Leon Lemmer: Philippa Garson oor die bedekte 1990/94-oorlog

Philippa Garson, 'n voormalige joernalis by die Mail & Guardian wat nou na New York uitgewyk het
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Die volgende boek deur Philippa Garson (gebore in 1965) is op 30 Maart gepubliseer: Undeniable: Memoir of a covert war (Auckland Park: Jacana, 2020, 336p, R209 (loot); Amazon Kindle $14,89). Die teks handel veral oor die drie partye wat in 1990/94 in ‘n bedekte oorlog gewikkel was: die ANC, Inkatha en die sogenaamde Derde Mag. Dit was uiteraard veral die rol van die Derde Mag (by uitstek blankes) wat glo gekamoefleer is en aan die kaak gestel moes word: “These guys were no doubt highly skilled in the messy art of covert warfare. They’d been perfecting it over the years in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique. And the military’s Special Forces, as well as their police special unit, Koevoet, had become adept at ‘turning’ liberation fighters from these countries and ours into killing machines for their own ends” (Kindle 890). Op grond van eerstehandse waarneming slaag die outeur uitmuntend daarin om die absolute valsheid van die gewilde stelling, “ons vreedsame oorgang na demokrasie,” bloot te lê. Hierdie inligting word vervleg met outobiografiese besonderhede. Daar is baie dialoog in die teks. Dit is sekerlik nie waarheidsgetrou nie maar agterna gekonstrueer om ‘n bepaalde beeld te skep of standpunt oor te dra.

Garson het die grade BA en Honneurs-BA in staatsleer (“political science”) aan die Universiteit van die Witwatersraad (Wits) verwerf en in 1989 as joernalis in diens van die Weekly Mail (tans die Mail & Guardian) getree. Die koerant was ‘n poging om die linkse Rand Daily Mail te laat herleef (295). Garson se pa, van Skotse afkoms, was ‘n dosent in geskiedenis en later ‘n dekaan aan Wits (330). Haar ma is van huis uit Afrikaans maar het verkies om eerder Engelssprekend te wees. Sy was ‘n Wits-bibliotekaresse. “With my mother’s cultured English and embrace of all things British, her Dutch/Afrikaans origins came as a surprise to many” (522). “As a child, my mother had read through the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z” [!] (2154). Op die internet word Engels as die outeur se enigste taal aangedui. Wanneer sy as joernalis onderhoude gevoer het, het sy blykbaar nie Afrikaans gepraat nie en van Afrikaanssprekendes verwag om Engels te praat (2899). Garson is die jongste van vier susters wat in ‘n polities verligte huis grootgeword het. Daar is by hulle die neiging om nie net pro-swart nie maar ook pro-ANC te wees, gekombineer met ‘n voorliefde om eerder oorsee te verkas. Die een suster het in Spanje gewoon (3020) en ‘n ander een in Australië (3852).

As student aan Wits het Garson aan linkse protesaksies deelgeneem en in ‘n kommune gewoon. Sy beskryf haarself as “cocky” (1597) en “a privileged white ‘party girl’ from a liberal-leaning household” (59). Dwarsdeur die boek beklemtoon sy haar boheemse leefwyse en die hedonistiese manier waarop sy haar naweke in kroeë en jazzklubs met sigarette, drank, dwelms en dans deurgebring het: “a decadent escape from it all” (319). Sy het met ‘n aktivistiese bruin man uit die Kaap, Clyde genoem, deurmekaar geraak. Hy is ‘n donkerkleurige bruin mens met “curly hair” (1447). “Clyde was committed to ‘the struggle’ and regarded himself as black” (1447; ook 579). “He, like me, had been steeped in Marxist politics on campus, where we’d all regarded the coporate gaints as ‘the enemy’: they’d grown fat off the abundant cheap labour of black people” (1734). Clyde het aan die Universiteit Kaapstad studeer en daarna met ‘n beurs van Anglo American in Mississippi as ‘n chemiese ingenieur gekwalifiseer (330, 1734). Omdat hy, soos Garson, marxisties was, was hy glad nie lojaal teenoor sy werkgewer, die Anglo American Corporation, ingestel nie omdat dit ‘n blanke kapitalistiese onderneming is.

Garson en Clyde het in ‘n skakelhuis in Yeoville, ‘n rasgemengde woonbuurt, ingetrek. Garson het haar oor Tebogo, ‘n straatkind van omtrent 13 jaar oud, met wie sy as joernalis ‘n onderhoud gevoer het, ontferm. Hy is net die eerste dag in die huis toegelaat. Daarna kon hy op die stoep slaap. “That corner is starting to stink” (408). “I started to resent his presense – or, rather, the smelly reminder of his presence. A rank odour emanated from his little corner and some days the breeze carried it right into our bedroom” (419). Die verligte paartjie het hoe langer, hoe minder van Tebogo se teenwoordigheid gehou. Clyde was van die begin af daarteen gekant (408): “It’s your white guilt talking!” het hy aan Garson gesê (454). Later het hulle ‘n huis in Bezuidenhout-vallei gehuur en op hierdie manier van Tebogo ontslae geraak. “I could no longer stand the sight of him” (2785). Hulle het ‘n huishulp, Violet, gehad “who ploughed through our mess every Thursday” (3359). “Clyde had come home early one afternoon to find Violet basking in the bath instead, reading a magazine. She was so efficient that neither of us minded: we both laughed at the story” (3371).

Dit was Garson se gewoonte om Sondae na haar ouerhuis te gaan. Haar ma se Afrikanerouers – “the stigma from our colonising forefathers never faded” (522) – was ondersteuners van die Nasionale Party (568). Hulle het party Sondae van Pretoria gekom om saam middagete te geniet. Hulle het ‘n swart huishoudster, Christine, gehad en hulle dogter het ook een gehad, Deborah. Albei was Tswanas en glo uitstekende kokke. Deborah het op die tradisionele manier in ‘n kamer in die agterplaas gewoon. Garson gebruik haar oupa en ouma as spreekbuise vir verkramptheid. Hulle was nie gediend met Clyde nie (568), al het hulle en Clyde Afrikaans met mekaar gepraat. Garson se oupa het aan haar gesê: “He wants to better his social class. Being with you will elevate his social standing” (579). Clyde “knew better than any of us that many coloureds preferred to align themselves with whites in a country where your skin tone determined your rung on the social ladder” (1434). Garson se ouers het skynbaar geen beswaar teen haar saamblyery met Clyde gehad nie. Soos verwag kon word, word regsgesindes deurgaans uiters negatief voorgestel. “There were plenty of rightwingers, inside and outside the security forces, who saw the elimination of blacks as a just course” (688). “The right wing was slaying black people in random attacks” (1979); “the kind of people who shot blacks for fun” (4125). Rassisme word beskryf as “you were hated for your black skin” (1032), die geykte valsheid dat velpigmentasie die (enigste) verskil tussen mense is terwyl dit in werklikheid kultuur/lewenswyse is wat die kloof daarstel, soos Garson later sou agterkom.

Ná 1990 het Garson en Clyde op ‘n keer na ‘n ontspanningsoord in Noord-Natal gegaan, maar die eienaar wou die rasgemengde paartjie nie inlaat nie. Garson se siening van Afrikaners spreek boekdele: “Not that we wanted entry to this creepy place any more. No doubt it was packed with racist Boers playing cards over their brandy and Cokes, their wifes smoking and gossiping in curlers and crimplene housecoats. Yes, I was a snob and a bigot too, writing off everything about them, not just their politics. But I didn’t care … What kind of bizarre white-supremacist gathering might be taking place in there?” (2048). Kontrasteer dit met haar benadering tot nieblankes, veral swartes. Die feit dat sy deel van ‘n “unlikely-looking pair” (939) is, het haar van tyd tot tyd tog gehinder. “Right now I longed to be there, back with my own, my friends, my family, the people I’d grown up with. I didn’t want to be part of an odd, misfit couple – one white, one coloured” (2084). Dan kom ‘n polities korrekte gedagte by haar op: “We were the future” (2095). Clyde word beskryf as “the clever, wounded bird” (2259); ‘n frase wat ek liewer onvertaald laat. Maar sy erken hy is “aggressive and unpredictable” (2270). Hulle albei kan erg beskonke raak.

By die Weekly Mail was Anton Harber die redakteur en Mondli Makhanya een van Garson se kollegas in die “politically correct newsroom” (664). Makhanya is ‘n Zoeloe afkomstig uit Natal maar ‘n ANC-kameraad wat teen Inkatha geveg het (133). Mettertyd het hy die redakteur van die Sunday Times en daarna van City Press geword (5127). Die Weekly Mail is deels uit Swede gefinansier (2774). Elders word na “some earnest Scandinavian funders” verwys (3725). Garson en Makhanya is by geleentheid na Swede gestuur om die donateurs aan te moedig om voort te gaan met hulle befondsing (3060). Daarna: “We joined forces with the British Guardian newspaper, which now had controlling shares in our paper, and the Weekly Mail & Guardian was born” (4473).

Sy beskryf die Weekly Mail soos volg: “Our newspaper had some cachet in struggle circles for relentlessly hounding the apartheid government for its lies and abuses and for exposing the gory goings-on in the townships where young activists were being shot dead in daily pitched battles with the police. We practiced advocacy journalism in the sense that we knew whose side we were not on. But the Weekly Mail was also a platform for opinionated, liberal whites preaching solutions” (191; ook 711). Kortom, die koerant was pro-ANC (377) en het veral daarin belanggestel om die blanke regering so sleg moontlik voor te stel, bv die polisie (bv 214, 3326) en ambulanse (bv 1118, 2875) daag glo alewig laat op as dit swartes is wat hulle hulp nodig het. “We were a ‘lefty’ newspaper buzzing with self-righteousness” (699). Elders word daar na “the bolshie [Bolshevic/Communist] Weekly Mail” verwys (3737).

Reeds vóór 1990 was daar in Natal ‘n stryd tussen die ANC- en die Inkatha-Zoeloes. Dit het vererger toe Inkatha in Julie 1990 ‘n politieke party geword het (1877). Die onrus het toe na die Rand uitgebrei. “Over one ten-day period, more than 500 people had died. The kill rate was the highest in a century of South African history, higher even than in Beirut or Belfast over the same period” (272). “At least 3 460 South Africans had died in the township violence in one year, compared to 2 847 in Northern Ireland since the conflict broke out there in 1969” (2026). Dit was hoofsaaklik swart op swart misdaad en geweld. “Since Mandela’s release more than two years earlier, thousands of people had died in so-called black-on-black violence and the ANC was struggling to contain its followers” (3416). “Many of the facts were incontrovertible, like the numbers of massacres and the numbers of the dead: 49 massacres and 1 250 people dead on the Reef and in southern Transvaal in the previous two years, since the violence first broke out. Other aspects, like who the killers were, and why they were doing it, were up for debate. As were the many eyewitness accounts of the presence of whites in the attacks, of which there were many” (3512) – “yet there had not been one conviction” (3523). Teen 1994: “[The] four-year war had … cost more than 4 000 lives … The ANC had gained control of most of the urban areas” (3831). In 1990/94 was daar “the murder of 420 Inkatha leaders and thousands of its supporters” (5081), waarvoor die ANC verantwoordelikheid behoort te aanvaar. Die totale dodetal in die 1990/94-oorlog word deesdae op minstens 14 000 gestel (kyk hier onder).

Ná die Boipatong-slagting op 17 Junie 1992, waarin Inkatha vir die ANC ‘n loesing gegee het (daar was 45 dooies), het die ANC geweier om met die grondwetlike onderhandelinge voort te gaan. Veertien voorwaardes vir die hervatting van die onderhandelinge is deur die ANC gestel (3427). “The ANC was embarking on a widespread stayaway and mass action to pressure the government into meeting its demands … Ever since Boipatong, the international pressure had been mounting on the government to take steps to stop the violence and rein in its security forces” (3534). Soos gebruiklik het ANC-kornuite beweer dat hulle gesien het dat blankes Inkatha in die Boipatong-aanval ondersteun het. Desmond Tutu was spoedig op die toneel en het dit soos gewoonlik teen die blankes gehad. Hy het homself afgevra “why the people of Boipatong, who were ‘not sophisticated people’, would fabricate what they’d seen?” (3404). Nelson Mandela het op ‘n soortgelyke sluwe manier gereageer: “We can no longer explain to our people why we are talking to a regime that continues to murder our people” (3438). FW de Klerk het nie net aan baie van die ANC se eise toegegee nie, maar sy rug ook al hoe meer op Inkatha gekeer. “Ever since Boipatong, De Klerk had been focused on getting the ANC back to negotiations, pushing Inkatha aside … Doubtless it had nothing to do with the deaths but with the fact that the ANC had been able to cast the government as a pariah again in the eyes of the world that had, with economic sactions, forced them into negotiations in the first place” (3591).

Soos by Boipatong was Mandela en Tutu spoedig op die toneel van die Bisho-slagting (op 7 September 1992). Die ANC het gepoog om Oupa Gqozo, die staatshoof van die Ciskei, te ontsetel, maar Ciskei-troepe het 28 ANC-kamerade doodgeskiet. Oor Mandela skryf Garson: “He was the star of the show, as always” (3814). Tutu “led the crowd in prayer. It was then that his greatness shone on the heads of his subjects like a healing star” (3814).

Omdat dit sedert 1994 grootliks verswyg word, word daar nie algemeen besef watter groot afmetings halssnoermoorde, die ANC/UDF se gunsteling onbeskaafdheid teenoor polities dislojales, aangeneem het nie. “According to police figures, eight hundred people were burned to death from September 1984 tot December 1986” (1831), dus voordat die ANC ontban is. Twee geestelikes/teoloë, wat hulle as vredemakers en versoeners voordoen, Desmond Tutu en Allan Boesak, was toe die leiers van die UDF. In 1990/94 het ANC-kamerade hulle geensins beter gedra nie. “Alfred Nzo, then the ANC secretary-general, described necklacing as a legitimate way for the people to ‘eliminate the enemy element'” (1831). Nzo is in 1994 as die ANC-minister van buitelandse sake in Mandela se kabinet aangestel.

Die terrorisme van die ANC word deesdae by voorkeur voorgestel as ‘n regverdigbare reaksie op die “sistemiese geweld” van die “apartheidregering”. Insgelyks skryf Garson die onbeskaafde gewelddadigheid van die ANC in 1990/94 toe aan die polisie: “The people’s courts were a response to the lack of policing and the abysmal relations between the police and township residents” (2109). Eintlik geld dit hoofsaaklik ANC-inwoners omdat die ANC hulle gebreinspoel en geïntimideer het om nie die gesag van die blanke regering te aanvaar nie. “My friends couldn’t really fathom my preoccupation with the third force” (2282). Die Derde Mag se preokkupasie was glo “to derail negotiations.” Sy het ook vas geglo “the Nats will never give up power” (2294). “They are using Inkatha to do their dirty work” (2306). “We were a gutsy newspaper desperate to expose the murderous men behind the third force” (3489), dus blankes en nie die swart geweldenaars nie.

Die kernrede vir die bedekte 1990/94-oorlog was die magshonger, gewelddadige, terroristiese ANC, wat ten alle koste politieke beheer oor die land wou oorneem. Daarom moes die ANC sy vernaamste opponent, Inkatha, ten minste neutraliseer, as hy hom nie kon uitwis nie. “ANC intolerance [and] their failure to suspend the armed struggle” (1601) was bose werklikhede. Mandela “walked not on water” (2026). “Mandela … wasn’t a saint … The ANC now had its eye on the prize, control of the country, and nothing – not even this violence – could sway it from its course” (901). “Perhaps it was true that the ANC simply couldn’t tolerate competition in any form. Was the notion of a third force just an excuse for an outbreak of bloody rivalry between two political groups whose leaders were unable or unwilling to bring them under control?” (1186). “Maybe the National Party was correct and the violence was nothing other than tribalism between two ethnic groups vying for supremacy. The ANC preached non-racialism, as well as non-tribalism in defiance of the apartheid policies that had sought to divide and rule. But it was common knowledge that tribalism existed too in the ANC” (2400).

Met kenmerkende valsheid het die ANC voorgegee dat hy nie aanvallend optree nie maar verdedigend. “Self-defence units (SDUs) [were] to be set up to protect township residents” (1979). Die slinkse Mandela “accused Inkatha of wanting to ‘rise to power on the corpses of dead people.’ He blamed the government and security forces for sponsering violence against the ANC, warning that it would spread to white areas unless it was stopped. Now the ANC was threatening to arm its own self-defence units. By the looks of things, they were already doing so” (2470). Later: “Of growing concern were the increasingly lawless ANC-aligned self-defence units … Returning MK cadres were manning the SDUs … An MK-controlled SDU [had] seemingly endless access to AK-47s and other heavy weapons … Heavily armed MK soldiers, who’d returned from exile with no jobs or positions in the ANC, were now running amok in the name of self-defence … The ANC was absolving itself of responsibility, saying that the SDUs were outside the ranks of the ANC’s military wing” (3105). “A fight was brewing between returning MK cadres who’d taken command of some of the SDUs, on the one side, and local ANC activists in the unions and street committees, on the other” (3116).

Die Weekly Mail se werwingsbeleid vir joernaliste was onbesproke polities korrek. Daar was agt beginners wat as joernaliste opgelei moes word. “All four men were black, two of us women were white, one was coloured, and Cassandra was Indian. We were the rainbow nation … But the harmonious alignment of our hues was, like the rainbow itself, an illusion” (1241). Die gedrag van die joernaliste was nie altyd polities korrek nie. Toe vier joernaliste ‘n saak ondersoek en in twee huise oornag het, was die verdeling twee blankes in die een huis en twee swartes in die ander een (856).

Daar is die hoogste lof vir ANC-kamerade, maak nie saak hoe immoreel hulle is nie. Winnie Mandela word as die “doyenne of the people” beskryf (180) en selfs as ‘n Evita Peron (191). Brenda Fassie is glo “the African queen” (1956). Daar word verwys na “the noble” Desmond Tutu (1151). Steve Biko word bestempel as “the black consciousness hero” (1218). Nelson Mandela word deur Garson “our hero” en “our leader” genoem (2002). Garson was opgewonde (“excited” – 2181) toe sy ‘n onderhoud kon voer met Chris Hani, die hoof van MK, die ANC se terroristiese vleuel, en die SAKP, “the second most popular leader after Mandela” (2191). “I’d admired this uncompromising ANC leader from a distance for a long time” (3792). Oor hierdie onderhoud skryf sy: “Instantly I felt as though I was in the presence of a great man, a man like Mandela, and that his innate humanity would steer the interview” (3910). “I’d had the privilege of meeting an exceptional person” (3933). “I was … inspired by his presence” (3967) – “Hani, my hero” (4325).

Wat opval, is hoe naïef Garson en die koerant was. Sy erken self: “Perhaps I was gullible” (1096). Hulle was oorgretig om gerugte te glo wat in hulle politieke kraam pas. “We’d traversed the hot, hilly terrain in the northern Transvaal in search of a police farm with a crocodile-infested dam in which activists from the area swore they’d been dumped after being beaten … Finally we’d turned back, hot, sweaty and empty-handed” (785). In die stryd tussen die ANC en Inkatha was die koerant feitlik deurgaans aangewese op gerugte wat deur ANC-kamerade versprei is. “We at the Weekly Mail had been covering this war in a one-sided way” (1073). “Of course we should have been covering both sides of this war, but that wasn’t going to happen” (3043). Hulle was deel van die “alternative press” (1085). Dit was standaardpraktyk by ANC-kornuite om hoog en laag te sweer dat daar blankes, veral lede van die veiligheidsmagte (polisie en weermag), aan die kant van Inkatha betrokke was.

Iets wat Garson oor en oor beklemtoon, is die oorvloed van wapens en ammunisie wat tot al drie partye se beskikking was (1619, 1854, 2191, 2975, 3207, 3841, 3875, 4022). Dit was ‘n deurslaggewende faktor in die volgehoue bloedige stryd. Hiervoor kan FW de Klerk in groot mate verantwoordelik gehou word omdat hy die veiligheidsmaatreëls wat deur sy voorgangers, John Vorster en PW Botha, ingestel is, geminag en in baie gevalle verwaarloos of selfs afgeskaf het. Garson het hard probeer om polisiemanne te betrap wat wapens aan Inkatha-ondersteuners verskaf, maar kon nie daarin slaag nie. “There were no guns in sight” (1925). Desnieteenstaande gaan sy voort: “Some of these cops were undoubtedly aiding Inkatha, supplying them with weapons, that much was clear” (1925). Vervolgens erken sy egter: “There was no evidence at all. I had nothing but my own conviction” (1937).

“It seemed as if there was no justice and that there never would be while the Nats were still in power” (2143). Garson het gehoop dat die ondersoeke van regter Richard Goldstone die “trigger-happy cops” aan bande sou lê (2120). Aanvanklik kon Goldstone geen getuienis van derdemag-bedrywighede vind nie (3094, 4431). Ná die Boipatong-slagting het Goldstone die hulp van ‘n Britse deskundige, P Waddington, ingeroep, maar hy kon ook geen teken van polisie-inmenging vasstel nie. “Waddington … criticised the ANC for telling its supporters not to co-operate with the … investigation” (3545). “The Goldstone Commission … did in fact uncover – or stumble upon – clear proof of the third force. Although Justice Richard Goldstone was initially undecided on the issue, his reports became stronger and stronger as the evidence came in” (5010). Dit is ook my indruk: Namate die ANC al hoe meer in beheer van die land gekom en die NP-regering se houvas verswak het, het Goldstone sy deuntjie al hoe meer ten gunste van die ANC laat hoor.

Te midde van die chaos, dood en verwoesting van 1990/94 kom Garson in ‘n oomblik van helder denke met ‘n belangrike vraag vorendag: “If the ANC ever came to power, how could they ever restore normality?” (2354). Dit is die gewelddadige voorbeeld wat die ANC/UDF/SAKP gestel het en die sukses wat hulle daarmee behaal het, wat meebring dat Suid-Afrika steeds een van die misdadigste en gewelddadigste lande in die wêreld is. Hierdie abnormaliteit is die kenmerkende nalatenskap van die ANC en sy vennote se terrorisme.

Toe sy 25 jaar oud was, het Garson swanger geword. Sy vra die retoriese vraag: “How the hell had this happened?” (2412). “Clyde was delighted … Our child would be of mixed race, unclassifiable in apartheid terminology” (2424). Twak. Ingevolge apartheid sou die baba as kleurling geklassifiseer word. Sy het ‘n aborsie ondergaan, al was dit in daardie stadium nog onwettig. Dit het haar skuldig laat voel en depressief gelaat (2447). Daarna was sy weer swanger en hulle wou die baba behou, maar die baba het buite die baarmoeder ontwikkel en is hierdie keer wettig geaborteer.

Garson en Clyde het vakansie op ‘n eiland, Inhaca, by Maputo in Mosambiek gaan hou. “Being on holiday with Clyde forced me to see how little we really had in common” (2639). “I wanted to walk along the beach, but Clyde was content to hang out at the local bar” (2650). Later: “Clyde and I seemed to be drifting ever further away from each other” (3138). “His endless hours of playing pool in those Hillbrow bars [had] long [been] a source of tension between us” (3253). Die paartjie se volgende vakansie was op Lamu-eiland, Kenia. “Now that we no longer had a common enemy [apartheid, white rule] to unite against, the distance between us grew. We had always scoffed at racial and cultural difference as just another ploy by the apartheid government to divide us. But the truth was that, culturally speaking, the two of us, a white girl from Johannesburg’s northern suburbs and a coloured boy from the Cape, were miles apart. And yoked together on this island, away from everything and everyone we knew, we were further away from each other than ever” (4279).

Terwyl hulle in Kenia was, is vasgestel dat sy weer swanger is. By die koerant sou sy voortaan met opvoedkundige berigte handel (4387, 4473) en dus nie meer die spanning verduur van besoeke aan onrusgebiede nie. Hulle het saam ‘n huis gekoop (4125). Hulle kind, ‘n dogtertjie, Alice, is gebore met “skin the colour of milky coffee” (4570). “To celebrate, we even brought up the subject of marriage one weekend. But the conversation stuttered to a halt and we never spoke about it again” (4593). Kort voor sy dood het Garson se verkrampte oupa skynbaar vreugde uit die aanskoue van sy eerste agterkleinkind geput (4603).

Dat nie net Garson in linkse geledere gereken is nie maar ook Clyde, blyk uit die volgende: “Clyde had taken up a fairly senior job at the Independent Electoral Commission” (4606) – blykbaar tydelik daarheen gesekondeer deur Anglo American. Hierna het die dag van ons “eerste demokratiese algemene verkiesing” op 27 April 1994 aangebreek. “It felt truly joyful to mark our crosses for the ANC” (4753). Teen die einde van Julie 1994 het Garson as voltydse joernalis uitgetree. Sy het besluit om eerder vryskutwerk te doen (4786).

Clyde is na Saldanhabaai verplaas. Hulle het in ‘n huis in Blue Water Bay gewoon – “owned by Anglo American and inhabited by Stepford-wife types. We had nothing to say to each other” (4825). Garson en Clyde was die enigste rasgemengde paartjie wat tussen blankes gewoon het. Garson noem Saldanhabaai ‘n “verkrampte fishing town” (4848). “The stresses of Clyde’s new job and the brutal cultural shock of conservative, unforgiving Saldanha Bay only turned him further inward” (4871). Een nag het Clyde nie by die huis opgedaag nie. “I found myself wishing death on the man with whom I had spent the last seven years” (4905). Kort daarna het sy en hulle kind, terwyl Clyde by sy werk was, na haar suster aan die Rand ontvlug. Later: “Clyde became a wealthy businessman in the new South Africa and is a doting father to his daughter Alice” (5127).

In die boek word geen verdere biografiese besonderhede verstrek nie, behalwe wat in die bedankings staan: “Thanks to … my husband Charles, and my three daughters, Alice, Leah and Ella” (37). ‘n Mens kan seker aanneem dat sy, nadat sy haar jeugdige voortvarendheid en opportunisme ontgroei het, met iemand getrou het wat kultureel nie so uitermate van haar verskil soos Clyde nie. Maar die kersie op die koek is die openingsin van die voorwoord: “In 2008 I moved with my family to New York to try out a new life” (48). Dit is kenmerkend van baie oorverligtes: Hulle het spreekwoordelik hemel en aarde versit om van die blanke bewind en apartheid ontslae te raak, maar moenie van hulle verwag om in die land aan te bly onder die ANC-regime nie. Goldstone het ook uit Suid-Afrika verkas. In ‘n televisie-onderhoud het hy die skuld daarvoor vir sy kinders en kleinkinders, wat hulle oorsee gevestig het, gegee.

Oor die kernonderwerp van die boek skryf Garson in die nawoord dat 14 000 of meer mense in 1990/94 in die onrus gesterf het. “The sanitised political narrative that prevails today is of a ‘peaceful transition’ to democracy. It’s as if this bloody chapter of the early 1990s has been erased from collective memory” (4966). “International audiences, too, recall rosy images of the Mandela miracle but seem blissfully unaware of the anarchic, three-way war, the orgy of violence, that preceded elections … There is this strange blanket of silence and denial, underneath which lies a tangle of contradictory truths that defy being stitched into a single narrative. For its part, the ANC government has avoided digging too deeply into what happened. In mid-2019, a court found that political interference by the ANC had stopped the National Prosecuting Authority from dealing with 300 cases of deaths from violence that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC] had put forward for further investigation” (4977).

“The ANC did not want to make itself vulnerable to potential prosecutions … But some mutter darkly about deals that were struck between the ANC and the apartheid-era security forces to prevent the unmasking of high-ranking ANC officials who were apartheid spies, to stop more information about the ANC camp atrocities from leaking out, and to maintain the corrupt networks and secret slush funds that flourished during the era of covert activity, and continue to flourish, involving players from both sides. A lack of truth and justice around the terrible crimes perpetrated during this period has contributed to a culture of impunity that persists today” (4988).

“To what extent did the violence help or hinder [the ANC’s] hand at the negotiations? … The ANC never really ‘suspended’ its armed struggle … When ANC-supporting communities came under attack, there was no shortage of deadly weapons … Yet the ANC accepted little responsibility for the violence of the transitional era. Perhaps a cloak of shame around its own complicity contributes to the climate of denial and suppression of truth that has prevailed within the ANC ever since 1994” (4999). “Although the TRC shed much light on apartheid atrocities before 1990, the same could not be said for the 1990-94 period when, according to the TRC, ‘the nature and pattern of political conflict … changed considerably, particularly in its apparent anonymity'” (5045). “Justice had failed most of the victims of the war, no matter whose side they were on” (5081).

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