Christi van der Westhuizen

The ‘bonus’ of polygamy, but only if you’re ‘indigenous’ (Part 1)

A year or so ago a “gentleman’s club” — or, more specifically, a club where women take off their clothes for men in return for money — plastered large promotional posters all over bus stops in Cape Town. The exhibited draw card was a stereotypical arrangement: a group of gaudy women propped up around a…

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Schadenfreude…who will have the last laugh?

A while back I had the disconcerting experience of receiving a spontaneous ovation from an audience consisting mainly of Afrikaners. The statement that led to the unexpected explosion in enthusiasm was that ANC members seem not to be promoted despite alleged wrong-doing but because of it. The statement was based on my analysis of the…

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The Z factor: Is the real Jacob Zuma emerging?

Jolly. Jovial. Man of the people. This is how presidential hopeful Jacob Zuma has been projecting himself to South Africans. Here and there reality interfered – rape trial, corruption charges – but Zuma kept up the singing and dancing. When asked about policy issues, he would hide behind the usual “ANC collective” excuse: a mere…

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Zapiro, Zuma and us – Part 2. Using rape against rape

Recently Dr Mamphela Ramphele astutely observed that the problem with African leaders is their inability “to envision their roles as agents of fundamental transformation of their societies”. I want to extend her point to those in the business of manufacturing public opinion, in particular journalists and cartoonists. Ramphele uses the example of Zimbabwean President Robert…

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Zapiro, Zuma and us

With his latest Sunday Times cartoon, Zapiro has ventured where angels should fear to tread. I am saying “should” because it shows that journalist-cartoonists can be as desensitised as other South Africans about the social crises that beset us. I am talking about his shameless use of rape as metaphor. South Africa has been staggering…

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Blacker than thou

Déjà vu — again. And of a particularly nasty variety too. After refusing to apologise for inciting violence by saying he’d “kill” for ANC president Jacob Zuma, ANCYL president Julius Malema promised not to use the word “kill” in public again. So, now he’s gone and used the word “eliminate”. The last time we were…

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This is us. Welcome to South Africa

This is us. No miracle nation. No rainbow nation. Just us: violent; intolerant of difference — hitting where it hurts. Let’s not try to sweet-talk ourselves. This is who we are. Let’s look ourselves in the eye. We are lurching from crisis to crisis at every level of our society, the latest being the extremes…

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Racists (accidentally) admit the inherent equality of all people

Reading the responses to my last blog, one can only wonder if honest introspection is at all possible in this society, rent as it is by greed and bigotry. An anonymous little letter landed on my desk the other day. It was a photocopy of a book excerpt on the missionary, philosopher and physician Albert…

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You can take Afrikaners out of apartheid, but can you take apartheid out of Afrikaners?

I recently wrote an essay where I explored the question in the heading, one that is equally applicable to English-speaking white people in South Africa. The racist incident at the University of the Free State makes this question relevant yet again, as do the Skielik killings, following on a range of other examples of white-on-black…

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The ANC guide to truncating democracy

What is happening to the ANC? Raw power politics has replaced principle. Where are the women and men of heart and reason to raise their voices within the party now? Too few; too overrun by a new brand of leadership that has tasted state power and wants more of it, unfettered. Maybe this is why…

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