Raceballs 21: A Friday Top Thirteen

Official Almanack of the People's Republic of Racial Lunacy

13. Professor Jonathan Jansen’s evolving views on Afrikaans and Afrikaans-speakers:

Jansen in a 2010 lecture on Afrikaans commenting on being addressed in Afrikaans in predominantly Afrikaans areas:

"More than ever before Afrikaans is flourishing in city and countryside; there are now more cultural festivals in Afrikaans than during the apartheid period. Having just returned from school and community visits from Klerksdorp to Paarl, I found that white and black people spoke only Afrikaans, and any attempt to initiate discussion in English would be gently countered in the vibrant mother-tongue or locally dominant language, Afrikaans."

Jansen in 2019 defending his irate Tweeted criticism of a Stellenbosch shopkeeper who responded in Afrikaans to his questions in English:

"In a sheltered place like Stellenbosch you experience that emotional whiplash of encounters with Afrikaans every single day. The most common of those experiences is in the marketplace where many Afrikaans speakers in trading places would refuse point blank to speak to you in the language of initiation. Hence the above posting on my social media pages that evoked bitter online comment from white Afrikaans speakers."


Jansen in his October 2009 inaugural lecture as Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State:

"I am deeply committed to the promotion of Afrikaans and Sesotho at the University of the Free State. Many of you have asked me to do away with Afrikaans in the name of pragmatism. Let me be clear: that will not happen on my watch. We will respect the history of this institution and its founding language. Rather than do away with languages, we should embrace more languages. In 2010 I will open discussion on ways in which we can get every white student to learn Sesotho or Setswana and every black student to learn Afrikaans, and all our students to learn to write and speak English competently."

(In his final year of office at UFS the council adopted a policy making English “the primary medium of instruction at undergraduate and postgraduate level on all three campuses.”)

Jansen in 2019 welcoming the Constitutional Court judgment endorsing the downgrading of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University:

"And so eventually the debate on Afrikaans in universities ended not with a bang but a whimper in the Constitutional Court last week. Decades of intense struggles to maintain a few exclusive Afrikaans universities, at one point, and then to retain Afrikaans as a primary language of instruction, at a later point, all came to a screeching halt in the court of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng… At the heart of the disappointment with the Constitutional Court ruling among language activist groups like Gelyke Kanse (equal chances) is a 20th-century lament that Afrikaans deserves the same status as English. That kind of miscalculation is a sad leftover from the so-called Anglo-Boer War, as if the struggle over language today is still about a political settlement between the dominant languages of two warring white parties."


12. Richard Branson’s apology for tweeting a picture of too many light-skinned people in one place:

 Yet within days he was up to his old tricks again:

11. Now ex-Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Mongameli Bobani’s complaint that white people stole water meant for black people.

According to a HeraldLive report: “’White people stole the black people’s water.’ This is what Bobani told a roomful of congregants and guests at the Bantu Church of Christ in New Brighton on Wednesday. He was speaking at the memorial service of the late amaXhosa King Mpendulo Calvin Zwelonke Sigcawu. At the service, Bobani said the previous local government led by the DA, COPE and ACDP were against black people." Bobani said “There are white people who stole water meant for the black people. We are investigating that and we have questioned the previous DA-led administration that they were given R350m, but now we have a drought.”

10. The Black Management Forum’s response to Andre de Ruyter’s appointment as Eskom CEO:

President Andile Nomlala told SABC news: “We are having a government that is running our state and we are entrusting them with our future and they find white males on the side of the road and they make them CEO’s of critical state-owned enterprises and that’s where our issue is at. I’m not a political party. I’m not trying to score cheap political points here. I’m a concerned South African citizen who’s a black professional who goes to school like many other black professionals who qualify.”

9. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi’s response to a News24 report detailing evidence of corruption dating to Julius Malema’s time as a senior ANC politician in Limpopo:

8. Julius Malema’s response to SAA being placed in business rescue:

The EFF leader told PowerFM: “It will be a sad day if the SAA is going to be sold under President Ramaphosa. There is something going on at SAA. You can see that hyenas want to capture it and that moment has come. It’s not only SAA, either…Denel, Acsa, Eskom will follow. Every little thing that we have as South Africans, which we are proud of, this man [Ramaphosa] will sell to his white friends. That will be his legacy. Ramaphosa will be remembered for selling South African assets to the people close to him”.

7. Jonny Steinberg in the Financial Mail on the significance of Malema:

“The importance of Malema’s role in national politics over the past decade cannot be overemphasised. In crisp and eloquent language, he has told the tale of a people’s disenchantment. Black people have been tricked, he says. They acquired the vote in 1994, but they did not acquire power. Instead, a deal was stitched up between an old white elite and a new black one. Nelson Mandela was a zombie, a living corpse, directed by the interests of white people. Those around him were simply corrupt. The entire generation that ostensibly delivered us from apartheid in fact delivered a sham. Malema’s importance is that he corralled widespread feelings into a simple narrative.”

6. Also Steinberg in the same Financial Mail article, on how the “ungovernability” of the country limits Malema’s ability to mobilise the country:

“South Africans are among the hardest people on the planet to govern and also among the most fractured. They have been for generations. The struggle against apartheid and the magic of the Mandela years masked this, at least for some… And if South Africans are ungovernable, they are also wary of power. They have no respect for it. They are deeply sceptical of those who wield it.

Such wariness is born from a long history of fractiousness; an ungovernable society is not one that readily agrees to be led. That is perhaps why only a small fraction of those who are taken with Malema’s narrative will ever vote for him. It is one thing to identify with the story a person tells; it is quite another to agree to follow him. Malema is enormously important as a shaper of people’s thoughts about their country; but as a mobiliser of a populist movement, he is running up against his limits.”

5. ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule’s criticism, on IOL, of the PIC’s liquidation application against Sekunjalo Independent Media on “free speech” grounds:

“Try as I may, I cannot interpret the extraordinary - almost exclusive - concentration of the PIC on SIM as quirky behaviour by the commissioners, or a coincidence. As secretary-general of the ANC, to whom our members and supporters come with their concerns, I have several times had to face the genuine questions of worried comrades. They are concerned that there is much more here than meets the eye and that SIM is being singled out, not because of financial irregularities, or specifically its alleged breach of contractual commitments to the PIC, but because of the independent positions and reporting of its newspapers and the very influential Independent Online (IOL).”

4. The BLF’s decision to change its constitution to allow for white members, with certain conditions attached.

A Special Policy Conference of the party resolved that:

a. The main objective of BLF is the liberation of black people from the system of white supremacy, which oppresses black people for the benefit of whites.

b. Membership of BLF is open to all who agree to the following:

i. South Africa (SA) belongs to black people.

ii. SA was stolen from black people by white people.

iii. White people arrived in SA in 1652 and are therefore not indigenous people of this country.

iv. White people are therefore colonialists who also implemented apartheid against black people.

v. The 1994 Constitution is anti-black and must be replaced by a pro black constitution of redress.

vi. White people must not only return the stolen land, they must also pay reparations to black people for colonialism and apartheid.

3. The EFF’s attempt to mobilise against white farmers using the brutal beating to death by mentally disturbed trainee Sangoma, Fritz Joubert, of his friend and teacher Anele Hoyana, on Joubert’s “farm” in Gonubie, outside East London.

Joubert, who was an Eskom contractor, not a farmer, was in turn shot and killed by SAPS Warrant Officer Hendrick Odendaal. Joubert had a notorious reputation in the district having previously forced a former neighbour, Victor Badenhorst, to sell and flee his farm after Joubert had issued death threats, shot his dogs, and generally made his life impossible.

In a press statement headlined “brutal and racist murder of Anele Hoyana by white farmer, Fritz Joubert” the party said that:

“All major papers and news cables should be leading with this terrible anti-black Farm murder committed by a white Springbok T-shirt wearing racist man. The man videoed himself; meaning he wanted the world to know his actions, his words. He wanted his victim to be identifiable; he even promises her a punishment due to him. This is a powerful image that many in our country may find hard to accept. Many more prefer to live in denial, a false euphoria created by the very politics of the Springbok T-shirt warn by the racist, black hating perpetrator. Many more cases of black humiliation and dehumanisation exist across the country. Many black people have to kneel, in fact they live on their knees in constant dependence on white mercy and patronage.”

An EFF mob subsequently occupied the farm promising to turn it into a pre-school. Regional EFF chairperson Mziyanda Hlekiso told the Sowetan: "We raided that farm because that man was fueled by racism and nothing else. That is the reason we went to occupy that farm. When white people kill black people, we as blacks sometimes say the perpetrator is probably mentally unstable. But when it is a black person committing the same offence he is immediately called a criminal. We have taken over that farm. It is our farm now. We are going to convert it to a pre-school."

2. Isaac P Shai’s column in the Daily Maverick questioning why the Fallist Kanya Cekeshe is in prison - for torching a police vehicle during protests - while Helen Zille is not:

“Why does Kanya Cekeshe languish in jail for his political activism, while Helen Zille is free to tweet her defence of colonialism? It is time to decolonise the law and make it appropriate to Africa…. Cekeshe was arrested, tried and found guilty and, pending his appeal, he is, for now, a convicted criminal…. The situation is turned on its head with regard to Helen Zille.

Although she was roundly condemned mainly by black people and progressive sectors of the white community, including her party’s feeble remonstrations, she continued to be Western Cape premier and has lately been promoted within her party. Her implied savagery of African people and ontological violence that she continues to unleash with unmitigated hubris seem not to attract concomitant violence of the law. Besides the pronouncement by the public protector, the law has not really extended its hand towards her and chances are that it will not.”

1. Ayanda Mdluli’s five part series on IOL responding to Ferial Haffajee’s (and other) criticism of his boss, Iqbal Survé:

Part 1: “In this five-part series, senior journalist Ayanda Mdluli sets the record straight and unpacks the lies (fake news) and the motive behind these self-righteousness and self-styled paragons of virtue. Their collective goal [of those reporting critically on Sekunjalo and Survé], which they have tried to hide, is the desire to reverse or at least frustrate transformation of the media industry and the economy in particular.”

Part 2: Survé “has always spoken about a unified South Africa, would want to level the playing fields. Survé simply instituted a policy which removed benefits based on race, and on the buddy network system, and created a workplace which was non-racial and merit-based. Bringing about equality does not amount to hounding anyone out of their jobs by all accounts.”

Part 3: “The days of black professionals, especially in the South African media, taking whippings lying down from those who are opposed to transformation and black ownership in the sector should have died in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became the president of South Africa. Sadly, the remnants of those dark days are still among us and, as we have unpacked, the cancer of institutionalised racism has continued to eat away at the heart of the South African media industry.”

Part 4: Missing from [Haffajee’s] selective narrative are the facts about Independent Media, most significantly that since the sale of Independent Media to Sekunjalo, the business has been transformed from 90% white management and ownership to 80% black. At Independent Media, black skills and journalists continue to win local and international awards. They prosper knowing that they have the freedom to be innovative and explore.”

Part 5: “Human casualties are an inevitable consequence of war, and let us be clear, there is a war happening in the media space in South Africa. However, it need not be so as there is space for everyone to have a share of the voice, especially in a vibrant democracy like ours. The lengths to which competitors and those wishing to control the narrative in South Africa’s media space go, however, can be extreme.”