Constitutional Hill

Manto Tshabalala-Msimang: In her own words

Respecting the feelings of her family and friends, but not wanting to be hypocritical, I will rather not comment on the death of former health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. It is always very painful for those close to someone when he or she dies and one should respect their feelings. I am, however,  reproducing several quotes from the late Minister below without comment.

17 Nov 2006
“The incident of my illness was portrayed as an opportunity to turn others into champions of a campaign to rid our government of the so-called ‘HIV and AIDS denial at the highest level’.” (ANC Today)
8 October 2006
“I can’t stop working. The health of the nation depends on it.”
28 August 2006
“I think the TAC was just a disgrace, a disgrace not only to the [health] department but a disgrace to the whole country. But I think, as South Africa, we really demonstrated that we are doing pretty well.” Manto After the AIDS conference in Toronto 2006

18 August 2006
“There is this notion that traditional medicine is some quack thing practised by primitive people… unfortunately 80 percent of our people don’t care about ‘scientifically proven’.”
7 June 2006
“People say ‘your stall is great’. I don’t know what they are reporting on at home. We haven’t shocked the world, we have told the truth…I don’t mind being called Dr Beetroot.” – Health Minister Tshabalala-Msimang, responding to criticism of South Africa’s garlic, lemon and beetroot exhibit at the International Aids Conference in Toronto…2 vials of pills were hurriedly added to the stand on Sunday after journalists posed questions about the absence of antiretroviral drugs.
7 June 2006
“Shall I repeat garlic, shall I talk about beetroot, shall I talk about lemon… these delay the development of HIV to Aids-defining conditions, and that’s the truth.” Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said in debate on her department’s budget vote.
30 June 2005
“Nutrition is the basis of good health and it can stop the progression from HIV to full-blown Aids, and eating garlic, olive oil, beetroot and the African potato boosts the immune system to ensure the body is able to defend itself against the virus and live with it. I am sure that loveLife will continue to raise that.”
8 June 2005
“beetroot, garlic, lemon … and buy a bottle of olive oil. All these things are very critical.”
10 May 2005
“Dr Rath’s work complies with and complements our programmes.”
10 May 2005
“I don’t know how many [South Africans] with HIV would want to take anti-retrovirals.”
5 May 2005
“When we were being pressured to use ARVs, we did warn about the side effects, and when I get reports about the people on ARVs nobody presents to me how many people have fallen off the programme or died because of the side effects.”
5 May 2005
“Raw garlic and a skin of the lemon – not only do they give you a beautiful face and skin but they also protect you from disease.”
9 February 2004
” I think garlic is absolutely critical. Lemon is absolutely critical to boost the immune system. Olive oil is absolutely critical … just one teaspoon, it will last the whole month.”
1 April 2003
(Aids)… “could also be a God-given opportunity for moral and spiritual growth, a time to review our assumptions about sin and morality”.
19 December 2002
“Look at what Bush is doing. He could invade.” … Manto on why money needs to be spent on defence rather than treating AIDS
14 May 2001
“Some are going to be disappointed that we are not going to give the ARVs [antiretrovirals] tomorrow, but it is this message which does not get through – that people are getting treatment even if there are no ARVs.”
7 November 2000
“Today I want to dispel this myth, because it is absolutely not true .[ that ARV’s work ] The pharmaceutical industry and those who have a vested interest in the drug industry fuels this propaganda.”
8 November 2000
“We (the ANC government) have no plans to introduce the wholesale administration of these drugs in the public sector. ARVs are not a cure for Aids.”
September 2000
Robbie: You have said that the policy of the ministry is well known. Do you accept that HIV causes Aids? 

Tshabalala-Msimang: Why do you ask me that question today? I have answered that question umpteen times. 

R: Yes, and the answer is? 

T-M: Umpteen times I have answered that question. My whole track record of having worked at the area of HIV and Aids for the last 20 years is testimony. Why should you ask me that question today? 

R: You haven’t answered the question, Manto. 

T-M: Why should you ask me that question? 

R: To avoid confusion. 

T-M: I have never said anything contrary to what you want me to say today. 

R: So, therefore, you accept that HIV causes Aids. 

T-M: You are not going to put words into my mouth. 

R: I am not putting words into your mouth. I am asking you a question. 

T-M: Yes you are. 

R: I am asking you a straight – now hold on a second – I am asking you a straight question, the minister of health of South Africa, I am asking you a question: does HIV cause Aids? 

T-M: I have been party to developing a strategic framework and that strategy testifies what my policy understandings of the HIV epidemic are. If you haven’t read that, please go and read it. And then you will understand where I depart from. 

R: Manto, Manto. A simple yes or no is the answer I am looking for. 

T-M: You will not force me into a corner into saying yes or no. 

R: I am not forcing you into a corner, I am asking you a straight question – I find your reaction bizarre. 

T-M: I would advise you to read the strategic framework. You have to analyse it. It is important for the media to inform the public about the positions of government … It is time that when you interview people, not on yes or no, but on the tenets of the framework.

November 1999
“There is not substantial data that AZT stops the transmission of HIV from mother to child. There is too much conflicting data to make concrete policy.”
November 1999
“South Africa is the only country in the world who gives AZT to health workers for needle-stick injuries. It’s very doubtful that we’re doing the right thing.”
November 1999
“The fact is that some of the mice [tested on with AZT] have contracted cancer. It attacks bone marrow. It is very toxic.”
November 1999
“AZT was never meant to treat HIV. It was meant to treat cancer and, when it was discovered to be toxic, the drug companies stopped clinic trials of the drug because it was so toxic. Is this drug really one we want to use?”
  • Herman Lategan

    Good riddance to a clown. I’m sorry for her family, but I’m actually far more sorry for all the Aids orphans and families who have lost loved ones prematurely because of Aids. She lived until 69. Good innings, seeing that under her amateur reign our average national life expectancy is now under 50. Good bye dear heart, we shall not miss you.

  • Sine

    My condolences to her family.

    @ Herman Lategan

    It is part and parcel of African culture (not merely South African) not to speak ill of those who have passed on. What you have said above makes one realise that we are miles away from reconciliation in this country and respect of other’s cultures. That is apart from how you think the family feels about your sentiments.

    You have just reminded me of a passage in the book by Joseph Diescho called Troubled Waters wherein Sipho (African student), chatting to Andries Malan (Afrikaner student), said that he does not hate white people but what he hates is white people’s inability to understand.

  • Herman Lategan

    @ Sine


  • Lobengula

    Herman Lategan

    Shame on you , a number of Apartheid leaders have departed on an i`m sure you haved not passed the same comments.

    My heart goes out to the Tshabalala-Msimmang in their sad moment.

    Lategan remember that in everything that we do it is God who is the judge.

    Your racism stinks up to the high heavens.

  • Sluiper

    Good riddance to a stinking, alcoholic piece of rubbish.
    I don’t want to invoke Godwin’s law, but in this case that piece of deceased excrement is comparable to the Nazis.
    She has the deaths of more than 300 000 people on her conscience and should have been tried by the ICC for her despicable actions.
    Respect for the dead my foot, I’ll go piss on her grave when I get the chance.

  • Vuyo

    Rest in Peace Mantombazani Msimang.

    The internationally praised comprehensive strategy for HIV and AIDS will forever be a testament of your immense contribution to the battle against HIV and AIDS.

  • Anonymouse

    There is a quick-poll (non-scientific, though) being conducted on News 24’s website. Last time I checked, the votes stated:
    The late Mantho Tshabalala-Msimang will be remembered for –
    Her failure to fight HIV Aids – 95%
    Her fight for women’s rights – 1%
    Her role in the apartheid struggle – 4%

    @Lobengula: Although I agree with you that Lategan’s (and, later, Sluiper’s) post does not respect the feelings of those that she left behind, I think your equation of his rant to ‘racism’ is taking it a bit far. ‘Insensitive’, yes, ‘racist’, not necessarilly. There are many HIV/Aids sufferers (and people who care about HIV/Aids sufferers) out there who surely today cry: “Good riddance to bad rubbish”, which, if I remember well, was something that a magistrate once said on the passing of PW Botha. If one, during her life, said that she (and others, like Thabo Mbeki, who is still alive) should be charged with the crime against humanity, then it would be hypocritical of them to mourn her passing from this life. (Just like it would have been hypocritical for Jews and Gypsies to mourn Hitler’s suicidal death when he saw no other way out.) However, I agree that, for those left behind, one should show a little more respect for their feelings.

  • Anonymouse

    This is what the TAC Limpopo has to say (a little more balanced than Lategan’s or Sluiper’s posts):

  • Sluiper


    Yes, well, I think you might be a bit optimistic there.

    You can be sure that she will, however, be remembered for beetroot, lemons, olive oil, alcoholism, Nozipho Bhengu, Matthias Rath, AIDS denialism, the John Robbie interview, drinking in hospital, cirrhosis, deportation from Botswana and being an incredibly stupid person.

    Above all she will be remembered as the woman who took away the lives of countless babies by refusing nevirapine to their mothers and killing hundreds of thousands of South Africans by refusing to provide them with ARVs.

    Well, that’s how I’ll remember her, anyway.

    It’s quite ironic that she should die on the old “Blood River” day in South Africa. The blood she spilled of innocent children and South African citizens would indeed be capable of filling a river.

    Maybe they could build a statue of her next to the Voortrekker monument. They could build it with the skulls of the people whose lives she took and have a river of blood flowing out of her mouth. Under her arm they could put a bottle of Jack Daniels, around her head a garland of garlic cloves and on her head a hat made from lemons. It would dwarf that old apartheid relic and stand as a testament to the stupidity and folly of one woman and the cost to all South Africans for not standing up against that idiot sooner.

  • Leigh

    @ Lobengula,

    I cannot really fault Herman’s post and I see no sense in the view that it discloses racism. For a start, he makes it clear that he sympathises Tshabalala-Msimmang’s family. Surely a racist would not have bothered to do so. But secondly, he refuses to overlook the apparently very tenable view that the former health minister was complicit in the deaths of a great many people. It seems that she perpetuated a misconception. And if it is fair to say that a causal relation exists between perpetuating that misconception on the one hand and the deaths on the other, then what is so terrible about voicing the position (with which many people reasonably agree) that she will not be missed? At the very least, the view that this communication strongly suggests racism must be abandoned.

  • http://n/a mayimele

    It is with great regret to learn that Dr. Manto Tshabalala Msimang is no more. What God had given God has taken. May her soul rest in peace.

    To Herman Lategang & Sluiper

    Enjoy your celebration and may God bless you.

    Sine & Lobengula

    Thanks for not failing to enlighten our brothers above about respect in general and respect for the dead in particular. May be, and just may be, tomorrow they will be the one to warn others from behaving the way they are bavhing now.

  • Philani

    I am writing to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of Tshabalala / Msimango and to nation of South Africa for the untimely death of a struggle icon namely Mantombazane Tshabalala/Msimango. She had serve our people with great distinction under extreme conditions, She chose to be with the masses rather than to worked as professional Doctor in an abnormally society. She defied greedy pharmaceutical companies who wanted to reinvent colonialism/imperialism on our people; she defied “colonial creatures” who stole confidential information in hospital, in order to destroy her, she defied the so called political commentators who wrote her political obituary before time, She also defied those who are now busy destroying our movement who wanted to throw her into hands of COPE. Please tell Tambo that our people are still suffering. Lastly to Gareth Cliff(5FM) and Dianne Kohler Barnard (DA)your dreams have been realized! Philani@Umlazi

  • Sluiper

    Agh, ok, I apologise for being disrespectful to the idiot mass murderer.

    I guess next someone will berate me for not being respectful to Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse-tung, Augusto Pinochet and Nicolae Ceausescu.

    It boggles my mind that otherwise straight thinking people could demand respect for a woman that should be classified along with the greatest mass-murderers of all time.

    Maybe you weren’t directly affected by her inaction? Maybe you think respecting the dead is more important than 300 000 lives? Or maybe you just don’t care about the death of innocent people?

    May her soul be tortured by the deaths she caused and her soul never know rest for the lives she took.

  • http://deleted Philani Lubanyana

    The Rose that Grew from Concrete

    Did you hear about the rose that grew
    from a crack in the concrete?
    Proving nature’s law is wrong it
    learned to walk with out having feet.
    Funny it seems, but by keeping it’s dreams,
    it learned to breathe fresh air.
    Long live the rose that grew from concrete
    when no one else ever cared. Tupac Shakur’s Poem. Mantombazane
    Tshabalala-Msimango epitomized that rose, may her soul RIP
    “Awulalanga Ntomabazane Uguqe Ngamadolo” Aluta Contiua!Philani@Umlazi

  • Snowman

    According to the COPE Youth Movement, Dr. Manto Tshabalala Msimang was simply “intentionally misinterpreted”.

    She was not alone in this. She joins the ranks of other deceased South African politicians have been similarly “intentionally misinterpreted” such as P W Botha, John Vorster and Hendrik Verwoerd.

  • Lebogang

    To single out any individual ie: the minister of Health on the stratergic direction regarding Aids
    must be placed collectively on the Cabinet and strategic forums on health matters(if they have any) within the Ruling Party therefore the failure of the Aids stratergy is not only the late Manto but Thabo Mbeki,Jacob Zuma,Terror Lekota and other Cabinet members therefore the ANC along with its silent (Alliance) Partners have brought us to this mess..we cant accept that at that level Cabinet members were just warming seats at these Cabinet Lekgotlas

    will she be cremated? just wondering about all those body parts which could be donated for academic purposes??? now that will leave a lasting impression of our Minister

  • Sine

    @ Sluiper

    It is one thing to beat up your dad when he is still alive for having physically abused you and your mom whilst you were still very young but it is another to curse or shout on top of his coffin or grave for having done so. It may be startling to you as my white compriot but like I said in my earlier post, it is part and parcel of African culture (not merely South African) not to speak ill of the dead.

    I know I have drastically scalled down the extent of your accusation of her in this post but I am sure you catch my drift. Worth noting, however, is the fact that in my submission I have not specified in what instances the dead may be spoken ill of because there are none as long as they remain dead. Let me end by this famous quote to put an end to your ill words which stem from your accusation of her:

    “The evil that man do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones, so let is be with” Dr. Tshabalala-Msimang.

    May her soul rest in peace…

  • Anonymouse

    The biggest vote in the poll I referred to at 12:08 above has now shrunken to 94% (9580 votes out of 10146), while the other two remain at 1% and 4% respectively.

    Sluiper, you are not required to respect the dead (Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse-tung, Augusto Pinochet, Nicolae Ceausescu and now mantho Tshabalala-Msimang), but at least to show some respect for the family members, relatives and friends who might find it very difficult to have lost her.

  • Lebogang

    @ Snowman

    I like Cope But I cant agree with CYM on Misinterpretation
    although we understand that some of the now members within Cope has been involved in the collective direction on Aids Stratergy …A breakaway Party can never have a clean break
    what i thought CYM would do is to Apologise on behalf of affected Cope members and move forward
    this would place them miles apart from ANCYL

  • Sluiper

    Seriously, whatever. It sickens me to see people defending this criminal and quoting poems and hoping her soul rests peacefully.

    I feel for her family, no one likes having someone close to them die. I have never mentioned her family and they are entitled to their peace and sorrow.

    Manto, however, directly caused the death of hundreds of thousands of my fellow South Africans and for this I can never forgive her or be respectful to her memory. In my mind she is a murderer and an idiot that deserved to die much sooner.

    I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about your tradition of not speaking ill of the dead. That’s your choice, not mine. I don’t criticize your culture, you don’t criticize mine. In my culture, when someone causes untold suffering and death, you speak out about their shortcomings and point them out. I spoke ill of her when she was alive and won’t change my tune now that she’s dead. She was a disgrace to the ANC, the freedom movement and South Africans in general.

    @Sine: You are right. The evil she has done will be with us for a long time to come. I did not accuse her of anything: I was merely stating publicly known facts which you seem to very conveniently have forgotten now that she is dead.

  • Anonymouse
  • Sine

    @ Sluiper

    “I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about your tradition of not speaking ill of the dead…”

    I respectfully refer you to my original post wherein I said this to Herman Lategan;

    “You have just reminded me of a passage in the book by Joseph Diescho called Troubled Waters wherein Sipho (African student), chatting to Andries Malan (Afrikaner student), said that he does not hate white people but what he hates is white people’s inability to understand.”

  • Sluiper


    Well, it’s good to know you hate me because you cannot impose your culture on me.

    This has nothing to do with understanding someone else’s culture. You are more than welcome to say nothing about dear Manto. You have no right to demand I do the same.

    Your demand that I speak well of a murderer is akin to me demanding you denounce her for the criminal she was.

    I have not ordered you to do anything, please do not try to impose your beliefs upon me.

  • Sine

    @ Sluiper

    “I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about your tradition of not speaking ill of the dead…”

    Your submission, quoted above, unceremoniously amputated our discussion.

  • George Gildenhuys

    Respect for the dead? Why? What have they done to earn my respect? Just dying does not qualify you for respect.

    I have no respect for Hitler, Stalin, Verwoerd or PW Botha.
    Manto did KILL thousands and had blood on her hands!! That is as much respect as I am willing to give the late minister.

  • Anonymouse

    @ Sine

    “It is one thing to beat up your dad when he is still alive for having physically abused you…..” & “……it is another to curse or shout on top of his coffin or grave for having done so.”

    I don’t think any one that lost family due to her cruel “culture believes” would have gone beat her up and land in jail. I’d rather go piss on her grave as well…

    She killed thousands out of her own stupidity and pride, and in the process of doing so she just made a bad name for herself!

    She drank SO much her liver gave in…and then she stole a liver from a suicide victim, who’s liver she drank to the ground too. Talk about “respecting the dead”….she did no such thing to the girl that gave her a chance of live, why should we respect her death!! a Pig she was!

  • sirjay jonson

    I’ve read hundreds of posts today on Manto. Interesting. We have on the one hand those who always speak glowingly of the ANC and all its policies, spin trolls with little ability to spin in the first place and even less ability to see or promote truth; then we have those who feel we should respect the dead regardless of their crimes, and then those who are justifiably angry, the majority. First the white community is blamed for creating Aids to diminish the black population when in reality it is the international white community who have offered virtually anything to help with the pandemic while being repeatedly refused, and its the black community who blocked that help for the majority of sufferers, their own people.

    Let us not forget that the United Nations Head of Aids for Africa was denied by Manto and Thabo to enter South Africa because he was first to suggest these dubious characters may well be detained by the Hague in the future, and that in 2002.

    I think the figure of their victims at 300k is conservative, very conservative. What total died under her watch? A total of 25,000 died over 30 years in the UK. Nor do I forget various articles years ago that money was flowing from the office of the presidency for some alternative cure that certain ANC folk felt they would make billions with.

    The entire scene has been disgusting beyond belief. If you’ve watched someone dying from aids, with all their vomit, body fluids flowing, sores everywhere, mental agony, and skeletal as only starving folks can be, one has no patience and little forgiveness for the likes of Manto.

    I highly doubt she’ll be resting in peace.

  • khosi

    Some sections of the South African society can be the most disgusting pieces of shit, ever. Chief among is Gareth Cliff, ‘silently’ supported by Pierre de Vos and that barbarian mardi grassing as an anglican archbishop.

  • Sine

    @ Mouse

    “I don’t think any one that lost family due to her cruel “culture believes” would have gone beat her up and land in jail. I’d rather go piss on her grave as well…”

    I wonder what would my white compriots say if Zulu speaking people were to go in their large numbers and piss on or break the Voortrekker Monument just to show that they are disgusted by the fact that the said monument is serving as a painful reminder of what happened to their forefathers on Dec 16…

  • Kanrokitoff

    One should only speak good of the dead. She’s dead. Good.

  • Chris

    I met Manto once, when she was still deputy minister of Justice. I don’t think she should be blamed for the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by her aids policies. Those who appointed her must have realised that she simply did not have the ability to do the work of a cabinet minister. B lame those who decided to place her in that posision.

    Sine, are you prepared to respect the culture or others, that you must speak the truth of other people, even if they are dead, or is it just a one way street where ‘respecting cultures’ means that others must respect your culture, but not vice versa? If someone says ‘I hate Black people’s inability to understand, will you say he is a racist, or that is a racist remark? Do you (or anyone else reading this for that matter) understand that if your answer to this last question is yes, it means that a person saying I hate white peoples unability to understand, is a racist himself?

  • Anonymouse

    @ Sine

    “painful reminder of what happened to their forefathers” …. they’ll have to go in BIG numbers because the monument is big…I guess the reality of what happend then still shocks the zulu’s today, but that’s not the topic here. The topic here is regarding a Mass murderer that will never have peace. She drank herself to death despite the fact that she stole a liver and received a 2nd shot at live and then just pissed that away as well…can you seriously tell me she did right by that girls parents?

    You should be ashamed by standing up for a pig that only did what she believed, and ignoring ALL the meds/info/help, and let thousands die due to her lack of understanding what NEEDS to be done in South Africa, like our dear President said:”I took a shower” :) classic…

  • AliBama

    Apart from noteing that Manto’s replacement would/will be little improvement [do
    you think Mugabe’s replacement will be an improvement, or Kaunda’s was] I’ll fill
    up the empty seats with some technical advice.
    Other/s have mentioned that their computer system has problem eg. showing poster’s
    email-URL ..etc. No it’s not *your* system.
    Because I don’t want to pay to see the pictures every time I down-load this blog,
    I use a text only [lynx under linux] ‘browser’, which shows all kinds of errors.
    Today I lynxed a complex BBC site and the ‘reception was flawless’. So it’s not
    *your* system. The blog is technically defective like every thing else in africa.

  • Sluiper


    They should go and do it if it makes them feel better. To be honest, most Afrikaner people would probably understand their unhappiness about the monument (I certainly can). Afterwards, both groups can go on piss on the Manto skull-statue I was speaking of earlier.

    Just some numbers for your enjoyment:

    *The Boers killed 3 000 people at the Battle of Blood River.
    *The English killed 10 500 Zulus during the Anglo-Zulu War
    *The English killed 37 000 Boers during the Anglo-Boer War
    *Manto killed 300 000 during her tenure as “Minister of Health”.

    Just think about those numbers to get an idea of how shocking Manto’s actions really were. Just because there wasn’t a battlefield doesn’t mean she is any less of a criminal.

  • Sine

    @ Chris

    I do not believe for a single day that it is necessary for statues of the likes of Jan Smuts, that statue in the Western High Court of the first judge or commissioner or whatever he is, that statue of the man on a horse in Adderley Street in Cape Town and two soldiers I think, and many others, should at all be erected as such statues (mostly if not all) are a very painful reminder of the gentlemen who worked tirelessly during their lifetime to subjugate my forefathers and those I sincerely care about. I do not even consider it necessary to keep the books and articles these gentlemen wrote nor let their families retain the wealth that they inherited from these gentlemen for the same reason. However, because I respect other people’s cultures I am not advocating for the above.

    Chris, do you think your culture to speak the truth of the dead should be applied to the late Manto even though she never subscribed to it? I would certainly not mind you “speaking the truth of the dead” when Botha, Verwoerd, Malan, etc. are the subject as they share your culture. What you are suggesting here is akin to me performing the custom of “ukuthwala” (provided it was not outlawed) on Hellen Zille’s daughter in an attempt to marry her. Of course it is my culture but she does not subscribe to it and therefore it cannot apply to her.

    I would not say it is racist and I do not see why I would be a racist remark as long as it would be justified by context. Apart from that, I did not say so but merely quoted from a novel written by Joseph Diescho without expressing any approval or disapproval thereof.

  • Anonymouse

    Anonymouse says:
    December 17, 2009 at 15:11 pm

    @Sine – From the post just referred to it wasn’t me – I swear! Someone’s using my pseud. Sorry – I would never say such uncouth things, not even of a dead person whose guts I didn’t respect while she was alive.

  • Anonymouse

    Anonymouse says:
    December 17, 2009 at 15:52 pm
    @ Sine

    This also wasn’t me!

  • Sine

    @ Mouse

    Its ok bro. Some people do that and I am not surprised.

  • Sine

    It is amazing how much can be said about the late Afrikaans speaking leaders such as the Groot Krokodil. A man who was bitter until the end and who dictated that he be not given a state funeral as he did not want the new South African flag on top of his coffin…

    We have kept quiet on such issues since it is not permissible to speak ill of the dead. If my white compatriots here have as part of their culture the privilege to speak ill of the dead, they may do so about the people who subscribe to that culture such as the Groot Krokodil…

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry Anonymouse,

    I really didn’t mean to use your name. I didn’t notice the “e”, and the site remembers the name.

    I do however don’t regret what I’ve said, I’m actually relieved she died earlier than later, because now SA can hope for a Health Minister that actually perform like Trevor Manuel does in his Department.

  • Peter

    I think our rainbow reconciliation is really coming along quite nicely. I think a mutual grave pissing and monument destroying moshpit could seal it for our children – go at it guys!

  • mzo


    I have to say, those who made noise the whole day on Dec 16 haven’t got a clue how far we really have to go before we can even TALK about reconciliation. This society of ours is still miles apart!!

    The least said about the cowardice stance taken by Prof in his post, the better. The least I would have expected from Prof was for him to come out and say “good riddance” because I think we all know that’s exactly how he feels.

  • George Gildenhuys


    Although I do agree partly with what you are saying, we should respect one another’s cultures, I do not believe this apply to politicians, especially not government ministers.

    See, I believe once a government minister you then represent all of South Africa. She was not minister of a black or white Dept of Health, the was minister of the Dept of Health finish and klaar, and her actions during her tenure has consequences and those consequences should be discussed and criticised where applicable, whether she be dead or alive.

    The fact is: she and Thabo Mbeki are responsible for thousands of deaths that could have been avoided.

  • George Gildenhuys

    To add to that

    Does the fact that I am not German exclude me from criticising Hitler’s actions?

  • Heidi

    Haha. Good one, Peter.

    Sine, I think you need to read the constitution, especially s15 and 16.

  • Ewald

    @ Anonymouse…”but at least to show some respect for the family members, relatives and friends who might find it very difficult to have lost her.” I have reason to believe they find it difficult to know what to do with their new found freedom — no more garlic in the morning, no more beetroot in the afternoon and no more lemon peel in the evening. Believe you me my dear, they are HUGELY relieved. Even if their “culture” doesn’t allow them to show that…

  • khosi


    These animals are ill-bred, uncultured and uncivilized. That is why they perpetrated a system as vile as slavery and apartheid on us without any conscience. They have neither an inner voice nor a sense of grace.

    Do not try to rehabilitate them. You will waste your time. I also do not think that they are being racist. They just came out of the womb morally depraved.

  • andre

    Good woman? Bad woman? WI live in a strange country.

  • Joey

    She was only following orders.

    Thabo Mbeki

  • Spuy

    Goodness me!!! Thank God I am NOT WHITE – if the posts above (from ‘blankes’ mostly) are anything to go by, It would mean (MOST) white people are in fact just white meat/flesh (no souls inside!) and that scares the hell out of me Khosi.

  • Pierre De Vos

    Mzo, Khosi and others: You seem to want it both ways. On the one hand you are arguing that we should all respect a specific cultural tradition (not speaking ill of the dead) no matter what they did when alive. On the other hand you lambast me for not speaking ill of the late Minister now that she is dead because I was a fierce critic of hers when she was alive. Maybe you should decide what it is that you stand for? I am therefore doing exactly what you demand, yet you criticize me for it!

  • khosi


    Firstly you are not ‘speaking ill of the dead’, you are rejoicing in a person’s death. So let us be clear about that.

    Secondly, you, for any given reason, seem to be saying that we cannot argue for the respect of a certain cultural tradition. I would suppose that you say this because what you are really saying is that, in your ‘cultural tradition’, rejoicing in the death of other is permitted. So you will go on and perform your ‘cultural tradition’ even if it is deeply offensive to the traditions of others. That is the reason reconciliation is impossible in this country and the so called rainbow nation is an imaginary figment of a few. But I do no blame you for that. As the movie Invictus will tell us, a boere symbol of pride triumphed over the requirement of healing the bleeding, raped, pillaged, looted soul of a black man. So, I am saying to you, that it is our leaders who confirmed to you that you can think like that.

    Let me tell you my understanding as to why Africans have so much respect for the dead and the process of dying. Our religious belief is steeped in the concept and the reality of Amadlozi, our ancestors. When the western religion of Christianity believes that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ, we believe that the way to umvelingqangi (the maker) is through Amadlozi. We believe that when people die, they become spiritually closer to the maker or God. This proximity to the maker makes them the best medium for us to communicate with the maker or God. It makes them our representatives. Through them we lay our wishes to the maker. This is why we give the dead so much respect. We do not judge and say this one is going to be a better representative than that one, simple because we possess no such wisdom. I, personally, feel that we leave that to the ancestors to decide. Hence, whether you are a king or a pauper, a saint or a thief, your death will be treated with the equal amount of grace and a call to mercy. That grace and that call to mercy, requires a process of ukuzila. Here, my English fails me as per usual, but I would not say that this equates to ‘mourning’. Ukuzila is not just about crying, it is a whole process of withdrawing from normal routine. That means no recreational activity, no unnecessary trips, no excessive noise etc. It is really a time when we ground ourselves, so to speak. On top of mourning, we then take time to show penitence for our own sins. We cut our hair. Women periodical stop wearing accessories such as earings. For a certain period, the wives dress in black (not exclusively African). The family wears a black ribbon. Etc. All because of the respect we have for the dead and the process of dying. For it is this process that we, the living, gain access to representation to the maker.
    Simple put, it is the process of dying that provides us, the living, the compass that guides the way that we live.

    Now for you to come and tell me that, because you have a constitution that guarantees you freedom of speech, you can then insult and be offensive to my way of life, is wrong and it violates the very constitution that you use to hide your bigotry.

  • King Zwakala

    May her soul rest in peace. Her death goes to show that this world is not our home. We comrade Philani. Ngicela ungifonela. 0743736718. Angqumuze amakhanda ngezinto ezincane ezingasho lutho.

  • Dumisani

    I noted the slant in you post Prof and wondered. You know, when one is adept at say something but not saying it. Challenging one to quote. Reading a biased post but unable to defend ones’ perception (of the post being biased).

    If this is the company you keep, you should just have had the guts of posting your vitriol against the deceased.

    May her soul rest in peace.

  • Pierre De Vos

    Khosi, your claim about my position is incorrect. Please refer me to anything I have written that shows I am rejoicing in anyone’s death. Please also refer me to anything I have written that indicates we should never show respect for cultural traditions. You are responding to what you think I might think, not what I have actually written or what I actually think. That seems to me, with respect, unfair and wrong. You do not know me and you cannot know what I am thinking beyond what I have written in the aftermath of the late Minister’s death. An apology might be in order. I have taken offense at the tone of your comment and at the way in which you impute views and beliefs to me which I do not have.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    White liberals who spit on Sis’Manto’s grave should read Joel Netshitenzhe’s piece in the Cape Times this morning. They will see that she revelled in a good intellectual spat.”

  • Sine

    There is so much to respond to but I will only say this for now;

    @ Heidi

    I am well aware of the relevant sections dear. However, I do not (mis)use the Constitution to justify actions which do not take into account other people’s lives. I do not merely read about my rights in the Constitution and end there, I also enquired and understood my responsibilities as an individual, community member, legal profession member and as a South African. I believe being aware of both my rights and responsibilities towards my fellow human beings makes me a better person. I believe that I have a right to swing my arms but that right does not extend to your face. My right to swing my arms ends where your face or any other part of your body starts. Therefore, I have a right to swing my arms AND a responsibility to guard against hitting your face. That is what most people do not seem to get. I believe this is not emphasised enough in lower grades of their schooling.

    @ Prof

    Kindly advise me as to which quotes you chose to include in your article and which to not so include? (We both know there is a trend in your quotes which has made the gentlemen commenting here to say that you should have come out and said it since you wanted to do so or that you are rejoicing her death.)

    @ Khosi December 18, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Very good post.

    @ George Gildenhuys

    Dr. Manto is not a government minister. She is the deceased and her family is mourning (izila) her death not rejoicing her appointment as minister. I hope you have noted the difference now.

  • khosi

    @Pierre De Vos

    Well, if you were not gloating you should just have not written anything. Or at best not reproduced the quotations because in the context, of your opinions, those were used to gloat, at best.

  • Frank Shearar

    @AliBama: links (in text mode) renders this site beautifully.

  • Leigh

    Professor, you have been treated very unfairly. As you rightly say, this instance clearly involves people ascribing views to you which you do not advance or even suggest.

    Khosi, in what I must call a clear example of wrong-headedness, advances that your post shows that you are rejoicing in Tshabalala-Msimang death. But one can quite easily show that this assertion does not have a sound foundation.

    Your post can be reduced to two passages: for a start, you expressly acknowledge that it is difficult for people to loose those who are close to them. This communication, of itself, suggests moderation and sensitivity to the feelings of others – and this of course runs contrary to the view that you are enjoying any of this. Secondly, apart from your introductory comments, you merely quote Tshabalala-Msimang. And that strikes me as completely reasonable in that the fact that she has died (for which I express my condolences to her friends and relatives) does not automatically absolve her of her behaviour in life and some may well argue that her behaviour disentitles her from honourable remembrance. And it seems fair to say that one can at once (a) want someone to be remembered accurately and (b), derive no joy from that.

    It seems to me that the view that you have rejoiced is based on your decision to reproduce the late minister’s own words on your blog. But even cursory consideration should reveal that this view is misguided. The first of the two passages in your blog runs counter to the belief that you have rejoiced and the second merely reflects the light which the late minister cast upon her own character.

  • Tebza

    It seems strange to me that one should automatically respect a practice just because it has been carried out for many years by many people and is thus called ‘culture’. It is as open to change, analysis and ridicule as any behaviour, be it a belief in invisible dead friends, cruelty to animals or that women should cover their hair follicles.

  • khosi


    There you go again with your cheer leading self.

    Listen. Because of Pierre’s blog, in which he did not audible rejoice in the death of another, this is what the other was called by Pierre’s hounds.

    “Good riddance to a clown. ”

    “Good riddance to a stinking, alcoholic piece of rubbish.”

    “idiot mass murderer”

    And many other things of sorts. You yourself said this – “I cannot really fault Herman’s post “. Which means that you are in equal rejoice at the tragedy.

    Pierre wrote this blog, knowing exactly what response he was looking for and he got other people to say things that he would not want to say, lest he could not defend himself if anyone ever pointed out that he was rejoicing on the death of someone.

    Such is being less than human…… sorry I meant humane. Hence I say again, you lot are ill-bred, uncultured and uncivilized.


    You are a lost cause.

  • Sine

    @ Tebza

    Good observation bro. However, you need to understand that culture is there not to bind you but to guide you. Therefore, as you have correctly observed, it can be changed since it follows the patterns of the current generation. However, the fact that we view aspects of another’s culture as unjust or odd, etc. does not disentitle him or her to practise it. The Constitution expressly guarantees the right to one’s culture and such a right needs to be respected, promoted and fulfilled as the Supreme Law enjoins us to do. A good example is the custom of ukuthwala. That custom have been changed in how it is practised and in some places abolished for being out of odds with the current lifestyle and being out of sorts with the Bill of Rights.

    Apart from the fact that it is our right to observe our culture of not speaking ill of the dead, such an action would show insensitivity to the family which has suffered the loss of the deceased. People had ample time to criticise the former minister of health and some utilised it, now we ask that she be respected not ridiculed or cursed, etc. I have expressed myself as follows somewhere herein;

    It is one thing to beat up your dad for having been physically abusive to you and your mom but it is another to curse on top of his coffin or grave. This is really simple and your failure to comprehend it is unfathomable.

  • Tebza

    I understand it, I just dont agree with it. You have the right to go ahead and practice it and anyone else can go ahead and critique it. Culture is not sacrosanct.

  • khosi


    In your book, what is ‘sacrosanct’?

  • Friend

    Khosi, thanks for the insight into the culture of our narion’s people, I want to respectfully submit that Mrs. Msimang, Miss? forgot to take a break from her every day activities when she mourned and respected someone’s passing allow me to elaborate: 300 000 deaths and I do not recall any of your (and I cut and pasted here):
    “no unnecessary trips, no excessive noise etc. It is really a time when we ground ourselves, so to speak. On top of mourning, we then take time to show penitence for our own sins. We cut our hair. Women periodical stop wearing accessories such as earings. For a certain period, the wives dress in black (not exclusively African). The family wears a black ribbon. Etc. All because of the respect we have for the dead and the process of dying. For it is this process that we, the living, gain access to representation to the maker.”
    On the contrary, luxuries were at the order of the day just as it suits a VVVVVVIP, I guess, by the laws of her own beliefs she didn’t gain that access to representation to the maker, but maybe if you’re that great the maker tries to get access to you?

  • khosi


    What are you saying? Please be coherent.

  • Sine

    @ Khosi et al

    It is amazing how the people who do not practise the culture that requires us, those who practise it, to refrain from speaking ill of the dead, have not even tried to understand it but have just lambasted it and telling us that they do not consider themselves bound thereby as though we wanted them to be so bound. What we wanted from our (mostly) white compatriots was that the late Dr. Manto be treated with the respect that she is entitled to as the deceased in accordance with her culture,a by us refraining from speaking ill of her after her death. This is merely affording her the privilege that she’s entitled to as the deceased and us the right to culture that we are entitled to.

    This ability to be quick to criticise before understanding is mostly to blame for the bridge that is forever widening between the different race groups in South Africa. I long for the day in South Africa where my white compatriots would look at my culture and the parts thereof that they do not agree with and try to understand why I do it that way instead of just brushing it off as uncivilised, barbaric, etc. without a shred of knowledge thereof. This will cause all of us to come out on top at the end of the day and speak with one South African voice through better understanding of each other.

  • Sine

    @ Friend

    I submit that you have sacrificed coherence for ridicule.

  • Friend

    Khosi, I’m saying that when you are appointed as the guardian of a large group of people’s interests (45milion) as the minister of health then at least you cannot be arrogant to their cries for help when their is a very real problem, and as this guardian you would rather have empathy for the ones who have died as a result of this problems that were known to you then you must show this somehow by those acts that you have listed here or in some other way by erecting a stutute or something, anything, she had 300000 opportunities to do so, it just goes to show that people seems to judge by the same measure that you judged (God bless her soul)
    Further, you claim that the author of the blog knew exacly the response and therefore he is responsable for those insensitivities, well that statement may be true for members of the ANC, who could incite any sort of behaviour from a group of people, but that is not true here, on this little blog it seems that people have the courage to write what they think.

  • Vuyo

    Pierre De Vos says: December 18, 2009 at 6:32 am
    Typically disingenuous comment Professor De Vos, typically disingenuous. You cited selectively quotations that reinforce the false notions of what Dr Msimang achieved with the intent of directing the debate in a manner that leaves no doubt to those who may reappraise the late Minister’s legacy based on facts. Typically, you have dishonestly selectively used those phrases/comments/statements that suit your agenda with little regard of context, truth and the actual views of Msimang as recorded for posterity in her many speeches, writings, policies, and even the comprehensive strategy of HIV and Aids (which I know you have not read, and if you have would be fully convinced of you dishonesty based on dishonest material you spew on HIV and AIDS), which even the constitutional court referred to as: “a formidable array of responses to the pandemic”.

    The truth of the matter Pierre, Leigh, sirjay, and your fellow travelers (collectively benefactors of the compassion and humility of 80% of this countries population, a compassion and humility never ONCE reciprocated), MANTO MSIMANG has done more than any of you to further the battle against the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

  • khosi


    Go and watch Invictus. You will see who entrenched that way of thinking. And it was all for an emblem of a jumping animal. Personal I would go as far as saying – it shows lack of culture to rubbish other cultures.

    The most ironic thing is that the people who ‘supposedly’ died because of Mam’ Msimangs alleged actions are the very ones looking to show respect to her passing away. And people who raped, enslaved, oppressed and destroyed us are the ones who want to appear as if they care.

    I shall quote it again ‘Mother colonialism always presents herself as nurturing.’

  • khosi


    I still don’t understand you. Try making you sentences shorter.

  • Leigh

    @ Khosi,

    I have three points to make here. The first is that you have a very curious way of criticising me. You claim that I am a cheerleader of sorts. This view is both wrong-headed and hypocritical. You claim is wrong-headed in that I have offered reasons as to why I agree with the Professor. It is hypocritical in that you tender your support to Sine in this very discussion thereby doing something similar to what you criticise me for – although I would say that my support for the Professor is materially different from yours for Sine in that you end up calling people ‘animals’ who ‘are uncultured and uncivilised’ whereas I have thus far avoided hot-headed insults.

    Secondly, you clearly have not investigated the reasons as to why I found no fault with Herman’s post. I found no fault with it because contrary to Lobengula’a accusation, I saw no basis for racism in the post. I also thought that Herman expressed some sensitivity to the late minister’s loved ones. Moreover, I do not see what is so wrong with opting for accurate remembrance. It seems that the late Minister did some despicable things. And Herman drew attention to that. But it is certainly not as if Herman communicated his feelings about the late minister to her family.

    Thirdly, you initially said the Professor rejoiced in the late minister’s death. Then you gave closer inspection to that stance and sought to salvage your misguided self-righteousness by saying that the Professor was gloating. But there are some problems with this view. One, in your post at 7:33am, you seem to misunderstand the word ‘gloat’. Why should the Professor gloat or boast that the late minister has died? He has no reason to gloat about this and thus one fairly tenable position is that this particular stance of yours is about as feebly conceived as many of the others. Two, if by ‘gloat’ here you mean to say that the Professor was saying good riddance in the sense that the responses which are unfavourable to the late minister were the one’s he sought to attract (and this is indeed the line which you advanced in your last post to me at 8:53am), then you make more sense than in your other contentions. But one problem with this view is that the Professor may also have wanted to encourage numerous sorts of discussions such as (a) the perils of irresponsible governance (b) that many South Africans expect remarkably little from our politicians. However, and true to form, you opt for the least favourable of several reasonable inferences without even considering the other possibilities.

    In short Khosi, you typically fail to consider what people have said. You seem to think that culture insulates beliefs from all reproaches. You are hot-headed as borne out by your decision to call people ‘animals’ who are ‘uncultured’ (as if your culture sets the standard for propriety). And you might very well be repressed racist.

  • George Gildenhuys


    I am not rejoicing in her death, but as I am not part of her family and friends I am not mourning it either.

    I disagree with Gareth Cliffs comments and think that was disrespectful.

    I rejoiced when she was no longer Minister of Health, not when she died.

    Yes, a human life has passed, that in itself is a sad occurrence. Her death does not make a difference to me or a majority of South Africans as (you have pointed out) she no longer occupies the position of Minister in the cabinet.

    But, I do not think I am rubbing her family’s faces in her mistakes by pointing out that her actions during her tenure as Health Minister has caused thousands of deaths. It is a fact and her dying does not change the fact.

  • Leigh

    George, well said.

  • Vuyo

    Friend says:
    December 18, 2009 at 9:31 am
    “she had 300000 opportunities to do so..” according to who? A single Harvard Report, authored by individuals who have openly and consistently opposed her policies and have openly fraternized with the TAC. It’s like taking Heinrich Himmler’s comments Jews as gospel truth. Yet it is the basis upon which the vast majority of our media and opinion makers assess Dr Msimang. This is dishonest and vile (particularly when not even one journalist in RSA as verified/critiqued that report before righteously mouthing it contents to all and sundry.

  • Sine

    @ Khosi

    Thanks very much bro I read about it yesterday and was impressed with a lot of things except for two things; Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman. I understand that the finance for the movie was most probably American but I do not like it when we use international (rhymes with American) stars to tell South African stories. However, I am hypocritical here as I cannot say the same thing about Troy wherein Brat Pitt is Achilles. Damn, such a great movie to watch. I can barely wait to watch it but still waiting for the arrival of the madam this Saturday.

    To be honest though, I do not really like these Apartheid movies since they instil hatred in me more than educating me and making me realise the importance of a non-racial, non-sexist and a constitutionally democratic South Africa. In that instance I will be the first to admit that by so doing (avoiding watching such movies) I am the notorious ostrich with his head in the sand.

  • Loyiso

    Reading from the comments selected by the professor I cannot find anything wrong with the answers. The reality of the matter is that we cannot promote that the health of our people must depend on drugs. I have never seen a nation living drugs. The challenge that we all have is to accept that healthy food is the best way of fighting HIV because it will be delayed and not quickly become full blown. Hoever, we must understand the stance taken by the Western controlled media and commentators, africa is expected to take everything from the West as the gospel, once we raise eye brows about the Aids drugs we are all of a sudden cruel and backward. Dr Manto’s questioning of death related to side effects of Aids drugs should be an on going debate and also whether the country needs to promote Arv’s more than it needs to promote healthy living. If the West was this sympathetic to all the blacks that die of Aids why not offer food which would be more cheaper than ARV’s? The reason is that the aim to create a dependency culture on drugs and get our countries into huge debts. The whole nonsense about Aids denialism is an attack on African solutions, while there is no rejection of ARV’s many people will not need them anyway if they ate well and followed a healthy living. I am suprised at the campaigns that were led by the western donor on how they can blame critical thinking on Aids and call that denialism. It is even starnge because most of the developmental challenges we face today are not due to Manto or Mbeki but on the apartheid system, but guess what the activists are quiet on that but they choose easy victims because they are black and from Africa. I salute dr Manto and hopefully we will one day reveal the truth about Aids and how it is used to undermine Africa.

  • Vuyo

    It is so easy to condemn a Julius Malema for his comments when he is exactly reflective of our society. You have a full university professor of constitutional law running a blog about the rule of law, respect for the human rights of others, and other seemingly laudable notions. Yet when Gareth Cliff and those who share his views (including apologists who post comments in PdV’s blog) making vile statements that have, in countries like Germany and Rwanda led to the increased dehumanization of groups, cultures and ultimately individuals, we hear no condemnation from PdV! Rwanda’s Genocide did not start with the slaughter of thousands, it started with the desensitization of a people, through disparaging comments about the culture of others (including their deceased), through the emotive malignment of individuals, through distortions of fact, through populism, etc, 900 000 souls later we seem to embrace the same mechanizations in our own more violent society, using justifications such as freedom of expression and inane statements such as “the dead have no rights”. Julius Malema is a creation of the TAC and their supporters, such as PdV and the authors of the much heralded Harvard Report. When the TAC was making slanderous and hateful comments under guise and/or under justification of a good course, no one condemned them, in fact they were internationally praised! When Julius makes similarly slanderous and hateful comments under guise and/or under justification of a good course, he is condemned, when he is in reality acting in accord with a precedent set and supported by those who believe in good things like the rule of law and socio-economic rights, etc. This is pure vile hypocrisy! Genocide is preceded by the malignment of culture of peoples (through conduct similar to inter alia that of Gareth Cliff and many of our fellow bloggers) and leads ultimately to death, destruction and denudation of the very rule of law that many in this blog process to advocate.

  • khosi


    You can ask Pierre for yourself why he was gloating. I am not his spokesperson. I still say he was gloating, in spite of whether you think I understand the meaning of the word ‘gloat’ or not.

    You point out that Pierre may:- “(a) the perils of irresponsible governance (b) that many South Africans expect remarkably little from our politicians.”

    I would have no problem if Pierre was seeking to that. But he was not doing that. What Pierre did was nothing short of painting a person in human blood and then throwing that person into shark infested waters. Only one result could follow from that action. Pierre knew that and he did exactly that.

    I then explained the ignorance, to our way of life, in what he had done. And I said that as part of ukuzila, we seize many of unnecessary normal activity. I would then put it to you that being critical of ‘irresponsible governance’ is a form of normal activity, for which it would have neither have been the time nor place to raise, so far as the former minister, is concerned because of the freshness of her demise.

    If Pierre and his ilk, had respect for other peoples way of life and, hence, other peoples human rights he would find contrition inside. He would then say that although he has every right to think the way he does, he realizes that the expression of such a view at this time, and the chosen manner may have been contradictory to other peoples right to their way of life.

    But that is not the way our revered leader told white people to start acting.

  • Sine

    @ George Gildenhuys

    Thanks for your response bro.

    1. Your first para is noted.

    2. I agree with your 2nd para.

    3. 3rd para is noted.

    4. 4th para is noted but I do not agree with your submission that her death makes no difference to the majority of South Africans as it is utterly baseless.

    5. By using a public platform (this blog) to rubbish the actions of the deceased, you are exactly rubbing her family’s faces in her “mistakes”. If this is not the case, whose face/s are you rubbing then since she is no longer here for her face to be rubbed in her “mistakes” nor to defend herself? I will not comment on the factual correctness or otherwise of the death of “thousands” since that will detract from the gist of our wonderful and respectful exchange.

    Once again, thanks for this wonderful exchange and am looking forward to more posts from you…

  • Sine

    @ Vuyo

    “Rwanda’s Genocide did not start with the slaughter of thousands, it started with the desensitization of a people, through disparaging comments about the culture of others (including their deceased), through the emotive malignment of individuals, through distortions of fact, through populism, etc, 900 000 souls later we seem to embrace the same mechanizations in our own more violent society, using justifications such as freedom of expression and inane statements such as “the dead have no rights”. Julius Malema is a creation of the TAC and their supporters, such as PdV and the authors of the much heralded Harvard Report.”

    The part I have quoted above reminds me very much of Freedom Writers (2007) a movie which stars Hilary Swank… Damn, such a good movie…

  • 6000

    Considering you have chosen not to comment on the death of MTM out of respect for her family and friends, you have cherry-picked some wonderfully one-sided comments to unequivocally give us your view on her.

    Simply – comment or don’t. Feeding us odd lines from 7 years of her life is inherently disrespectful to the work that she did for the people of this country.

  • Friend

    Sine and Vuyo, goodness, this is old, it’s called blaming the victim, bla bla bla, I killed him cause he called me a so and so. That sort of argument belongs on a school playground or in the mids of the ANC youth league supporters not from someone who ads a comment to an academic article and claiming his mind can comprehend the subject at hand, please if you cannot understand, just say ish and pretend that you do.

  • Friend

    6000 those comments reflects her one sided opinions, as do my comments mine and yours, yours, just call a spade a spade and accept that every one determines his own faith.

  • Friend

    Khosi, have you ever written a comprehension test?

  • Pierre De Vos

    Khosi, for your information: I have not and am not now gloating about the death of the late Minister. I think life is sacrosanct (that is why I am a strong opponent of the death penalty). Gloating or rejoicing about the death of anyone – even someone with whom one has sharply disagreed or who has harmed you – seems silly and callous. (I did not even gloat when I heard that PW Botha had died.) Saying glowing things about them once dead seems similarly silly and callous. I suspect your problem with me is not what was posted on this Blog above, but what I had previously said about the late Minister and your hero, former President Mbeki, regarding HIV/AIDS. One suspects you are exploiting the death of the late Minister to settle old political scores. I am not sure if that is very much in keeping with African tradition.

  • Sine

    @ Prof

    “Kindly advise me as to which quotes you chose to include in your article and which to not so include? (We both know there is a trend in your quotes which has made the gentlemen commenting here to say that you should have come out and said it since you wanted to do so or that you are rejoicing her death.)”

    By the above I needed to know the criterion or criteria you used to select the quotes to include in your article and those to not so include…

  • khosi

    Pierre De Vos 10:58am

    Stop defending yourself. You were wrong to set the likes of Herman, Sluiper, sirjay on a defenseless lady. Have some contrition cause you also violated other people human rights, while at it.

  • 6000

    Friend > Absolutely agree. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, (within certain boundaries, obviously).
    I’m more than happy to hear a spade called a spade.
    I just feel that Prof de Vos was a little hypocritical in his opening paragraph, given that he quite clearly gave us his comments on Manto via the back door.

  • Michael Osborne

    Khosi, Vuyo, and and others who complain about the way MSM’s death has been dealt with, I have a question for you:

    When Verwoerd was killed, Private Eye ran a famous cover showing a group of men dressed as Zulu warriors leaping high in the air, over the sardonic caption “A Nation Mourns.”

    Would you regard this as an offensive (and racist) mockery of a dead man – on the basis that, no matter how bad a person’s deeds in life, he and his his family should be respected in death?

    Or would you want to argue that, given how manifestly destructive Verwoerd was, he and his mourning family desreved the mockery>

  • Michael Osborne

    desreved = deserved

  • khosi

    I have never heard of such a picture. But what strikes me as you describe it, is that you say that the men were dressed as Zulu warriors. I find the dress code quite unnatural because of the year that Verwoed died. By that time traditional Zulu garment were not worn everyday.

    So I am, doubting the bona fides of that picture, even if what you say is accurate.

  • Sine

    @ Michael Osborne

    You need to understand that this is culture and the deceased subscribed to it. I have a question for you;

    Did Dr. Verwoerd subscribe to the (BLACK) AFRICAN culture that it is impermissible to speak ill of the dead?

    We both know the answer to that question and therefore your example would be slightly misplaced. Kindly find me another one and we’ll have a nice discussion.

    PS: Lest you’re wondering, I have made bold the words ‘black’ and ‘African’ for the reasons that Dr. Verwoerd considered himself (1) ‘white’ and (2) European’. If my reading of history is accurate, I believe he was justifying in so regarding himself considering that he came directly from Europe and not his ancestor/s as in my other white compatriots.

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Khosi: Whether the picture is bona fide or not is not relevant to the conceptual issue – whether it is OK to use parody or comic means to mock the dead or express your hatred of the deceased.

    @ Sine: I am not sure one way or another on what Verwoerd’s culture allowed in this regard. But I challenge you as a matter of principle: Are you saying that if Verwoerd DID indeed come from a culture wherein one may not speak ill of the dead, that in itself would have made it wrong to publish a picture mocking his death?

  • eagleowl

    “Such is being less than human…… sorry I meant humane. Hence I say again, you lot are ill-bred, uncultured and uncivilized.” – This seems to be sad generalisation. It is also very offensive; will we have to wait until we die before you can find some good to speak of “us lot”?
    How can you ask us to respect your culture when you are prepared to dismiss us as ill-bred et al?

  • Vuyo

    “When Verwoerd was killed, Private Eye ran a famous cover showing a group of men dressed as Zulu warriors leaping high in the air, over the sardonic caption “A Nation Mourns.”

    I cannot comment on something that I have little facts of. The picture could have been taken by a third party and used for specific purposes intended by “Private Eye”. I have no knowledge of whether the Zulu warriors were “mourning”, celebrating the death, nor if “Private Eye” used an existing photo with the “sardonic caption” in order to create predetermined outcome. If your point is however: “whether it is OK to use parody or comic means to mock the dead or express your hatred of the deceased”, my response would simply be that the impact of such use should be given due cognizance. Has the use of parody or any medium in regard to the late Dr Tshabala-Msimang and her death helped to foster any of the constitutional values that we claim to hold dear? My response is: certainly not. Has the response of PdV and Gareth Cliff and the myriad similar-minded commentators helped in anyway to foster these constitutional values, helped to engender reconciliation? My Response: certainly not!

  • Vuyo

    PS: PdV the email input for comments states: “Email (will not be published) (required)”. I have recently been seeing the email addresses of some of the bloggers when I view What is the cause of this?

  • Friend

    Vuyo, really? Oh my! I beg you, just don’t register it with how to grow a penis for idiots.

  • Michael Osborne

    Vuyo, I get the impression you are ducking my question.

    Please try to answer it directly whether you would or would not approve of the publication of a photograph mocking Verwoerd upon the occasion of his death.

  • Sine

    @ Michael Osborne

    I am sure Vuyo has answered your question. The only reason why you suspect that he has ducked it is cause he has not answered in the MANNER you would have liked. Read his post again and you will notice that he has given you an answer which has been qualified to give it context. As they say;

    “a text, taken out of its context, is a pretext.” (I have stolen it from this blog but sorry to the person who posted it as I cannot remember his/her name so that I may acknowledge same)

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Sine

    @ Sine.

    The simple reality is this: You and Vuyo, like myself and most other readers of this blog, would have no problem with comments or pictures or cartoons “speaking ill” of Verwoerd. That is because we all agree that he was a monster, who richly deserved to be mocked, reviled, hated, insulted and excoriated, before, during and after his death.

    I challenge you to deny that you agree with me on this.

  • Sine

    @ Michael Osborne

    For a fuller answer I refer you to Khosi (December 18, 2009 at 5:44 am) and please focus mainly on the second last para (Yes, the longest one).

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Sine

    I am disappointed that you and Khosi persist in not responding to my simple questions.

    Yes, I read Khosi’s posting of 5:44 am. I admit I found it instructive and moving.

    Yet do you not see that such noble traditions will not inhibit those who feel unquenchable anger at what they perceive (rightly or wrongly), as the sheer murderousness of MSM?. Much as the imperative to speak well of the dead should not stop Verwoerd’s victims from celebrating – yes celebrating — his assassination.

    (Do you find yourself still prohibited from speaking ill of Verwoerd, or is it only in the immediate aftermath of his death that the tradition binds you?)

    Many people were quite upset to see senior govt officials at the funeral of PW Botha. A barbarous mass-murderer, who inflicted untold misery on millions, does not deserve respect – even in death. His victims have earned the right to express their fury, and tell the world how much they despised the man, even as he is lowered into the grave.

  • Sine

    @ Michael Osborne

    “or is it only in the immediate aftermath of his death that the tradition binds you?”

    You said it…

    “Are you saying that if Verwoerd DID indeed come from a culture wherein one may not speak ill of the dead, that in itself would have made it wrong to publish a picture mocking his death?”


    Now we can accept that your question has been answered to your satisfaction (I hope).

  • Pierre De Vos

    Sine, your answer to Michael Osborne raises an interesting point: If it is indeed part of a cultural practice NEVER to say (or even hint at or suggest) anything bad about a dead person, is that cultural practice (so absolutely adhered to) always to be squared with an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom in which government must be open and accountable? If one was a politician in life I suspect that the deceased person should not be able to benefit from an ABSOLUTE ban on ever saying anything bad about him or her after their death because then we will be perpetuating a lie and we will not learn from our mistakes. I am pleading for a middle ground of “reasonable accommodation”.

  • Sine

    @ Prof

    Thanks for your observation Prof and your resultant question. I have noted that my (mostly white) fellow bloggers tend to invoke the right to freedom of expression against the relevant cultural practice and therefore my answer will enunciate this propensity or inclination). I answer as follows;

    I do not consider the relevant cultural practice to detract from the “open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom in which government must be open and accountable” that we advocate in our country. Firstly, this cultural practice is not binding on its adherents but is merely a guideline based on how we view people who have passed on (Khosi immaculately expounded this position in the second last para of his post – Khosi said: December 18, 2009 at 5:44 am). However, we are Constitutionally entitled to practise it (section 30 of the Constitution – all the following references to sections (s) will be to the Constitution unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise indicates) and the “cultural” rights of this cultural practice’s adherents should enjoy Constitutional insulation.

    It is a public secret that this cultural practice impacts adversely on section 16 (freedom of expression) for those who have negative things to say about the deceased. However, it cannot be over-looked that although both these rights are subject to limitations, I can be bold enough to declare that the Concourt considers the freedom of expression should be given a benevolently wide interpretation due to our history of press censorship and curtailment of the right to freedom of expression in general by the state and the results could be that this cultural practice could give way to the freedom of expression which is necessary in any vibrant Constitutional democracy such as ours. The other consideration which might militate against the relevant cultural practice is that the right to freedom of expression is expressly stated in the Constitution whilst the relevant practice is read in (‘interpreted’ – please ignore the legal technical meaning of ‘reading in’ as propounded by Mokgoro J and use the ‘interpretation’ meaning given herein), in terms of section 30 as a cultural practice.

    However, there are other considerations which might impact highly in favour of this Constitutionally protected cultural practice. Firstly, the fact that this cultural practice is read in as part of the cultural rights guaranteed in the Constitution and not specifically stated may be no more important than the fact that the right to sexual orientation has been interpreted to give our brothers (gays) the rights to marry each other and our sisters (lesbians) the same rights.

    Secondly, it is important to note the duration of the cultural practice’s adverse impact against the right to freedom of expression. The prohibition procured by the relevant cultural practice is not perpetual but it is “only in the immediate aftermath” (Quoting Michael Osborne: December 18, 2009 at 23:29 pm) of the deceased death. This is intended for only the period that the death of the deceased in still fresh in the minds of everyone, especially his or her family,

    Thirdly, this prohibition serves as an insulator or barrier for the grieving family of the unpopular deceased. Death, in a (black) African context is considered the time that the relevant family in which it has occurred to be more peaceful and avoid any noise, and especially internal or external conflict. This is done in order to give respect to the deceased, his family and the ancestors in general. It is for this particular reason that a wedding, bash, cultural celebration or any other noisy activity such a celebrating the return of young men from the circumcision school has to be postponed or done without the noisy festivities when death has occurred in the meantime. Therefore, by purportedly insulting the deceased or expressing anything negative on him or her is merely serving to insult the family since the deceased cannot hear or respond to it. This basically is an affront or insult ostensibly directed to the deceased whilst its effects are felt by his family who were not party to his (mis)deeds or suspected (mis)deeds and who obviously cannot respond thereto due to their mourning (‘ukuzila’ as articulated in the post by Khosi supra) and also lack of knowledge even during and after ‘ukuzila’ which can be 3 months, 6 moths or a year, depending on the family concerned and the “status” or position of the deceased (father, mother, sister, brother, child, etc) in the family concerned. This obviously impacts on the right of dignity and reputation (section 10) of the family members concerned and the family concerned.

    On the political point that you have raised Prof, the temporary prohibition covers all humans alike regardless of their profession, wealth, status, etc. Therefore, a young boy herding cattle, a rapist and/or murderer, the chief and/or his herdsmen and King Hintsa himself are afforded the same respect since at the end of the day, they are all human and have families who will mourn (‘zila’) their death.

    I hope this has covered you Prof…

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Sine

    I appreciate your thoughtful response to both myself and Pierre.

    You have certainly addressed some of my concerns very well..

    I must say though that you have not answered Pierre’s final hypothetical question. It seems to me odd that whether or not one speaks ill of the dead is dependent upon the deceased’s own culture. That would logically entail that, if Verwoerd happened to come from a culture that tolerates the heaping of profane insults upon the dead, it would be OK for YOU to join the chorus of insults too.

    Does it not make more sense that what you do or do not say about the dead should rather your OWN values?

    Also, what if, as Pierre suggest, Verwoerd came from a culture that says one may not speak ill of the dead – even if they have been dead for a century? Must we respect that too?

    Or what about the “culture” of absolute monarchy in Europe — under which you could certainly not speak ill if the King while he is alive. If had been alive in the reign of Louis XIV, would you have made sure never to say a bad word about him?

  • Sine

    @ Michael Osborne

    Thanks for your response bro. I am glad I have managed to address some of your concerns very well.

    It is true that as the person who subscribes to the said culture, I have a “licence” to hurl insults at other people who do not so subscribe. This, unfortunately, cannot be avoided since we cannot force people to subscribe to our culture so that they may be protected in case of their death or their family member’s death. Therefore, it is up to each and every subscriber or adherent to decide whether to apply his cultural practises to non-adherents or not. It is an individual decision and culture has no role to play therein. Therefore, it would not necessarily be OK for me to join the chorus but it means merely that I am not bound to refrain from hurling the insults to the deceased (Verwoerd). I hope this may clarify it; our law does not prohibit a 68 year old from sleeping with and even marrying an eighteen (18) year old. However, it is up to an individual to decide whether to be guided by law or by his own values, beliefs and conscience.

    “Does it not make more sense that what you do or do not say about the dead should rather your OWN values?”

    Our culture provides a guideline or a minimum standard that must be adhered to, i.e. by giving a right to the deceased and his family not to be insulted during the relevant period. It is then up to me to decide whether to extend that right to other non-adherents of my culture by making it one of my values instead of limiting it to the relevant people who subscribe to my culture. However, as Khosi has explained the import of the right to the deceased and his family or the prohibition on us as the culture’s adherents, we generally see it as more than that since we know the role it plays and generally apply it to people in general. I again hope this will clarify it; the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) prescribes the basic rights to employees. However, these are basic and any employer may magnanimously extend thereon as opposed to strictly adhering to the BCEA.

    “even if they have been dead for a century? Must we respect that too?”

    Only if it would be justifiable in an “open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom in which government must be open and accountable” that we advocate in our country” as accentuated in Sine: December 21, 2009 at 9:39 am above. I must hasten to say I harbour serious doubts that it would be so justifiable.

    “would you have made sure never to say a bad word about him?”

    For fear of death, Yes! However, ours does not carry with it any death fears but is based on other grounds which Khosi has so eloquently expatiated on.

  • AliBama

    ] Anonymouse says:
    ] December 17, 2009 at 15:11 pm
    ] @Sine – From the post just referred to it wasn’t me – I swear!
    ] Someone’s using my pseud. Sorry – I would never say such uncouth
    ] things, not even of a dead person whose guts I didn’t respect while she
    ] was alive.
    Anonymouse says:
    ] December 17, 2009 at 16:06 pm
    ] Anonymouse says:
    ] December 17, 2009 at 15:52 pm
    ] @ Sine
    ] This also wasn’t me!
    Sine says:
    ] December 17, 2009 at 16:10 pm
    ] @ Mouse
    ] Its ok bro. Some people do that and I am not surprised.
    No !! I’ve already told you: the blog is defective.
    You shouldn’t be using blogs.
    Blogs are for toddlers who only know how to clik & drool.
    uk & us have several “legal/law” newsgroups, some moderated.
    Even canada, aus have their own; and “” (or similar) became extinct.

  • Dislike me or Not

    @ South Africans

    I have been reading your comments,etc. Honestly, Now please tell me. What difference will all the above said make to the new South Africa (Generations)? Way forward.

    Now, you can all be on my case.

  • JV Salcedo

    There are 23 quotes of MTM. There are 111 comments. I got confused, but I didn’t find not even one that expresses an opinion about the quotes, which I suppose, are well documented. From the rabid death wishers to the extraordinary sophists that can argue to death defending the indefensible (“there is no worse blind man than the one that refuses to see”) and could well convince that the sun is square. Some seem to have some thinking capacity and others express their inferiority complex using race, struggle, culture and other crappy excuses just to win the argument. Seems that the majority are teens/youngsters…

  • Dean

    19 December 2002 “Look at what Bush is doing. He could invade.” … Manto on why money needs to be spent on defence rather than treating AIDS

    Before the RSA government implemented the HIV / AIDS treatment program a local Durban hospital reduced the level of mother to child transmission to below 2% as a result of a Health Department approved USA program funded by the G Bush administration. It was a “state of the art” program that showed what could be achieved by “Western” medicine. When it was phased into the government treatment program and the USA funding reduced, the 2% transmission level considered too expensive to maintain and was pushed upward.


    Thanks for the insight into your cultural beliefs. I now have a better understanding of their significance and will respect them while in your company, as I respect the spiritual beliefs of my Hindu, Christian, Muslum, Jewish and Buddist friends when I’m with them. In return they also respect my rather personal derivasion of God and spirituality.

  • Tebza

    Salcedo, I agree with you totally. I wont be reading the comments any longer. The absence of cogent analysis is depressing and worrying. I will continue to read Pierre’s input.

  • Gwebecimele

    Someone never mentioned this to our previous administration otherwise we would be without painkillers.
    See below.

    Drapper, Business Day.

    WHAT if there was a popular drug that had moderate benefits but was known to cause acute liver failure and death in some patients? Or another drug that had dangerous side effects including intestinal bleeding and ulcers?

    Would it be right to let big pharmaceutical companies carry on marketing and selling them or ought they to be banned?
    These drugs have existed for more than a century: they are paracetamol and aspirin. The point is that so-called “white pill” medicines, from painkillers to anticholesterol drugs, are chemicals that improve the health of some humans but can cause serious side- effects in others. Those who take them need to know the benefits and risks.

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