Leon Lemmer: Allister Sparks se outobiografie

Allister Sparks (links) saam met Chris Hani en Helen Suzman
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Die berugste Afrikaanse koerant is seker Max du Preez se Vrye Weekblad (1988-1994), wat ‘n geweeklaag teen die blanke politieke bewind was, dikwels uitgedruk in bedenklike Afrikaans. Die skandaligste plaaslike Engelse koerant was die Rand Daily Mail (RDM, 1902-1985), wat later op die internet herleef het. Die RDM was in berugtheid ‘n kortkop voor die Daily Dispatch, met Donald Woods (1933-2001) as redakteur, wat in die volksmond as die Daily Disgrace bekend gestaan het. Ek skryf vandag oor Allister Sparks (10.03.1933-19.09.2016), ‘n joernalis wat aan albei laasgenoemde koerante verbonde was. Ek doen dit na aanleiding van Sparks se outobiografie, The sword and the pen: Six decades on the political frontier (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2016, 626p, R300; Amazon Kindle $13,67).

the_sword_and_the_pen_by_allister_sparksSparks sou homself ongetwyfeld narsisties op die skouer geklop het by die gedagte dat hy net-net betyds sy lewensbeskrywing voltooi het. By hom het beskeidenheid met verloop van tyd al hoe skaarser geword, gevoed deur bv Nelson Mandela se opmerking (weergegee op die voorkant van die boek): “One of South Africa’s eminent journalists, whose outspoken views have served the cause of democracy in this country magnificently.” “Democracy” is hier misbruik as ‘n eufemisme vir swart mag. Vroeg in die boek spog Sparks reeds onbeskaamd: “my reportage played a role in transforming my country” (Kindle 159). Later word dit opgegradeer tot: Sy joernalistiek “contributed significantly to the transition” (8539).

Die woord “frontier” in die newetitel van die boek sinspeel op Sparks se geboorte in Cathcart, naby die destydse oosgrens van die Kaapkolonie. Maar Sparks vertolk daardie destydse situasie uit die oogpunt van die swartes, dus getrou aan sy eenogigheid: “The encounter on that frontier was violent and tragic, and indeed laden with dreadful misfortunes, for the native Xhosa people” (37). “The isiXhosa-speaking Thembu tribe … was to give us Nelson Mandela” (236). Sparks beskryf bv die dood van die Xhosa-opperhoof Hintsa in besonderhede en bestempel dit as ‘n “war crime” (90). Hy sal hom egter nie verknies oor die dood van talle blankes, insluitende Britse setlaars van 1820 af, wat deur swartes uitgemoor is nie. Sommige van daardie 1820-setlaars is Sparks se voorgeslagte: “My own family members … They had all been 1820 Settlers, on both my father’s and my mother’s side” (218).

Die 19de-eeuse Oosgrens dien as aanloop tot dié 20ste eeuse onderwerp waarby Sparks die graagste wou uitkom: “the frontier of my birthland transmuted into the struggle of liberty against the racist crime of apartheid” (147). Later verwys hy na “the twin evils of racism and nationalist zealotry” (425). Oor die ou Suid-Afrika skryf Sparks: “I was not stirred by the sound of its national anthem, nor by the sight of its flag” (2721). “Patriotism was a sentiment I had never experienced until I was there in the amphitheatre of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, watching Nelson Mandela being sworn in as the first President of a democratic South Africa” (1384). Hy noem daardie gebeurtenis “one of the emotional highlights of my life” (8314). “I felt a surge of emotion. Of national pride for the first time in my life. And with that a personal sense that all those many thousands of words I had written over the years had played a role and at last been justified” (8342).

Sparks het sy eerste skoolonderrig aan ‘n plaasskool ontvang en daarna het sy ma hom tuis saam met ‘n ander familielid onderrig (764). Hy verduidelik nie waarom sy ouers nie ook die swart kinders op die plaas by hierdie onderrig betrek het nie. Later het hy in Cathcart en Queenstown op skool. Waar kom Sparks se anti-Afrikanergesindheid vandaan? “My parents, I must confess, nurtured strong anti-Afrikaner prejudices … Both spoke fluent isiXhosa … but neither spoke a word of Afrikaans” (806). Polities was hierdie Sparks klaarblyklik uit pas met ander blankes: “The whites of the Eastern Cape have always been – and remain – among the most politically conservative” (881; ook 1143). Dus, sedert 1820 word ook die Engelssprekende blankes in die Oos-Kaap vanweë hulle ervaring met die swartes tot realisme gelouter.

Een van Sparks se groot sielkundige probleme was dat hy geen naskoolse kwalifikasie verwerf het nie. Daarom skryf hy in sy hoedanigheid as selfgemaakte euwel: “Journalism became my education and my intellectual salvation even as my country transformed from a racist police state to a non-racial democracy” (159). Sparks het ‘n jaar lank (1962-1963) aan die Universiteit Harvard studeer met ‘n Nieman-studiebeurs, wat “combating racism” as doel het (2985). Hierdie beurs word uitsluitlik aan linkse Suid-Afrikaanse joernaliste toegeken, bv Ton Vosloo, Tim du Plessis en Henry Jeffreys. In die polities linkse opset van Harvard het Sparks kennis gemaak met WJ Cash se boek, The mind of the South (1941), waarvan sy kortbegrip is: “a vivid portrait of that colourful but cruelly bigoted region” (201). Hy vind ooreenkomste tussen rasse-segregasie in die Suidelike Amerikaanse state en apartheid in Suid-Afrika: “All those similarities between the Southerners and the Afrikaner Nationalists of my own country struck me” (3146). Hy het uiteraard die Suidelike state van Amerika besoek en moeite gedoen om “the great man,” Martin Luther King, jr, te ontmoet (3065).

Die blankes in die Suidelike state wat nie Sparks se politieke oortuigings onderskryf nie, word soos volg deur Cash beskryf: “A vague race lumped together indiscriminately as the poor whites – very often, in fact, as the ‘white trash.’ These people belonged, in the main, to a physically inferior type, having sprung for the most part from the convict servants, redemptioners, and debtors of Virginia and Georgia, with a sprinkling of the most unsuccessful sort of European peasants and farm labourers and the dregs of the European town slums” (3134). Sparks sou geen bron aanhaal wat nie-blankes op ‘n soortgelyke manier slegsê nie.

Sparks het homself afgevra waarom blanke Suiderlinge hulle in bv die jare sestig in groter mate as Suid-Afrikaanse blankes tot geweld teen swartes gewend het. Sy gevolgtrekking was dat private indiwidue dit in Amerika gedoen het omdat die staat homself van sodanige geweld weerhou het. In Suid-Afrika is dit egter glo die Nasionale Party-regering wat die geweld en onderdrukking namens die blankes (sekerlik spesifiek die Afrikaners) pleeg het (3158).

Hendrik Verwoerd en diesulkes het (myns insiens tereg) geredeneer “that racial equality, one-man-one-vote, would lead to chaos and anarchy and the collapse of all civilised society. Above all – and this was the toughest nut to crack – it would lead to the demise of the Afrikaner volk. It would mean national suicide for the Afrikaner” (3267). Die nasionale selfmoord van Afrikaners is presies wat Sparks begeer het. Sparks het ‘n verslag oor sy Harvard-jaar opgestel en beweer sy dosent het dit as “the equivalent of an MA thesis” bestempel (3279). Daarmee het Sparks seker gehoop om ‘n bietjie van sy gevoel van akademiese minderwaardigheid af te skud. Dwarsdeur sy outobiografie is daar stellings wat nie gekontroleer kan word nie omdat die betrokke mense dood is. Sparks deel ook kwistig komplimente aan homself uit oor bv wat hy lank voor gewone sterwelinge voorsien het, hoewel dit op nabaat kan berus.

Sparks vertel dat hy op skool goed in die vak geskiedenis gevaar het. “The groaning wagons of the Great Trek, the repetitiveness of the battles, the treachery of the tribal chiefs, the heroism of the white settlers and the meddlesomeness of the missionaries and the Colonial Office in London who didn’t understand the true nature of the natives. It was biased and it was boring … what a travesty had been committed by the South African education system” (207). “I got a distinction for history in matric … Yet there were gaps, unforgivable great holes, in the subject matter we were taught about our own country” (870). Hy spreek egter geen kritiek uit teen die soort pro-swart en anti-blanke geskiedenis wat deesdae aan plaaslike skoliere opgedis word nie.

Na matriek het Sparks in 1951 as ‘n koerantverslaggewer by die Daily Representative in Queenstown begin werk. Daarna het hy twee jaar in Londen deurgebring; ‘n tyd “that liberated me from the narrow vision of farm and small-town life, especially in a prejudice-ridden country such as South Africa. True personal freedom requires liberation from one’s own prejudices as well as from the diminution of the freedom of others to whom those predudices are directed” (1293). “As I was soon to realise, Britain was by no means free of racism at this time. When it began to dismantle its empire, dark-skinned immigrants from countries such as Pakistan and the West Indies began arriving in numbers, and notices declaring ‘No Coloureds’ began springing up on the walls of boarding houses and bed-and-breakfast establishments” (1390). Sparks het as ‘n arbeider, kelner en klerk gewerk en nie ‘n joernalis in Fleet Street geword soos hy gehoop het nie.

Hy het per skip na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer en in Kaapstad aan wal gegaan. “From that moment on my awareness of the injustices of my country seemed to grow by the day. What had been familiar before now appeared obscene” (1477). “Apartheid was making every job colour-coded” (1489). Hy opper egter nêrens enige beswaar teen hoe daar deesdae teen blankes gediskrimineer word nie. Vervolgens het hy as joernalis by The Chronicle in Bulawayo gaan werk. “The whites of Southern Rhodesia, nearly all migrants from Britain, were too stubborn and every bit as racist as the Afrikaners of South Africa, whom they condescendingly despised in a parallel strand of intra-ethnic prejudice” (1519). “I didn’t believe there was any material difference between the English whites of Rhodesia and the Afrikaners of South Africa when it came to resisting black political advancement” (1634). Die Afrikaners word dus deur hom as rassiste uitgesonder; nie die Engelssprekende Suid-Afrikaners nie.

Oor sy belewing van Suid-Rhodesië skryf Sparks: “I had not really been happy in Bulawayo” (1647). “For me it was a social desert. In the year I spent in Southern Rhodesia I made no friends of my own age. I never had a single date” (1548). Maar daar was tog baie swartes waarmee hy kon sosialiseer. As hy werklik polities so oorverlig was, waarom het hy nie tjommies met hulle gemaak nie? Ian Smith word beskryf as “Rhodesia’s nemesis” (1595). “Smith was never a great orator, nor a great intellect” en Sparks kla oor “the ugly intonation of his flat vowels” (1600).

Kenmerkend van Sparks se boek is dat hy byvoeglike naamwoorde invoeg om diegene af te kraak wat polities met hom verskil en ander byvoeglike naamwoorde gebruik om diegene op te hemel wat soos hy oor die politiek dink. Byvoorbeeld, Julius Nyerere van Tanzanië word beskryf as “one of the most thoughtful, perceptive politicians I have ever met” (2927). Nyerere het ingevolge sy sosialistiese beleid genaamd Ujamaa derduisende mense verskuif en groot hongersnood en baie sterftes veroorsaak. Dit verhoed Sparks nie om Nyerere te komplimenteer nie: “When he realised it [Ujamaa] wasn’t working as he had intended he dropped the programme – something Verwoerd could never bring himself to do” (2933).

Die Nieu-Seelander en integrasionis, Garfield Todd (1908-2002), wat tydens Sparks se Rhodesiese verblyf die eerste minister was, was Sparks se held, asook “his doughty daughter, Judith” (1600). Later noem hy haar ‘n “feisty … daughter” (2893). “I knew all about [Garfield] Todd, of course, and admired him greatly. Indeed I think he was arguably the most progressive and imaginative white leader ever to step onto an African political stage” (1606). Garfield het Joshua Nkomo se terroriste aktief ondersteun (2893). Judith (gebore in 1943), is in opdrag van Robert Mugabe deur ‘n swart soldaat verkrag en het ontpop as ‘n kritikus van die Mugabe-bewind. Toe Sparks later Rhodesië tydens Ian Smith se bewind besoek het, was sy waarneming van die swartes: “They saw the token reforms as a weakening of the white regime’s resolve and that more pressure was now needed to achieve full equality” (2899). Uit wat in Rhodesië gebeur het, het mense soos FW de Klerk nooit werklik ‘n les geleer nie. Hendrik Verwoerd het tereg geredeneer: “Any reform would simply invite more pressure” (2904).

Sparks het na Oos-Londen verhuis en by die Daily Dispatch as joernalis gaan werk. Hy noem die koerant “a venerable institution” (1683). “The paper still flew only the Union Jack from its flagpole” (1689). Die Nasionale Party-regering was dus oor landsvlae nie so onverdraagsaam soos die ANC-regering wat glad nie die openbare vertoning van die vorige landsvlag duld nie. In sy dekking van internasionale nuus was daar by die koerant “a bias towards British affairs” (1700). Sparks het in hierdie tyd sy eerste vrou, Mary Rowe, ‘n kind van Britse immigrante uit Cornwall, ontmoet en in 1957 met haar getrou. Dit was ook die begin van hulle vriendskap met ‘n mislukte student in die regte en mede-joernalis, Donald Woods, en sy vrou, Wendy.

Hierna het Sparks 18 maande lank by Reuter in Londen gewerk. Hierdie nuusagentskap het “an obsession with accuracy and objectivity” wat vir ‘n obsessiewe, instinktiewe mens soos Sparks problematies was. “I believe the latter [objectivity] is not strictly achievable since every individual views events through an inbuilt cultural and personal prism … the most one can realistically hope for is fairness” (1808; ook 4760). Sy ironiese raad aan joernaliste is: “Don’t become a propagandist” (4760); iets wat hy egter self deurentyd gedoen het; ook in sy outobiografie. In die laaste paragraaf hier onder kom ek weer by Sparks se “fairness” uit.

Hy skryf van “the violence being used to suppress protests against apartheid” (5283). Dit dring nie tot hom deur dat geweld nodig was om voorafgaande geweld te bekamp nie. Ons beleef dit tans opnuut: grootskaalse geweld word op universiteitskampusse gepleeg maar dit mag skynbaar nie met geweld bestry word nie, gevolglik is daar voortslepende en toenemende wetteloosheid. “Apartheid South Africa was effectively a police state” (5637), maar Sparks opper geen beswaar teen die militêre range wat polisielede in die nuwe Suid-Afrika het nie.

Hierna het Sparks by die Rand Daily Mail gaan werk en kennis met ‘n geesgenoot, Laurence Gandar (1915-1998), gemaak, wat die RDM-redakteur van 1957 tot 1965 was. Die RDM sou “the most liberal paper in the country” word (1925). Sparks loop oor van lof vir hierdie koerant. Volgens hom was dit “the best team of journalists ever assembled in South Africa” (1925). Hy beskou Gandar as sy “intellectual father” (1930); dalk eerder sy ideologie-pa. “He was a role model … He was the greatest editor I ever worked for, perhaps the greatest South Africa has ever seen” (1930). “Perhaps” omdat Sparks blykbaar ook aanspraak op daardie grootsheid wou maak. “By his example he [Gandar] … transformed the entire South African press, which in turn contributed to the remarkable transformation of the country from the outrage of apartheid to the hopefulness of a non-racial democracy” (1936).

Al was Sparks aanvanklik jingoïsties Britsgesind het hy dit teen “the Eurocentric outlook” (1993). Toe Suid-Afrika in 1961 ‘n republiek buite die Statebond geword het, was Sparks al dermate geafrikaniseer en sy voorkeure in so ‘n mate verswart dat hy kon skryf: “The ending of the relationship with the Royal Family meant nothing to me” (2715). As joernalis het Sparks verkies om alles primêr uit die oogpunt van swartes te sien. Die wet op grondbesit van 1913 het hy beskryf as die “‘original sin’ of South African racism” (2018), waarmee hy darem erken dat rassisme voor 1948 bestaan het. Hy kla ook oor “how deeply racist the Rand Daily Mail‘s predominantly white readership was” (2091). Hierdie gaping tussen wat die RDM aangebied het en die oortuigings van sy lesers sou uiteindelik tot die ondergang van die koerant lei.

Die RDM het besluit om die woord “native” met “African” te vervang (4784). (Later het alle nie-wittes “blacks” geword, 4766, 4778). Dit het ‘n groot daling in sirkulasie veroorsaak. Sparks pak die skuld hiervoor op veral Afrikaners. Die woord “African … seemingly containing an implication that black people had a proprietary right to the continent, that it was theirs and that white South Africans were outsiders, non-Africans. It was a hypocritical attitude, since whites had long taken pride in regarding themselves as ‘Europeans'” (2097).

Sparks skaar hom aan die kant van die ANC en die PAC se Robert Sobukwe (1924-1978). “The ANC itself had always been committed to the ideal of non-racialism rooted in its 1955 Freedom Charter” (2103). Sobukwe was volgens Sparks “at pains to stress that the concept [African] was not racist” (2108). Sobukwe word soos volg aangehaal: “We aim, politically, at government of the Africans by the Africans for the Africans, with everybody who owes his only loyalty to Africa and who is prepared to accept the democratic rule of an African majority being regarded as an African” (2114). Dit is te dik vir ‘n daalder vir seker die meeste blankes en sekerlik vir die meeste Afrikaners, maar Sparks het geen probleem met hierdie soort “nie-rassigheid” nie.

Sparks erken: “The Africanists resented the influence that the white communists seemed able to exercise on the ANC” (2114). As wit kommuniste probleme het om as Afrikane te kwalifiseer, watter kans het nie-kommunistiese Afrikaners? Sparks ontken dat daar iets soos swart rassisme bestaan. Hy skryf selfs Steve “Biko was no black racist” (4754). “I empathised with the broad objectives of the Black Consciousness Movement” (4772).

In die Suid-Afrikaanse politiek was daar net twee moontlikhede: rasseskeiding of integrasie (2166). Hendrik Verwoerd (1901-1966) het profeties gesê: “The end of apartheid … will be the end of the white man in South Africa” (2556). Sparks, daarenteen, het integrasie verkies: “Full racial integration was the only possible future for South Africa” (2574). “I was aware that a large number of my fellow English-speakers, perhaps a majority, quietly approved of the basics of apartheid while at the same time looking down upon the Afrikaners as being too rough, too unsubtle. There was an element of hypocrisy about some that I found contemptible” (2733). Hy erken ook dat Engelssprekende blankes wat uit Afrika, bv Kenia, gevlug het, voorkeur aan rasseskeiding gee (2250).

Verwoerd se standpunt word soos volg deur Sparks verwoord: “Multiracialism was the current vogue, but be assured that in time, as individual groups began to feel their national and cultural identities coming under the threat of being swamped by the influx of alien elements, there would be a reaction against it. Humanity would revert to a recognition of the need to protect their cultural identities in their own homeland areas” (2587). Al hoe meer tekens hiervan is deesdae oral in die Westerse wêreld waarneembaar. Sparks se vertolking is: “Afrikaner angst, the fear of cultural swamping and the loss of volksidentiteit … lay at the heart of their racist responses to the black majority” (2593). Johann Herder (1744-1803) “believed that culture, heritage and language were what defined a volk “(9132) maar Sparks misgun dit vir Afrikaners. Selfs teenoor die voortbestaan van behoudende, konserwatiewe Engelssprekendes was hy onsimpatiek gesind. Hy verwys na “the identity crisis of the white Afrikaners and the connivance of the English-speaking South Africans” (9121).

Sparks skryf: Jacob “Zuma had had no formal schooling” (8772). “Jacob never went to school” (8778). Ook: Zuma was “too lacking in understanding even if he had the will” (9040). Daarteenoor gee Sparks talle kere tereg te kenne dat Verwoerd intelligent was (2126, 2215, 2568, 4022, 4414, 4426, 4432, 4449). Toe Sparks ‘n jaar of wat gelede in die openbare pers Verwoerd intelligent genoem het, het dit so ‘n groot bohaai veroorsaak dat hy verplig gevoel het om sy stelling terug te trek en verskoning te vra. Selfs die verligste blanke moet dus op swart aandrang vernederend om verskoning vra, al het hy die waarheid kwytgeraak, want niks goeds mag van die blanke politieke bewind en veral apartheid gesê word nie. Sparks is in die laaste jare van sy leeftyd toegelaat om weekliks ‘n rubriek op Netwerk24 en in bv Die Burger te publiseer. Dit toon dat Naspers/Media24, soos die Nasionale Party, sedert 1990/94 ongetwyfeld polities ‘n U-draai gemaak het. Sedert Sparks se dood het daardie Afrikaanse nuusdiens telkens aanleidings gevind om hom postuum lof toe te swaai.

Die RDM het die spreekbuis van die Progressiewe Party geword. Die eerste leier van die party, Jan Steytler, het geredeneer: “We don’t need laws to keep our identity” (2845). ‘n Soortgelyke redenasie is aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch gebruik deur diegene wat vyandig teenoor Afrikaans was. Steytler: “No man must ask me to give him special protection just because he is white … I am not prepared to subsidise inefficiency” (2851). Deesdae is dit swartes wat spesiale beskerming geniet en is ondoeltreffendheid aan die orde van die dag. In ‘n helder oomblik het Sparks gepraat van “the centralising of inefficiency” (8486). Steytler: “Come with me into a future of prosperity by helping me to release the vast human potential of our country … South Africa can produce work and prosperity for all” (2857). Sparks eet dit alles vir soetkoek op. Hy erken nie dat Steytler verkeerd bewys is nie.

Omtrent al wat ‘n prominente linkse is se naam kom in Sparks se teks voor, by uitstek liberaliste en kommuniste; mense by wie daar onderling eerder ‘n graad- as ‘n aardverskil is. Sigmund Freud het na hierdie verskynsel as “the narcissism of minor differences” verwys (7437). Sparks: “I had long regarded myself as a liberal in the classical Lockean sense, which meant being instinctively on the side of the underdog in our racist society” (7818), wat van hom ‘n nuttige handlanger van kommuniste gemaak het. In die nuwe Suid-Afrika was hy egter nie bereid om vir die nuwe onderdruktes, die benadeelde blankes, in die bres te tree nie.

Mary Benson word beskryf as “the most indefatigable lobbyist and activist ever to have taken up the anti-apartheid cause” (3703). Winnie Mandela word beskryf as ‘n “tall, confident woman of striking beauty;” iemand met “elegance and charm” (7030). Hierdie mense het onder meer die vrylating van Nelson Mandela begeer. As hy vroeër vrygelaat is “we might have had more than just one all-too-brief term of his remarkable talents” (4071).

Na sy eerste vrou se dood het Sparks met Sue Matthey, van Switserse oorsprong, getrou. Die ingeperkte Beyers Naudé is uitgesoek om die huweliksband te lê (4855). Kort hierna was Sparks drie jaar lank die redakteur van die Sunday Express (4962) en daarna van die Rand Daily Mail (1977-1981), wat glo “the country’s greatest newspaper” was (6323). Na sy ontslag as RDM-redakteur het hy as die plaaslike korrespondent van koerante in Amerika, Brittanje en Nederland opgetree. “I felt a sense of satisfaction that my work was helping to build foreign pressure on South Africa to end apartheid – perhaps every bit as important as whatever domestic influence I’d had while editing the Rand Daily Mail” (7755). Later word hy selfs meer voorbarig met sy selfoorskatting: “I felt my coverage had played a role in the transformation, because I believed international pressure from the US, Britain and the Netherlands, where most of my reports had appeared, had contributed significantly [!] to the transition” (8539). Hy was ongetwyfeld sy eie held. Ierdere verering, erkenning of bekroning wat hom te beurt geval het, word in sy outobiografie geboekstaaf.

Na sy uittrede by die RDM het Sparks die Institute for the Advancement of Journalism gestig met ‘n tipiese nie-rassige doel: om opleiding aan swart joernaliste te verskaf. Na die dood van sy tweede vrou het Sparks met Jenny Gandar, die weduwee-skoondogter van Laurence, getrou maar hulle het na nege jaar geskei. Sparks het vier kinders waaronder “Michael and Andrew, both now living in England” (9176). Hulle het klaarblyklik nie genoeg waardering vir al die harde werk wat hulle pa verrig het om ‘n utopie hier aan die suidpunt van Afrika tot stand te bring nie.

“That sublime feeling of triumph, of having the dream of a lifetime come true against all the odds, stayed with me throughout Nelson Mandela’s term of office, and a bit beyond as Thabo Mbeki seemed to carry the baton for a while. But, as with all dreams, there comes an awakening to reality” (8358). Maar toe was die onherstelbare skade reeds gedaan. Sparks gee vir die blankes, veral die Afrikaners, die skuld vir hierdie mislukking en nie vir homself of die swartes nie. “Remoulding three centuries of racial domination and exploitation, and the shattering of black family life through generation upon generation of migrant labour, was never going to be a quick fix. Nor was there going to be any swift reincarnation of more such great souls as Nelson Mandela. So decline was inevitable” (8358). ‘n Mens kan bv vra: Wat het van Mbeki se “African Renaissance” (8380) geword?

Maar moenie dink Sparks het tot inkeer gekom nie. “In the interests of fairness let me note that despite Mbeki’s errors of judgment and Zuma’s multiple defects, South Africa is still a much better place than it was under apartheid … It is not headed towards becoming a failed state … It is not another Zimbabwe in the making” (9076). Tot sy dood het Sparks in sy politieke onredbaarheid volhard.

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