Leon Lemmer: John Barrow as sosio-politieke kommentator

Sir John Barrow

John Barrow (1764-1848) was van 1792 tot 1794 verbonde aan die Britse ambassade in Peking/Beijing, China, toe George Macartney (1737-1806) die ambassadeur was. Van 1797 tot 1798 was Macartney die goewerneur aan die Kaap tydens die eerste Britse besetting. Barrow was van 1797 tot 1804 aan die Kaap en was aanvanklik Macartney se private sekretaris. Barrow was veronderstel om beter betrekkinge tussen veral die Boere en die swart inwoners te bevorder, ‘n taak waarvoor hy uitnemend ongeskik was. Hy het plaaslik verskeie reise onderneem en die volgende boek daaroor gepubliseer: An account of travels into the interior of Southern Africa in the years 1797 and 1798 (1802/2015, 432p; Amazon Kindle $1,14). In 1799 het Barrow met Anna Maria Truter (1777-1857), wat plante geskilder het, getrou. Hulle het sewe kinders gehad. Barrow het in 1800 ‘n huis in Kaapstad gekoop omdat hy hom hier wou vestig. In 1802 het Brittanje en Frankryk egter die Vrede van Amiens gesluit waarvolgens die Kaap weer Hollandse besit sou word; vandaar die Bataafse bewind aan die Kaap (1803-1806). Dit het Barrow se planne gefruik. Hy het gevolglik na Engeland teruggekeer.

Barrow se eerstehandse kennis van China het veroorsaak dat hy telkens bv rysverbouing aan die Kaap aanbeveel het. Die oorblyfsels van die Hollandse bewind aan die Kaap het hy afgekraak en die Britse manier van regeer – eintlik alles wat die Britte gedoen het – geloof. Byvoorbeeld: “The Dutch of late years had entirely neglected this excellent piece of ground; but the spirit of improvement that has always actuated the minds of the English in all their possessions abroad, will no doubt show itself at this place, and convert the public garden [in Cape Town] into a place not only ornamental to the town but useful to the country” (Kindle 246). Dit is Barrow se mentor, Macartney, wat die Britse Ryk gekarakteriseer het as “a vast Empire, on which the sun never sets.” Hierdie vooroordeel het Barrow op die Boere geprojekteer en hulle sover moontlik afgekraak. Terselfdertyd het hy die nie-blanke inwoners verheerlik. ‘n Mens kan wonder waarom hy dan met ‘n Hollandssprekende blanke vrou getrou het.

Hierdie gaping by Barrow tussen wat geskryf en hoe geleef word, is soortgelyk aan hedendaagse, Afrikaanssprekende, blanke Stellenbossers soos Willie Esterhuyse en Anton van Niekerk. Volgens Esterhuyse het “Afrikaans as wetenskaplike publikasietaal … ‘n baie beperkte en krimpende toekoms” (Netwerk24, 8.12.2018), iets wat deur hom eerder verwelkom as teengewerk word. Om jou vir Afrikaans as akademiese taal te beywer, is volgens Esterhuyse “strategies én takties outyds” (Netwerk24, 19.12.2018). Van Niekerk het hom nie net daadwerklik vir die verengelsing van die Universiteit Stellenbosch beywer nie; hy het ook, soos Wim de Villiers, geen goeie woord vir Afrikaners nie.

Volgens Van Niekerk, soos by Barrow, is die Boere in vergelyking met die swartes baie sleg: “Vergete is alles wat ons weet van die pyn wat ‘Afrikanerskap’ in die verlede in hierdie land aangerig het” (“Om met vuur te speel,” Netwerk24, 20.12.2018). Wat Van Niekerk onderskeidelik aanprys en vergeet, is swart Afrika-nasionalisme en -terrorisme. “Die fase in die geskiedenis van ‘Suid-Afrika’ waaroor ons eintlik nie in staat is om ooit weer ons koppe op te tel, en ten opsigte waarvan ons die Allerhoogste moet dank dat daar nie uit onverbloemde wraaklus teen ons opgetree is nie, is egter presies die periode waarin ‘Afrikaners’ aan die bewind was.” In werklikheid was dit die goue era van Afrikaans en Europese beskawing, toe Suid-Afrika die voorspoedigste en ontwikkeldste land in Afrika wás. Toe was daar geen sprake van staatskaping, rommelstatus, ongebreidelde korrupsie, ondoeltreffendheid en ‘n mislukte staat nie.

Van Niekerk verwys na “die verstikkende en onverdraagsame eenvormingheid van Afrikanernasionalisme … ‘n voorskriftelike en uitmergelende Afrikaner-nasionalistiese ideologie,” asof Afrikaners sedert 1994 welwillende, vredeliewende, moord- en misdaadlose vryheid en selfbeskikking ervaar. “Vingerswaaiende leiers” is deur vuisswaaiende leiers vervang, maar die naïeweVan Niekerk verwelkom dit. As na uitnemende voorbeelde van volkome verloopte Afrikaners gesoek word, hoef daar nie verder as Esterhuyse, Van Niekerk en De Villiers gesoek te word nie – volgens elkeen se openbare beeld, wat van hul private leefwyse kan verskil. Daar is dikwels ‘n element van skynheiligheid by die uiters linkses. Fanatieke pogings word aangewend om heiliger as heilig te probeer wees. Koos Malan het verdoemende kritiek op Van Niekerk se betoog gelewer (Netwerk24, 9.01.2019).

In die eerste hoofstuk noem Barrow dat twee Britse offisiere, Andrew Shillinge en Humphrey Fitzherbert, in 1620 Saldanabaai en omgewing – “the whole continent near adjoining” – tot Britse gebied verklaar het, “for the better prosecution of … trade to the East Indies” (87). Hy gee die posisie aan as 34 breedtegraad, dus Tafelbaai, wat eens Saldanabaai genoem is. Die huidige Saldanabaai se breedtegraad is 33. Die Britse regering het egter nie hierdie anneksasie bekragtig nie. Volgens Barrow het Jan van Riebeeck die VOC-verversingspos in 1650 aan die Kaap gevestig (107, 114). Dit is voorafgegaan deur ‘n Portugese nedersetting by die mond van die Groot Visrivier, wat egter later ontruim is ten gunste van ‘n handelspos by Delagoabaai/Lourenço Marques/Maputo (114, 2221). Die 1620-poging tot anneksasie is nie in my skoolgeskiedenisboeke genoem nie; moontlik sodat nie gedink moet word dat die Britte hier hoort nie.

Daar is egter beweerde vroeëre gebeure aan die Kaap wat ek nog nêrens elders teëgekom het as in die volgende deeglik nagevorste boek nie: Don Jordan and Michael Walsh, White cargo: The forgotten history of Britain’s white slaves in America (Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 2007, 322p; Amazon Kindle $3,44). Is dit te wyte aan onkunde by (plaaslike) historici, of word dit as fopgeskiedenis beskou, al verskaf die outeurs deurgaans bronverwysings? Een van die verwysings is na Frank Welsh se boek, A history South of Africa (1998), bedoelende A history of South Africa.

Aan die begin van die 17de eeu wou die Britte van hulle prisoniers – “the lewd and idle” – ontslae raak. “Sir Thomas Smythe [1558-1625, the first governor of the East India Company] led the search for a site and initially considered South Africa rather than America. A letter written to Smythe in 1609 by one of his agents, Thomas Aldworth, put the case for a site at the Cape of Good Hope. Aldworth had anchored in Table Bay while he was en route for India and liked what he saw. An earlier European visitor had carved a huge cross on the steep mountain overlooking the bay … the natives seemed friendly. Aldworth reported enthusiastically to Smythe that the Cape had ‘courteous and tractable folk’ and was just the place to send convicts. The area could take ‘one hundred English convicts a year’, he estimated” (Kindle 934).

“Always cautious, Smythe decided to send just ten convicts to see how they fared … James Crosse … [was] the men’s leader in the Cape. Crosse and the other nine were duly landed at Table Bay and presented with what Smythe’s men deemed sufficient for their survival: ‘half a peck of turnip seeds’, a few other seeds, ‘and a spade to dig the ground’. Unsurprisingly, the experiment was a failure. Crosse and the other convicts had been left with no arms with which to protect themselves and they were terrified when they saw tribesmen from the local Khoi people in the distance. Maybe they had heard how Portuguese traders had once been massacred here after falling out with the Khoi; [eg. Francisco de Almeida (1450-1510) and 64 of his men in March 1510]. The convicts hid and managed to evade the natives. Somehow, they reached a rocky island just off Table Bay [Robben Island] … Here, the ten Englishmen eked out a miserable existence, probably living on shellfish or the seals that baked on the shore. Eventually, a visiting ship took pity on them and took them off. Three of the convicts got back to England” (942).

“Smythe tried once more. He ordered another group of convicts to be sent to the Cape aboard one of his India-bound ships. When it reached Table Bay and anchored, the convicts begged the captain to hang them rather than leave them in Africa. He couldn’t oblige. Following orders, they too were dumped on the shore … Another passing ship took them off within a couple of days. Nearly two centuries would pass before England would again send convicts to the Cape” (951).

In sahistory.org.za staan: “1605: First attempt by sailors of the English East India Company to annex the Cape on behalf of Britain.” “1615: Sir Thomas Roe attempts to land some deported Britsh criminals at the Cape, but those who are not drowned or killed by Khoikoi are soon removed from the Cape and the scheme is abandoned.” In 1631 het die Britte glo vir die Khoi-Khoi Autshumao/Harry na Batavia geneem sodat hy kon leer om as tolk aan die Kaap op te tree. As ‘n mens, soos Christo van Rensburg, begeer dat die geskiedenis van Afrikaans (en Kaaps/Engelsbesoedelde Afrikaans) voor 1652 ontstaan het, is 1631 ‘n sinvoller datum as 1595, wat deur Van Rensburg gepropageer word (Praag 15.12.2018). In 1644 het 250 skipbreuklinge van ‘n Hollandse skip vier maande aan die Kaap vertoef en in 1647 nog ‘n aantal vir ‘n jaar lank.

Barrow verwys na die Khoi-Khoin as Hottentotte. Die Hollanders “soon discovered the predominant passion of this weak and peaceable people for spirituous liquors, and that a bottle of brandy was a passport through every horde. With this and tobacco, iron, and a few paltry trinkets, they purchased a part of the country and of their stock of cattle, and then took the rest by force” (120). Op hierdie manier het die Khoi-Khoin, volgens Barrow, hulle grond, vee en vryheid verloor. “[The Hottentots] were soon reduced to the necessity of becoming their [the Dutch’s] servants” (134). “To encourage the native Hottentots in useful labour, by giving them an interest in the produce of that labour, to make them experience the comforts of civilized life, and to feel they have a place and a value in society, which the miserable policy of the Dutch government denied to them, would be the sure means of diminishing, and, in time, of entirely removing the necessity of slavery” (581). Marthinus van Bart het egter aangetoon dat dit juis die Khoi-Khoin se tradisie van nie-werk of leeglê was wat aanleiding tot die invoering van slawe gegee het (Praag 15.12.2018). Barrow beweer: “Few negroes, in fact, have been imported since the capture [1795], and those few by accident, or by special permission” (581). Oor die eerste Britse besetting van die Kaap skryf Van Bart egter: “In die sewe-en-‘n-half jaar van dié bewind aan die Kaap is meer slawe hierheen ingevoer as in enige ander tydperk van dieselfde lengte.”

In teenstelling met die huidige verheerliking van die plaaslike bruin mense, insluitende die Moslems of Kaapse Maleiers, skryf Barrow: “The most active and docile, but the most dangerous [eg “revengeful”] are the Malays. They are faithful, honest, and industrious; but so impatient of injury, and so capricious, that the slightest provocation will sometimes drive them into fits of frenzy during the continuance of which it would be unsafe to come within their reach” (588).

Dalk het die Hollandse bewind nie so sleg aan die Kaap gevaar nie: “There are no beggars in the whole colony; and but a few who are the objects of public charity” (615). Vergelyk dit met die nuwe Suid-Afrika waar ‘n mens om elke hoek en draai deur bedelaars lastig geval word in ‘n land waarin daar baie meer ontvangers van staatstoelaes as betalers van inkomstebelasting is.

Daar was ‘n (onoorbrugbare) kloof tussen die Hollands- en Engelssprekendes, soortgelyk aan die huidige kloof tussen blankes/Afrikaners en swart mense. “Few of the [Dutch] male inhabitants associate with the English, except such as hold employment under the government. This backwardness [!] may be owing in part to the different habits [cultures] of the two nations, and partly, perhaps, to the reluctance that a vanquised [!] people must always feel in mixing with their conquerors. No real cause, however, of complaint or disaffection, could possibly [!] be alleged against the English government at the Cape” (643). In werklikheid was daar geen sprake van dat die Hollandse boere deur die Britte oorwin is nie – hulle het eerder sover moontlik weg van die regering getrek – net so min as wat die swartes ooit die blankes in Suid-Afrika oorwin het. Die swartes het in 1994 politieke beheer oor die land verkry weens die verraad van ‘n klein groepie Afrikaanssprekende blankes.

In Suid-Afrika is agteruitgang sedert 1994 aan die orde van die dag, maar daar word voorgegee, bv deur Anton van Niekerk hier bo, dat daar baie dinge is waarvoor ons dankbaar moet wees. Barrow het ‘n soortgelyke laai uitgehaal: “Four years of increasing prosperity [since 1795], of uninterrupted peace and domestic tanquillity, have been the happy lot of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope … subversion of all order, had industriously been propagated by the ill-disposed, among the ignorant [!] part of the colonists, both in the town and country districts” (656).

Van die tweede hoofstuk af skryf Barrow oor sy reise die binneland in. Ek skryf agtereenvolgend oor die Khoi-Khoin, Khoi-Khoin se taal, San, swart mense en die Hollandse boere. In die aanhalings, onder elkeen van daardie hoofde, word daar ook na ander bevolkingsgroepe verwys. Let daarop dat ek die gekuurde/ontsmette, polities korrekte terme vir die drie nie-blanke bevolkingsgroepe gebruik. Die tradisionele terme kom net in die aanhalings voor. Akademies-wetenskaplik kan ek dit nie verhelp nie. Dit is immers ‘n onbegonne taak om in die aanhalings al die terme wat deur sommige as aanstootlik geag word, met gekuurdes te vervang of om hulle telkens met afkortings (H-woord, B-woord, K-woord) minder aanstootlik te maak. Die boodskap wat Barrow oordra, is in elk geval pro-nieblank en sterk anti-blank/Boer. In die meeste gevalle weerhou ek my van kommentaar. Ingeligte, kritiese lesers sal bv die oordrywings, eensydighede en valshede van Barrow (redelik) maklik herken.

Khoi-Khoin

Volgens Barrow is die Khoi-Khoin se eie oorspronklike naam vir hulleself nie die Hollandse benaming “Hottentotte” nie, maar “Quazquae” (1816). “The original inhabitants of the country being a sort of Troglodytes, as indeed the savage Hottentots of the interior in some degree still are” (718). “There is not in the whole extensive district of Graaff Reynet a single horde of independent Hottentots, and perhaps not a score of individuals who are not actually in the service of the Dutch. These weak people, the most helpless, and in their resent condition, perhaps the most wretched, of the human race, duped out of their possessions, their country, and finally out of their liberty, have entailed upon their miserable offspring a state of existence to which that of slavery might bear the comparison of happiness … Their numbers of late years have rapidly declined. It has generally been observed, that wherever Europeans have colonized, the less civilized natives have always dwindled away, and at length totally disappeared” (1727).

Barrow skryf oor ” their extreme poverty, scantiness of food, and continual dejection of mind, arising from the cruel treatment they receive from an inhuman and unfeeling peasantry, who, having discovered themselves to be removed to too great a distance from the seat of their former government to be awed by its authority, have exercised, in the most wanton and barberous manner, an absolute power over these poor wretches, reduced to the necessity of depending upon them for a morsel of bread. There is scarcely an instance of cruelty said to have been committed against the slaves in the West-India islands, that could not find a parallel from the Dutch farmers of the remote parts of the colony towards the Hottentots in their service. Beating and cutting them with thongs of the hide of the sea-cow or rhinosceros, is a gentle punishment, though these sort of whips which they call shambos [sambokke] are most horrid instruments, tough, pliant, and heavy almost as lead. Firing small shot into the legs and thighs of a Hottentot, is a punishment not unknown to some of the monsters who inhabit the neighbourhood of Gamtoos river” (1734).

“Instant death is not unfrequently the consequence of punishing these poor wretches in a moment of rage. This is of little consequence to the farmer; for though they are to all intents and purposes his slaves, yet they are not transferable property. It is this circumstance which, in his mind, makes their lives less valuable and their treatment more inhuman … the coolness and tranquillity displayed at the punishment of his slave or Hottentot, is highly ridiculous, and at the same time indicative of a savage disposition to unfeeling cruelty lurking in his heart. He flogs them, not by any given number of lashes, but by time; and as they have no clocks nor substitutes for them capable of marking the smaller divisions of time, he has invented an excuse for the indulgence of one of his most favourite sensualities, by flogging them till he has smoked as many pipes of tobacco as he may judge the magnitude of the crime to deserve” (1747).

“By a resolution of the old [Dutch] government, as unjust as it was inhuman, a peasant was allowed to claim as his property, till the age of five-and-twenty, all the children of the Hottentots in his service to whom he had given in their infancy a morsel of meat. At the expiration of this period the odds are ten to one that the slave is not emancipated. A Hottentot knows nothing of his age; he takes no note of time” (1753). “The Hottentot girls in the service of the colonists are in situations too dependent to dare to reject the proffered embraces of the young peasantry” (1775).

“Low as they are sunk in the scale of humanity, their character seems to have been very much traduced and misrepresented. It is true there is nothing prepossessing in the appearance of a Hottentot, but infinitely less so in the many ridiculous and false relations by which the public have been abused. They are mild, quiet, and timid people; perfectly harmless, honest, faithful; and, though extremely phlegmatic, they are kind and affectionate to each other, and not incapable of strong attachments. A Hottentot would share his last morsel with his companions. They have little of that kind of art or cunning that savages generally possess. If accused of crimes of which they have been quilty, they generally divulge the truth. They seldom quarrel among themselves or make use of provoking language. Though naturally of a fearful and cowardly disposition, they will run into the face of danger if led in by their superiors; and they suffer pain with great patience. They are by no means deficient in talent, but they possess little exertion to call it into action: the want of this was the principal cause of their ruin. The indolence of a Hottentot is a real disease, whose only remedy seems to be that of terror. Hunger is insufficient to effect the cure … they will willingly fast the whole day, provided they may be allowed to sleep … With them the word is, to eat or to sleep. When they cannot indulge in the gratification of the one, they generally find immediate relief in flying to the other” (1816).

“The person of a Hottentot while young is by no means void of symmetry. They are clean-limbed, well-proportioned, and erect” (1884). Some of the women, when young, and previous to child-bearing, might serve as models of perfection in the human figure … in their gait they are not altogether devoid of grace” (1890). “[The Hottentots’] eyelids …are rounded into each other exactly like those of the Chinese, to whom, indeed, in many other points, they bear a physical resemblance, that is sufficiently striking” (1884; ook 3298, 3333). Die Khoi-Khoin en San is nie altyd duidelik onderskeibaar nie. Barrow verwys na “the real Hottentots, or Bosjesmans” (3339) en na die “Maroon Hottentots, called Bosjesmans” (4438), asook na “the Bosjesmans … and other Hottentots” (4569). “The Bosjesmans, though in every respect a Hottentot, yet in his turn of mind differs very widely from those who live in the colony” (3346). Barrow vermoed “a common origin” by die Khoi-Khoin en die San (3291). Daar is ‘n teorie dat hulle voorkoms (deels) aan Chinese skipbreuklinge toegeskryf kan word.

“Notwithstanding the inhuman treatment that the Hottentots experience from the Dutch farmers, the latter could very ill want the assistance of the former; and, were they sensible of their own interest, and the interest of their posterity, instead of oppressing, they would offer them every encouragement” (1951). “Should the present system of oppression continue, the time is not far distant when their own children must take upon them the charge now committed to Hottentots … Broken up and dispersed as the tribes of this nation now are, few of their ancient usages are retained among them” (1958).

Oor sy besoek aan Namakwaland skryf Barrow: “A dozen years more, and probably a shorter period, will see the remains of the Namaaqua nation in a state of entire servitude. Such are the effects of an encroaching peasantry, sanctioned by the low policy of a [Dutch] government that could descend to employ agents to effect the purchase of whole herds of cattle for a cask of brandy … The government having fixed no limits to their colony, nor their subjects to their avarice, the latter found it still more convenient to settle themselves in the midst of the harmless Namaaquas, who considered them as the most acceptable neighbours in the world. For a bottle of brandy, which cost sixpence, they willingly exchanged an ox; and such is still the infatuation of this people for the noxious liquor, that they will even now exchange a sheep for the same quantity of it” (4555).

Khoi-Khoin se taal

Die Khoi-Khoin “are very far from being a stupid people. They learn the Dutch language with great facility” (1918). “The great point in which their invention appears to have been exercised, is in the construction of their language. Of all the methods that have been adopted in language, by different nations, for the purpose of expressing objects, and conveying ideas, in a clear and unequivocal manner, that which has been hit upon by the Hottentots, is certainly the most extraordinary. Almost all their monosyllables, and the leading syllable of compound words, are thrown out of the mouth with a sudden retraction of the tongue from the teeth or the palate” (1925).

“All languages in their infancy consisted probably of simple or monosyllabic sounds, but as these could convey only a very limited number of ideas, recourse was had to inflexion of voice and composition of the simple sounds to make the vocabulary more copious. The division of such simple sounds into their elements, and by the various combinations of these elements to form an almost unlimited number of new sounds, was one of the most wonderful inventions in the history of man, and much beyond the genius of a Hottentot. He has done, however, all that he found to be necessary by a very few compound words, and by the clacking with the tongue” (1931).

“The vocables were adopted in imitation of the sounds proceeding from the different objects they were meant to express” (1938). “The genius of a language is generally discoverable in the application of new words to new ideas. The Hottentots who had never seen nor heard the report of a gun before their unfortunate connection with Europeans, had a new word to invent in order to express it. They called it kaboo” (1945).

“The Dutch peasantry in the distant districts speak it [Khoi] and many of them are so very much accustomed to the use of it, that they introduce into their own language a motion of the organ of speech sufficiently distinct to show from whence they procured it” (1951). Dus, sommige Hollandse boere het Khoi gepraat en sommige van die Khoi-Khoin het Hollands gepraat. Dit volg dat hulle mekaar se moedertaal kon beïnvloed. Wat duidelik uit Barrow se reisbeskrywings blyk, is dat die Hollandse boere in die binneland uiters geïsoleerd gelewe het, maar dat hulle met mede-Hollanders op die roetes en tydens besoeke aan Kaapstad en dorpe soos Swellendam en Graaff-Reinet kontak gehad het. Selfs meer geïsoleerd as die Hollandse boere het die Khoi-Khoin in aparte stamme gelewe. “From living together in particular clans, and, in later times, from mixing with different people, the Hottentots of one district differ very considerably from those of another” (1816).

Die punt is dat daar in Barrow se teks niks is wat daarop dui dat die Khoi-Khoin ‘n buitengewone vaardigheid in taalskepping gehad het nie. Die Hollands wat aan die Kaap en in die binneland mettertyd Afrikaans geword het, is deurslaggewend deur die blankes, as die elite (ten minste in vergelyking met die nie-blankes – al word die Hollandse blankes erg ingat deur Barrow voorgestel), ontwikkel. Christo van Rensburg se Khoi-Afrikaans “was geen groot volksbeweging wat Hollands gou aan die Kaap laat verkrummel het nie” (Praag 15.12.2018). Oor die Khoi-Khoin, tydens sy besoek aan Namakwaland, skryf Barrow: “I could have no conversation with these people through the means of my Hottentots, the language spoken by one being perfectly unintelligible to the other; nor could they speak or understand a word of Dutch” (4493). “Though the Namaaqua Hottentots vary but very little in their persons from the other tribes of this nation, their language is widely different” (4569). “The different families of Hottentots all speak a different language, which, however, is very obviously perceived to have been derived from one common origin” (4677). Volgens Van Rensburg is die bakermat van Afrikaans in die binneland en nie in bv die Bo-Kaap in Kaapstad nie. In die ontstaan en lewensvatbaarheid van Afrikaans het die blanke boere ongetwyfeld die deurslaggewende rol gespeel. ‘n Mens wonder in hoeverre Van Rensburg en diesulkes kennis geneem het van geskiedkundige verslae, bv reisbeskrywings soos dié van Barrow, voordat hulle met hulle polities byderwetse vertolkings voor ‘n dag gekom het.

San

“The Bosjesmans … seem to be the true aborigines of the country, unmixed with any other tribes of people” (1897). “By their habits and manner of life, [they] are justly entitled to the name of savage – a name, however, of which, it is greatly to be feared, they have been rendered more worthy by the conduct of the European settlers. They are known in the colony by the name of Bosjesmans, or men of the bushes, from the concealed manner in which they make their approaches to kill and to plunder. They neither cultivate the ground nor breed cattle, but subsist, in part, on the natural produce of their country, and make up the rest by depredations on the colonists on one side, and the neighbouring tribes of people that are more civilized than themselves, on the other” (2789).

Van ‘n boer word gesê: “Should he depart to the distance of five hundred yards from his house, he is under the necessity of carrying a musket” (2965). Boere is deesdae weer terug in daardie situasie. “To bear a life of such constant dread and axiety, a man must be accustomed to it from his infancy, and unacquainted with one that is better” (2965). Joachim van Plettenberg (1739-1793, goewerneur aan die Kaap 1771-1785) het op die verste punt van sy reis in die omgewing van die Sneeuberg ‘n baken geplant. Die San “had thrown down and broken in pieces the monument” (3040). Die skending, vernietiging en verwydering van monumente is steeds met ons.

“The principle object of our present journey [was] that we might be eye-witnesses of the manner in which the farmers conducted their expeditions against these miserable set of beings. I thought it, however, a necessary step to make a previous stipulation with the commandant, that the extent of hostilities against these savages should be that of surrounding one of their kraals; that after this had been done, we should act only on the defensive, and he was enjoined to deliver to his people a most serious charge, not to fire a single shot unless it should be found absolutely necessary for their own personal security; for that the sole object of our journey was to bring about, if possible, a conversation with some of the chiefs of this people” (3196). “On their promises I could place no sort of dependence, knowing that, like true sportsmen when game was sprung, they could not withhold their fire” (3230). “A Dutch peasant, though sufficiently expert at this sort of service [eg surrounding a kraal], always depends more upon his Hottentots than himself” (3210).

Die Boere met hulle gewere “was so directly hostile, as perfectly to justify their shooting a volley of arrows among us” (3250). Barrow vertel dat eers die San-kinders en daarna die vroue beskuitjies by hulle kom haal het en heelwat later die mans, wat met tabak gelok is. “The conclusion of the business, however, must have appeared to them very different from what, on former occasions, they had always experienced, when those who escaped from immediate death were incessantly pursued and fired upon, and their wives and children seized and carried away into slavery” (3250). “Numbers of Bosjesmans women are now in the colony, who were taken from their mothers when infants, and brought up by the farmers, who, from the day of their captivity, have never had any intercourse whatsoever with their countrymen, nor know, except from report, to what tribe or nation they belong” (3304).

Hierdie San “insisted on their innocence, by asserting that their horde, so long as they composed a part of it, had never committed depredations on the colonists, but had always remained about the spot we found them, where they subsisted by the chase [of game], and upon the roots of the earth. Appearances certainly were much in their favour” (3256). “They were desired to tell all their countrymen they should happen to see, that whenever they should desist from stealing the cattle of the colonists, and should come to any of the farm-houses without bow and arrows, or other weapons, and say they were in want, as many more sheep should be given to them than they could possibly obtain by plunder” (3263).

“When all … means of subsistence fail them, and they are certainly very precarious, they are driven to the necessity of hazarding a toilsome and dangerous expedition of plunder into the colony. Such a mode of life naturally leads to habits of cruelty. The disposition of the Hottentot [San] race is mild and manageable in the highest degree, and by gentle usage may be moulded into any shape; but the treatment of the farmers towards them has been very flagitious, that their cruelty even admits of palliation. Though in the eye of political justice it may be considered as a crime for a starving family, driven by imperious want to the necessarity of taking [stealing] the property of another who has perhaps more than he can possibly use, yet in the law of nature the offence is venial: but the Bosjesmans for their conduct have not only the plea of nature and humanity, but also that of retribution. They were driven out of their own country, their children seized and carried into slavery, by people on whom they now commit their depredations [crimes], and on whom they naturally take every occasion of exercising their revenge” (3367) – ‘n standpunt soortgelyk aan dié van Anton van Niekerk hier bo. “The condition to which this people has been reduced, has entirely subdued that timid and pusillanimous mind which characterizes the Hottentots [San]” (3381).

“The nature of their language is the same as that of the Hottentots, though they are not able to understand each other. In the latter, the action of the tongue against the roof of the mouth, or the teeth, is seldom used on more than one syllable of a word. In the language of the Bosjesman, there is scarcely a syllable enunciated without it; and this action is performed by them much more forcibly than by the Hottentots. Notwithstanding the difficulty for an European to acquire such a language, several of the Sne[e]wbergers speak it as fluently as the natives, from their having been committed, in their infancy, to the care of Bosjesmans nurses” (3430).

“It were greatly to be wished, that the peasantry would see the policy of putting an end to their expeditions against this miserable people, and adopt in their place a lenient mode of treatment. They might not, perhaps, succeed in reclaiming them at once from their rooted habits of life; but their hatred towards the colonists, which aims at their lives, might certainly be abated. The first step towards it would be to abolish the inhuman practice of carrying into captivity their women and children … The condition of those who are made prisoners by the farmers, is, in fact, much worse than that of slavery; for, not being transferable property, they have no claims upon their interest” (3430).

“Forty years ago, it appears from living testimony, the Bosjesmans frequented the colony boldly and openly begged and stole and were troublesome, just as the Kaffers now are; but they never attempted the life of anyone. They proceeded not to this extremity until the [Dutch] government had unwisely and unjustly suffered the peasantry to exercise an unlimited power over the lives of those who were taken prisoners. It failed, at the same time, to fix any bounds to the extent of the expeditions made against them, which certainly ought not to go beyond the limits of the colony … This, however, would not answer the object of the farmer, which is that of procuring children” (3444).

Swart mense

In die meeste geskiedenisboeke word beweer dat die blankes en swartes op min of meer dieselfde tyd, 1652, hulle opwagting in wat nou Suid-Afrika genoem word, gemaak het; die blankes in die suidweste en die swartes in die noordooste. Die HAT (2015) is blykbaar besig met die herskrywing van hierdie geskiedenis, maar let daarop dat hierdie inskrywing by “San” versag word deur na “Suider-Afrika” te verwys: “groep jagterversamelaars van Suider-Afrika wat minstens sedert die einde van die laaste ystydperk (10 000 VHJ [vC]) dié gebied bewoon het, maar wat met die koms van swart beesboere en landbouers uit Midde-Afrika van die vyfde eeu HJ [nC] en Europese setlaars van die 17de eeu af mettertyd na die onherbergsamer uithoeke van die gebied verdryf is” (p 1102). Wat moontlik geïmpliseer word, is dat die swartes sowat tien eeue voor die blankes in Suid-Afrika aangekom het. Wat belangrik is, is nie wie eerste hier aangekom en roofbou (bv die uitroeiing van wild, oorbeweiding en brandhoutstroping) toegepas het nie, maar watter etniese groep die land ontwikkel het deur bv infrastruktuur te skep.

Toe Barrow in Graaff-Reinet aangekom het, het die Boere optrede teen die swartes geëis wat die Oosgrens, die Groot Visrivier, oorgesteek en hulle in die kolonie gevestig het. Barrow noem hierdie Boere “anarchists” (1335). “The first business, therefore, of the landrost, after his arrival at the Drosdy, was to stop the preparations of the farmers for making war against the Kaffers, by letting them know that it was his intention to pay a visit to the chiefs of that nation, and to prevail on them, if possible, to return quietly and peaceably into their own country beyond the settled limits of the Great Fish river. This, no doubt, was an unwelcome piece of intelligence … to those of the intended expedition, who were to share … the plunder of the Kaffers’ cattle, which, in fact, and not any laudable motive for the peace and welfare of the district, was the mainspring that operated on the minds of those who had consented to take up arms against them. To the avaricious and covetous disposition of the colonists, and their licentious conduct, was owing a serious rupture with this nation in the year 1793, which terminated with the almost total expulsion of the former from some of the divisions of the district … the Kaffers retired within their proper limits, yet few of the colonists returned to their former possessions, particularly those in the Zuure Veldt; a circumstance, no doubt, that induced the former once more to transgress the fixed boundary” (1335).

Daar kan geen twyfel wees oor die kant waarby Barrow hom geskaar het nie. “Till the scandalous rupture between the peasantry and the Kaffers, occasioned entirely [!] by the injustice and tyranny of the former, Zuure Veldt was one of the best-peopled divisions in the district, but has been since that time entirely abandoned” (1986). “The Kaffers were not to be considered in the same light as the Bosjesmans … but, on the contrary, as a mild, rational, and in some degree civilized people, who had always afforded protection to such travellers in their country as had made proper applications to their sovereign for it. The story [!] of some Dutch farmer [singular] being murdered in Kaffer-land, where he had gone for the sake of exchanging trinkets for cattle, had got hold of their minds” (1993).

Barrow skryf soos volg oor die swart mense wat hy duskant die Groot Visrivier teëgekom het: “A party of women were the first who advanced to salute us, laughing and dancing round the waggons, and putting on all the coaxing [begging] manners they could invent; in order to procure from us tobacco and brass buttons. Good temper, animation, and a cheerful turn of mind, beamed in all their countenances. We found them to be modest without reserve; extremely curious without being troublesome; lively but not impudent; and sportive without the least shadow of being lascivious. Their personal charms were not of a very captivating nature, though, getting over the prejudice of colour, which was that of a dark glossy brown, verging on black, some of them might have been accounted handsome” (2013). “A Kaffer woman is chaste and extremely modest … Instances of infidelity are very rare; and, when they do occur, are accidental rather than premeditated” (2472). Anders as aan die begin van hierdie paragraaf, skryf Barrow later, dalk met verwysing na die mans: “They seldom attempt to sing or to dance, and their performances of both are miserably bad” (2574).

“The men, on the contrary, were the finest figures I ever beheld: they were tall, robust, and muscular; their habits of life had induced a firmness of carriage, and an open, manly manner, which, added to the good nature that overspread their features, showed them at once to be equally unconscious of fear, suspicion and treachery” (2028). ‘n Swart hoofman het verduidelik dat sy stam die Groot Visriviergrens oorgesteek het omdat die Boere dit eerste in die teenoorgestelde rigting gedoen het. “What this chief stated in his reply was perfectly correct. The Dutch peasantry have not only gone into the Kaffer country since the year 1793, to hunt for the larger sort of game, particularly the hippopotamus, that abounds in all the great rivers of that country, but all those who dwell near the extremity of the colony, upon the Great Fish river, have always used, and still continue to consider, the Kaffer side of the river as their own, have sown, and planted, and driven over their cattle to graze. Some of their habitants of Bruyntjes Hoogte … had taken possession of the choicest part of their country” (2069).

“They had the audacity to petition Sir James Craig to grant them as an indemnification for their losses by the Bosjesmans and the Kaffers, a small piece of ground … This piece of ground is only about five-and-forty miles beyond the present boundary. The dating and impudent falsehood on which the letter was founded were easily seen through by Sir James Craig, and their petition was very properly rejected” (2077). “Such are the views of those people, who have neither sense of honour, regard for truth, or feelings of justice or humanity to direct their proceedings” (2083).

“The chiefs were told that if some few of the colonists had been so imprudent as to transgress the treaty [border], they had done it contrary to the express orders and without the knowledge of government: that the colony was now in the possession of a great and powerful sovereign, the king of England: that one of his first chiefs had deputed us to say that the established boundary should be observed on the part of the colonists; but that he expected also that all those chiefs, who had spread themselves over the country of the colonists, with their families, and dependants, and cattle, would, without any further delay, quietly and peaceably return into their own country; and as a proof of the good intentions and friendship of the English government towards the Kaffer nation, we were now on our journey to their great chief, or King Gaika, carrying for him a present from the English governor at the Cape” (2083).

Barrow formuleer en onderskryf Gaika se standpunt soos volg: “It is a common idea, industriously kept up in the colony, that the Kaffers are a savage, teacherous, and cruel people; a character as false as it is unmerited. Their moderation towards the colonists, and all white people, has shown itself on many occasions; and if the inhabitants of the bordering parts of the colony had any sense of honour or feelings of gratitude, instead of assisting to propagate, they would endeavour to suppress, such an idea. They know very well that in the height of a war into which this people was iniquitoust driven, the lives of all their women and children that fell into the hands of the Kaffers were spared by them, whilst their own fell promiscuously by the hands of the colonists” (2340).

Om aan te toon hoe die gedrag van die Boere en swartes verskil, word beweer dat ‘n Genuese skip in 1796 tussen die mondings van die Boesmans- en Sondagsrivier gestrand het en deur die Boere geplunder is pleks van die skipbreuklinge te help (2347). In 1797 het ‘n Amerikaanse skip tussen die mondings van die Keiskamma- en Beekarivier gestrand. Die swartes het die skipbreuklinge gehelp en slegs die knope van hulle klere af gesteel. “They were deprived of no other parts of their property; and they were conducted in safety to the residence of some of the colonists, from whom a demand was made of five rixdollars for the captain and an equal sum for the whole of the crew, as full compensation for their trouble” (2361). Een van die beginsels waarop swart mense se kultuur berus is: “For theft there is no other punishment than that of restitution” (2479). Waarom dan deesdae onteiening sonder vergoeding? Dit is sowel immoreel as strydig met die belange van die land.

“It is to him [Gaika] I am principally indebted for the little information I am enabled to give concerning the Kaffer nation” (2376). “The Kaffers having always been represented as agriculturists, we were a little disappointed in not meeting with gardens and cultivated grounds about their habitations, not a vestige of which had anywhere appeared” (2396). Gaika verduidelik toe dat hulle die afgelope twee of drie jaar in oorloë gewikkel was. “They had consequently been under the necessity of suspending their pursuits of agriculture; that in times of peace they always planted millet [sorghum – 2595, 2657], and several kinds of vegetables” (2396). “They seem however to be much more inclined to the pastoral than the agricultural life” (2499). “There are perhaps few nations, besides the Kaffers, that have not contrived to draw some advantages from the possession of a sea-coast. They have no kind of fishery whatsoever either with nets or boats” (2520). Die San, daarenteen, het wel die vermoë om vis in bv die riviere te vang (3545).

Oor die swarte as mens skryf Barrow: “From the nature of his food, which is chiefly milk, his manners are mild and gentle … In time of peace, he leads the true pastoral life: his cattle is his only care: he rarely kills one for his own consumption, except on some particular occasion” (2423). “There is perhaps no nation on earth, taken collectively, that can produce so fine a race of men as the Kaffers: they are tall, stout, muscular, well made, elegant figures … their rest is not disturbed by violent love, nor their minds ruffled by jealousy … The countenance of a Kaffer is always cheerful; and the whole of his demeanour bespeaks content and peace of mind” (2451).

“Had not Nature bestowed upon him the dark-colouring principle that anatomists have discovered to be owing to a certain gelatinous fluid lying between the epidermis and the cuticle, he might have ranked among the first Europeans” (2458). “A Kaffer … could not be pronounced deficient in talent. The experiment of giving him a suitable education has not yet been made; but there are perhaps no unlettered people on the face of the earth, whose manners and opinions have more the appearance of civilization than those of the Kaffers” (2486).

“The Kaffers most certainly are not the Aborigines of the southern angle of Africa … it would be absurd to consider them as indigenous to the small spot they now possess. To speculate upon their origin, it might not perhaps be far from the mark to suppose them to have sprung from some of the tribes of those wandering Arabs known by the name of Beduins” (2533).

“Not the smallest vestige of a written character is to be traced among them; but their language appears to be the remains of something far beyond that of any savage nation. In the enunciation it is soft, fluent, and harmonious; has neither the monotonous mouthing of the savage, nor the nasal nor guttural sounds that prevail in almost all the European tongues. It is as different from that of the Hottentots as the latter is from the English. In a very few words, and these are generally proper names, they have adopted the palatial clacking of the tongue used by the Hottentots. The mountains and rivers in the country, for instance, still retain their Hottentot names; a presumptive proof that the Kaffers were intruders upon this nation. It is singular enough that the Kaffers, as well as the Hottentots, should have obtained a name that never belonged to them … A [Kaffer], among the Indians [Arabs], is an infidel, a pagan … The Kaffers call themselves Kousszc [Xhosas]” (2603).

Hollandse boere

Op sy reise is Barrow, danksy hulle welwillendheid, meesal deur Hollandse boere vergesel omdat hulle perde, osse en waens en die roetes geken het, geweet het waar water is en Barrow se bas teen die inboorlinge beskerm het. “We had to depend entirely on the information of the farmers as to the road and most convenient halting places” (4202). “Some of the farmers it was absolutely necessary to take along with us, as none of our own party were acquainted with a single step of the country” (2006). “They were also a considerable addition to our strength, in case of an attack from a savage tribe … of Bosjesmans” (1034).

Maar wat het Barrow van die Boere gedink en geskryf? “A farmer thinks he cannot proclaim a more meritorious action than the murder of one of these [Bosjesman] people. A boor from Graaff Reynet being asked … if the savages were numerous or troublesome on the road, replied, he had only shot four, with as much composure and indifference as if he had been speaking of four partridges. I myself have heard one of the humane [!] colonists boast of having destroyed with his own hands near three hundred of these unfortunate wretches” (1041).

Die Hollandse boere word as lui slapgatte uitgebeeld. “It is indolence alone that has hitherto prevented the colonists from leading their vines along standards, in which case they would not only improve the quality of the grape, but would also receive a double quantity from the same ground” (814). “Hitherto there have been few speculators among the Dutch planters: the spirit of improvement and experiment never entered into their minds; and it may be a matter of doubt, had not the French Protestants … introduced and cultivated the vine, whether at this time the whole colony would have produced a single leaguer of wine” (820). In werklikheid het Jan van Riebeeck die eerste wingerdstok in 1655 geplant en die eerste plaaslike wyn is in 1659 geproduseer. In 1685, tydens Simon van der Stel se bewind, het die wynlandgoed Groot Constantia tot stand gekom; dus vóór die koms van die eerste Hugenote in 1688. “The poorest peasant [from the interior], on his annual visit to the Cape, never fails to lay in, among other articles of purchase, a cask of sopie [brandy], amd this as little rest day or night till it be exhausted” (4403).

“A true Dutch peasant, or boor as he styles himself, has not the smallest idea of what an English farmer means by the word comfort. Placed in a country where not only the necessities, but almost every luxury of life might by industry be procured, he has the enjoyment of none of them” (937). “The boor … is absolute master of a domain of several miles in extent; and he lords it over a few miserable slaves or Hottentots without control … Unwilling to work, and unable to think; with a mind disengaged from every sort of care and reflection, indulging to excess in the gratification of every sensual appetite, the African peasant grows to an unwieldy size” (950). “Scarcely any two neigbours are found to be on good terms with each other, but are embroiled perpetually in quarrels and disputes about the extent of their farms, or the privilege of a spring or a water-course” (957). “The farmers seem to have no idea of digging wells, or of opening a spring to let it run” (4258).

“The women of the African peasantry pass a life of the most listless inactivity. The mistress of the family, with her coffee-pot constantly boiling before her on a small table, seems fixed to her chair like a piece of furniture. This good [!] lady, born in the wilds of Africa, and educated among slaves and Hottentots, has little idea of what, in a state of society, constitutes female delicacy … The young girls with their hands before them as listless as their mothers. Most of them, in the distant districts, can neither read nor write, so that they have no mental resources whatsoever” (979). “To the cold phlegmatic temper and inactive way of life may perhaps be owing the prolific tendency of all the African peasantry. Six or seven children in a family are considered as very few; from a dozen to twenty are not uncommon; and most of them marry very young, so that the population of the colony is rapidly increasing” (986).

Barrow erken darem ‘n fundamentele of DNS-verskil tussen die liggaamsbou van Khoi-Khoin vroue en Hollandse blanke vroue omdat “different predispositions exist inherent in the person of each” (4590). Bewustheid van die verskil word skynbaar versterk deur die volgende stelling: “It seems to be a fact well established, that the lion prefers the flesh of a Hottentot to that of any other creature. He has frequently been singled out from a party of Dutch” (4635). Dalk tog nie: “The latter [Dutch] being disguised in clothing, and the former [Hottentot] going generally naked, may perhaps account for it” (4635). “The men are in general much above the middle size, very tall and stout, but ill made, loosely put together, awkward and inactive. Very few have those open ingenuous countenances that among the peasantry of many parts of Europe speak their simplicity and innocence” (992).

“They affect to be very religious, and carry at least the devotion of religion fully as far as the most zealous bigots” (1006). “Rude and uncultivated as are their minds, there is one virtue in which they eminently excel – hospitality to strangers” (1013). “If the economy of the African farmers’ house be ill managed, that of his land is equally bad. The graziers indeed, in many places, are not at the trouble of sowing any grain, but exchange with others their cattle for as much as may be necessary for the family consumption. But even those who have cornfarms near the Cape, seem to have no kind of management. They turn over a piece of ground with a huge mis-shapen plough, that requires eight or ten horses, or a dozen oxen, to drag it along” (1020). “The Dutch peasant … bestows no kind of labour on the ground [eg manure and water] but that of throwing in the seed: the rest is left to chance and the effects of an excellent climate” (1027). “Living nearly in a state of nature, with the advantage of having at all times within their reach a supply of food, procured without bodily exertion or the fatigue of labour, they sometimes attain the greatest possible size to which the species seems capable of arriving” (1211).

“Could the farmers near the Cape be once prevailed upon to sow turnips, which may be produced here equally-good as in Europe, to plant potatoes, and cultivate the artificial grasses, the quality of the beef and mutton might be very materially improved … but the adoption of such a system would require more labour and activity, and more attention, than the body and mind of a Dutch farmer seem capable of supplying: his avarice, though great, is yet overcome by the habits of indolence in which he has been educated” (1081).

“The zebra has obtained the character of being so vicious and ungovernable, as never to be completely tamed; perhaps only from some very imperfect and injudicious trials. The success of an attempt to domesticate animals that are naturally fierce or timid, would require more perseverance and patience, more labour, and more address, than seem to fall to the share of a Dutch peasant” (1136). Ten spyte van Barrow se beterweterigheid, “zebras have never been truly domesticated” (Wikipedia). “If the Dutch have been too indolent to domesticate the qua-cha [kwagga] and the zebra, it is less a matter of astonishment that no attempts have been made on the fierce and powerful buffalo. Any other nation, possessing the Cape for one hundred and fifty years, would certainly have effected it” (1570). Barrow sit die pot weer mis. “The African buffalo has never been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo” (Wikipedia).

Springbokke is deur die Boere geskiet vir hulle vleis en velle: “clothing for their slaves, and, at the time of the capture by the English [1795], for themselves also and children. The poverty and miserable condition of the colony were then so great, that all their numerous flocks and herds were insufficient to procure them decent clothing” (1273).

Oor Graaff-Reinet skryf Barrow: “Its appearance is more miserable than that of the poorest village in England. The necessities of life are with difficulty procured in it; for, though there be plenty of land, few are found industrious enough to cultivate it” (1376). “A hog is a species of animal scarcely known in the district. No reason but that of indolence can be assigned for the want of it. To feed hogs there would be a necessity of a planting, and to this they seem to have a mortal antipathy. It is great exertion to throw a little corn into the ground for their own bread” (1411). “The same reasons that prevent them from breeding hogs, operate against their keeping poultry: these would require grain, and this labour” (1418).

“The information of the peasantry on any subject, and in all countries, should be received with a degree of caution. Those of Africa, I have generally observed, are much disposed to the marvellous” (1542). Wat Barrow skryf, behoort deurgaans krities oorweeg te word. Hy skryf meer betroubaar oor die natuur as oor mense. Oor etniese groepe het hy bepaalde vooroordele gehad en hulle dus met verskillende maatstawwe beoordeel.

Oor Zwartkopsbaai by Port Elizabeth skryf Barrow: “The farmers give themselves at this place no trouble to manure the land … How little they esteem manure is very evident from the heaps of dung piled up about the houses in those places where the cattle, in order to preserve them from beasts of prey, are pent up at nights … The beds of some of these kraals were twelve feet [!] deep of dung, unmixed with any other material; and this is not the only nor the least offensive nuisance with which the hovel of a Dutch peasant is usually surrounded” (1632).

“There never perhaps were a set of men so void of resources in overcoming difficulties as the Dutch farmers of the Cape. The inanity of mind, and the indolent habit of body, are not even surmounted by self-interest. Their ignorance cannot be a matter of wonder, but we often find in Europe unlettered men possessed of great talents and ingenuity” (4424).

 

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