Leon Lemmer: RW Johnson, van kommunisme tot liberale realisme

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RW Johnson is in 1943 in Engeland gebore, het vanaf 1957 sy skoolloopbaan en vanaf 1961 sy voorgraadse studie in Durban voltooi, vanaf 1964 staatsleer aan die Universiteit Oxford studeer en doseer, daarna die uitvoerende hoof van die Helen Suzman-stigting geword (1995-2001) en hom met die skryf van artikels vir koerante en tydskrifte, asook 15 boeke, besig gehou. Hy roem daarop dat hy eers ná die apartheidsera na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer het. Hy kom uit ‘n liberale gesin. ‘n Liberale ingesteldheid is die deurlopende kenmerk van sy boeke. Wat sy skryfwerk aanbevelingswaardig maak, is die al hoe groter politieke realisme wat daarin vergestalt word. Anders as baie ander liberaliste wat Suid-Afrika verlaat het toe die swart bewind, wat hulle so naarstiglik begeer het, werklikheid geword het, het Johnson die teenoorgestelde gedoen en hom hier hervestig. “I had, very deliberately, come back to live in South Africa when – and indeed, because – apartheid was over” (RW Johnson, 2020-boek hier onder, Kindle 3616).

Johnson het as politieke waarnemer ontsag begin ingeboesem toe hy op ‘n betreklik jeugdige ouderdom die volgende boek gepubliseer het: How long will South Africa survive? (1977), opgevolg met How long will South Africa survive? The looming crisis (2015, Kindle $16,55) en 2de uitgawe, The crisis continues (2017). In eersgenoemde boek het dit gegaan oor hoe lank die blanke bewind, die “apartheidsregime”, sou oorleef. Laasgenoende boek het die ontaarding van die ANC-regime as tema. Sy boek, South Africa’s brave new world: The beloved country since the end of apartheid (2010, kindle $27,55), het Johnson se gesaghebbendheid en dikwels uitstekende politieke insig bevestig. Daar is ook die volgende onlangse boek van Johnson: Fighting for the dream (2019, Kindle $12,06 – Praag 11.05.2019). Daardie rubriek is ‘n herlees werd omdat Johnson in daardie boek baie vollediger oor die nuwe Suid-Afrika skryf as in die boek wat ek in hierdie rubriek bespreek.

As akademikus het Johnson respek by my afgedwing met sy boek, The African university? The critical case of South Africa and the tragedy at UKZN (2012, Kindle $3,45). Malegapuru William Makgoba, die rektor van die University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2004-2014, het daardie inrigting in baie opsigte groot skade aangedoen weens sy militante politieke voorkeure. Makgoba het bv bedrewenheid in die Zoeloe-taal van al die studente en personeellede verwag; klaarblyklik nie soseer om daardie taal te bevorder nie, maar om blankes, bruines en Asiate te probeer uitsluit. By die Universiteit van Suid-Afrika (Unisa) was daar onlangs sprake dat om dieselfde onderliggende rede kennis van ‘n Afrikataal vir die aanstelling van personeel vereis gaan word.

Twee outobiografiese boeke van Johnson is gepubliseer: Look back in laughter: Oxford’s post-war golden age (2015, Kindle $11,49) en Foreign native: An African journey (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2020, 300p, R285; Kindle $11,49). Eersgenoemde boek handel oor sy oorsese en laasgenoemde oor sy Suid-Afrikaanse verblyf. Sy jongste boek is die onderwerp van hierdie rubriek. Albei outobiografiese boeke handel oor persone en gebeure wat eerstehands deur die outeur ervaar is. Hierdie werke is in minimale mate outobiografieë. “I do not regard my personal life as being of any general interest” (Kindle 59). Die hooftitel van die boek word soos volg verduidelik: “‘The ‘foreign natives’ include me, for I was born in England, came out to South Africa as a child, have both British and South African passports. And have spent my life coming and going between the two countries, spending roughly half my life in each of them” (72). Die newetitel dui op die tyd wat hy ook elders in Afrika, bv Guinee en Zimbabwe, deurgebring het.

Die eerste hoofstuk begin met die volgende sin: “Maah boy, you gonna have to lurn Afrikaans, maah boy” (86). In die res van sy boek skryf hy egter nie oor Afrikaans nie. Dit is nie duidelik in hoeverre hy Afrikaans funksioneel magtig is nie. Wat wel duidelik is, is dat hy sy inligting (feitlik) uitsluitlik uit bronne in Engels put, hoewel hy ook Frans magtig is, soos blyk uit sy argivale navorsing in Guinee en die lesings wat hy aan die Sorbonne aangebied het (3682). Oor sy besoek aan Suid-Afrika in 1978 skryf Johnson: “I had never really had many Afrikaans friends before and I learnt a lot from them,” bv van Hermann Giliomee (1938).

Johnson se oordrewe beskrywings van sy skoollewe in Durban is die swakste deel van die teks. Hy probeer te hard om dit humoristies voor te stel. Wat die politiek betref, het hy die “complete and unselfconscious racism” van sy mede-skoliere waargeneem (150). “Their own dislike of Indians was more than matched by the Zulus” (163). Johnson maak daarop aanspraak dat hy as 16-jarige al tot die besef gekom het dat “majority rule was a demographic certainty” (320). Om politieke redes wou hy ook nie deel van die skool se kadetopleiding wees nie (358). Later as student “I hadn’t taken out South African citizenship and I said I’d wanted to until I found that I’d then have to serve in the army … The army will only be used to repress the blacks and in that fight I’m really on the other side” (1132).

Aan Natal University was Johnson een van die polities radikale lede van die studenteraad (390). Hy het die graad BA met Latyn, Engels, geskiedenis en staatsleer as vakke voltooi (415). Studente wat van elders in Afrika, bv Kenia, gekom het, was geneig om polities regsgesind (452) en glo rassisties te wees (458). Wat was Johnson? “Being a Liberal meant being in favour of universal suffrage and complete racial equality” (465). Hy beskou homself as “an integrationist” (563) en vind dit nodig om bewyse vir sy verligtheid te verskaf. “One of my brothers married a black woman, my elder sister partnered with a black man, and my son also married a black woman” (471).

Wat duidelik uit die boek blyk, is dat die ANC, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) en die toplede van die ANC baie meer kommunisties was/is as wat algemeen erken word (613). Dit geld vir die vier presidente sedert 1994, asook die waarnemende ANC-staatshoof. Dit verduidelik nie net die samewerking van die ANC met die SAKP nie, maar ook met Cosatu: “trade union activity, the heart of the matter for any communist” (809). Johnson ken baie van hierdie kommuniste persoonlik. Ronnie Kasrils word bv beskryf as “not well educated” (619) en “Ronnie’s judgement was not good” (659). Kasrils was nie in staat om ‘n graad aan die London School of Economics te verwerf nie (1461). Hy het min van die marxistiese literatuur gelees (1008). “I always saw Ronnie as a sincere but naive revolutionary romantic” (672). Dit is kommunistiese Jode soos “Michael Harmel, Lionel (Rusty) Bernstein, Joe Slovo and Joe’s wife, Ruth First” wat beslag aan die gewelddadige aard van MK en die ANC gegee het (822). In hierdie verband het die “bevrydingstryd” in Algerië vir hulle as ‘n navolgingswaardige voorbeeld gedien (822).

“Many on the left, influenced by the writings of Fanon and Mao, believed that only armed struggle could bring about a socialist revolution” (1601). “The Soviet block was providing the SACP with the arms, money and training needed for the armed struggle” (920). “MK was entirely the creation of a particular SACP faction, but it was hoped that Mandela’s leadership would gradually draw the ANC in too” (828). “It was [Walter Sisulu] who had recruited Mandela to the SACP” (853). MK was militêr ‘n mislukking. “MK achieved almost nothing militarily” (859). Nogtans betaal Suid-Afrika se belastingbetalers tot op hede en sekerlik tot in die verre toekoms ten duurste vir die beweerde bydrae wat hierdie terroriste tot die “bevrydingstryd” gelewer het.

Tydens die Rivonia-verhoor (1963/64) het Mandela beweer dat hy nie ‘n kommunis was nie (2010). Hy het gelieg in ‘n poging om die doodstraf vry te spring. Mandela is egter die outeur van ‘n essay, “‘How to be a good Communist’, which included such statements as ‘Under a CP government South Africa will become a land of milk and honey … There will be no unemployment, starvation and disease'” (2016); dus nog Mandela-leuens. “In South Africa ANC rule has seen slow growth and a trebling of unemployment” (3999). Mandela “was not only then a communist, but was on the Party’s Central Committee – the SACP itself boasted of this after Mandela’s death. So Mandela was lying throughout about his beliefs” (2025). Die toespraak wat aan Mandela toegedig word aan die einde van die Rivonia-verhoor, was (in groot mate) die werk van mede-kommuniste, veral Bram Fischer (2035). Arthur Chaskalson, wat die president van die Konstitusionele Hof was (1994-2001), was ook ‘n oortuigde aanhanger van die SAKP (2035).

Voordat Johnson na Oxford is, was hy ‘n kwartaal lank ‘n dosent in geskiedenis aan Rhodes University in Grahamstad. Daar het hy linkses soos Daantjie Oosthuizen (1926-1969) teëgekom (1266). Oosthuizen het aan Oxford studeer, maar kon nooit ‘n doktorsgraad verwerf nie. Daar is destyds gesê dat hy op jeugdige ouderdom in 1958 die hoof van die filosofie-departement geword het omdat hy in 1952 met Anne, die dogter van Basil Schonland (1896-1972), die kanselier van Rhodes (1951-1962), getrou het. As Afrikaanssprekende het Oosthuizen dit nodig gevind om so aktief en militant moontlik radikaal links te wees; dalk om sy aanvaarbaarheid in Rhodes-geledere te verhoog. André P Brink was toe aldaar ‘n dosent in Afrikaans. “Everything about Brink radiated a sense of intellectual dissent and a certain self-importance” (1330).

“After I got to Oxford [1964], I received a letter from my mother relating that the security police had come to detain me ten days after I had left” (1379). Johnson se siening van Suid-Afrika was in daardie stadium “a politics of black and white, of good versus evil” (1396); iets wat veral sedert 1994 as die populêre narratief of meesterverhaal steeds met ons is. Johnson het nagraads in staatsleer studeer en met ‘n marxis as studieleier (1524) ‘n tesis oor Sékou Touré se Guinee voltooi (1403, 1524). Dit het aan hom ‘n Fellowship-doseerpos besorg (1409).

Johnson was toe steeds ‘n lid van die Suid-Afrikaanse Congress of Democrats (1435) waaraan al die bogenoemde kommunistiese Jode behoort het ten einde hulle eensgesindheid met die ANC te betoon. “Almost to the last man they belonged to a Stalinist party, the SACP” (1441). Johnson skryf: “I was a Marxist and pro-ANC” (1441). Later skryf hy: Sy liefde vir demokrasie sluit in dat hy teen die Britse monargie gekant is. “I was a republican” (2421). “I had stuck with the Labour Party through thick and thin. In my own mind I was a liberal social democrat in both Britain and South Africa” (3023). “Mrs Thatcher … I had greatly disliked” (3095).

Die ANC het homself as “non-racial” voorgedoen maar “its activists did nonetheless feel a deep suspicion of all whites” (1448), bv Essop Pahad, wat in die Thabo Mbeki-era so ‘n prominente rol in die ANC-regime gespeel het. Albei laasgenoemdes was/is “trusted communist[s]” (1454). “The ANC (and, in fact, the SACP) controlled the Anti-Apartheid Movement [in Britain]” (1467; ook 3344). In hierdie bedrywighede het Peter Hain, wat Suid-Afrikaanse ouers het, ‘n leidende rol gespeel (1473). Sedert 1994 kom Hain glad te dikwels in Suid-Afrika en lug graag sy mening, wat hy as gesaghebbend beskou.

As “historikus” en politieke kommentator is daar min mense wat my meer irriteer as Basil Davidson (1914-2010) met sy “populêre” boeke oor Afrika. “Basil saw his own writing very much as serving his own political purposes, which is to say ‘the progressive movement’, so he would carefully omit information he judged to be inopportune” (1621). Davidson “confided in me that he had at last found an African state that really was building socialism in just the way he had hoped: Said Barre’s Somalia” [!] (1633). “He told me that what had gone wrong in Africa was that the colonial powers had imposed the idea of the nation-state on communities where this notion lacked any traditional basis: as usual, the colonial powers were to blame” (1633). Johnson het met Davidson swaarde oor sy oppervlakkigheid gekruis. Dit blyk toe dat Davidson se minderwaardigheid spruit uit die feit dat “he had never been to university” (1608). Dit was/is ook die probleem van plaaslike joernaliste soos Ken Owen (1615), Allister Sparks (Praag 22.10.2016) en Ton Vosloo (Praag 31.08.2018), asook die Anglo-Amerikaner, Christopher Hitchens, wat nooit ‘n geleerde (“scholar”) was nie (1879).

Johnson se bekering tot groter politieke realisme het gekom toe hy nagraadse veldwerk in ‘n polities onafhanklike Afrika-staat, Guinee, gedoen het. “I realised that my excited identification with radical African nationalism had essentially derived from my emotional reaction against apartheid … Touré had installed a one-party state” (1800); “a sort of African Stalinism. Touré had the power of life and death over his subjects” (1806). Hy skryf van “the thorough dousing in African reality that I had had in Guinea” (1867). “You have to look at the way they behave when they have power” (1843). “I realised anew that personal liberties really mattered and they were basic. You simply could not build a democratic society without them; they were non-negotiable” (1830). “Guinea remains one of the poorest countries on earth” (1818).

‘n Franse kommunis het Johnson in 1968 gehelp om toegang tot Guinee te verkry (1660). Daar het Johnson te make gehad met “African pseudo-history, known today as Afrocentrism” (1673), waarvan die ANC-regime se herskrywing van ons geskiedenis ‘n voorbeeld is. Byvoorbeeld, Cheikh Anta Diop “argued that ancient Egyptians were black people, part of a single African race, and that it was thus African civilisation that had produced the first writing (hieroglyphics) and invented mathematics. These achievements had been stolen from Africa, ending up in the hands of the ancient Greeks, and thus becoming the property of Western Europe and the white race” (1673).

Hierdie redenasie is soortgelyk aan die polities byderwetse mite dat die Boere/Afrikaners Afrikaans van die Khoi-Khoin en slawe gesteel het. Die Egiptiese hiërogliewe (3 000 vC) is ook nie die vroegste skrif nie. In Mesopotamië (3 200 vC) was wig- of spykerskrif (“cuneiform”) lank voor hiërogliewe in gebruik. Ná die politiese onafhanklikwording van swart Afrikalande was dit lank die gebruik om Egipte en lande in Noord-Afrika waar Arabiere/Berbers in beheer is, asook blank Suid-Afrika as ‘t ware as nie deel van (die eintlike of) swart Afrika te beskou nie. Johnson skryf: “[The] ancient Egyptians were a Nilotic people, there is no proof of their skin colour” (1673). Die wedersydse Egiptiese invloedsfeer was die Middellandse See-gebied, bv Griekeland en lande in die Midde-Ooste; nie soseer die res van Afrika nie. Maar toe dit die swartes later polities pas, word Egipte skielik as deel van swart Afrika beskou.

Nelson Mandela, wat ten alle koste swart mag en Afrosentrisme bevorder het – dit het nie vir hom saak gemaak as dit geen feitelike basis het nie – het uiteraard saamgespeel. Hy skryf: “As a student, I had fantasized about visiting Egypt, the cradle of African civilization … the pyramids and the sphinx … I spent the whole morning of my first day in Cairo at the museum, looking at art, examining artifacts … It is important for African nationalists to be armed with evidence to refute the fictitious claims of whites that Africans are without a civilized past that compares with that of the West. In a single morning, I discovered that Egyptians were creating great works of art and architecture when whites were still living in caves” [!] (Nelson Mandela, Long walk to freedom, London: Abacus, 1995, p 353). Dus, Mandela mag op swart superioriteit aanspraak maak terwyl blankes dit nie mag waag om te beweer dat hulle meerderwaardig is nie. As gevra sou word waarom (swart) Afrika sedertdien wat bv prestasie en ontwikkeling betref by Europa of die Weste agter geraak het, sou die skuld ongetwyfeld op kolonialisme, imperialisme, rassesegregasie en apartheid, dus die blankes, gepak word.

Johnson skryf: “But Diop’s ideas gathered support in black America and elsewhere, such was the hunger of many blacks to ‘discover’ that they were really an ancient civilisation of a superior kind” (1680). Diegene wat Diop teengespreek het “received some rough treatment,” bv “American academics who objected to the wishful and racially based nature of Diop’s work … In most universities, respectable historians, while quietly rejecting Diop as nonsense, were usually careful not to say so out loud … The unhappy result is that in many departments of black studies in the USA and elsewhere, Diop is taken as gospel while mainstream history departments quietly ignore him. In Senegal itself the entire University of Dakar has been named after Diop. The result is a form of segregation in the academy that is both racial and intellectual” (1680). Dink aan Wim de Villiers se Stellenbosch University (SU) waar visueel regstellend niks meer na blankes, soos DF Malan, Hendrik Verwoerd en John Vorster, vernoem mag word nie. As die stigtingskenker van die SU swart was, sou sy naam op elke hoek en draai op die kampus én in die naam van die universiteit gewees het. Maar Jan Marais was ‘n Afrikaner, gevolglik is selfs sy stigtingsvoorwaarde in 2018 tydens die SU se eeufees doodgeswyg.

Toe Johnson in 1977 sy eerste substansiële boek oor Suid-Afrika gepubliseer het, “I had become discontented with the ANC and Marxist interpretations of events and was, in my own mind, a determined realist” (1849). Omstreeks hierdie tyd (1978) het hy Allan Boesak ontmoet. “He had enormous self-confidence” (2903). “The only incongruity was any idea that he had the remotest thing so do with religion or a church. Indeed, watching and listening to him it was difficult to believe that this was a man of any sort of principle, religious or political. Holding to principles of any kind implies discipline, self-denial, even a kind of austerity, and of this there was no sign … There was always this picture in my mind of the perfect party animal” (1950).

“The UDF leaders Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Allan Boesak strongly denied it was an ANC front. Their denial turned out to be untrue” (2127). Toe die uitgeweke ANC-leiers in 1990 na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer het, het die UDF verdwyn. Die twee genoemde hoogheilige teoloë het doelbewus hieroor gelieg. “Van Zyl Slabbert told me that he often had to share platforms with Tutu and Boesak, an embarrassing business since they were both prima donnas who clearly hated one another … Boesak was … outshone … Tutu would appear resplendent in his scarlet robes and episcopal hat. He stuck out a mile and affecting a prayerful pose” (2139). Die een wou belangriker as die ander wees.

As teenvoeter het Boesak vir hom pakke klere aangeskaf wat glimmer/skitter, maar die laaste silwer een het hy nooit op die verhoog gedra nie omdat sy korrupsie hom toe reeds ingehaal het (2145). Op grond waarvan word daar steeds na Tutu as aartsbiskop verwys – ook deur Johnson – terwyl hy dit al lank nie meer is nie? Dit is gewoon ‘n gevolg van ANC-kruipsug. Toe die Springbok-rugbyspan ná die verowering van die Wêreldbeker in 2019 na Suid-Afrika terugkeer het, is hulle verplig om die stokkiesdraaier, Hector Pieterson, se gedenkteken asook die hoogheilige Tutu te besoek; nie die Voortrekker-, Vroue- of Taalmonument nie. Wat ‘n skande.

In 1980 het Johnson ‘n kwartaal lank klas aan Natal University (NU) gegee. Dit was aan die begin van die verswelging deur swart studente van die eens hoofsaaklik blanke Engelstalige universiteite (2086). “The universities would soon be ‘massified'” (2717). Die koshuise is binne ‘n kort tyd deur die swartes oorgeneem (2791) – hoe meer van hulle ingetrek het, hoe vinniger het die blanke studente vertrek. Terselfdertyd was dit die aanvang van die akademiese agteruitgang van al die plaaslike universiteite; eers die Engels- en daarna die Afrikaansmedium inrigtings. Vir die NU was die absolute laagtepunt die bewind van Makgoba, waarna hier bo verwys is.

Oor NU in 1980 skryf Johnson: “The university was changing rapidly as a torrent of poorly qualified black students poured in … There was enormous pressure to pass at least some of the black students, who were always on the verge of failing. There was much ‘affirmative marking’ because ‘you can’t fail them all’ … There was much worried talk about the necessity of maintaining standards. Black students picked up on the word ‘standards’ and denounced it as intrinsically racist … In truth, far from marking black students down for racist reasons, they were generally marking them up for affirmative reasons” (2188). “Most universities … responded to this situation by boasting ever more loudly of their ‘excellence’ – or of their being ‘world class” (2207). Dit geld sekerlik vir Wim de Villiers se Stellenbosch University. Waaraan hier uitdrukking gegee word, “is not high standards but status anxiety” (2207).

Johnson het hom tevergeefs vir akademiese vryheid beywer. “Academic freedom was non-negotiable” (2478). In werklik bestaan akademiese vryheid nie meer in die nuwe Suid-Afrika nie maar (feitlik) geen haan kraai daaroor nie. Instemming met die polities byderwetse meesterverhaal van die ANC/SAKP is blykbaar goed genoeg vir hedendaagse futlose akademici. “Universities were like flowers … They could do much good for the lives of young people – but they were fatally easy to damage. It was as easy as breaking off the bloom of a flower; once you did it, the flower did not recover” (2491). Die universiteitswese, plaaslik en elders, bv Amerika, is tot in sy kern verrot.

Hoofstuk 10 het as opskrif: “The end of apartheid.” Dit is wat Johnson begeer het, so asof daar niks goeds in apartheid was nie. Die Afrikanerweerstandsbeweging het tydens die 1989-verkiesing teen die gevaar van ‘n “black communist revolution” gewaarsku. Die plakkate van Andries Treurnicht se Konserwatiewe Party het gelui: “It’s later than you think” (2382). Albei partye het uitdrukking aan die waarheid gegee. Het die Nasionale Party in 1989 erken dat hy die politieke mag gaan oorgee, met of (soos dit geblyk het) sonder ‘n mandaat van die kiesers? Vanselfsprekend nie, want anders sou hy die verkiesing verloor het.

Die ontbanning van die ANC, SAKP, PAC, ens, op 2 Februarie 1990 “implied complete democratisation” (2402). “I said De Klerk was about to negotiate his way out of power and hand over to the ANC” (2408). Dit het geblyk ‘n korrekte voorspelling te wees, maar De Klerk het ontken dat dit is wat hy besig was om te doen. Sy beloofde magsdeling het magsoorgawe geword. Op hierdie manier het hy na bewering ‘n burgeroorlog verhoed. Vir sy manteldraaiery is hy vir sy staatsmanskap geloof en het hy sy finansies met die Nobelprys vir Vrede aangevul. Dit is myns insiens sekerlik een van die skandaligste hoofstukke in die politieke geskiedenis van die mensdom.

Johnson se reaksie is egter: “South Africa was lucky to have a man like Mandela” (2408), asof ‘n terroris buite die tronk onskadelik kan wees. Maar die sogenaamde realis, Johnson, bevestig later sy volgehoue blindheid oor Mandela met hierdie opmerking: “I admired Mandela” (3042). Die ANC se “People’s War” van 1990/94, met sy buitensporige verlies aan menselewens en vernietiging van eiendom, het kort ná Mandela en ander ANC-terroriste se vrylating ‘n aanvang geneem ten einde te verseker dat die ANC/SAKP die sogenaamde eerste demokratiese verkiesing wen. Johnson vertel wat hy, klaarblyklik voor die 1994-verkiesing, in die Transkei gesien het: “Several hundred MK soldiers in battle fatigues were marching” (2440). Daar was ook “the constant smuggling of AK-47s into Natal … They were used against Inkatha in a war that was killing 200 people each week” (2447) – “an AK-47 … always the ANC weapon of choice” (2597).

Wat het die massa-inligtingsmedia hieromtrent gedoen? “Most journalists, domestic and foreign, tended to take the ‘progressive’ (ie ANC) line” (2528). “As the election approached, many NGOs [non-governmental organizations] were keen to play a role, particularly with voter education. The ANC effortlessly colonised many of these NGOs so that their ‘voter education’ material was really ANC propaganda. The National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Democrat part of the US National Endowment for Democracy, played a considerable role. It adopted a strongly pro-ANC stance” (2559). Kieseropleiding was hoofsaaklik op swartes toegespits en het hierdie kiesers geïndoktrineer om vir die ANC/SAKP te stem. Dit was dus geen vrye verkiesing nie.

Kiesers kon ook nie (demokraties) vir kandidate stem nie; bloot vir politieke partye. “The system was essentially a deal between the National Party … and the SACP. The SACP’s problem was that it had many white and Indian cadres who could not possibly get elected if a constituency-based system was chosen. But under this system the party bosses could simply push SACP cadres into electable positions all over the ANC list” (2578). Weer eens toon Johnson hiermee in hoe ‘n groot mate die nuwe Suid-Afrika kommunisties-gedrewe is. “These SACP manoeuvers had been funded by the US taxpayers [ie Bill Clinton’s administration]” (2584).

Op stemdag in 1994 neem Johnson die volgende by ‘n stembus waar: “The returning officer … allowed ANC activists to wander into the polling station to ‘assist’ voters. Outside there were young men filling in photocopies of a blank ID document with their own or bogus names, allowing them to cast multiple votes” (2603).

Wat is Johnson se geheelindruk van ons oorgang/ondergang na demokrasie? “The end of apartheid was a release for everybody [!]. The ANC liked to take credit for this but actually De Klerk revoked all the major apartheid legislation in 1990” (2622). Enersyds het De Klerk se ruggraatoosheid hierdie ramp van regeringskant af moontlik gemaak en andersyds het alles in die skoot van die ANC/SAKP geval weens die terroristiese gewelddadigheid wat hulle deur veral De Klerk toegelaat is om mee weg te kom. “De Klerk … had effectively carried out everything [Helen Suzman] stood for” (2952).

Vóór en veral ná die 1994-verkiesing was “blatant acts of ‘repositioning'” aan die orde van die dag. “This was especially marked among journalists and businessmen” (2662). Onder mense wat eens Afrikaners was, was lidmaatskap van die Boerderbond en selfs die behoud van Afrikaans skielik nie meer belangrik nie. Sake-onderndemings “threw money and directorships at the new men, who happily snapped them up. The bribery of the new black elite was quite breathtaking, but the ANC were more than up for it” (2668). “Their donations to ANC causes were partly protection money but also acted as cover while they took steps to transfer their wealth out of the country” (3069). Die ANC-kamerade het immers nie geveg om arm te bly nie. Vir hulle het eettyd aangebreek. Cyril Ramaphosa het openlik nasionalisering bepleit (2668). Veral in Natal “the realisation that they were now relegated to the back of the queue created considerable bitterness among many Indians” (2680).

Johnson het van die begin af geen vertroue in die ANC-regime gehad nie. “I had seen enough of the ANC in exile – an inept and shambolic organisation full of parochial attitudes and authoritarian instincts” (2922). Vir heldersiende waarnemers het die nuwe Suid-Afrika ‘n herwaardering van die prestasies van die blanke politieke bewind, insluitende die “apartheidsregime”, ingelui. “South Africa … was … far more developed than any other African state. Nowhere else in Africa had African nationalists had to manage such a sophisticated economy. Anyone who had seen how quickly independent African states had developed into kleptocracies had to be worried: there was so much more to steal in South Africa that an enormous feeding frenzy was on the cards” (2928).

“Shortly after independence two things had happened almost everywhere in Africa: their countries ceased to be self-sufficient in food and had plunged into food deficit, and in many countries the electricity supply had broken down” (2945). Die nuwe Suid-Afrika het geblyk geen uitsondering te wees nie. “Almost immediately the state began to practice not just affirmative action but so-called cadre deployment, with semi-literate but politically favoured folk given senior positions. This was particularly evident in the civil service” (2964). “Another ideological crime was ‘Afro-pessimism’, for … optimism was now compulsory” (2992). “Optimism is not only desired but also required. This makes the situation impossible for anyone trying to work out a fully realistic view of the situation” (3786).

Frederik van Zyl Slabbert en Alex Boraine se Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa (Idasa), gestig in 1986, was ‘n poging om ‘n brug na die ANC te bou. “Van seemed to think that he had an understanding with Mbeki that they would run South Africa together … He several times asked me what I thought of his becoming foreign minister. I said, well you would have to join the ANC first. Fine, he would do that” (3155). Later: “Van then told me that he wanted to run for premier of the Western Cape, perhaps at the head of his own new party” (3167). “Van … had really painted himself into a corner by allying himself to the ANC, which was, in the crunch, never going to give him what he wanted” (3203). “Van’s later years were clouded by a growing dementia” (3216).

“There was no shortage of sycophants, both black and white [eg Willie Esterhuyse], to assert that Mbeki was a man of brilliant mind. This was absurd. Those who had studied alongside him at Sussex University laughed at the notion. He had been a poor student, they said, often copying other people’s work, always late and behind” (3539). Maar as president (1999-2008) “he was the man in power and his ego was large, as was his paranoia” (3545). By Mbeki was daar ‘n “sense of intellectual grandiosity … For him it was axiomatically true that all disasters that befell Africans were the work of whites and Western imperialism” (3558). Sy idees oor vigs en MIV “convinced Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and other world leaders that he was crazy and not to be trusted, and this in turn doomed all his ideas about an African Renaissance” (3578).

“Things in South Africa began to change in 2005 after Mbeki dismissed Jacob Zuma from the deputy presidency. This split the ANC into Mbeki and Zuma factions. Almost overnight the South African press woke up from its long sycophantic slumber” (3623). Zuma “was adamant that Mbeki had made a great deal of money from the arms deal” (3629). “What Zuma wanted was power and money” (3768). “Corruption … was just another way of distributing resources” (4043). “In contemporary South Africa one can find many people who took the side of the ANC, infused with a righteous hatred of apartheid, and then gradually found they were supporting a party so riddled by corruption as to be little beter than a criminal organisation” (3953).

“The fact that a quarter of a century later this failure [of ANC rule] is complete has given me no pleasure” (4074). “A successful transition from white rule depended heavily on whether the ANC would use the skills of the better-educated section of society, irrespective of its colour” (4080). Pleks daarvan is die blankes en Asiate eerder uit poste gestoot of geweer. Die tragedie is: “African majority government was now installed for the indefinite future” (4080). Hierdie durende ramp moet voor die deur van FW de Klerk en sy onderhandelaars gelê word. “South Africa once emerged from being a sort of Wild West frontier society, left that world behind, and has now again become a lawless frontier” (4150). Dus, wat oor eeue tydens die blanke politieke bewind opgebou is, is binne ‘n kwarteeu (onherroeplik) afgebreek.

“The main thing to grasp about African nationalism is that it is the opposite of what it seems and promises to be. Although African nationalist politicians frequently advocate socialism, in practice they are key actors in the primary accumulation of capital. The result, everywhere in Africa, has been a huge increase in inequality, one that goes far beyond anything seen in pre-colonial African society or even in colonial society … None of the white prime ministers and presidents of South Africa and South Rhodesia became wealthy men” (3987). In die nuwe Suid-Afrika, daarenteen, het iedere staatshoof en baie van die politici en ander ANC-kamerade baie vinnig stinkryk geword. “Under the banner of socialism one builds a plutocracy” (3993).

Helen Zille het in 2007 die leier van die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) geword. “[Zille] began to steer the DA closer to the ANC and also … brought – or tried to bring – into the party leadership Patricia de Lille, Lindiwe Mazibuko, Mamphela Ramphele and Mmusi Maimane. These were catastrophic choices” (3743). “In Maimane’s brief period as DA leader, he managed to alienate Afrikaans-speaking voters … My desire to help the liberal cause in South Africa had been one of the major reasons for my return to the country, and I felt a sense of almost personal loss as I saw the DA drift away from its liberal principles” (3749). In gesprekke met Jonhson Zille “acknowledged her past mistakes” (3755). Oor die 1994-verkiesing skryf Johnson: “My own vote was long promised to the (liberal) DP, which barely survived the election” (3868). Johnson kan gerus genoeg realisme aan die dag lê om in te sien dat die liberale en afrikanistiese elemente in die DA onverenigbaar is. In Suid-Afrika sal ‘n liberale party grootliks nie-swart wees. So ‘n party is gevolglik gedoem om ‘n klein party, dus ‘n nie-meerderheidsparty en kwalik die hoofopposisieparty, te wees.

Dit behoort duidelik te wees dat daar steeds reste in Johnson se politiek is wat vir Afrikaners onaanvaarbaar is. “There are few prizes in Africa for those who speak out in an independent-minded way, let alone for those who advocate liberal principles. Something that Afrikaner nationalists, African nationalists and communists all heartily agree upon is their execration of liberals and liberalism. Moreover, in a political culture based either on ideological rectitude or on deference to chiefs (or both), there is a great deal of sycophancy and camp-following” (3773). Daar is myns insiens geen moontlikheid dat Afrikanernasionalisme en swart of Afrika-nasionalisme versoenbaar is nie terwyl Johnson blykbaar dink dat liberalisme dié kuur is wat sulke (fundamentele) verskille kan oorbrug.

Deel van realisme is om verskille te erken en vry te voel om jou eiesoortige kultuur uit te leef; ook in ‘n multikulturele land. Johnson dink anders: “Such habits derive from living in small communities that are ethnically, linguistically or religiously homogeneous” (3760). Myns insiens behoort die missie van Afrikaners te wees om wat hulle eie is, bv wat hulle van ander rasse en etnisiteite onderskei, teen verswelging te beskerm en hulle andersoortigheid uit te bou.

By swartes onderling is daar groot etniese verskille wat ‘n oorhoofse nasionalisme verswak, nie net in (swart) Afrika in die algemeen nie, maar ook binne Afrika-lande, insluitende Suid-Afrika, waar daar duidelike voorkeure vir die eie stam of etnisiteit is. “The sense of national community is weak or absent from most African states – loyalty is more often felt towards one’s clan or ethnic group. Moreover, once Africans were emancipated from colonialism there was no obvious target for nationalist mobilisation. Many of the states are in any case war-torn, weak or failing. What is more distinctive about these movements and parties is their African-ness, not their nationalism” (4018). Swartwees is dié kenmerk van Afrikaanwees. As jy deesdae swart en in (swart) Afrika is, is jy ‘n uitverkorene. As jy nie-swart is, hoort jy eintlik nie hier nie; is jy gedoem om tot in die oneindige as ‘n setlaar of indringer beskou te word.

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