ISSUES AFRICA WORLD PHILOSOPHY AFRIKAANS LEISURE GENERAL

The moral high ground for 40 bucks?

"Feeling good" has never been this easy

Jaco Strauss vs Norman McFarlane
District Mail
30 Jul - 13 Aug 2004 E-Mail this page to a friend


The following letter by Norman McFarlane is an excellent example of a patronisingly racist, white South African - the type nobody has any respect for. They have different standards for white and black and even after a decade of black rule, he cannot take blacks serious enough to hold them accountable for anything...

'Lest we forget'
...a squatter camp highlights the aftereffects of 46 years of apartheid rule...

A short while ago, I helped Penny Sandham, a friend of mine, with her house move by delivering a load of "rubbish" to a municipal dump on the outskirts of Macassar. The dump is cheek by jowl with a squatter camp that clearly highlights the aftereffects of 46 years of apartheid rule.

The poverty is extreme and depressing, and the emotional impact of that experience was devastating. Upon our arrival, a group of men arrived and off-loaded the trailer. Much of the "rubbish" was immediately annexed, as it clearly had a utility that we would never have conceptualised. Rather than experiencing a frantic squabble over the "spoils", we witnessed a willing, cheerful and dignified sharing amongst the group, so too with the money, about R40, that Penny handed to them.

A small group of children arrived, and I will never forget the picture of hopelessness that this group represented. We dug deep, and again, the money was scrupulously shared out amongst the group of children. The face of one of the little girls will, I am sure, haunt me until my dying day.

...Penny handed them R40...
Never once did we feel in any way at threat, never once was any one of those dreadfully poor people anything but cheerful and dignified, but we were bereft of our dignity.

What I did feel was cold rage that we as a people could have done this unspeakable injustice to so many of our own citizens.

Those carping voices in our society that want to "move on" from apartheid, to bury apartheid, to forget about apartheid must be silent. Indeed, we must remember it, and remember it well, because the legacy of that gross injustice will be with us for decades to come. Why should we be allowed to assuage our sense of embarrassment over apartheid by simply sweeping it under the carpet? We must acknowledge it, own it and accept responsibility for it, or we will never be able to right the wrongs of the past. The Apartheid Museum has been likened to the Holocaust Museum, and rightly so, as it serves the same purpose. "Lest we forget".

By omission or commission, we are all guilty.

Norman McFarlane


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I couldn't ignore this shallow analysis and one-dimensional view of South African history. My reply was originally more than double the version that was ultimately published in the District Mail of 13 August 2004

Apartheid is still everyone's favourite bogeyman

Jaco Strauss

Norman McFarlane provided a dangerously superficial analysis around the Macassar squatter camp.

McFarlane uses a long defunct system in absolving the current regime...
After a "decade of democracy" under the same ANC government, Norman is still not prepared to take a black government seriously, preferring everyone's favourite bogeyman of "apartheid" to lament the informal settlements of the developing world.

It serves no purpose to use a long defunct system in absolving the current regime - especially when one is not bold enough to acknowledge the highest black literacy, per capita income, life expectancy, lowest infant mortality, etc of pre-1994 RSA in the African context. It all just doesn't quite add up.

You either take a comprehensive look at history, or you concentrate on the here and now, apportioning blame where it is long overdue.

Mbeki's luxury presidential jet alone cost more than 20,000 low cost houses....
The ANC is in their THIRD term and has already cost us between 1 and 2 million jobs while never missing opportunities for self-enrichment and nepotism - ranging from obscure footnotes in arms deals to the in-your-face mock-opulence of a luxury presidential jet. That jet alone cost more than 20 000 low cost houses, but I'm sure Norman didn't take the trouble to explain the irony to those at the rubbish dump shacks!

While Norman tries to buy R40's worth of the moral high ground, those poor kids will carry on scrounging around rubbish dumps until they are old enough to be harvested as voting fodder in 2014. No doubt, we'll be celebrating "Twenty years' deliverance from the evils of Apartheid" around the same time...

Jaco Strauss
www.strauss.za.com


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Simon Reader, a contributor to this site, provided this rebuttal of Norman, also on 13 August

Everyone's favourite bogeyman is also everyone's favourite contribution

Simon Reader

Mr. Norman McFarlane, in an attempt at Oscar Shindler style discourse, has completely missed the point. This nonsense would indicate one of two things;

The ANC (like the NP) is infatuated with racial ideology and seemingly incompetent of delivery....
a) Mr. McFarlane is a foreigner, perhaps American who weights the burden of guilt upon white consciousness in the sense that although we couldn't do enough, we didn't do enough. This rhetoric is toxic and needs no further expansion - perhaps the greatest obstacle in nation building is the perennial reminders that the aftermath of apartheid is the fault of the whites.

b) If Mr. McFarlane is a citizen of South Africa, why has it taken him so long to realise the dire living conditions of the majority? Was this some cathartic experience, similar to that of say, Diane Fossey, when she decided to up the plight of mountain gorillas?

Sadly, this Ed Fagan style of portioning blame is frighteningly archaic and in the latter's case, opportunistic.

In haste to blame, Mr. McFarlane has negated three rational points of argument:

1) The NNP has found it's rightful place beside an organisation with similar intent - both past and present - infatuated with racial ideology and seemingly incompetent of delivery (this is an indication of our history for you - things never were good, now we know they'll never be - and that's just the way it is)

2) Anyone who assumes blame for the shortcomings of a democratic management system is severely unenlightened toward self or reflection, choosing to rather be judged in the eyes of others

3) Too broad is the assumption that all whites prospered under apartheid - in distinguishing the various crimes of 'apartheid', MK's planned slaughter of innocent black people in ambush publicity exercises is perhaps the most overlooked, probably because the feckless white liberals decided to adopt a new line on the difference between right and wrong, allowing savage compensation for the discrimination. These 'liberals' have more blood on their hands than they care to know - therefore cowardice is more appropriate than prosperity.

How dare he compare the Holocaust Museum to the apartheid museum.....
Is Mr. McFarlane Jewish? How dare he compare the Holocaust Museum to the apartheid museum. Has he ever been to the Holocaust Museum? Has he family who were tortured and starved? The latter is a farcical attempt at humility; in order for the gaming license to be authorized, there needed to be some sort of contribution. Everyone's favourite bogeyman is also everyone's favourite contribution. I think you know what I am referring to.

Thank you,

SLR


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On 29 August 2004 Norman pays this site a visit and with the following shallow ramblings tries to clarify his position.

Norman tries again....

Norman McFarlane

How can Jaco Strauss seriously expect the present government to redress in 10 years the damage done by 350 years of injustice and 46 years of Apartheid misrule in particular? His perspective clearly indicates just where he spends most of his time - in cloud cuckoo land.

The NP Government had the clear intention of doing the wrong thing...
In noting that South Africa had "the highest black literacy, per capita income, life expectancy, lowest infant mortality, etc of pre-1994 RSA in the African context" is as simplistic as he accuses me of being. My question is how did these statistical measures compare with the White community during the Apartheid years? Well, they just did not, as we all know.

Jaco Strauss’ comparison between South African Blacks and the rest of Africa positions him clearly, as he attempts to justify Apartheid by demonstrating that "Blacks were better of here than the rest of Africa". I recall that other pillar of moral rectitude, Dan Rood, attempting to do just that in a discussion on Cape Talk a few weeks ago. He appeared as pathetic and self serving as Jaco Strauss does in his pursuit of moral expiation.

Jaco Strauss’ haranguing of the present Government needs to be put into some sort of perspective. It is a fact that the ANC Government has done more for the victims of Apartheid in ten years, with critically scarce resources, than the Apartheid Government did in 46 years. I think the difference must revolve around the ANC Government’s clear intention of doing the right thing, whereas the National Party Government had the clear intention of doing the wrong thing, a pursuit at which it excelled, actively encouraged by the White community.

"I shall never need Jaco's respect"
He also accuses me of not taking the present Government seriously. On the contrary, I take it very seriously, as it is the first effective Government that we have had since 1948. But I guess it depends on where you’re coming from when you assess the effectiveness of a Government. Whereas Jaco would probably say that the National Party Government did a good job during Apartheid, in my book it did nothing but bad.

And finally Jaco, your respect is something that I shall never need, as I have enough of my own.

I now turn to the epistle of our self-styled philosopher Simon Reader. Unfortunately for you Simon, neither a) nor b) apply.

I am a third generation South African and spent a good portion of my young life in the Transkei.

I’ve always known that the vast majority of South African’s live in penury, and I also know why, as do you, although you do not want to admit it.

But then again, with your evident arrogance, should I expect anything other than the shallow analysis that you have rendered.

Your “rational” points of argument refer:

1) The ANC Government has delivered enormously in ten years, and that with a very limited resource base. Perhaps providing potable water, safe sanitation, electricity, primary health care and education to millions who were denied these basic rights under Apartheid is a sign of incompetence to you. To me they are sign of competence in the face of extreme odds.
2) If you are alluding to the system of Government under the National Party as a “democratic management system”, which I do believe you are, then perhaps I should not be surprised at your analysis.
3) The excesses perpetrated by both sides during the Apartheid war (and it WAS a war) are one of the direct causes of the rifts that exist in our society to this day. Whilst the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did much to heal the wounds, it is evident from your little diatribe that not all of us have forgiven.

"Donald Woods was my uncle"
Your inexplicable insistence that I must be Jewish, or have family who were tortured or starved, or have visited the Holocaust Museum in order to compare it to the Apartheid Museum puzzles me greatly. I simply do not see the connection. But perhaps I do not operate on the same intellectual plane that you do.

Incidentally, you might recall the name Donald Woods, the editor of the Daily Dispatch, and close personal friend of Steve Biko. Donald Woods was my uncle. Two of Donald’s children, Duncan and Mary, to whom the SA Security Police sent sweaters impregnated with acid, are my nephew and niece. After the family fled the country, I did not see any of them for thirteen years. I never saw Donald face to face again. Don’t preach to me, Simon. You have no right. And perhaps the fact that none of these scholarly missives have garnered enough votes for a realistic average shows just how well visited this little site actually is...

Norman McFarlane
Somerset West


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I'm sick and tired of the flat earth like dishonesty of the politically correct and gave it straight to the self appointed government praise singer Norman McFarlane

The likes of McFarlane is greatest obstacle of an African Renaissance

Jaco Strauss

Norman, although I appreciate the fact that you were prepared to continue this debate, I find it a pity that you still failed to contribute anything of substance.

"The fact that I didn't plant bombs in bars doesn't make me a Nat supporter"
Africa has suffered incomparable damage through what authors like Keith Richburg and George Ayittey calls an externalist approach - the inability of African leaders to take responsibility for their actions, always blaming something "external" for their shortcomings. In Africa this blame invariably falls on colonialism and/or apartheid. The likes of you, repeating their dull mantra like a mindless zombie, is fuelling the biggest obstacle to a real African Renaissance.

Your main line of attack seems to be that I am "justifying Apartheid", the classic straw man argument of those who ran out of anything convincing to say, a long time ago. I dare you to produce anything I ever wrote, supporting either the National Party or Apartheid. The fact that I opted not to plant bombs under Christmas trees or in bars during the 1980's doesn't make me a Nat supporter. Just like opting not to attempt the overthrow of the current regime does not make me an ANC supporter. I've never supported a governing party and all indications are, I never will.

Mike Godwin formulated a law applicable to Internet discussions stating:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."
There is a tradition in many newsgroups that once such a comparison is made in a thread, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis, has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. I would propose a corollary to Godwin's law that:
In discussing anything remotely negative or perceived as negative surrounding South Africa, the probability of Apartheid being blamed for it approaches one; in fact is one.
In your original letter you did both!

"Like any brainless lackey, McFarlane repeats the mantra he sees on TV"
Maybe you should read your letter and my reply to it again. You'll notice that I took issue with your superficial one-dimensional view blaming the existence of the Macassar squatter camp on Apartheid. Can you provide anything concrete supporting this assumption? You don't bother to mention for example when and by whom the camp was started or where its inhabitants used to work before they ended up in such a destitute state. You also conveniently ignored the fact that squatter camps are found all over the developing world, all the way from South America to the Far East.

Every country in Africa I've been to has them. Surely none of those outside South Africa was caused by Apartheid, so why should the particular one in question have been? Like any brainless lackey, however, you repeat the mantra you see on TV, hear on radio and read in the paper. "Everything is Apartheid's fault." I argue that this is superficial, inaccurate, devoid of substance and becoming very lame. You brought up Apartheid a decade post mortem; you have to explain why it is relevant.

With the same misplaced intellectual dishonesty of a card carrying Flat Earther, you imply that South Africa used to be this prosperous, well functioning, democratic unitary state where leaders adhered to the Rule of Law and everyone lived in peace and harmony - until the terrible day the evil Whitey arrived…

The destruction of hospitals seems to be government policy
You ask me for example how I can "seriously expect the present government to redress in 10 years the damage done by 350 years of injustice and 46 years of Apartheid misrule in particular?" OK let us see: 350 years ago black literacy was 0%. When the present government took over it was (obviously) much higher than this, so I'm not sure how you want them to "redress" this unfortunate "injustice". Burn schools and books maybe? How do you propose they redress the massive drop in the infant mortality rate? The destruction of hospitals?

The latter seems to be government policy already. My brothers were born in the Hottentots-Holland Hospital in Somerset West. That hospital is now a shadow of its former glory and no-one who can afford private medical health care would go there. I'll bet you anything Norman, that when the time comes, you will not go there either; oh no, you'll opt for Vergelegen, or a similar private health care facility for the privileged….

While we're talking about hospitals, how many were there, say in the Transkei, around 1650? You claim to have spent some time there, did you see any structure at all predating the "350 years of injustice" the current government is finding so hard to "redress"? What about the infrastructure they inherited? Allowing everything from water purification plants in Hartswater to National Roads in KZN to decay and fall apart is supposedly an efficient way of "redressing" these unfortunate blights on the South African landscape.

Why are the only relevant "statistical measures" in your book, those between White and Black South Africans between 1948 and 1994?
You question me on: "How did these statistical measures compare with the White community during the Apartheid years?" This is yet more proof of your one-dimensional approach. You have no interest in how the "statistical measures" of the Apartheid years compare to the pre-colonial years. Or the "statistical measures" of pre-colonial Africa and pre-colonial Europe? Or Africa and Europe today? Or Africa and South Africa today? Why are the only relevant "statistical measures" in your book, those between White and Black between 1948 and 1994?

You are clearly not interested in comparisons such as those surrounding my Strauss progenitor who arrived here in 1723 as a literate white man at a time when black literacy was still close to zero. He also happened to own a house in Cape Town at a time when his fellow black Southern Africans were not in a position to own property as they were being kept in a very primitive state by ruthless Stone Age despots. The difference between white and black was clearly very much more pronounced in those days than in 1994!

Another comparison you won't want to hear is between my generation in South Africa and my distant relatives in Europe. They have a higher standard of living, less crime and are not being discriminated against because of the colour of their skin. They receive, for example, free University training while our kids struggle to gain acceptance to the Universities we created - irrespective of merit - purely based on race! So please Norman, list the benefits my family enjoys for coming to this continent and struggling for 350 years to build the only functioning industrialized state on the continent.

My respect is something you and Kortbroek will never have
The next thing you'll predictably tell me is "why don't you just leave then?" The answer is simple: "This is my country and I don't see why I should leave, just because I happen to disagree with the short sighted racists (and their apologists) who happen to run the place at any given time. I didn't leave under the ethnic socialist misrule of the Nats and I don't plan to leave under the ethnic-socialist misrule of the Afro-Saxons. No-one expects the Palestinians to leave Israel or the peaceniks to leave the US, so please spare us another predictable empty soundbite. I'd rather leave the chicken run for the likes of your uncle Donald.

It is a very good thing you state that my respect is something you'll never need, as it is something you, just like the other opportunistic government apologist Kortbroek, will never have.

All indications are that had I spent any time in cloud cuckoo land, I would've known you personally. This is mercifully not the case!

Jaco Strauss
Somerset West

PS This site receives between 500 and 1000 visitors per day. Around 1 in 500 leaves a message, but the voting functionality is new and I still don't know what kind of ratio to expect. This page was published very recently and would not be on Google yet. Once that happens, traffic would increase and a "realistic" average should soon be reached. I require a minimum number of individual voters in order to prevent your old mates in Perth and family in London from distorting the result.


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The following piece was posted as a comment, but I received such positive feedback about it that I decided to give it the same prominence as the rest of the arguments.

With us ... or against us

Mark Heaton

"Good rains before 1994 doesn't make Apartheid a good thing"
I feel that the merit worthy debate sparked by McFarlane's initial letter is being clouded by personal attacks and GW Bush type logic as enshrined in his post 9/11 speech
"You are either with us or against us."
I fail to see how Strauss' argument that under Apartheid, blacks in SA had the highest levels of literacy, income, education etc on the African continent immediately (in McFarlane's eyes) renders him a supporter of, or even an apologist for Apartheid. Extend the logic... During Apartheid there were many years of good rains and bountiful harvests .... therefore Apartheid causes rain .. therefore Apartheid is a good thing. A prime example of the economic post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy of logic.

The crux of Strauss' initial critique of McFarlane's letter was that the impoverished squalour witnessed at the Macassar squatter camp was not caused by 46 years of Apartheid. The proof of this is the fact that similar squalor probably exists in every country in Africa - none of the rest of which were ever burdoned (except arguably maybe for South West Africa and Rhodesia). It also exists in South and Central America and all over Asia. What Strauss does point out is that DESPITE Apartheid, South African blacks still managed to have the highest literacy blah blah blah, etc. This is a normative, factual statement - it makes no reference to his like or dislike of the system.

What has the ANC government done to bring those kids into the education system?
The cause of this squalour is not Apartheid per se, but restrictive social engineering and state control in whatever format it is manifested. The dire poverty and starvation in North Korea (what little their enlightened government allows us to see anyway) is probably the most poignant current example of this. On the other hand, does Hong Kong and Switzerland have squatter camps?

The other old bogeyman - colonialism - is often touted as a reason why the rest of Africa suffers a similar problem. But not all countries in Africa were colonised - and others were colonies for relatively short periods. Yet the image of children picking through rubbish tips could probably be photographed in any country in Africa of your choosing. Toss a few coins into the dump (or hand out R40) - and you could probably take those pictures anywhere in the world! What has the ANC government done to bring those kids into the education system - to start equipping them with healthy minds - ultimately the tools of economic liberation? Precious little I surmise.

What will McFarlane's R40 do towards teaching them?
What will McFarlane's R40 do towards teaching them to provide a service to mankind in future that mankind will gladly pay them for? Even less. It gave McFarlane a warm feeling for a day, and maybe fed the kids for two. Thereafter, nothing. Perhaps - as Strauss points out - the ANC secretly desires a mass of angry, impoverished young voters it can persuade to support it in droves by continually harping on Apartheid as the root cause of their ills. McFarlane's seeming desire for whites to don sack-cloth and flagellate themselves forever for Apartheid is as useless in solving the problem as it is bizarre. Fix the illness, Norman - stop tampering with the thermometer.

In looking at the poverty Apartheid and other evil social engineering experiments have caused, one would do well to remember Milton Friedman's words (I think):

"If it raineth on the just and unjust alike - how come the socialist countries are routinely singled out for bad weather?"

Mark Heaton
Johannesburg


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Previous Visitor Comments

Name Email Subject Location
Sasastevet_at_pwlcpa.comweuOtHfBTAexyjPGmlb
I don’t even know what to say, this made things so much eaesir!

Jaco Straussfeedback_at_strauss.za.comRe Ideologiese Oogklappe
@Herman. My probleem lê nie met Norman se beweerde "medemenslikheid" nie, maar eerder sy oppervlakkige analise wat bydra tot die demonisering van veral Afrikaners. Dit is dan weer 'n bydraende faktor tot die ontluikende volksmoord wat manifestasie vind in afgryslike misdaad soos die onlangse moord op Alberto Costa. Jy praat van kolonialisme. Die Afrikaners het self 'n baie swaar stryd teen kolonialisme gevoer en kan dus gesien word as beide kolonialiseerder en gekolonialiseerde. Maar onthou dat "kolonie status" jou ne per se tot die ashoop van die geskiedenis verdoem nie. Nie net was die VSA, Kanada, Nieu-Seeland, Australië almal op hul dag kolonies nie, maar self hul kolonialiseerder, Engeland, is self gekolonialiseer deur o.a. die Romeine, Angel-Saksers asook Dene.

Herman Lochnerhermanlochner_at_hotmail.comIdeologiese oogklappe
Dis jammer dat daar verby die medemenslike diepte van Norman McFarlane se aanvanklike brief gekyk word, ook dat hierdie ervaring verwater word deur politiekery en 'n ons-skuld-niemand-niks-en-dis-belangrik-dat-ons-standpunt-inneem-hieroor houding. Dit gaan nie oor skuld of hoekom die plakkers is waar hulle is nie. Dit gaan egter ALLES daaroor dat Norman McFarlane, as deel van daardie belewenis 'n PERSOONLIKE ervaring gehad het rondom die onreg van Apartheid. In sy geestesoog het daardie groepie vullissnuffelaars se afwyking van die tipiese blanke stereotipering gewys hulle is MENSE. Gewone mense wat om oorlewing veg in 'n vullisdrom. Nie ek of jy kan sê waar die mense sou gewees het as Apartheid (lees kolonialisme) nie daar was nie. Dalk sou Afrika, Suid-Amerika, Indie, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan ...so kan ek voortgaan... baie anders gelyk het. Dalk nie. Nie ek of jy weet nie. Wat ons wel weet is dat daardie R40 in daardie mense se lewens 'n oneindige verskil waarskynlik gemaak het...

karooseunbossinvestigate_at_yahoo.com.auTO REGISTER
How do I REGISTER

Cyniccynic-101_at_hotmail.comHistory always uncovers truth
Weeeeelllll....... some time has no passed since Mr. MCFarlane and his odd couple of apologists graced this forum with their visionary, unadulterated brilliance, objectivity and pure nobility to expose Jaco here as a poepol. Problem is, as the saying goes - "Time will telll..." and indeed it has because between 2005 when these posts were posted and now, 10-06-2007, it's Jaco and the truth behind the African debacle that emerge the winners of the day. As for all the seriously pious references posted by Shaun M - ummm..there's egg on your face - China!!

vipsticksvipsticks_at_filmssdvd.comHey friends..
Hey guys, there's another English person about, :) I'm a new on www.strauss.za.com looking forward to speaking to you guys soon

melchor bking_of_chowtime_at_yahoo.comhahahhhaah
how sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shaun Mshaunssm_at_fastmail.fmComment
Thomas Wertheim’s comment below is a ridiculous attempt at shifting the blame for Apartheid on the British. Segregation policies that existed since 1910, the establishment of the South African Union, were implemented by Louis Botha and Jan Smuts, Afrikaners leading the United party. Although South Africa was a British dominion, we had self-government and Britain could not interfere in our internal affairs. Before that, during the colonization of South Africa, the British were no angels (which nation has ever been?) but they were more liberal than the Afrikaners. Afrikaners and Afrikaner nationalism could not accept the political enfranchisement of the native population. Before the Boer War, non-white landowners could also vote in the British Cape Colony, even they though weren’t allowed in parliament, and enjoyed more rights than in the future Apartheid years of Afrikaner-rule over a South African. I agree with Brian. As an 18-year old white South African, I also do not feel responsible for Apartheid, but I do know that coming from an upper middle-class family, I have been born into a life of privilege and advantage. I feel privileged that I do not have to be brought up in a shack, share a bedroom with the whole family, attend school in a hungry state, study by candlelight and live off scraps. This is what most blacks are born into, in shrill contrast to whites, mainly because of Apartheid’s cheap labour policies, Bantu education and segregation. Whites will still be the economic and business elite of South Africa for generations. Strauss and Reader state, correctly, that these conditions of poverty and underdevelopment are common across Third-World Africa, Asia and Latin-America and that therefore blaming Apartheid for black poverty in OUR country is erroneous. So while whites can live and work in first-world infrastructure, is it acceptable for most blacks to live in third-world squalor? Apartheid’s socialist welfare-for-whites state is to blame for this social and economic inequality. Yes, even without Apartheid, there would have been unavoidable class inequalities, but to a lesser extent and without racialism. Here is an essay I wrote for Matric History about Apartheid and its collapse: President F.W. de Klerk's `opening of political space' speech on the 2nd of February 1990, which initiated negotiations between the white minority regime and the disenfranchised black majority, was the `beginning of the end' for the Apartheid state. The National Party's Apartheid policy of segregation and white supremacy could no longer be sustained, politically, economically, ideologically and militarily. This was already foreseen in 1979, when P.W. Botha warned NP members that “Apartheid as you have come to know it is dying and dead”. Economically, the Apartheid policies of demoting black urbanization, by enforcing pass laws and maintaining `bantustans' (homelands), and discouraging the development of skilled labour, by separate education standards for non-whites (so-called Bantu Education), caused low productivity, high labour costs and dependence on capital commodity imports in the manufacturing sector, the leading sector of the economy. The disadvantage of an unskilled majority only became apparent in the 1970's, when the manufacturing sector's contribution to the economy exceeded that of the mining and agricultural sectors, for which the cheap labour policy has been devised, combined. By limiting the black majority's incomes, these policies have caused the consumer market for manufactured products to be restricted to mostly the white minority. South Africa's domestic situation changed dramatically during the 1970's, when the 1976 Soweto riots, in protest of Bantu Education's Afrikaans instruction policies, instigated protests and violence across the country. This led to the revival of the anti-Apartheid resistance movements, who have been subdued for decades due to the police state's effectiveness in repressing dissent and the banning of resistance parties, such as the ANC, PAC and SACP. The `armed struggle' conducted by the ANC's armed wing, MK, gained momentum. This was complemented by an ideological struggle, domestically, such as the Black Consciousness movement's fight against submissiveness and inferiority among black people. Internationally, the white minority's right of rule was also being undermined by rising liberalism across the world, promoting democracy and human rights. Western nations' governments were critical of Apartheid, while very few Third World countries were `friendly' toward the South Africa. Exiled ANC leaders received support, especially in the campaigns for Nelson Mandela's release, and foreign investment was discouraged The Apartheid state's regional security came under threat when white minority and colonial governments in Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe were replaced by Marxist and pro-ANC states. Claiming to be fighting communism, the South African government armed and assisted anti-communist movements, such as UNITA in Angola, and fought SWAPO's independence struggle in Southwest-Africa, which was being administered as a South African mandate. To maintain its military capacity, expenditures for the development of domestic arms, because of the international arms embargo, and the drafting of white school-leavers into the armed forces, South Africa's economic growth had further drawbacks. Faced with growing insecurity, P.W. Botha's government of the 1980's instituted major reforms and ended `petty' Apartheid, but their combined attempts to liberalise an authoritarian state and to sustain white supremacy at the same time, only strengthened the opposition. Increased violence led to a `state of emergency' and police state repression. Faced with civil war, the National Party's hopes of continued white supremacy diminished and the government instigated negotiations with moderate ANC leaders and the end of the Apartheid state. Bibliography: Linz, J. “Transitions to Democracy”, The Washington Quarterly, Summer 1990, pp. 143-164. Price, R. (1991) “Cracks in the Monolith”, The Apartheid State in Crisis. Berkeley: Oxford University Press, pp. 28-78. Sisk, T.D. (1995) “The Uncertain Interregnum”, Democratisation in South Africa. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, pp. 88-126. Price, R. (1991) “Cracks in the Monolith”, The Apartheid State in Crisis. Berkeley: Oxford University Press, p. 28.

Jacques le Rouxsajlr_at_hotmail.comShocked
A quick comment regarding Phemelo's message. You ended of your message with "not all whites are bad!". As I see from your e-mail, you work for the government. Jaco's argument had no racial conflicts, he merely pointed out that, after a decade of ruling the ANC, has made no change, and if they did make a change it was not for the better, to the state of the country. If you, as a worker for the government, thought that all white men are bad, there is no hope. We are living in the "New South Africa"; yet look at your outlook towards your fellow South Africans, which are white.

Phemelopkegakilwe_at_perm.ncape.gov.zaapartheid
As a black South African I was under the impression that good things are happening in our country. Everyday we hear how well the economy is doing and how optimistic people are. It, therefore came as a shock to read Jaco Strauss's attack on Norman. It was only when I read Brian's general comments that I realized not all whites are bad!

Thomas Wertheimthomaswertheim_at_yahoo.com.auAPARTHEID
BEFORE 1910 TO 1930 PERIOD THE PERIOD OF BRITISH SEGREGATION, WAS A CLEAR INDICATION,OF THE FUTURE PLATFORM OF APARTHEID, IT WAS JUST A CONTINUATION OF WHAT THE BRITISH DID.NOW THAT IT IS ALL IN THE PAST, LET SOUTH AFRICANS TRY AND IMPROVE THE PLIGHT OF ALL,SOUTH AFRICANS. IT IS A GREAT AND BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, WITH A GREAT FUTURE. KEEP UP BUILDING THE FUTURE. AND AS I CAN SUM UP THE SITUASION, BY THE LETTERS IN THIS DEBATE,THERE ARE GREAT PEOPLE,ALL TRYING, BY DEBATE TO INPROVE THE BELOVED COUNTRY. REGARDS THOMAS

Kobuskobus_at_millions.cjb.netMcFarlane
Norman, you must get your facts straight. I travel extensively around the country, and I assure you that most of the squatter camps did not exist before 1994. The ANC just use the squatter camps to achieve their political goals. They feel nothing for the people living there.

Brian sreudianflip_at_iafrica.comGeneral Comment
Well this is a pleasant surprise to have found such an active and varied discussion forum in my area. There are so many fascinating points in this topic that I don’t believe I can cover them all, so instead I am going to pick up a few of my favourites and in the process share a few of my opinions. Of course the apartheid issue is one that has been overworked by its very nature it will forever be a dead end discussion. After all we have a regime that worked on discrimination and allowed a small percentage of the population to prosper. Unfortunately as an emerging democracy facing the trials and tribulations left behind by an unjust political system we suddenly find ourselves in a country were despite its 40+ year supposedly prosperous rule, we have no apartheid supporters. So much like the current government we are always so happy to bemoan we are unable to take any responsibility. In our case for the present and history of a country we now proclaim should be shared equally. Despite absolutely glaring evidence, I have yet to come across a white squatter encampment of any size, I notice that the majority of poverty stricken people are of color. None of us can debate these simple glaring imbalances. When one honestly acknowledges the above there are really only two explanations left. Either the countries past has left a huge void and imbalance in the distribution of wealth and skills. Or the “blacks” are incapable of hard work, literacy and middle class aspirations? Some how to me the latter seems a tad unrealistic how ever it possibly goes a way to clearing up my initial quandary about were the apartheid supporters went. I appreciate that the fact that not planting bombs does not make one a supporter. How ever idly standing by is also known as condoning. By condoning something I am also responsible for its out come. Responsibility is something more than admission of guilt, as a 22 year old south African I cannot personally feel responsible for apartheid my experience of it was minimal and my ability to be a part of it was even less. However I have been educated in a school with decent facilities, which were in no small part paid for by the wealth of the community I was born into. So I feel no less than morally obligated to make use of the advantages afforded me to be an active part of the growth of this country. The true shame I feel is that in the face of human suffering and sharp reminder of our countries legacy so many people run for cover and the moral high ground. Being sure they have swept any sense of responsibility under the carpet assigned blame and generally made sure it has nothing to do with them. I have tried to maintain a relatively open viewpoint and reframed from attacking any particular personal views on this page however there are a few that urk me in the extreme. The idea that giving out a bit of money is an attempt to gain any moral ground is an unfair analogy. It is clear upon reading the article that the money was only mentioned to illustrate the sense of dignity and community these people maintained under other wise barbaric circumstances. In the face of starvation the willingness of people to share what little there is no less than amazing to me. I could no doubt go on but I believe I am done, In closing you can blame who ever you wish for the squatters being there. We can theorise and make up a 101 and justifications for there presence there. However how do we begin to escape the responsibility for letting them starve there? Which I believe was the initial point of the letter in reality. Brian

Marksquirrel_at_imaginet.co.za"With us ... or against us"
I feel that the merit worthy debate sparked by McFarlane's initial letter is being clouded by personal attacks and GW Bush type logic as enshrined in his post 9/11 speech "You are either with us or against us." I fail to see how Strauss' argument that under Apartheid, blacks in SA had the highest levels of literacy, income, education etc on the African continent immediately (in McFarlane's eyes) renders him a supporter of, or even an apologist for Apartheid. Extend the logic... During Apartheid there were many years of good rains and bountiful harvests .... therefore Apartheid causes rain .. therefore Apartheid is a good thing. A prime example of the economic "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy of logic. The crux of Strauss' initial critique of McFarlane's letter was that the impoverished squalour witnessed at the Macassar squatter camp was not caused by 46 years of Apartheid. The proof of this is the fact that similar squalor probably exists in every country in Africa - none of the rest of which were ever burdoned (except arguably maybe for South West Africa and Rhodesia). It also exists in South and Central America and all over Asia. What Strauss does point out is that DESPITE Apartheid, South African blacks still managed to have the highest literacy blah blah blah, etc. This is a normative, factual statement - it makes no reference to his like or dislike of the system. The cause of this squalour is not Apartheid per se, but restrictive social engineering and state control in whatever format it is manifested. The dire poverty and starvation in North Korea (what little their enlightened government allows us to see anyway) is probably the most poignant current example of this. On the other hand, does Hong Kong and Switzerland have squatter camps? The other old bogeyman - colonialism - is often touted as a reason why the rest of Africa suffers a similar problem. But not all countries in Africa were colonised - and others were colonies for relatively short periods. Yet the image of children picking through rubbish tips could probably be photographed in any country in Africa of your choosing. Toss a few coins into the dump (or hand out R40) - and you could probably take those pictures anywhere in the world! What has the ANC government done to bring those kids into the education system - to start equipping them with healthy minds - ultimately the tools of economic liberation? Precious little I surmise. What will McFarlane's R40 do towards teaching them to provide a service to mankind in future that mankind will gladly pay them for? Even less. It gave McFarlane a warm feeling for a day, and maybe fed the kids for two. Thereafter, nothing. Perhaps - as Strauss points out - the ANC secretly desires a mass of angry, impoverished young voters it can persuade to support it in droves by continually harping on Apartheid as the root cause of their ills. McFarlane's seeming desire for whites to don sack-cloth and flagellate themselves forever for Apartheid is as useless in solving the problem as it is bizarre. Fix the illness, Norman - stop tampering with the thermometer. In looking at the poverty Apartheid and other evil social engineering experiments have caused, one would do well to remember Milton Friedman's words (I think): "If it raineth on the just and unjust alike - how come the socialist countries are routinely singled out for bad weather?"

Norman McFarlanenorman_at_redpoint.co.zaJaco and Simon's dog and pony show
How can Jaco Strauss seriously expect the present government to redress in 10 years the damage done by 350 years of injustice and 46 years of Apartheid misrule in particular? His perspective clearly indicates just where he spends most of his time - in cloud cuckoo land. In noting that South Africa had "the highest black literacy, per capita income, life expectancy, lowest infant mortality, etc of pre-1994 RSA in the African context" is as simplistic as he accuses me of being. My question is how did these statistical measures compare with the White community during the Apartheid years? Well, they just did not, as we all know. Jaco Strauss’ comparison between South African Blacks and the rest of Africa positions him clearly, as he attempts to justify Apartheid by demonstrating that "Blacks were better of here than the rest of Africa". I recall that other pillar of moral rectitude, Dan Rood, attempting to do just that in a discussion on Cape Talk a few weeks ago. He appeared as pathetic and self serving as Jaco Strauss does in his pursuit of moral expiation. Jaco Strauss’ haranguing of the present Government needs to be put into some sort of perspective. It is a fact that the ANC Government has done more for the victims of Apartheid in ten years, with critically scarce resources, than the Apartheid Government did in 46 years. I think the difference must revolve around the ANC Government’s clear intention of doing the right thing, whereas the National Party Government had the clear intention of doing the wrong thing, a pursuit at which it excelled, actively encouraged by the White community. He also accuses me of not taking the present Government seriously. On the contrary, I take it very seriously, as it is the first effective Government that we have had since 1948. But I guess it depends on where you’re coming from when you assess the effectiveness of a Government. Whereas Jaco would probably say that the National Party Government did a good job during Apartheid, in my book it did nothing but bad. And finally Jaco, your respect is something that I shall never need, as I have enough of my own. I now turn to the epistle of our self-styled philosopher Simon Reader. Unfortunately for you Simon, neither a) nor b) apply. I am a third generation South African and spent a good portion of my young life in the Transkei. I’ve always known that the vast majority of South African’s live in penury, and I also know why, as do you, although you do not want to admit it. But then again, with your evident arrogance, should I expect anything other than the shallow analysis that you have rendered. Your “rational” points of argument refer: 1) The ANC Government has delivered enormously in ten years, and that with a very limited resource base. Perhaps providing potable water, safe sanitation, electricity, primary health care and education to millions who were denied these basic rights under Apartheid is a sign of incompetence to you. To me they are sign of competence in the face of extreme odds. 2) If you are alluding to the system of Government under the National Party as a “democratic management system”, which I do believe you are, then perhaps I should not be surprised at your analysis. 3) The excesses perpetrated by both sides during the Apartheid war (and it WAS a war) are one of the direct causes of the rifts that exist in our society to this day. Whilst the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did much to heal the wounds, it is evident from your little diatribe that not all of us have forgiven. Your inexplicable insistence that I must be Jewish, or have family who were tortured or starved, or have visited the Holocaust Museum in order to compare it to the Apartheid Museum puzzles me greatly. I simply do not see the connection. But perhaps I do not operate on the same intellectual plane that you do. Incidentally, you might recall the name Donald Woods, the editor of the Daily Dispatch, and close personal friend of Steve Biko. Donald Woods was my uncle. Two of Donald’s children, Duncan and Mary, to whom the SA Security Police sent sweaters impregnated with acid, are my nephew and niece. After the family fled the country, I did not see any of them for thirteen years. I never saw Donald face to face again. Don’t preach to me, Simon. You have no right. And perhaps the fact that none of these scholarly missives have garnered enough votes for a realistic average shows just how well visited this little site actually is... Norman McFarlane

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