nie …”

Sy oë brand.

“Maar dis die heel belangrikste ding wat ek al ooit gesê het.”

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Mac Maharaj: “You Cannot Talk About Present Day South Africa without Tambo, Mandela and Sisulu” (Podcast)

Reflections in PrisonMac Maharaj, former politician and editor of Reflections in Prison, was recently invited to John Robbie’s Talk Radio 702 show to speak about South African politics.

In the interview, Maharaj speaks about OR Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. He says “this triumvirate, you cannot talk about liberation history without them; you cannot talk about present day South Africa without them”. He goes on to speak about his experience and relationship with each of them.

Maharaj then reflects on the recent Fees Must Fall university protests, and relates it to the Freedom Charter. He suggests that the present government would do well to consider the way the leaders of the past approached the Congress of the People: instead of politicians telling people what they should believe, they went out to discover what the people wanted.

“What people are expressing, even in a democracy,” Maharaj says, “is a sense of marginalisation and a sense of not being regarded as relevant.” He then explains why it is that he remains optimistic about South Africa and the future of its democracy.

Listen to the podcast:


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Read Thabo Mbeki’s Prescient Speech on the Relationship between the State and Universities – from July

Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANCA speech made by former president Thabo Mbeki at the University of Johannesburg in July has taken on new significance in the context of the student protests taking place around the country.

Mbeki was the keynote speaker at the Times Higher Education (THE) Africa Universities Summit at UJ. The theme at the event was “Moving Africa’s universities forward: building a shared global legacy”.

In his talk, Mbeki emphasised the importance of convincing Africa’s “so-called political class” and – vitally – universities that they are at the centre of the development agenda.

Read the Mail & Guardian’s report:

He said when African countries gained their independence from colonialism, universities “were indeed situated at the centre of the African development agenda”.

But then the “healthy relationship between the state and the university was weakened and destroyed” by, in part, “the perception among the African ruling elite that universities were serving as centres of political opposition to this elite”.

“This led to the impoverishment and weakening as well as the marginalisation of the African University from both the State and the development agenda.”

This resulted in many African countries coming to consider expenditure on universities “as a burdensome but unavoidable cost rather than an absolutely necessary and beneficial investment”.

He said African countries needed a clear message from their political leadership.

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Watch Part 1 of Evita’s Free Speech for Her Reflection on #FeesMustFall

“It’s Sunday and #FeesHaveFallen (and so did the Springboks!) But you know last week was not history repeating itself.”

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Evita Bezuidenhout, the most famous white woman in South Africa, was inspired by the students who participated in last week’s #FeesMustFall protest and decided to exercise her right to free speech. Every Sunday leading up to the 2016 South African Municipal Elections, she will give a recap of the week’s news in a series of videos entitled Evita’s Free Speech.

“I think the only free thing we really have is free speech and we saw a lot of that in the last few days,” Evita says.

“My three little grandchildren, my born frees (not black, not white, Barack Obama beige), they said to me stop complaining in the kitchen, stop moaning in your letters to the newspapers, nobody listens, nobody reads.” This is why Evita decided to “get onto the internet highway” and share her opinions with the world.

Evita believes that free educations starts at home, and says when her grandchildren protest again, “this time I will march with them”.

Watch part 1 of Evita’s Free Speech video series:

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Max du Preez: Why I Changed My Tune About #FeesMustFall After Witnessing #NationalShutDown

A Rumour of SpringMax du Preez, author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, has issued an appeal to all South Africans to support the current university students protests.

In his column for News24, Du Preez admits that he too first mumbled disapprovingly into his beard about the students who were disrupting classes but after yesterday’s violence he realised that these students need to succeed in their cause.

“We need every one of these protestors to graduate with a good qualification if we want South Africa to be a winning country one day,” he writes.

Read the article:

University fees are too high for most students and prospective students.

A report commissioned by the department of Higher Education last year found that South Africa only spends 0.75% of its GDP on tertiary education. This is less than the average in Africa, much less than the world average and a whole lot less than the average in developed countries.

The government threw the report in the rubbish bin.

I must admit that I, too, was mumbling in my beard when I watched the hyperbole, the militant statements and threats and the singing and dancing at campuses.

Misdirected anger

But I had to remind myself that this was South Africa: nobody takes notice of your grievances if you simply hand over a petition.

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Court Action Filed to Keep Springboks from Heading to 2015 Rugby World Cup Due to Lack of Transformation

If the Agency for New Agenda (ANA) has it’s way, the Springboks might not be playing in this year’s Rugby World Cup.

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This is the latest development in the ongoing drama surrounding the newly announced national rugby team as they prepare for the quadrennial Rugby World Cup set to take place from 18 September to 31 October in England this year.

“The Agency for New Agenda (ANA) party is taking the South African Rugby Union to court in Pretoria seeking an order that would force players and officials to surrender their passports, preventing them from flying to London on the grounds that the government’s policy on transformation has not been met with the Springboks’ squad, which was announced last Friday, being mainly white,” Paul Rees writes for The Guardian.

Read the article for a better understanding of what is going on:

Edward Mahlomola Mokhoanatse, the ANA president, said: “The action is a public duty to defend our constitution and to consign to the rubbish bin of history all vestiges and remnants of racial bigotry, racial exclusion and discrimination. Mokhoanatse added he would be asking the North Gauteng high court to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into “the lack of transformation in South Africa rugby”.

However, Daily Maverick‘s Antoinette Muller figures this is a “cheap political stunt” and believes it won’t hold up in court. Read her article:

An unknown political party, the Agency for New Agenda (ANA) party, formerly known as South Africa First, will be taking South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbabula and the South Africa Rugby Union (Saru) to court on Tuesday. Their mission? To stop the Springboks from playing at the Rugby World Cup in England and Wales next month.

It might sound like a headline from ZANEWS, but the party said its president, Edward Mahlomola Mokhoanatse, will be in the North Gauteng High Court this week to get Saru and Department of Sport and Recreation officials to hand over their passports so they cannot travel to the tournament.

Read Kevin McCallum’s article for The Star on the controversy facing the Springboks, in which he also quotes from Politically Incorrect: The Autobiography by Peter de Villiers and Gavin Rich:

Peter de Villiers has spoken. Springbok rugby is in the gutter. It is a national shame and an insult to black intelligence. It wasn’t like this is in his day. Heyneke Meyer should be put up against the wall.

But yesterday, in an Afrikaans Sunday newspaper, De Villiers told South Africans they should stop fighting about the make-up of the team and support the Springboks at the World Cup. Meyer, he said, has chosen a good group and his right to choose his team should never be taken away from him. South Africans should wait to see what results this team produces at the World Cup and then criticise him, if it is necessary.

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