Now seems like a good a time as any to republish my February 2020 letter to FW de Klerk….


Dear FW,

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.

Apartheid? Ah, the good old days

The good thing about the Internet is also the bad thing. Everyone is pretty much free to spread as much love and hate as they wish. Occasionally I find myself a member of a Facebook group which I have been invited to join. I make a point of declining because I am not a joiner. Unless, of course, sloths or pandas show an interest in adopting me.

I don’t do groups, either. Well, with the exception of threesomes, obviously. And even then, certain rules would have to be in place. No sniggering, sighing or eye-rolling, for a start.

Anyway. Somehow I have become a member of a group called The Nation’s In A State, along with over three thousand other red-blooded patriots.

I wasn’t unduly alarmed. After all, the name is a fairly accurate representation of the good ship South Africa as she steams rudderless towards the reef upon which failed states dash themselves with careless disregard for charts, lighthouses and a chorus of warnings.

The first post I saw said, “We are looking for a nanny. Trustworthy, punctual, vibrant, a super cleaner, great with kids and dogs! Anyone?” Nanny? Please. Were I to find a woman with those qualities, I would ask her to be my wife, not my servant.

Then this, from a family poised to emigrate to Australia. “South Africa, we adore you & without you, THIS would not be possible. Our country has shaped us, grown us & prepped us. Gods’ promises are mind blowing & His presence has been SO tangible during this journey. See you soon Adelaide.”

For a start, people who truly adore South Africa don’t emigrate. And to say that without this country, emigration would be impossible is … I don’t even know what that is. It’s like something a graduate of the Dunning-Kruger School of Existentialism might say.

So this country shaped and prepared you for emigration? How very generous of South Africa. There can’t be many third world countries that would bend over backwards to help you become the very best you can be, and then, apparently with help from God, wish you well as you fly away to contribute to a first world country’s economy.

Then things kicked down a gear. Hans asked, “What was the good things under Apartheid?” Probably not your English results, buddy. Hans blew the biggest dog whistle ever made and South Africans nostalgic for the good old days were quick to start yapping.

Mark was first to bark. “Everything worked and if a government employee stole money it would be”Go Straight To Jail & Don’t Pass Begin”. Rapist & Murderers Were Hung By The Neck Until they DEAD!!!”

The emphasis was presumably necessary in case some of us thought he meant hung by the neck until they requested canapés and a glass of chardonnay.

Stephne also heard the whistle and pricked up her ears. “There was an amazing army. Border control. Excellent police force. Censorship and God was at the core of everything.” It’s unlikely Stephne was in the army because, well, boetie het border toe gegaan. I spent two years in 2 Signals Regiment and the experience was several light years away from amazing.

For Stephne, apartheid was also good for keeping refugees and migrants out of the country. Okay, fair enough. That’s no different to what decent Christian leaders like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson want. But she also misses censorship. Sounds like Stephane might have seen stuff on the Internet that made her perm curl tighter than her gardener’s pubes. I am curious about what she thinks happened to God after 1994. Did he move to New Zealand?

Walter said, “Hijackings was something you only saw in movies.” I don’t know, bro. I imagine you watched those kind of movies precisely because they had hijackings in them. Wouldn’t you want to see hijackings that aren’t only in movies? Real life is wild, bro. Get into it.

Andre: “Crime rate was low.” There were definitely fewer house robberies because most suburbs had white-by-night curfews and the police had shoot-on-sight orders. And since black people weren’t allowed in parks and cinemas or on beaches and buses, decent mugging opportunities were few and far between.

Pierre misses the death penalty while Greg says EVERYTHING! was better under apartheid. Indeed. With the exception of conscription, no alcohol sales on Sundays and the subjugation and dehumanisation of forty million people, everything was definitely better.

Lizette, panting and straining at the leash, misses a whole bunch of things. “Safety, friendliness, trust, the law was effective and law officials the police was respected. The defence force was one of the best in the world. There were no shoot outs in hospitals and government hospitals were clean had no need for private hospitals. Universities were safe and worldclass and you went there to study not to have sex and become drug and alcohol addicts.‼

I never went to university. If what Lizette says is true, I’m applying this week. Actually, forget applying. I’m storming in with my bong and brandy and pants around my ankles. Gimme a goddamn education, I will shout with my willy a-flap in the breeze. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll go to the nearest hospital and shoot people.

Willem, coming late to the debate, reprimanded Hans for even daring to ask the question.

“If you are old enough you would not ask. There was very little in 1948 compared to 1994. Infrastructure ROADS, DAMS, SCHOOLS ,AIRPORTS from 10th the size to taking the biggest PLANES . A DEFENCE FORCE to just about the best in the world. Industries like an ESKOM [ Massive transmision grid up into neighbouring countries MINING , UITVOERE [COAL. DIAMONDS, GOLD, STEEL ect ] , YSKOR, SISHEN. AGRICULTURE FROM SMALL TO VERY BIG. Want to know more. Shall I go on and tell you what is left.l”

You know what’s left, Willem? Me. I have left. I just can’t do the group thing any more. Good luck with your visa application.

King or Joker?

Dear King Goodwill Zwelithini, Defender of the Zulus, Head of the Ubukhosi, Sovereign of the Ancient Order of the Knobkierie, Wearer of Leopards, Emperor of Nongoma and Father of Many.

Bayete! Or, in the mangled parlance of those magnificent men who brought development and apartheid to our shores, hoezit!

Well done on congratulating the old National Party regime for their hard work and single-minded determination. It couldn’t have been easy keeping the races apart for so many years and it’s about time a man of your standing gave them their due. You, Sir, are the black Donald Trump of our generation. I’d be surprised if FW de Klerk, or, at the very least, Steve Hofmeyr, doesn’t invite you over for a round of jukskei and a brace of Witblits and Coke.

As you so rightly pointed out, it was the Afrikaners who built the economy and army into the most powerful in Africa. All of this without any help from the other 90% of the population. Quite an achievement. As the Aryan Brotherhood like to say, white is might.

And then, in your courageous words, “this so-called democracy” came along and everything went to hell in a handbasket. You were speaking at your kwaKhethomthandayo Palace to celebrate your 44 years on the throne. That’s the royal throne, obviously. Some white people use the word ‘throne’ when they talk about the toilet. It’s the unspeakable English who talk like this. Get your impis to round them up at once. Is Shaka’s Rock still working? Toss them off, I say. That’s another English expression, but I shan’t elaborate. We want mass murder, here, not mass debations.

Also, you might want to think of simplifying the name of your palace. It’s damnably difficult for white people to pronounce and you might find yourself being accused of failing to appreciate the true value of colonialism. How about Windsor Castle? Your British counterpart would be awfully grateful and I imagine she would want to reward you in much the same way Queen Victoria rewarded King Cetshwayo.

You said history would judge black people harshly as they had failed to build on the successes of the apartheid regime. With all due respect, I’m not sure I agree. One of the biggest successes of the previous order was to prevent black people from getting a proper education. After we were subjected to the scourge of democracy, successive black ministers have done a spectacular job of building on this. PW Botha and his knights in shining polyester suits succeeded in not providing black people with everything from health care to jobs and I’d argue that the ANC has done an admirable job in, if not building on, then at least maintaining that particular status quo.

What was your favourite thing about apartheid? Not being able to go to the movies or beaches in town, not being allowed to sit on park benches or snog white women, having separate public toilets and entrances, being unable to live in a nice suburb or eat in decent restaurants, living in a hostel, carrying a dompas, working for a pittance? There’s so much good stuff, I suppose it’s unfair to ask you to pick just one.

You said you considered yourself lucky to have been born in the same year the National Party came to power. Sadly, I was born more than a decade later and cursed my misfortune at having missed all the excitement of watching white supremacy blossom. Fortunately, the best years of apartheid were still to come so not all was lost.

I’m sorry to say that I never contributed much to the apartheid infrastructure that your ungrateful countrymen are so quick to torch. I’m not very good with my hands. I did, however, play a small part in helping the army to become such an awesome fighting machine. Regrettably, I killed no one. I was thrust into the Signals regiment and taught how to type. As I said, a small part, but a part nevertheless.

Thanks to democracy – and by democracy I obviously mean black people – today’s army could be vanquished by an ADT unit from Ballito. Assuming, of course, the unit was made up of white Afrikaners.

You also proudly said there were medals hanging in your palace that the apartheid government had awarded to the Zulu kingdom, and that you didn’t know how it happened that the Afrikaners respect you so much. It’s a mystery to me, too. Perhaps you should have a word with Uncle Gatsha. He might know a thing or two about it.