David Bullard vs Xolela Mangcu: The emails (updated)

Moneyweb columnist releases exchange in reply to BDay columnist's accusations

JOHANNESBURG - The Moneyweb columnist David Bullard has released an email exchange between himself and senior nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution and Business Day columnist, Xolela Mangcu. This follows Mangcu's claim over the weekend that Bullard had, in an email, threatened to sue him "and bring misery to my family and children." This Mangcu added was crossing the line. "As an adult I can take care of myself, but leave my family and children out of this. But for Bullard there are no boundaries when it comes to black people."

In the version of the correspondence released by Bullard on Monday there is no apparent threat to sue Mangcu - or to bring misery to his family. Bullard does say: "See you at Constitution Hill [the home of the Constitutional Court] I hope." But this is a reference not to legal proceedings but to an earlier online challenge to Mangcu to meet him "in live debate at Constitution Hill."

The exchange was triggered by an attack on Bullard by Mangcu in his Business Day column last week. Mangcu asked rhetorically "how does an unreconstructed racist such as David Bullard achieve the status of a superstar in the white community?" This provoked an emailed reply from Bullard, and an acrimonious exchange ensued between the two men (see below).

The bad blood between the two columnists dates from last year when Mangcu led the calls for Bullard's sacking over a satirical column in the Sunday Times mocking the notion that all Africa's woes stemmed from colonial intrusion.

In a follow up column published in Business Day on April 17 2008 Mangcu warned that if the white minority did not mend their ways - and denounce what he regarded as Bullard's racism - they risked bringing violent repercussions down upon themselves and their young children. He stated: "I still have the hope that the all-too-easy defensive reflexes of racism will give way to long-term thinking about the safety of all those defenceless [white] children, who will be left to reap the whirlwind of [black] hate."

The Mangcu emails - as released by David Bullard:

This was sent at 07h50 on 17th July

Hi there Xolela

I am pleased to see you're giving me lots of free advertising in your columns. Last week you mentioned that you thought I was looking for a job. I appreciate your concern and know that you will sleep much better knowing that, partly thanks to you, I have never been more in demand. There are currently two internet columns and one on the way (sponsored by a large insurer) and the usual print stuff. I'm also busy on the speaking and MC circuit once again. There was a lull after the sacking but things improved when people realized that Makhanya was lying and that the Sunday Times had no credibility.

I spoke to a packed and appreciative audience at a dinner on Bastille Day and I have done quite a few swanky corporate events of late. In fact, next month I am off to Mozambique to do a three day stint with Alec Hogg for Wits Business School. Five days in a luxury resort....just imagine. Better than hanging around Hyde Park all day.

I am a guest speaker at the book fair in Richmond in October and have been booked for a quasi govt do in 2010. So please don't worry about my ability to pay the bills.

See you at Constitution Hill I hope. Don't spend all that money that Tokyo gave you at might have to find a real job.

Best wishes to Mrs Mangcu and those gorgeous children.

Keep the barbs coming....I love ‘em.

All the best


This reply [from Xolela Mangcu] sent at 11.10 on 17th July

Wow, what a charmed existence. Congratulations. By the way one column is all i need to make a conclusion about whether someone is an unreconstructed racist or not - especially after they have given a public apology, best, Xolela

This came a minute later

Oh by the way, you might have to come up with some real evidence about Tokyo giving me money. I'd like to see evidence of it myself, best, Xolela

And this an hour after

Put simply - an unreconstructed racist is someone who expresses and publishes racist views. Period.

To which I replied at 18h02 on 17th July

Maybe you should see a have all this anger in you and I think it's probably because you know you are a fraud. I mean....that doctorate....and all that bragging about the Brookings Institution. Real people don't do that sort of thing. This has given you a huge inferiority complex which makes you see everything as racist if it's said by an educated white man like myself. Even black people are cringing with embarrassment at your utterances. You need to reinvent yourself. Let me help you. Read the Bizday on Monday for the solution.

In the meantime have a fine weekend. Mrs B and I are away in the mountains. A log fire burning and not a care in the world. Next week I drive a new Bentley down to the Midlands and life is indeed sweet....even for an "unreconstructed racist". They've even thoughtfully cut eyeholes in my pillow cases!!!!! (NB That was a joke....I know you're a bit deficient in the sense of humour dept.)

Up and onward.


This reply sent at 21h52 on 17th July

Looks like I may have to get an interdict to stop you from writing these e-mails to me, Xolela

To which I replied at 12h07 on 18th July

My dear Xolela

My are an old grouch aren't you. Here am I, full of brotherly love, urging you to go to therapy for your own good and what response do I get? A threat of an interdict.

If you put your e.mail address on your weekly column you surely must expect responses. So to get an interdict after doing that would make you look an even bigger plonker than you do already. Can you imagine the mockery that would follow? "intellectual" and a member of the famed Brookings Institute failing to engage in friendly banter with your readers? Tut tut? What happened to the "think" part of "think tank'? No my dear chap, I urge you to reconsider. And please go for some Freudian analysis. I think it might help you.

Meanwhile, a happy Mandela day to you and don't forget to devote 67 minutes to somebody else. It can't always be about you.

Wishing you a fine weekend.


End of correspondence

UPDATE (July 22 2009): Bullard's emailed challenge to Mangcu

From: David Bullard
To: xolela mangcu
Cc: Peter Bruce; Bronwyn Marques; James Myburgh
Sent: Wednesday, 22 July, 2009 15:27:17
Subject: Please let me see that threatening e.mail.

My dear Xolela

You stated in your column in The Weekender last Saturday that I had threatened to sue you and bring misery to your family. As you may appreciate these are very serious and damaging accusations and need to be dealt with timeously.

Our e.mail exchange is on PoliticsWeb for all to enjoy and there is no suggestion that I am about to sue you or involve your family in any way. Naturally some readers are cynical and suggest that the e.mails are "doctored" or that some have been omitted.

As a matter of urgency would you please send me a copy of the e.mail in which you allege that I made these threats. Kindly copy to all the above parties.

Fondly as ever


PS Don't forget to come back with some dates for our public debate at Constitution Hill. Should be a show stopper.

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