Leon Lemmer: Politici met lang oë

Hans Strijdom en sy eerste vrou, die aktrise Margaretha "Scrappy" van Hulsteyn wat onder die verhoognaam Marda Vanne in Londen opgetree het.

Nadat Nelson Mandela uit die tronk vrygelaat is, is sy lewensloop datumgewys in Die Burger aangestip. Omdat toegelaat is dat hy oornag van terroris tot vryheidsvegter en selfs heilige getransformeer is, is Mandela se eerste huwelik verswyg. Dat hy as getroude man en flambojante laventelhaan in sy groot Amerikaanse Oldsmobile-motor met vroue soos Winnie rondgeflenter het, is doelbewus weggelaat. Wat by Mandela opgeval het, is “his weakness for women … especially the pretty ones” (David James Smith, Young Mandela, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010, p 109). Mandela het self erken: “I led a thoroughly immoral life,” maar op ‘n absurde manier word hy “widely regarded as … perhaps our greatest living beacon of moral authority” (97). “It was hard to accept that family was so unimportant in the scheme of his life” (161). Toe hoogs uitsonderlik ‘n onderhoud met Mandela se eerste vrou, Evelyn Mase, gevoer is, het sy opgemerk dat sy nie verstaan hoe enigeen hom as ‘n heilige kon beskou nie. Fred Bridgland “found her fuming gently at the manner in which her ex-husband’s release [from prison in 1990] was being compared to the second coming of Christ” (59).

Sedertdien is Mandela se drie huwelike in so ‘n mate deur Jacob Zuma getroef dat “die vader van ons jong demokrasie” skynbaar opnuut heilig geword het. Oor Zuma skryf Ben Turok: “Over the years there have been persistent rumours that he tended to be overfriendly with young female cadres in the camps and particularly at Somafco, the ANC school in Tanzania” (With my head above the parapet: An insider account of the ANC in power, Auckland Park: Jacana, 2014, p 78). Ook: “Zuma also came in for some ridicule over his personal life, especially his marriages and extra-marital affairs” (158).

Ronnie Kasrils skryf in sy boek, A simple man: Kasrils and the Zuma enigma (Auckland Park: Jacana, 2017), oor hulle terugkeer uit ballingskap: “My one-time friend Jacob Zuma had returned home to a previous wife in rural Zululand, and at least two wives from exile, with nine children between them, and several other offspring fathered over the years” (p 16). Een van laasgenoemde twee vroue was Kate Mantsho, wat Zuma in Maputo, Mosambiek, leer ken het. Sy het in 2000 selfdood gepleeg. Sy het ‘n nota nagelaat: “‘Life had been hell’ living with him; ‘bitter’ and ‘painful’, she wrote” (28). In Adriaan Basson se boek, Zuma exposed (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2012), is daar ‘n foto van Gloria Zuma, “Zuma’s sixth wife,” en langsaan ‘n foto van Sonono Khoza, “Zuma’s lover and mother of his child” (p xiv).

Oor die Khwezi- (eintlik Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo) verkragtingsaanklag teen Zuma in 2005 skryf Kasrils: “I knew Zuma’s liking for female flesh” (106) en “knowing his notorious incapacity to control his libido” (112). Khwezi was lesbies en MIV-positief (109). Zuma was 61 en sy 31 jaar oud (113). Zuma is vrygespreek maar “he never apologised to Fezeka or to Beauty Kuzwayo [her mother]” (115). “In the court of public opinion there were no doubts. Zuma had escaped a guilty verdict on the charge of rape” (119-120). “Following the rape trial, the ANC leadership compelled Zuma to pledge that he would no longer engage in extramarital sex, which he soon flouted” (118).

In sy outobiografie skryf FW de Klerk van sy “commitment to Christian values,” wat in dieselfde asem genoem word as sy “responsibility for assuring the best possible future for my own people” (The last trek – A new beginning London: Macmillan, 1998, p xviii). “I had become an important role model in more than just politics” (367). De Klerk roem hierop onmiddellik nadat hy oor sy egskeiding van sy eerste vrou, Marike, weens sy owerspel met Elita Georgiadis, later sy tweede vrou, geskryf het. “Throughout my political career I sincerely tried to separate my personal problems from my political responsibilities” (368). Sedert 1994 ervaar ons daagliks eerstehands in hoeverre De Klerk sy verantwoordelikheid teenoor die blanke kiesers en hulle nageslag nagekom het.

FW de Klerk se ouer broer, Willem (Wimpie, van verlig/verkramp- en Boetman-faam), het destyds aan sy kleinboet die raad gegee dat hy sy egskeiding so vinnig moontlik moet afhandel. Willem was toe reeds self deur sy egskeiding van sy eerste vrou. Hy het toe met sy mede-dosent in kommunikasiekunde aan die Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, Nina Overton,* getrou. Willem het graag vertel dat hy as dosent uit Potchefstroom weg is omdat hy gedans het, maar van sy studente het aan my genoem dat sy probleem was dat hy, soos Mandela, te lief vir mooi vroue was.

[* In die politieke literatuur kom ‘n mens dikwels die frase “Overton window” teë. Dit is nie na Nina vernoem nie, maar na Joseph Overton (1960-2003). Hierdie venster omraam die idees, veral van ‘n politieke (of breër: ideologiese) aard, wat in ‘n bepaalde (bv die huidige) geestesklimaat in openbare gesprekke aanvaarbaar is of geduld word. Tans is ons sekerlik uitgelewer aan politieke korrektheid, wat een van die manifestasies van kulturele marxisme is. Politieke inkorrektheid (en dus Praag) val buite die Overton-venster. Glenn Beck het ‘n gewilde roman hieroor geskryf: The Overton window (2010, 480p; Amazon Kindle $2,27). In die nuwe Suid-Afrika word al hoe groter beperkings geplaas op wat blankes mag sê. Hulle Overton-venster word al hoe kleiner. Die uitdrukkingsvryheid van swartes, daarenteen, word feitlik in geen opsig aan bande gelê. Vir hulle is daar eintlik nie ‘n Overton-venster nie. Dalk is hulle venster gesteel.]

Dit bring my by ‘n politikus wat vanweë sy tweede huwelik verwant aan hierdie De Klerks is. Ek verwys na Johannes Gerhardus (Hans) Strijdom (1893-1958), ‘n eertydse eerste minister (1954-1958). Strijdom het in 1931 met Susan, die suster van Willem en FW se pa, Jan de Klerk, getrou. Hiermee het Strijdom verwantskap met die Doppers verkry, wat ironies is omdat dit juis die Doppers was wat vergaderings van die Nasionale Party ontwrig het as die gehoor dit gewaag het om gesange te sing (Bloomberg, bron hier onder, p 147-148). Hoewel Jan teen 1954 nog geen politieke pos beklee het nie, het Strijdom sy swaer as ‘n minister in sy kabinet aangestel. Dit is wyd en tereg as nepotisme veroordeel. Hoe uiters nadelig so ‘n vergryp kan wees, blyk uit die feit dat Jan, Willem en FW se betrokkenheid by die politiek tot hierdie misstap teruggevoer kan word. In 1990/94 het dit tot die ondergang van die blanke bewind gelei; iets wat Strijdom sekerlik glad nie begeer het nie.

Oor Strijdom se eerste huwelik is meesal geswyg. Andersins is net vaagweg daarna verwys. Soms is beweer dat Strydom se eerste vrou ‘n Engelse aktrise was. Onlangs is ‘n boek gepubliseer wat in besonderhede oor die gebeure handel: David Bloomberg, The lion and the thespian: The true story of prime minister JG Strydom’s marriage to the actress Marda Vanne (Johannesburg: Bookstorm, 2017, 335p, R300). In Kaapstad was Bloomberg (gebore in 1932) as regspraktisyn bekend, asook in teatergeledere. As polities oorverligte was hy ‘n raadslid van Kaapstad en van 1973 tot 1975 ook die burgemeester. In 1988, toe dit waarvoor hy hom beywer het, naamlik ‘n swart regering, al hoe meer ‘n moontlikheid geword het, het Bloomberg eers na Engeland uitgewyk en hom daarna in Switserland gevestig.

Bloomberg is een van baie anti-apartheidsaktiviste wat die omstandighede in die nuwe Suid-Afrika as onleefbaar beskou en gevolglik geëmigreer het. Deel van Bloomberg se politieke byderwetsheid blyk uit die buitensporige mate waarin hy in hierdie boek homoseksualiteit goedpraat. Wanneer hy Strijdom laat sê: “Sexual preferences have no place in Afrikaner society” (p 148), dateer hy ‘n hedendaagse kwessie terug tot die 1920’s. Ook wanneer hy beweer dat Strijdom tydens ‘n politieke vergadering nie die aanspreekvorm “dames en here” gebruik het nie (152), maar soos die swartes deesdae van “brothers and sisters” gepraat het (148). Ook verwysings na mense wat meer ruimte/”space” in ‘n verhouding wil hê (170, 304), klink erg hedendaags.

Die leeu waarna in die boektitel verwys word, is Hans Strijdom, wat in politieke geledere as die Leeu van die Noorde bekend gestaan het. Die aktrise waarna verwys word, is Margaretha van Hulsteyn, wat die verhoognaam Marda Vanne aangeneem het omdat dit meer aanvaarbaar in Britse teatergeledere is. “A name that tripped a little more easily off the tongue might be more acceptable to English audiences” (61). Die “Vanne” is ‘n aanpassing van Van Hulsteyn (62). Daar word beweer dat Strijdom na aanleiding hiervan ook sy van na Strydom verander het (229), maar ek hou by die meer gebruiklike en oorspronklike spelling van Hans se van. “Thespian” is “a fancy name for an actor or actress … It comes from a fellow called Thespis, an early actor in Ancient Greece” (p 237). Die outeur stal deurgaans sy grondige kennis en ervaring van die teater uit.

Die werk word aangebied as “a biographical novel based on the true story of the marriage, in 1924, of JG Strijdom … to the actress Marda Vanne” (vii). Fiktiewe tonele en dialoog is bygevoeg, asook ‘n vyftal karakters (viii), om die boek meer leesbaar te maak. Hou veral die fiktiewe aard van die dialoog in gedagte. Dit lyk asof die navorsing oor die toneelspelers deeglik gedoen is; minder so wat Strijdom betref. Die outeur gaan taamlik loslit om met historiese gebeure, bv die Suid-Afrikaanse politiek. Hiervoor het hy skynbaar op sy algemene kennis en geheue gesteun. Byvoorbeeld, volgens Hermann Giliomee het die Franse Hugenote tussen 1688 en 1700 in die Kaap aangekom, terwyl Bloomberg wyd van die merk is met “with the arrival of the Huguenots in the 1830s” (148).

Margaretha (1896-1970) was die dogter van ‘n Pretoriase advokaat, sir Willem van Hulsteyn (gebore in 1865), wat as ‘n 15-jarige uit Nederland geëmigreer en hom in Pretoria gevestig het. Sy titel het hy van die Britte ontvang ter erkenning van die dienste wat hy aan hulle tydens die Anglo-Boere-oorlog gelewer het (5). Na die oorlog het Willem egter sterk Afrikaner- en Afrikaansgesind geword. Margaretha was egter ‘n “non-conformist” en ‘n “tomboy” met ‘n sterk wil (6). Haar aggressiwiteit het uiting in “many scraps” gevind, gevolglik het ‘n onderwyser haar die bynaam Scrappy gegee (7). Later sê sy: “I was never a committed Christian … I’m probably agnostic” (175). Ek gebruik voortaan die name Hans en Scrappy.

Scrappy was “flirtatious” en daar was van vroeg af twyfel “to which side of the divide” haar seksualiteit sou ontwikkel (16). Sy was versot op toneelspel en van jongs af “flirt with the actors and actresses” (19). Sy wou egter nie ‘n Afrikaanse aktrise wees nie. Sy het gedink Afrikaanse dramaturge se “outlook is too confined … British plays are far more cultured and cosmopolitan” (26). Sy wou na Engeland gaan vir opleiding as aktrise en bowenal om haar uitspraak van Engels te verbeter (26). Scrappy het op ‘n jong ouderdom die rookgewoonte aangeleer. “This habit gave her additional sophistication” (25).

Terwyl die Van Hulsteyn-gesin in 1912 in Muizenberg vakansie gehou het, het sy as 16-jarige ‘n seksuele verhouding met ‘n jong digter en skilder, Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918), gehad. Rosenberg is homoseksueel (44) en Scrappy neig lesbies, maar “it’s not a sin” (45). Vir my is die irriterendste kenmerk van die boek die manier waarop Bloomberg vir Rosenberg en later vir Scrappy gebruik om nie net Joodse kultuur te verduidelik nie, maar om alles wat Joods is positief voor te stel en te propageer. Vir hierdie doel word Strijdom erg anti-semities uitgebeeld met Scrappy wat hom nie net oor die Jode teenspreek nie, maar ook oor sy anti-Britse en anti-swart gesindheid. Van Hans word gesê: “His vitriolic dislike of anything Jewish or English and his denigration of people whose skins were darker than his own suggested to Scrappy a person lacking culture and refinement” (164). “There are brilliant Jews in the world who have done much for humankind” (138).

Scrappy sê: “I’ve met a number of Jews and they have all been kind and understanding people, so wise. What makes them cleverer than others? Do you think they really are God’s Chosen People?” (211). Bloomberg dink sekerlik so. Hy laat Gerard Moerdijk sê: “The volk generally resent the Jews being more successful than they are” (212). Shakespeare word soos volg aangehaal: “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions … If you prick us, do we not bleed?” (138, ook 35). Hans werp teë: “We Afrikaners have our own identity. We have no room for Jews; they cannot be assimilated into our volk … There is no such thing as a good Jew” (139). As teenvoeter verwys Bloomberg na die Boerejode, maar hy spel dit “Boerejoode” (138, 179). Bloomberg sorg dat Eugène Marais die volgende lof aan Jode toeswaai: “Jews … are an extraordinary race and their contribution to the cultural, intellectual, scientific and technological evolution of humankind has been immense … no other race or group of people has even come close in matching, proportionally, Jewish abilities and accomplishments” (178).

Hans is op die plaas Klipfontein in die distrik Willowmore gebore. Hy het hom aan die Victoria College op Stellenbosch in die regte bekwaam (20) en daarna op Nylstroom gepraktiseer (49). Hy was kaptein van die plaaslike rugbyspan (50) en lid van die onlangs gestigte Nasionale Party (21). Hans het die ná-oorlogse Afrikanernasionalisme onderskryf: een volk en een taal. “My people, the Afrikaners, have to be reborn and emerge young and creative and a force to be reckoned with – in business and in politics. If we are not able to do this, there is a fear that we will be wiped out as a people … I find it very difficult to develop any kind of loyalty towards the British. We are a different breed and it is my fear that unless we are very strong our people will be eliminated” (23).

Volgens Hans “the war is not over – it is only half-time. Afrikaner nationalism is on the rise. We suffered enough at the hands of the British. The war was caused by the British. They have lived off our land – and we will get it back” (51). Die laaste sinsnede is later deur Nelson Mandela met pro-swart en anti-blanke motiewe geëggo. Hans word beskryf as “honest … dedicated and incorruptible” (50, ook 133) en as “trustworthy, reliable, God-fearing and loving” (211). “A man of granite determination and huge confidence” (83). “An unabashed and unapologetic champion of white supremacy” (293).

Aan die begin van 1915 vertrek Scrappy, nie sonder aanvanklike teenstand van haar ouers nie, na Engeland en skryf as student in by die Central School for Speech Training and Dramatic Art in Londen (52). Sy is beïndruk met die toneelspel van ‘n opkomende aktrise, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies (1891-1992), en skryf as ‘n bewonderaar ‘n brief aan haar. Gwen is lesbies en ‘n Christian Scientist (59, 121). Ná ‘n jaar het Scrappy weens die uitbreking van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer. “You have made great strides in remedying your accent … you almost sound British” (60). Terug in Suid-Afrika sê sy: “I don’t speak Afrikaans any longer” (66). “She avoided speaking in her mother tongue” (80). Scrappy woon en sosialiseer in boheemse geledere (70, 80) en tree in ‘n aantal Engelse toneelstukke op. Sy het ‘n “angelic appearance” maar “beneath it lay an enfant terrible who was mischievous, opinionated, promiscuous and even rebellious” (70). In 1918 tydens ‘n besoek aan Kaapstad kom sy weer vir Rosenberg teë, wat ‘n gedig aan haar opdra, maar haar ‘attempt at seduction … failed” (77). Scrappy sê aan Rosenberg: “Perhaps my passion is stronger than yours. I, I have to confess, have probably been promiscuous … Favouring my own gender, I suppose. But I have enjoyed dalliances on the other side too” (75-76). “Her flirtations were many and varied” (80). Sy korrespondeer met Gwen (80).

Scrappy se pa ken vir Hans en hulle woon een van sy politieke vergaderings in Pretoria by. “There was a fire and determination in the man’s eyes that Scrappy had not encountered before” (84). By die onthaal ná afloop van die vergadering word sy aan Hans voorgestel. Dit blyk toe dat Hans al vir Scrappy op die verhoog sien optree het, maar “I would be much happier if you were in the Afrikaans theatre” (85). Hans sê ook: “I have never left my fatherland … I have all the culture I need right here. Afrikaner culture” (86).

Scrappy keer in 1918 terug na Londen en verneem daar dat Rosenberg in Duitsland gesneuwel het (88). Haar Londense agent, Bernie Lewis, is ‘n karakter wat Bloomberg geskep het en hierdie Jood is te goed vir woorde. Lewis sê: “I am a mensch, I assure you … Yiddish. A man of integrity” (95). Scrappy ontmoet vir Gwen, maar hulle kan nie saambly soos Scrappy dit wil hê nie. Gwen sê: “There is a [married] man who has being paying me a lot of attention lately” (100). “This would not be my first choice – my body does not yearn for a man, but in its own way it’s quite thrilling to be in the arms of a handsome man” (101). “A thoroughly deflated and disillusioned Scrappy” gaan terug na haar Londense blyplek en drink sjerrie. “Her excessive drinking and smoking” (136, ook 206) sou ‘n al hoe meer vernietigende rol in haar lewe speel. “The Boers prefer brandy” (118); iets wat sy uitgeleef het (123, 125). Sy speel ses maande lank in toneelstukke in Birmingham (106). Werk is skaars omdat die gewildheid van radio inbreuk op teatergang maak en klankrolprente na verwagting spoedig lewende opvoerings ernstig sou kortwiek (105).

Hierna het Scrappy en Gwen saam in ‘n huurhuis in Londen gewoon (112). Die homoseksuele akteur, John Gielgud (1904-2000), was ‘n huisvriend. Hy het gesê: “Homosexual experience did not exclude those whose preferences lay elsewhere and that it was quite common for people to stray from their first gender of choice” (115). “The theatre … was regarded as a breeding ground for deviant behaviour” (116). “All forms of sexuality were accepted and tolerated by those in the theatre” (117). Maar Gielgud “in public … masquerades as a robust figure of the male sex” (118). Ook Gwen “chose to exercise discretion and presented to the public a much-feminised personality and lifestyle … Scrappy, on the other hand, was much less discreet” (116). Scrappy was nooit so bekend en beroemd soos Gielgud nie; ook nie in dieselfde mate as Gwen nie. “Scrappy did not achieve the same level of stardom as her companion” (114; ook 123). Haar agent sê aan haar: “You’re not the sex-kitten type” (274). Alec Waugh (1898-1981) skryf: Scrappy “lacked sex appeal on stage … She did not look embraceable” (Wikipedia). Soveel te meer vra ‘n mens jou af: Waarom het Hans aangetrokke tot haar gevoel? – hoewel sy dalk as jong meisie aantrekliker as later was.

Na ‘n afwesigheid van vyf jaar het Scrappy na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer om haar pa se 60ste verjaardag te vier (124). “After the sophistication of London [she] found it difficult to fit in to essentially Afrikaner provincial life in Pretoria in 1923 [1925?]” (127). “In her youth, father and daughter had had a special relationship but the more she became involved in theatre, the more they drifted apart” (128). Bloomberg doen deurgaans moeite om die Britse lewenswyse te verheerlik en te beklemtoon hoe agterlik Afrikaners is. Scrappy se pa sê aan haar: “I now know where my roots are and I stand tall as a proud Afrikaner. The move in this country is towards Afrikaner solidarity and nationalism, and the volk, at least, are not going to tolerate [Jan] Smuts’s love affair with foreign countries, particularly the British” (131).

Scrappy ontmoet weer vir Hans nadat haar pa gesê het: “Whenever he sees me he asks about you … He made me promise you’d call him when you got home” (132). Scrappy is pro-Brits, maar Hans sê: “I cannot forgive. And I refuse to forget. Feelings here run very deep. The British are still here – but this is our country; it belongs to the volk” (134). “[I] am prepared to give my life to ensure that this country remains a white Afrikaner nation” (140). Wat het Hans van Scrappy verwag? “To be my partner in building a new country for the Afrikaner people. A South Africa that would be able to compete with other great countries of the world” (142).

Op ‘n politieke vergadering sê Hans: “The white man must rule, and rule firmly with an iron fist” (150). “This is a white man’s country and it has to stay that way” (151). Dan lê Bloomberg hierdie woorde in Hans se mond: “I will propose that we get rid of all the Jews!” (154). Hans en Barry Hertzog stem saam “racial separation is imperative to the interests of our volk … [It] is also in the best interests of Native culture and traditions … it is in their own interest too” (202).

In Nylstroom is die digter, Eugène Marais (1871-1936), en die argitek, Gerard Moerdijk (1890-1958), Hans se grootste huisvriende (162). Soos van Scrappy verwag kon word, word haar verhouding met Hans in Nylstroom dadelik van ‘n intieme seksuele aard. Hulle “rapidly moved from park to first gear” (167). Hoe is dit moontlik dat twee sulke teenoorgesteldes mekaar kon vind? Scrappy het dit later soos volg verduidelik. “When I first met him I did not believe we could even be friends … while I was astonished at his abilities as an orator, I have to confess that I found him a little arrogant and bombastic. And I certainly didn’t share many of his political views. Since then, I’ve got to know him much better … He is undoubtedly a strong man – something I admire – fiercely patriotic, a nationalist, and uncompromising in his politics. He is also, of course, anti-British, anti-Native and anti-Semitic … he is also very intelligent, kind. And he seems to like me – a lot! There are two sides to the man. When addressing a meeting, he is like a lion; politically ruthless, he seems to cast a spell over his audience … He believes every word he says. Off stage, with me, he is gentle and tender” (193-194).

Hans vra haar om met hom te trou (196). Scrappy reageer: “I need time to sort myself out” (196). “I do not share many of the views that define your manifesto” (197). “I don’t hate the British the way you do” (198). Sy hou ook nie van sy “hatred of the Jews” nie (198). “I would worry about your irrational fear of the Natives. You see them very differently to the way I do, as partners in the new Union” (199). Hier het Bloomberg nuwe Suid-Afrika-retoriek tot die 1920’s terugdateer. “We do have these fundamental differences” (199). “I find many of his political views abhorrent” (210). “She did not agree with many of his extreme right-wing views” (207). Sy gaan terug na Londen.

Wanneer Scrappy terugkeer na Pretoria en Nylstroom is daar in kerklike en politieke geledere beswaar teen die sonde van “premarital and extramarital sex” (217) waarin sy en Hans lewe en ook teen haar gehegtheid aan die Engelse (222). Druk word uitgeoefen dat hulle moet trou (223). Hulle raak verloof en Scrappy wil dáár die streep trek. “Why can’t we just go on being engaged?” (233). Daarna stel sy voor: “Say I agree to marry you for a year” (235). Grondliggend aan haar twyfel is nie net Hans se politiek nie maar ook die aard van haar seksualiteit. Hans aanvaar hierdie kompromie in die hoop dat sy hulle huwelik onbepaald sou voortsit (236).

Die huwelik buite gemeenskap van goedere word op 7 Januarie 1924 volgens Scrappy se voorkeure voltrek voor ‘n magistraat, genaamd Wollaston, te Caledonplein, Kaapstad (239). Hans se ouers en sy ouer broer, Matthys, daag vir die onthaal in die Hotel Alexandra in Muizenberg op; nie sy drie ander broers en suster nie (239, 241). In ‘n tydskrifartikel word Hans se ouers as “one of the old pioneer families that settled at Oudshoorn” beskryf (244). Bloomberg noem dat Hans se ouers van Willowmore gekom het en het die vermetelheid om die Strijdoms “unsophisticated farmers” te noem (241). Alles wat Joods is, is volgens Bloomberg wonderlik. Hy vertel, blykbaar met smaak, dat Hans tydens die huweliksonthaal roomys wou hê en toe meegedeel is dat dit nie in ‘n “kosher hotel” verskaf kon word nie. Bloomberg verduidelik wat dit beteken: “We follow the Jewish dietary laws, ‘Kashrut’, which is the separation of meat and dairy. You have already eaten meat and this cannot be followed by ice cream, which is dairy” (245).

Die egpaar bring hulle wittebrood in Hermanus deur (245), gevolg deur ‘n geselligheid in Pretoria (246). Scrappy lig Gwen per brief in oor die gebeure: “I just got used to the relationship and I guess I must now admit to myself, at least, that I am attracted to both men and women … I have told Hans that I will stay married to him for at least one year but I don’t think he takes that seriously” (247). Gwen skryf terug: “I have difficulty in visualising you being married to a politician and living in a small country village. I never thought that you had the capacity to make such a volte-face from the life you were used to and were such a part of in London” (261).

Scrappy woon selde kerk saam met Hans by (252). “Scrappy had not been very successful in making friends with any of the women in Nylstroom. Those she did meet tended to be narrow-minded churchgoers entirely caught up in white nationalistic politics, and she found she had little in common with any of them” (254-255). “There isn’t a woman in this village with even the intellectual capacity of a bobbejaan for me to befriend” (258). Bloomberg sê dit via Scrappy van Afrikanervroue, maar hy durf dit nie van swartes skryf nie. “I’m bored stiff … life here for me is just so dreary” (255). “Dull in the extreme” (259). “The public knows me there [in London]; here I’m a nonentity – the wife of a politician … I don’t see myself as the demure, prim, conforming, churchgoing wife of an ultra-conservative nationalist member of parliament” (256-257). “Being his wife is a lonely experience” (260). “In order to alleviate the depression that had descended on her, she had to find a way of ending the marriage. It had all been a dreadful mistake and she felt that if she acted now she could return to London, pick up the pieces, retrieve her position as a successful actress, possibly resume a private life with Gwen” (263).

Scrappy bespreek haar situasie met Hans. Sy openbaar dat sy lesbies is. “That’s the way I am really … It’s just the way some people are born” (264). “Who knows how better to make love to a woman than another woman? Who knows a woman’s body better than another woman?” (266). Hans se standpunt is bybels gegrond: “It says that women who commit unnatural sexual acts behave immorally and shamefully. It describes sexual impurity as an act that degrades our bodies” (265). “He was grim-faced, clearly hurt and in shock” (265). “I am devastated, Scrappy … Shame on you that you could be so deceitful. You perpetrated a fraud on me … I am mortified” (267). Scrappy reageer: “What I’ve done to her [Gwen] – and to you – is despicable beyond words, I know, and I am deeply ashamed of myself. I have hurt the two people that I care most about” (267). “This life is not for me … I can’t allow myself to be condemned to Nylstroom – or even Pretoria – for the rest of my life. I have no real interest in politics; frankly, I’m bored out of my mind … I’m a city girl and … my future lies on the stage there [London]” (268). “I cannot go on living this lie” (270).

Scrappy is terug na Londen (270). “Her love for Gwen was undiminished” (271). “Heterosexual experience does not preclude a lesbian identity” (295). Tot haar spyt het sy Gwen ‘n jaar lank verruil “for an Afrikaner with whom she had little in common” (272). Gwen neem haar nie dadelik terug in haar huis nie. Gwen stel voor “we both keep our separate homes, certainly for the time being” (295). Gwen voer onder meer hierdie rede aan: “You seem to have a greater need for carnal pleasure than I do” (294).

“A distressed but not embittered Hans Strydom entered the process of adjusting to life without Scrappy” (275). “He … was living the lie that his wife’s absence was no more than temporary” (276). Hy besef egter dat Scrappy nie na hom sal terugkeer nie, gevolglik skryf hy aan haar dat hy om ‘n egskeiding op grond van verlating aansoek gaan doen (277). Sy stem in (278). Op 24 Desember 1924 slaag die aansoek om egskeiding (281). Hierna tree Scrappy in Amerika in ‘n toneelstuk op. Op 1 Februarie 1926 word die egskeidingsbevel skriftelik deur haar in New York City aanvaar (282). Op 12 November 1926 word hulle amptelik geskei (286). “Thus ended a marriage that had lasted some seven months of the parties living together, but which legally endured for two years before termination” (286). Scrappy se reaksie was: “That regretful period of my life is over. I am now a gay divorcee” (289).

“On 14 January 1931, JG Strydom MP, aged thirty-seven, married for the second time. His bride was the twenty-one-year-old Susanna (Susan) de Klerk, who had been born in Aliwal North. She came from a long, well-established line of Afrikaner political stock. Her father was the Reverend Willem Johannes de Klerk, who in 1914 was a founder member of the National Party, and her mother was Aletta Johanna van Rooy. Susan’s brother was Johannes (Jan) de Klerk, who had been born in Burghersdorp but grew up in Potchefstroom” (297). “In 1927, [Jan] de Klerk had married Hendrina Cornelia Coetzer whose father was also involved in Afrikaner politics” (298). Hulle het twee kinders gehad, Willem en FW.

Gwen en Scrappy het mettertyd ‘n eiendom “near Stambourne, about five miles from Finchingfield” (302), genaamd Tagley Cottage, in Essex gekoop. In 1936 het hulle na Suid-Afrika gekom (307) en onder meer Scrappy se ouers besoek. Ná ‘n afwesigheid van drie en ‘n halwe maand was hulle terug in Londen (309). “Although Gwen’s physical needs had waned, their relationship remained a loving one, despite Gwen knowing full well of Scrappy’s affairs with their joint friends, the novelist Angela du Maurier [1904-2002] and the stage director Margaret Webster [1905-1972], among others. Scrappy rationalised her behaviour by convincing herself that her strong libido required attention and that her relationship with Gwen had become an open one. Mutual friends long believed that Gwen’s life was dominated by her work, while Scrappy’s life revolved around her sexuality” (311).

In 1940 het Scrappy en Gwen weer na Suid-Afrika gekom om die gevare van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog te ontduik (314). Hulle het in die stede en op die platteland toneel gespeel (319), “but we know our own professional standards are not being met” (318). “The ladies were invited to have tea in Pretoria with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their 1947 royal visit to South Africa” (321). Ná die stigting van die Nasionale Toneelorganisasie het Scrappy van 1948 af in die NTO-raad gedien en van 1950 af as die NTO se artistieke adviseur gewerk (322). In 1950 is Gwen terug na Engeland (322). Scrappy het haar later gevolg maar eers nadat sy weens dronkbestuur gearresteer is (323). In 1952 was albei vir ‘n wyle terug in Suid-Afrika (324). Scrappy het die res van die jare vyftig plaaslik deurgebring. In 1954 het sy Hans per telegram geluk gewens met sy verkiesing as eerste minister (325). Volgens Bloomberg “Strydom was a naked racist and intransigent, and ruled his cabinet with an iron fist” (329). In 1965 het Scrappy Britse burgerskap aanvaar (325). Sy en Gwen het saam in Tagley Cottage gewoon. Na Scrappy se dood in 1970 (325) het Gwen in 1971 vir oulaas weer vir ‘n wyle in Suid-Afrika toneel gespeel (333).

Hans het weens sy troue met Scrappy spreekwoordelik ‘n perd opgeklim wat hy nie kon ry nie. Maar hy het nie ander mense benadeel nie en die skade aan sy openbare beeld redelik gou oorkom. FW de Klerk het egter met sy grondwetlike onderhandelings met terroriste en kommuniste, wat toegelaat is om feitlik ongesteurd hulle gewelddadige bedrywighede voort te sit, ‘n perd opgeklim wat die Europese beskawing, die land en blanke inwoners en hulle nageslag onberekenbare skade aangedoen het. Hans se misstap is mikroskopies klein in vergelyking met De Klerk se kolossale dwaasheid.

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