Dear FW de Klerk …

Congratulations on officially achieving the rank of Most Hated Man in South Africa. This is no easy feat in a country like ours. Coming in second is Jacob Zuma. In fact, it’s almost too close to call. In the interests of fairness, I think you and Jacob should share the honour, like you did the Scandinavian prize with that other black guy.

What tipped the scales in your favour is that you are now hated by people across the political and racial spectrum, whereas Jacob is hated by all white people and only some black people.

It wasn’t always this way. Until quite recently, you were only properly hated by white conservatives for selling out and giving the country to the communists. White liberals thought you were quite a good oke for releasing Mandela. Black people, on the other hand, didn’t think you should get any credit at all because they reckoned Mandela should never have been locked up by your people in the first place. Unreasonable, I know. But that’s darkies for you.

Then you went and said that apartheid wasn’t a crime against humanity. That was a bridge too far, even for the liberals. Suddenly you were no longer such a good oke. And if there were any black people who still thought you weren’t too bad, compared to, say, Hitler or Kim Jong-il, they turned against you, too.

I don’t really care what you think about apartheid. You became my personal hero when you had an affair with some or other Greek tart married to a shipping tycoon who helped fund the National Party. A friend of yours, I understand. He was basically paying you to shag his wife behind his back. Classy. The cherry on top, pardon my French, was when you waited until Valentine’s Day to announce your intention to trade your wife in for a younger model. That magnificent act of unparalleled evil completely overshadowed apartheid and boosted your ranking in the patriarchy.

Anyway. The bigger point is that in 1966 the UN General Assembly declared apartheid to be a crime against humanity. I was still too young to dispute this. For me, not being allowed to wee in my bed was a crime against humanity. You must have been in your late twenties then. Probably studying Dr Guido Landra’s Manifesto of Race and hitting on your brother’s girlfriends.

The next thirty years were spent clawing your way up the political ladder, hanging out with chums like John Vorster and PW Botha and making sure that separate development meant that the whities got the development and the darkies were kept separate. Fair enough. A policy is mos a policy.

Then Margaret Thatcher advised you to throw in the towel and you turned the country over to the communists – who turned out not to be communists after all. In 1998 a Truth and Reconciliation Report endorsed the UN position that apartheid was a crime against humanity and said you’d been a very naughty boy. You were understandably outraged, having only just discovered at the TRC that “rogue individuals” had for years been killing, incarcerating and torturing anyone who didn’t agree with your government’s notions of white supremacy.

At the time, you also said this: “I reject the contention that apartheid was a crime against humanity, notwithstanding the serious injustices which occurred and for which I have sincerely apologised.”

Flash forward 22 years to last Thursday. When I saw you and the Hellenic home-wrecker lurking in the peanut gallery in parliament awaiting our sloth-like leader’s blindly optimistic State of the Nation address, I suspected trouble could be brewing.

You had, after all, just days earlier said in an interview with the SABC that apartheid was not a crime against humanity. You must have known you were putting a match to a block of political Blitz.

But even so, when Kiddie Amin initiated his increasingly predictable Meow Meow Uprising, all eyes were on Pravin Gordhan. So it must have come as something of a shock when the jabbering infant in the red onesie pointed in your direction and shouted, “We have a murderer in the House!”

That couldn’t have been fun. Nobody wants to be called a killer on live television. At home around the braai, sure. But not in parliament.

In the good old days, it would have taken a single phone call to make the entire EFF leadership disappear overnight. I don’t know what torture methods you would use on them today. Give them Highland Queen instead of Johnnie Walker Blue? Make them wear denim shorts from Mr Price? Crocs instead of Ferragamo loafers?

I bet your trophy wife wasn’t keen on going in the first place. Women can sense these things, you know. You marry a nice prematurely balding guy who once led a vicious regime predicated on violence and racial superiority, you think twice before going out in public with him. Especially to the very place where apartheid was spawned and suckled. Talk about returning to the scene of the crime against humanity.

Of course you were upset. Who wouldn’t be? But where most men would go home, get drunk and take it out on their wives, you went home and, through your FW de Klerk Foundation, released a statement saying that fewer than five thousand people had been killed by security forces between 1960 and 1994. Your proud Boer heritage kicked in and you doubled down.

“The idea that apartheid was ‘a crime against humanity’ was, and remains, an ‘agitprop’ project initiated by the Soviets and their ANC/SACP allies to stigmatise white South Africans by associating them with genuine crimes against humanity …”

That might have been a bit of an oopsie. Then again, your defence of apartheid did succeed in uniting South Africans of all races. It’s usually only the Springboks who can do that. Sure, it united them in their hatred for you, but still. It’s the unity that’s important.

Later, Thabo Mbeki asked you what the hell were you thinking and you told him you hadn’t been aware of the UN convention. Not quite true, as it turns out, but then again you are getting on a bit and it’s easy to forget what you said in 1998. Anyway, Mbeki still can’t understand how a virus can cause a syndrome so don’t worry about him.

At the end of it all, you apologised and said that apartheid was, in fact, a crime against humanity and not, as you mistakenly imagined, a minor inconvenience. I can imagine how much that must have grated. Here you are, with the world’s top peace prize sitting on a crocheted doily above your fireplace, below the flying ducks, and you still have to say sorry for assuming that a system which dehumanised a mere forty million people wasn’t all that bad.

Patriots like you should never have to say sorry. Your father served as interim State President in 1975, for heaven’s sake. Okay, so it was only for nine days. He was the original 2-minute noodle. You were also the Minister of Mines and Energy for a year. Eskom was one of your responsibilities. Sooner or later, you’re going to be accused of having caused loadshedding.

If I were you, I’d get in early and apologise now.

48 thoughts on “Dear FW de Klerk …

  1. rob park

    To the idiot Graeme Bird, another 4 years of Trump bashing to come, get over it. Apartheid was wrong but then again so is Marxism and Africa is still at least 500 years behind civilization. The world is a mess at present we will just have to see what pans out. I am not holding my breath.

    • Yeah, Rob. America is definitely the epitome of civilisation. Jesus, do you even know what’s happening in your own country? Are you even aware of what kind of person you have as president? I wouldn’t take a Green Card if you gave it to me.

  2. B.B.Jon

    Love your humour normally so its sad to see you toeing the PC line on this one. ‘Apartheid impaired the black man’s dignity’ is about the worst you can say about our old government. Every day passing in this post-1994 era proves those old folk knew what they were talking about: Real democracy is impossible in Africa, these stone age minds are not cut out for it.

  3. Charl

    “Ben Trovato is a stratcom agent under cover. He is a hired gun employed by military intelligence.Do not believe a word he says.He shows signs of multiple personality schizophrenia and as an adult still wets his bed.
    He has a Greek fetish and an unhealthy desire for bald heads.
    The man is a disgrace and, together with Zapiro, should be banned to Orania.”
    Signed : J Zuma

  4. Amok

    Hi Ben, love your writing and I agree with most of it. I have certainly never been a FW fan even though I know when he gave our country away without a 2nd thought he was merely a puppet being pulled into a certain direction. I voted NO in 1992 , so I guess that certainly does not make me one of the people who liberated black people from an Apartheid regime. The reason I did it then is the same reason I would do it again. A Yes vote was a vote for communism. You see people want to believe in democracy, but this is Africa and it has never worked. Does that mean Apartheid was right? No, but it does mean the rules of the normal western civilization will never work as intended. Democracy in Africa ultimately leads to dictatorship. Does not matter if you have a black or white president. So what is the answer? Dude, I have had sleepless nights over that very question. As much as I hate people being oppressed, I am not ok with being oppressed either. If the ANC had a ” lets move on and forgive and forget attitude ” democracy could work. It’s now been 26 years since the ANC officially took over and they still believe they have not fucked us up enough.

  5. Josh

    Excellent read and spot on. De Klerk is a monumental doos. One thought though, we are yet to traverse the deep deep economic trench caused by Zuma and his era of self enrichment liberation heroes. I fear the ultimate inevitable social fall out of the continued economic misery (now guaranteed) and the consequential rise of extreme populism. The long term impacts of which will have the biggest impact on race relations and economic growth for a generation. Zuma has created the conditions for a fall out that is yet to be fully understood. Our’s was always going to be a fragile journey into the future and it took great leadership from Mandela and Mbeki to move us towards it… Zuma, has all but guaranteed it’s undoing and so he is up there on my podium with De Klerk in terms of the worlds biggest doos. You don’t need hit squads to be a killer, poverty does that even more effectively and as history has shown in much greater numbers the latter f*cks everybody though so it least it is not racist in terms of it’s devastation.

  6. Bonita jones

    BEN….what can I say…you are brilliant. But yoir pice should jave ended with “quickly get in that last SAA flight to Athens and FOK OFF”.

  7. Theresa Du Toit

    Absolutely loved it and laughed so much! I love your sense of humor and the beautiful way with words!!!! BRILLIANT°°°

  8. Ursula Joubert

    The power of the pen, the beauty of language and the master of wit

    You find language in areas where others find anger and frustration.

  9. Luan Sml

    Oh Lordy, I nearly peed in my pants while laughing at the image of Kiddie Amin and the Meow Meow brigade….. πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ ! In fact this outstanding piece of satire has driven me to comment and congratulate you Ben Trovato!

    • Annie L

      Loved this. As a Saffa Expat, I do struggle from abroad to find the actual opinion / feelings behind the drivel served to me on News24. This right here is why the world still needs good writers.

  10. Charli

    Scalpel-like wit delivered with a rubber sledgehammer (that sadly, many won’t get) – absolutely priceless!
    Thank you for gifting us one of your most insightful posts ever.

  11. Stuart Woodhead

    Brilliant. A real classic. I used to admire de Klerk for helping to avert a civil war in the 90’s. Then for him to make such a stupid and insensitive comment at this stage of his life is beyond belief!

  12. Robert Blake

    My fok Mariliese. Dis oke kan mos skryf. Ek Fokken love ditπŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

    Spot on mate!

  13. Neil

    A perfect interpretation of this fluid top spot – often mirrored by most stupid South African and so he joins a wonderfully long list of high achievers. Well done Ben T

  14. SHARON ILETT

    Maybe if de Klerk had his nose fixed by β€˜Botched’ plastic nose Doctors, Terry & Paul, he would have smelt a rat then already, and not made those utterances!! I bet the wife used the opportunity for the boobies. Remembering the faithful old wife πŸ’œ

  15. Graeme Bird

    Sadly he’s not the only dumb white conservative South African fuckwit that thinks apartheid wasn’t as bad as the rest of world says it was (excluding of course other dumb white conservative fuckwits like Donny Trump and his merry band of Klu Klux Klan enthusiasts). A glance at the comments on most social media feeds in SA quickly shows how many of them are there still here and not yet in Australasia. Actually the relocated Nouveau Australasians keep posting their bile from afar so it can get confusing….

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