Constitutional Hill

Letter from Justice Edwin Cameron to the producer of Spud The Movie

This is a letter sent by Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron to Ross Garland, the producer of (and the brains and heart behind) Spud The Movie.

My dear Ross

Thank you again for the invitation to the Spud premiere in Gauteng last month – I am truly sorry that my Cape Rhodes duties prevented me from accepting.
My godson Andy and I saw Spud last evening and were thoroughly and happily swept along by the fine acting, the excellent cinematography and sensitive direction (though I do tend to agree with Shaun De Waal that the Gecko character takes the schoolboy acting honours).
But despite my pleasure in the experience, last night I was kept awake by one aspect of it – which I guess faithfully derives from the book – and find after a long day of thought that I must share my distress with you.
It is the casual denigration of gays – the amiable gay-hating incidents – that occasionally spike up in the movie.
They start with the John Cleese character denouncing Virginia Woolf and another novelist as lesbians.  He owns (of course) that he has nothing against lesbians – in fact, he says, he would like to give them all a thorough “rogering”.
At the Waterfront Nu Metro last night, this evoked a big laugh.
Yet you must know, Ross, that it is exactly this impulse that is imperilling the safety and the lives lesbians in townships throughout the country, and appears to have resulted in several brutal murders.  Middle class academics and discussants call it “corrective rape”.  But to township lesbians it is a constant and benighted horror – the need butch men express to set their sexuality at rights – by giving them a thorough “rogering”.
I found it distressful that a South African-made movie, with a South African producer, could reflect this speech.  Its effect cannot be other than to condone that sort of violence besetting lesbians in our country.
You must know, apart from the lesbian murders and rapes in South Africa, about the law now pending before the Ugandan Parliament that seeks to ban homosexuality with savage punishments, even to introduce the death penalty for certain kinds of homosexual acts?
You must know of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, the Malawian men sent to jail for fourteen years last December (fourteen years) for declaring their intention to love and commit to each other (released after intervention of the UN secretary-general)?
You must know of the hatred, scorn, death threats and violence that beset gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender lives throughout Africa?
Did you not think it wrong for Spud so casually to appear to connive with these impulses?
I think of the underpants-collector who is accused of “faggotism” – and of the cringeing scene showing the ineffectually simpering rugby coach, clearly depicted as an effeminate gay man, exhorting his team to give “more pressure in the rear” (a “joke” that was already current, and made me cringe, when I was a teen struggling with my own sexuality at Pretoria Boys’ High in the late 1960s).
The usual response to complaints of the sort I am making to you, Ross, is that they are trying to enforce “political correctness” onto harmless fun.
There are several comments to make on this.
The first is that the film is highly “politically correct” on other important issues – for instance, the ANC and black/white relations. The racist father is clearly depicted as demented, and Spud’s “progressive” commitments lauded (although his condescension is deftly rebuked in a telling scene where he presumptuously puts his arm around the black head of house).
Even the Jewishishness of  kid pornographer is safely steered around.  You did not think it necessary or acceptable to sneer at his Jewishness – even though I suspect some measure of anti-Semitism lurked in South Africa’s private boys’ church schools two decades ago, and may still do.
So you were very careful to position yourselves correctly on race and politics and Judaism – even though a faithful depiction of white schoolboy and parent attitudes in 1990 would have reflected much rancid racism.
The second is that racist jokes and anti-Semitic jokes and anti-women jokes were long also defended as harmless fun, but their deadly impact is now well recognised.
Yet it still seems to be acceptable for gays and lesbians to be derided and sneered at in a movie made in South Africa in 2010.
I find I cannot find an answer to that question.
You and I have had warm social engagements.  I respect you and admire you and have small doubt you feel the same about me.  You know I am a gay man.  Does that aspect of me strike you as inconsequential, ignorable?  Would the fact that Arthur Chaskalson and Albie Sachs and Richard Goldstone are Jewish not serve to inhibit any temptation to run with crude anti-Semitic jokes in a movie you produce?  Why then is homophobia acceptable?
I am sure you have many gay and lesbian friends – as I am sure John De Ruit does.  I am sure you must feel appalled, and perhaps even angry, at my suggestion that what many would think are innocent jokes in the movie are playing into a larger horror of hatred, oppression and violence on our continent.
Yet that is exactly what I think they do.
Thank you Ross for bearing with me while I disburden myself of my distress at this one aspect of an otherwise excellent production.  Most of my life, though personally very “out”, and politically very emphatic on gay and lesbian equality, I have remained silent in the fact of such taunts and jokes and jibes.  My seemingly butch exterior (so different from the simpering rugby master) colludes with such collusion.
I find I cannot be silent any longer.
I send you my warm and respectful greetings.
  • jane bennett

    Thank you, Edwin. The idea that the defence of lgbti rights is (at
    the moment) ‘the true test for human rights defenders’ is in opposition to
    the idea that lgbti people can work as the lowest common denominator when
    it comes to violent ‘humour’….
    Eish. It gets so tiring.

    If murder can ever be thought of as tiring. Which, of course, it can’t.

    Blessings to you,Justice C.

  • Liesl Theron

    The disconnect between the South African constitution and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s lived realities in South Africa is a reality we should no longer ignore.
    Thank you for this letter Justice – we need more people showing their dismay and anger.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Judge Cameron is right.

    In light of the SCAs Citizen decision, let us all forget the undoubted fact that public school life was, and remains, oppressively homophobic. Remember, to depict is generally to endorse. I oppose denial in any form. But there are certain forms of discrimination that are too hurtful to recall in the name of authenticity. Let us all get over it, and move on.


  • Tina West

    Thanks Edwin.
    Well this is one movie I will not be seeing. I will rather take the time to inform others about this horror hidden agenda and suggest they steer clear from wasting their time and money to support LGBTI bashing type movies as this.
    Unlike Edwin I cant find myself to respect anyone that had been involved in this movie and that includes a big and once very enjoyed actor, John Cleese shame on the lot of you.
    Let us immediately begin an activism of boycotting this movie. Making fun of others to the point where it becomes life threatening to others, is nobody’s right!

  • Diane Wilson

    What is next? Cartoonists, comics now steer clear of anti-Muslim jokes/remarks and we all know why.
    Enforced political correctness is Fascism. Which would You prefer Justice Cameron?

  • Anya Klages

    Wow! Boycotting the movie for illustrating what is a reality in most, if not all boys’ schools? Is that not ‘shooting’ the messenger? Justice Cameron writes an eloquent, heartfelt letter, ‘disburdening’ himself and at the same time respecting the makers of the movie and the writer of the book. As an openly gay man it is only understandable that he feels the way he does. However, to call the movie homophobic is utterly uncalled for, heavy handed and missing the point. If a person is homosexual or not is totally inconsequential as it doesn’t alter the human qualities of that person. The movie is a lighthearted take on boys’ schools, exceptionally entertaining and, I would hazard a guess, not meant in any way to be ‘politically correct’. The jewishness of the ‘kid pornographer’ is totally irrelevant to the story and not ‘steered around’. To say Spud is conniving with homophobic impulses is far fetched.

  • Robert Hamblin

    Dear Edwin. Thank you for giving us dignity.

    Jokes about black people are funny – no longer. Making one wil define you.
    Jokes about Jews are funny – no longer. Making one wil define you.
    Jokes about women is funny – no longer. Making one wil define you.

    John Cleese rogering lesbians is funny. You can laugh it’s still ok.
    A culture of bullied gay men and children jokes is funny. You can laugh it’s still ok.

    As a transgender man I can tell you sarcasm is NOT the lowest form of wit, cross gender quips are. They are easy cheap and everybody is an expert on gender…

    Jokes of sex workers are funny. You can laugh it’s still ok.

    And so we hold people in their place on the totem pole. With ridicule.

    Ridicule is pretty powerfull. And your smile may seem harmless in a moment. But try to picture powerful culture and norms as a miriad of pin prick moments that keep things that harm in place. And you will see that participating in “harmless” fun looks a bit different if you look at it with a satelite view of humanity as opposed to just you and another next to you sharing your elevation over another…

  • Pierre De Vos

    There is a difference between depicting prejudice and hatred in a way that endorses it (by making people laugh along with the cruelty and hatred of the prejudice, which Spud seems to do) and depicting prejudice and hatred in a way that does not endorse it. Those who argue the letter endorses a form of facism are therefore dead wrong. INterestingly they come from the group who is not being laughed at and sneered.

  • Diane Wilson

    How does Pierre De Vos know what group I come from?
    If you are living, the chances are you have been laughed at and sneered at.
    Get over it.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Diane Wilson says:
    December 27, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Hey Diane,

    “If you are living, the chances are you have been laughed at and sneered at.”


    I knew a dead person once. He was not laughed at or sneered at.

    I know a living person who is regularly laughed at and sneered at (that’s me of course).

    But Cameron has a point. Laughing at gays is homophobic. Laughing at Blacks is racist. Laughing at Whites is “othering” (as Brett wisely points out). Laughing at silly people is insensitive. Laughing at fat people is cruel. Laughing at thin people is silly. Laughing at women is gender insensitive. Laughing at men, depending on their race, gender, weight, height, eye colour, language, age, nationality and some other stuff is fun (except it it’s offensive).

    p.s. I did not come from a group that was laughed at or sneered at (or oppressed or taunted or humiliated or abused or any of those nasty things that powerful people do to the less powerful – so go for it. :)

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Diane Wilson

    You obviously did not read the Manual. The applicable rule provides that only members of the particular group affected can sanction a putatively offensive depiction of that group.

    Thus, a Latvian cannot sanction an offensive portrayal of a Croat; nor can a Muslim give her stamp of approval to nasty comments about Aboriginals.

    More generally, a member of the broad class of All People Who Have Ever Been Discriminated Against is not in a position to sanction adverse portrayals of any sub classes thereof.

    Hope this helps.

  • Diane Wilson

    Hi Mikhail!
    I love your sense of humour.
    Thanks for a good laugh. God knows we need it!

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    “I know a living person who is regularly laughed at and sneered at (that’s me of course).”

    Maggs, I would be the first to laugh and sneer at anyone who laughed (or) sneered at you.

    You have taught us all not to trust statistics. (After all, correlation is not causation.) At the end of the day, common sense is what counts!

    Thanks so very much.

  • Randoman

    I agree with Diane Wilson. I have also been laughed at and sneered at frequently – due to some immutable characteristics. The laughs and sneers mean nothing if they are not ‘biting’. People would not otherwise find them funny. I had (and have) to ‘get a life’, shake it off and move on time and again.

    Another problem which I have is the content and style of Edwin Cameron’s letter to the Ross Garland. Cameron rambles on just like he did in Honore’s South African Law of Trusts and one is left hanging in mid air.

    Mr Cameron could learn a thing or too regarding both life and literature from Herman Lategan.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    December 28, 2010 at 0:59 am

    Hey Dworky,


    I suspect that you’re mistaken – if I implied that statistics I take that back. Causation derived from proper correlation ought to be able to stand firm against any level of interrogation. Like the statistics supporting GENOCIDE in SA and the ones (yet to be invented) that suggest that if the ANC loses an election that there will be CIVIL WAR here – when those are eventually disclosed it will be irrefutable.

    That aside, what you should start believing in though is vodoo economics, or predictions using tea leaves, or angel cards and the like – those are quite the foundations of the latest rage in economic theory. :)

    For example when some who sounds important and/or erudite says that “wage controls cause jobs losses” then it’s true. And when the most basic levels of interrogation of the proposition fails, then the way to prove that is to abuse the nullifidian. :)

    p.s. Please stick to telling me what it is I intend to say. I rather enjoy being laughed at and sneered at. I would much rather you defend and protect Brett and JR. :).

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, I would maintain that being laughed at (well, jeered at, more accurately) in the JHB CBD by a hundred black people while fighting for my life against an unlawful attack is the consequence of ‘othering’…

    This is a difficult issue. An interesting angle is that gays have apparently not taken exception to being cast in the role of court jester in mainstream pop culture TV shows like ‘Will & Grace’.

    When I think back – casual throwaway remarks we made about other kids at school whose only manifestation of ‘homosexuality’ would have been things like taking art, or giggling, or being annoying, or crying when the old cow who took us for English caned the class – I cringe.

    Where would you draw the line though – at censorship?

    I’ve been to a couple of estate auctions where lonely old-timers sought the love that dare not speak its name at an hourly rate. One in Berea stands out. The auctioneers (who I have known for a very long time) picked the bed up and heaved it over the balcony because the mattress was disintegrating from all the blood and they could not carry it. Then they tried to pull the carpet up, but the blood had even seeped into the concrete.

    Is that the result of ‘othering’? Of course! The brutality of the act speaks of contempt for his life.

    Do you address that the touchy-feely way? Or by creating an orderly society where effective policing is a given?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 28, 2010 at 21:45 pm

    Hey Brett,

    I’m sorry to hear that you were attacked. I do hope that you were not injured. Those are ugly experiences which nobody ought to go through.

    We’re sadly a society of extreme violence and brutality (some of which I have seen and is far more than you have described). I can only but feel for those who experience it one way or the other.

    I don’t remember any homosexual schoolmates (either it was hidden very well or there were none). In any event as I said elsewhere, nobody bothered about whether people were gay or straight.

    It is nonetheless awful what people have to go through because of the vulnerability – I often wonder what kind of makeup the wierdos must have to use their relative strength to abuse those who are relatively weak. Maybe they are just twisted, sick minded turds.

    That said, I think Cameron is pushing the pendulum too far – some of his views, in the letter, in my opinion around “rogering” in the context that he sets out, is just silly. Maybe his ‘crying’ precedes a book in the making.


    No more violent movies for SA.

  • Anya Klages

    Violent movies? Attacks? Genocide? Civil War? Homophobic? Racist? This has gone too far. Have you all lost the plot? We are talking about an entertaining movie with a 13 age restriction which is based on REALITY. Children, boys, people make fun of each other. Everywhere in the world. About everything and anything at any time. Do you erudite folk want to control what or who may or may not be considered amusing? There will always be fun at the expense of someone. An individual or a group. Get over it. Life isn’t fair. The sooner you come to terms with it, the sooner you will be able to move on.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Anya Klages says:
    December 28, 2010 at 23:49 pm

    Hey Anya,

    “Have you all lost the plot?”

    Indeed they have.

    Brett has given up on trying to get these nuts, time and time again, to stick with the plot. But would they listen. No, instead they go off at a tangent talking about a duck called Matilda. Eish.

    Let’s see if we can bring this back on track.

    Just tell us what the plot is!

    p.s. try not to bring pornography into it cos this is a family blog!

  • wannaknow

    Seems most of the commentators have missed the point, which is that the movie steers clear of (appearing to endorse) every other type of “othering” (to borrow someone else’s term), yet persists in ridiculing and stereotyping gays. Surely a gay audience member has a right to respond to this? It is also dissappointing that people who may not have been on the receiving end of this sort of prejudice and who identify with the dominant group in society glibly say “get over it”.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    wannaknow says:
    December 29, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Hey Wannaknow,

    “Seems most of the commentators have missed the point”

    You mean like this kak?

    Would the fact that Arthur Chaskalson and Albie Sachs and Richard Goldstone are Jewish not serve to inhibit any temptation to run with crude anti-Semitic jokes in a movie you produce?

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, you’re just being contrarian as a matter of principle.

    It is clear that – to the purveyors of toilet humour – there is still one safe haven for finger-pointing disparaging cheap laughs.

  • Michael Osborne

    Anya, the question is not whether Spud’s depictions should be subject to “control.” No one is arguing for censorship. The question is whether gay people have appropriately expressed an objection to a depiction they happen to find offensive.

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs Naidu – says:
    December 28, 2010 at 22:18 pm

    No need to waste your sympathy on me, thank you, Maggs. I won.

    It was an eye-opener, though.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 29, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Hey Brett,

    “No need to waste your sympathy on me, thank you, Maggs. I won.”


    So you lied?

    Your depravity knows no bounds!

    But I knew that already, just thought that in the season of goodwill, some decency will shine through. :)

  • wannaknow

    Maggs, why is that kak? Edwin Cameron was invited to the movie premiere knowing full well his sexuality and gay politics. Had the movie featured anti-Semitic jokes would they have invited the aforementioned judges?

  • Brett Nortje

    I won the fight for my life, Einstone!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    wannaknow says:
    December 29, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Hey Wannaknow,

    Cameron sounds deeply desperate (and a bit mad) to suggest that Arthur Chaskalson and Albie Sachs and Richard Goldstone are reasons to to inhibit any temptation to run with crude anti-Semitic jokes in a movie production.

    In any event jokes about Jews are not necessarily anti-Semitic.

    Jokes about Juju are not necessarily anti-Pedi.

    Jokes about gays are not necessarily homophobic.

    We can extrapolate anything to the point of ridiculousness and thus add to the impact of horrible bigotry rather than restrain – this particular issue may well be an example.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 29, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Hey Dufus,

    “I won the fight for my life, Einstone!”


    So you were fighting for your life while counting the number of people who were laughing (or jeering) at you and you counted precisely 100 among the many who gathered to watch Brett Lee in action. Presumably you did not count those who were not laughing (or jeering) at you.

    And amid all that you won the fight for your life against an unlawful attack. in the middle of Johannesburg.

    Impressive stuff!

    p.s. How do you know people were laughing at you and not the losing party? Did you do like a snap survey or did you send a questionnaire around asking “Who are you laughing at?”

  • Brett Nortje

    Well, I noticed the grinning faces behind the guy moaning at his friends to stop me from trying to kick him in the balls and hold me still so he could shove the Okapi into my heart as I was looking around shrieking for my dad to let my dog Heidi out the car. When I shrugged the guy on my back trying to choke me off with the help of a friendly Corolla I saw more grinning faces over my right shoulder.

    When I was spinning around looking for a safe place to shoot – to get my dad’s attackers off him – with no ‘innocent’ formerly grinning now looking stunned bystanders as a backstop, I saw a sea of changing expressions.
    Somehow, my dad also formed the impression we were being laughed at.

    Happy? Would you like to arrange a poligraph for me?

    Interesting that you make the ‘Brett Lee’ quip. We were attacked right in front of the Dojo my dad dropped me at for 8 years 2 nights a week while I was in school and university which is an indication of how quickly and how dramatically JHB went down the tubes once the ANC was in power.

    From dojo to slum and drug-den with one cross.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 29, 2010 at 13:36 pm

    Hey Brett,

    It seems that you will be a great movie maker.

    Maybe you did get attacked. Maybe you even did ward of the thugs.

    Despite your bravado, exaggeration, it’s an ugly experience if you had it that is. If so I am sorry to hear that.

    But the rest of the stuff sounds better than Chuck Norris could imagine.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Brett, I feel for you. I was attacked by Montenegran thugs in 2001, at the station in Zagreb. Fought them off using Slovenian martial art techniques. Just a few scrapes and bruises!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    December 29, 2010 at 14:32 pm


    “Brett, I feel for you.”

    Aw, that’s so sweet!

    Send chocolates and roses.

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, do you think you could let go of your distaste at a white person defending himself (his father, and a Mercedes) successfully against black attackers and see the issue in simple terms of right-and-wrong?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 29, 2010 at 15:48 pm

    Hey Brett,

    I dunno if the Montenegran thugs who attacked Dworky were Black.

    p.s. Your story is a lot more exciting that Dowrky’s. It sort of goes like this.

    You were unlawfully attacked in the middle of eGoli by more than one thugs. One guy had you pinned from behind. The other guy was trying to shove an Okapi into your heart. At the same time you was kicking the guy who was trying to stab you in the heart. Through all this you were screaming for your father to let the dog out of the car. In the meanwhile you were trying to find a place to shoot.

    And you were able to accurately count, from among the crowd that gathered, those who were laughing (and jeering) at you.

    Dworky’s story goes thus :

    In 2001, he was at the Zagreb station.

    Some guy (whom he taunted) smacked him.

    He went home crying.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Maggs, whilst I will always respek you as a macroeconomist of note, I am nonplussed at your ARROGANT, MOCKING dismissal of the traumatic experiences that Brett and I have had to endure over the years.


  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    December 29, 2010 at 16:49 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    “macroeconomist of note”

    hahahaha – love it.

    I heard that if the Minister of Finance wears a certain holographic “power band” then the country’s monetary circumstances will improve.

    Is it true?

    p.s. I am sorry to hear about you and Brett having traumatic experiences. When relationships get that rough, it’s time to move on even though you still feel for him.

  • Brett Nortje

    You’re right, Maggs. Counting isn’t your strong point.

    I had one guy behind me hanging from my throat trying to choke me. One guy trying to pin either arm and wrestle me to the ground. Another in front trying to jockey me into position to be stabbed by hanging on to my clothes. One guy trying to stab me. 3 guys taking my dad’s wallet.

    I make that 8.

    Do you write in to the SABC forcing them to substantiate the numbers at ANC rallies?

    Should I have counted the lesions on the guy trying to stab me’s face?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 29, 2010 at 17:43 pm

    Hey Brett,

    “(1)I had one guy behind me hanging from my throat trying to choke me. (2)One guy trying to pin either arm and wrestle me to the ground. (3)Another in front trying to jockey me into position to be stabbed by hanging on to my clothes. (4)One guy trying to stab me. 3 guys taking my dad’s wallet.

    I make that 8.”


    Seem to me like the modern version of Snow White and the seven dwarves.

    But then as you wisely point out, counting is not my strong point.

    And through all that you managed to count the 100 Black people who laughed (and jeered) at you.

    p.s. Does the ANC still have rallies?

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, blaming the victim when the victim belongs to a race you are not particularly fond of and goes around armed which you disapprove of and constantly brings up the idea of genocide in contrast to this country’s constitution which was supposed to be the framework for a modus vivendi between black and white – themes you are heartily sick of – is understandable on a sick level although not very nice or intellectualy honest.

    But how do you justify blaming the victim of ‘othering’ for speaking out against speech which he obviously feels is alienating, illigitemising and dehumanising?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 29, 2010 at 18:05 pm

    Hey Brett,

    Your imagination is very fertile as shown in your little (or big) fabrications.

    Where did I blame the victim?

    All I said was Cameron said some silly stuff – that has got nothing whatsoever to do with his race.

    But keep inventing stuff, it’s getting more comical than the comedy that Cameron moaned about.

    I did not say that he was the cause of the nastiness prevalent in many sectors of our society – that I blame primarily on the lack of morality and the misguided sense of superiority.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    “I heard that if the Minister of Finance wears a certain holographic “power band” then the country’s monetary circumstances will improve.”

    Maggs, I have not heard this story.

    I doubt that it is true.


  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    December 29, 2010 at 18:25 pm


    “I doubt that it is true.”

    Since when do things have to be true, to be true?

    Making nonsense sound credible should make it true.

    Add a few smart sounding, erudite, bright well personalities can make anything possible.

    p.s. You haven’t heard about the miraculous power band, but did you hear about the woman who married herself?

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, instead of your histrionics I’d like to hear other peoples’ opinions – like whether the answer to the concerns Cameron raised about violence against homosexuals does not lie in justified confidence in our law enforcers who are tasked by the Constitution to make it a modus vivendi rather than self-censorship…

    Has the state delivered on the promises implicit in Makwanyane?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 29, 2010 at 19:20 pm

    Hey Brett,

    Did you give up on your sad story?

  • Brett Nortje

    What sad story? Allthough I wondered several times what kind of Christmas our attackers were having or if they’d ever had a ‘good’ Christmas I do not think of it as a ‘sad story’…. I was glad it had happened. On many levels. Not least that it was an eye-opener. I can remember telling myself – time seems to stand still under stress-situations like that – that I was not going to make it because I was too heavily outnumbered. I told myself that was OK – that my oupas would have been proud of me for going down fighting. I resolved to take a couple of those fkrs with me.

    The main inconvenience being phoning my uncle to go fetch the spare key (and then to pay R1600 for a replacement…) While I was waiting for the spare key I was entertained by cops from JHB Central whom I had to talk out of sitting there waiting with me. They were driving a patrol vehicle with a radio that had been out of order for 6 months. Presumably they could go buy pay-as-you-go if they ran into an ambush and needed back-up. Those cops told me they had families at home and had decided long ago if push came to shove and they were attacked they would defend their lives with all the means at their disposal even if it meant prison. They laughed hugely when I asked if they had decided they would rather be tried by three than carried out by six. They did not want to leave me there on my own with evening approaching and told me to shoot anything that moved before leaving. Or anyone who looked at me strangely.

    All in all it was a rush. My dad proved as game as they come which alone made it worthwhile.

    What would be sad is if you were attacking someone hugely successful just as a way of getting attention?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 29, 2010 at 20:32 pm

    Hey Brett,

    That’s what I mean – your story is far more interesting than Cameron’s.

    It is not however one that should be considered as having ‘won’ as you said elsewhere. Getting beaten up, laughed and jeered at, robbed of cash and keys, waiting in the centre of the city with dark approaching sounds pretty rough to me. You survived a pretty nasty experience, but certainly not won.

    On the subject of policepersons, ever since we have a new Police Commissioner in Gauteng – maybe that should read ever since we have a Police Commissioner in Gauteng – the policing seems to have upped substantially.

    I reckon that General Petros is a real asset to our country – let’s hope that he or someone like him makes national commissioner soon.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs & Brett

    I must say I am somewhat miffed that neither of you seem very interested in my personal narrative of my own Montenegran “othering.”

    Is it because you think that the protracted agonies of the post-Ottoman reconfiguration of the Balkans are somehow less interesting than petty street crime in Johannesburg?

    Or is it old fashioned RACISM?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    December 29, 2010 at 21:41 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    Were the Montenegran ‘otherers’ Black?

    If not we are not interested.

    But if you can stop moaning about how bad your lot in life is for a while, you can help me figure out where the 8th guy was during Brett’s nasty experience.

    It’s also important to find out why more than 100 people gathered around – those people should be looking for work, not admiring Brett’s ninja tactics.

    p.s. What have you done with JR?

    p.p.s did you get a power band?

  • Brett Nortje

    Well, some of those people were ‘working’ – security guards, street vendors, guys shaving heads under a mini-gazebo, women cooking next to a dead rat lying in the gutter…

    With respect to ninja-tactics – to my shame, I was in such a funk any ‘skills’ or ‘tactics’ were the furthest thing from my mind. It was an atavistic struggle for survival at first – right across from the dojo where I trained for years.

    Now, to get back to the topic – should we yield to Cameron and relinquish aspects of our freedom of expression because of the real-world danger that kind of ‘othering’ poses or should we be able to rely on the police to provide the space for us to say anything we want in a normal society?


    Dworky, if you are bored and want to be useful give me the Croat and Slovenian for ‘No!’ ‘Naughty!’ ‘Bad dog!’

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Hey Brett,

    “Dworky, if you are bored and want to be useful give me the Croat and Slovenian for ‘No!’ ‘Naughty!’ ‘Bad dog!’”

    Dworky is being most unhelpful. Maybe he is sulking cos we are not too interested in him having been smacked about by Montenegran thugs.

    In the meanwhile here’s some stuff you can say to your dog which I have on good authority as most appropriate.

    Tvoj gospodar je smiješno


    Vaš mojster je komična

  • Diane Wilson

    Would the writers above find it offensive if I expressed the opinion that I think you are all demented. If any of you are homosexual AND mad; TOUGH!
    Life isn’t fair!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Diane Wilson says:
    December 30, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Hey Dianne,

    “If any of you are homosexual AND mad”.


    Tough choice.

    What about a little flexibility i.e. homosexual OR mad?

    But please don’t express the opinion that you think that all are demented – everyone will find that extremely offensive – this is a constitutional law blog and contributors here are very sensitive about how they engage each other. Nobody who comments here (ok maybe exclude me in that) is demented. Quite the opposite in fact.

    The kind of thing below is just not said. Not that anybody has said it, but just to point out to you that since people are not prejudiced are always rational, careful about what thoughts they hold, have no double standards etc.

    (1) Homosexuals engage in abnormal sexual practice.
    (2) Pedophiles engage in abnormal sexual practice.
    (3) Therefore homosexuals are, or are more likely to be, pedophiles.

    The above is most likely to be found in a homophobes chat room, a rowdy bar after our national Rugby team has won a match or other place where unsavoury types collect but not in an exchange between a heterosexual male Professor of Law who is peeved at the political view expressed by a homosexual Professor of Law.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Diane Wilson

    On behalf of DDAPSAP (“Democratic Dementeds’ Association of Southern African People”), I wish to express my outrage at your bigoted slur. If you ever make a film about us, we shall surely boycott it.


  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    December 30, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Dear Mr Mikhail D Fassbinder,

    I do hope you will not mind at all if I recount for Ms Diane the incident between you and Mr B. Nortje.

    Well Ms Wilson, Mr Fassbinder and Mr Nortje were working their way through college and landed jobs at the local telephone company.

    One day an elderly lady was shocked by the language used by two men repairing telephone wires near her home. She wrote a letter to the company complaining about it. The foreman was ordered to report the happening to his superior. “Mr Nortje and I were on this job,” he reported. “I was up on the telephone pole and I accidentally let hot lead fall on Mr Nortje and it went down his neck. Then Mr Nortje called up to me, ‘Mr Fassbinder, you really must be more careful’. I responded by saying ‘Thank you’ “.

    That, Ms Wilson, is the way you should conduct yourself when commenting here.

    Words like ‘demented’ and ‘mad’ have no place in a Constitutional Law blog.

  • Diane Wilson

    To hell with you fools, I will engage you like I engage my hamster, with little patience.

  • bl@ddy agent

    @Diane Wilson:

    “I will engage you like I engage my hamster, with little patience.”

    Do you raise your voice at your hamster? Do you fly off the handle when it doesn’t behave like a four-legged human? Why did you get a hamster in the first place – so you could have someone to bully? What sort of a person enjoys bullying an innocent little hamster?

  • Pierre de Vos

    “Diane Wilson”, maybe anger management classes, along with some classes in how to treat other human beings respectfully, as equal human beings with feelings and beliefs who – gasp – might differ from you, might assist you to become a less offensive or even a likeable person. All that anger, girl, will kill you. Chill.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Diane Wilson says:
    December 30, 2010 at 19:30 pm

    Hey Diane,

    “To hell with you fools, I will engage you like I engage my hamster, with little patience.”


    But is your hamster homosexual AND mad?

    Is it demented?

    p.s. @ bl@ddy agent – why say you that the hamster is innocent and little?

    p.p.s @ Pierre – “might assist you to become a less offensive or even a likeable person”. – The alternative to anger management classes is to, wait for it, …. get a hamster for company course.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    bl@ddy agent says:
    December 30, 2010 at 20:06 pm

    Hey BA,

    Here’s a sneak preview of the “innocent little” hamster!

  • Diane Wilson

    I did not write that last comment about the hamster attributed to me at 19.30 p.m. I would never give Pierre de Vos the opportunity to be didactic and self-righteous. I didn’t realise that he was also irony-impaired.
    It seems anyone can pretend to be anyone else on this blog. How do you know whose opinions are whose?
    I think I’ll give you guys a miss in future.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Diane Wilson says:
    December 30, 2010 at 21:28 pm

    “I would never give Pierre de Vos the opportunity to be didactic and self-righteous.”


    Pierre, as we all know, is homosexual AND mad.

  • Diane Wilson

    Hey guys,

    Chill out, no need to get so upset.

    bl@ddy agent-

    I never thought of bullying a hamster before, I think bullying a wild lion may be more rewarding.

    Pierre de Vos-

    My apologies to you, you have a great site. But one thing, i dont beleive we are all equal, maybe in terms of the law we are, but in many aspects we are far from equal.
    Some are even more equal than others, dont you think?

    Maggs Naidu –

    My hamster may be mad and demented but unless it was raped by another hamster i cannot, by the fact that it has just had babies, believe it to be homosexual. You are right to question whether or not the hamster is little and innocent, it is indeed little but having children before it has reached the age of 2 is naughty in my books.

    P.S. – how did you find that video of my hamster?

    Thank you.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Diane Wilson says:
    December 30, 2010 at 21:37 pm

    Hey Dianne,

    “by the fact that it has just had babies”.

    Well, there are some possibilities.

    As history tells us, birth has been known to be miraculous.

    Then there’s artificial insemination.

    But I think the snake done it!

    p.s. the source of the video is Wikileaks of course. Hey with his track record, maybe Assange is the rat who sneaked up on the innocent hamster!

  • Brett Nortje

    Pierre, waar is ons volgende blog? Dink jy jy is op vakansie of iets, hhhmm?

    Jy kan sien almal is verveeld. Of, vertel ons van Mexico.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje says:
    December 30, 2010 at 22:06 pm

    Hey Dufus,

    Speak for yourself – you sound like a Almitra wannabe.

    Anyway, it seems to me that Pierre was aware of who the fake “Diane Wilson” is (December 30, 2010 at 20:23 pm) – maybe we should torture him into revealing!

  • Wally


    Why is this article not shown on the home page but only linked under ‘Recent Comments’ ? I almost missed it.

    It is dated 23/12/2010, so should be between these articles:-

    Should Freedom Under Law appeal the Hlophe judgment?
    Dec 23rd, 2010 by Pierre De Vos.


    This defamation case is not going anywhere
    Dec 20th, 2010 by Pierre De Vos

  • Mangi Mbileni

    The letter is very warmly written but I think it misses the point. As a product of a boy’s boarding (regardless if it’s private or govt), I can testify first hand that the sort of “homophobia” depicted in the movie really does happen on a day to day, especially at old church schools. I don’t necessarily agree with you but empathise with your cause. The point is, the producers of spud probably just depicted what happens on a daily at boys schools (and not exclusively boys schools for that matter). Hiding this would perhaps be the biggest injustice to all parties concerned.

  • Riaan

    The fact of the matter is that LBGT people are still easy targets to ridicule and demonise. The movie didn’t dare ridicule black or Jewish people, but we all know it’s free for all in the case of homosexuals. That being said, I enjoyed the books tremendously and didn’t find it offensive. Unfortunately these kind of things happens on a daily basis in schools, universities and the workplace. We still have a long way to go with treating everyone with respect.

  • zoo keeper

    I think this is a ridiculous letter.

    Perhaps all comedians should be rounded up and jailed for hate-speech too?

    Get a life Cameron, reasonable people see the joke and then get on with their lives separating the joke from reality.

    Geez… And this guy could be deciding on freedom of speech in a court…?

    Freedom of speech means these jokes can be made – tough luck Cameron.

  • Twoslice

    I agree with zoo keeper! 98% of the Comedians / Comedies can be offensive to unreasonable, UNDER-AGE,below average,insensitive ect people. A normal / average adult, a 13 year old can differentiate between wrong vs right, joke vs reality etc.

    So good people GET OVER IT! The movie is fun just like any other comedy. The sooner you realise ,learn and deal with the core root cause of why you are all being unreasonable,out of context the better…

    Could it be that your being lgbti is an issue here? If you are lgbti and proud, this then should’nt worry you! Its a comedy movie, Jokes about anything and everything will happen.

    These jokes about lgbti dont stick on you so, whats all the fuss..! You are who you are and you know who you are – why care about what other people say about you. Loosen up! Asseblief!

    There is absolutely nothing homophobic about the movie, if you and your friend dont like it, Cool! I watched it , I like it. I read the book collection, Its fun.

  • Maggs Naidu

    zoo keeper says:
    January 12, 2011 at 17:20 pm

    Hey ZooKy,

    I hear Pierre on 702 this AM talking about this letter.

    Pierre, and if he is correct, as well as Cameron seem to think that the humour is about the abuse of homosexuals.

    People who think that homosexuality is a “corrective” ailment are funny.

    People who think that homosexuality should be banned are funny.

    People who think that homosexuality is a choice are funny.

    People who think that “a thorough Rogering” is a means to correct the ‘correctable’ are funny.

    Not all of them are violent or brutal. Stupid maybe.

    Laughing at twits for the silly views that they hold is not by any means endorsing homophobia or marginalising homosexuals – I think it does quite the opposite.

    These okes should stop navel gazing.

  • RickySA

    I wonder if you have read Ross Garland’s comments. According to the website of the Independent, he says, among other things, “It is also alarming to have a Constitutional Court judge demonstrate such disregard for free expression and artistic works.” Am I the only one who finds this comments a bit over the top? Am Judge Cameron not allowed to find the certain aspects of the film tasteless etc? And does he not have the right to freely express this view? I do not see anywhere in Judge Cameron’s letter a demand for censorship, for the film to be withdrawn or any other draconian measures. Apparently, Ross Garland is even “taking advice on whether the publication of the letter was defamatory”. How thin-skinned is that? If Ross Garland has an ounce of class, he would simply shrug off Judge Cameron’s comments, saying that just as he has artistic freedom etc, so thus Judge Cameron, and that he does not agree with Judge Cameron’s view. Also, reading the letter by Judge Cameron, how could that be considered defamatory?

    And then you have “Constitutional rights analyst Ayesha Kajee” who, again according to the Independent’s website, finds the letter “strange”, because “As a judge of the Constitutional Court, he is meant to uphold freedom of expression, to the limit of hate speech, which is given to us in the constitution. The authors of our constitution deliberately gave us this right because they wanted us to be free to talk about any issues and not be pushed underground. Any discriminatory sentiment essentially does not stand up to debate; it becomes exposed for the ugly, nasty thing it is, and we grow as a society from this.” One could argue that this is exactly what Judge Cameron is doing, engaging in free speak. Again, if Judge Cameron asked for censorship, I would undeerstand Ayesha’s point, but that is not the case.

  • Maggs Naidu

    Eish – another cry-baby!

    Film producer Ross Garland says Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron’s accusations of homophobia in Spud: The Movie disregard artistic freedom and could constitute defamation.

  • zoo keeper


    A judge of the Constitutional Court should know better. He may be called on the decide a matter based on this.

    Unfortunately for Cameron, his position as a judge does place him in a different sphere to ordinary folk. I would say Garland has a good point.

  • Maggs Naidu

    And now the confusion!

    Constitutional rights analyst Ayesha Kajee said Judge Cameron’s letter was “strange” because he was a judge in the Constitutional Court.

    “As a judge of the Constitutional Court, he is meant to uphold freedom of expression, to the limit of hate speech, which is given to us in the constitution,” said Kajee.

    “The authors of our constitution deliberately gave us this right because they wanted us to be free to talk about any issues and not be pushed underground. Any discriminatory sentiment essentially does not stand up to debate; it becomes exposed for the ugly, nasty thing it is, and we grow as a society from this.” – The Mercury


    The FXI’s Kate Skinner said Cameron did not appear to be asking for an apology but rather starting a debate about this sensitive issue.

    “He is saying people are very flippant about homophobia, there are lots of jokes about it. What I am seeing from what Judge Edwin Cameron is saying is that lets have the debate and talk about these issues, rather than just relegating it to the side and saying its fine to make jokes about these issues,” said Skinner.

  • Maggs Naidu

    2010-07-05 20:13 – Political analyst Ayesha Kajee has been appointed executive director of the Freedom of Expression Institute.

    Kate Skinner (Deputy Chairperson)

  • RickySA

    Zoo Keeper, I know that many judges will refrain from expressing a view on contentious matters that they believe will end up in front of them, cf. e.g. the nominees for posts on the US Supreme Court who normally refuses to say much about their views on abortion, gay marriage etc. But this does not mean that a judge is barred from expressing the view on anything. And I do not see how Judge Cameron could have any expectation that this matter would one day reach the Constitutional Court (and I am pretty sure it will not). The result of your view would that a judge cannot express a personal view about anything – a bit much, is it not?

    Which of Garland’s points do you find to be good?

  • zoo keeper


    I only checked your quote of Garland, not his entire missive. A judge may of course express his views, but he must be cautious about expressing views on matters which could yet arise. A matter like this where a hate speech charge is laid could go to his bench. Very conceivable that it would end up on his bench.

    He is free to have whatever opinion he may have about the movie (and be over-sensitive in my view), but as a sitting judge, he should know better than to go about publishing open letters because of his office.

    His office means he does not have the same freedom you or I do in being open with our opinions.

    He will probably be faced with recusal applications and recuse himself if a matter of this nature comes before the CC.

  • Roger Harrison

    Justice Edwin Cameron has expressed an opinion on this matter. The facts are the following:
    1. He is a Justice of the Constitutional Court.

    2. He has chosen to identify himself as such in this discourse.

    3. Whilst openly doing so, he has also revealed a personal bias of a certain kind, which he has overlaid with a subtext of legal and social opinion in his letter to Ross Garland.

    4. Should a matter concerning homosexuality or a related matter be presented to the court, it would be incumbent upon Justice Cameron to recuse himself from such a matter without further ado. He has openly declared what may be interpreted as a personal bias.

    5. The Law exists to serve the people. The people do not exist to serve the Law. Furthermore, the law does not exist in order to further the personal socio-political agendas of lawyers, magistrates or judges.

    When judges engage themselves identifiably with their office in public debate on social policy, they expose themselves to public criticism, ridicule and contempt. This is an outcome which potentially holds the courts as objects of ridicule, and that is in no-one’s interests.

    Here in Canada, Judges are finding this result to their cost. The courts are increasingly being held in contempt, and being held as objects of ridicule.

    For a Judicial officer of this stature to express an opinion of this kind in a public forum is a disgrace!

  • Cheryl Stobie

    I applaud Justice Edwin Cameron’s sentiments as expressed in this letter, and his courage in airing them. I too was deeply offended by the “rogering” comment made, not by a schoolboy, but by the “cultured” headmaster figure played by John Cleese. However, one aspect of this scene struck me as laughably ironic: the two male authors put forward by the Guv as models of masculinity are DH Lawrence and Ernest Hemingway — both of whom were characterised by ambiguous sexuality, and are typified by many commentators, such as Marjorie Garber, as bisexual.

    Two comments by Lawrence are interesting in this regard: “I should like to know why nearly every man that approaches greatness tends to homosexuality, whether he admits it or not…” and “I believe the nearest I’ve come to perfect love was with a young coal-miner when I was about 16.”

    The film Spud unwittingly endorses male homosexuality or bisexuality, while the works of female counterparts are consigned to the rubbish bin, and crude threats of sexual violence are uttered. The unconscious humour is insufficient to negate the vile taste of sexism and homophobia.

  • RickySA

    @Zookeeper, you write “A matter like this where a hate speech charge is laid could go to his bench”. But no hate speech charge has been laid, Judge Cameron merely wrote a letter to Ross Garland expressing his personal views. So it remains unclear how this matter could end up in the Constitutional Court or any other court for that matter (unless Ross Garland sues for defamation which – in my view – would be ridicoulous).

    @ Roger Harrison, I wonder what you mean by “a personal bias of a certain kind”. Could you please elaborate what kind of bias you are referring to?

    Your statement “Should a matter concerning homosexuality or a related matter be presented to the court, it would be incumbent upon Justice Cameron to recuse himself from such a matter without further ado. He has openly declared what may be interpreted as a personal bias.” Again, what is the “personal bias” you keep referring to? The fact that Judge Cameron is gay and (I seem to recall) openly HIV-positive should no more make him biased in cases on homosexuality than heterosexual people in cases concerning e.g. heterosexual marriages. And since treating homosexual and heterosexual persons in the same way is incumbent under SA law and there are quite strict rules on hate speech which also protects homosexuals, I am not sure what you are referring to.

    Again, your reference to “social policy” is not really relevant in South Africa as the Constitution demands equal rights, that is e.g. why same-sex couples can get married in South Africa and adopt children. Now, if Judge Cameron indicated a view contrary to what is constitutional law, it would problematic.

    Also “to express an opinion of this kind in a public forum is a disgrace” puzzles me – what do you mean by “of this kind”? And to my knowledge Judge Cameron did not publish the letter (but here I might wrong – or he might have acted in a way where he should be able to guess that it would be published).

  • zoo keeper


    You’ve missed the point.

    If a matter, not necessarily this one, ends up in the CC, Cameron will have to recuse himself because of a revealed personal bias.

  • Pingback: On “Spud”, laughter and “political correctness” – Constitutionally Speaking()

  • RickySA

    Zookeeper, to my knowledge (and I did read Judge Cameron’s letter) the main opinion expressed by Judge Cameron was that he did not think that gays and lesbians were well treated in the film Spud. So, unless a matter about this comes up in the CC, why would he need to recuse himself?
    And you say “if a matter, not necessarily this one” – of course a matter will come up – but can you please tell us in what cases Judge Cameron will be biased? Nobody has yet made this clear.

    But maybe your point is that a judge cannot express any views, apart from when judging?

    In my view, what is underlying many of the posts is that inherent view that in spite of the constitution etc, there is still something immoral/funny/strange/wrong about being gay.

  • Brett Nortje

    ZooKeeper, what do you think of the ConCourt hosting an anti-gun art exhibition when there are several challenges to the Firearms Control Act heading the Court’s way?

  • Roger Harrison

    Justice Cameron is a homosexual. And he is HIV positive. Both of these are by his own admission – not by my accusation. If he were an owner of (for example) de Beers shares, he would not be able to hear a case involving De Beers, because of perceived bias. The same applies here. The constitution upholds your right to be gay just as much as it upholds your right to own shares. But for a judge to express bias in a public forum is a disgrace to the high office which he holds.
    Similarly, a judge who owns and supports free ownership of firearms in a public forum – in which he and his office are identified – should not be on the bench when the Firearms Control Act comes before the court. It is a simple issue of jurisprudence.

    This debate is not about homosexuality, but about Justice Cameron’s behaviour.

    He is NOT free to make constitutional pronouncements in a public forum. A chatroom is not his grubby little courtroom where he can behave like a tin god. He should be sacked.

  • Pierre De Vos

    I find some of the arguments here rather bizarre. By implication, no white judge can ever hear a case with a black litigant. No hetersexual judge can hear a case with a gay litigant. No judge who has ever spoken out against apartheid and racism can hear a case about racial discrimination. THis is patently absurd.

  • Roger Harrison

    Pierre De Vos seems to be deliberately obtuse. The issue is NOT the nature of the person – white, black, gay or lesbian. The issue is a previously stated publc bias. To use his own analogy, of course a white judge can hear a case with a black litigant – UNLESS he or she has previously made a racially biased statement (eiher pro or anti-black) in a public forum. There is nothing absurd about such a precondition.
    It raises the question – since Cameron is pro-gay – is it right for him to hear a case involving alleged discrimination against a gay person? My view is that he is likely to be biased in his judgement.

  • hennie

    14 jan 2010


  • RickySA

    Roger Harrison’s posting are excactly the kind of postings I was referring to when I wrote earlier that there seemed to be some underlying assumption that being gay is somehow controversial/wrong/bizarre/etc (you fill in the adjective).

    For instance, when Roger H writes “Justice Cameron is a homosexual. And he is HIV positive. Both of these are by his own admission – not by my accusation”, he implicitely says that being homosexual and being HIV positive is something to be ashamed, otherwise why would be an accusation? I doubt we sould see Roger H writing “Justice [ ] is a heterosexual. And he is HIV negative. Both of these are by his own admission – not by my accusation.”

    And “If he were an owner of (for example) de Beers shares, he would not be able to hear a case involving De Beers, because of perceived bias. The same applies here.” – this states clearly (despite what Roger H writes later) that being gay would be sufficient to – in Roger H’s mind – preclude Justice Cameron from hearing cases on gay issues (otherwise he should have written “If he had expressed himself in favour of owners of (for example) de Beers shares, he would not be able to hear a case involving De Beers, because of perceived bias. The same applies here. “)

    Roger H later writes that the issue is Justice Cameron being pro-gay. I assume you would then also say that if a judge have spoken in favour of women’s rights, he (or she) cannot hear cases concerning women’s issues. And similar for child rights. Roger, this is patently absurd: Since the South African Constitution specifically protects the rights of women, children and – yes – gays, a constitutional court is supposed to be pro-women, pro-children and pro-gays (within the bounds of the law). I would also expect a judge to be pro-black (and pro-white, pro-indian and pro-coloured) since the constitution protects the rights of all, irrespective of colour.

    Finally, what was it that Judge Cameron said? That he would have liked for the producers of Spud to treat gay issues with the same sensitivity as racial issues. Under the constitution, sexual orientation is listed together with race and other distinctions in the equal treatment clause. Consequently, Judge Cameron was not asking for anything unconstitutional. How can that be problematic for a judge?

  • Maggs Naidu

    Roger Harrison says:
    January 14, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Hey Roger,

    “It raises the question – since Cameron is pro-gay – is it right for him to hear a case involving alleged discrimination against a gay person?”

    That, with great respect, is a really dof question.

    Whatever does ‘pro-gay’ mean?

    While waiting for your response, I’ll assume that you meant that Camy regards gays as people with rights as enshrined in our constitution, perhaps having been and are still marginalised and/or oppressed in some or other way.

    Most of our judges are known to be “pro-gay”, pro-human rights, pro-democracy, pro-constitution.

    Should we abandon our constitution?

  • Maggs Naidu

    Roger Harrison says:
    January 14, 2011 at 0:23 am

    Hey Roger,

    “He is NOT free to make constitutional pronouncements in a public forum. A chatroom is not his grubby little courtroom where he can behave like a tin god. He should be sacked.”

    It seems that you have a personal issue with the good Judge.

    Is this like a lover’s quarrel II?

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, could you please stop stereotyping gay people?

  • Maggs Naidu

    Brett Nortje says:
    January 14, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Hey Brett,

    “Maggs, could you please stop stereotyping gay people?”

    It seems that Roger is ‘Rogering’ our good judge!

  • zoo keeper


    I would ask the ConCourt to hold an arts exhibition promoting gun rights and see what they say. Use the posters showing disarmament preceding genocide as your marketing tool. Also how the Apartheid government ensured that non-whites could not own firearms to decrease resistance.

    Also, they will be faced by an applicaton on gun rights in future and therefore as the ConCourt they are now bound to entertain your side of the story.


    Cameron will be faced with recusal applications when dealing with a freedom of speech matter where a gay/lesbian has been offended. If you are the defendant, wouldn’t you ask for his recusal because he has revealed he is personally very sensitive on the matter?

    That is why he must be cautious in what he pronounces on in public as a judge.

    Cautious is the word.

  • Gay Afrikaner

    It should be very clear that this work of fiction makes use of many archetypal stereotypes – caricatures of people. In fact, every single one of the Crazy 8 is some sort of stereotypical caricature – one-dimensional with very little nuance.

    It would be extremely naïve to expect the Guv or the boys who accuse the underwear thief of “faggotism” to learn some moral lesson, come to some enlightened insight and denounce their former homophobic utterances.

    I would go as far as to say that every character in this film is just a stereotype distilled from historical collectives: the white father who stocks up the garage with tinned food, the black domestic worker who does illegal trading from the premisis, the Rambo-type, the sports star…

    Please don’t take it all so seriously. Keep on fighting for our equal gay rights, but do it where it matters and stop trying to drain all the mirth from light entertainment. Spud is not a lesson in morals.

    And if you’re concerned with the embedded homophobia in the consciousness of our nation, let’s rather look towards ourselves. Have you heard the way many or even most of our gay male friends talk about women in general and lesbians in particular?

    We’re not exclusive victims of phobia.

  • Pierre de Vos

    Roger Harrison, your statement remains absurd. You write: “To use his own analogy, of course a white judge can hear a case with a black litigant – UNLESS he or she has previously made a racially biased statement (eiher pro or anti-black) in a public forum.” But then almost all the judges on the Constitutional Court and many judges appointed after 1994 would be unable to hear a case in which eitrher a black or white litigant appeared. This is because they have all made extra-curial statements in which they deplored apartheid and affirmed the need to treat all people of all races with human dignity. This would constitute, I assume, a “pro black” racially biased statement? BUt of course it is not biased because it affirms the values enshrined in our Constitution. Similarly, when Justice Cameron makes a statement in which he deplores homophobia he is not making a sexual orientation biased statement, he is affirming what the Constitution promises. To call this bias is to assume that there is something wrong with being gay and that standing up for the right of gay men and lesbians to be treated with dignity displays a “bias”. BUt of course the bias is yours. Some would call it bigotry.

  • RickySA

    Prof de Vos, it is almost like reading my own posting to Roger Harrison from 5 hours ago (although probably better written….) (c;

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Pierre, last night, I phoned JP to berate him for doing nothing absolutely nothing about the noise from a gay club on Somerset Rd.

    To my chagrin, he immediately began sobbing uncontrollably, and then hung up on me. But before he did so, I distinctly heard Wagner’s Tannhauser overture playing in the backround.

    What should I do?

  • Pierre De Vos

    Fassbinder, phone Helen Zille and complain. Even JP Smith is scared of her.

  • Maggs Naidu

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    January 14, 2011 at 14:23 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    What should I do?”

    1. If you find the noise too much you can always leave the club.

    2. For the crying you could offer tissues.

    3. And if you ask nicely, maybe he will consider more forward overtures!

    If all else fails, try HZ as Pierre suggests – maybe you will get lucky.

  • Defender

    Judge Cameron is a complete fool in my opinion… for all those of you who feel the need to citicise Spud on the basis of other, unkonwn persons, opinions frankly have no right to do so… I thus urge all of you to go and see the film yourself before drawing conclusions.

    I would also like to remind you all that a film is an attempted portrayal of an event or series or real life events and, no matter how unfortunate, in the real world racism, sexism and homophobia exist so logically it is within the rights of film makers to portray these traits, through their characters, as they believe they were portrayed in the place and time the movie is set in.

    Although an uncomfortable fact, it is undeniable that within society as a whole but even more so specifically amoungst teenage boys homophobia is a real issue. Bear in mind that these teenage boys are all struggling to understand and grapple with their new found sexuality. This combined with peer presure to conform results in a fear of being gay – homophobia.

    This all however is beside the point… The remarks refered to by Judge Cameron portrayed in a light heardted and comical way… to imply that these comments may result in rape and murder is far-fetched and frankly silly!!

    In the era that the movie is set, for those characters… those scenes were relevent and acceptable so why should a movie degrade itself by not giving a true account, simply to please Judge Cameron and remain 100% PC???

    Spud is a billiant movie and one that SA can be proud of… after all it was created by South Africans for South Africans and thus South Africans should support it – not ridicule it!

    Many Thanks.

  • RickySA

    Defender, I agree totally that depictions of the past (or the present for that matter) should not try to gloss over what we consider negative traits of the past. A film set in Germany in the 1930s would of course have to show the virulent anti-semitism. And a film set in South Africa in the 1960s would have to show racism.

    But I think you misunderstand the point. The point is not whether the film shows homophobic statements or not but how the homophobic statement and the persons making them are presented. Is the statement presented in a way that gives the audience sympathy for the homophobes, that makes the audience sympathise with the statement and find it acceptable?

    I haven’t seen Spud but if the statement about “rogering”, rather than leaving the audience cringing about the crasness of the person saying it and laughing derisively at him (if they have to laugh), makes the audience laugh with him at his immense wit with the lesbians being the laughingstock, then I do see Judge Cameron’s point. I would also find it offensive if a film set in the 1970s in South Africa presented racists making jokes about blacks using derogatory words were made in a way where the audience did not cringe at the racist jokes but actually had the audience laughing with the racist.

    And what is this nonsense that because Spud was “created by South Africans for South Africans … South Africans should support it”? If you do not like a filme or a book or something else, then you are entitled to criticise it, no matter if it is South African or not. Or maybe we should say because Zuma was elected by South Africans for South Africans, all South Africans should support him?

  • John le Roux

    Jy weet julle moffies het altyd ‘n probleem met alles. Hoekom hou julle nie julle bekke en gaan voort met julle eie lewe en los die normale mense uit!!!

  • Pierre De Vos

    “John Le Roux”: Ek is by daar is darem een person in die wereld wat glo jy is normal.

  • eagleowl

    RickySa – I saw the movie this week and from my point of view the homophobic remarks made me laugh AT THE SPEAKER, and cringe that people held such views. In my opinion it in no way encouraged or supported the notion of raping the lesbians. Laughed at the movie because I recognised so many typical characters we encounter, whose actions and words cause us to cringe. It was schoolboy humour mixed with pathos. Why is no one upset about the potrayal of Spud’s father as a racist? I recognised in him the fear (not expressed) by many whites in the early nineties. Or concerned about (black) Fatty’s emotions when he gets stuck in a window – double joke Fat and Black!
    To me, it was light entertainment with a gentle message – be kinder to those around you.

  • RickySA

    Eagleowl, thanks for the information. I look forward to seeing the film myself.

    In a way, I am surprised that the letter from Judge Carmeron created such strong reactions. He, like the producers of Spud, is entitled to his view – and he expressed them in a respectful way in a private letter. Others might feel differently – and the benefit of our democracy is that we are all entitled to see things differently and express ourselves accordingly.

  • Maggs Naidu

    RickySA says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Hey Ricky,

    “He, like the producers of Spud, is entitled to his view – and he expressed them in a respectful way in a private letter.”

    The letter may have been intended as private.

    Once it got into the public domain, with his blessings, it is no longer private.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Eagleowl

    “the homophobic remarks made me laugh AT THE SPEAKER”

    Eagleowl, the welcome fact that intelligent, sensitive viewers like yourself laugh AT rather than WITH homophobia does not detract from the fact that there are masses of unwashed yobs who will take away a different message.

    The crass bigots who will be moved by SPUD to demand capital punishment for Kampala’s gays are the one that we of the effete elite need to worry about!


  • Maggs Naidu

    Defender says:
    January 14, 2011 at 23:30 pm

    Hey Defender,

    “Judge Cameron is a complete fool in my opinion”

    That’s a very interesting opinion – it’s worth exploring cos me (and I suspect most of those who comment and/or read) have great regard for the good judge.

    I have neither seen the movie nor read the book so I am intrigued by your assertion”for all those of you who feel the need to citicise Spud on the basis of other, unkonwn persons, opinions frankly have no right to do so…”

    I am unlikely to see the movie or read the book – based on the comments so far, it seems very boring – that in itself is a criticism which fortunately derives from known persons (Cameron and de Vos both of whose opinions I regard very highly).

    You offer fascinating insights to sexuality. In particular your reference to “new found sexuality” supports the contention that if caught in time homosexuality can be corrected. More insights into this would be useful.

    Your explanation of homophobia i.e. “fear of being gay” is an interesting one. It is like when people hate themselves for being gay?

    I suspect that a movie degrading itself is not nearly enough “to please Judge Cameron” – maybe others who are as wise as you are will venture to wise us up.

    By far the most astute of your observations is “(i)f you do not like a filme or a book or something else, then you are entitled to criticise it, no matter if it is South African or not”. Is it correct to assume that this excludes the complete fool, Cameron?

  • hennie

    17 jAN 2011










  • Maggs Naidu

    hennie says:
    January 17, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Hey Hennie


    It was intended, as comments usually are, to spark a reaction!

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  • Shiva

    Judges shouldn’t be sending letters to artists. That’s what a large part of Apartheid was concerned with: government interference in individual creativity. I’ve seen the film Spud – and thought it was a light, very fun, and well-made film. The Judge is a fool with fascist tendencies.

  • Sue

    I was a victim of endless abuse growing up, due to my weight. Yes, ‘Fatty’ was frequently made fun of in the movie, in fact humiliated when stuck in the window, but I laughed at it. This is life. Noone could protect me from the cruel comments and pranks I had endured from so many of my peers. At the end of the day I wish I endured these things more lightly than I actually did. It just creates unnecessary baggage. Mr Cameron only zooms in on his own complex about being gay and forgets about other peoples issues raised in the book like being overweight, being small, being sick etc. We have not created a ruckus because we know we cannot rid society of people who have such large inferiority complexes that they must seek out to harm the most vulnerable. The only thing we can do is be sure about who we are, love ourselves more, regardless of size, race, gender, sexual orientation etc.

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