Constitutional Hill

The (moral) Wasteland

Over the past few days I have been thinking again about The Reader (Der Vorleser), a novel by German law professor and judge Bernhard Schlink, published in Germany in 1995. The Reader is a parable of sorts, as it deals with the difficulties the post-war German generation have had in comprehending the Holocaust. How should modern Germans deal with the knowledge that their parent’s generation perpetrated (or acquiesed in the perpetration of) the Holocaust?

In this novel, the struggle of the post-war generation to come to terms with the past, and its difficulties in deciding how it should view the generation that took part in, or witnessed, the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime is problematised and the complexity (or perhaps impossibility) of the task, is explored.

Michael – the young “reader” of the title – who had an affair with a much older woman called Hannah many years after the war (a woman who is later implicated in Holocaust atrocities), finds it impossible to imagine what Hannah was like “back then”.  He feels a difficult identification with the victims of Hannah’s deeds when he learns that Hannah often picked one prisoner to read to her, as she chose him later on, only to send that girl to Auschwitz and the gas chamber after several months. Did she do it to make the last months of the condemned more bearable? Or to keep her secret safe? Michael’s inability to both condemn and understand springs from this. He asks himself and the reader:

What should our second generation have done, what should it do with the knowledge of the horrors of the extermination of the Jews? We should not believe we can comprehend the incomprehensible, we may not compare the incomparable, we may not inquire because to make the horrors an object of inquiry is to make the horrors an object of discussion, even if the horrors themselves are not questioned, instead of accepting them as something in the face of which we can only fall silent in revulsion, shame and guilt. Should we only fall silent in revulsion, shame and guilt? To what purpose?

I have been thinking about this novel because of a broedertwis (a friend joked that it was actually a sustertwis) raging on the pages of Rapport newspaper between myself and those (including an English novelist called Dr. Marie Heese) who argue that one of the most egregious injustices is being perpetrated at the University of Stellenbosch because some classes are now being conducted in both Afrikaans and English (alternating between the two in the same class).

I responded (rather sharply) to an assertion by Dr Heese that she was “die bliksem in” (“bloody outraged”) about my previous writings on this topic, arguing that this sudden moral outrage is rather rich, coming from a person who supported apartheid and never expressed any moral outrage about the oppression, legalised racial discrimination, torture and murder perpetrated by the apartheid regime in order to sustain a system, imposed in the name of the preservation of white Afrikaners, and branded a crime against humanity by the United Nations. This women, I said, knew nothing about justice, honesty and plain common decency. (Ironically, in the same issue of Rapport Dr Heese offered a partial defence of Bantu Education – which she enthusiastically took part in — rather underlining the point I was making about her immoral, apologist, view of apartheid.)

Elsewhere in that august paper Pieter Malan (one of its editors) took exception: “Met wie praat jy, professor? Ek kom uit ’n ordentlike huis. Ek laat my nie so behandel nie.” (“Who are you talking to, Professor? I come from a decent family. I do not allow myself to be treated in this manner.”) While admitting that we should not close our eyes to the “faults” of our parents, Malan argued that Afrikaners have a lot to be proud of: the industrialisation of the country, creating the best infrastructure on the African content and building Afrikaans into a fully fledged academic language (albeit not one in which Dr Heese wishes to publish her novels) were all achievements of Afrikaners who now face a grave threat to their future because their children (even those who fight for Afrikaans at Stellenbosch) choose to write their post graduate dissertations in English and dream of living in Sydney or London.

Which brings me back to The Reader.

What does it mean to come from a “decent” Afrikaans family? Can one credibly call that family “decent if its members actively or passively participated in the perpetuation of a crime against humanity? How should we deal with the “faults” of our parents — if those faults include the enthusiastic support for the systematic dehumanisation, denigration, oppression and (at times) torture and murder of fellow citizens — all based on the belief in the racial superiority of whites?

Is it morally defensible (and factually correct) to argue that Afrikaners created the modern capitalist state in South Africa and to suggest that this is something to be proud of? What does it say about the nature of the moral universe inhabited by these children of apartheid, when some of them express moral outrage about the manner in which Afrikaans is treated (although this treatment complies with the provisions in the Constitution), but have consistently failed to express similar moral outrage about the injustices related to our apartheid past in which their parents were implicated, or the injustices of hunger, homelessness and inequality that haunts present day South Africa?

These are not easy questions to answer. It is emotionally and intellectually challenging even to begin to contemplate the past in an honest and fearless manner. After all, none of us wish to think of ourselves as being morally tainted because of what our parents did (or, yes Dr Heese, because of what we did or allowed to be done). How can we judge our parents when they loved us (even when they hated fellow black South Africans and enthusiastically supported or took part in their oppression), when we fondly recall how — as toddlers — our parents lulled us to sleep at night by humming the well-known Afrikaans lullaby, Siembamba? Siembamba/ mama se kindjie/ Siembamba, Mama se kindjie/ draai sy nek om/ gooi him in die sloot/ trap op sy kop/ dan is hy dood (“Siembamba/ mothers child/ Siembamba/ mothers child/ break his neck/ dump him in a ditch/ step on his head/ then he’ll be dead”.)

No wonder so many of us find it impossible to begin to comprehend the incomprehensible horror of apartheid and the complicity of our parents in this horror. No wonder we shy away from any but the most flippant acknowledgment of the “faults” of our parents and then cover this up by extolling the virtues of a regime that supposedly “created” the current infrastructure and the modern capitalist (albeit a bifurcated) state which was rigged disproportionately to benefit whites. (No matter that the infrastructure was paid for with the taxes generated by white-owned mining companies and businesses who made exorbitant profits because they could rely on the cheap migrant labour that was an inherent part of the apartheid system. No matter that the infrastructure was partly built with the hands of black men paid a pittance because of the racist employment policies embedded in the legal system.)

No wonder so many seem to find it impossible to reflect seriously on what our parents actually were like “back then”, what they were actually thinking and saying and doing while they rode on the “Whites Only” buses and bought stamps at the “Whites Only” counter of the post offices, when they euphorically cheered on DF Malan or HF Verwoerd and JB Vorster and PW Botha (all Chancellors of Stellenbosch University) at National Party or Republic Day rallies while these leaders extolled the virtues of apartheid and argued that black South Africans were essentially sub-humans who did not deserve to be treated equally with whites who, after all, had a duty to protect white civilisation against the black hordes? No wonder those of us who grew up in the apartheid era (and maybe supported it by getting involved in the Bantu education system), prefer to believe that we only meant well — although some “mistakes” were admittedly made.

Yes, in order to preserve our sanity and our sense of ourselves as basically decent and “innocent” people, we might believe that we have no choice but to maintain that we come from “decent” families. We might believe that we have no choice but to insist that nobody treat us as if we are morally tainted. We dare not admit that we lack the moral decency to target our outrage at the real injustices of past and present day South Africa and not at the failure of institutions like the University of Stellenbosch unconstitutionally to preserve the white privileges obtained through the exploitation of black South Africans.

I am not being flippant when I say these are emotionally and intellectually complex and difficult issues to deal with. No person wishes to be told that his father or mother was a moral degenerate and few of us would agree with such a proposition if we could find any way to deny or reinterpret the facts on which such a charge was based. If one lives in a country that underwent a managed transition, a country in which the oppressors were never fully defeated or exposed and humiliated, in which a Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted amnesty to the perpetrators of gross human rights violations and in which there was never an acknowledgment that the evil of apartheid was not perpetrated by a few “bad apples” like Eugene de Kock, but by every person who benefited from the system yet supported or acquiesced in it, this task of at least acknowledging the impossibility of facing up to the past honestly and fully becomes very difficult.

Most of us Afrikaners (and many white English speakers too) live in a moral wasteland: most feel that we must either deny the past and our complicity in it (or at the very least re-write that past to erase our complicity in it), or we must acknowledge the full horror of that past, which seems to mean that we would lose our very humanity, our ability to be human beings with an inherent human dignity with moral agency and the right to express our views on present day injustices in our country.

Some of us try to find another way. We grapple with the impossibility of squaring our love for our parents and our family (and the langue we all speak) — all implicated in the horrors of the past — with attempts to imagine how it was “back then”; what our parents said and believed and did to maintaining a system branded a crime against humanity, all because they loved us and wanted to provide us with a better life, even when this was at the expense of the humanity (and sometimes the lives) of the majority of South Africans.

To square these things is impossible. To stop trying is immoral.

PS: I borrowed some of the information about The Reader for this piece  from Wikipedia. See:

  •!/thisbebaer Baer

    Dear Pierre

    This is what you choose to write about before the vote on the Protection of State Information Bill?

    A reminder: wear black tomorrow, tell everyone you know to wear black tomorrow, and go to the R2K pickets if you can.

  • Greg Eames

    I was born here in South Africa in 1976. I am first generation South African, all the rest of my family came from England.

    I am white person living in South Africa, I benefited from Apartheid. Did I do anything to change the status quo? Other than exercise my vote for somebody other than the NP, for the first time in ’94, no not really.

    I understood a small part of what was going on on the country because of who my parents are, and the sources of knowledge I was exposed to. The two “great successes” of the Apartheid system was to keep people largely “blinkered” of what was going on and then to create “logical, well founded” reasons as to why it should happen that way. Thus it is with any system of control.

    Some will argue that white people should have seen the truth and maybe they should, but it is very difficult to walk a path or see the way when you have been told all your life that the thing you are looking for does not exist.

    I can do nothing to change the past. All I can do is live my life the best way possible now.

    But I, we, must never forget what happened or else it will happen again.

    This is my country, I love it and want it to succeed. I beloved WE can.

  • cathy raats

    I found this blog extremely profound and I think it should be required reading and comprehension (this being the most difficult) for all White South Africans.
    There are many of us older people who view the past with rose tinted glasses erroneously in my opinion and some younger ones who are ignorant of our history and require a gentle reminder. Just a thought.

  • Lydia Dekker

    I recently sat at a conference, during lunch time on ‘Whiteness” in Oxford when a fellow South African spoke about ‘White guilt’. That idea that all white people should feel guilty of what happened during apartheid makes the hair rise on the back of my neck. For those who took Sociology 101, the first thing you are taught is the power of socialisation; our social identities were and are constructed through governmental brainwashing. We were and are socialised and constructed into our different racial and ethnic groups. We should not underestimate the power of Socialisation. It is because of this ‘power’ that, as Greg Eames said, our parents eyes were “Blinkered” against the reality of what happened in South Africa during Apartheid. I did not fully understand the implications of what was happening to us (neither did my parents) until we were presented with the raw facts in the media during the 1990s. Our eyes opened and we were disgusted, but why o, oh why should I carry this so called white guilt? I am not ashamed to be called an Afrikaner, and if more white people knew what truly was going on during apartheid, more people would have stood up and fought against it.

  • faith

    If I understand this correctly you are bemoaning the lack of guilt going around the white and Afrikaner communities today. I think people have moved on from the ‘guilt of their fathers’ cliche. People want a more universal and objective morality that is not dependent on ones genealogy but on universal humanity: things like respect and love.

  • Bernard

    Although cleverly and somewhat objectively written, I cannot help but sense a slight and maybe inappropriate degree of unfair generalisation in this blog. Let there be no question about the validity of debate within the topic, but I feel obliged to mention but one Afrikaner name; Hein Grosskopf. Son of a once editor of Beeld, I’m sure the sound of “Simbamba” rings loudly in his ears when thinking of his days of childhood. His actions however speak of exactly the opposite of the label hung by this blog. I myself…born, bred, raised, educated in Afrikaans and subjected to extreme Afrikaner propaganda programming, spent one night in the cells for partaking in a Free Mandela march in 1984 through Main Rd Rondebosch. I am sure the attempted defence of my culture and its past,(which in agreement with De Vos) is probably indefensible. It is my sentiment though, that like within the ranks of the Nazis during WW2, there was a large proportion of Afrikaners(Breytenbach, Du Preez, Grosskopf, Naude, Jonker,……et al and et aliae) who were nauseated and grossly sickened to within their souls by the human rights violations, perpatrated by their countrymen. Beware the resilience of the free Afrikaner. Your surname itself, sir, sounds suspiciously like that of a “fascist” Afrikaner…….

  • Pekkil

    @ faith

    Of course, the problem is that regardless of whether white afrikaners manage to live with their past or not, what about the people who suffered the cruelties, the indignities, and the injustices? It seems to me that it matters less what whites do, and how they cope, than what is demanded of them. Arguing about collective guilt or collective ignorance may wash within the small circle, but it is unlikely to wash in the society at large. Which i guess is the point of the Reader reference. The past rulers and their beneficiaries may choose to spend their time explaining how they were either ignorant or evil, and may feel good about spending their time that way, but it is unlikely to help anyone else forward?

    Evil was done. Infrastructure wasn’t built for the good of the country – it was self interest. Public money built enterprises, and, when these enterprises were successful (often after writing off the investment capital), they were handed to the Broeders. There’s enough data around how jobs, public resources in health and education, money, and safety, were appropriated for the benefits of the few.

    So, now for the (ignorant and/or evil) perps to decide how this should be dealt with is, in my humble opinion, a little rich. Terms for reconciliation (or, in the language of The Reader, the ‘wieder gut machung’) are not set by the perps, they’re set by the victors, like it or otherwise.

    The absence of any definition of such terms makes us all a little nervous perhaps – Damoclean swords have that effect. But the actions of the perps in the past 15 years or so haven’t demonstrated a great desire to ‘make good’. A large beneficiary of the end of Apartheid has been business, as their cost of capital reduced dramatically, foreign markets opened up, and the new government allowed them even to take their capital and leave, before it could become part of the ‘terms’. In the meantime, we seem to have continued our economic special skill of collusion, of price fixing in industry after industry, and of earning uneconomic profits. Which business have recognised their role under Apartheid? Which businesses have come clean on their security forces and collaboration with the security apparat of the Broeders at the time? Anglo? Sasol? Gold Fields? Fill in the names?

    And whites, by and large, were (and often still are) the business class. Even as the eyes of whites have openend (giving the benefit of the doubt to the argument of ‘ignorant’ over ‘evil’), there is widespread moaning and groaning (and worse) as resources are redirected to improve the life of their unintended erstwhile victims. Doesn’t that strike you as odd for a group of people who claim to have recently discovered the truth about their privilege? Who can live happily among hunger, despair, joblessness and the absence of hope for a better life, visible all around them? Does no one connect those dots?

    Thanks prof. As always, thought provoking stuff.

  • terence

    Thanks, Pierre, for another excellent post. The reactions of some of your readers are exactly what your piece would predict.

    I grew up in a ‘decent’ middle-class family, was at school until the mid-80s and thanks to CNE, my liberal parents’ silence (to us children) on the issues, and my general political apathy, knew very little about the ANC, Black Consciousness, Steve Biko et al. In fact I confess the first time I saw the name Nelson Mandela was when I was already at university and read the graffiti ‘Free Nelson Mandela with every box of Kelloggs Cornflakes’. But I disagree 100% with Lydia Dekker. We did not have to wait until the 90s to understand what was going on. The information was there, not too far from the surface, for those who looked. But more than that, the iniquity of apartheid stared us in the face every single day of our lives. You did not need to know about the violent deaths and torture to know that you were living in an evil society. I felt ashamed every time the 45-year-old woman who cleaned our house called me, a 15-year-old schoolkid, ‘master’ and continued to do so, even when I begged her not to. The inequalities of our society, based solely on race, were there to be seen every day – the shacks for the blacks, the gangland flats in the Cape Flats for the Coloureds and the Constantia mansions, Plumstead houses and Observatory semis for whites. How could you read ‘Slegs vir Blankes’ without feeling revulsion or enter a ‘1st class’ train carriage without guilt?

    And even at the height of apartheid the media wasn’t entirely silent. We knew that South Africa was a pariah. Surely you asked yourself why? We all knew about District Six and Sophiatown. There were the rebel cricket tours and a thousand other things reported in the press that told us our society was an unnatural and evil one. We even had Bill Cosby.

    Faith, while I think Pierre would agree with the second part of your comment, ‘a universal morality’ and respect and love can live alongside the feelings of guilt. South Africa today isn’t simply another country, divorced from South Africa yesterday. It has grown out of it and we absolutely have to remember our past and the part we played in it, actively or passively, if we are to move on to a country where your vision of dignity and respect is realised. This is because that country is still so far away and only a blind fool could think the rainbow has somehow replaced black and white. You know perfectly well that there are huge inequalities on racial lines in SA in education, health care, wealth, housing, basic services… White people love to point fingers at the current government, at the greed, corruption and ineptitude you find there, blaming these for everything wrong today, and too easily forget that these deep-rooted problems were created in the colonial and apartheid eras. There’s no need to wallow in guilt and flagellate yourself. But a healthy sense of guilt can feed into compassion and respect for our fellow South Africans who were the victims of apartheid.

  • George Gildenhuys

    Generally I don’t get airy fairy stuff like “acknowledge the full horror of that past”.

    What does that mean?

    I acknowledge apartheid was a horrible system and the effects are still with us today.

    Is that an acknowledgement? sure it can’t be that simple.

    Am i supposed give all my possessions away and “unlearn” the model-c education provided by the apartheid state?

    Is that an acknowledgement?

    I really do not know what is practically expected of me.

  •!/thisbebaer Baer

    Something else seems to have lost its moral compass, too:

    ANC MPs have been compelled to go to Parly today and vote in favour of the Secrecy Bill, or else.

    Maggs, remember when I said the ANC was mostly ruled by autocrats disguised as communists?

    I think a ‘You were right’ is in order.

  • Jaco Barnard-Naudé

    @Bernard: While I agree that there were exceptions, your apologia for the free Afrikaner does not wash – as important as they were, they were a small minority within the Afrikaner complex. And whether they liked it or not, whether they were outraged by it or not, they still benefitted from Apartheid. Moreover, your tasteless and baseless insinuation that De Vos is a fascist, deconstructs the apparently humble tone of your comment. What is your surname, sir?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    November 22, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Well said Terence!

    It’s astounding how many people claim that they were totally unaware of the impact of apartheid and do some seemingly unflinchingly.

    The arrogance of their blatant lies beggars belief.

  • guest

    In the meantime – while Pierre de Vos is fighting his petty personal battles with afrikaners (as usual):–or-its-shame

    Not a single word about this turning point in modern SA democracy?!?!


  • guest

    Moral Wasteland indeed.

  • ozoneblue

    “Is it morally defensible (and factually correct) to argue that Afrikaners created the modern capitalist state in South Africa and to suggest that this is something to be proud of?”

    That is one of the biggest lies ever, and many Afrikaners love to believe that. The truth is that the modern South African capitalist state was created by British colonialism. Afrikaners played a prominent part in upholding and maintaining it, but Apartheid itself was more or less like socialism for White people. It was successful too, many things we take for granted today such as the best developed infrastructure was build up through the Apartheid state using my parent’s taxpayer’s money.

    Therefore, although I may feel remorse for the many sins of Apartheid I also feel a sense of pride for much of what my Afrikaner forefathers have accomplished during this last 400 years. As I said before, I’m here to stay because of part of Africa just as much as anybody else, and I just don’t care if you don’t like it. If you think you are going to abuse this eternal guilt trip to continue to devastate this country and plunder it to the same levels as the rest of Africa you are sadly
    mistaken and unfortunately you are just plain wrong.

  • Nicky

    Pierre, I was interested in your argument… until you quoted the Afrikaans lullaby, Siembamba. The history behind these words refers to a mother protecting her baby from a snake – Siembamba is a contraction of ‘sien die mamba’ and the words that follow refer to killing the snake to protect the baby. In other words, ‘sleep well, little one, I have protected you from all evil.’ The fact that you have chosen this song to illustrate a fallacious view that the song was intended to subliminally encourage Afrikaans children to kill blacks has destroyed your argument completely. This ignorance makes me wonder what other revisionism you are guilty of! As an Afrikaner I long ago abandoned guilt as counter-productive…. I prefer to work proactively to build the country and I’m proud of my efforts – and I see wrong-doing where it exists, not filtered through some coloured lens.

  • ozoneblue

    Pekkil says:
    November 22, 2011 at 0:06 am

    “are not set by the perps, they’re set by the victors, like it or otherwise.”

    I think you should go and read about the historical context. 1994 was a negotiated settlement and it relied heavily on the outcome of a Whites-only referendum that vote “yes” for transformation. I can guarantee you that “yes” vote was not for a reverse-Apartheid state where “Whites, Coloreds and Indians” would now forever be treated as second class citizens. If it turns out now that these negotiations were conducted in bad faith i.e. based on a pack of lies and and deceit I say we should declare such negotiations null and void and we should return to the drawing board so to speak.

  • anton kleinschmidt

    What about all those white people (mainly english but some afrikaans) who:

    # Despised the Nationalist regime and steadfastly refused to vote for them throughout the apartheid years
    # Failed to act more aggressively for fear of persecution, imprisonment and even death
    # Steadfastly supported an ineffective opposition as the only practical manifestation of their hatred of the apartheid regime
    # Had to tolerate years of global opprobrium simply because they happened to be white and lived in a country ruled by Afrikaaner nationalists
    # Supported the move to a new democratic dispensation only to see their hopes of a better (non apartheid) future dashed on the rocks of an ANC regime which shows early signs of being as bad as the apartheid nationalists.
    # Who now have to tolerate accusations that their justified abhorence of the failing ANC regime, is somehow the equivalent of support for apartheid. This is the crux.
    # Are indiscriminately lumped together with all those whites who did in fact actively support the apartheid regime.

    This country desparately needs all its people to actively and aggressively work together towards improving the circumstances of those who still suffer from:
    1/ the aftermath of apartheid AND
    2/ a new grossly incompetent government which is proving to be incapable of delivery.

    What this country does not need is high profile people like you who routinely sow racial division in a futile attempt to assuage your ancestral guilt in a welter of generalisation.

  • ozoneblue

    Interesting bit of historical context here from “The Afrikaners: biography of a people”
    By Hermann Giliomee

  • Maggs Naidu –

    anton kleinschmidt
    November 22, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Hey AK,

    “What about all those white people (mainly english but some afrikaans) who” neither knew nor experienced the impact of the Job Reservations Act?

  • Maggs Naidu –
  • Pekkil

    @ ozoneblue

    Whites didn’t have a real choice in their referendum, i would suggest. Their economy was moribound, and their defence of “we didnt know” had reached its sell-by date. The settlement they voted for was clear: equal voting rights. Didn’t they do the maths? The victor sets the terms, therefore. Sorry if thats confusing?

  • ozoneblue

    Maggs Naidu – says:
    November 22, 2011 at 8:36 am

    See also

    “The hut tax was a type of taxation introduced by British colonialists in Africa on a per hut or household basis. It was variously payable in money, labour, grain or stock and benefited the colonial authorities in four related ways: it raised money; it supported the currency (see chartalism); it broadened the cash economy, aiding further development and/or exploitation; and it forced Africans to labour in the colonial economy.[1] Households which had survived on, and stored their wealth in cattle ranching now sent members to work for the colonialists in order to raise cash with which to pay the tax. The colonial economy depended upon black African labour to build new towns and railways, and in southern Africa to work in the rapidly developing mines.”

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Jaco Barnard-Naudé
    November 22, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Hey Jaco,

    Well said!

    Re : “What is your surname, sir?” – I’ve got a few suggestions but Prof MO will wear his cross face again!

  • zdenekv

    If you think about it it is Pierre de Vos who lives in a moral wasteland and not the Afrikaners who are being criticised. Such people can at least say that they made a mistake, a moral error in supporting apartheid and in this way we can make sense of their guilt / shame . We can make sense of speaking about guilt in this context only if we take morality seriously and think that morality is something real and has a universal reach. In this connection the UN position on apartheid makes sense because it assumes that there are real human rights etc.

    But moral nihilists like Pierre de Vos who argue that morality is a fiction and something true only relative to ideology and that we should adopt an ironic stance towards moral claims ( as he is very keen to emphasize the moment you press him ) cannot feel real guilt , cannot feel shame and cannot really at the end of the day regard apartheid as evil or horror. To think that requires that you take morality seriously and Pierre does not, as he has admitted on a number of occasions on this blog ( what is the definition of a psychopath again ?) .

    But this makes his critique of people like Heese and Malan into something of a repulsive joke because it involves deep hypocrisy : his whole spiel about how terrible apartheid was is a pretence and a kind of pose since his considered opinion about apartheid is that it was not really morally wrong since morality is a type of fiction. It must be Pierre de Vos, then, who lives in a moral wasteland and not people like Heese.

  • ozoneblue

    Pekkil says:
    November 22, 2011 at 8:41 am

    “Whites didn’t have a real choice in their referendum, i would suggest. Their economy was moribound, and their defence of “we didnt know” had reached its sell-by date”

    Well I beg to disagree. It is one thing to have a “bad economy” and quite another to be forever demonized as a group – i.e. called a thief etc, have your property confiscated and become relegated to the status of a second class citizen simply because of the color of your skin. That is called racism, persecution and reverse-discrimination.

  • ozoneblue

    A little bit more of so called “revisionist” history:

    “The rise, fall, and legacy of apartheid” By P. Eric Louw:

  • Bernard

    @Jaco Barnard-Naude: I need no convincing of Pierre De Vos’s impeccable ethics. The comment was to demonstrate the dangers of generalization, when the sponge effect is rather absorbent. Your reaction has proven that. As an extension of colonialism, Apartheid guilt should not be reserved to the Afrikaner. I do not deny the point De Vos is attemting to make, I deny that the Afrikaner is the only “mamba” who needs its neck broken.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    November 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Haibo Zdeny,

    “It must be Pierre de Vos, then, who lives in a moral wasteland and not people like Heese.”

    Me and Dworky told the Nihily Guy that Cape Town is a racist city. But would he listen? No. He’s got other ideas.

    Do you know people crap there while admiring Table Mountain?

    And the dop, eish – more people want to be farm workers to get free dop than those who want to be traffic cops and get bribes. What do you think about that, eh?

    But there’s hope – now that they have got the maid-turned-mayor there’s some hope yet for turning the ‘moral wasteland’ into a great city.

    And the Madame has a good plan too – she’s stopping free ARVs for people who are ‘irresponsibly promiscuous’, especially those who do the generational mix thing (thanks ANCYL). So they all gonna die and soon there will be only unrighteous people there.

  • Lydia Dekker

    @Terence, Unless you grew up in a strict Afrikaner community, whereby the only info you received was through the media, community and the school system and you also grew up without being challenged about the ‘Truth’ as it was presented to the people in general, you did not know what was going on. I was a child when the bomb threats happened. Our schools were patrolled at night to protect us against the terrorist who wants to harm us. We were taught how to react during an attack. Our tender minds where brainwashed against the ‘terrorist’. As an academic I walk amongst other Afrikaners daily. I still hear them … and I see how deeply socialised they were in the Apartheid ideology that they are still battling to see the truth. I like you never treated any of our workers with disrespect, which my parents taught me. I also questioned … but I never never knew about the rest of the horrors of Apartheid till much later in life.

  • alleman


    The Siembamba song is not racist, and has never been used as a racist song. Its orgin is not clear, but it almost certainly came to Afrikaans via African nannies.
    This link discusses various possibible origins of the song:

    How low will you sink in your awful vendetta?

  • Brett Nortje

    The moral wasteland is more tied in to the fact that a sense of sportmanship and fair play is culturally out of a people’s reach than a calendar period in a people’s history.

    It is a question of values and to what extent they have been internalised.

    It continues to this day. Nothing has changed except who occupies the bully-pulpit. There is still little grim determination to do the right thing despite one’s fears (or in the case of English-speakers, greed).

    It is reflected in our Afrikaner intelligentsia (lol!)s’ inability to speak truth to Julius when he says “they stole our land”; our Afrikaner intelligentsia (lol!)s’ inability to examine the role of fear in the actions of Afrikaners – hugely exploited, manipulated, overdriven, but very real – argue putative self-defence, if you will; and lastly by the failure of our pseudo-intellectuals to do the research and dispell the myths and tell us to what extent Afrikaners’ fears and catastrophising were justified then and now or give us the numbers if it does not suit their argument.

    Which once again brings us full-circle to speaking truth and let the chips fall where they may.

  • ozoneblue

    I do not agree with some of Moeletsi Mbeki’s neoliberal economics but at least the man tells it like it is:

    ““Economic policy has been to drive the consumption of the black middle class, the black political class and the black elite. Policies have been focused on driving a consumption economy and the reason is because they are wallowing in being victims and using its economy to compensate for this victimhood they have lived in for the last 100 years,” Mbeki said.

    In 1066 the Normans had invaded England and to this day the land remained in the hands of its conquerors’ descendants, Mbeki said. He said he used this history lesson to advise his friends who were worried about “the Boers owning land in South Africa” and who wanted to redistribute it without compensation.

    “If you want property go and buy yourself a piece of land. It’s no use going and crying about the Boers owning the land, you can go and sit there, and in 1 000 years the Boers will still own the land. We are sitting with this black leadership that is wallowing in its victimhood so instead of driving production they first compensate themselves,” Mbeki said.

    “Seventy two percent of GDP is directed at private consumption and a huge part is by the black elite in the public sector who pay themselves phenomenal salaries and the second part is driven by those living on social welfare grants. Instead of creating jobs we give them their pathetic little social grants,” Mbeki said.

    “We are consuming our GDP, buying phenomenal cars and paying ourselves huge salaries,” Mbeki said. However, he said the private sector was also at fault for overpaying its executives.

    A CEO of a Chinese factory with 10 000 workers earns R300 000 a year, compared to a South African executive who would earn between R6 million and R10m a year, Mbeki said.”

  • Brett Nortje

    Although I do not necessarily agree with a lot of this some of the facts in this comment to another (plus change and all that!) of Pierre’s blogs deserve to be in the public domain:

    By: DWI On: Oct 3 2011 10:07AM
    Blacks should compensate Whites for giving them South
    Africa. Emeritus Arch Bishop of Cape Town is at it again and in
    the news for asking whites to pay a reparation tax or wealth tax
    because they all apparently benefitted from Apartheid. Along came
    his cheerleading constitutional expert and praise singer Piere de
    Vos from UCT and said, “The problem is, of course, that some
    white people – out of shame or ignorance or maybe a bit of both –
    do not want to admit that white South Africans almost all
    benefited from apartheid vis-à-vis black South Africans.” Almost
    All? Who were the ones that did not benefit? Again facts sucked
    out of each other’s thumbs. As I have proved in Opening Pandora’s
    Apartheid Box.everyone in South Africa benefitted from Apartheid,
    Black and White. Blacks had the highest literary standards and
    the highest life standard of all the blacks in Africa. Self
    hating liberal idiot, De Vos reckons, “If I had been born black
    and poor, I almost certainly would not have gone to University
    and I would almost certainly never have been a Law Professor at
    UCT (University of Cape Town), earning quite a nice salary, thank
    you.” I love the way he chooses his words. “Almost All”.”Almost
    Certainly” .As always both De Vos and The Arch fails to explain
    how it was at all possible for Tutu to study and become a teacher
    just ike his father was. They also fail to explain how Nelson
    Mandela and countless other blacks managed to become lawyers
    during Apartheid South Africa a lawyer just like De Vos. They
    further failed to explain how the Apartheid government built ten
    Universities for blacks including Medunsa which is a unique
    medical university that turned out 200 highly qualified black
    doctors every year all at state costs, paid for by the white
    taxpayers. It also trained paramedics and nurses. Since 1970 the
    budget for black education was raised by about 30% per year every
    year. More than any other government department. In the period
    1955 -1984 the amount of black school students increased 31 times
    from 35,000 to 1,096 000. 65% of black South African children
    were at school compared to Egypt 64%, Nigeria 57%, Ghana 52%,
    Tanzania 50% and Ethiopia 29%. Amongst the adults of South
    Africa, 71% could read and write (80% between the ages 12 and
    22). Compare this to Kenya 47%, Egypt 38%, Nigeria 34% and
    Mozambique at 26%. In South Africa, the whites built 15 new
    classrooms for blacks every working day, every year. At 40
    children per class it meant space for an additional 600 black
    students every day!!! In 1985 there were 42,000 Blacks at 5
    universities in South Africa, about the same amount at the
    universities of the homelands. In an article called “Die
    Afrikaner” 11 Feb 1987, the quarterly magazine called “Vox
    Africana Nr 29 4/87 stated that, South Africa had 4,8 million
    whites and 18,2 million blacks in 1987. The whites paid 77% of
    the taxes and the blacks only 15%…despite this…56% of the
    government budget was spent on blacks. During the time of Dr.
    Verwoerd, the living standards of Blacks were rising at 5,4% per
    year against that of the whites at 3,9% per year. In 1965 the
    economic growth of South Africa was the second highest in the
    world at 7, 9%. The rate of inflation was a mere 2% per annum and
    the prime interest rate only 3% per annum. Domestic savings were
    so great that South Africa needed no foreign loans for normal
    economic expansion. Even Lord Deedes admitted, “White South
    Africa grew to become the economic giant of the continent, the
    other members of the Commonwealth virtually sank into poverty.”
    At the hight of Apartheid in 1978 Soweto had 115 football fields,
    3 Rugby fields, 4 athletic tracks, 11 Cricket fields, 2 Golf
    courses, 47 Tennis courts, 7 swimming pools built to O lympic
    standards, 5 Bowling alleys, 81 Netball fields, 39 children play
    parks, and countless civic halls, movie houses and clubhouses. In
    addition to this, Soweto had 300 churches, 365 schools, 2
    Technical Colleges, 8 clinics, 63 child day care centres, 11 Post
    Offices, and its own fruit and vegetable market. There were 2300
    registered companies that belonged to black businessmen, about
    1000 private taxi companies. 3% of the 50,000 vehicle owners in
    1978 were Mercedes Benz owners. Soweto alone had more cars,
    taxis, schools, churches and sport facilities than most
    independent countries in Africa. The Blacks of South Africa had
    more private vehicles than the entire white population of the
    USSR at the time. Today Soweto has modern shopping malls like,
    Dobsonville Shopping Centre. In 2005 the Protea Gardens Mall
    opened. This was followed by the Baramall Shopping Centre and the
    Jabulani Shopping complex and the Maponya Mall. Experts say that
    Soweto has as much as 25% oversupply of retail space. The
    Canadian Medical Doctor, Dr Kenneth Walker wrote about Soweto, (I
    freely translate from “Verrat an Südafrika”, Klaus Vaque, 1987,
    pg 41) “In Soweto I saw many homes that costs about $100,000
    (1978) and that had a BMW in the driveway. All houses are single
    storey. Many are recently painted. Many had flowerpots in the
    windows and lawn in the front. Only 2% were shacks. If I had the
    choice to live in Soweto or in the apartment dwellings or
    “Projects” of New York, Chicago, or Detroit where there is so
    much crime, then I would n ot hesitate for one moment and choose
    Soweto.” The biggest hospital in the world, Baragwaneth with 3200
    beds and at its peak almost 8000 staff had 23 operation theatres
    fitted out with the most modern medical equipment that existed in
    the world. Blacks were treated here, operated on…at full state
    costs to the white-taxpayers for unlimited periods. The budget of
    this hospital was and is higher than the yearly budget of most
    small member states of the United Nations. Next door to
    Baragwaneth is the St. John’s Eye Clinic. The clinic is world
    famous for the treatment of Glaucoma, Cataracts, traumatic eye
    injuries and rare tropical diseases. All built and maintained by
    white taxpayer’s money for blacks. Baragwaneth in 1978 employed
    450 medical doctors in full-time service. It treated 112 000
    in-patients and 1.62 million out-patients per year. The children
    and infant death rate with 34.8 per 1000 was lower than Harlem in
    New York. In 1982 alone, this hospital performed 898 heart
    operations of world quality. Ironically…90% of the blood donors
    for this hospital were whites, who donated blood free of charge,
    totally voluntarily…to save black lives. (Quoted from The
    Citizen, 2 April 1987). Whites have already given blacks their
    blood. What more do they want? De Vos calls for a “once off
    reconstruction tax”..did he forget that 20,000 “Victims of
    Apartheid” were compensated R30,000 each back in the days of the
    TRC? Personally I think that Prof Pierre De Vos and Bishop Tutu
    should go get an education about the truth about Apartheid. They
    can start by reading my Pandora Series. Whites have given blacks
    the entire country for free. Intact. There is nothing more to
    give. Today blacks are destroying the entire infrastructure that
    we paid for and built. Then still have the audacity to tell
    whites they should leave. What I want to know is who are going to
    compensate whites for all the schools, hospitals, dams, airports,
    harbours, railroads, etc that they have built? It is high time
    for blacks to start paying whites. Nothing is for free. Bishop
    Tutu and De Vos can start by selling their mansions and BMW’s and
    give it to the poor white fund of Solidarity “Helpende Hand”.
    above copied from author. on a last note and as a matter of
    interest, as a white guy..if i loose my house and job…where
    does my family and i go?????to the streets!!!! if the same
    happens to a black guy where does he go????????back home to his
    homeland….mmmm….so the black guy has a plan B…the white guy
    has zero plan B …this means that the only way is to look
    forward with a vision of a united nation..moving forward in such
    a way that we do not loose our love for humanity and in all the
    while maintaining the high road of dignity and the capacity to
    grow ourselves, to expand, and to stretch ourselves into new
    territories we never new possible, to become a true
    humanbeings….to be become all that life has planned for us,
    this is a make or break times presented in new
    lessons/experiences at an exactly 360 degree turn around for
    whites….the tables has been turned, but in the end those of us
    that rise up to the situation will become more meaningfull
    humanbeings….adding even more significant value to mankind.

  • Brett Nortje

    ozoneblue says:
    November 22, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I said that first – here!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    November 22, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Hey Goofy,

    “Which once again brings us full-circle to” – GENOCIDE?

  • terence

    Brett 9.15 am

    Very impressive facts and figures. I don’t usually quote the Bible, but I suggest that a close reading of 1 Corinthians 13 should help clarify the meaningless of those facts and figures. That and our Bill of Rights.

    Thank you.

  • ozoneblue

    Brett Nortje says:
    November 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

    “There is nothing more to give. Today blacks are destroying the entire infrastructure that we paid for and built.”

    I guess that traditional racist generalization is exactly the racism that PdV is also reacting to. The fact is it my have been the White minority through taxes and foreign loans that developed South Africa’s modern infrastructure but it was certainly not done without plenty of cheap Black labor.

  • Brett Nortje

    Don’t be lazy, OBS. I did not say. I made it clear I was quoting. And some of those facts should be out there.

    I believe it is a rule of natural justice that both sides of an argument be heard.

    Don’t you?

  • Lydia Dekker

    What drives me insane is people who come with comments like @Terence who said that he protested that his maid called him ‘master’ or people who tell me that “I’m not a racist, I grew up on the farm and my best friends were black”. But heaven forbid if one of their children decides to date of marry outside of their white ethnic group! This is where to me the moral wasteland becomes real. They will tell me that they don’t mind if my Son dates a black girl, but as long that it is not their child. You might have played with the black kids on the farm, but you still became their baas in the end, they still sat on the marginalised end of the spectrum and you still had a better education. Please do not tell me that because you protested as a child that you knew what really went on during apartheid.

  • Lydia Dekker

    @Brett Nortje, I don’t understand? are you trying to justify apartheid? If so it is very very sad indeed

  • ozoneblue

    Brett Nortje says:
    November 22, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I was just referring to the perpetuation of racist myths about South Africa, the old ones versus the new ones. The old one being that “Whites” build a prosperous modern state all by themsleves and the new one being that all “Whites” are rich and prosperous because they stole everything from “Blacks”. Or that “the Blacks” are now destroying all the hard work that “the Whites” have done. The truth is a little bit more complex than that, although in both cases you would find that these racist myths are generally employed in a narrative that seek to entrench and conceal the interests of the ruling capitalist class.

  • terence

    @ Lydia Dekker
    You know fuck all about me. Don’t make such ridiculous generalisations. I hadn’t had a chance to go through all the comments yet this morning until now. I have now read your earlier response and agree that I had a very different upbringing to yours. I appreciate that your society managed to protect/blinker/fool you more successfully than mine did and accept that your statement that you had no idea is an honest one.
    I don’t know what justifies your ad hominem attack on me and ‘people like me’. I would have no problem at all if my son dated a black girl or a black boy. It’s his choice. I hope he makes a happy one. I lived with my black girlfriend back in the 80s and 90s – and, no, she didn’t call me ‘master’ or spend all her time in the kitchen.

  • ozoneblue

    From Mbeki’s speech:

    “Seventy two percent of GDP is directed at private consumption and a huge part is by the black elite in the public sector who pay themselves phenomenal salaries and the second part”

    Here follows a little personal anecdote to elaborate on that. My kids goes to a middle class school where 80% of the learner’s are black. Their parents generally live in more expensive houses and they drive more expensive cars than myself. Yet when it comes to selecting the provincial school cricket team my kid is not selected despite thoroughly deserving it cause he is not from a “previously disadvantaged group”. How do I explain to an 11 year old boy that he is not selected because he is a “White” and those other kids whose parents are economically better of than his own parents are “disadvantaged”? How does that contribute towards building a “nonracial” society?

  • Gwebecimele
  • Brett Nortje

    Lydia, don’t be silly.

    Humans are not perfect. Thank the Lord. What I am trying to get you to do is appreciate the nuances. Both sides of the argument. And stop thinking in terms of all-or-nothing, black-or-white. Stop looking for simple answers.

    Basic difference between your parents and Terence’s parents if you really want all-or-nothing thinking?
    Something like: Accessories after the fact? Putative self-defence and murder-for gain?

    How is this for all-or-nothing thinking?

    Pierre and his fellow pseudo-intellectuals are responsible for South Africa’s Annus Horrobilis!

    A year ago this was the Rainbow Nation 2.0
    The hosts of World Cup 2010 were being applauded by the world and feted their all their VIPs including Paris Boomkop.
    Brand South Africa had never shone more brightly.
    Now, the markets have shunned us and the ANC have run an entire election campaign based on racial mobilisation. Jimmy Manyi has said coloureds should be de-concentrated and Juliass’ hate speech has caused South Africa to be ugraded to Stage 6 by Genocide Watch.

    And this whole horrible year could have been deflected if somebody had just pointed out that Juliass was wrong that “they stole our land’. Pointed at the nuances. Such as compensation.

  • Gwebecimele

    @ Oz

    Just take your son to a tour of Diepsloot and your workplace.

  • Adriaan Poggenpohl

    One true thing that the ordentlike Afrikaners taught me that will always be true is that having sex with a same gender person is immoral and is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

    Discrimination and suppression are human nature, like it or not.
    Sticking one’s dick up another guys ass is quite odd and not human nature

  • Gwebecimele
  • ozoneblue

    Gwebecimele says:
    November 22, 2011 at 11:14 am

    “Just take your son to a tour of Diepsloot and your workplace.’

    So I see, in order to trivialize the issue you choose to make racist assumptions about me and my workplace not even knowing anything about me or where I work. My kids are fully aware of the poverty in our country and the conditions in townships FYI. And coming back to how these so-called “previously disadvantaged groups” problem is addressed through blatant reverse racism, none of the kids that make the cricket team comes from a township or a school that do in fact qualify as “disadvantaged”, they come from middle class schools with well off parents who certainly don’t need the affirmation. If those kids who are selected came from township schools I would not have a problem with it at all.

  • ozoneblue

    So if we as a nation want to crawl out of this “moral Wasteland” and really address the poverty and the social imbalances in South Africa – I suggest one of the first things we aught to do is to draw up a comprehensive list of all the “township schools” in South Africa and use that as a reference for determining who are really “previously disadvantaged” as to inform our Affirmative Action and BEE policies.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    November 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Hey Goofy,

    Someone is pretending to be you, but doing a darn good impersonation.

    He sounds loony.

    Is it you?

  • Thomas

    Pierre – I cannot believe you choose to write this piece of academic “musings” about Afrikaners when more important issues are at hand. And by the way the song of Siembamba refers to a snake. Its means “sien mamba”. I wish you all the best in your crusade against us Afrikaners. Why you do it though is beyond me. To each his own I guess.

  • ozoneblue

    Thomas says:
    November 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I think PdV honestly feels that Afrikaners and Apartheid should be compared to the Nazis and to the Holocaust. It is very important for the Afrikaner to flagellate himself with such an exclusive self-mutilating fantasy given the “historical context”.

    “Mau Mau Kenyans allowed to sue UK government”

    “Winston Churchill blamed for 1m deaths in India famine”

  • Gwebecimele

    @ Oz

    “My kids are fully aware of the poverty in our country and the conditions in townships FYI”

    Well, they should know that the BEE/AA kids in their school have less opportunities to be springboks, proteas etc. You can assist them by explaining to them why these teams are almost 100% white in a 80% black country or why Mazibuko sounds white.


  • Adriaan Poggenpohl

    @ Thomas

    You wouldn’t expect Meneer de Vos to actually research the origins of the song when he can simply suck his thumb (apart from other things).

    His crusade against us Afrikaners is due to the deep-seated guilt he feels knowing that he is morally bankrupt due to his odd sexual practises.

    It’s so obvious and so highly amusing.

  • Gwebecimele


    Latest estimate.
    “About 600 people are protesting outside parliament against the ANC’s new secrecy law, which is likely to be passed by the National Assembly at 2pm today unless dozens of ANC MPs break ranks and vote against the Protection of State Information Bill.”

  • Gwebecimele

    Someone must tell residents of Soweto that this bill has nothing to do with the high price of electricity they are currently paying. Infact its people like Godsell who applied for a 25% price hike on electricity as chairman of the board of Eskom only to report massive profits the following year.

    What is the picture of shacks have to with the topic?

  • Gwebecimele

    Just replace Malaysia with SA and the story sounds familiar including the figure of 25% GDP.


    “Yet hidden underneath this is an economic activity that has gone officially unmeasured – “capital flight”, which incidentally is highly organised and readily accepted by Malaysia’s political and business elite.

    Last year’s report by the Washington NGO Global Financial Integrity (GFI) estimated that Malaysia lost US$291 billion (RM893 billion) to “capital flight” between 2000 and 2008, making it the world’s fifth largest source of illicit capital in the world.

    This fact was expounded in various articles in the Malaysian press yet “capital flight” should be understood not as an absolute figure but in proportion to the size of an economy.

    Comparing illicit flows to cumulative GDP shows that Malaysia lost an amount equal to 24% of its GDP between 2000 and 2008.

    This places Malaysia in joint third place with the United Arab Emirates and beaten only by Kuwait and Qatar.

    Modelling after Gulf economies

    Amazingly, Malaysia’s peers when it comes to capital flight are the desert monarchies of the Gulf, which possess tiny populations, vast capital surpluses generated by petroleum revenues and virtually non-existent tax regimes.

    The closest state to Malaysia with a nominally “standard” model of governance (tax and redistribution) is none other than Nigeria – that notoriously corrupt petroleum-state which trails behind Malaysia by a full 10%.

    Last year, the Swiss bank UBS (ironically usually associated as a facilitator of capital flight) publicly highlighted the “bizarre” fact that in 2009, Malaysia’s foreign exchange reserves dropped by a whopping 25%, despite recording a surplus in its balance of payments with foreign parties.

    In essence, foreign currency earned through international transactions (for example, Malaysian exports) had been transferred abroad through illicit means rather than being taxed, spent or invested in the Malaysian economy.

    What does this tell us about the state of the Malaysian economy and system of governance?

    GFI’s report cites weak governance, both in the public and private sector, as the probable cause of illicit flows.

    This is hardly a fresh revelation for most citizens, for whom political corruption and nepotism in business is a social fact as well as political reality, yet these numbers provide new insights.

    Politicians and businessmen benefiting

    Firstly, the political ruling class and its business counterparts who are benefiting under interventionist economic conditions evidently do not believe their own propaganda.

    There is a cynical discrepancy between painting a rosy picture of Malaysia’s sustainable economy and lucrative investment opportunities, while funnelling your surplus money into foreign bank accounts and assets, often in the very same countries you are courting for foreign investment!

    Considering illegal outflows of capital are eclipsing legal inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI), such actions are not exactly ringing endorsements of their country of origin.

    Which may explain firstly why Malaysia’s FDI crashed in 2009 (even in comparison to its Asean neighbours) and why BN has become fixated by sheer quantity of capital investment, rather than its quality (in terms of delivered benefits to Malaysians), as the answer to Malaysia’s FDI recovery.

    One only needs to think of current controversial deals such as Lynas rare earth refinery in Pahang, and Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s plan to seemingly dam Sarawak’s entire hydrological system to “woo international investors” as symptomatic of the kind of projects underpinning FDI today.

    Its second major implication is that the current economic policies of ethnic-based intervention is driving non-Bumiputeras to find opportunities elsewhere, often bringing their capital with them.

    Depleting resource pool

    It is unclear what proportion of capital flight can be attributed to this, yet recent statistics on the level of diaspora suggest that it is significant.

    What is abundantly clear is that financial capital flight, coupled with human capital flight (brain drain) is depleting the talent and resources pool that is vital to Malaysia’s future innovation and creativity, totally undermining the government’s proposed intentions to move the economy away from its dependence on natural resources.

    Thirdly, capital flight means untaxed profits, meaning less money to support public finances, and between 2005 and 2008, levels of capital flight were on a par with Malyasia’s entire federal budget.

    At a modest estimate, this would have denied the government nearly RM100 billion in tax income, mostly from Malaysia’s wealthiest individuals and companies, between 2005 and 2008.

    With the threat of economic stagnation, coupled with fickle tax revenues, the government has used external debt to maintain public spending and invest in new projects to boost growth, with debt now reaching 54 percent of GDP.

    ‘Hollowing out economy’

    To add salt to the wound, a working paper by the UNDP in 2006 noted the worrying trend that higher levels of public debt was fuelling capital flight, which in turn further undermined public finances and led to increasing external borrowing.

    This “revolving door” is creating a situation in which the profits from government stimulus are privatised in foreign bank accounts, while the debt legacy that this creates is pushed on the shoulders of Malaysia’s majority, who don’t have the capital, or the pricey lawyers and accountants to furnish them with such a perverse and self-serving arrangement.

    Professor Edsel Beja from the University of Manila has described capital flight as a force that can “hollow out economies”.

    This is a perfect description of the corrosive forces at work on the Malaysian economy, a mixture of political corruption and nepotism in business, facilitated and fuelled by skewed interventionist policies.

    The headline economic figures that BN quotes ring as hollow and as tired as (former prime minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Vision 2020.

    Malaysia doesn’t need a mythical vision of the future but realistic vision of the here and now, and leaders who realise that political and economic reform are as important, if not more important, than simple increase in GDP and foreign investment.

    The writer is a UK based freelance journalist and a guest writer for FMT

  • ozoneblue

    Gwebecimele says:
    November 22, 2011 at 13:38 pm

    Alright. So now we are getting somewhere at least. From your racist response (i.e white Mazibuko) it is clear what Moeletsi Mbeki is also getting at. The “morality” of the racist way AA is currently implemented has nothing to do with achieving social justice, elevating poverty or uplifting the kids in Diepsloot for example. That is just the moralistic veneer applied, when convenient, to what is essential a new racially-based dispensation. A draconian attempt to re-engineer society, alla Verwoerd, to reflect certain racial ideals and outcomes that has nothing to do with human rights, the abilities of the individual and even less with the ideal of nonracialism.

    The sooner “White, Coloured and Indian” South Africans realise that their individual rights and freedoms in the new “nonracial” South Africa will forever be subservient to the entitlement of the bona-fide or first class citizens i.e. “the Africans”, the better.

    For the Afrikaner it is time to catch a wake-up call as well. We are all being taken for a ride.

  • Gwebecimele

    These are the secrets that media should be reporting.

  • Gwebecimele
  • Maggs Naidu –

    November 22, 2011 at 15:01 pm


    It proves that there is such a thing as a FREE LUNCH!

  • Gwebecimele

    Since 1994, freedom has been preserved here largely because the suburban elite that dominates business and the professions has been strong enough to dissuade a government they distrust from tampering with their liberties. This does not mean that a desire for freedom is restricted to the suburbs — the evidence suggests that it is shared by many at the grassroots. But it is the affluent who have the resources and the connections to make themselves heard. And the government knows that there are economic costs to ignoring them.
    This has benefited the entire society — the poor need freedom at least as much as the better off. While they have often been denied it by local power realities that do not affect the suburbs, poor people would be even worse off if our freedoms go. But for how long can a freedom preserved by only a fraction of the society endure?

    We may not yet have reached a pass at which freedom will be in dire peril if its only advocates are the suburban middle classes. But we are sure to reach it sooner or later.

    In a limited way, perhaps we already have — would the bill have survived if it had faced the sustained resistance of the grassroots, who stand most to lose from it?

    The fact that the bill is now before Parliament should serve as a warning.

    If our mainstream debate remains obsessed with the freedom of the few and ignores that of the many, that freedom will remain fragile.

    If, however, we understand that the chief victims of unrestrained official power remain the poor and that poor people must play a key role in protecting all our freedoms, we may yet ensure that we not only hold onto the freedoms we have but ensure that more and more of us enjoy them.

    • Friedman is director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy.

  • ozoneblue

    Gwebecimele says:
    November 22, 2011 at 15:01 pm


    That is a lie. It was in fact pathetic, less than 5 000. Malema is another racist fake, a Buppie with too much shiny bling and a cholesterol problem parading under the banner of REVOLUTION> but fortunately for the good people of South Africa he has no democratic support.

  • spoiler

    And so the info bill has been passed – what a surprise – I wonder how long before it ends up in the con-court and bits of it are binned. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

  • sirjay jonson

    November 22, 1963, the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
    November 22, 2011, the secrecy bill.
    Days of Infamy.

  • sirjay jonson

    Appears to me Prof that your moral wasteland has more to do with events today, than of yesterday. I trust that all those who voted for this bill will be named, shamed and recorded for the future. Their self serving betrayal should not be forgotten or overlooked in future years.

  • ozoneblue

    And finally a cherry on the cake and a befitting end to the (moral) Wasteland. In related news some sound advice from a word-renown Zimbabwean economist on how to run a revolution and improve the SA economy – Malema: celebrating Africa’s economic funeral

    “The widespread obsession with Malema’s alleged twisted business dealings and rejection of his message about addressing economic and social inequalities between the blacks and the whites in South is a loud example of how in Africa we major in minor issues and minor in major issues – a graphic sample of chasing mosquitoes with machine guns while monsters are abound.”

    Fuck, with nearly 4 million Zim refugees in South Africa and Zimbabweans still dying of hunger (if they were not kept alive on USAID) you have to hand it to them – these corrupt, raaacist “revolutionaries” are a bunch of clowns.

  • izeze


    “It proves that there is such a thing as a FREE LUNCH!”

    I stand corrected.

    There’s nothing like a free lunch!

  •!/thisbebaer Baer

    It’s okay, Maggs. Just wrap the words in a brown envelope and slip them under my door.

    ‘You were right.’

    The message will be short enough that I won’t have contravened the future POSIB.

  • izeze


    FYI, there’s no such thing as an “annus horrobilis”.

    Did you mean “anus horribilis”?

  • sirjay jonson

    If you talk to any leading western psychologists they will clearly describe and clarify why feeling guilt, shame and laying blame leads only to a blinding weakness in dealing with the pressing needs of the present.

  • ozoneblue

    sirjay jonson says:
    November 22, 2011 at 18:52 pm

    Exactly. And I would say that in dealing with the pressing needs of the present we, as White, Colored and Indian second-class citizens should seriously start opening our eyes and seeing the wood from the trees. We are being made to feel guilty about stuff that happened more than 20 years ago now while we are getting raped in the name of “nonracial democracy” and “human rights”.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    November 22, 2011 at 18:47 pm

    Hey Izeze,

    “Did you mean ‘anus horribilis’?”

    That’s pushing it.

    Adriaan Poggenpohl’s Grandma could have not been that bad.

    On the other hand maybe his Grandpa did think that there is ‘nothing like a free lunch’.

  • sirjay jonson

    Thanks ozoneblue:

    Think I need to sit with some port in my veggie garden now, which is a hectare, lovely clear water running through it, then an additional 2 hectares utilized for food security in my extensive community. And yes, I’m privileged but without shame, any feelings of guilt or any blame for others’ actions, least of all that of my ancestors who lived the status quo to their best ability and most always with faith.

    Today is decidedly a new intensifier in the new South Africa, gateway to the Continent, as free western and true Democractic nations optimistically see us. And me?, I so want not to live in a dictatorship. I desire like most of the many folk I know, a rainbow nation leading to an amazing future for all South Africans, eventually all africans, our children and grandchildren; seven generations say north american aboriginal Indians. Brazil has accomplished it, racism is not an issue there.

    The infamous unDemocratic abomination of today at parliament will ultimately fail, regardless of the double mo living in his childish dreams as cc.

    SA is destined. All of us, we need only the conviction and courage to act, and that we do so daily.

    @Brett: skaam jou man!, can’t get to my mountains this Xmas. Too much unfolding here.

  • Johann de Lange

    It has become commonplace to use the attrocities perpetrated by Nazi Germany to bolster all kinds of arguments, some good, most really feeble. It is such a transparant strategy because by default anybodywho differs from you in a sense makes light of said attrocities and therefore must be amoral, heartless, or in denial. Really?
    Branding Afrikaans as the language of the oppressor is either a very simplistic argument & belies a heavily edited view of Afr literary history, or springs from real ignorance.

    While all this bitching, back biting & blaming is going on we are watching an Afr dept slowly imploding because staff are either fearful of being branded as Rightwing should they defend their course & dept, or some are sitting at home overwhelmed by their fame & couln’t be bothered enough about the univ. paying their salaries to actually teach, guide students, help their colleagues or even answer the phone or emails.

    How did this happen? I cannot begin to fathom all the contributing fctors that have contributed to the current mess & are still aggravating the situation. What I do know is that I’ve just about had it with the demonizing of Afrikaans & of this mea culpa self flagellation still going on. It does not achieve anything. I do not pretend to have the answers, I don’t, but I know a self referential circular loop when I see one, & the blame game that has now been going on for decades is one such loop & will not achieve anything positive. It will only further divide. That is a lesson that history teaches. And if I want to be opportunistic I can use Nazi Germany to drive home my point. But I won’t. Using it in such a way is immoral.

  • sirjay jonson

    @Brent; my affrikaans is klein bietjie. I meant to say: skaam op myself.

  • sirjay jonson

    Johann de Lange
    November 22, 2011 at 20:26 pm


  • Brett Nortje

    sirjay jonson says:
    November 22, 2011 at 20:30 pm

    Sirjay, my Roman Parent sent me to an Afrikaans primary school not to honour his father or my mother or her family but because he thought Afrikaans schools were stricter. So there were these Dutchmen, all bigger than I was, and I could not speak their lingo much – (even my granddads used to speak English to me.)

    Not easy. But, by the time I was in about Std 3 they had internalised that it was safer to leave me alone.

    So, I had this unique view of them – close-up, but from the outside – not quite being of them. And I understand the good and it can be very good and the bad they are capable of, sometimes experiencing it first hand.

    So I do understand when Pierre holds them responsible for hounding his boyhood friend until he hanged himself. Your age-old vendetta, and, my people are good haters. I pray that he finds some resolution because he has condemned himself to a lifetime of unhappiness – and, the effects are rippling out much wider.

    What brought this to mind was your Afrikaans, and the way my Oupa used to giggle when my gran used to try speak Afrikaans. After he died she became quite fluent – speaking Afrikaans to her little friends. My gran’s last years were quite painful – and fearful – after being attacked for her pension.

    When this country slipped into miltary rule I resolved never to speak Afrikaans again. The first time I tried it on my mom she looked at me quizzically then worked out quickly what I was up to, burst out laughing and slapped me on the ass. My brother and sister also fell about laughing when I spoke English to them. So, I compromised and just refused to speak Afrikaans to anyone else for about a year until I resigned myself to the campaign being about as effective as cutting coffee out of my diet for a year had been on migraines.

    Now I believe that Magnus Malan’s generals were far further along the road to ensuring a better life for all than this government.

    I can be pretty dismissive – simple responses to complex issues should be left to the simple-minded.
    On the other hand, sometimes it is the simple things that are most treasured. Gestures. Reaching out. Thank goodness a lot of the simple people are doing a lot more of that than the political and chattering classes.

    Remember the Paul Young song?

  • ozoneblue

    Johann de Lange says:
    November 22, 2011 at 20:26 pm

    Dear Johann.

    Why do you think our Afrikaans universities are attracting almost exclusively White students? What is SU and NWU doing to try and address the demographic imbalance?

  • Chris

    Prof de Vos, u is wel ‘n geletterde persoon en ‘n man van aansien in u domein. Ek slegs matriek in die laat 70’s., maar ek kan sien u praat loutere snert oor my taal en die apartheids jare (u kan kyk daar sal baie taalfoute wees). U wil miskien graag u geleerde kolegas beindruk maar u beindruk glad nie die man op straat nie.

    Ek ondersteun wat Dr Heese te skrywe het en ek glo haar bedoeling is om Afrikaans op universiteitsvlak te behou. Sy het vir haar taal gestry en u stry omdat u wit is. Hoekom moet daar altyd iemand onder die Afrikaners (moontlik gewese Afrikaner) wees om dit wat ons wil red, nl Afrikaans op universiteitsvlak of op skool te wil uitmoor en vertrap (jammer vir Afrikaans maar my Engels is nog swakker).

    Het u al deur Afrika gereis, indien wel, wat het u gesien. Toe u terugkeer SA toe wat het u wel raakgesien. Het u nie die ontwikkeling van SA teenoor die res van Afrika gesien nie en hier bedoel ek omtrent met als, ons landbou, ons regstelsel, ons paaie, ons stedelike ontwikkeling ens. Wie het gehelp bou daaraan?

    U is reg omtrent die apartheidsjare. Ons as wit seuns kon nie in ‘n swart gebied in gegaan het nie, anders was ons dalk vermoor of aangerand. Het u al probeer na 17jaar demokrasie om in ‘n oorweegende swart gebied te loop in die aand, dan vra u u mede swart kolega om in ‘n oorwegende wit gebied te loop in die aand. U ken die antwoorde.

    Ek kan vir u voorbeelde tot verwelens toe gee. Gebruik eerder u tyd en gaan studeer die geskiedenis van SA, nie net die nuwe geskiedenis nie maar ook die ou geskiedenis en u sal sien reg deur die wereld het ontwikkelende lande so ontstaan.

    Gebruik u tyd en kennis om ‘n wet wat deur die ANC deur gestoomroller word te voorkom, want dit kan die land se vryheid ‘n hele paar tree agteruit gee en laat ouma Heese ons help om ons taal te red, as opvoedkundige taal.

  • Herman Lategan

    Pierre, I disagree on two points. You misread Pieter Malan’s article, specifically the part where he speaks (slightly tongue-in-cheek) about coming from a decent home. Don’t read things so literally.

    Marie Heese did not defend Bantu education. It is churlish of you to suggest this. She stated that as vile and inhumane the system of Bantu education was, the quality of education was often better than what we have now.

    The total collapse of education, that is, as we are seeing now. Nowhere did she hanker back to the past.

    I have been following this debate, and I agree with many of your points. But it has turned into a vicious cat-fight where everybody speaks past each other. Many people are highly embarrassed that a fight like this has spilt over into the public domain, as it has lost its way.

    Another thing Pierre, not EVERYBODY who does not agree with your narrative is a racist. Not EVERYBODY has the need to suffer from a chronic Calvinistic type of guilt. Some whites, like myself, do their bit by getting their hands dirty in soup kitchens, townships, mentoring free of charge. Guilt I’ve dealt with in therapy, years ago. It’s also so last Christmas, and so NG Kerk. A nee a dominee!

    And not ALL white people need to enter into a co-dependent relationship with black people, meaning, that their self-worth depends on what black people think of them. With co-dependency there is CODA, Co-Dependants Anonymous, it helps.

    There is not a white racist under every bush. There are more than three narratives at work in SA, life is far more subtle and complex than simply three little categories.

    On another note, some of the replies to your Rapport article were homophobic. But, alternatively, to call Marie Heese an ouma, thus trying to neutralise her as an old woman who does not know what she is saying, is ageist, even misogynist.

    And that is as bad as racism.

    Herman Lategan
    Sea Point

  • Brett Nortje

    izeze says:
    November 22, 2011 at 18:47 pm

    Izeze, I am anal about spelling too!

    And if you do not immediately retract your aspersions on my spelling, I shall have to quote myself back at you! (Unless Pierre fixed it, which is doubtful, considering how he spells…)

    Maggs, bite me.

  • Brett Nortje

    The crux of the matter. Well said!

    “And not ALL white people need to enter into a co-dependent relationship with black people, meaning, that their self-worth depends on what black people think of them. With co-dependency there is CODA, Co-Dependants Anonymous, it helps.”

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    November 23, 2011 at 7:29 am

    “Maggs, bite me.”

    Thanks G, but I’ll pass that one.

    Try Adriaan!

    Or even his neglected Grandma.


  • Pieter Malan

    Since I was, in John X. Merriman’s phrase, “one of the new breed of pushy Afrikaners” to have goaded Prof. De Vos to writing this guilt-ridden piece at a time when there are bigger fish to fry, allow me my two cent’s worth:
    Pierre, your snide remark about Marié Heese’s “immoral and enthusiastic” support for Bantu education sums up the misguided direction in which you are steering this debate perfectly. Who should be feeling guilty? And what exactly are they guilty of?
    Take Marié Heese’s case. Would you disagree with your former vice-chancellor’s view that bantu education was, in many respects, better than what the present government has to offer? Would you accept that it is possible that Heese was probably a better English teacher than many of the current crop of teachers in “previously disadvantaged” schools? Would you rather have someone’s of Heese’s ability teaching in a white school during apartheid? Would you be prepared to reserve the same withering remark you directed at Heese for teachers who “enthusiastically take part” in the present, much-maligned education system?
    Maybe you must go and read Bernhard Schlink again. You might find that The Reader contains a warning against exactly this type of easy convictions you reach against Heese in this piece. And that from a lawyer. Shame on you.

  • BK

    * Wiskunde in die 1960’s :
    ‘n Boer verkoop ‘n bakkievrag vol brandhout vir R100. Sy produksie-koste is 4/5 van die prys. Wat is sy profyt?

    * Wiskunde in die 1970’s :
    ‘n Boer verkoop ‘n bakkievrag vol brandhout vir R100. Sy uitgawes is 4/5 van die bedrag, of R80. Wat is sy profyt?

    * Wiskunde in die 1980’s :
    ‘n Boer verkoop ‘n bakkievrag vol brandhout vir R100. Sy uitgawes is R80.
    Het hy ‘n profyt gemaak?

    * Wiskunde in die 1990’s :
    ‘n Boer verkoop ‘n bakkievrag vol brandhout vir R100. Sy uitgawes is R80 en sy profyt is R20. Opdrag: Onderstreep die syfer 20.

    * Wiskunde in die 2011’s:
    ‘n Boer kap ‘n pragtige woud af sodat hy ‘n profyt van R20 kan maak. Voordat hy dit egter kan verkoop, word hy geskiet en sy bakkie gekaap.
    Die kaper verkoop die hout vir R50 en die boer se bakkie vir R800 en maak dus ‘n wins van slegs R850. Opdrag: Verduidelik hoekom dit apartheid se skuld is.

  • Chris

    Goeie vraag BK. Al wat ek weer vra is dat iemand soos die prof met sy geleerdheid eerder hande met ouma Heese neem ter wille van die taal en los die apartheid foefie, dus holrug gery. Of wat dink jy prof?

  • ozoneblue

    Chris says:
    November 23, 2011 at 18:55 pm

    You should rather thank Pierre for opening the debate and speaking his mind. The problem with Afrikaans is not of his making, it is the Afrikaner who must stop living in denial, pull his head out of the sand, confront reality and grow a fucking spine.

  • Max

    @Herman Lategan wrote, “Marie Heese did not defend Bantu education. It is churlish of you to suggest this. She stated that as vile and inhumane the system of Bantu education was, the quality of education was often better than what we have now.”

    @Pieter Malan: wrote, “Pierre, your snide remark about Marié Heese’s “immoral and enthusiastic” support for Bantu education sums up the misguided direction in which you are steering this debate perfectly. Who should be feeling guilty? And what exactly are they guilty of?”

    You are wrong. Marie Heese directly defended bantu educationa when she said,

    “Marié sê mense herinner altyd aan Verwoerd se “absolute horribale toespraak” dat swart- en bruin kinders nie hoef nie te leer nie, want hulle is bestem om houthakkers en waterdraers te word.

    “Dit was nié die onderwysbeleid nie.

    “Mense sê hulle het nie wiskunde-onderrig gekry nie, dis balls man, hulle het dieselfde eksamens as almal geskryf!”

    It is this defense of apartheid the preposterous claim that apartheid education was better than the present which makes me seriously doubt you understand of why apartheid was a crime. If defending this crime is the best you can offer in defense of your language, then rather shut up.

  • alleman

    Yes Max, Marie Heese’s “defense” contained an inexcusable defense of apartheid, which is precisely why Pierre chose to respond to her, and not to others, such as Gerrit Brand, whose arguments he could not counter.

    Why do we need to defend our language against a malicious vendetta like this? If a language must be punished for being part of an oppressive system,then we should also be attacking the use of English at universities.

  • Chris

    Ozoneblue as jy my se wie en wat jy is, sal ek jou verduidelik hoekom jy eers ‘n splint uit ‘n ander se oog wil haal voor jy jou eie balk sal verwyder.

    Ek is op die voetsoolvlak en kry daagliks met apartheid te doen, in die verlede en nou. Ek kom goed oor die weg met alle rasse. Ek verstaan ook hoekom sekere groepe optree soos hul optree, en dit is om hul identiteit te beskerm. As jy vir my wil vertel dit gebeur net onder die wittes, dan het ek nuus vir jou en moet jy wakker skrik.

    Ek het nie die probleem met prof se debat nie, maar vertel my watter nuwe inligting het jy hier gekry. Net dat die wittes moet boet vir hul aandeel. Kan ‘n witte verduidelik hoekom…..dan is jy op jou agterpoot en begin kabaal opskop nog voor jy gehoor het wat hy verduidelik. Al wat jy in die debat soek is askiesies, jammer ek leef met ‘n witvel ens..

    Ek wil jou net iets uitwys en dit is dat as ‘n wit persoon ‘n probleem met ‘n swart persoon kry is daar altyd ras en diskriminasie aan verbonde en hierdie is ‘n tot verwelens toe probleem en jy weet dit.

    Het jy al gehoor wat se wittes vir swartes, maar het jy al gehoor wat se swartes vir wittes veral die jong klomp.

    Is armmoede net apartheid se skuld. Of is dit dat die bevoordeling van tenders aan swartes of moet ek se slegs swartes ook maar deel uitmaak daarvan.

    Al wat ek se is dat hoe lank moet ons gegooi word met klippe, en onthou die regering het ‘n goeie opgeboude land, omtrent die beste in Afrika met baie sosiale probleme geerf. Kom ons werk eerder daaraan, maar my taal bly my taal ongeag wat jy se.

  • Herman Lategan

    @ Max, I don’t reply to people who don’t offer their names and surnames. You can continue ‘framing’ Heese the way you want to. I am neither for or against her. Also, I won’t shut up just because you of all people tell me to. How bloody Fascist!

  • Brett Nortje

    Max says:
    November 23, 2011 at 23:15 pm

    Could you argue more dishonestly?

    How is pointing out facts about Bantu Education a defence of Apartheid?

  • Max Ozinsky

    @ Herman wrote: @ Max, I don’t reply to people who don’t offer their names and surnames. You can continue ‘framing’ Heese the way you want to. I am neither for or against her. Also, I won’t shut up just because you of all people tell me to. How bloody Fascist!

    Herman, if I may call you that, this is the internet, whether I sign myself @Racistafrikaner or Max Ozinsky to be taken seriously you need to apologize to Pierre – unlike what you said Heese did defend bantu education and that is why you end up defending what you know to be indefensible.

    The more you justify apartheid the more your argument is not part of national discourse and the more you make it difficult for those of use who are part of that discourse to take you seriously. Your offensive comments defending a crime against humanity are an abuse of freedom of speech and would not be tolerated in Germany, as Pierre was trying to point out.

    In fact your racist opinions are an embarrassment to those who suffered under and those who opposed apartheid.

    If you want the democratic state to take issues seriously about language and culture you should try not to offend them to the point where they can’t even bear to listen to you. Thats why it might be better for you not to publicly utter your support for bantu education and its practitioners.

  • Herman Lategan

    @ Max Ozinsky. Now that I know who it is, may I say, I do not take your opinion seriously, I never have. Most people view you as a joke, on all sides of the political spectrum. Your public persona is based on ignorance and hysteria, you have no idea where I stand on this issue. Moreover, you have no idea what my ideological bent is and I suggest you withdraw your comment that MY comments are racist, as I would not hesitate handing you over to my attorney, Graham Sonnenberg. I view this as libel and I shall take this further.

    Herman Lategan
    Sea Point

  • Herman Lategan

    @ Max: “Thats why it might be better for you not to publicly utter your support for bantu education and its practitioners.”

    Huh? When did I do that? I simply stated what she said and my perception of what she meant. Is it because I have an Afrikaans name and surname that you think you have the right to tell me that what I say or mean is racist?

    Do you always dabble in stereotypes? Oh, I forget, ANC civil servants and bureaucrats do that.

    I have heard from so many people that you are a technocrat and apparatchik, I can see it’s true. On top of that, not really all that sharp, go back to my original posting and you will see what I say.

    Your puerile jibe at @RacistAfrikaner was also not lost on me @RacistJew. You should rather keep quiet, you have no idea even if I am pro Afrikaans or not. How dare you just assume that?

    Jesus Christ, if ever I wanted to go back to the ANC a hairy clown like you has put me off forever.

  • Graham Sonnenberg

    @Max Ozinsky. If you took the trouble to read what Herman Lategan is saying, you would realise that it is simply this: the state of education in this country now is worse than it has ever been. The education system was never as bad as this, even in the dark days of apartheid. That statement does not make him a defender of apartheid. In actual fact he was a staunch opponent in the dark old days. Not every Afrikaner is a racist just as every Jew is not a communist. Some of us are just so tired of the racist card being thrown at us whenever the status quo is criticised. The hard fact is that the state of education under the ANC government stinks.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Graham Sonnenberg
    November 24, 2011 at 14:00 pm

    Hey Graham,

    “The hard fact is that the state of education under the ANC government stinks.”

    That generalisation is nonsense.

    Education in the suburbia is pretty good.

    We’re seeing very good results from tertiary institutions too.

    Education (apart from pockets of excellence) for the poor, particularly those schools in predominantly African poor areas is awful.

    So it’s not much of a concern!


  • Johann de Lange

    There is a reason that Herman Lategan hinted at that affects Pierre de Vos’ objectivity & make him say the kind of nonsense he does. I tend to agree with Herman.

    The black/white issue in this country has led to a kind of simplistic/extreme black/white kind of thinking. Something is either black, or white. There are no shades in between, no individual differences on either side. Surely this is madness! One should be able to criticise the current government departments’ performance without being branded a racist. Any rational person, & more so somebody flaunting academic credentials should as a matter of schooling know how to conduct a discourse on any subject.

    I think a bit of soul searching is in order, Pierre, & leave the posturing for a more suitable arena.

  • Herman Lategan

    @ Max Ozinsky: The cold-blooded cheek that you even have commented on any forum seeing that your Politburo is pushing through draconian National Party-style censorship laws is mind-boggling. You have NO moral authority to speak up, NONE. You have lost it. It reeks of opportunistic hubris, even worse, it stinks of the type of cancerous Narcissism you and your ilk suffer from. If I want an opinion from my new SA’s oppressors, I shall give it to you. Otherwise, back off.

  • Pingback: Verfassungsblog › Taking Integrity Seriously: Justice Kate O’Regan on the Constitutional Court of South Africa()

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Malan

    “Would you disagree with your former vice-chancellor’s view that bantu education was, in many respects, better than what the present government has to offer?”

    Malan, do not assume that, just because some black women says X, that X is true. I say it is tragic that Dr Ramphele, perhaps embittered by the fact that the ANC’s non-racial Charterism ultimately eclipsed her man’s BC mumbo-jumbo, has turned into an arch DEFENDER of Bantu Education!

  • Pieter Malan

    Seems as if your English is even worse than mine: Ramphele did not “defend” bantu education. She was merely saying that the present state of education in “previously disadvantaged” schools was worse than bantu education. (A view also held by Wendy Luhabe, I believe. I can only imagine what snide remark about Luhabe’s credentials you are going to dredge up). How these statements add up to a “defense” of bantu education only you will know.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Herman Lategan
    November 24, 2011 at 18:04 pm

    Hey Herman,

    “Otherwise, back off.”

    It seems that you frightened Max Ozinsky off. Maybe he got scared of you lawyer. Graham Sonnenberg who seems quite a fearsome fellow. I may borrow his reputation when these wankers here (Brett, Dworky, JR and others) try their luck with me. Well done.

    Max Ozinsky, we know you are there, scared, cowering in the background. Come back. In disguise.

    Maybe you can call yourself something like ‘Leopard-which-stalks-silently’ (nah, that’s boring) or ‘fellow-from-the-ANC-WC-which-lost-the-province-to-the-DA’ or just ‘scaredy-cat’.

    Maybe you can try ‘Max Ozinsky’ and claim identity theft.

    Which ever way, do come back. Especially to tell us if people are still stabbing and beating each other up for positions in the ANC WC.

    p.s. Don’t worry too much about Graham – he’s just Herman’s interpretor.

  • YTAH

    “There is a reason that Herman Lategan hinted at that affects Pierre de Vos’ objectivity & make him say the kind of nonsense he does. I tend to agree with Herman.
    The black/white issue in this country has led to a kind of simplistic/extreme black/white kind of thinking. Something is either black, or white. There are no shades in between, no individual differences on either side.”

    Pierre de Vos’s arguments in this piece are nuanced and complicated; it is your reaction that is knee-jerk and narrow-minded. One can be proud of one’s culture without immediately jumping to the conclusion that everything about it is hunky dory. And if you wish to pretend that Afrikaans had no part in, for example, the complex reasons that gave rise to Sharpeville, you are either being willfully ignorant or deliberately obtuse.

  • Herman Lategan

    YTAH … who pretended that Afrikaans had no part in it? Who? Where is that stated? On this thread, I mean. Just who pretended that, please tell. Nuanced? Pierre is a friend of mine, how nuanced he is on this issue is debatable. I hold no torch for the language, let me ad.

  • Herman Lategan

    Ego driven arguments, dripping in hubris, is what we have here in this thread. As usual. It’s enough now, BORING. Over and out. Go and work in a soup kitchen do something fucking meaningful. All of you.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Herman Lategan
    November 25, 2011 at 18:33 pm

    Awwwwwww Herman,

    First you chased away Max O, now you want us all to bugger off.

    Then you will be alone, just like god was before creating the universe.

    p.s. what meaningful work is there in the soup kitchen?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Herman Lategan
    November 25, 2011 at 18:33 pm

    Hey Herman,

    Since you have an attorney, Graham Sonnenberg, protecting you, I’ve decided to get one also.

    It’s best if you talk to my attorney. Floyd. You can call him – 1, 2 or 3 will do.

    I’ve also thinking of a second lawyer – Ballem. Don’t call him, he’ll call you!

  • Brett Nortje

    YTAH says:
    November 25, 2011 at 18:22 pm

    Are you talking about the bring-and-braai held for Sister Mary Quinlan or the massacre at Cato Manor?

    “the complex reasons that gave rise to Sharpeville”

  • Johann de Lange

    YTAH, apart from the very troublesome fact that you call Pierre de Vos’ thinking “nuanced and complicated”, I would like to know how you get from that to accusing me of being “either being willfully ignorant or deliberately obtuse” as far as the role of Afrikaans in the machinery of oppression is concerned.

    Being critical of one’s country or government is not automatically being disloyal. I suspect referring you to Van Wyk Louw’s “Lojale verset” will be a waste of bandwidth. I find being “proud” of one’s country no matter what to be very simplistic. You can be patriotic & critical at the same time. As a matter of fact, you HAVE to be. If you’re not, then you’re probably OK with the government trying to gag the press & freedom of speech, & not the kind of person I want to be in the same room with.

    At the moment I find very little to be proud of. I am disappointed to see how little came of what Afrikaans authors & many political figures of all colour fought for in the Sixties & on.

    An write under your own name, for God’s sake. Grow a pair.

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