Christi van der Westhuizen
Christi van der Westhuizen

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 of inhumanity described by the catch-all term “xenophobia”.

This is not new. We started off badly in the 1990s when the ANC leadership ditched the original Reconstruction and Development Programme for the current dog-eats-dog economic policy. Roundabout that time was also when we thought it was OK to lock up children. How many criminals have we bred in our overcrowded prisons since? And then there was Thabo Mbeki’s denial of the prevalence of rape (we weren’t so concerned about that), followed by his Aids denialism (some of us were concerned about that).

In between it all, the arms deal happened and the ANC leadership just had to pull the teeth of Parliament — no inquisitive public representatives, please! All the while the crime rate was picking up with, in the background, ever-increasing inequality.

We were off to a bad start. We just didn’t realise how bad. So all of what’s happening now is not new. What’s new is the rapid rate at which we have been revealing our social pathologies over the past two years.

The attacks against foreigners are us hitting at an obvious place of difference: nationality. But look at the other characteristics of these attacks: the gender-based violence; the brutality of the attacks; ethnicity/race; the socio-economic dimension.

The latter has given our politicians the opportunity to suggest that the attacks are “merely” criminal behaviour — as though criminal behaviour is somehow outside of society.

This kind of thinking is what got us into this mess in the first place, because it means conveniently projecting our ills on to “the other” and thereby avoiding having to confront what is going on.

“The criminals” are the convenient scapegoats on whom we pin our social disfunction. When in doubt, finger “the criminals”. And when you incite people to “shoot the bastards”, as the most honourable Deputy Minister Susan Shabangu recently did with reference to criminals, you will receive a chorus of ululation from all of us peace-loving South Africans.

But who are “the criminals”? Why, our homes are frequently the unsafest places in our society. Look at the levels of domestic violence: between 20% and 30% of women have suffered violence at the hands of an intimate partner, according to one study. And half of female murder victims are killed by intimate partners — the highest rate in the world.

Gender-based violence is the most primary of violent reactions against “otherness”. That is where some men construct themselves as “dominant” by forcefully imposing a hierarchical relationship on a gendered someone over whom they have the physical upper hand. Most of them get away with it because our society, by and large, finds it acceptable.

Half of the reported rape victims in our society are children — the most vulnerable group. We will probably never know the true levels of rape or of sexual assault of children. Again, these are condoned, usually through silence.

We strike at difference — “the other” in our homes; “the other” in our neighbourhoods. Private meets public. We prefer to lash out at the vulnerable, the marginal. (Why not? They don’t fight back most of the time.) Not just the foreigners, or female partners.

Remember when we used to be shocked by baby rapes? Now some of us (only a few, don’t worry) are shocked by the rapes and murders of lesbian women. Another lesbian recently died, bringing the tally to at least four in the past two years. This means four people have died because of their sexual orientation.

And every now and again we find out about abuse perpetrated against one of the most invisible groups in our society, the elderly. There are also the attacks with only one motive: racism. These are the ones that usually get the most attention as it is an issue high up on the agenda of our country’s elite.

Sometimes an attack doesn’t end in rape or death. But it always involves humiliation — ironically, because the right to dignity has been emphasised in Constitutional Court rulings as the foremost of all the rights in our Constitution.

Most of the time, categories of vulnerability and difference converge in the attacks, as in black, elderly, female cleaner (viz the Free State case).

This is us. To try to blame our favourite “other”, the criminals, doesn’t wash.

Indeed, criminal justice researcher Antony Altbeker calculated in his book A Country at War with Itself that between one in every 25 and one in every 40 men in South Africa committed at least one rape, murder or armed robbery in 2006/07.

“They” are among us. “They” are us.

So, when looking at the current wave of attacks against foreigners, we see our fundamental problem with misogyny is in there. Our fundamental problem with brutal violence, so horribly demonstrated in extreme events of crime, is also in there.

As is racism. Not too many years ago, Mbongeni Ngema, one of our foremost playwrights and a friend of the powers that be in government, released a little ditty called AmaNdiya in which he called on his “brothers” to confront the Indians who “just keep coming from India” and own lots of businesses while black people live in shacks. (Would love to see Ngema’s “shack”!)

Ngema said at the time he was merely expressing the feelings of many Africans. Well, those “feelings” have been put into action. The attacks against foreigners have also extended to Indians and some of the attackers have used the opportunity to get at Shangaans, long a maligned group, and Vendas and Pedis.

And lastly, of course, our other fundamental problem in there is socio-economic inequality and poverty. Attackers have seemingly systematically emptied out the shops and dwellings of their victims. Which reminds one of the tales of Serbs carrying fridges and televisions out of the houses of their Muslim victims during the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Ethnic cleansing goes well with asset grabbing — which idea came first? But, needless to say, avarice finds less fertile ground in less unequal societies. Which we decidedly are not, being at the top of the global inequality index.

At the beginning I said our society is in crisis at every level. We know of the malaise among the rulers; the abuse of state institutions, the hounding of people with principles, the protection of the corrupt. We also know our state bureaucracy has been floundering. And we know we are really angry and we like to take it out on each other.

But let’s illustrate it from a Zimbabwean refugee’s perspective. Let’s start at the so-called top. The government of South Africa is shielding and aiding the Zanu-PF tyranny through statements by its leader; its approval to move Chinese armaments through South Africa; its actions at the Security Council of the United Nations; and its relative inaction in its bilateral relationship with Zimbabwe and its multilateral relations within the Southern African Development Community.

As the tyranny’s bloody grip on Zimbabwean society tightens, you make it across the border wires and past the South African customs officials into South Africa (the latter may involve bribery). Eventually you make it to Pretoria and to the Department of Home Affairs. When you finally get to the counter — after sleeping on the street in the queue for several days or more — you are face to face with the South African bureaucrat. If you’re a man, you will probably get away with paying a bribe to have your paperwork as a refugee processed. If you’re a woman, rape may also be required. After all, this is South Africa.

Then you’re on the streets of this sunny country. And we know what happens there.

  • RB

    Why do people keep saying that they are ashamed to be South African? I certainly am not, because I made no contribution to these xenophobic attacks. Although, i do feel ashamed to be associated with these people guilty of the xenophobic attacks, since they are South African and I am too.

  • Odette

    I got so depressed reading through the comments that I couldn’t force myself to read to the end. Walt asks why care about foreigners and Pauline misses the point completely and talks about a feminist diatribe. Others ask what is the point about Christi’s article. Comments like that truly make me despair. They just refuse to see what is right in front of them.

  • Consulting Engineer

    @James NY

    We all know who does the vast majority of the crime, whether here or in america. Except it seems to be a bigger crime to point it out. In america the FBI keeps stats by race. here they dont allow race to be published lest the truth come out.

    This new liberal motto of ‘we are all responsible’ is just another way to avoid the truth like the joke of ‘crime has no colour’.

    We all know this is a load of BS. Can they tell us exactly how Whites, Coloureds or Indians are involved in these attacks and this latest example of Africa Let Loose?

    Because they refuse to acknowledge the problems in their own culture tehy can never solve it. Worse, they will keep voting ANC, showing they dont want to solve it.

    Much easier to blame it on the bunny.

  • Consulting Engineer

    @Septagenerian

    Tribalism has always been alive and well, and exists even amongst whites, the latest outbreak which was in the former Yugoslavia.

    It is natural and only the liberal is fool enough to deny its existence and believe all can live together without friction. Diffences in culture and competition for resources ensures we will always look after our own first.

    There lies the fallacy and idiocy of multicult and rainbow nations. Behind the rhetoric they are unworkable and have been for time immemorial. They all collapse from internal strife, as history shows us. Look at the friction and riots in europe over immigrants, the brewing hostility over latinos in america.

    Look at what Yuoslavia and the USSR had to do: ethic enclaves with some degree of autonomy.

    The forced integration in SA is leading to disaster. Why do the ANC persistently refuse Homelands? They know an Afrikaner homeland will work and will set the example. Not only that, there will own people would rather work there than in the multicult cesspit they are creating by their forced integration.

    What greater idiocy than voting for a party that makes liberal noises while enriching themselves robbing us blind?

    By the way, you can’t mow anyone down with a G5. its an artillery piece which uses indirect fire. But can I suggest an MAG or an RPD or some such? :)

  • wendy

    very well written – excellent article!

  • Consulting Engineer

    @Odette

    What is right in front of us? I see Blacks killing other blacks as they belong to a different group, not only foreigners. I admit whites do it as well (USSR and Yugoslavia).

    Poverty etc is irrelevant. They are all poor.Its not the fault of other groups they are poor but of failed government policies.

    I see Christi and others trying to blame ALL of us for this. Not me. I am not responsible. I am not out killing or hurting anyone, none of my people are involved, except some of the police trying to stop it, nor did I vote for the ANC which led to this.

    In fact, I have always believed its best to keep diffrent peoples separated, hence this wouldnt happen. It was the height of lunacy to remove the former Apartheid era border controls and policy of keeping groups apart, especially in a nation with high levels of ethnic awareness. Why should it be pinned on all of us? I didnt vote for it, nor do I belong to that foolish liberal class that beleives ‘we are all the same’ and should all mix freely.

  • Consulting Engineer

    @Geri

    Do you have a point besides insulting other contributors and the bloggers?

    No one tries to refute what we say with facts maybe because they can’t. They simply can’t debate without invoking emotional repsonses. So they have to resort to insults, name calling and character asassination; sort of like you.

    Would you prefer it if everyone just clapped each other on the back about how liberal they are, how sad this is, and how bad they feel that the multicult utopia is not living up to their expectations?

    Just dont tell them they are repsonsible as they wanted multicult in the first place.

  • Consulting Engineer

    Why is SA expected to be different than other nations?

    Russian xenophobia:
    http://foreigndispatches.typepad.com/dispatches/2005/02/russian_xenopho.html

    “The Economist has a good piece this week on the widespread dislike of foreigners in Russia. Things are so bad in that country that even African diplomats are wary of going about the streets of Moscow on foot”

    the cause? According to human rights watch one was Multicult thinking:

    Soviet nationalities policy contributed to ethnic strife and xenophobia through the post-Soviet era. Communist ideology stifled the question of ethnicity and nationalism. Under the slogan, “Nationalist in Form, Socialist in Content,” the ethnic minorities of the former Soviet Union were allowed a limited level of linguistic and cultural autonomy but no real political power. The code words “Internationalism” and the “Friendship of Peoples” were used to indicate “ethnic harmony” under Russian and communist party guidance. Eventually, it was hoped, a “Soviet People” would emerge under the leadership of the communist party as national differences subsided and the peoples of the former USSR merged.

    http://www.hrw.org/reports98/russia/srusstest-03.htm

  • Janet

    A brilliant, perceptive piece of writing. Christi hits the nail on the head, we are a nation of savages, all of us together, black and white. The violence on the streets of Gauteng, which we easily decry is not much different to the economic violence that plays itself out in our country every day. We are all to blame, our government too.

    We are also, all, capable of acts of great beauty and kindness…

  • amused reader

    @ John Bond

    YOU SAY

    No! – This is a BLACK thing. I don’t see any white faces in the masses. I don’t see any white faces in the top structures of our despotic Government. The only white faces are the few policemen (had you noticed?)

    I SAY

    I agree, i said much the same thing yesterday (12.51pm), but it was held back in moderation for 18 hours, so it wasn’t there when you read the comments!!

    It is so noticeable that when Christi says ‘This what WE are’ everyone agrees, but when anyone says ‘this what YOU are’ which is the reality, the howls can be heard in Antarctica! Why? If you are black African you are guilty either way, does it make you feel better if whites were also to be guilty?

  • Consulting Engineer

    In SA we can see the following causes:

    a) Collapse of law and order and inability to control crime and violence. Hence violence becomes feasible to the xenophobists. they can do it without fear of authorities.

    b) The ANC’s culture of violence and making townships ungovernable. Many poor communities are conditioned to violent behaviour.

    c) Incompetence in the ministry of safety and security, falling standards in the SAP, corruption up to the highest levels of the police, and affirmative action had eroded the capacity of the police to provide a safe and secure homeland. Warnings about this collapse have been ignored by the ANC, whites were told to leave if they complain, and a crisis of crime and violence is denied.

    d) Collapse of Border Control. Millions of people gaining entry to South Africa illegally. Corruption in Home Affairs permits easy entry. The closure of the commandos as they are white. While SA sees the highest levels of violent crime in the world, the ANC sees fit to close down one of the main sources for rural policing. because they ar white.

    e) Corruption is endemic and little is done to end it. High level corruption in the ANC, the closing of the Scorpions etc passes the message that corruption is acceptable. This filters down to all lvel. In home affairs, social welfare, and the police, literally tens of thousands of officials have been identified. were implicated in corrupt dealings.

    Even where some like the Shaiks, Zuma, McBride, Yengeni, Selebi etc are identified the ANC sees fit to treat them like heroes.

    f) The people see no recourse from a corrupt government stemming the tide, hence take it into their own hands.

    g) Economics. With Unemployment at 50% or higher due to failed policies like BEE that stifle growth by those able to promote it, youth have time on their hands and nothing to lose. There is also anger that false promises made by the ANC that they could not keep.

    h) Labour policy hopelessly inappropriate for a largely unskilled workforce, has contributed to keep many mainly black South Africans out of jobs. Who will hire workers they cannot retrench if need be? Immigrants were able to get jobs as these labour policies dont apply to them. Meanwhile, skilled people are encouraged to emigrate.

    i) Education. The liberation before education and poor standards has resulted in declining standards. Only 1% of black matriculants achieve a good HG maths pass. The adoption of outcomes based education to generate paper rather than true education and the closure of teacher training colleges sabotaged what was a functional system.

    j) Flagging economic growth due to poor policies and restrictions on entrepeneurs means that SA attracts little foreign investment. Empowerment policy, affirmative action, BEE, and things like bureaucratic interference in mining by a Mining Law which hands over rights based on race saw South Africa’s mining sector decline when it should have boomed.

    k) Racism. In many cases racial bean counting, AA, self enrichment through BEE economic empowerment, and transformation rhetoric win over economic growth. Transformation Policy led to ESKOM and Telkom collapses, which hamper economic growth and investor confidence. The desire for Black faces in power overrules pragmatic managing the economy.

    l) Destruction of the agriculture sector: government policies like land claims, denial of boer genocide is hostile and food prices rise as farmers are forced off the land. Increasing food prices affects the welfare of poor communities.

    m) Inflation in food prices and rising fuel costs and tax creep affects everyone and little is seen in return for our taxes.

    n) ANC arrogance. BEE has established a very small and often politically connected black middle class. They drive around in fancy cars and exhibit massive displays of wealth even as the majority of blacks live in squalor and poverty. It is incredible that these people can flaunt such limited participation in the economy broader by a select few cronies when most Blacks do not benefit, but lose out when their white boss closes down to emigrate. The sight high speed government convoys of black luxury sedans with a platoon of police escorts, bullying their way through beggars is extraordinary arrogance. Noen of the rich whites they slandered ever did that.

    o) Zimbabwe policy and Mbeki covering for his brother Bob kept Bob in power and gave him credibility. Mbeki and the ANC failed to condemn violence and electoral fraud, leading to massive influxes of aliens into SA. Now the ANC condemns xenophobia. So violence against Zimbabweans is OK if done by brother Bob in Zim but not OK here. Do I get it now Thabo?

    p) Failed service delivery. Contracts wand jobs ere given on race and BEE rather than ability to deliver. Corrupt and incompetent local government was given a mandate and they were allowed to persist even when their failure was evident. Thansk but no thanks whitey, we will do it ourselves.

    q) Race relations and the ANC’s race based policy and legislation undid any hopes Mandela had. Whiets saw they would be targetted and retreat into racism. The ANC assigns quotas based on race and whites face hositility. What do theye expect back? That conflict is only black on black and no other clear violence has emerged is actaully suprising given the hositility ANC policy has generated. ANC obsession with white racism means they ignored more widespread black racism. Fear to speak up and be branded racist, censorship and political correctness prevents anyone from speaking up about an problems that are black related.

    The ANC has created a powderkeg of racial strife. We see the first spark. Violence can easily expand. They can appoint any studies they want. It won fix it. They need short term responses of public order a la Apartheid Security Forces to control it, while addressing the root causes. But have they destroyed the SAP to such an extent it is no longer possible?

    Certainly the SADF has been gutted and are no longer trained, equipped, or ready for such a task. There is a real risk of the army shooting into a crowd with live ammunition, much like they now shoot themselves.

    They can no longer even call up the former SAP and SADF members that not long ago would have quelled this without breaking a sweat. The ANC would be too afraid to do that anyway. Bad politics to have whitey bail you out of your self inflicted mess.

    The violence can be directly attributed to failure of ANC policy, no matter how much they want to blame ‘racism’. In fact more racial policies of racial separation would have prevented this.

  • amused reader

    When everyone comes round from the ‘smelling salts of reality’, can we start to try and fix the problem?

    We need:

    1. A constructive and just policy on immigration, that is designed to benefit the citizens of South Africa, not the citizens of Africa

    2. A national office of statistics, so that we really do know what is going on in our country, instead of playing ‘hear no evil, see no evil….’

    3. We need, in practical terms, to set realistic (as opposed to political)goals for the creation of a more equal society, that is based upon upliftment, not averaging out.

    4. We need politicians and civil servants to become properly accountable for their performance in delivering these goals, and the incompetent ones to be trained/disciplined/fired

    The chickens are now coming home to roost, but the frightening thing is, no one seems to have learned a thing.

  • Beaver

    Nice post Christi. You’ve really shown how depressing things are at the moment.

  • Odette

    @ Engineer

    There are several people who comment on this site who seem to have a tragic and profound lack of empathy, tolerance, understanding and compassion. This same group only posts negative comments, trashing anyone who tries to gain a deeper understanding of an issue or who holds views that are contrary to their own.

    You might have noticed that I seldom, if ever, engage with you or anyone else on this site. That is because most are not interested in actually engaging in debate. All they want to do is parrot on about their own opinions without ever really reading and trying to understand the other person’s point of view.

    The gist of all your comments, for example, boil down to, “blacks are the problem, keep everyone apart”. That about sums up your views and those of several readers. I used to make an effort to read your comments and try to gain something valuable from the practical suggestions while ignoring the usual tired rhetoric but I no longer do that. As time has passed your comments have exposed the true ugliness of your thinking and frankly I can seldom stomach to read your words.

    The reason I replied to your comment now is because it’s a cold, rainy, grey day in Cape Town and I’m not in a good mood and just having you mention my name put me in an even worse mood.

    This reply is not an indication that I want to continue any kind correspondence with you. I doubt my stomach could handle it.

  • Christi van der Westhuizen

    @ Geri, Me, MW and Ntombizonke

    In the blog I include white racism as part of the broader social pathology of intolerance. Also see some of my other blogs:

    http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/christivanderwesthuizen/2008/01/29/whiteprivil_anc/

    http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/christivanderwesthuizen/2008/03/05/you-can-take-afrikaners-out-of-apartheid-but-can-you-take-apartheid-out-of-afrikaners/

  • SEPTAGENARIAN

    Consulting Engineer – thank you for the prolific writing.
    I lived in the long ago era when the G5 was ‘Invented” and proudly presented to the population to brag about. Be proud SOUTH AFRICANS – ja!!
    I specifically mentioned this cannon, as the sight of me- [a truly old in body but agile in mind -] female behind that monster is totally as stupid as our Nation.
    You missed the symbolism I should have elaborated.
    I can with killing effort and heart failure, handle the smaller killers, so refrained from mentioning them.
    Thank you. I have lived through all the turbulence of the ethnic cleansing in Europe. I even remember new Communist Rule, their rantings and turning people into docile idiots, with the might of weapons. That reminds me of our previous “WEAPON” crazy government – herding people – via rantings – also getting our approval by ….stoking up fear in our hearts, with weapons at the ready – to the HOMELANDS.
    De ja vu 2008 !
    I even, stupid as usual, bought into that idea. Yes – let people rule themselves – the perfect solution.
    Yes I am old enough to remember how the “elected” ‘so-inappropriately’ named – CHIEFS – terrorised, looted from their people. They lived in splendour with thier own armies. Paid for by the idiotic Nats and the taxpayers people. Even factories were established in the “HOMELANDS” where the same culture and tribes had lived. Really good idea here. The people in their homelands were exploited unmercifully by their “own” and the rulers of the entire South Africa.
    Failure was inevitable – people flocked to where they could earn a living. South Africans risked being shot to “invade” “immigrate” “urbanise” their own country; without the iniqutious “PASS” or euphismistic “Reference Book.” These poor people who were caught were treated as aliens and suffered the consequences.
    Homelands did not – will not work. An affluent homeland such as Japan/China etc does work. People have opportunities that they can take.
    People need to sell their labour to a willing buyer so that both can make a living.
    Engineer – you have your solution – ORANJE – why are Afrikaners still content to live in our holocaust ?
    Has ORANJE succeeded? Drawn people towards the “better life” of a HOMELAND.
    Get real – you are using a G5 to make your point. Mostly – I do really enjoy your comments. Take a few steps back and find that person. You can debate.

    It is 2008 and 2009 looms terrifying ahead. My point is we are going to make the same mistakes unless, and until we – as a nation – realise that ANY government needs a strong opposition to keep it in check.
    We will NEVER have this pipe dream – we will NEVER solve the endless problems of our own making.
    People will die from all the shortcomings of their homeland. the country of South Africa.
    I repeat that my heart is in despair. The only beacon on the horison is that my time is limited to see the future devastation.
    Young black people must wake up – stand up – and find the wisdom to form a new party. I can, but will not name, some excellent middle aged, and now wealthy, black men who have the money and means to form a party. They do have the respect of black and white.
    They need to be persuaded to get out of their comfort zones. Come to their nation’s rescue.

  • Margaret

    What a sensationalist rant. South Africans are not in denial, we know our problems. I would agree that we all need to work on them starting with ourselves, starting with how we speak to each other, how we drive on our roads etc. That is where the root of respect, dignity, human rights lies. It doesn’t lie in the constitution which was not written by South Africans for South Africans but by elites and Europeans. Our country, society and beliefs are not the same as theirs. We never claimed to be so uber-peaceloving. And other countries are very xenophobic too. Just recently there was a riot in Naples against the Roma. Where I study in Germany there is more than one neo-nazi street march a year. Related attacks and even murder occurs from time to time. That being said, violent crime in general is almost non-existent.

    I disagree with the notion of telling South Africans that “we” are the criminals. South Africa is neither the idealistic rainbow nation nor are most South Africans murderers and rapists. Which brings me to one of my biggest problems with South Africans: we need to stop telling ourselves and our children that we are criminals, racists or whatever. Nothing good will come of it. As a young person who temporarily left the country I can tell you that apart from violent crime, the big reason why I left is because of white people with post-Apartheid guilt issues who treat other white people like crap. I grew sick of it and “I’m not going to spend my life being a colour.”

    It’s time to see South Africa in perspective: it is an ugly brutal place, but there’s also a whole lot of beauty and many great people. It’s time that we all change our own behaviour and force political change. We need to make a break from the past in terms of who we vote for: South Africa should not fall into the rest of Africa’s trap by recycling elites. We need to be and elect new people.

  • mundundu

    i’m american. i can’t vote here. and as i’m registered in the district of columbia back in the states, it doesn’t make sense for me to vote there, either.

  • http://Na abduraghiem johnstone

    sterk gesprek
    ————–
    This is who we are.
    Let’s look ourselves in the eye”
    children; of a difficult birth,
    refusing to be aborted during incubation
    let us not “transfer” our dearth
    but is this solely of our making-

    while stalking wolves huff and puff
    the interregnum lingers on………

  • geejay

    It will take an extraordinary effort with a clear objective, roles and responsibilities assigned and accepted by all South Africans to shift the current reality. Whether you agree with Christi or not (I think she is spot on) we (all South Africans who are able) at some stage have to move to the next level and that means doing more than we are doing now (action). Don’t wait for the government; you’ve been waiting for 15 years they will not bring about the change we seek without your help. Employ more people. Use your training funds. Build houses. Feed another person, adopt children whatever. But just do something. Don’t think it won’t make a difference, it makes a huge difference. The point is we at least know the basic problems. Pick one. Fix it. We are the solution as much as we are the problem.

  • http://letpeoplespeak.amagama.com Lyndall Beddy

    Khosi and David

    “Good is just not newsworthy” and “never hear about…”
    That worrys me too. But then most of the good is by charities, NGOs, faith based groups and service clubs. They don’t appear to be newsworthy.

    Hlakite
    “No comments and it is past noon”
    Please all realise that these guys have a newspaper to run, are sometimes shortstaffed, and often comments are backing up awaiting editing. Sometimes mine take 2 days to clear.

    Mundundu
    The black diamonds being cubic zirconias was very funny.

    How was Morgan supposed to “unrig” the 2002 election?

    Ridwan
    “no damn genocide being directed against white farmers”
    Sorry, I don’t agree. The forced disbanning of the commandos is enough proof for me. The excuse was that the police were sufficient protection. They are not. One of my friends had a death threat and warning of an impending attack – the police would not even come out. The commandos would have.

    Po
    The charities which seem to be doing the most in the crisis is “The Red Cross” and “Gift of the Givers”

    Logan
    Mbeki may have “whites looking over his shoulder” but he is not listening is he – like blocking all resolutions at the UN eg on Burma?

    Consulting Engineer
    There is an Afikaner homeland – called Oranje. Did they reject you – I have heard they are quite fussy?

    Yai
    If we followed any of “sane” – our money would be worth as much as the Zim dollar.

    Jose
    The police “hold back until the last minute”.
    Worse than that. Did you see the photo showing the black policeman smiling behind the man being burned alive?

    Xolani
    Good point about not sufficient details been given re the report.
    I don’t think this is”poor people turned desperate”. There is more and more proof emerging that this has been orchestrated.

    Walt
    I agree – foreigner blacks being killed is news. White farmers being killed never hits the English speaking press. There were two farmers killed in Ficksburg a few days ago. I heard one report on radio news – then nothing, nothing at all – and not in ANY newspaper!

  • Oosthuizen

    @Afrikaner:
    “mere existence of millions of illegals testify loudly to the fact that apartheid was a benefit to SA’s blacks”

    Afrikaner exactly how does millions of zinbabwean refugees pouring into SA since 2000, proves that apartheid(ended 1990) was a benefit to black people ? I think that you have more twisting to do to explain that one. With the huge unemployment numbers and informal settlements that existed long before 1990, obviously apartheid was a curse to SA. UN only confirmed the obvious by calling apartheid a crime against humanity.

    @MW
    “What really grates though (and this is mainly I suppose because I am currently grappling with the fact that I may be a racist) is that these societal ills that you describe seem to my (possibly racist) mind to manifest mainly in the black community.”

    One people live under oppresive systems like apartheid and communism for many decades then survival instincts kicks in and after decades of living deprived of education and other resource peoples behaviours become debased. Go to Russia, eastern bloc countries and rural parts of china and you will find the same behaviour. It is not only a black thing.

    Xonophobic violence is not unique to SA and has been around since people learned how to migrate. It also occur in the most sophistacated 1st world societies. Australia is still looking nervously over its shoulder since the cronulla riots.

    @consulting engineer “Ndumiso, I suspect the constant deflections at Zulus being responsible has an agenda? Those Zulus getting too much say in the ANC these days? One specific Zulu anyway. Take them and the foreigners down with one blow? Soon they will be saying Mfecane II.”

    Poor attempt at trying to ignite tribal wars ce. Apartheid 3rd forces tried that one as well. South africans are all too wary of the divide-and-rule cheap shots.

    @John Bond
    “I don’t see any white faces in the masses. I don’t see any white faces in the top structures of our despotic Government. ”

    As SA history has proved, behind the strife and commotion there has always been a white force pulling the strings.

  • John Bond

    @ Oosthuizen

    I discuss this stupid comment below:
    “As SA history has proved, behind the strife and commotion there has always been a white force pulling the strings.”

    Oh come on – just show me the proof of ANY white involvement what-so-ever in this current crisis. This is a BLACK thing.

    Another ill thought through comment:
    “One people live under oppressive systems like apartheid and communism for many decades then survival instincts kicks in and after decades of living deprived of education and other resource peoples behaviours become debased.”

    South Africa got independence 14 years ago. Real Aparthate ended 3 decades ago, before almost all of these blacks were born. Our group responsibility and blaming someone else is perhaps our nation’s biggest problem.

    It was Alan Greenspan in his recent book “The Age of Turbulence” who said “…a country cannot drive into the future by navigating in their rear view mirror”. He was saddened by Africa and said that the lack of property rights and the selective application of justice. He prophesied that this will all kill future growth in Sub-Sahara Africa. The property rights he discusses isn’t just land though it includes land, it includes the BEE fiasco and our refusal to prosecute some political fraudsters and thieves. It includes police and government officials demanding personal reward before they’ll do anything. Greenspan is a world expert at prophesying the economic future.

    Greenspan, together with James Wolfensohn and Kofi Annan have been credited with the amazing 10 year international economic growth of over 5.5% per year. Our government claims the recent growth as their own but have not been able to come close to the international economic growth, averaging under 3% for the same period. We couldn’t even grow our economy at half the rate Zambia’s economy grew OUCH!!! South Africa’s huge loss of unskilled jobs (over a million) and our deaths through AIDS has taken substantial wealth from the poorest and made us “well off” seem much more affluent. (I must admit that I am uncomfortable with the idea that my increased prosperity has come at the expense of the poor but I doubt that it worries you much – after all, they are just blacks).

    SOUTH AFRICANS, IT IS TIME TO TAKE YOUR BLINKERS OFF – OUR FUTURE IS AT STAKE

  • http://mandrake.amagama.com Mandrake

    Mandrake dons his traditional attire, smears ochre on his tear-streaked face, picks up his traditional spear and soot-darkened mnqayi.

    He walks towards the hate-mongering hordes and starts singing Nkosi Sikelela. The tide bays for his blood yet he trudges on, his voice hoarse with emotion.

    Thats my stance on this whole affair. I’m not falling back towards depression and moaning and bitching and whingeing. If theres anyone recruiting for a peace-corps i’m there. Give me my bloody dog tags. There was too much blood and tears spilt to buy our freedom, i’m sickened at the amount of bitching which goes on TL.

    Can someone start singing this bloody anthen with me please?!!

  • http://mandrake.amagama.com Mandrake

    Correction: Anthem….think my fingers were twitching a bit

  • John Bond

    @ Mandrake

    You don’t even know the current South African Anthem :) – Ag Shame! It was changed many years ago.

    It now goes “Gi’me, gi’me, gi’me. I am Xhosa and I am rich so you nust give much more…” It is sung by Niel the Black Diamond.

    A great political leader said at his inauguration as President of the USA, “Think not what America can do for you but rather what you can do for America!”. Any wonder why they’re so successful a nation?

  • MidaFo

    Christi, try to answer your question. It is ‘What is wrong with us?’ ‘Us’ ,must include Christi yet for the life of me I cannot find this recognition in Christi’s post.
    In this case all the use of ‘us’ is a fake.

    This for my money is what is wrong with us.

    The people most responsible for the situation are the people with money because they have choice. By and large they blame Thabo Mbeki, just like Christi.

  • http://mandrake.amagama.com Mandrake

    John, I’m also sickened by the likes of Cyril who was a unionist, but what has he done for labour reforms? NADA.

    If you have a solution i’ll gladly fall in step and offer aid or assistance. i’m just tired of everyone raising the same stuff we all know. Even Saki Macozoma who is from the Eastern Cape recently said he can’t help a local development bank, despite the fact that all the ANC bigwigs were asked for aid by the bank’s management. The way i’m reading that is that they couldn’t give a shit about EC development…unless theres some incentive for them.

    I’ll stick to Enoch’s “Nkosi Sikelela” thank you…I might be Xhosa but i’m not rich yet, still got a moerste TEFSA loan to payback.

  • http://southafricanseamonkey.blogspot.com/ po

    @mandrake

    i am with you. you sound like you went to school in the 90’s, i can identify with your way of thinking. What have we inherited? it is up to us to make it better cos our elders sure didn’t bother.

  • http://mandrake.amagama.com Mandrake

    Thanks po

    thinks his hoarse voice could do with a cold bottle of the bitter stuff

  • http://letpeoplespeak.amagama.com Lyndall Beddy

    Oldfox
    The link I was referring to relates to the book “My Genetic Enrichment: Slaves at the Cape, South Africa” by A.M. Van Rensburg

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Rhodes/1266/genetic.htm?200812

    CE
    There was no local colored population then, only master and slave. Have that DNA test done – they do it for free.

    Eagle
    Why should the coloureds side with “us”? There are more of them than of “us”.

    Women live longer than men NOW not THEN. Check the Stam Register and see how many had second wives, after their first had died – usually in childbirth.

    Yes – the blacks did not kill women and children. They took them into the tribe. Often as slaves or concubines. Sometimes as wives. There was one child, only known as Bess, who was so respected by her husband, the chief, that when she grew up he had her as his only wife and took no other. She is in the bloodline of Mandela’s family – although not a direct ancestor.

    Oldfox and Eagle
    The only ones who could “nail the cops”, including Jackie Selebi, were the Scorpions. Any society that does not have a unit “guarding the guards” will develop a corrupt elite.

    I was told by a cop friend that their black boss had instructed them not to investigate crimes against whites because whites are insured. How does he work that out? There are whites that can’t afford insurance; and Black Diamonds that can.

    Lazola
    Not only the Elephants! I have a family of monkeys, mom and dad and baby, that raid my bird table. The other day the baby jumped up onto the table while dad was eating and got driven off. Dad, however, ate no more – only sat there long enough to establish respect for the elder and discipline, and then jumped onto the roof – letting the baby eat.

    Black and brown have been going to school at Bishops for decades, often on church scholarships.
    The state of our schools is so bad that children should have the right to self teaching through home schooling. However this would mean greatly strengthening our libraries, including free internet access for scholars. The budgets for libraries fell between the cracks. Neither local or provincial authorities take responsibility. Many are being kept alive by dedicated volunteers.

    Amused Reader
    Paul may be becoming more tolerant, but what is happening to you? You appear to be getting less tolerant. Why?

    “Poverty does not explain the level of violent crime”
    No – but other things do, including bad leadership, poor role models, false history of violent “struggle” having been successful, leaders who have boasted about liberating by necklacing etc etc etc

    Rhodesia was forced INTO federation by Britain to prop up the weaker states, instead of being given their autonomy, like SA, decades before. Part of the roots of the problem.

    Paul
    You are right about the mafia.

    However you are wrong about:

    “Ian Smith led everyone into a disaster…if he had been a bit more open minded and had some sort of power sharing agreement back in 1965…”

    Smith did, and he had. Mugabe did not take over power from Ian Smith, because he was not Zimbabwe’s first black democratically elected president , but the second, whom Mugabe defeated in 1980 elections through massive intimidation, which was ignored by Britain. Far from wanting to keep Zimbabwe – Britain could not wait to get rid of it.

    Invinovertitas and Paul
    If you read Ian Smith’s autobiography you will realize why historians in the future will record him as one of Africa’s finest leaders.

  • http://letpeoplespeak.amagama.com Lyndall Beddy

    Septagenarian
    You may know some wealthy black men. I know one or two wealthy white men. Tried like hell to point out the trickle down effect was not working – to no avail. They were all mesmerised by Mbeki – till Polokwane. Then they frantically started to “gatkruip” Zuma. But they are all, black and white, the new rich. The older families are still pouring money into charity.

    Oosthuizen
    “live under oppressive regimes…and then survival kicks in”.
    No,pal, the opposite happens. They have no opposition from outside. They have supreme power, so they start to fight each other inside the regime for who gets power. It happened in Russia with the communist party. It happened in SA with the Nats. They break up and split from within. It is now happening with the ANC. Eureka!

    “A white force pulling the strings”
    You sound ANC – hinting at “former apartheid third forces” behind the present violence. Pretty unlikely. They are exactly the kind of people who would be employing the foreigners, and the least likely to attack them.

    John Bond
    Why are you so sure Oosthuizen is white?

    Po
    “elders didn’t bother”
    Does that include Nelson Mandela,Walter Sisulu, Oliver Thambo et al?

  • John Bond

    @ Lyndall

    I’m not sure that Oosthuisen is white but I doubt we’ll be having any President with a White sounding surname for a while yet…

    Thackeray (an English name) is making big strides in Mumbai in India but on the anti-colonial ticket. 55 years on, some rabble rousers are still blaming the British. Strange how many politicians from ex-British colonies expect to improve their countries while focussing on the past in their rear-view mirrors rather than looking forward through the windscreen. South africa need to model our decolonisation on the Eastern Tigers, South Korea in particular. The 1952 UN Year Book spoke of Chad’s bright future but despaired for the poorer South Korea. South Korea they said had nothing to offer, few natural resources and a totally uneducated population. The soon to be independent Chad on the other hand had everything an emergent nation needed to succeed spectacularly. Straight after this, Korea had a devastating civil war. By 1997 or 45 years later, the average South Korean earned more than 20 times as much as the average Chadian. These days, South Korea provides Chad with foreign aid and Chad remains a typical African mess…

    An interesting thought – It is acknowledged that the British colonies were the most liberal yet, the independent states these produced have generally been monumental failures, often taking two or three generations to recover. India, Chad, Ireland, Burma, Zimbabwe, Swaziland… (dare I say Australia :) )

  • amused reader

    @ John Bond

    Interesting as ever, but Chad was a French colony.

    Keep up the good work

  • http://letpeoplespeak.amagama.com Lyndall Beddy

    Paul

    What on earth had Portugal pulling out of Africa to do with it? It was South Africa threatening to pull out its support (specifically Pik Botha) that forced Ian Smith into Lancaster house which sold all the OTHER blacks in Zim down the river as well. See the results now?

    In the “guerilla” war thousands of blacks were killed in black on black violence, mainly by Mugabe’s thugs – but only a few hundred whites.

    Cuito was not guerilla war! It was a massive coventional battle between the Cubans and the South Africans, after which South Africa and the Russian backed Cubans settled by BOTH withdrawing out of Angola.

    Swapo did not win a guerilla war either. TEN YEARS AFTER Cuito, Unita and Swapo reached a negotiated settlement.

    It is this kind of feeding of fake history to people which helps to lead to the violence we are seeing in the townships now! Tell them their “freedom” is from bush wars and “necklacing” opponents and what do you expect!

  • Paul

    Lyndall
    Here you are posting on this blog.
    The reason Portugal was important for Smith was that it protected the entire eastern border of Rhodesia. Once Machel was in power there he allowed ZANU to operate against Rhodesia. The border was just too long for the small Rhodesian army to defend. Things really started to ge pear shaped after 1975. Cuito was the culmination of a geurilla war. According to Mao a geurllla war leads up to the eventual conventionla confrontation.l This was like Tet in Vietnam. SO although the Vietcong physically lost TET it was the turning point of te war. It broke AMerica’s spirit and lead directly to peace negotiations. I would argue that Cuito was similar. Counting the number of dead geurillas or blown up tanks does not equate to victory. Clausewitz said war is the continuation of politics by other means. It seems that veyr few traditionla armies understand that

  • Consulting Engineer

    @John Bond

    Not all were failures. Malaya, singapore, hong kong were resounding successes. They were successes as they were non-liberal and very hierarchical. Everyone knew their place. The white man is still welocme there.

    In addition, there is the hardworking high IQ Asian who didnt just blame the white man. They learnt and took over.

    The biggest failures were the Portuguese colonies, where race mixing was the norm.

    Look at it another way. Without colonialism those african messes would have been even worse off. They all got their infrastructure and education from colonialism. When most of africa was colonised in the late 1800s it was going nowhere and was 1000s of years behind europe.

    But looking at the xenophobia, its looks like like have a wish to go back to the ‘good old days’.

  • http://letpeoplespeak.amagama.com Lyndall Beddy

    Paul

    That is why they needed the South African’s help, which officially they got (as told to the SA public ) but privately they threatened to withdraw to force Ian Smith to Lancaster (not told to the SA public). Pik Botha was under the delusion that if they sacrified Zim, SA would be left alone.

    And, by the way, Caborra Bassa was built at about this time, under the supervision of the SA army, to protect against “rebels” – in Mocambique!

  • http://letpeoplespeak.amagama.com Lyndall Beddy

    Paul

    Just noticed you quoted Mao ? Another blog advised that the three dictators who killed the most people in the 20th Centuary were Mao, Stalin and Hitler(with Hitler trailing at third place) !

    And this is your hero?

  • Paul

    Lyndall
    I never said anything about MAo being my hero. He did have some insights about what geurilla warfare was all about. If staff colleges around teh world had paid more attention tro what he had written during teh last 60 years there may well have been some very different outcomes. I stand by my claim that conventional armies have nver internalized the lessons of geurilla warfare at all. Name me one successful counter insurgency campaign apart from Malaya.

  • http://letpeoplespeak.amagama.com Lyndall Beddy

    Paul

    I am no expert in military tactics, but some of the other commentators are. Maybe one of them will answer you.

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