Mhambi has been redeployed.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Girls are gorgeous

Super 8
Originally uploaded by marialy.
When I was younger, I loved to look at naked women in magazines. But I felt guilty. First the guilt came from was my strict protestant Christian upbringing.

Later, at university, it was reinforced when I became involved in left wing politics. We espoused equality in all spheres of life. We believed that men make sexual objects of women. I knew that at least for me, it was true. I adored naked ladies. But it was wrong, maybe not a sin, but degrading.

Something puzzled me. I wondered why women just don't make sexual objects of us men? Problem solved.

But they did not seem to want to objectify us men.

It was only later that I realised that women have sexual objects too. Other women.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Oskido should remix De la Rey

For the sake of our rainbow, says Aubrey Matshiqi, Oskido should remix the now controversial song about the Boer War General.

All of us must take ownership of the De la Rey song to deny bigots the opportunity of turning it into something ugly and reactionary when it is not. I am going to buy the CD because it does warm that part of my black blood that comes from my Afrikaner ancestor, Bartman. Maybe in taking ownership of the song, we must ask someone like DJ Fresh or DJ Oskido to remix it into a house tune for a wider, nonracial audience.

Touche says Mhambi. Can't agree more.

According to Matshiqi both whites and blacks (how refreshing that he does not talk of whites and Africans) should realise that they comprise of a majority in some sense.
The challenge, therefore, is for black and white South Africans to recognise that there are times when they are part of a majority. Black people as part of a numerical majority must defend and advance the rights of numerical minorities because in doing this they will be showing the confidence and leadership that is sometimes lacking among us. White people, as part of a cultural majority, must act in ways that promote the cultural rights of their black counterparts because, in doing so, they will be displaying a sense of humility that is sometimes lacking in debates about identity and cultural rights.

Problem is Aubrey, that allot of what you think of as white culture, Afrikaners see as a bland foreign version of English or American culture, sometimes rightly sometimes wrongly.
Aubrey also says:
Since the extent to which a black person is unable to speak an African language has, to some, become a measure of their sophistication and civilisation, the day is near when we will no longer be able to blame apartheid for the marginalisation of African culture and languages.

The same could have been said of Afrikaans, 150 years ago. Today Afrikaners see the inability of black South Africans to use their own language as the same pscycological subservience they suffered from. If only Biko was still alive.

(As an aside, Afrikaners at least did not call their rugby teams, Maritizburg United, Helenic, Ajax Cape Town, Bloemfontein Celtic, nor the league the Premiership. Nor was Pretoria named, Nieuw Amsterdam or East London, or Potchefstroom Brugge or any of the other major towns named by the Voortrekkers named after a European equivalent. They were all unique to South Africa.)

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Friday, March 23, 2007

CBS News 1994: Mugabe Reassures White South Africans

The blog ConstitutionallyspeakingSA posted this remarkable video about Zimbabwe, and had this to say about it:

"This is a CBS documentary on Zimbabwe, which was broadcasted the week before South Africa's 1994 election. It argues that whites in South Africa has little to fear and shows Mugabe telling South African whites not to be scared.

Rather an ironic piece, I must say. For right wingers it will confirm all their racist fears. For the rest of us it will remind us how wise the fathers and mothers of our Constitution was for limiting the term of the President to two five year terms."

Mhambi agrees, but having the South African constitution with its checks and balances without other large counter forces would probably not be enough. The fact that South Africa has a big industrial base, a massive union movement, a strong civil society, no majority ethnic group (like the Shonas in Zimbabwe) and a much larger black industrial working class and black middle class are all positives that helps to prop up the constitution and makes South Africa allot more complex.

In fact South Africa's economy is more than 22 times the size of Zimbabwe's and Zimsbabwe's white population at its height (1980) was no more 400,000. Comparisons are only that useful.

But not everything in this video is off the mark however. The vast majority of South Africans have not only not seen their hopes realised, their lives are like Zimbabwe in 1994 - worse.

It is this situation - the governmenents inability to lift up poor Zimbabweans - that the MDC (a broad church made up of Union members and democrats) eploited to create a meaningful oposition to Zanu-PF around 1997. Mugabe had nearly 20 years to begin land reform, but had not done so. Suddenly, feeling his power threatened, as an act of diversion he instigated farm invasions, popular with the rank and file Zimbabwean.

The ANC has done very little to better the lives of poor South Africans. Will they try this kind of populist tactic if threatened by popular discontent?

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Ecstacy less harmful than alcohol - UK scientists

UK scientists (The Academy of Medical Sciences group) have called for a reclassification of drugs according to actual harm caused. They assessed drugs on the harm they do to the individual, to society and whether or not they induce dependence.

A panel of experts were asked to rate 20 different drugs on nine individual categories, which were combined to produce an overall estimate of harm.

The current UK drug classification

Class A
Magic mushrooms
Crystal meth (pending)
Class A/B
Class C

The study was reported in the Lancet.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The sultans of bling

Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.
Jean Francois Bayart and his colleagues describe corruption as “the privatisation of public resources”.

This privatisation of public resources is happening on a grand scale in our country. You know that a problem is endemic when it begins to assume all kinds of colloquial descriptions in everyday life. Wherever I go, people talk about “the loot”.

Xolela Mangcu

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Angolan Ninjas for Zimbabwe

THe UK Times report that Angola is sending 2,500 of its feared paramilitary police to Zimbabwe, raising concerns of an escalation in violence against President Robert Mugabe's opponents, reports say.

Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi confirmed the imminent arrival of the Angolans.

He said 1,000 Angolans were expected on April 1, with the rest to follow in groups of 500.

Angola is regarded as the most powerful military nation in Africa, after South Africa.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Will amatomu steer the Afrikaanses out of the Litnet lager to 2.0-land?

There is a dearth of good independent websites in Afrikaans on the web. Why? It's Litnet's fault.

It's not as if there's not been allot written in Afrikaans. For years Litnet has been attracting the best minds in the Afrikaans community, where reams of polemic, draadsteek, and considered opinion appear every day.

If you want to have your finger on Afrikaans intelectual life, Litnet is the place to read heavyweightsAndries (Roof) Bezuidenhout, Koos Kombuis, Dan Roodt, Johann Russouw and many many more.

So what's the problem then?

Well this. Litnet is owned by Media24 behemoth (the old Naspers). It is rather odd that a whole community could swarm around a large corporate conglomorate in such an open medium like the internet.

Litnet does not allow its posters any control over their own intelectual output. It does not allow you to link outward, to inbed audio or video, to tag, burn an feed, or place ads to share in the ad revenue. Importantly it hogs all the Google Pagerank, and decides which of its posters to give most prominece to.

While allot of sites link to Litnet, Litnet does not link outward. Link equity has to flow, otherwise search engines cannot judge relevance.

But recently a number of web 2.0 websites have been launched that might start to prise open the closed Litnet. Blik and Muti, the South African recommendation engines are but two where individuall Litnet postings can shoot to prominece outside the control of Litnet. But Yesterday Amatomu was anounced. A rather clever Tecnorati like blog monitoring site built by the Mail and Guardian.

Already there are some Afrikaans blogs and postings amogst the many English ones.

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The sultans of bling

Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.
Mhambi did not feel like writing tonight, so I booted up photoshop and made a tribute logo to South Africa's wabenzi.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dog story 1

Nico is an old friend of mine.

Tall and handsome - he used to be a provincial swimmer - he has always had lots of female attention. We met at university. Nico was remarkble, from a promiment Afrikaner family and the first white chairperson of the ANC at the University of Pretoria.

Oubaas se honne
Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.

When I was in South Africa recently I went to his place in Pretoria for a braai (barbeque). I asked him whether he ever encountered racism in Pretoria?

"Almost never...

But once when I went to buy a Ridgeback (a type of dog) I encountered it."

"What happened?"

"There was this old lady. I enquired about a Ridgeback. She told me conspiritorially, that Ridgebacks are good guard dogs, because kaffirs hate them."

"Thats unfortunate" Nico said, " girlfriend is a kaffir."

Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.

Nico and Rose are marrying in April.

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Dog story 2

Yesterday I phoned my mom. She says everything is fine. Then I spoke to my sister. she says that something weird happened at my moms home. Yesterday morning there was two pairs of trousers at her back door.

They had tears in them. It must have been Sam - the labrodour - and her the new mongrel dog hat tore them. But how did the trousers get into the yard?

My sister theorised that it belonged to two robbers, who had to leave their trousers behind when they climed over the wall in haste.

"Did you phone the police?"

"Yes, ma phoned them this morning and I called them this afternoon. But they did not pick up the phone.

Anyway they would not have come, nothing happened. Ma does have a contract with the security company."

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

The British invaded to save 'Africans' from Boer explotation

Some times the international media makes Mhambi's blood boil. Some of you may have read what I thought of His Big White Self, Nick Broomfield's gloriously entertaining and misconceived documentary.

This week I read this ill informed posting on the blog of a respected US publication, Foreign Policy, titled Thursday Video: Rock song rekindles ethnic tensions in South Africa .

Lord Milner
Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.

I just could not let this ignorance - arrogantly posted without a secound thought - go. So I wrote a letter to the editor in reply, and I post parts of it below.:

Dear sir, in your Thursday Video: Rock song rekindles ethnic tensions in South Africa ( Michael H. Cognato says:

"Sure, the Boers were resisting British imperialism, but it was for the sake of their own right to marginalize and exploit the African population without British interference."

Based on what facts does Mr. Cognato make this statement? Does he assert that the Boer War was fought because the British wanted to interfere in Boer exploitation of what he calls Africans?

Does he assert that Afrikaners are not African? With this statement Mr. Cognato shows that he is blissfully unaware of the current debate in South Africa. The ruling ANC proclaims that there are Asians, whites, coloureds and Africans in South Africa, ie that that only black is African and the others not. What the eminent South African sociologist Van Zyl Slabbert, calls a "racially exclusive Africanism".

As for the reasons for this war. Thomas Packenham, the British historian, sets out in two books – The Scramble for Africa and The Boer War why this war happened. He pins the responsibility partly on the British as a war over resources (gold was discovered), but points out that Lord Alfred Milner was the primary instigator over far more sinister reasons.

Here are qoutes by Milner:
"I am a Nationalist and not a cosmopolitan.... I am a British (indeed primarily an English) Nationalist. If I am also an Imperialist, it is because the destiny of the English race, owing to its insular position and long supremacy at sea, has been to strike roots in different parts of the world. I am an Imperialist and not a Little Englander because I am a British Race Patriot ...

The British State must follow the race, must comprehand it, wherever it settles in appreciable numbers as an independent community."

Liberal Scotish journalist Neal Ascherson wrote that as a racist politician, Milner is the only British politician that "deserves a comparison with Hitler. He believed in the superioriy of his own race, and was preprared to instigate war to asure their dominance."

Acherson made this comment in direct reference to Milner's actions and pronouncements in instigating the Boer War.

Mr. Cognato remarks: "Chanting a general's name is a strange habit in a democracy." If he bothered to consult a history book or even the internet he would have learned that the general in question was a vociferous campaigner against the Boer war.

One of the conditions Milner set for the Transvaal Republic not to be invaded is to afford the franchise to (white) foreigners that had rushed to South Africa when gold was discovered. Milner also insisted that if elected these foreigners should be allowed to speak English in the Volksraad (parlaiment).

General De la Rey argued that these concessions should be allowed to avoid the war. Hardly bad for a politician in 1898, especially when measured against the anti-immigration and anti-Spanish discourse in the USA of today.

As for your comments about exploitation. Bar the vote, South African and the US legislation only started showing a marked difference in respect to discriminating against blacks in the 1950's.

The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Packenham (Abacus, 1992).

N. Ascherson, 'The War That Made South Africa', New York Review of Books, 6 December 1979, p.12.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Left rhetoric right wing actions

James challenged me the other day because of something I said in my post "De la Rey is a left wing icon":

"It is a somewhat astounding fact that the Nats during their rule, consistently decreased economic inequality amongst and between all South Africans".

What did you base that on? Not to be argumentative, but if inequality was decreasing in a noticeable way between black and white under apartheid, then why was there any disatisfaction with it? If you have some kind of source that you drew that statement from, I'd really like to read it....

And too right. It is a contentious statement and deserves to be backed up with fact. Especially since the ANC has come to power South Africa has endured its longest peroid of continued economic growth in history. All south Africans should be richer.

All South Africans should be richer

The Nat's record was not consistent in the beginning but they did reduce poverty AND inequality, especially under Vorster and PW Botha.

"Despite the steady improvement in the wages of workers since the 1960's, the racial disparities were such that South Africa was near the top of the inequality league in the world."

(South Africa now tops this league.)

"From the early 1970's the government and employers initiated a steady process of redistribution away from whites that changed the position considerably. A significant redistribution of income was the result...

By 1994, blacks contributed R23 billion to government revenue, and received R34 billion in cash and in-kind transfers from government of which the largest part went on social welfare, housing, health and education."

"Whites still received nearly half of the amount the state spent on public services, but they received much less in services than the amount of tax they paid, while blacks were receiving considereably more.

Spending on social welfare for colored and Asians rose at an even more rapid rate than on blacks, and accelerated after 1984 when the government embarked on systematically reducing the disparities that still existed between the three groups that participated in the Tricameral parlaiment."

The social spending contributed to a severe fiscal crises that the state experienced from the mid 70's, other contributing factors being the War in Namibia and Angola, and the expansion of the civil service.
"A severe tax burden now weighed heavily on middle-class whites... according to an IMF study, whites by 1987 paid on average 32 percent of their incomes in tax, but received only 9 percent back in benefits."

These qoutes are from Stellenbosch academic Hermann Giliomee's book. The Afrikaners - Biography of a People.

He notes that the government started to encounter serious resistance from certain whites because of these progressive taxation policies.

He concludes his book with the end of the Nat's rule. He states that during 1948 to 1994 - the period of their rule - the economy grew four and a half times, and that the life expectancy of all South Africans increased. He notes however that the phycological damage of apartheid was heavy. The book has allot more information, numbers and references if your interested.

Contrast that to the dramatic drop in South African life expectancy since 1995.

The World Socialist website analyses the UN Development report on South Africa for 2004:

It acknowledges that there have been some positive aspects, like the building of many houses, but cats aspersions on the quality of these house since the housing subsidy dropped. It continues:
"Between 1995 and 2002, life expectancy at birth is estimated to have declined from 61.4 years to 51.4 years, indicating a 16.3 percent drop. This is largely due to the massive impact of Aids.

The statistical average hides a worse reality. In 2001 the life expectancy of blacks was 51, contrasted to whites with a life expectancy of 69. In 2001 more than 28 percent of blacks in the 30 to 39 age group were estimated to be HIV positive.

This is compounded by the drop in the total number of health professionals, which, according to the South African Health Review, declined between 2000 and 2002. According to the UNDP report: “In many hospitals and clinics around the country, there are insufficient medical and support staff to handle the workload. There are simply not enough funds being allocated to the hiring of additional staff and the payment of more attractive salaries.” The inequitable distribution of health services is also evident...

The level of inequality is confirmed by the Gini coefficient. A Gini coefficient of one indicates perfect income inequality, while a Gini coefficient of 0 indicates perfect equality. The report notes that in 1995 the Gini coefficient for South Africa was 0.596, rising to 0.635 in 2002. The report goes on to note: “In view of this rising income inequality, only six percent of all people who reached retirement age of 65 in 2000 can be regarded as financially independent. About 47 percent of people retiring are dependent on their families, 31 percent have to continue working and 16 percent rely solely on a pension from government...

The UNDP report states: “Steep wealth inequality ... contributes to persistent and rising income poverty and inequality.” This is in a context where the ruling class has “enormous corporate power and a direct influence over the economic lives of the majority of South Africans.” The government’s pro-business policies have undoubtedly added weight to already powerful corporate influences...

Ernst and Young Management Services reported that in 2003 R42.2 billion ($US620 million) worth of BEE deals were made. But the beneficiaries of these deals belonged largely to the politically well-connected elite.

The opposition Democratic Alliance noted that 60 percent (R25.3 billion) of these deals “accrued to the companies of two men [both close to the ANC leadership]: Patrick Motsepe and Tokyo Sexwale”."

One of the most worrying aspects is that school enrollment has also dropped, and while some claim the average South African is not getting a better edication, this is contested by some Wits academics I spoke to. Mhambi can stomach allot, provided he knows that South Africans are getting a propper education. But if we are not bettering the youths education, then our tomorrow will probably be worse.

Symbolic and material happiness

You ask that if the Nats decreased inequality, why were black South Africans unhappy? I spoke only of economic inequality. I don't know how old you are, but if you were old enough to have rememered the apartheid days, you would hopefully realise how dehumanising it was. It made you feel as if you don't belong, that your a second class citizen.

Essentially black South Africans were unhappy for the same reasons asAfrikaners today, who are by and large doing well economically, but very unhappy.

Don't believe the World Socialists? You can read the 2006 UN Human development report for yourself, where south Africa did significantly worse.

And chew on this chart of South Africa's Human Development Index vis-a-vis other territories from the UN's 2006 report.

But if you drove around South Africa today you knew this already. Quite frankly the poverty and conspicious consumption you see everywhere is obsene.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

i spill my bright incalculable.

Here's another pic from Mhambi's favourite Flickr artists. This one is a self portrait by Olive. I had to rip this one (probably due to Flickr's selective restrictions on nudity).

Mhambi also learnt that Olive loves artist William Kentridge, which just shows how right I was when I latched onto them. These girls have taste.

O Thou to whom the musical white spring

offers her lily inextinguishable,
taught by thy tremulous grace bravely...

Though from whose
feet reincarnate song suddenly leaping
flameflung, mounts, inimitably, to lose
herself where the wet stars are softly keeping

their exquisit dreams -- O Love! upon thy shrine
of intangible commemoration,

i spill my bright incalculable soul!

-- e.e. cummings

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Mhambi found a very considered outsider's view on the De la Rey song phenomena that covers allot of the ground. (And I'm qouted - so its gotta be good ;) )

It only omits Johann Rossouw's excellent contribution on the issue.

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In Cosatu the ANC sees a potential MDC

The violence in Zimbabwe, including the thuggery that Morgan Tsvangirai indured is an important new chapter in the history of Zimbabwe AND South Africa.

This is an eye witness account of the events that sparked the Zimbabwe violence.

For the first time South Africa critisized Zimbabwe (al be it belatedly).

The world has been incredulous as to why the ANC government has not been more harsh in its critisism on the behaviour of its Northern neigbour. Some has put it down to loyalty - Mugabe supported the ANC during his own struggle.

Mhambi thinks it's because the ANC sees in Zimbabwe its own potential downfall. African liberation movements once in government rule with a strong sense of entitlement. But in Zambia the trade unions caused one of the few examples of democratic (if fraught) change of government in Africa.

In Zimbabwe the unions created the MDC who won a majority of votes in 2000, and who would have been the government, had Mugabe played by the rules.

Allot of people are often depressed by events in Zimbabwe, but Mhambi sees reasons for optimism. A largely non-tribal city based middleclass is revolting against the party and leader of liberation. This is largely because Zimbabwe has (or had) substantial industry and therefore a middelclass and organised labour.

South Africa's economy and industry is a number of orders of magnitude more complex than that of Zimbabwe, it's trade unions much bigger and stronger, and the ANC itself is a much broader movement than ZANU PF. In short Zimbabwe shows why South Africa won't go the way of Zimbabwe.

In the meantime a protest is planned by the MDC in London.


Zimbabweans in the UK are to demonstrate outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Wednesday in protest at the arrest and torture of peaceful protesters in Zimbabwe.

Supporters of the Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London from 1 – 4 pm on Wednesday, 14th March 2007 in solidarity with the suffering of opposition activists in Zimbabwe.

They will be joined by supporters of the Zimbabwe Vigil, who have been demonstrating outside the Embassy every Saturday since October 2002 in support of free and fair elections and against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

For interviews etc, contact:

Ephraim Tapa, Chair, MDC UK – 07940 793 090

Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa, Secretary, MDC UK – 07984 254 830

Rose Benton, Vigil Co-ordinator – 07970 996 003

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mhambi is in Bloemfontein - the k@k'st place?

David Kramer once sang at a Vrye Weekblad festival that the Free State capital in South Africa is the kakest (shitiest) place he ever saw.

I'm visiting my mother in Bloemfontein. My mother is busy converting her house into a Bloemfontein guest house for all those tourists racing down the N1 highway to Cape Town or Jo'burg.

To me there's not much to do in Bloem except perhaps hanging out in the Exclusive Books - an upmarket book retailler - in the Mimosa mall. Mhambi hates malls, but there's really nothing else to do.

But apparently a recent survey found it to be the best city to live in in South Africa?! Well at least because there's so little going on, Mhambi has time to blog.

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Talk the talk, walk the walk

Mhambi is a soutpiel (Afr: salt cock). I live in England and meddle in South African affairs. One leg in England another in SA with my member dangling somewhere off the Ivory Coast in the Atlantic.

Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.

But Mhambi wants to semigrate. Semigrate is a term coined by Roof Bezuidenhout if I'm not mistaken. It's a term for whitey South Africans migrating from the North of the country to Cape Town. Cape Town being soo dreadfully European that moving there is like moving halfway to Europe.

But Mhambi wants to do a different kind of semigration. Move from one hundred percent Europe to the Africa-Europe that is Cape Town. Mhambi is very lucky to have a lovely Spanish chica who likes the idea. Laura is a shoe designer of note.

This month she is in Cape Town to manufacture a set of prototypes. We hope that if that goes well, she can manufacture her whole range of shoes in South Africa.

She is collaborating with the brilliant South African artist / designer Peet Pienaar. Peet is also doing the designs for the world cup football.

The factory where she wants her shoes manufactured has just this January completed its last order of shoes for Puma. Previously it produced for Nike and many other well known brands. Now most of the business has left for China. Only one floor in the factory still produces shoes, the rest is storage.

Other South African footwear factories have closed down alltogther, or have become importers of shoes. It's sad really. The shoes Laura, my girlfriend, wants to produce need some sophisticated equipment that this factory used to have, but not anymore. She may have to go to Durban, another South African city to complete the shoes.

It's considerably more expensive to produce shoes in South Africa than China, but she hopes to make the fact that SA has stringent labour legislation and better payed workers, part of her unique selling point.

So far everything is going well. It looks like the shoes will be made. Everybody is very excited. There is just one real problem. Laura's orientation is very bad. Cape Town's highways notoriously random.

She is scared to drive to the factory, which is close to Elsies river on the Cape Flats. One or two wrong turns and your in gangland. Workers at the factory have advised her to leave early. They told her that its not a good place for a woman to be driving alone. She is very nervous, and so am I.

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De la Rey is a symbolic weapon against a symbolic problem

At last someone writes a whole article of sense and spot on observation about the phenemena that is the De la Rey song. To Mhambi it was all the more surprising when he learnt Johann Rossouw was the author.

Johann used to write rather dense articles about post structuralist theory for Die Perdeby, the student newspaper of the University if Pretoria. Rest assured, not many meisies in Huis Madelief read his missives.

But last Sunday Rossouw, published an article Alienation much more symbolic than material and Mhambi could not agree more. The article was a response to the Sunday Times's editor Mondli Makahya's article. Mondli asked mused about why there was a surge in a siege mentality amongst Afrikaners.

Johann makes the following points: "One of the ironies of the 13 years since 1994 is that while a particular community could be going through intense historical self-reflection, the rest of society might be quite oblivious to it....

How then should Afrikaner alienation be understood, and solved? Let us start by suggesting what should not be done.

Firstly, avoid the myth that Afrikaners are still suffering from “power-loss syndrome” — after all, the young Afrikaners singing De la Rey never knew state power. Secondly, avoid reducing Afrikaners to mere economic beings by claiming that since some have become successful entrepreneurs and often ugly materialists, Afrikaners should be happy.

Thirdly, avoid the myth that Afrikaans is doing well. Two- thirds of Afrikaans schools have disappeared or been anglicised and Afrikaans universities are all in various stages of anglicisation, except Stellenbosch. Afrikaans has practically disappeared from the civil service.

The root cause of the alienation is the fact that the recognition between Afrikaners and Africans that served as the basis for 1994 have been severely eroded after the Mandela era. The important point is that the alienation is much more symbolic than material, and there is no reason it can’t be dealt with speedily."

Johann lists a few things that could be done:

By all means restore African place names, but not by erasing Afrikaans place names, for example, Tshwane-Pretoria;

Use language or class rather than race as the basis for affirmative action;

Increase mother-tongue education for all children, instead of targeting Afrikaans schools in the name of access, often anglicising those schools and winning poor education in a second language for speakers of African languages;

Use the Constitution, as a policy guideline rather than a narrow racially defined concept of transformation, as a policy guideline. and redefine transformation as a means of creating institutions that serve our communities rather than a new racial elite

Beef up administrative capacity in the land-reform process rather than demonising the majority of farmers on the basis of vague accusations; and

Deal effectively with crime by redefining our national ideal as that of a sense of community rather than consumerist wealth that excludes most citizens and creates symbolic misery among the consuming classes.

Ah, I hear some of you say. Is symbolism so important? Yes it is, why has the 9/11 attacks changed the world? They were for all the spectacular effect a minor tragic incident in the context of the power of the US behemoth. But the symbolism of it all shook the world.

Post structuralist theory apparently dismisses taking symbols as face value, or so I hear. I was going to try to make a pun on symbolism and post structuralism, but alas, I can't, I don't quiet get it.

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