Constitutional Hill

Why do I have to drive past Oswald Pirow Drive?

I have never understood why some South Africans get so upset when the names of towns, suburbs, streets, rivers and dams are changed. What does it matter whether we call it “Pretoria” or ”Tswane” when there are so much more pressing problems facing our country and when severe social and economic injustices continue all around us for everyone to see?

Just in the last day we heard that 6 babies died needlessly in a hospital in Gauteng because of overcrowding (and perhaps also because of callousness), that millions of people do not have formal houses to live in and that the President is shocked about their living conditions (he really should get out more),and that the Police is reported to have spent R498 million in 2006 to build 7 new police stations and refurbish 3 and spent R1.1 billion last year to construct 2 stations and upgrade 2?

Surely name changes are not that big a deal? Besides, some names need to be changed because their very existence is an affront to the majority of the people of South Africa – including to this blogger.

Every morning I drive past Oswald Pirow Rylaan on my way to work. This is what Wikipedia has to say about Mr Pirow:

Pirow became an admirer of Adolf Hitler after meeting him in 1933. He toured Europe in 1938 and claimed to offer Hitler a free role in Eastern Europe in return for allowing the Jews to leave Germany. During this tour he also met Benito Mussolini, António de Oliveira Salazar and Francisco Franco and became convinced that a European war was imminent, with Nazi victory assured.

Pirow supported Hertzog’s calls for neutrality when war did arrive and followed his leader in to the new Herenigde Nasionale Party (HNP). By September 1940 he had launched his own New Order group within the HNP, backing a Nazi style dictatorship. This group took its name from his 1940 New Order in South Africa pamphlet in which he embraced the ideology. The pamphlet ran through seven editions in its first year of existence. The group finally broke from the HNP altogether in 1942 after both Daniel François Malan and Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom openly rejected the Nazis. Pirow did not run in the 1943 election although a number of New Order candidates did and they were all heavily defeated. Although Pirow continued to publish a newsletter until 1958 his political career was effectively over, leaving him to return to legal practice.

How can it be that the name of this street has not been changed – sixteen years after the end of apartheid? Surely it is s scandal of immense proportions?

The DA run City of Cape Town started a process to change such offensive names (the previous ANC administration having been too busy looking after which tenders to give to whom of their pals) and appointed a panel of experts to consider suggestions from the public about this. The panel carefully selected those names that are really offensive and made wonderful proposals to change these names. The new names proposed by this panel were both wise and sensitive, and included the names of Afrikaans poet Ingrid Jonker who was quoted by Nelson Mandela in his first speech to Parliament, the late heart transplant pioneer and Viagra user Chris Barnard and struggle heroes like Ashley Kriel.

Yet, three years later, I still drive by Oswald Pirow Rylaan and Barry Hertzog Boulevard – both monuments to racial superiority and racial oppression. Why? Perhaps because some fellow South Africans do not want to let go of the past, a past that is well worth letting go of? Or is it because the DA City Council is too scared of the racists in its midst or too unprincipled to do the right thing and implement these name changes?

It is an affront to every Capetonian who embraces the values enshrined in our Constitution and the democratic order every day to have to be confronted with the celebration of Nazi’s and racists in this way. Yet nothing is being done. The issue cannot be money as only a handful of name changes were proposed by the panel of experts. Besides, in preparation for the World Cup, many road signs were replaced or upgraded to comply with the dictates of Fifa. One could probably implement all the name changes proposed by the panel without spending half the money used to upgrade one police station or pay for one Departmental Christmas party.

I was reminded of all this when I saw that the ANC and the FF Plus have agreed that the difficult question of geographic name changes should proceed in a manner that reconciles histories with present realities. Following a rare meeting with FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder yesterday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said it was important to “allow the two histories to talk to each other”. It was thus crucial “not to do name changes willy-nilly,” he said.

Mantashe’s suggestion seems sensible enough.

I am not one who believes we should erase all traces of the past (as if one can do that). Our various histories and cultures should be allowed to talk to one another and there is even a place somewhere for statues of the colonialists and racists. It is therefore perhaps not necessary to bulldoze the Roads Memorial on the slopes of Table Mountain – despite the fact that it celebrates the life of that old racist imperialist Cecil John Rhodes (whose reputation has been shamefully resuscitated with the association of his name with that of Nelson Mandela).

I have previously proposed – only half in jest – that we should remove most of the memorials and statues commemorating and celebrating colonial and apartheid era “heroes” and place them in an apartheid graveyard somewhere. There could be a neatly kept garden and informative plagues explaining the roles each of these men (because they were invariably all men) played in our history.

I am sure some space could be found at the Voortrekker Monument to house all these reminders of our oppressive past. Then schoolchildren could be taken on educational tours to this site to remind them of our history. One could have a Woodstock style rock concert there every year. I can see the dagga smokers and hippy types lounging about between the statues while the Parlotones and Freshly ground entertain the crowds. Or perhaps one can have an annual outdoor rave for youngsters amongst the graves of these apartheid heroes – all just to show that we do not take these figures too seriously anymore.

Then we can turn our attention to the real problems facing South Africa and can hold our government to account when it wastes our money or betrays the poor without the government being able to point to the past and to blame those whites who still yearn for apartheid for their own failings. I for one, would not mind living in such a country where the past stops being an excuse to justify arrogance and greed and becomes merely an important reminder of what kind of country we do NOT want to live in.

  • Illuvatar

    Okay Prof…the DA is too slow in changing the names of streets in Cape Town for your liking. Your conclusion is that they’re racist or unprincipled – seriously?

    Have you done any investigation into how far the process of street name changes is? Speak to a city councilor (all their contact details are on the Unicity website – http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/CouncilOnline/Pages/default.aspx)

    Until then your conclusions are vacuous.

  • Thomas

    Illuvatar: Cant access link please help.

    Interesting article:

    Teen sues magistrate over years in jail awaiting trial

    2010/05/20

    A CAPE Town teenager is suing the magistrate who kept him in custody for almost three years before charges were dropped, the Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa) said yesterday.
    Also named as respondents were the Cabinet, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Legal Aid Board and the police.
    Jasa spokesman John Smyth QC said Andre Williams, of Bellville, now 18, was arrested with a group of others on a charge of robbery in 2006.
    At the time he was 14 years old.
    The charge was dropped against all accused in June 2009 after Williams had been in custody for two years and 11 months.
    Jasa said it and Williams had filed suit in the Western Cape High Court, alleging breaches of the Bill of Rights, and claiming damages for Williams for loss of “amenities of life” and loss of formal education.
    “Jasa is also concerned to set a precedent ensuring that magistrates, lawyers and police never again adopt such a callous and cavalier attitude,” Smyth said.
    He said the lion’s share of the blame in this case rested on the magistrate, who “simply ignored his constitutional duties” and remanded Williams some 30 times. – Sapa

  • Maggs Naidu

    Illuvatar says:
    May 20, 2010 at 10:02 am

    It may well be that Pierre is unprincipled.

    There’s crap literally on/in/under the streets, rivers and beaches and he’s got the darn audacity to complain about the triviality of street names.

    Eish!

    http://beta.mnet.co.za/carteblanche/Article.aspx?Id=3954&ShowId=1

  • Frank Shearar

    @Thomas your browser may be thinking that the ) is part of the link. So here it is again, without any potential browser-bracket problems: http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/CouncilOnline/Pages/default.aspx

  • Illuvatar

    @Maggs I agree. You can lambaste the DA in the Western Cape for a myriad of other sins/poor service delivery. Too slow in changing street names probably wouldn’t feature on my list. It certainly wouldn’t lead me to call them racist and unprincipled without first finding out what is happening with the process – that’s a little to near slander for my liking.

  • Sarah Palin

    I agree with Prof. There are so many ‘issues’ to deal with in this world that you can become paralysed by choice. Yes, the crises in education, health, housing, crime, pollution, etc are far more important than changing the names of streets. But, whereas those crises will take years and billions of rands to resolve, to make even two street names changes – Pirow and Herzog are good choices – is a tiny project: small budget, short-term work. And even if it is only symbolic, it will garner a column or two in the papers and contribute to the ‘feel good factor’.

    I think that no more than two changes to start with would in fact be a good move. Wholesale change would cause chaos in the postal system and courier businesses, not to mention costing companies thousands in new stationery, etc.

  • Graham

    Pierre, I have no objection to an apparently old nazi’s name like Pirow being expunged from one’s sight, but would your complaint have not carried a bit more credence if you at the same time had also bemoaned, for example, the naming of a stadium after Peter Mokaba – a vicious aids-disseminating white-hating racist if ever there was one, as well as the removal of Andrew Zondo’s name from a Durban street as advocated by that nasty little stalinist Sutcliffe? Zondo, you may recall, was a bloodthirsty bomber and murderer who got his comeuppance in the form of a rope.
    Your sneering cheap shot at the late Christiaan Barnard by referring to his use of Viagra does you no credit. Seeing that you appear to be concerned about his medicine-ingesting habits, why did you not also mention that he he took asthma medication as well as anti-inflammatory agents for a chronic rheumatic arthritis condition? You also omitted to mention that “that old racist imperialist” Rhodes was a moffie too. While you’re on a slagging-off roll, you might as well go the whole hog.
    Certainly, the company kept by Pirow was not exactly desirable. I hope you will also remember that the current crop of so-called ANC leaders fraternise with the likes of Mugabe, Castro and Chavez. So what’s the difference?
    There seems to be a serious problem in your thought processes and logic at the moment. Is it a masculine, heterosexual thing?

  • Heywood Jubleauxme

    Pierre, firstly no amount of overcrowding can kill a baby. Babies die when they become infected with bacteria or viruses. Klebsiella infections frequently kill premature babies in our hospitals where feces are the most significant source of patient infection, followed by contact with contaminated instruments. So, it is comrade siff nurse who is killing the babies because she can’t be bothered to wash her hands after taking a dump.

    Secondly, Joseph Stalin was a monster of equal proportions to Adolph Hitler. Historians can’t agree on the number of deaths that can be attributed to him – between 3 and 60 million. Do you also object to naming airports, metros, buildings and streets after those ANC luminaries who admire/admired Stalin – people such as Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu? If not, why not?

    Lastly, with the regime being as adamant about name changes as they are it would be considerate to do all of it in one foul swoop. Then all countries of the world can update and reprint all relevant maps of RSA and be done with it. It is my view that the world wide cost implication of a name change is disproportionate to its anticipated benefit.

  • Heywood Jubleauxme

    By the way Pierre, how do you plan to hold our government to account when it wastes our money or betrays the poor? As far as I can tell, you have zero leverage. Our proportional representation closed party list electoral system guarantees that.

  • Maggs Naidu

    Graham says:
    May 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    “anti-inflammatory agents”.

    Hannekom ought to have prescribed those!

  • pekkil monta

    hehehe, looks like you’ve done it now, Prof!

    Allow me to come in on the Prof’s side on this one – there is a clear different impact of these name changes on different people. Seems to me that the for comfortable people, this is a drag, a proverbial pain, irrelevant, blablabla. For the rest of the people, the symbolic impact is huge (we’ve actually measured it). One or two streets, or whatever: if you want to do a cost/benefit analysis on this, you need to make sure that you don’t just see the cost of the effort, even if you, individually, can’t see any direct benefit.

    Lastly, the tendency to draw the arguments into extreme, as per the “mandela thought highly of stalin” variety gets us nowhere and I don’t find that particularly helpful. Call me starry-eyed, but I think we owe Mandela something huge. Or, are we seriously considering a vote on the different heroes (I picture scenes like: “you can have pirow if I can have mokaba, and I’ll swap my hertzog for your zondo”)? Time to grow up a little, perhaps?

  • Maggs Naidu

    pekkil monta says:
    May 20, 2010 at 13:01 pm

    “hehehe, looks like you’ve done it now, Prof!”

    LOL!

    Illuvatar points out, racist and unprincipled is for a host of reasons more profound than street signs.

    Hope he’s got his very thick skin on today.

    Anyone know how to hack Pierre’s inbox – there’s sure gonna be some juicy stuff flowing that way today!

  • Brett Nortje

    Freshly Ground suig! Kaka Kaka ook.

    The ANC should not whine if namechanges came to be seen as part of their war on position. Unintended consequences? Well, there are a thousand unintended consequences where the ANC has been busy. (LOL! Spot the oxymoron?)

    Someone, tell us please how much it cost to change our northern province’s name twice in quick succession?

    Our biggest airport?

  • Maggs Naidu

    Brett Nortje says:
    May 20, 2010 at 13:51 pm

    “Spot the oxymoron”

    Not really – the “oxy” part is hard to find!

    :)

  • Heywood Jubleauxme

    Pekkil Monta, at 49 I am as grown up as I’ll ever be.

    I am as familiar with Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi as I am with South Africa – I even speak a little Nyanja. Having lived in those countries, I made peace long ago with the inevitability of South Africa becoming just like it – from inadequately maintained infrastructure; a decline in all public and social services to police brutality and omnipresent corruption. What I have not made peace with is delusion and denial.

    I insist: what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. What have you achieved when you exchange a Hitler groupie for a Stalin groupie?

    As for your hero Mandela; the ANC had to choose a mascot for their movement when it adopted its people’s war after 1978. It could easily have been Govan Mbeki or any other island inmate for that matter. Perhaps his proximity to King Sabata had something to do with choosing him. The truth is that he is as much a brand as Coca-Cola and was created the same way – media hype. I have just finished reading Anthea Jeffery’s people’s war in which she frequently quotes your hero. In her book he comes across as deliberately obtuse and a blatant liar in service of the movement that created him. I should also remind you that the flagrant awarding of contracts to friends started under his nose, during his administration, when Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele’s housing ministry awarded a multi million Rand housing contract to her friend from exile, Iris Ndlovu, who at the time did not yet own a construction company. Perhaps you should reconsider your “we owe Mandela something huge”. He does not look that great standing next to Ghandi or Aung San Suu Kyi.

    Do you know what happened to the 6 million OPTIMISTIC Jews of Europe? Yes, they all died with their eyes open; unwilling to admit what was happening around them. Optimism is only useful as a tool to politicians whose job it is to paint a brighter future. How far do things have to deteriorate in South Africa before you sit up, notice and place the blame where it belongs?

  • Pierre De Vos

    What, no one is endorsing my proposal for an apartheid grave yard?

    In any case Illuvatar, I know EXACTLY where we are regarding name changes. The process of finalizing proposals for name changes in Cape Town was concluded in June 2008. Since then the city council has sat on these proposals (what with the general election coming up in 2009 and the DA aiming to get some votes from ex-Nationalists). In February this year (almost 2 years later), after criticism about this inaction in the Cape Times Sakkie Jenner, Western Cape Provincial MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, announced that the Provincial Government would be establishing a provincial committee to deal with the process of name changing in the province. The city process was therefore abandoned. So far nothing has happened after this announcement.

    Heywood Jubleauxme (have you been spending too much time on porn sites?) our politics and thought processes obviously differ, so I do not equate the Nelson Mandela of 1994 with Stalin of 1950 (much like I would not equate David Cameron of today with Cecil Rhodes of 1900). But you are using the oldest and oh so tired trick in the book of defending the DA by trying to say someone else is just as bad or worse. Bad, in my book, remains bad regardless of what others have done. This seems rather logical to me. If X assaults Y, surely X cannot be acquitted because Z – a critic of X – shot D and X now says: “What Z has done is worse so I am innocent!” But maybe I am missing something? You might have a peculiar western style of arguing that I am not familiar with.

  • kenneth

    prof is correct, the streetname change was delayed by ANC(of which i am card a carrying member),i still does not understand what exactly were they doing, Mfeketo in particular
    forgetting that they were not voted in by the public of tha westerncape (even mandela lost overwhemingly 1994),they could have atleast showed the local about the myth of swartgevaar, but to my suprise they behaved as if they won by big margin.

  • Gwebecimele

    The poor need more than flags,songs, name changes ,slogans etc.
    While we have a pleasure of driving on streets, bridges with lamp posts, the poor don’t have any.

  • Maggs Naidu

    kenneth says:
    May 20, 2010 at 16:23 pm

    It’s interesting that when Pierre attacks the ANC, its supporters respond on issues raised.

    When he comments on “the defenders of democracy”, then the mob goes wild with all kind of personal attacks and insults.

    It feels good to be an ANC supporter.

  • Peter John

    And what do you have to say about King Shaka airport? How was that murderous villain materially different from Der Fuhrer? Relatively speaking, Oswald Pirow is small fry.

  • Brett Nortje

    The problem is that Maggs is the quintessential ANC stemvee.

    Inside, babies are dying while Maggs feels good about the fact that the hospital’s name has been changed, and that namechange helped ‘transform’ the ethos in the hospital into one in which the nurses do not care to wash their hands, and everyone who works there loots the linen.

    Well done, Maggs, you have a lot to feel good about.

  • John Smith

    Brett says Maggs is ‘ANC stemvee’, people who have been blinded by the pessimistic mentality of aparteid cannot see good things that ANC is doing. Wake up and get a life…South Africa is normal today because of ANC’s all inclusive approach and socio-economic development in most rural areas. I guess the bunch that is moaning & groaning about ANC not performing, journos who feed our society with nonsense and do not understand what objective journalism is all about must get lost…Take the next flight to Australia, South Africa can do much better without pessimists.

  • Maggs Naidu

    Brett Nortje says:
    May 20, 2010 at 18:26 pm

    Hey dof Brett,

    Nice to see you too.

    Guess what?

    I found your IQ test with your original answers :)

    Here goes :

    Q : What is a nitrite
    BN : Much cheaper than a day rate

    Q :What did Mathma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common?
    BN : Unusual names

    Q : Name one of the early Romans’ greatest achievements
    BN : Learning to speak Latin

    Q : Name the wife of Orpheus (whom he attempted to save from the underworld)
    BN : Mrs Orpheus.

    Q : Where was the American Declaration of Independence signed
    BN : At the bottom

    Q : What happens to a boy during puberty
    BN : He says goodbye to his childhood and hello to adultery

    Q : What is the highest frequency noise that a human can register
    BN : Maraih Carey

    Q : What is a fibula
    BN : A small lie

    Q : Explain free press
    BN : When you mum irons your trousers

    Q : Why would living close to a mobile phone mast cause ill health
    BN : You might walk into it

    Q : Give a reason why people would want to live near power lines
    BN : You get your electricity faster

    Q : Where was Hadrian’s Wall built
    BN : Around Hadrian’s garden

    Q : Where did the Malays originate
    BN : Malaria

    Q : Expand 2(x+y)
    BN : 2 (x + y )
    2 ( x + y )
    2 ( x + y )
    2 ( x + y )
    2 ( x + y )

  • sirjay jonson

    Maggs: boggles my mind that you are an ANC supporter. Have you given any thought to how things could be? How the miracle of SA has been abused and trivialized? Do you ever think about how things could be better considering the space and hope the civilized Democratic world gave SA? How a truly non racialist, non sexists, non bigoted, non homophobic society could be? Especially on the Continent of AFRICA!

    Such a dream of peace o earth, harmony between the races, that is how the civilized world has viewed SA for some years. Are you Maggs, living up to this most valuable desire and dream? I suggest it is time to sit in meditation and consider who you really are, what are your beliefs, what you want for your country and society. Can you manage that?

  • Clara

    Ah, but Oswald Pirow was but one of many Hitler admirers. Let’s see … there was Idi Amin; then there’s Robert Mugabe, and Arnie Schwarzenegger (although he denies it). And how about this one:

    “We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents.” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi of India to Adolf Hitler of Germany

  • Heywood Jubleauxme

    Pierre, I am way too un-reconstructed to feel at home with the DA and yes, you are missing something.

    The authority responsible for street names at the time did not consider it contentious to name one after the political luminary Oswald Pirow. Decades later you argue how inappropriate it was citing Mr. Pirow’s crime of association.

    It is highly likely that somewhere in the future someone may object to names of ANC luminaries like Tambo, Mandela, etc claiming that instead of freedom they brought poverty and ruin because of their proximity to communism.

    To be on the safe side it is perhaps better to avoid politicians all together. If fauna or flora does not blow your skirt up and you want to honour people there’s always internationally renowned hooker Saartjie Baartman, drug-fucked songstress Ma Brr, the clairvoyant Nongqawuse, less controversial Ellen Kuzwayo or Adam Small to name streets, buildings and airports after.

    Kwame Nkrumah did not get a good write-up in Ghana’s history neither will Robert Mugabe. So, if I consider our decline thus far and plot our trajectory, I doubt whether your beloved ANC luminaries would stand the test of time.

    I hope this is not too peculiar or – western styled arguing for you.

  • Maggs Naidu

    sirjay jonson says:
    May 20, 2010 at 20:20 pm

    “I suggest it is time to sit in meditation and consider who you really are, what are your beliefs, what you want for your country and society. Can you manage that?”

    Hey man, I don’t think I can manage sitting down in meditation and considering who I really am etc.

    It’s sounds really, really hard.

    Please, you do it for me. Pretty please.

  • Brookes

    If we really do have more important things on our plate, why are we so concerned with changing names? It’s really just political self indugence: St Petersburg; Petrograd; Leningrad; St Petersburg.

  • Gwebecimele

    Please name something after Balfour, Stofile, Gqozo, Basson, Malan and lets move on and focus on delivery. Where do you draw the line

  • kenneth

    HeyWOOD

    it is not about who we would like to honor but who we do not want to honor, what ever perception you have about other people the fact is some names are offensive, i.e imagine you change Jerusalem to adolf Hitler, what would the jews in israel feel(assume it was possible), you can change names to whatever but not historic monsters.

  • Maggs Naidu

    Clara says:
    May 20, 2010 at 20:22 pm

    “At times his prescription of non-violence was at odds with common sense, as seen in a letter to the British people in 1940 regarding Hitler and Mussolini:

    ” I want you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings… If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child to be slaughtered… I am telling His Excellency the Viceroy that my services are at the disposal of His Majesty’s government, should they consider them of any practical use in enhancing my appeal”

    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Mahatma_Gandhi

    Eish!

  • pekkil monta

    hey mr Heywood

    That’s cute. I’m not sure how speaking Nyanja, or being familiar with zambia, zimbabwe and malawi confers any special authority on you or your views? I’m familiar with a whole lot of places too – and, hehehe, I’m also 49. But, unreconstructed or otherwise, I’m afraid you’re missing the point on Mandela.

    He may be a brand (he struck me as pretty real when I worked with him, but I bow to your superior insights) – in fact, he’s a pretty cool brand. Even as a person he was nice. It is completely beside the point. We owe Mandela for not letting the new South Africa turn into a bloodbath. You may have missed that (perhaps it’s when you were in one of these other places), but we came pretty close. Hani’s funeral was dynamite, and there have been other moments. We owe him navigating through that for all of us, cause the Nats at the were shitting their pants. And, no one likes to follow smelly pants. I was there at some of those points, there was only one leader in the room. That’s why (in my humble opinion) we owe him any amount of naming rights.

    I’m all for using Balfour and his cronies in naming stuff after them. Personally, perhaps the next prison can be named after him? How about Mbeki for the new international departure lounge? Is history going to change our minds about some of the folks in the current limelight? Sure thing – that’s what happens when better data comes to the fore. For instance, I’d love someone to lift the lid on Alec Erwin, who I happen to believe is one of our main architects of poverty. But Anthea Jeffery’s missive has now been so discredited, it won’t be the source. Keep trying though – you know the old rule: it’s not what we see that we will believe, but what we believe is what we end up seeing.

    You know, you suggest “unreconstructed” as if that’s a mark of a great man, something strong and good, something to be proud of. Strikes me that it’s a sign of a closed mind, a stifled imagination, and a lack of development. But maybe it means something more attractive in Nyanja? Or perhaps you want to reconsider? At your age, and mine, I’m convinced that the more I learn, the less I really know. 50 soon? LOL

  • Brett Nortje

    Errr, Pekkil, do you think history might change your perspective on the ‘bloodbath’ thingy? Like when we hit the 500 000th murder benchmark?

    I would think 1% of the white population murdered since 1994 casts a slightly different light on the ‘non-bloodbath’ perception.

    Is that a modus vivendi?

    So what do we truly have to thank Mudibuh for?

  • Brett Nortje

    Thank you, John Smith, for your kind words. Yes, all about us are the signs of the good the ANC is doing. I rode through one on the way home this afternoon.

    Hey, I even think we did not have a service delivery riot this week!

    Of course, the Thetha security car guarding the BRT station just past the beautiful Orlando stadium was a riot of a different kind.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Maggs

    “It feels good to be an ANC supporter.”

    Maggs is right.

    I am not interested in the policy platform of any “opposition” party.

    Malema has been put in his place.

    He is young.

  • George Gildenhuys

    prof, you seem to contradict yourself:

    “What does it matter whether we call it “Pretoria” or ”Tswane” when there are so much more pressing problems facing our country…”

    and yet go on a rant about the DA’s slow moving of changing names you do not agree with.

    my view on all this is, I don’t really care if they call it Pretoria, Tshwane or Apartheid HQ. Fact is it is a shit load better place to live than Cape Town ;)

    on a serious note, I do think we have more serious issues to sort out. Renaming “Oswald Pirow Drive” is not going to solve unemployment or any of the other issues we have, but I do recognise that the historical names as they stand now do not reflect the majority of the population’s history… but I bet given the choice between a house in Pretoria or a shack in Tshwane most sane people would go for the house… time to stop wasting money!

  • Heywood Jubleauxme

    Pekkil Monta, if you have lived in any of those countries (Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe) you would not be so dismissive about it because you would realise that the experience gives you something to compare us with; while speaking the language implies that my interest was more than superficial. It gives me a perspective that you, who have not lived there, do not have.

    Tell me, does the old rule (it’s not what we see that we will believe, but what we believe is what we end up seeing) only apply to us lesser mortals or does it apply to you too?

    I have read enough Antjie Krog to know that there is no such thing as absolute truth but I would like to believe that one can approximate the truth to a greater or lesser degree. Unfortunately argumentative people come in two varieties. There are those who seek to approximate truth while others simply seek to win the debate at any cost. You decide which one you are.

    I also read what Mac Maharaj and other Party hags had to say about Anthea Jeffery’s People’s War, but I took the time to read it so I could judge for myself. I found that it dovetails nicely with Paul Trewhela’s Inside Quatro. (Perhaps you can think of something condescending, dismissive or patronizing to say about him too.) I believe I now have a greater understanding of the forces that collided to shape our current reality.

    I can’t believe you have not heard the expression “un-reconstructed white”. But then again, why would anyone use that expression in the company of someone so open minded, imaginative and developed as you. So, spare me a thought next time you see a white guy singing “shoot the Boer” with you at an ANC funeral because it would not be me.

  • Henri

    Re those dwarves on the JSC – this is hard-hitting stuff:http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=109472

  • pekkil monta

    @unreconstructed

    Fabulous, loving this little play with words. English not being my first language and all that, you make for great target practice. It’s not that I hadn’t heard the term – I had never heard someone being proud of being unreconstructed as a badge of honour.

    I’m an admirer of paul threwela, just so we’re clear. And I don’t carry an anc card – i find their performance deeply disturbing and disappointing. But the alternative to being ‘unreconstructed’ is not being an enthusiastic anc apologist, as you suggest. There are shades between black and white in my world.

    As to where I’ve lived – nope, never set foot in zambia. Lived in drc, lived in zim, does that qualify me to have an opinion, or at least, be less than ‘superficially interested’ you think? I’ve also lived in the middle east, latin america, and a few years in Europe. Does that make it ok? And, to be clear, you know less than nothing about my perspective, so commenting on that sounds like an ‘attack the messenger’. Drivel.

    Where does this nonsense of ‘shoot the boer’ come from? Where, in my post, did you get the idea that, since I think Andrea Jeffery is a complete fake, I sing at funerals? What’s it like to live in two dimensions? You know, at 49, it’s time to grow up a little. But perhaps you believe you’ve done all the growing up you need to do, as you indicated in your first post? As you said: “at 49 I am as grown up as I’ll ever be”. Speaking Nyanja and all that? Sad case, you

    Have fun though, life’s short and brutish in the colonies, I understand.

    LOL

  • Maggs Naidu

    Brett Nortje says:
    May 20, 2010 at 22:20 pm

    “I rode through one on the way home this afternoon.”

    You rode through a sign?

    Eish Brett, you’re more dumb than I thought!

  • Maggs Naidu

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    May 20, 2010 at 23:11 pm

    Hey Big D,

    As I said previously, I am ready to jump ship and support another party.

    As soon as someone, anyone can make a convincing case for who that other party should be.

    It’s three weeks, 8 days, 27 hours and 73 minutes since I asked for that – so far no one is brave enough to venture why their favourite party is suitable.

    Maybe people are just shy.

  • Chris

    I wonder if the renaming of Thabo Mbeki Crescent is on the agenda of the City of Cape Town. Or is its very existence not an affront to the majority of the people of South Africa.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Maggs, there are agents out there who claim to recall your immortal words “I am not interested in the policies of any other party.” (Or words close enough to that effect.)

    Have you had occasion to reconsider this sentiment?

  • Brett Nortje

    Maggs, this might hurt a bit. But, cheer up, it is not a visit to the dentist.

    You are now required to think a bit abstractly.

    Potholes are symbolic (as well as a physical manifestation) of ANC governance.

  • Brett Nortje

    Henri, I know the article is slightly off-topic but it deserves to be cut-and-pasted in its entirity, don’t you think?

    RHODA KADALIE: ANC turning ‘justice’ into a game only it can win

    RHODA KADALIE Published: 2010/05/20 07:47:46 AM

    LAST week I chaired a panel discussion titled “Who’s Afraid of the ANC?” at the Franschhoek Literary Festival. There was a palpable sense of disillusionment with the ruling party and, as much as people wanted to be positive about SA, they felt robbed of such a sentiment by deeply disturbing government actions.

    Ministerial interference in the operation of the judiciary and the legal system is a case in point. As is the deployment of cadres who — instead of safeguarding our democracy by ensuring that checks and balances are in place — will at the push of a button genuflect before the executive.

    When Justice Minister Jeff Radebe prevailed upon one of the judges president to appoint former prosecutions chief Mokotedi Mpshe to the bench without following due process, she refused. Her counterpart in North West caved in, presumably so as not to jeopardise her own chances of promotion.

    The appointment of Menzi Simelane as Mpshe’s successor similarly smacked of patronage. Now the national director of public prosecutions is a law unto himself, with carte blanche to further wreck the National Prosecuting Authority .

    This is in the same league as the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), a body that has no credibility to enforce the independence and autonomy of the judiciary.

    In a recent letter signed by many judges, the Lesotho Court of Appeal expressed its concern about the way the politically partial JSC refused to appoint advocate Jeremy Gauntlett to the Cape High Court. Their letter vindicates an article Carmel Rickard wrote some time ago in the Sunday Times: “The bench is closed to pale males, struggle credentials or not”, in which she called on the JSC “to be frank with the legal profession and say that white male lawyers should no longer apply for positions on the bench”.

    Especially when they have ruled against the African National Congress (ANC) in some or other judgment, they should know they are “toast”.

    On May 12 2008, when Gauntlett wrote in this newspaper that “now is the time to release Khampepe’s other report”, he immediately became anathema to the deployed-cadre-dominated JSC. Already in 2004 he alienated the ANC in the civil case that pitted pharmacies, which he represented, against then health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang . The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the pharmaceutical industry in what was widely perceived to be a stern rebuke of both the minister and Judge John Hlophe, whose conduct during the case was, by any standards, deeply disturbing.

    But there is, from the ANC’s perspective, another compelling reason the likes of John Dugard, Geoff Budlender and Gauntlett are denied appointments to the bench. They cannot be browbeaten into setting up kangaroo courts to do the ANC’s bidding. When the ruling party tried to drive the Democratic Alliance out of office at least nine times, distinguished lawyers such as these would refuse to participate in politically inspired, taxpayer-funded show trials such as the Desai and Erasmus commissions of inquiry.

    A third reason — something that runs like a leitmotif through our politics — is that minorities be kept away from positions of power. JSC interviews of aspirant judges have been turned into a racist Star Chamber. White male judges are interrogated for twice as long as their colleagues, who are euphemistically considered “natural blacks”. They are subjected to ritual humiliation and made to apologise for being born white. Not surprisingly, judges such as Belinda van Heerden, Robert Nugent and Shehnaz Meer refused to subject themselves to this viciously racist third degree and last year withdrew their applications to fill vacancies at the Constitutional Court.

    Dugard, Budlender or Gauntlett have only brought honour to the South African legal system, unlike their counterparts, who qualify on racial grounds but who have brought the judiciary into disrepute by driving under the influence of alcohol, accepting backhanders, plagiarising irrelevant foreign judgments and soliciting multimillion-rand bribes from foreign companies. It has become rather clear why they are denied positions that they are eminently qualified to occupy.

    - Kadalie is a human rights activist

  • Henri

    Thanx Brett,
    I couldn’t get the link “live”.
    She doesn’t hold back. See that “JSC…has no credibility…”, and “..viciously racist third degree..”.

    Especially since Justice Minister Radebe and his specially introduced [firing Bizos SC et al] new team, aka the “Hlophe exonerators”, entered the scene, isn’t it?

    How long will the President of the SCA and the Chief Justice hold out there – or are they simply an integral part of this JSC without credibility? Surely the public has reason to believe so? The tragedy is that they sit there, not as individuals, but representing the SCA and CC! Which so get drawn into the JSC gutter?

  • Henri

    Correction. Maybe that was unfair. They drag their respectice offices/positions/functions thereinto.

  • Heywood Jubleauxme

    Pekkil Monta, I withdraw – you win.

  • Maggs Naidu

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    May 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Hey Dworky,

    I am on record as saying that I want to jump ship.

    So now I am very interested to hear which party to vote for.

    But please don;t ask me to read policies of some or other party – as you know I am illiterate.

    So, go for it – convince me which of the losers, oops I mean other parties, I should vote for.

  • Maggs Naidu

    Brett Nortje says:
    May 21, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Hey Brett,

    I thought driving into a sign was dumb – driving into a pothole takes it!

    This is South Africa, led by the ANC whose official plan is to create potholes in the road – read the small print in their election manifesto.

    “A better pothole for all”.

    “Working together we can create more potholes”.

    That’s why the other guys say “Stop Zuma (making potholes)”.

  • pekkil monta

    @ mr heywood

    knowing that it would have been easier to simply wait for the good prof to open a new line, and leave our little discussions for another time – I salute you. You’re a bigger man than me. Genuine.

    Now that we’re both 49, and both disillusioned in both past and present, what’s next? And how to help Maggs find a new home – seems we’re all looking for this new home that allows us to live our lives in a place we’d be proud to call home? What do we do next? How do we mobilise experience and connection and aspiration? I, for one, feel too young to give up – our kids deserve better. You?

  • Brett Nortje

    Pierre, jy vat ‘n kans!

    Gedink jy kan die eeufees van Uniewording so stil-stil laat verbyglip?

  • Mr Pirow

    Did it ever occur to you that Oswald Pirow founded South African Airways when he was minister of transport?

    It even quotes it in that Wikipedia article.Maybe thats why that road sign is there?

  • Elize

    second last paragraph: oswald pirow will change to christiaan barnard end of year.

    15 JULY 2011

    The Premier of the Western Cape, Helen, Zille,

    The MEC for Transport and Public Works, Mr. Robin Carlisle,

    The MEC for Community Safety, Mr. Dan Plato,

    Members of the consular corps,

    Former Mayor, Alderman Frank van der Velde,

    Former Mayor, Alderman Gordon Oliver,

    Members of the Mayoral Committee,

    Councillors,

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Good morning, goeiedag, molweni,

    This is a great day for the City of Cape Town. Today, we take a step towards making our city even more inclusive. Today, on the 15 July 2011, we make a firm commitment to honouring our history, a history that has allowed us to come together in our diversity and celebrate this moment together.

    There is a great truth that the spaces in which we live influence our perceptions, our very way of thinking. Our past, and the trauma and hope that are mingled in it, is writ large across our landscape.

    The apartheid government knew full well what it meant to claim ownership of our public spaces. Through a careful strategy of selective naming and selective cultural recognition, it sought to stamp its interpretation of the world on future generations.

    It was a campaign to own history and in so doing, own future memory.

    That legacy lives with us. We are all too familiar with the realities of apartheid spatial planning and its inherent discrimination.

    That planning sought to keep us divided, even long after the apartheid government was gone. As such, we have an imbalance in our named public spaces. We recognise some histories, but not our shared history.

    We are changing that today.

    Today, we are renaming Eastern Boulevard to Nelson Mandela Boulevard, in honour of our former president and world icon. It was Nelson Mandela who helped us realise the strength in our diversity.

    He was one of those who showed us the way towards a future open, opportunity society built on mutual respect. He suffered and sacrificed a great deal to teach us those lessons.

    We honour Tata Madiba and his legacy today.

    From today, commuters coming into Cape Town on one of the main arteries leading into the heart of our city will travel on Madiba’s road.

    But let us not just think of this road as something physical that we can see and touch. Let us think of this road as the one upon which we travel as a city to achieve Madiba’s vision.

    The history of all our people is important. No one should ever have their history rewritten or eradicated.

    Those actions would only foster the anger and neglect that many of us know too well. And it would be short-sighted.

    Instead, it is possible for us to realise that everyone’s history should be recognised and respected and that, in fact, we do not have isolated heritages but a shared past.

    Let us acknowledge that and celebrate it in all its richness and diversity.

    As we honour our old spaces, so too must we create new spaces that provide a true reflection of where we come from and where we are going.

    If we truly want to build the opportunity city of the future, then we must begin by drawing on our collective strength and shared experience. We must become true witnesses of our history to embrace the future with all that we have.

    In so doing, we establish ourselves as a society of honesty that values the contributions of every community and not one that refuses to examine itself and each other.

    This will mean that as we move forward with new roads, and new spaces, we will begin this redress towards acknowledging our shared history.

    By the end of the year, we will rename Oswald Pirow Drive to Christiaan Barnard, after the celebrated surgeon. We will also name a square on St. George’s Mall after the great Khoisan leader Krotoa and will honour Inkosi Albert Luthuli by naming the Concourse between the Civic Centre and the Artscape after the Nobel Prize winner and one of our most celebrated figures.

    As we prepare to celebrate Mandela day, this renaming reaffirms our commitment to building greater inclusivity and acknowledging our history by honouring Tata Madiba’s legacy.

    End

    Issued by: Communication Department, City of Cape Town

    Media enquiries: Solly Malatsi, Spokesperson for the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, Tel: 021 400 1382 or Cell: 083 943 1449 E-mail: Solly.Malatsi@capetown.gov.za

  • http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Pages/Namechangesinhonourofthepast.aspx Daniel Boshoff

    And we finally have it, you will notice that your morning drive has now been renamed to… Christiaan Barnard Street, in honour of the world-famous cardiac surgeon.

    Have fun on the non-offensive, non-racist, new shiny road!

    Cheers
    Daniel