Into the Cannibal’s Pot:
Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa Source
Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from post-Apartheid South Africa is a polemical work anchored in history, reality, fact, and the political philosophy of classical liberalism. It is a manifesto against mass society, arguing against raw, ripe, democracy, here (in the US), there (in South Africa), and everywhere. Into the Cannibal’s Pot follows Russell Kirk’s contention that true freedom can be found only within the framework of a social order. It is a reminder that, however imperfect, civilized societies are fragile. They can, and will, crumble in culturally inhospitable climes. The tyranny of political correctness, so unique to the West plays a role in their near-collapse. Advanced societies don’t just die; they either wither from within, or, like South Africa, are finished off by other western societies. Ilana Mercer delivers a compelling book; it is required reading for thinking people who care about the destiny of western civilization.
Dedicated to my Afrikaner brothers betrayed, and to my African sisters, Nomasomi Khala and Annie Dlahmini, whose lives touched mine.
This is a book about ideas and ideology. When losing an intellectual argument, there are despicable people who point an accusing finger and shout racism. In our dark times where mob rule and collectivist ideas resonate with so many, this appalling strategy can be very effective.
To those who support colorblind civil discourse, rule of law, equality of opportunity, freedom, the golden rule (do unto others as you wish them to do unto you), liberty, freedom of expression and religion and private property rights…regardless of skin color or ethnic background (black, red, white, yellow, brown, green or violet), we extend the hand of friendship.
To those who support all forms of thuggery—including totalitarianism, collectivism, fascism, extremist fundamentalism, unequal treatment under law, income redistribution, nanny state government programs and the soft bigotry of low expectations—your skin color and ethnicity are irrelevant…and your ideas belong in the dustbin of history.
|Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
African National Congress
Black Economic Empowerment
Central Business District
Congress of South African Trade Unions
Firearm Control Act
Human Sciences Research Council
Inkatha Freedom Party
Movement for Democratic Change
South African Medical Research Council
Dutch Reformed Church
People Against Gangsterism and Drugs
Progressive Federal Party
Palestine Solidarity Committee
South Africa Institute for Race Relations
South African Police Service
Supreme Court of the United States
Transvaal Agricultural Union
University of South Africa
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant
It is no surprise that a manifesto against majoritarianism would not find favor with the mission of most American publishers. Opposition to mass society was once an accepted (indeed, unremarkable) theme in the richly layered works of iconic conservatives such as Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, and James Burnham. Today, by contrast, such opposition is considered as damning as it is impolitic.
And don’t even think of writing a less-than hagiographical account of Nelson Mandela. Time magazine’s Richard Stengel has serialized his tributes to Saint Mandela. (Stengel has completed two. Perhaps a third is planned?) But an opposing voice to the media paean for the democratic South Africa and its deity, written by a dissenting South African exile—this cannot be countenanced.
“What menaces democratic society in this age is not a simple collapse of order,” forewarned Alexis de Tocqueville, “but a tyranny of mediocrity, a standardization of mind and spirit and condition.” In the context of post-apartheid South Africa, this sameness of mind and spirit manifests in a convergence of opinion—even in the neatly bifurcated America.
Thus, while almost every other postcolonial insurgency in Africa has been scrutinized, rival views of post-apartheid South Africa are unwelcome. Despite the country’s body count since “freedom,” the foundations of what was a joint Anglo-American undertaking are not to be faulted or questioned.
The loss of 300,000 innocents murdered since democracy dawned is therefore regularly diminished. People slide into extenuation: “We have our problems, but we now have, I’m proud to say, a working, wonderful democracy in South Africa.” These words were uttered by the roaming Justice Richard Goldstone, who—unlike this writer’s father—attached himself to the anti-apartheid cause only once it became fashionable, safe and professionally expedient.
In itself, the tale of the publication of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa bears telling. For while this polemic respects no political totems or taboos, it is faithful to facts. These facts cried out to be chronicled. They should not have had a struggle to find their way into print.
Yet struggle they did.
“Ilana, if you’d only give me something like Corinne Hofmann’s Back from Africa, publishers would pounce,” promised one literary agent. Hofmann’s salacious account of her time as the sexual plaything of a virile African tribal chief was described by The Times Literary Supplement as “a dated tale of exotic desire and disillusionment.”
As the PC pecking order stands, Into the Cannibal’s Pot might also have been pounced upon had its author been more like economist Dambisa Moyo of the trendy Dead Aid. That popular book consists of derivative deductions which had been reached decades ago by Peter Thomas Bauer, the doyen of development economics. (To give Ms. Moyo her dues, Dead Aid is dedicated to the late Lord Bauer.)
The following is an assessment from a well-known academic publisher whose stock does not exactly fly off the shelves:
I’ve long been aware of Mercer’s writing. Though I rarely agree with her, she’s quite a presence on the right side of the blogosphere. This is an extremely well-written and provocative work. I was riveted as I read it. …The problem here is that the market for a book with such a clear political bias is that much smaller. So I just don’t think we could take it on.
“There is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea,” said Dr. Johnson. This is my position with respect to political parties stateside and in South Africa. How can a book that discounts the venerated vote and disavows all political parties have a political bias? Into the Cannibal’s Pot is manifestly against politics! A partiality for small government and big society—in other words, for civilization—is not a “political bias.” No, the prejudice was that of the petitioned publisher; his was a prejudice against an unorthodox perspective that comports with the classical liberal philosophy, and with reality.
Another publisher made the following excuse:
We recently had the chance to review your manuscript. Like everything you do, it is well-written and worthy of publication. However, we do not believe we can successfully market it.
This particular editor added that the imprint would be concentrating instead on the timeless topic of the Olympic Games in China. Obviously that is a far more inspiring subject than this writer’s “unhealthy” preoccupation with the methodical ethnic cleansing of the Afrikaner farmer.
Other respondents lavished praise on a “closely argued stylish effort” (for which, of course, they did not care to make an effort).
To go by the Left’s postmodern strictures, truth is not immutable but subject to a process of discovery. As a practical matter, then, how is a synthesis of the South-African situation to emerge if the antithesis is disallowed?
Let us not discount the publishing world’s ongoing drive for the bottom line and the lowest common denominator. (The publisher who refused to bear Christian Witness, citing the prospects of poor profits, is an example.) This uncompromising dedication does not lend itself to contrarian material, not even when the facts are pressing (and almost too horrible for words). After all, a complicit publishing establishment can shirk responsibility and seek comfort in the fact that the marketplace for books no longer adjudicates the product’s worth. Actually, nowadays this marketplace does no more than offer an aggregate snapshot of the millions of subjective preferences consumers demand and publishers deliver. Mackenzie Phillips’ squalid story of incest and insanity outsells Ludwig von Mises’ pearls of wisdom. For some this cultural foot-and-mouth will be faith-inspiring, for others deeply distressing.
When South Africa was governed by a racist white minority, it was scorned by the West and treated as Saddam Hussein was, with boycotts and sanctions. Now that a racist, black-majority government controls the country; that it is as violent as Iraq, Liberia, or the Congo and rapidly becoming another Islamist-friendly, failed African state, it is the toast of the West.
Indeed, world leaders and the liberal lickspittle media seldom speak of the embarrassment that is the democratic South Africa—the crumbling infrastructure of this once First World country, and the out-of-control crime—down to an ongoing mini-genocide. Rocker Bono certainly isn’t moved to tears over the seemingly systematic extermination of the Afrikaner farmers of South Africa. The cultural cognoscenti in the US are equally silent about the New South Africa’s unparalleled, radical, race-based wealth-distribution policies.
As Into The Cannibal’s Pot demonstrates, South Africa’s democratically elected African leaders are as committed as their political predecessors, apartheid-era Afrikaners, to restructuring society around race. With one distinction: more people are murdered in one week under African rule than died under the detention of the Afrikaner government over the course of roughly four decades.[*] Consequently, the much-maligned Western stronghold established in South Africa under Boer—and before that British—rule is rapidly reverting to type. Gone is the European strongman who suppressed the seething African kraal. What has arisen instead is best captured by Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz: “The horror, the horror.” Dubbed the “Rainbow Nation,” for its multiculturalism, South Africa is now, more than before, a “Rambo Nation.”
Americans, who take for granted their domestic tranquility, can’t afford to finesse the fate of the dying Christian civilization at the tip of Africa. Into The Cannibal’s Pot compels them to stare into “The Heart of Darkness” that is the New South Africa, and by so doing, offers a cautionary tale: in their unqualified paeans to the will of the majority everywhere, Americans must understand that traditionally Western legal institutions, however flawed, are preferable to institutions riven by tribal feuds, fetishes, and factional loyalties.
[*] See Chapter 1, Crime, the Beloved Country
Universal suffrage is not to be conflated with freedom.
As the democratic South Africa (and Iraq) amply demonstrates, political rights don’t secure the natural rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness; ink-stained fingers don’t inoculate against blood stains. Extant societal structures that safeguard life and property can always be improved upon. But once these bulwarks against mob rule and mayhem disintegrate, they are seldom restored. A civilized society, ultimately, is one in which the individual can go about the business of life unmolested. If he can’t do that simple thing, of what value is the vote?
Post-apartheid South Africa serves as a reminder that such societies, however imperfect, are fragile. They can, and will, crumble in culturally inhospitable climes; the new South Africa reminds us that, for better or for worse, societies are built slowly from the soil up, not from the sky down. And by people, not by political decree. Sadly, the facts as this writer tells them indicate that, while the Old South Africa could only have improved; the New South Africa can but decline.
So why is this book so very crucial at this juncture? Simply this: Although grisly horror stories have percolated into the popular press, the emetic facts about the New South Africa have never before been told. They must be! Into the Cannibal’s Pot fills this knowledge gap. This book, moreover, is crucial in curbing the naïve enthusiasm among American elites, and those they’ve gulled, for radical, imposed, top-down transformations of relatively stable, if imperfect, societies, including their own. As the example of South Africa demonstrates, a highly developed Western society can be dismantled with relative ease. In South Africa, this deconstruction has come about in the wake of an almost overnight shift in the majority/minority power structure.
In the U.S., a slower, more incremental transformation is under way. It began with a state-orchestrated, historically unparalleled, mass importation of inassimilable ethnic groups into a country whose creed is that it has no creed any longer. American institutions no longer assimilate immigrants.
Rather, they acculturate them to militant identity politics aimed at doing away with merit. Dissolving the American people and electing another, to paraphrase Bertolt Brecht, will likely erode American institutions further, and may well replicate on American soil the terrifying conflicts that mar the Third World. Ever the source of deafening demagoguery about the virtues of democracy, American leaders might wish to consider that, “Severely divided societies are short on community,” and “community is a prerequisite for majority rule.”1
Still, American leaders refused to rest until South Africa became a democracy. And before that Zimbabwe. And after that Iraq. (They were not alone. I trace that chain of culpability in Chapter Seven, “The Anglo-American-Australian Axis of Evil.”) The consequences in each case have been catastrophic. While all people want safety and sustenance for themselves, not everyone is prepared to allow those whom they dislike to peacefully pursue the same. This maxim applies both to Mesopotamia and to Azania (the term once used for South Africa by the governing African National Congress). The time is historically ripe to challenge some of the central tenets of liberal democratic ideology through the prism of another democratic disaster: post-Apartheid South Africa.
If the sanctity of life is the highest value in a civilized society, then the New South Africa has little to recommend it. Societies are only as good as the individuals of whom they are comprised; individuals only as good as their actions. Democratic South Africa is now preponderantly overrun by elements, both within and without government, which make a safe and thriving civil society impossible to sustain. The salient feature of mass politics in the New South Africa is a government unable to control itself and unwilling to control a sinecured criminal class. As a consequence, sundered is the individual’s right to live unmolested.
Our unhappy trek through the wreck of the New South Africa begins with the facts, nothing but the facts. The realities of crime-riddled democratic South Africa are relayed in Chapter One: “Crime, the Beloved Country.” The title parodies Alan Paton’s poignant tale titled Cry, the Beloved Country. The story of the life of Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo was to apartheid South Africa what Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was to antebellum America.
1 Donald L. Horowitz, A Democratic South Africa?: Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society (Berkeley: California,1991), p. 99.
Victims of crime in South Africa garner some sympathy, but it is sympathy on a sliding scale. Thus, worldwide, the press extended liberal pieties to liberal Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer. She had survived an attack in her Johannesburg home. The Prince of Wales bewailed the murder of another prominent liberal, Anglo-Zulu War historian David Rattray. He was killed by six armed Zulus. When the nephew of South Africa’s finest novelist (no; it’s not J. M. Coetzee), the liberal André Brink, was shot and killed in front of his wife and daughter, The Economist took note:
‘First he thought it was a mouse, then a rat—and then the rat shot him in the face.’ That is how André Brink, one of South Africa’s most famous novelists, described the recent killing of his nephew Adri, at home at 3am in the morning.2
Former First Lady Marike de Klerk, brutally stabbed in her Cape Town apartment, received a fair amount of international attention too. Not so the Afrikaner farmers who are being culled like springbok in a hunting safari. This brings us to the mini-genocide underway in the democratic South Africa, chronicled in Chapter Two, “The Kulaks of South Africa Vs. The Xhosa Nostra.”
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is largely composed of the Xhosa Bantu tribe. The Xhosa are also well-represented among the Africans armed with automatic weapons, who roam the countryside killing Afrikaner farmers. These rural folk—who, by law, must battle their ubiquitous assailants with only a shotgun, a handgun and a legally limited number of rounds at their disposal3—are convinced that the assaults are state-sanctioned, the ANC’s idea of an early eviction notice; “land reform,” if you will. The evidence suggests that they may have a point, hence the title pitting the “Kulaks” against the “Xhosa Nostra.”
But before we recount how upward of 3,000 members of this once 40,000-strong community—almost ten percent—have hitherto been exterminated, we explain who the Boers are and provide a brief, action-packed, history of Boer, Briton and Bantu. Americans will want to hear this! Decades of emasculation—legal and cultural—have created a hunger among American men, especially, for heroic, historic narrative. The story of the South African settlers, circa 1652, is every bit as epic as that of the American settlers. Despite their comparable foibles and frailties, the last haven’t been blackened by historians as much as the first.
It is commonly argued, in defiance of emerging facts to the contrary,4 that crime is an equal opportunity offender in South Africa: whites, blacks and browns are all in it together. What is incontrovertible, however, is that, where economic opportunities are concerned, the minority that dare not speak its name is on the wane. White males, strictly speaking, are not supposed to comprise more than ten percent of the payroll in a South African company. As during apartheid, a class of people is being dispossessed because of their pallor.
Chapter Three, “Dispossession is Nine-Tenths of the Law,”explores this legal attack on property known as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). BEE is yet another unique feature of the South African democracy, whereby racist labor laws have made for what Robert Guest, Africa editor of The Economist, has charitably termed “The world’s most extreme affirmative action program.”5 The upshot of such a coercive transfer of private wealth from those who create it to those who consume it is that societal institutions—state and civil—are being hollowed out like husks. South Africa’s gutted institutions serve as a harbinger of things to come in the U.S., where affirmative action is still dismissed as a “minor irritant,”6 but ought not to be.
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2. “Between staying and going,” The Economist, September 25, 2008.
3. Ilana Mercer, “Self-defense: A universal right,” WorldNetDaily.com, June 25, 2004,
http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39139 (accessed October 20, 2009).
4. Carvin Goldstone, “Who do criminals target in SA?”, IOL, August 4, 2007.
5. Robert Guest, “The World’s Most Extreme Affirmative Action Program,” Opinion Journal, December 26, 2004.
South Africa is a microcosm of what America could become, unless it returns to the principles that made it great. If American institutions continue to subordinate their raison d’être to politically dictated egalitarianism, reclaiming them from the deforming clutches of affirmative action will become harder and harder. Sadly, it is probably already too late for South Africa, where the majority opposes a meritocracy. Americans, however, must once again embrace merit and individualism. Be it in the U.S. or in South Africa, preferential treatment, enforced by legal fiat and rooted in the characteristics of a group (race) rather than the value of the individual, flouts justice in every respect.
The West has grown accustomed to Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s refined former president. Having spent most of his adult life abroad in exile, Mbeki has the mannerisms of an English gent, not a man of the people. But the baton has been passed from the pukka proper Mbeki to the populist polygamist Jacob Zuma, whose favorite jingle is called “Bring Me My Machine Gun.” (It only has two lines; the second beseeches, rather politely, “Please bring me my machine gun.”7) In a country in which crimes are seldom prosecuted, the newly-installed President Zuma has the dubious distinction of having stood trial on 783 charges of corruption, racketeering, tax evasion, and rape.8
Against Mbeki’s reserved style, there is Zuma’s unbuttoned conduct, dancing half naked in tribal dress. In one of his Noble-Savage moments, after forcing sex on an HIV-positive acquaintance, Zuma promised, disarmingly, that he took a shower as a prophylactic against AIDS. It has been suggested that Zuma has done for South Africa’s international image what Borat Sagdiyev has done for Kazakhstan.9 With one distinction: Borat is a fictitious character, the product of Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedic genius; Zuma is “for real.”
Since Zuma’s ascension, wealth transfer in South Africa is expected to accelerate considerably and to resemble ever more closely the unabashed confiscation and dispossession brought about by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. “Mandela, Mbeki, And Mugabe Sitting In A Baobab Tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G,” or Chapter Four, analyzes the significance of the unqualified support Zuma’s predecessors, Mandela and Mbeki, have lent the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe over the decades. “If you want to see the future of South Africa, it might not be a bad idea to look at the present in Zimbabwe.”10
The Old South Africa had been governed by Puritans. But as Christianity receded in influence after the 1994 transition, the void left has been filled by Islam. The unintended consequences of bringing the Old South Africa to its political knees, to the detriment of American interests, are covered in Chapter Six, “Why Do WASP Societies Wither?”
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7. Peter Hitchens, “He has four wives and he faced 783 counts of corruption,” Daily Mail, March 31, 2009.
8. “Zuma: South Africa’s comeback kid,” BBC News, December 28, 2007.
9. “Wounded Nation,” The Herald [Glasgow], February 9, 2008.
10. Andrew Kenny, “The Future Looks Black,” The Spectator, April 9, 2005.
America, a humane society, ought to take pity on the persecuted descendants of another Protestant patriarchy. However,even if American immigration policy welcomed white South Africans, which it doesn’t, Afrikaners would find it hard to leave. The Boers (and British) built the place. Like Heidi away from the Alps, Afrikaners tend to wilt when separated from their homeland. Not for nothing have the Afrikaners been dubbed “The White Tribe of Africa.”11 They are as African as black South Africans. What is to be done, then, in light of the fact that Afrikaner farmers, in particular, are being killed off at alarmingly high rates? While it remains for the secessionists to “give territorial content”12 to their aspirations, secession is one of the escape routes suggested in the conclusion, “Saving South Africans S.O.S.”
Into the Cannibal’s Pot is topped and tailed with hard evidence that allows conclusions vis-à-vis the aggregate characteristics of South African society. Although not necessarily politically correct, such conclusions are perfectly proper. With this in mind, a word about the titular tease. Cannibalism, attests Leonard Thompson, author of The Oxford History of South Africa, was widespread during the upheaval associated with rise of the Zulu Kingdom in the 1820s.13 These days, in northeastern Congo, two prominent militias, the Lendu and the Hema, delight in demonstrating to UN observers their culinary creativity with human hearts and livers.14 While cannibalism—motivated by aggression, ancestral reverence, or survival—has seldom been an athema in Africa, Into the Cannibal’s Pot is meant as a metaphor, and is inspired by Ayn Rand’s wise counsel against prostrating civilization to savagery:
In America, religion is relatively nonmystical. Religious teachers here are predominantly good, healthy materialists. They follow common sense. … The majority of religious people in this country do not accept on faith the idea of jumping into a cannibal’s pot and giving away their last shirt to the backward people of the world. Many religious leaders preach this today, because of their own leftist politics; it’s not inherent in being religious.15 [Emphasis added]
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11. David Harrison, The White Tribe of Africa (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1981).
12. Hermann Giliomee, “Liberal and Populist Democracy in South Africa: Challenges, New Threats to Liberalism,” p. 18, Presidential Address, Delivered in Johannesburg on February 15, 1996. p. 30.
13. W. A. de Klerk, The Puritans in Africa (London, 1975), p. 35.
14. Tim Taylor, “Unpalatable but true: cannibalism was routine,” Daily Telegraph [London], October 20, 2003.
15. Robert Mayhew (ed.), Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A (New York, 2005).
Daniel Etounga-Manguelle, a Cameroonian thinker, and a former adviser to the World Bank, contends that “What Africans are doing to one another defies credulity. Genocide, bloody civil wars, and rampant violent crime suggest African societies at all social levels are to some extent cannibalistic.”16 Why? In part, because of the inveterate values held by so many Africans. These, and other causes—and excuses—are examined in Chapter Five, “The Root-Causes Racket.”
Based on the evidence presented in this book, both Ms. Rand and Mr. Etounga-Manguella would have agreed that South Africans had been tossed into the metaphorical cannibal’s pot. Washington and Westminster insisted that the country pass into the hands of a voracious majority. Unwise South African leaders acquiesced. Federalism was discounted. Minority rights for the Afrikaner, Anglo and Zulu were dismissed. Ironically, America’s founding fathers had attempted to forestall raw democracy by devising a republic. Yet under the wing of the American eagle a dispensation was negotiated in this writer’s former homeland, the consequence of which is the raw, ripe rule of the mob and its dominant, anointed party.
Since Into the Cannibal’s Pot stands for peaceful, progressive, and sustainable change, it will resonate with those who saw the folly of imposing majority rule on Iraq. Democratizing Mesopotamia has resulted in horrifying material destruction and lasting moral damage. Democratizing Azania has, similarly, made it abundantly clear that the franchise is not to be equated with freedom and that political rights do not safeguards natural rights. The cause and the consequence of the almost over-night, top-down transformation of South Africa is a society where might makes right.
In the interstices of this polemic, the reader will find my story and the story of those I love and had to leave behind. Above all, this tome is a labor of love to my homelands, old and new.
16 Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington, Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress (New York, 2000), p. 74.
Dedication … ii
Publisher’s Note … iii
Abbreviations Used … iv
Preface … v
Introduction: Rambo Nation … vii
1. Crime, the Beloved Country … 1
“Jackrolling” … 2
Adapt and Die … 3
“Apartheid Nostalgia” … 4
Crime Desegregated … 5
Suffer the Little Children … 6
Your Home: the ANC’s Castle … 7
Who’s Killing Whom … 8
Sexual Subjugation … 9
Only Filling Their Crime Quota … 10
White Hot Hatred … 11
An Existential Crisis … 12
2. The Kulaks of South Africa vs. the Xhosa Nostra … 13
The Lord Saved Her … 14
“Kill the Fucking Whites” On Facebook … 15
The White Tribe of Africa … 16
“I am an Afrikaner!” … 17
“Methods of Barbarism” … 18
Going For Gold … 19
From Muldergate to Mandela … 20
Apartheid in Black and White … 21
A Strategy for Survival … 22
Up Close and Personal … 23
Land, Language and Landmarks Lost … 24
Eminent Domain or Domination? … 25
The Law of the Land ‘Indigenized’ … 26
Killing God’s Creatures … 27
Tot Siens (Farewell) To The Taal (The Language) … 28
Intra-Racial Reparations? … 29
Recompense or Reconquista? … 30
3. Dispossession Is Nine-Tenths of the Law … 31
Black Diamonds … 32
Cops Call Robbers … To Chat … 33
Reverse Apartheid … 34
Affirmative Action À La America … 35
What Would Martin Luther King Jr. Say? … 36
Thou Shalt Not Discern … 37
The UCLA Race Racket … 38
To Hell with Honky … 39
Civil Wrongs … 40
Toward a Merit-Based Society … 41
4. Mandela, Mbeki, and Mugabe Sitting In A Baobab Tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G … 42
One Man, One Vote, One Time … 43
The Che Guevara of Africa … 44
Rebranding Socialism … 45
Saluting the Alpha Male … 46
5. The Root-Causes Racket … 47
The Colonialism Canard … 48
Africa BC/AC (Before and After Colonialism) … 49
From Bauer to Belich … 50
Slavery: The White Man’s Cross … 51
Aiding and Abetting Underdevelopment … 52
Culture Counts … 53
Voodoo for Values … 54
How the Settlers Saved South Africa … 55
Desperately Seeking Bollywood’s Brangelina … 56
Free Will and the Will of the Free … 57
6. Why Do WASP Societies Wither? … 58
A Fighting Faith … 59
Cross and Crescent Collide on the Dark Continent … 60
The Hebraic Bond … 61
A House at Peace with Islam … 62
PAGAD: A Populist Reign of Terror … 63
COSATU: Carrying the Torch for “Durban I” … 64
The “Running of the Jew” at Durban I & II … 65
The Pathos and Paradox of the Puritan … 66
Reconciling Pietism with Power … 67
Protestant Death Wish vs. Jewish Defiance … 68
Africa Cries Out for Christianity … 69
7. The Anglo-American-Australian Axis of Evil … 70
Betrayed … 71
Sidelined … 72
Less-Than-Sexy Statistics … 73
Racial Voting Coming to a Polling Station Near You … 74
“Democracy: The God That Failed” … 75
Property Rights vs. Political Rights … 76
Democracy and Prosperity … 77
The Franchise: A Foolish Fetish on a Good Day … 78
Acorn with Machetes … 79
The Notional Afro-Saxon Nation … 80
8. Conclusion: Saving South Africans S.O.S. … 81
From Fellini-Style Consumption to Puritan-Worthy Production … 82
Emigration … 83
Secession … 84
The Most Precious Thing on Earth … 85
Ilana Mercer has been lauded by iconic author and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz as “dangerous … intelligent, informed, independent, courageous.” Historian, and New York Times bestseller-list author, Thomas Woods has called her “one of the few writers on earth whose talents I truly envy, adding that, in his opinion, “She should be a household name.” Joseph Farah (CEO of WND.com) has described her as “standing out like a beacon in a vast sea of punditry. She’s always hard to pigeonhole. She’s always witty and incisive.” Paul Gottfried (historian and author of such books as Conservatism in America) wrote: “Ilana takes on indelicate cultural, social, and political issues and challenges her opponents to rethink their positions.” The outspoken libertarian broadcaster Ron Smith of Maryland’s WBAL Radio has called her “a refreshingly original writer on the issues of our time.”
As the only writer to have defended NFL quarterback Michael Vick on the basis of libertarian (propertarian) principles—or so said Fox News TV commentator Sean Hannity—she was invited, in 2007, to debate the matter with Mr. Hannity, after which he commented:
Having read your columns throughout the years, I think I know you a little bit—I know you come from a very intellectual point of view, an intellectually honest point of view—you have given the most articulate argument I’ve heard on the other side of this [animal rights issue], one that is consistent with many of the views you have.
Ms. Mercer was born in South Africa—her father, Rabbi Abraham Benzion Isaacson, was a leading anti-apartheid activist eventually forced to leave the country—and spent her formative years in Israel. In the 1980s she returned to South Africa, where she married, had a daughter, and after completing her degrees, including a double major in psychology and Hebrew, worked as an AIDS counselor. In 1995, she and her family immigrated to British Columbia, Canada, before moving with her husband to America’s Pacific Northwest, which she calls home. Ms. Mercer left South Africa with the proceeds from the sale of her apartment stashed in the soles of her shoes. Had she been apprehended smuggling her property out of that country, she’d have been jailed together with her husband; they both stood taller on that trip. Ms. Mercer, who happens to know what living without freedom is like, has seen first hand the same oppression sneak-up on unsuspecting Americans. (For instance, the South-African model of detention-without-trial is slowly becoming a fixture of the American legal landscape.)
Her book Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash with a Corrupt Culture (2003) was hailed by the late Aaron Russo (former libertarian presidential candidate) as the work of “a true warrior—a modern-day Joan of Arc—in the fight for freedom.” A Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, and the Jeffersonian think-tank Free New York, Inc., she has appeared as a guest on scores of broadcast talk programs: including those of Sirius Satellite Radio’s Mike Church; of the late, legendary talk-show host George Putnam; and of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In addition to appearing on RT, the global Russian television news network, she was among the participants in the 2003 Public Network television series America At War, debating the media’s dereliction of duty during the invasion of Iraq.
Ms. Mercer is—and has been for the last decade—a featured columnist for WND.com (which, according to Web monitoring site Quantcast, had one million daily visitors as of September 2009). Other publications where her articles, essays, columns, editorials, book and film reviews have appeared are The American Spectator, The American Conservative, The Orange County Register, Insight On the News (an affiliate of The Washington Times), London’s Jewish Chronicle and Quarterly Review, The Ottawa Citizen, The Calgary Herald (for which she penned a regular weekly column),the two Canadian national newspapers, the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail, The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Free Life: a Journal of Classical Liberal and Libertarian Thought, and the Foundation for Economic Education’s Ideas on Liberty.
Ms. Mercer’s work has been cited by The New York Times, the Boston Globe, and Time’s European edition, among other prominent publications. She maintains a popular blog, where she comments on the issues of the day. In her role as proprietor of the libertarian Barely A Blog (BAB), she has attracted such contributors as Tibor Machan (Cato Institute adjunct scholar), George Reisman (emeritus economics professor at California’s Pepperdine University), and the aforementioned Thomas Szasz.
ILANA Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer and theorist based in the US. Her acclaimed, weekly column, begun in Canada, has been going strong since 1999. (Articles Archive.) Ilana is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June 29, 2016), the first libertarian book of Trump, and of the seminal Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011).
Ilana’s weekly column appears in The Unz Review, WND.COM, for which she has penned WND’s exclusive “Return to Reason” feature (now called “The Paleolibertarian”) since 2001, Townhall.com, American Greatness, Britain’s Ludwig von Mises Centre For Property and Freedom, London’s Quarterly Review, founded in 1809, and CNSNews.com.
She has also contributed to the Mises Institute’s Wire, as well as to its Power & Market Blog; to the Ron Paul Institute, the Abbeville Institute, The American Thinker, The Daily Caller, The Liberty Conservative, The Heartland Institute, The Hudson Institute, to Intellectual Takeout and to Chronicles, a magazine of American culture.
Under the handle “The Paleolibertarian Column” or “Paläolibertären Kolumne,” in the German, Ilana’s weekly column was featured respectively on Russia Today and in Junge Freiheit, a German weekly of excellence, for some years. Likewise did the column run on Taki’s Magazine. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Ilana is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (an award-winning, independent, non-profit, free-market economic policy think tank).
Since the late 1990s, Ilana has written for The Financial Post, The Globe and Mail (Canada’s National Newspapers), The Vancouver Sun, The Report Newsmagazine, London’s Jewish Chronicle and Quarterly Review, The American Spectator, The American Conservative, The New Individualist and the Foundation for Economic Education. Her work has appeared in The Ottawa Citizen, The Orange County Register, The Colorado Gazette, and in other Freedom Communications, Inc. newspapers across the United States, including The Valley Morning Star, The East Valley Tribune, Jacksonville Daily News, Washington County News, Holmes County Register.
Ilana’s work has also been published in The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Free Life: a Journal of Classical Liberal and Libertarian Thought, the Foundation for Economic Education’s Ideas on Liberty and in Insight On the News (a former affiliate of The Washington Times), for which she has penned essays in symposia debating intellectual property.
Ilana has written weekly columns for the conservative Calgary Herald, Vancouver’s North Shore News. As was she an analyst and commentator for Free-Market News Network, founded by the late Harry Browne, one-time libertarian presidential candidate.
Ilana’s commentary has been mentioned in the European edition of Time (see “Trading Places” by Peter Gumbel, appeared in the print edition of March 28, 2005), cited in the Boston Globe (“The Downside of Diversity” by Michael Jonas, August 5, 2007); the New York Times’ Economix blog (“Are Federal Workers Overpaid?” by Prof. Nancy Folbre, October 13, 2009), and featured on web sites such as the Ludwig von Mises Institute, LewRockwell.com, The Hudson Institute, The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Laissez Faire City Times, Rational Review, Antiwar.com, Frontpage Magazine, and Jewcy.com, an acclaimed “online ideas-and-culture magazine.”
Ilana, who supported Ron Paul for president in 2008 and 2012, was asked by the Paul campaign for a written endorsement. Here it is:
“Ron Paul stands alone among the presidential contenders for a solvent, sovereign America—he has the will to stop the squandering of men and matériel in Iraq and the intellectual wherewithal to salvage an ailing currency, fortify forsaken borders, and restore individual liberties.”
John Derbyshire, formerly of National Review Online, called Ilana’s case for the Texas Republican “Pauline Gospel at its best”:
“The most persuasive Paul booster remains the ravishing, brilliant, and eloquent Ilana Mercer. I don’t say you’ll agree with her, only that this is the Pauline Gospel at its best. If you won’t buy it from Ilana, you won’t buy it from anyone.”
Ilana is the founder, editor, and creative force behind IlanaMercer.com. This aesthetically pleasing thematic website, on which ilana’s essays are archived conveniently, reflects her vision, transformed into pixels. She is also the proprietor of the weblog Barely a Blog (BAB), to which prominent thinkers such as Tibor Machan (RIP), George Reisman, and the late Thomas Szasz have contributed. (Mercer contributed a dust-jacket blurb to Professor Szasz’s book, Coercion As Cure.)
Ilana has been a guest recently (May 1, 2021) on Michelle Malkin’s “Sovereign Nation,” on Newsmax TV (“it’s systemic anti-whiteness”), ABC Radio (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), and on radio stations across America. These include “Talk Back,” the nationally syndicated show of the late, legendary George Putnam, The Mike Church Show (aka the “King Dude”) on the Sirius Patriot Channel, and Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show, on which she appeared, regrettably, to defend NFL quarterback Michael Vick (honest thinkers admit to mistakes). About Ilana’s work, Mr. Hannity said this:
Having read your columns throughout the years, I think I know you a little bit—I know you come from a very intellectual point of view, an intellectually honest point of view—you have given the most articulate argument I’ve heard [‘In Defense of Michael Vick’‘] on the other side of this, one that is consistent with many of the views you have. (August 17, 2007)
As has Ilana appeared on Russia Today (RT), most recently to mine the legacy of Mandela, and on the Public Network’s television series, “America at War” (#434), where, in 2003, she debated the media’s dereliction of duty during the invasion of Iraq. Her analysis of Martha Stewart’s legal travails, “Convicted for Fearing Conviction,” was voted among the best Mises.org articles of 2004. In the same year, she received the “Ron Paul Liberty in Media Awards (LIMA)” for the essay “Wartime Socialism.”
Ilana was born in South Africa, which her father, Rabbi Ben Isaacson, decided to leave pursuant to harassment by the South African security police on account of his anti-apartheid preaching and activism. (Ilana herself, on return, decades later, fought petty apartheid tirelessly.) The family departed in the 1960s for Israel, where Ilana spent her formative years. She returned to South-Africa in the 1980s, married and had a daughter. The family emigrated to Canada in 1995, and then went on to settle in the US.
Described as an engaging, iconoclastic polemicist by National Post editorial writer Lorne Gunter, Ilana typically marshals powerful analytical argumentation in support of her case. “All I can tell you is that you can’t win an argument with this woman. I’ve tried and failed,” said Victor Niederhoffer, Ph.D., in May of 2012. Dr. Niederhoffer is a noted stock-market investor, a former business partner to George Soros, and founder of the New York City Junto liberty forum.
In a review titled “The Passion of Principles,” the Objectivist magazine The Free Radical called Ilana’s first book, Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash With a Corrupt Culture, “a perfect mix of reason and rhetoric.” (Here are part 2 & part 3 of the review.) The late great Ron Smith of WBAL Radio, Maryland, had described her as “a refreshingly original writer on the issues of our time.” Others have praised Ilana as a particularly strong stylist, with “no less powerful an intellectual punch as Ayn Rand, only wickedly funny.” (Citations are here and here).
Ilana’s latest book is The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June 29, 2016). It was the first serious analysis of the Trump phenom, and certainly the first libertarian book of Trump. Released in June of 2011, her second book is Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from post-Apartheid South Africa. Into the Cannibal’s Pot is a polemical work anchored in history, reality, fact, and the political philosophy of classical liberalism. It is a manifesto against mass society, arguing against raw, ripe democracy, here (in the US), there (in South Africa), and everywhere. “Into the Cannibal’s Pot” follows Russell Kirk’s contention that “true freedom can be found only within the framework of a social order.” It is intended as a reminder that, however imperfect, civilized societies are fragile. They can, and will, crumble in culturally inhospitable climes. The tyranny of political correctness, so unique to the West—plays a role in their near-collapse. Advanced societies don’t just die; they either wither from within, or, like South Africa, are finished off by other western societies.
All is not grim. Ilana does pause to turn the arrows in her epistolary quiver away from the state—the Thing the inimical Sir Humphrey Applebee of the British satire “Yes, Prime Minister” called a disorganized criminal organization. She covers popular culture, mainstream media, Hollywood, and pseudo-science. From sex to music, it’s all here, minus the unpalatable pabulum served by the mummified media.
When she is not expatiating upon the issues of the day, Ilana enjoys running outdoors. She has been a long-distance, recreational runner since the mid 1990s. Parrots are another passion—in particular, the plight of psittacines in captivity and in the wild. Ilana supports parrot rescues in the community. So too is the cause of the near-extinct Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) close to her heart. Ilana is owned by an adorable hookbill called Oscar-Wood (Poicephalus fuscicollis).
Then there is Music. Chamber music and Bach—any Bach—are her first loves, but she finds the hard core, intricate and masterful brilliance of progressive rock outfits like Symphony X, Dream Theater, Magnitude Nine, and Kamelot (sic) as alluring, to say nothing of neoclassical wizards such as Sean Mercer and Tony MacAlpine.
For a fun quiz conducted with Ilana read “The Third Degree à la Germany: Answering To Junge Freiheit” (November 11, 2016).
ILANA ON THE ISSUES
(Click to expand – click again to close)
The Therapeutic Society
The Deep State
To the publisher of this volume to whom added appreciation is due.
To Thomas Szasz, Thomas DiLorenzo and Erik Rush—firm friends all.
To my proof-reader and copy-editor R. J.Stove: The manuscript was polished for publication by the epistolary Wizard of Oz.
To James Ostrowski and Nebojsa Malic for useful comments.
To researcher Rhona Karbusicky, who provided unstinting assistance.
To a nineteen-year-old homeschooled, consummate professional named Aaron Sleadd.
To my dear daughter, who helped me through a punishing publication process.
To my sweet mother, Ann-Wendy Cumes, and my beloved father, Rabbi Abraham Benzion Isaacson, for their backing.
And to my husband, Sean Russell Mercer, who kept me going.
~ Ilana Mercer
All Rights Reserved
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
The moral right of the author is asserted
Visit Ilana online: www.ilanamercer.com
Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication data
Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa/by Ilana Mercer, 1st ed.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. United States – Diplomatic history - Foreign and general relations.
2. Social Sciences – Social pathology - criminology.
3. Law – Natural law – property.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2011930725
Cover Design by Guy Corp,
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It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority…from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.
If a young South African were to ask me whether to stay or leave, my advice would be to go.
The Williams family is emigrating—leaving South Africa for good. The family will be departing for the UK without their twelve-year-old daughter. Emily Williams was killed at seven in the morning on her way to school, a victim of an armed robbery underway at the home of a classmate who was being fetched by Emily and her mother. Many of the family’s friends are following Roger Williams’ lead. An executive director and chief financial officer at AECI, a South African chemicals group, Mr. Williams believes “everybody should have the right to go about their business and go to school without worrying that you’re going to become a victim of crime.”1
René Burger is the little sister of Schalk Burger, a young rising star in South African rugby. Twenty-year-old René, a medical student, was headed for classes at the Tygerberg hospital in Cape Town when she was abducted from the well-patrolled hospital grounds by three men. They drove her to a remote location and gang-raped her at knife-point.
Young Noah Cohen emerged from soccer practice in time to watch his father die. Sheldon Cohen had been sitting in his car outside a Johannesburg sports stadium waiting for Noah when he was shot by “three young men.”2
An elderly Jew is murdered on his way to synagogue in Johannesburg on Saturday morning, shot for refusing to hand over the “valuables” in his tallit bag, the pouch in which an observant Jew carries his prayer shawl.3
A family friend writes: “Crime is out of control down here—you hear of truly horrific stuff all the time. Johannesburg is particularly bad. I recently sold my house and moved into a security village where all the houses are accessible only through one entrance. There are guards who phone you if someone you know wants to get in to see you. Insane!”
This is a snapshot of life in suburban South Africa circa 2008, fourteen years since freedom. Ordinarily, case studies do not a rule make, but you’d be hard pressed to find a family in democratic South Africa whose members have not been brutalized. The travails of this writer’s extended family are fairly typical. They tell of the lives of good people ruined by rubbish: A sister’s partner suffering permanent neurological damage after being brutally assaulted by five Africans; a brother burglarized and beaten in his suburban fortress at two in the morning by an African gang (his wife and infant son were miraculously spared); a father whose neighbor was shot point-blank in front of his little girls as he exited his car to open the garage gates; a spouse, two of whose colleagues were murdered (one shot by African taxi drivers in broad daylight, left to bleed to death on the pavement near his girlfriend’s place), and whose cousin and uncle were hijacked, aunt raped and beaten within an inch of her life. Sean Mercer, Ph.D., found out recently that a fondly remembered professor at his alma mater had been beaten to death with an umbrella by an angry African student.4 A Cambridge graduate, Brian D. Hahn was a prodigious applied mathematician at the University of Cape Town.5 He is no longer, but his webpage is still online. Hahn, it states, was born in November 1946 in Cape Town, born again in August of 1966, and died in February of 2005. His colleagues tell of a humble man who practiced his profession and faith faithfully. Rest in Peace.
“The circle narrows,” mourns Afrikaner poet and former anti-apartheid activist, Breyten Breytenbach in an essay for Harper’s Magazine:
The grandmother of a close friend—she’s as old as [Mandela]—pleads with her robbers not to be sexually violated, she even claims to be infected with a communicable disease; the nephew of a fellow writer is shot in the face, killed in his own house by a night intruder whom he mistook for a rat; the son of my eldest brother is stabbed in a parking lot outside a restaurant, the blade pierces a lung, the police never turn up, he is saved because his companion calls her boyfriend all the way in Australia by cell phone and he could summon a nurse he happens to know in Johannesburg. (The woman is on a first visit to the country; she leaves the next day and swears never to return.)6
This writer and her immediate family, presciently, left South Africa in 1995, shortly after the white minority ceded power to a black majority. A year prior, we had voted in South Africa’s first democratic election. In 1990, I’d been on the Grand Parade in Cape Town, among a crowd of thousands, to witness Nelson Mandela’s release after twenty-seven years in prison (it was a riot, literally). In previous decades my father, Rabbi Ben Isaacson, had been a well-known anti-apartheid activist. With him I attended the inauguration of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and met and took afternoon tea with the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Nevertheless, the writing was on the wall.
When we departed, South Africa was still a country with a space program (on which my husband Sean Mercer worked), gleaming skyscrapers, and department stores that rivaled Macy’s. The Central Business District in Johannesburg bustled. Crime was controlled, or at least confined. When mobs stoned cars en route to the D. F. Malan Airport in Cape Town (geographical names across the country have since been changed to expunge Afrikaner history), a tough and competent police force sprung into action. An equally impressive Western system of Roman-Dutch law, and a relatively independent judiciary, dished out just deserts in response to the ubiquitous “muti-murders” (African ritual killing, including human sacrifice in Venda7), and to“necklacing” (the more contemporary African custom of placing a diesel-doused tire around a putative offender’s neck and igniting it). Or to the rape of babies. To borrow from Gen. Sir Charles Napier: Before 1994, when African men raped infants because they considered the “practice” a traditional salve for AIDS, South African policemen followed through with their custom: they tied a rope around the rapist’s neck and hung him. “Afrikaner rule,” the noted liberal historian Hermann Giliomee has observed, “was characterized by an obsession with imposing restrictions through proper legislation and with due process in executing these laws … The government did not attempt to cover up deaths in detention, despite a torrent of unfavorable publicity. Although political opponents were at the mercy of their interrogators in prison, both the policeman and the prisoner knew that neither was outside the law.”8
It goes without saying that a condemnation of the New South Africa is not an affirmation of the Old. More crucially, realism is not racism. The undeniable reality is that, a decade since this abrupt transfer of power, the rule of the demos has turned a once-prosperous, if politically problematic, place into a lawless ramshackle. The BBC World’s John Simpson recently—and reluctantly—disclosed that South Africa jostles with Iraq and Colombia9 for the title of most violent country in the world. So violent is the “free” South Africa that, for a period, the freewheeling ANC government imposed an official blackout on national crime statistics. It now releases them once yearly.
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[*] The History of Freedom In Antiquity, 1877.
[†] The Afrikaner poet who was incarcerated for anti-apartheid activism.
1. Sheree Bega, “We just don’t feel safe anymore,” The Star, May 10, 2008.
2. Amir Mizroch, “Cries from the Beloved Country, Part II,” Forecast Highs, February 8, 2008.
3. Moira Schneider, “SA Jews worried,” SomethingJewish, March 19, 2008,
http://www.somethingjewish.co.uk/articles/2680_sa_jews_worried.htm (accessed June 2008).
4. ”UCT prof dies of injuries,” News24.com, February 5, 2005,
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1658014,00.html (accessed June 2008).
5. Brian D. Hahn, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics & Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town,
http://www.mth.uct.ac.za/~hahn/ (accessed June 2008).
6. Breyten Breytenbach, “Mandela’s Smile: Notes on South Africa’s failed revolution,” Harper’s Magazine, December 2008.
7. Rob McCafferty, “Murder in South Africa: a comparison of past and present, first edition,” United Christian Action, June 2003.
8. Hermann Giliomee, The Afrikaners: Biography of a People (Charlottesville, Virginia, 2003), pp. 623-624.
9. NationMaster, Murders per capita per country,
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita (accessed June 2008).
The surfeit of crime statistics, say those who chronicle crime, can be misleading because “crime definitions vary from one country to the next.” This is an argument that the African National Congress’ grotesquely mistitled Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula often seizes upon, to conceal the blood-soaked facts of violent crime in his country. Following its chief’s example, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has developed an agile facility with misleading statistical comparisons. To diminish crime under its jurisdiction, the SAPS is fond of drawing skewed comparisons between low-crime spots in South Africa and high-crime spots in otherwise low-crime countries.
Juxtaposing the incidence of murder in low-crime Pretoria and high-crime Washington, D.C (29.1 per 100,000 inhabitants10) is an example of the practice. The same sources like to point to the incidence of rape in Canada: evidently one of the highest per capita in the world, having surpassed both the U.S. and Zimbabwe.11 But the only way First World Canada—with its 1.77 murders per 100,000 population12—can lay claim to this dubious distinction is by legally redefining rape. The cause of this is the baleful influence of feminist Catharine Mackinnon on American and Canadian jurisprudence. The consequence of it is that a woman can seek and find in the law a legal remedy to the regret or rage experienced following an impromptu romp between the sheets.
The redefining of rape in American and Canadian law is the product of the collaboration between advocacy groups and feminist stakeholders, and has been exposed by John Fekete in Moral Panic: Biopolitics Rising. Undergirding this sub-science are statistically promiscuous surveys such as Statistics Canada’s 1993 “Violence Against Women” survey, and its American equivalent. As Professor Fekete has demonstrated, this voodoo consists of single-sex surveys with no input from men; is fraught with problems of unrepresentative sampling, lack of corroboration, a reliance on anecdotes, and a use of over-inclusive survey questions. Suffice it to say that, contra North America, in South Africa, where a rape occurs every twenty-six seconds,13 the crime of rape is unlikely to mean mere sexual harassment or sexual disappointment. Very many South African young men consider rape a form of recreation, their rapacity even finding expression in the vocabulary: gang rape is jocularly referred to as “jackrolling.”14 Ironically, the provincial chauvinism of the cloistered gender feminists of the West has helped trivialize the plight of their African sisters.
Ultimately, murder in all its horrible finality cannot be statistically finessed. This is why, in proportion to population size, it is the best gauge of the precariousness or safety of life in a given society. The U.S. Bureau of Justice concurs: “Homicide is a fairly reliable barometer of all violent crime.”15
Let us, then, survey homicide statistics for South Africa. They are easy to understand, if hard to digest.
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10. The Disaster Center, “District of Columbia Crime Rates 1960–2006,”
http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/dccrime.htm (accessed June 2008).
11. NationMaster, Rapes Per Capita By Country,
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap_percap-crime-rapes-per-capita (accessed June 2008).
12. Gordon Barclay and Cynthia Tavares, International Comparisons of Criminal Justice Statistics 2001, October 24, 2003,
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/hosb1203.pdf (accessed June 2008).
13. Barnaby Phillips, “Baby rapes shock South Africa,” BBC News, December 1, 2001.
14. “South Africa’s rape shock,” BBC News, January 19, 1999, (accessed June 2008).
15. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Homicide trends in the United States,”
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/homtrnd.htm (accessed July 2008).
Between April 2004 and March 2005, 18,793 people were murdered in South Africa (population 43 million). In comparison, the “high-crime” United States (population 299,398,00016 ) suffered 16,740 murders. Put differently, South Africa has sixty homicides per 100,000 people; the US approximately six.17 The European Union (population 728 million) has approximately 1.59 homicides per 100,000 per year.18 On average, in South Africa, sixty-five people are murdered every day, three times that number are raped; and 300 are violently attacked and robbed daily.19
These official figures, say other researches, are more serendipity than science.
According to Robert McCafferty of the United Christian Action, Interpol had pegged South Africa’s murder rate at “114.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants,”20 roughly double those released by the South African Police Service (SAPS). In 1995 and 1996, Interpol counted 54,298 annual homicides to the SAPS’s 26,883. While slightly more optimistic, the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) corroborated the trend Interpol uncovered. It reported approximately a third more murders in South Africa than the official police statistics reveal,”21 tallying an average of eighty-nine daily deaths, or 32,000 a year. A discrepancy of over 10,000 murders is, shall we say, more than a margin of error.
McCafferty, whose data is a distillation of information from criminology journals, the SAPS, Crime Information Analysis Centre (CIAC), Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Interpol websites, and “the major newspapers on crime statistics and related issues,” concluded that “what sets South Africa’s crime apart from basically every other country on earth is the incredibly high levels of violent crime”—murder, attempted murder, serious and common assaults, rape, and all categories of robbery: that is, robbery with aggravating circumstances, armed robbery, and car hijacking.
During his term of office, former president Thabo Mbeki wielded the “racist” ad hominem deftly. Mbeki ignored the BBC’s otherwise incontinent exhilaration about everything else South African, choosing instead to frame as racism the network’s newfound realism vis-à-vis crime.22 Mbeki countered a BBC crime exposé by asserting that “nobody can show that the overwhelming majority of the 40-50 million South Africans think that crime is out of control. Nobody can, because it’s not true.”23 It so happens that South Africans are fed up (“gatvol” in Afrikaans) with crime, as is evident from the petitions, protests and vigils staged across the brutalized country. Asked about their feelings of safety compared to 1994, a majority (seventy percent) of South Africans surveyed by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in 2001 answered that South Africa was “not safer than it was before 1994.”24 Even if Mbeki had been able to get most South Africans to concede that crime was insignificant, that would not settle the matter. Unfortunately for Mr. Mbeki, truth is not adjudicated by majority vote.
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[*] Dan Roodt, “Adapt and die—South Africa’s New Motto,” Praag, November 2004.
16. Infoplease, United States, Population by State,
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004986.html (accessed July 2008).
17. Demographics Studies, “United States Crime Rates 1960-2006,”
www.DemographicsNow.com (accessed July 2008).
18. Gordon Barclay and Cynthia Tavares, op. cit.
19. John Simpson, “Battle over Jo’burg crime,” BBC News, December 12, 2006.
21. Rob McCafferty, op. cit.
22. Jon Williams, “Is the BBC Racist?”, BBC News, February 20, 2007.
23. Thabo Mbeki, “Propaganda and reality: The truth as the first casualty of war,” ANC Today, Volume 7, No. 6, February 16-22, 2007.
24. Institute of Security Studies, National Victims of Crime Survey, Chapter 4, July 2004.
To most Western observers, the new dispensation in this writer’s old home engenders unconditional praise the world over. For them, not knowing whether you’ll survive the day is but a spot of bother. Conservative columnists are as prone as anyone else to be nonchalant about the present situation. One of them described South Africa as “the greatest triumph of chatter over machine-gun clatter. It’s not perfect, and crime is at an all-time high in South African cities, but at least the massacres are a thing of the past and life goes on much better than before.” If by “massacres” our correspondent meant Sharpeville, where in 1960, panic-stricken policemen of the apartheid regime shot dead sixty-nine black demonstrators, why, in democratic South Africa that’s the daily carnage quota.
Few realize that during the decades of the apartheid regime a few hundred Africans in total perished as a direct and indirect consequence of police brutality. A horrible injustice, indubitably, but nothing approximating the death toll in “free” South Africa, where hundreds of Africans, white and black, perish weekly. Nor did apartheid’s casualties come close to the ANC’s during “the armed struggle.” Freedom’s forebears “necklaced” 400 non-combatants, and murdered hundreds more—Zulu opposition, state informers and witnesses, rural headmen, urban councilors, “and others perceived to be collaborators of the system or enemies of the ANC.”25 “Between 1976 and 1994,” writes Giliomee, “state agents deliberately killed between two hundred and three hundred people active in the struggle against the state.”26 It takes the free agents of democratic Azania only five days to deliberately kill as many of their fellow citizens.
Still fewer realize that during the decades of the repressive—and reprehensible—apartheid regime, which ended officially in 1994, crime rates in South Africa were overall much lower; in whites-only areas they were not dissimilar to those in other Western countries. McCafferty, whose brief it was to compare “the number of murders in the ‘Old South Africa’ (under apartheid) … to the ‘New South Africa’ (post 1994),”27 counted 309,583 murders over the forty-four years spanning 1950 to 1993. In the first eight years of the “new democratic dispensation,” 193,649 people were murdered. In other words, under apartheid, on average, 7,036 people were murdered each year, a small number compared to the carnage under the ANCniks: 24,206 annually. The latter is the South Africa Police Service’s low-ball estimation, which both Interpol and the South African Medical Research Council have disputed.
The ANC government now claims that matters have improved and that it is winning the war on violent crime. The Democratic Alliance disputes this. The tiny, tokenistic, opposition to the “all-powerful black majority party” puts the ostensible drop in crime down to the fact that fifty-one percent of victims no longer bothers to report crime, given that corruption is rife, arrests rare, and prosecutions and convictions still rarer.28 Recent findings suggest that the SAPS’s optimistic, homicide statistics are not to be believed. As reported by The Economist, the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation has confirmed the existence of a “pervasive pattern of (police) manipulation of statistic.” By an amazing coincidence, the reported decline in violent crime and the government’s 2004 announcement of its intention to cut such crime have dovetailed.
Doctored or diminished, the SAPS’s statistics spanning 2006 to 2007 reveal that 19,20229 South African lives were lost (population 43,786,11530 ) compared to the United States’ 16,57431 (population 303,824,64632). A yearly average of 19,202 murders (under democracy) still constitutes almost three times as many as 7,036 annual murders (under apartheid). Clearly, the era of apartheid remains a Golden Age with respect to the sanctity of life, for blacks and whites alike.
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25. Martin Meredith, The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence (Sydney, 2006), p. 658.
26. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., p. 511.
27. Rob McCafferty, op. cit.
28. IOL.co.za, “DA sceptical about latest crime statistics,” June 30, 2008,
http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?art_id=nw20080630153311404C859917 (accessed June 2008).
29. South African Police Service, “Crime Situation in South Africa,” June 2007,
http://www.saps.gov.za/statistics/reports/crimestats/2007/_pdf/crime_situation1.pdf (accessed May, 2008).
30. “South Africa,” CIA World Factbook,
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sf.html# (accessed June 2008).
31. Approximated by the author from the reported two percent decrease in murder rate since 2006, thus 0.973×17034=16574.
32. “United States,” CIA World Factbook,
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html (accessed June 2008).
McCafferty’s numbers notwithstanding, such an unsettling claim is usually met with this brittle argument: Murders are not more numerous under majority rule, but merely more evenly spread. Let us celebrate, for democracy has desegregated crime! In his searing 1986 critique of apartheid, Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black And White, Joseph Lelyveld (a former New York Times editor) surmised: “Apartheid [ensured] that the victims of most black violence [were] black and the victims of most white violence white.”33 At the time, Lelyveld avoided further damaging deductions, such as that apartheid separated the high-crime from the low-crime communities. The Group Areas Act of 1950, the basic statute that had guaranteed absolute residential segregation under apartheid,34 served to confine crime to the black townships. Ditto influx control laws: “Africans who had not established a claim to be in urban areas were given only seventy-two hours in towns and cities to find work and were compelled to register at a government labor bureau for this purpose.”35 Let us not beat about the bush; violent crime in the New South Africa is predominantly black on black and black on white. Since the demise of apartheid, it has both increased and spread from slum to suburb. However, even assuming that violent crime has not increased but is only more “equitably” distributed, why is that good or even tolerable? Does parity in the probability of being victimized constitute progress? Does the fact that whites are now as likely as—data36 suggest more likely than—blacks to be slain herald a more just dispensation? An answer in the affirmative evinces a quest for vengeance, not fairness.
While it is true that “there is nothing new about hideous, sadistic, violent crime in SA,”37 the Afrikaner National Party, for all its faults, kept the lid on the cauldron of depravity now bubbling over. At the time, Lelyveld, and left-liberals like him, inveighed against the heavily armed “plainclothes white security cops who cruise[d] around the major black townships in big Fords and Datsuns.”38 But, among the many demonstrators forever punching the air, most distinguished between “ordinary (good) police and riot (bad) police.” Or so wrote the late Fredrik van Zyl Slabbert, leader of the former anti-apartheid opposition, the Progressive Federal Party (PFP). In The Last White Parliament, Slabbert attests that “Without exception, [blacks wanted] ordinary police to remain in the townships and help with [much needed] crime prevention.”39
Dubbed the father of apartheid, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd was certainly “[k]eenly interested in urban security.” To that end, “township streets were purposely wide so police could control movement easily.”40 Indubitably, law and order in the townships of Old South Africa was less a function of the Boer’s brotherly love for the Bantu than of his orderly habits. But it was subject to investigation by a relatively independent judiciary; reports tabled often finding against the police. For example, Justice Kannemeyer’s report (which was debated in parliament) of the response to the riots that erupted in 1985 was, to quote the headline in the Johannesburg-based Star,at the time, a “‘devastating indictment’ of police.”41 The only “devastating indictment” of Jacob Zuma’s police force issued these days emanates from outside the government and well beyond its vengeful reach. (Try as I did, I was unable to get white policemen and women—old hands working deep in the guts of the reconstructed SAPS—to talk about the “workplace”: they were afraid.) The ANC’s response to a police force shot through with corruption has been the dissolution of the crack, anti-corruption unit known as the “Scorpions.”42
The Afrikaner’s quaint and quintessentially Western practices are etched vividly in journalist Keith Richburg’s Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa. Just before Afrikaners “surrendered without defeat,”43 Richburg, Africa bureau chief for The Washington Post from 1991 to 1994, journeyed to South Africa from the killing fields to the north, on assignment. In the course of his duties, he filed a report from the scene of a tribally motivated killing near Johannesburg. Zulu and Xhosa were embroiled in pre-elections strife. Twelve people had been gunned down. A small massacre by African standards—at least, so thought Richburg, who has described Africa as a continent where everywhere black bodies are stacked up like firewood. Imagine his astonishment when “the police, mostly officious-looking white officers with ruddy complexions—came and did what you might expect police to do in any Midwestern American city where a crime has occurred. They cordoned off the area with police tape. They marked the spots on the ground where the victims had fallen.”44 Topping this CSI-worthy protocol was a statement to the press “promising a ‘full investigation.’” This civilized routine Richburg characterized as utterly misplaced on a continent where nobody counts the bodies; and where chasing down and charging a man with murder is like “handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.”45
The Old South Africa was the odd man out in Africa. Maligned by Joseph Lelyveld, the Afrikaner’s presence in high-crime localities was why a semblance of law and order was maintained and common criminals pursued and prosecuted to the benefit of all.
Little wonder then that “pollsters note a small but growing number of blacks experiencing ‘apartheid nostalgia.’ ‘It’s not that they want to return to apartheid, but in retrospect it was a time when things worked better,’” says Robert Mattes, co-director of the Afrobarometer poll.46 That’s an understatement. Certainly back then soccer moms and dads were never shaken down during a match—a common occurrence these days. Back then The Christian Science Monitor’s South African correspondent did not compose his dispatches from behind “ten-foot walls, electric fencing, burglar bars,” and within reach of “at least one panic button wired directly to an armed-response team.”47 Back then shopkeepers were not compelled to cower behind iron bars, as they do now. Gun battles were unheard of on the streets of South Africa’s major metropolises, some of which have come to resemble Mogadishu, pavements strewn with garbage, skyscrapers overrun by squatters, and landmarks vandalized beyond recognition. To wit, the Impala Stampede, a “giant bronze statue that used to adorn the entrance to Anglo American’s offices, was torn down and destroyed by the rampaging gangs.”48
In the New South Africa, rising prices at the pump corresponded to a rising body count, as petrol attendants are targeted for crude.49 An attendant trend did not accompany the steep gas prices during the 1987 oil embargo against South Africa. This writer would safely fill the tank and travel to Hillbrow to lunch with her late grandfather. Hillbrow was then a hip, cosmopolitan, Johannesburg suburb. Today it is South Africa’s Harlem, before gentrification. Equally uneventful for this writer was the walk to work from the Eloff street bus terminal in Johannesburg’s city center, where the magnificent five-star Carlton Hotel was open for business. It closed in 1997; the safety of the guests could no longer be guaranteed. The green glass Garden Court Hotel and the Great Synagogue have suffered the same fate.50 Fearing for its safety, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, once “the tenth largest in the world,”51 joined the exodus from the Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD) to the suburb of Sandton.
Defiantly and heroically, a consortium called “Business Against Crime” (BAC) has undertaken to beat back the dirt and decay that had blanketed Johannesburg’s CBD. These intrepid entrepreneurs aim to restore the “mothballed” monuments, reopen boarded-up buildings, and replace brothels and shebeens with legitimate businesses. These are not guys with guns: The BAC’s frontal assault on crime relies on a system of closed-circuit TV cameras! The Economist has proclaimed this “public-private partnership” a success. At the same time, the magazine has conceded that conviction rates in South Africa still hover at a “dismal” eight percent and have only just begun to inch upward.52
Optimism aside, it is hard to see how the prospects of being caught on camera would deter a hardcore criminal for long since he has a ninety percent chance of getting away with murder. Considering that the country now has one of the world’s highest murder rates and lowest conviction rates, a South Africa thug can safely pursue his vocation without fearing the consequences, confirms criminologist Neels Moolman.”53 Since freedom, the SAPS, a reconstructed, racially “representative” force, has relaxed the pursuit of criminals. Besides, the democratic South Africa’s criminal class is unlikely to flee before the regiments of an ill-trained, illiterate and corrupt outfit. If anything, evidence abounds of cooperation between criminals and cops, starting at the top. Jackie Selebi, the SAPS’s national police commissioner is a bent and brutal man who’s been linked to the mob54 (and was eventually dismissed by President Zuma).
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33. Joseph Lelyveld, Move Your Shadow: South Africa Black and White (Johannesburg & London, 1986), p. 207.
34. Ibid., p. 82.
35. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., pp. 623-624.
36. Carvin Goldstone, op. cit.,
http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20070804085801910C187216 (accessed June 2008).
37. Andrew Kenny, “Why is our country so violent?”, The Citizen, December 18, 2006.
38. Joseph Lelyveld, op. cit., p. 55.
39. Fredrik van Zyl Slabbert, The Last White Parliament (New York, 1987), p. 151.
40. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., pp. 506-507.
41. Derek Catsam, “The Langa Massacre and State Violence in South Africa,” SERSAS Meeting, Contemporary History Institute, Spring 2000, April 14-15, 2000,
42. Peter Clottey, “Mixed Reaction from Dissolution of South Africa’s Anti-Corruption Unit,” VOA, February 13, 2008,
http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-02/2008-02-13-voa3.cfm?CFID=13646652&CFTOKEN=49317316 (accessed June 2008).
43. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., p. 586.
44. Keith B. Richburg, Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa, (New York, 1997).
45. Ibid., p. 198.
46. Simon Robinson, “The Second Revolution,” Time Europe, April 11, 2004,
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,610026,00.html (accessed June 2008).
47. Scott Baldauf, “In South Africa, home sweet fortress,” The Christian Science Monitor, December 6, 2006,
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1206/p20s01-lihc.html (accessed February 2007).
48. “Public-private partnerships have worked wonders in fighting crime,” The Economist, April 8, 2006.
49. Nondumiso Mbuyazi, “Petrol attendants stabbed, shot as price skyrockets,” Cape Argus, June 29, 2008.
50. Jon Williams, op. cit.
51. Martin Meredith, op. cit., p. 649.
52. “Public-private partnerships have worked wonders in fighting crime,” The Economist, April 8, 2006 (accessed July 2008).
53. YouTube, Farm Murders, “Carte Blanche,” 2007,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S71PbichSw (accessed August, 2008).
54. Mohammed Allie, “SA’s controversial police chief,” BBC News, January 11, 2008.
The swirl of statistics tends to conceal the casualties of crime. One such casualty is Baby Tshepang. “Tshepang” means “have hope.” If Tshepang has hope it is against all odds, for she was raped and sodomized, in 2001, when nine months old. The culprit was a twenty-three-year-old man—Tshepang’s sixteen-year-old mother’s former lover. Rape of infants in South Africa has reached “epidemic proportions,” writes Linda M. Richler in the Child Abuse Review, and “occurs with unacceptably high frequency.”55 Roughly ten percent of all rapes in the country—52,425 a year56—are committed against children under three years of age. In the span of the two months following Baby Tshepang’s rape, another five children under twelve months of age were raped. In two of the cases, media reports suggested the child’s caregivers might have accepted money for making the child available to the perpetrator.57
Sexperts and sociologists have a habit of sanitizing savagery with odd-ball pseudoscientific assertions: “To penetrate the vagina of a small child,” writes Richler ponderously, “the perpetrator must first create a common channel between the vagina and anal canal by forced insertion of an implement.”58 In the gaping wound that was Baby Tshepang before she was sewn back together, Richler has detected a technique where there was only brute, libidinal force. She offers no forensic evidence for her claim. Richler’s less iffy inference has it that this nauseating crime wave may well be rooted in the “virgin cleansing myth”—the idea that sex with a virgin cures HIV/AIDS and offers protection against acquiring the virus. (Seen in the context of the late Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msiming’s espousal of beetroot, garlic and lemon as antidotes for AIDS,59 this makes perfect sense.) Oddly enough, when epidemiologists speak of mapping the spread of the epidemic in a country in which one in five adults is infected,60 they are somehow parted from their critical faculties, rarely mentioning epidemic sexual violence as a vector of transmission.
Thankfully, for the victims, political correctness doesn’t plague the private, entrepreneurial sector. “The connection between violent crime and AIDS in South Africa was underscored by ‘rape insurance’ policies launched in November 1999,” write Dave Kopel and Drs. Paul Gallant and Joanne Eisen of the Independence Institute. LifeSense, a medical benefits organization underwritten by Lloyds of London, has been offering a “Rape Care” package to rape victims which “provides a top-up policy should the rape survivor become HIV-positive as a result of rape. Dr. Angus Rowe, a spokesperson from LifeSense, stated that ‘in an environment where rape is so pervasive we need to extend protections to rape survivors in the families.’ Rape Care policy holders will have access to counseling and medical treatment, ‘an anti-retroviral starter pack, the home delivery of the full 28-day anti-retroviral treatment, and HIV testing for one year.’”61 Had the private sector not similarly—and speedily—moved to palliate the South African people’s desperate need for protection against criminals, who knows how many more would be ravished or killed? There are now 400,000 “guardian angels” in private security toiling to make up for the state’s failure to protect its citizens.62
One doesn’t have to be an HIV/AIDS counselor to conclude that endemic sexual violence increases the spread of the disease. It so happens that this writer was such a counselor at the Cape Town chapter of ATIC, the AIDS Training, Information and Counseling Centre. The African women I counseled there were educated and well turned out, yet they giggled like girls when prophylactics were mentioned. African patriarchs disdain protection, they told me, coyly cupping their mouths and laughing—at me. They were, however, deadly serious. For these women, insisting on your, “like, reproductive freedoms”—uttered in staccato, tart tones, indigenous to North America—meant risking the wrath of quick-fisted husbands. At the time, the counseling model used at ATIC was developed for gay American men. Based on my experience with these urban, urbane women, I recommended—and was commended for—changing the laughable, gay-centric guidelines. If sophisticated African women were afraid to suggest sheaths to their men, all the more so their rural, uneducated sisters.
One tenet of the gay-centric counseling model applies to Africa in spades: the reality of rutting, rampant sex. When the puritanical apartheid government “finally stirred into action, launching AIDS education and prevention programs, it met considerable resistance,”63 attests historian Martin Meredith. Anti-apartheid activists accused the government of wanting to prevent Africans from having promiscuous sex so as to retard population growth and “check the advance of African liberation.” AIDS, they joked, stood for “Afrikaner Invention to Deprive us of Sex.”64 Although Mbeki persisted in the belief that AIDS is a conspiracy—Big Pharma having replaced the Afrikaner as culprit—there isn’t a corner in post-apartheid South Africa that has not been missionized by AIDS educators. Still, infection rates remain, for the most, unaffected. Rocker Bono, the warbling modern father of foreign aid, has praised Africans for being a “rare and spirited people.” Sadly, if the spirit didn’t move them in so many wild ways, rates of infection in Southern Africa might not have reached twenty to 33.7 percent of the adult population. Africans are having unprotected sex irrespective of the mortal dangers of AIDS, a phenomenon which Austrian economists might explain with reference to time preference rates. In this case, time preference rates signify the degree to which different people will discount the future in favor of immediate gratification. Time orientation, agrees Lawrence E. Harrison, an associate at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, is a central value in progressive as opposed to static cultures.65 Educational efforts aside, the number of people infected in Southern Africa bespeaks a high time preference: the habit of consistently risking the future for fleeting fun. Put it this way: The Catholic Church’s consecration of condoms will likely have the same overall effect on African AIDS infection rates as its condemnation of sex outside marriage.
Let us not forget these child victims. Certainly Breyten Breytenbach does not. Breytenbach, the exiled Afrikaner poet “who served seven years in South African prisons for his anti-apartheid activities,”66 invokes for our remembrance South Africa’s children at large, and Meisi Majola’s two-year-old boy in particular. The tot was snatched from his home and his genitals mutilated. “To be used as muti…a potency potion.” Little Courtney Ellerbeck’s broken body mirrors the unremitting violence inflicted on the most innocent members of South African society. The child hobbles about cheerfully with the aid of calipers with lockable knee joints, metal hips, and a walker. She is the country’s youngest crime victim. Courtney was born a paraplegic after being shot in utero by a hijacker.67
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55. Linda M. Richler, “Baby Rape in South Africa,” Child Abuse Review, Vol. 12, 2003, pp 392-400, at p. 395.
56. NationMaster.com, Crime Statistics, “Rapes (most recent) by country,”
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap-crime-rapes (accessed June 2008).
57. Linda M. Richler, op. cit.
59. Barry Bearak, “South African Ministers Resign, Then Return,” The New York Times, September 23, 2008,
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/24/world/africa/24safrica.html?em (accessed September 23, 2008).
60. AVERT, HIV & AIDS in South Africa,
http://www.avert.org/aidssouthafrica.htm (accessed June 2008).
61. Dave Kopel, Paul Gallant and Joanne Eisen, “South African Stupidity: Disarming the citizenry is not the answer,” National Review, October 11, 2000,
http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel101100.shtml (accessed June 2008).
62. “Public-private partnerships have worked wonders in fighting crime,” The Economist, April 8, 2006 (accessed July 2008).
63. Martin Meredith, op. cit., p. 667.
65. Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington, Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress, (New York, 2000), p. 299.
66. Breyten Breytenbach, op. cit., p. 39.
67. Gill Gifford, “Brave Courtney cherishes first steps,” IOL, July 1, 2009,
http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=139&art_id=vn20090701051428859C938531 (accessed July 1, 2009).
Because the ANC disregards the importance of private property and public order and the remedial value of punitive justice, innocent victims of crime often defend themselves in their own homes on pain of imprisonment. The Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act demand that, in the course of adjudicating cases of “private defense,” the right to life (the aggressor’s) and the right to property (the non-aggressor’s) be properly balanced. “Before you can act in self-defense,” remonstrates Anton du Plessis of the Institute for Security Studies, “the attack against you should have commenced, or at least be imminent. For example, if the thief pulls out a firearm and aims in your direction, [only] then you would be justified in using lethal force to protect your life.”68 In a country where, as columnist Barry Ronge noted, husbands and children are routinely forced to watch while mothers are raped, victims must now “calibrate the extent of the menace” before defending loved ones. Why, even for giving chase, victims may now be prosecuted as aggressors.
Between a rock and a hard place, to use that cliché of in-betweenness, is where Jaco Swart found himself when confronted at two o’clock in the morning with two intruders in his homestead. The twenty-six-year-old Swart hails from Delareyville, a small farming community in South Africa’s northwest. This town is named for General Koos de la Rey, hero of the Boer War. Young Swart is a hero too. But for choosing to defend home and hearth in the New South Africa, he was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder. Swart had dispatched the one assailant and injured the other with a licensed firearm. Not only can self-defense be an offense in the new constitutional democracy, but it may be considered racist when practiced by whites. COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, under whose auspices, presumably, home invaders fall, accused Swart of racism.69
The sixteen-year-old son of Len Parkin of Pretoria was awoken at three in the morning by two armed men, and instructed to lead them to where his parents slept. The boy complied. The criminals shot his father. Despite his injuries, Len Parkin seized his handgun and managed to hasten the descent into hell of the one assailant. An opprobrious police inspector, one Paul Ramaloko, said: “Because Parkin is in hospital, he hasn’t been arrested. The public prosecutor will now decide whether the victim was using his firearm in self-defense or not.”70
An elderly couple—he seventy-seven, she seventy-three—may spend the rest of their days in jail for attempted murder. The plucky pair had overpowered an intruder who had grabbed their pistol and was poised to pounce.71 Not far from where these heroes reside live my in-laws. I used to rest easier knowing that if a thug entered their Western Cape home, my elderly mother in-law could easily dispatch him with her six-round .32 Special. It was comforting to know that in the unlikely event of her requiring further firepower, my father-in-law could weigh in with his .38 Special. But with the advent of the Firearm Control Act of 2000 (FCA)—whose constitutionality is currently being challenged—the Safety and Security Minister unveiled “an arsenal” of stricter gun-control laws, decreeing that “gun-toting cowboys”72 such as my elderly mother and father in-law would no longer be tolerated, and “non-threatening” home invaders would no longer face on-the-spot justice. Should my in-laws awaken to find a malefactor beating down the door, they shall have to hold their fire and attempt to ascertain his manifestly acquisitive—and almost certainly murderous—motives.
Lucky are the outlaws in the New South Africa. Less lucky are the in-laws.Their licenses, “granted under the old Arms and Ammunition Act,” were supposed to be valid for life and mandatory renewal unconstitutional.”73 Now, they, and each of South Africa’s three million legal gun owners, have been required, under the FCA, to re-apply for permits. If she wishes to keep her handgun, my mother-in-law will have to trundle to the only licensed gun seller in the region and, for a fat fee, acquire registration forms and a booklet, which she must study and prepare to be examined on. Once she passes the exam, she will head to the police station, where again, she will be fleeced and forced to fill in more forms that’ll be sent to the capital. There, an ANC official will decide whether she truly needs a handgun for “self-defense.” This process can take years. Kopel, Gallant and Eisen predicted that Mbeki’s FCA would outlaw ninety percent of lawfully owned firearms currently in civilian hands.74 Preliminary reports appear to substantiate their estimate with respect to new applicants as well.75
In a country where almost everyone knows someone who has been raped, robbed, hijacked, murdered, or all of the above, the reasons the revamped SAPS gives for denying an application are: a “lack of motivation,” “your husband can protect you,” “the police will protect you,” “you are too young.”76 Talk about an “eff-off” attitude! The applicant must also prepare for a house call from their protectors for the purpose of inspecting the safety deposit box. Since my seventy nine-year-old infirm mother-in-law has forfeited the pleasure of this procedure—my father-in-law will soldier on—she must surrender her handgun to the police. In this way it can be sold by the notoriously corrupt officers of the law to other industrious trade union workers. For giving up her gun, she will get no official receipt or acknowledgment. If the thing is used in a crime, she’s liable. Ditto if she tampers with the mechanism to render it unusable.
As would increasingly be the case, there are those who dismiss as “right-wing scaremongering” any claim that the right to self-defense is seriously circumscribed in a country that needs it more than any other. A case in point is Professor Anthony Minnaar of the Department of Security Risk Management at the University of South Africa (UNISA), my alma mater. Placing “the perpetrator” in irons following a “shooting” in said “perpetrator’s” home, and irrespective of the circumstances, is standard—and proper—police practice,[*] maintains Minnaar. In case you wonder, “the perpetrator” in Minnaar’s nomenclature is the proper term for a victorious victim of an assault. Besides, admonishes Minnaar, charges are, for the most, dropped. Or if the charges are imposed, they are commuted to a lesser charge such as culpable homicide with a self-defense plea. Beleaguered South Africans, however, need fewer Minnaars and more laws that exempt them from any criminal or civil liability if they are forced to use deadly force in self-defense.
Worlds away from South Africa, Americans have also been subjected to a state-orchestrated volcanic change in their society, the consequence of the unchecked flow of millions of Third World illegal immigrants into the country. As Heather Mac Donald, scholar at the Manhattan Institute, has documented in detail, the sturdy American castle is being catapulted by criminal aliens, although not yet sufficiently so as to make Americans fret over the erosion of the Castle Doctrine. However, as a number of landmark cases would suggest,“Make My Day Laws”77—a favored American sobriquet for Castle Laws inspired by the Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry character—will become more important commensurate with rapidly changing demographics and the attendant spike in crime.78
A man’s home is not mere property—it is his castle. In defending his home, an individual is defending a safe haven for his most cherished belongings: his person and his beloved. Someone eager to violate another’s inner sanctum will be more than willing to violate the occupant. This applies in spades to South Africa, where life is snuffed out for a cell phone or for the simple pleasure of it, and where home invasions are on the yearly rise, and frequently culminate in torture, rape and murder.79 Confronted with a home invader, there’s precious little a homeowner can do to divine the intentions of the intruder. This is the distinctively American subtext of the Castle Doctrine, which is unevenly applied across the U.S., despite the fact that the Second Amendment to the American Constitution affirms a natural right to self-defense (recently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Heller vs. The District of Columbia).
Not that you’d know it, but South Africans have a right to live free of all forms of violence, “public” or “private” in origin.80 Section 12 of their progressive Constitution protects the “Freedom and Security of the Person.” Clearly “progressive” doesn’t necessarily spell progress: Nowhere does this wordy but worthless document state whether South Africans may actually defend this most precious right. A right that can’t be defended is a right in name only—implicit in the right to life is the right to self-defense. The South African Constitution is descriptive, not prescriptive—full of pitch-perfect verbal obesities that provide little by way of legal recourse for the likes of Messrs Parkin, Swart and all the other good guys with guns.
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[*] Email correspondence, September 25, 2009.
68. Anton du Plessis, “When Can I Fire? Use of lethal force to defend property,” Institute for Security Studies, SA Crime Quarterly, June 8, 2004.
69. Nicolize van der Walt, “‘It’s self-defence, not racism,” Beeld, News24.com, May 21, 2008,
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,9909,2-7-1442_2326050,00.html (accessed July 2008).
70. “Man charged after intruder dies,” News24.com, January 23, 2006,
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1867951,00.html (accessed July 2008).
71. Llewellyn Prince, “Elderly couple hit back,” News24.com, May 25, 2007.
72. “Police muzzle 90% of new gun license applications,” Cape Argus, June 23, 2004,
http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=49&fArticleId=2124634 (accessed July 2008).
73. B. Nortje, “Firearm registry chaos,” News24.com, April 29, 2008,
http://www.news24.com/News24/MyNews24/Your_story/0,,2-2127-2128_2313826,00.html (accessed July 2008).
74. Dave Kopel, Paul Gallant and Joanne Eisen, op. cit.
75. “Police muzzle 90% of new gun license applications,” Cape Argus, June 23, 2004.
77. “Castle Doctrine in the U.S.,” Wikipedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Doctrine#State-by-state_positions_on_Castle_Doctrine (accessed July 2008).
78. Heather Mac Donald, “Crime and the Illegal Alien: The Fallout from Crippled Immigration Enforcement,” CIS, June 2004.
79. Johan Burger & Henry Boshoff, “An Overview of Crime in South Africa,” Institute For Security Studies, 2008.
80. “Freedom and security of the person,” Constitution of South Africa,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_South_Africa_Chapter_2:_Bill_of_Rights#Freedom_and_security_of_the_person (accessed July 2008).
“A typical white woman” is how Barack Obama flippantly dismissed the woman who had raised him with a great deal of devotion: his white maternal grandmother. Richly revealing was the way Obama tarred the late Madelyn Dunham with the taint of racism because she “once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street.” Obama’s grandma had still not acquitted herself for expressing a visceral fear rooted in the brutal reality of crime in the U.S. Eric Holder, the first African-American to hold the position of Attorney-General, seconded the commander-in-chief’s reservations about “typical” Americans. Mr. Holder has called America a nation of cowards and commanded Americans to have an honest conversation about race.
White Americans can be forgiven for cowering. The civil rights division of Holder’s Justice Department recently ordered the dismissal of one of the worst cases of voter intimidation to come before it, because, according to a Justice Department attorney, those menaced with batons, instructed to brace for The Black Man’s rule—and promised that their babies would be butchered—were “honkies” and “white whores.” These were the epithets the defendants, members of the New Black Panthers, used. They were decked up in “black berets, combat boots, battle dress pants, and rank insignia,”81 and had flanked the entrance to the polling location commanding brothers to kill “crackers” and their kids.
I suspect that rather than a two-way exchange about race, what Mr. Holder really craves is more of the same: a one-way “conversation,” where brothers like him, joined by the journalistic herd, talk at the errant American people—a people that harbors no racial animus and has elected a black man because they believed he was the right man.
Be that as it may, there are certain facts that will never make it into this highly colored exchange.
According to the 2005 Bureau of Justice’s Statistics (BJS) of “Homicide trends in the U.S,” blacks were seven times more likely to offend than whites.82 In that year, 8.8 percent of all murders were of whites by blacks; 3.2 percent of all murders were of blacks by whites.83 Blacks murder at a rate of 26.5 per 100,000 people; whites—whose criminality the state statistician often inflates by conflating them with Hispanics—committed 3.5 murders per 100,000.84 As to “Homicide Offenders by Race”: Despite blacks comprising a mere 12.3 percent of the population in the US, to whites’ 75.1 percent,85 in 2005, there were 10,285 black murderers to 8,350 white murderers.86 From the BJS’s “Prisoners on death row by race” chart,87 it can be extrapolated that a black is 4.6 times more likely than a white to be on death row.88 Similarly, blacks are more likely to murder whites than the reverse. This likelihood is a trend which the BJS downplays by emphasizing the “intraracial” nature of most murders. Black-on-white murder is, moreover, increasing steadily. Not so white-on-black murder.
Still, if you publicize these unexceptional, government-crunched numbers, you run the risk of being treated as though you yourself had committed the crimes that you were reporting. Amicable race relations in the U.S. have come to depend on attaching disproportionate racial significance to the act of dangling a noose—an impolite and impolitic form of expression, admittedly, but hardly more than that. A black man beating a white man to a pulp is deemed racially neutral. Thus the affront du jour to the feelings of blacks is debated ad nauseam; felonies committed by blacks against whites are debated not at all. Accordingly, there isn’t an American who hasn’t heard of errant broadcaster Don Imus and his “nappy-headed hos” ugly utterance.89 There’s hardly an American who has heard of the habitual, endemic gang rape of white men by black and Hispanic prisoners in the country’s prisons.
Although black-on-white crime is more common than the reverse, the category of hate crime applies de facto to white-on-black crime. “Whitey” is invariably—and by default—viewed as the chief repository of racial malice. The establishment media, especially, have made a mockery out of real racial hatred. To listen to them, you’d think that being maligned is more hateful than being maimed or murdered. American jurists and journalists, politicians and pundits were oblivious, for the most, to the deep and dark reality buried in the hearts of the individuals who butchered twenty-one-year-old Channon Christian and twenty-three-year-old Hugh Christopher Newsom in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2007. Five blacks—four men and a woman—anally raped Hugh, then shot him to death, wrapped his body in bedding, soaked it in gasoline and set it alight. He was the lucky one. Channon, his fair and fragile-looking friend, was repeatedly gang raped by the four men—vaginally, anally and orally. Before she died, her murderers poured a household cleaner down her throat, in an effort to cleanse away DNA. She was left to die, either from the bleeding caused “by the tearing,” or from asphyxiation. Knoxville officials would not say. She was then stuffed in a garbage can like trash.90 White trash.
Young, white, and poor: The savage crime against Channon and Hugh was not a statistical outlier. The Bureau of Justice Statistics issued a report, in 2005, the product of a combined effort of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCV) and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR).91 Accordingly, an annual average of 191,000 hate crimes was documented since 2000. The NCV data is drawn from a 77,600-strong nationally representative sample. The UCR data is collected by 17,300 law enforcement agencies. Youngsters like Channon and Hugh were more likely than any other age group to be well represented among the reported victims.92 As defined by the report, “an ordinary crime becomes a hate crime when offenders choose a victim because of some characteristic—for example, race, ethnicity, or religion—and provide evidence that hate prompted them to commit the crime.”93
Hate crimes are extraordinary in unexpected ways. In addition to being among the most serious crimes, NCV data show that approximately eighty-four percent of these assaults are violent—“a sexual assault, robbery or simple aggravated assault.”94 Blacks are less likely than both whites and Hispanics to be targeted for reasons of racial hatred. A significantly higher percentage of victims of violent racial hatred say their attackers were black.95 Nine out of ten of them identify their race as the reason blacks targeted them. “For victims reporting white offenders, [only] about three in ten victims cited race as a motive.”96 Moreover, and this is crucial, “The number of black hate crime victims was so small, that is statistically insignificant, that it precluded analysis of the race of persons who victimized them.”97
So much for the libel of a racist America; Americans are not remotely racist. If anything, they are remarkably naïve about human differences—cultural or racial. Alas, as one wag said, “Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.” Relentless propaganda, enforced by the tyranny of political correctness, helps explain why most Americans believe racism saturates their society. As they see it, in electing Barack Obama, they’ve begun to atone for their original sin.
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81. The United States Of America Vs. New Black Panther Party For Self-Defense, Civil Action No.: 09-0065, July 25, 2008.
82. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Homicide Offending Rates per 100,000 Population by Race,” 2005,
83. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Percent of All Homicides by Racial Composition of Victims and Offenders,” 2005,
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/tables/ovracetab.htm (accessed July 2008).
84. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Homicide Offending Rates per 100,000 Population by Race,” 2005,
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/tables/oracetab.htm (accessed July 2008).
85. U.S. Census Bureau, “2000 Census of Population and Housing,” 2000,
http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/dp1/2kh00.pdf (accessed July 2008).
86. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Homicide Offenders by Race,” 2005,
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/tables/oracetab.htm (accessed July 2008).
87. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Prisoners on death row by race,” 2006,
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/drracetab.htm (accessed July 2008).
88. Blacks on death row (1352) divided by total black population (34658190) multiplied by 100000. The same was done for whites on death rows. The ratios derived were divided: 3.9/0.9=4.6.
89. Ilana Mercer, “Mob Gives Imus the Ol’ Heave-Ho,” WorldNetDaily.com, April 13, 2007.
90. Christopher Plante, “The Untold Knoxville Murders,” Human Events, May 21, 2007.
91. Joseph Farah, “Hate crime’ victims: Young, poor, white,” WorldNetDaily.com, February 22, 2006.
93. Caroline Wolf Harlow, Ph.D., “Hate Crime Reported by Victims and Police,” Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2005,
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/hcrvp.pdf (accessed February, 2009).
94. Ibid., p. 3.
95. Ibid., p. 7.
96. Ibid., p. 8.
97. Ibid., p. 8.
The crime of rape is most certainly anything but “intraracial.” Every year, approximately 37,460 white women are raped by blacks. As the BJS’s 2005 “Criminal Victimization Statistical Tables” reveal, blacks, at 12.3 percent of the population, were responsible for thirty-six percent of the 111,490 incidents in which whites were raped. And blacks committed 100 percent of the 36,620 incidents in which blacks were raped. The legendary miscegenation of the much-maligned white male: could that be a myth too? Not one black woman or man—0.0 percent—was ravished by a Caucasian.98 Human Rights Watch confirms that these unidirectional victimization patterns endure behind bars. “White inmates are disproportionately targeted for abuse.” (Rape Human Rights Watch euphemizes as “sexual abuse.”) The report titled “No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons” states: “Inter-racial sexual abuse is common only to the extent that it involves white non-Hispanic prisoners being abused by African Americans or Hispanics.”99 “A form of revenge for white dominance of blacks in outside society” is one of the causal factors cited by Human Rights Watch for the sexual subjugation of white by black inmates.100 In 2008, the United Nations voted to classify rape as a “war tactic,” “a systemic means of spreading terror and encouraging displacement.”101 Does the designation extend to jailhouses in America, or does it apply only to hellholes in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
South African authorities, universities, and think tanks no longer provide information about victimization patterns by race of victim and offender. And while the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) claims to possess such data, it would not share it with this writer unless she forked out a subscriber fee of US $1712 or US $3933. Questionnaires which are used to collect data—many of these questionnaires having been compiled by the UN—do not make provisions for obtaining such demographics.
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98. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization in the United States, “Victims and Offenders,” 2005,
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/cvus0502.pdf (accessed July 2008).
99. Human Rights Watch, “No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons,”
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/prison/report4.html (accessed July 2008).
100. Human Rights Watch, “No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons,”
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/prison/report4.html (accessed July 2008).
101. Toby Lichtig, “Ruined,” The Times Literary Supplement, May 7, 2010, p. 18.
Some South African advocates for criminals claim that blacks are merely filling their crime quota proportionate to their numbers in the population. In 2004, at 76.6 percent of the population, blacks committed 76.4 percent of “intimate femicides” (defined as “the killing of a female person by an intimate partner”). And they committed 68.3 percent of “non-intimate femicides”: “the killing of a woman by someone other than an intimate partner.” (That snippet came courtesy of a not-yet-binned Medical Research Council report.102) Tardy whites are proving woefully inadequate to the task of filling their pro-rata crime quotas: At less than nine percent of the population, the corresponding numbers for white South Africans are 3.9 and 2.6 percent respectively. Whites underperform again with respect to incarceration rates. According to the South African Department of Correctional Services, 113,773 criminals had been sentenced as of June 2008, of whom only 2190 were white.103 Whites make up only 1.9 percent of the number of sentenced criminals. Weighing in with 90,013104 sentenced individuals—approximately 79.1 percent of the total number of criminals sentenced—blacks more than fill their per-population crime allotment.
The minority that dare not speak its name is on the wane. Of the approximately forty-eight million South Africans, whites number only 4.3 million;105 blacks more than thirty-eight million. By the estimate of the SAIRR, the white population had shrunk from 5,215,000 in 1995 to 4,374,000 in 2005. Almost a fifth.106 “Since 1996,” reports The New York Times, “the black population has risen to a projected 38.5 million from 31.8 million.”107 (Submerged in this sentence is the fact that the same population has been increasing since Europeans settled South Africa.) While the number of whites is shrinking as a percentage of the total population, their proportion among the scalded, shot, sliced and garroted is growing. Constituting less than nine percent of the population, whites nevertheless made up ten percent of the 33,513 “non-natural deaths,” recorded in 2007 by The National Injury Mortality Surveillance System, a project of the MRC and UNISA. At around eighty percent of the population, black “Africans constituted seventy-six percent of all cases.”108 Are whites beings purposefully sought out by the swelling black criminal class that has turned crime into a sinecure? Is it any wonder that the most pressing problem in the lives of whites is violent crime, causing an exodus of those who’re able to leave?
As the old adage goes, “figures don’t lie but liars can figure.”
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102. Mathews S., Abrahams N., Martin L.J., Vetten L., van der Merwe L. and Jewkes R., “A national study of female homicide in South Africa,” South African Medical Research Council, 2005,
http://www.csvr.org.za/docs/gender/sixhours.pdf (accessed July 2008).
103. Department of Correctional Services, “Inmate Gender and Racial Composition as on the last day of 2008/06,”
http://www.dcs.gov.za/WebStatistics/ (accessed July 2008).
105. Wikipedia, “White South African Demographics,”
106. South African Migration Project, “Where have all the whites gone,” Queen’s University, October 2006,
http://www.queensu.ca/samp/migrationnews/article.php?Mig_News_ID=3997&Mig_News_Issue=22&Mig_News_Cat=8 (accessed November 2008).
107. Barry Bearak, “Post-Apartheid South Africa Enters Anxious Era,” The New York Times, October 6, 2008.
108. Medical Research Council/UNISA, “The Ninth Annual Report of the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System (NIMSS),” November 5, 2008,
http://www.mrc.ac.za/crime/nimms_rpt_Nov08.pdf. (accessed November 18, 2008).
The SAIRR categorically denies that there is a racial component to crime in South Africa. Its thinking, presumably, is that the handiwork of the demons who do the deeds described doesn’t conclusively prove white hot hatred. Such motivation can only be properly ascertained by the administration of, say, standardized questionnaires to a representative sample of killers, with all the methodological pitfalls such tests entail. On the rare occasions that the Institute’s scholars have deigned to pair race and crime, it has been in the context of “the killing of four blacks by a white youth in Skierlik, near Swartruggens,” in the country’s northwest.109 Or, the “murder of a black man in 2001 by four white teenagers from the wealthy suburb of Waterkloof, in Pretoria.110 These statistical anomalies notwithstanding, a study conducted by the market research company Markinor for the ISS reveals: “Only thirty-two percent of all blacks questioned knew someone who was a victim of crime,” compared to sixty-six percent of Indian adults and fifty six percent of white adults.111 By logical extension, “there were also marked differences in feelings of safety between the race groups. Indians followed by white South Africans were least likely to feel safe.”112 Conversely, thirty-two percent of black South Africans were likely to know someone who made a living from crime while less than seventeen percent of Indians and just seven percent of whites said this was the case.113 As of June 2008, the South African Department of Correctional Services reported that 90,013 blacks had been sentenced. Conviction rates stand at a dismal eight percent.114 The black criminal class is thus 1.13 million strong, at least one million of whom are still at large.115 The SAIRR would have evinced a modicum of intellectual honesty had it argued that wealth was a confounding variable in crime: Because Indian and white South Africans tend to be wealthier than blacks, the theory runs, they are likelier than blacks to be targeted.
To counter evidence for the hue of hatred here at home, America’s own self-styled anti-racism activists will typically claim that whites make up most of the population and are therefore natural targets for crimes. The probability of a black encountering a white is simply many times the reverse,116 their argument goes. However, interracial encounter rates do not account for the sheer hatred manifested in the appalling attacks on white South Africans. Similarly, they fail to explain away what was done to the white American couple from Knoxville. Or to the four whites from Wichita, Kansas, who were slain by blacks in 2000.117 Probabilities belie the stalking and savaging, in 2008, of a Columbia University student at the hands of Robert Williams; he black, she white. Her nineteen-hour ordeal ended with Williams setting the twenty-three-year-old student on fire. It began with Williams raping the girl orally, vaginally, and anally, pouring bleach in her eyes, boiling water on her body, slicing her face and slitting her eyelids with a carving knife.118
The American student and Daleen Pieterse, a prototypal South African victim of racial hatred, have parallel fates. And Williams and the Pieterse assailants share a modus operandi. Indeed, wealth disparities fail to explain away the sadism invested in the onslaught against white South Africans like Daleen. From the liberal Cape Argus: “Pieterse’s husband was tortured with a hot kettle, stabbed and finally strangled with shoelaces. She and her ten-year-old son were viciously assaulted with molten plastic; her calf muscle was lacerated, clothes cut off and a knife forced between her legs. Her three-year-old daughter was threatened with abduction and rape.”119 The Pieterses of the North-Western Cape are but one South African family among thousands; run-of-the-mill victims of black crime.
Still harder to finesse are the telltales of racial hatred seared into the mangled white bodies of over three thousand dead Afrikaner farmers. More about that in Chapter Two.
In all, no color should be given to the claim that race is not a factor in the incidence of crime in the US and in South Africa. The vulgar individualist will contend that such broad statements about aggregate group characteristics are collectivist, ergo false. He would be wrong. Generalizations, provided they are substantiated by hard evidence, not hunches, are not incorrect. Science relies on the ability to generalize to the larger population observations drawn from a representative sample. People make prudent decisions in their daily lives based on probabilities and generalities. That one chooses not to live in a particular crime-riddled county or country in no way implies that one considers all individual residents there to be criminals, only that a sensible determination has been made, based on statistically significant data, as to where scarce and precious resources—one’s life and property—are best invested.
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109. John Kane-Berman, “Fight against crime is a race against race hatred,” South Africa Institute of Race Relations, March 20, 2008.
111. Carvin Goldstone, op. cit.
112. “National Victims of Crime Survey,” Institute for Security Studies, July 2004,
http://www.issafrica.org/pubs/Monographs/No101/Chap4.htm (accessed July 2008).
114. “Public-private partnerships have worked wonders in fighting crime,” The Economist, April 8, 2006.
115. Department of Correctional Services, “Inmate Gender and Racial Composition as on the last day of 2008/06,”
http://www.dcs.gov.za/WebStatistics/ (accessed July 2008).
116. Tim Wise, “The Color of Deception,” November 19, 2004,
www.zmag.org (accessed July 2008).
117. Denise Noe, “The Wichita Horror,” truTV Crime Library,
http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/classics/carr_brothers/index.html (accessed July 2008).
118. Nicholas Stix, “Assailant Gets 422 Years for Attack on Raceless Victim,” VDARE.com, July 27, 2008,
http://blog.vdare.com/archives/2008/07/27/assailant-gets-422-years-for-attack-on-raceless-victim/ (accessed July 2008).
119. Rodney Warwick, “Is SA crime a ‘race war’?”, Cape Argus, April 5, 2008,
http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4338427 (accessed July 2008).
Whites have been told to accept their lot. Or “[to] continue to whinge until blue in the face,” as Charles Nqakula counseled those who carp about crime.120 Securing subjects in their lives and property has not been a priority for the ANC. South African historian Rodney Warwick believes that the state’s stout indifference does not exist in a void. Ditto the steady, anti-white venom the ANC cobra-head keeps spitting. “The de facto situation is that whites are under criminal siege explicitly because of their ‘race,’” he writes in the Cape Argus. “The black criminal collective consciousness understands whites are now ‘historical fair game.’”121 Warwick sees the physical vulnerability of white South Africans as flowing from a confluence of historical antecedents that have placed them in a uniquely precarious position. “The white minority,” he writes, “surrendered [its] political dominance for non-racial constitutional safeguards.”122 By foreswearing control over the state apparatus, whites ceded mastery over their destiny, vesting their existential survival in a political dispensation: a liberal democracy. In a needlessly optimistic assumption, whites imagined blacks too would be bound by the same political abstractions, and would relinquish race in favor of a constitutional design as an organizing principle in the society they now controlled. Having surrendered without defeat,123 for a tepid peace, Europeans are, moreover, particularly and uniquely vulnerable within this political dispensation because of their history on the continent. Remedial historical revisionism notwithstanding, South Africa—with its space program and skyscrapers—was not exactly the product of the people currently dismantling it. Instead, it was the creation of British and Dutch colonists and their descendants. For what they’ve achieved and acquired—and for the sins of apartheid—they are the objects of envy and racial enmity.
A chronicler of Africa, the observations of African-American journalist Keith Richburg agree with Warwick’s. Richburg believes that on the Dark Continent, tribal allegiance trumps political persuasion and envy carries the day. He cites the fate of the Tutsi—an alien, Nilotic African people, who formed a minority in Rwanda and Burundi—among the Hutu who are a Bantu people. The Hutu have always resented the tall, imposing Tutsis, who had dominated them on-and-off since the fifteenth century, and whose facial features the lovely supermodel Iman instantiates. When Hutus picked up machetes to slash to bits nearly a million of their Tutsi neighbors in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, they were, on a deeper level, contends Richburg, “slashing at their own perceived ugliness, as if destroying this thing of beauty, this thing they could never really attain, removing it from the earth forever.”124 Are shades of this impulse alive in the savagery inflicted on the European “settlers” of South Africa (and Zimbabwe and the Congo before them)? Who can say for sure? This much I do know: Empowering majorities in Africa has helped, not hindered, the propensity of hostile masses to exact revenge on helpless minorities.
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120. Rory Carroll, “South Africans told to stop ‘whingeing’ [sic] about crime,” The Guardian, June 21, 2006,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jun/21/southafrica.rorycarroll (accessed July 2008).
121. Rodney Warwick, op. cit.
123. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., p. 586.
124. Keith B. Richburg, op. cit .
…the disappearance of nations would have impoverished us no less than if all men had become alike, with one personality and one face. Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colors and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.
My people will not listen unless they are killed.
The farmers of South Africa are being killed off at genocidal rates,” I said to broadcaster John Safran during a 2007 interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Was I being hyperbolic? For the answer, an incredulous Mr. Safran quizzed Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, who heads “Genocide Watch.” Stanton confirmed what scant few among Western media care to chronicle. “The rates at which the farmers are being eliminated, the torture and dehumanization involved—all point to systematic extermination.”1 Since the dawn of democracy, close to ten percent of farming South Africa has been slaughtered in ways that would do Shaka Zulu proud.
The reader will be accustomed by now to gauging murder rates per units of 100,000 people. In low-crime Europe, that rate stands at two murders per 100,000 people a year. In American inner-city ghettos it rises to about forty and above (according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, in New Orleans it’s fifty six per 100,000). By Chris van Zyl’s assessment—van Zyl is safety and security manager for the Transvaal Agricultural Union—Boers are being exterminated at the annual rate of 313 per 100,000 inhabitants,2 3,000 since the election of Mandela in 1994;3 two a week,4 seven in March of 2010,5 “four times as high as is for the rest of the [South African] population,”says Dr. Stanton. This makes farming in South Africa the most dangerous occupation in the world. (Miners, by comparison, suffer 27.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers.6)
But no one who matters is counting. And some are even denying it, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), for instance. Back in 2004, The Economist had already counted 1,500 rural whites dead “in land-related violence.”7 By 2010, the deniers at the SAIRR were finally willing to concede that “not all murders in the country are a function of simple criminal banditry.”8 They still put the figure “conservatively” at only 1,000, even as most news outlets are reporting upwards of 3,000 farmers murdered. The 3,000 figure consists of “some 1,000 white farmers, along with 2000 of their family members.”9 Perhaps the SAIRR has forgotten to factor in the families. The uncomfortable fact that South Africa’s farmers are conservative, Christian, and Caucasian might help explain why the likes of CNN’s Anderson Vanderbilt Cooper have yet to show up in fashionable fatigues to report from this unfashionable front.
As Carte Blanche, a South African current affairs television program, has documented, the victims of this onslaught are almost invariably elderly, law-abiding, God-fearing Afrikaners, murdered in cold blood in ways that beggar belief. The heathens will typically attack on Sundays. On returning from church, the farmer is ambushed. Those too feeble to attend Sunday service are frequently tortured and killed when the rest are worshiping. In one crime scene filmed by Carte Blanche, Bibles belonging to the slain had been splayed across their mangled bodies. In another, an “old man’s hand rests on the arm of his wife of many years.”10 She raped; he, in all likelihood, made to watch. Finally, with their throats slit, they died side by side.
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[*] From his Nobel Prize speech (1970).
1. “A Bloody Harvest,” Carte Blanche, June 29, 2003,
http://beta.mnet.co.za/carteblanche/Article.aspx?Id=2268 (accessed November 29, 2009).
2. Shannon Sherry, “Farm Murders: Fertile soil for friction,” Financial Mail, February 1, 2008.
3. Aidan Hartley, “South Africa World Cup 2010...and the shooting’s already started,” Daily Mail, September, 10, 2009,
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1192088/South-Africa-World-Cup-2010--shootings-started.html#ixzz0kxwkbmYL (accessed April, 2010).
4. Mail Foreign Service and Jane Flanagan, “Nazi salutes and swastikas as hundreds gather for funeral of murdered white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche,” Daily Mail, April 10, 2010.
5. Adriana Stuijt,
6. Rachel Zupek, “World’s Most Dangerous Jobs,” CareerBuilder.com, December 17, 2007.
7. NewsHourOnline, “South Africa’s Land Programs,” April 14, 2004,
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/africa/land/gp_safrica.html (accessed April, 2010).
8. “Statement by the South African Institute of Race Relations on the ramifications of the killing of Eugène Terre’Blanche - 6th April 2010,”
http://www.sairr.org.za/sairr-today/sairr-today-press-release-statement-by-the-south-african-institute-of-race-relations-on-the-ramifications-of-the-killing-of-eugene-terreblanche-6th-april-2010/ (accessed April, 2010).
9. The Economist, “The Price of Freedom,” June 3, 2010, p. 7.
10. “A Bloody Harvest,” op. cit.
There’s an ethereal quality about Beatrice Freitas, who has survived two farm attacks. Her equanimity belies the brutality she has endured. Beatrice and her husband immigrated to South Africa from Madeira forty years ago. They built a thriving nursery near the Mozambican border. It supplied the entire region with beautiful plants. Some people build; others destroy. Beatrice tells her story as she drifts through the stately cycads surrounding the deserted homestead.
When the four men attacked her, Beatrice says, her mind “disappeared.” She and her permanently disabled husband, José, were tied up while the home was ransacked. When the brutes were through, they wanted to know where she kept the iron. They then took her to the laundry room, where two of them raped her, coated her in oil, and applied the iron. They alternated the iron with kicks from their boots. When they were through, twenty five percent of Beatrice’s body was covered in third-degree burns. They suffocated her with a towel, and left her for dead, but she survived. She says the Lord saved her. No one was ever arrested—not then, and not after the couple was attacked three years later. This time José died “in a hail of bullets.” Arrests and convictions are rare. Carte Blanche tells of Dan Lansberg, shot dead in broad daylight. Members of his courageous farming community caught the culprits, but they “escaped” from the local police cells.
Sky News11 sent its correspondent to the northern province of South Africa, where viewers are introduced to Herman Dejager. Before retiring every night, Herman prepares to fight to the death to protect what’s his. He checks his bulletproof vest, loads the shotgun, and drapes ammunition rounds on the nightstand. You see, Herman’s father died in his arms, shot in the face by intruders.
Kaalie Botha’s parents were not so lucky: “You can’t kill an animal like they killed my mom and father. You can’t believe it.” The Achilles tendons of Kaalie’s seventy-one-year-old father had been severed, so he couldn’t flee. He was then hacked in the back until he died, and his body was dumped in the bush. His wife, Joey, had her head bashed in by a brick, wielded with such force that the skull “cracked like an egg.”
Murdered farmers are often displayed like trophies. According to Dr. Stanton, who was “responsible for drafting the UN resolutions that created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,” there are eight stages of genocide. Dehumanization is the third. Stanton is convinced that these “hate crimes” amount to genocide under the convention.12 “Genocide is always organized, usually by the state,” he has written at Genocide Watch’s website. The farmers believe, seconds Sky News, that “these attacks are a government-sanctioned attempt to purge South Africa of white land owners, as has already happened in Zimbabwe.”13
“Rather than simply reflecting SA’s overall high crime rate, murders against farmers,” contends van Zyl, “… are part of an orchestrated strategy to drive white farmers from their land.”14 This verdict accords with the truth that for these murders, robbery is seldom the motive. Rarely is any valuable item removed from these grisly crime scenes. For the edification of “racism”-spotters in the West, the assailants, confirms Stanton, are as ethnically distinct as their victims.
Reluctantly, the South African Human Rights Commission agrees. Its commission’s report fails to break down their figures by color; but it does admit that “the majority of attacks in general … are against white people” and that “there was a considerably higher risk of a white victim of farm attacks being killed or injured than a black victim.”15
Conspiracy is difficult to prove; depraved indifference less so. That the ANC plans to dismantle the Commando System is damning—the Commandos are a private Afrikaner militia that has existed since the 1770s, and is the sole reliable defense at the farmers’ disposal. Contrary to the pro-forma denials issued by the ANC’s fulsome officials, the Daily Mail newspaper confirmed, in February 2006, that the government is still set on forcibly seizing the land of thousands of farmers, should they refuse to settle. By the year 2014, a third of Boer property will have been given to blacks.
True to the dictum that the victim must always be denounced, lodestars for the left like the SA Human Rights Commission, the ANC, “development organizations,”16 and the malfunctioning mass media the world over blame the farmers for mistreating their farmhands, who, understandably, retaliate. Much to its disgrace, America’s Ford Foundation goes as far as to fund “local land NGOs in their efforts to encourage people to claim productive farmland, in many cases without legal basis.”17 However, the Helen Suzman Foundation—whose mission it is to continue the life’s work of the famed progressive parliamentarian for which it is named—found that ninety three percent of farm workers indicate their relationship with their employers is good.”18
In one respect, and in one alone, the excuse-making industry is right: the crimes are indeed personal in nature. As mentioned, theft is seldom the motive. The trouble with excuse-makers is that the extent of such violence is far worse under democracy than it was under apartheid. Back then, farmhands were presumably treated more inhumanely than they are now. But also, back then, those who perpetrated capital crimes were very likely to get caught, and the threat of the scaffold loomed over them. Sixty-nine-year old fourth generation Natal farmer and stockman Nigel Ralfe was but a lad when an elderly farming husband and wife, the Lowes, were murdered by three men who worked near the victims’ Natal-lowlands farm. Once the culprits were eventually captured and tried—not before they had sliced a guard’s throat with a bread knife—their families were ferried to Pretoria for free to see their sons swing on the gallows. Years elapsed before another such crime was committed in that area. The occasion of Mr. Ralfe’s reminiscing? In March of 2010, his own wife Lynette was shot to death by laborers. Given that South Africa now has a political system which, as Mr. Ralfe puts it, is “run by jailbirds,”19 he does not expect his Lynette to get justice.
Could it be that killers kill not because of “racism” or “oppression,” but because they can? Perish the thought.
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11. “Sky News report on racist farm murders in South Africa,” YouTube, July 19, 2006,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2E9oz4dfLs&mode=related&search (accessed November 29, 2009).
12. Carte Blanche, op. cit.
14. Shannon Sherry, op. cit.
15. Aidan Hartley, op. cit.
17. Philip du Toit, The Great South African Land Scandal (Centurion, South Africa, 2004), p. 263.
18. Ibid., p. 252.
19. Farmer’s Weekly, A community shaped by murder, July 30, 2010.
In the new South Africa, there is a renewed appreciation for the old slogan, “Kill the Boer, kill the farmer,” chanted at political rallies and funerals during “The Struggle” (against apartheid). ANC youth leader Peter Mokaba is credited with originating the catch phrase. Mokaba went on to become a legislator and a deputy minister in the Mandela cabinet. By the time he expired in 2002 at the age of only forty-three (rumor has it of AIDS), Mokaba had revived the riff, using it liberally, in defiance of laws against incitement to commit murder. Given the mesmerizing, often murderous, power of the chant—any chant—in African life, many blame Mokaba for the current homicidal onslaught against the country’s white farmers.
Mokaba’s legacy lives on. Late in February of 2010, a senior member of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC)—a competing socialist, racialist political party whose motto is “Africa for the Africans”—set-up a page on the social networking site Facebook. For all to see were comments such as the following, written by one Ahmed El Saud:
Kill the fucking whites now!!! If you afraid for [sic] them, lets [sic] do it for you. In return, you can pay us after the job has been done…text us… We are not afraid for [sic] the whites like your own people…its disgrace [sic]…he ask you and you dont [sic] want to…we will do it Mandela! [sic].20
Other messages matched the savagery of El Saud’s sentences, if not their syntax. One boasted of “an army of 3000 people ready to kill white people within a day if it were called upon to do so.”21 Western Cape PAC chairman Anwar Adams, the responsible functionary, refused to remove the page. Needless to say, his sinecure has not been affected.
The ANC took a pixilated page out of the PAC’s Facebook. Days later, the following eloquent post appeared on a Facebook page under the name of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema:
You fucking white pigs. Malema is our leader. He will kill [President Jacob] Zuma within the next six weeks. “Look ahead, my fellow black people. We will then take our land, and every trespasser, namely white whores, we will rape them and rape them till the last breath is out. “White kids will be burned, especially those in Pretoria and Vrystaat. Men will be tortured while I take a video clip and spread it on YouTube,” read one post. It continued: “Its [sic] true what Malema said, silently we shall kill them… Police will stand together…our leader will lead us to take our land over. Mandela will smile again. “White naaiers, we coming for you! Households will be broken into and families will be slaughtered.22 [Emphasis added]
Was the murderer of seventeen-year-old Anika Smit, also in March of 2010, a Facebook friend of Malema? When Johan Smit bid his bonny daughter goodbye, before leaving the home they shared in north Pretoria, he did not imagine he’d never again see her alive. Once he had returned from work, he found the naked and mutilated corpse of his only child. Her throat had been slashed sixteen times and her hands hacked off.23 She had been raped.
Eugène Terre’Blanche, leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) that seeks the establishment of a homeland for the Afrikaners,24 was alone on his homestead, over the Easter 2010 period,when two farmhands bludgeoned the sixty-nine-year-old separatist to a pulp with pangas[*] and pipes. To leave the old man without a shred of dignity—Crimen injuria in South African law—they pulled down his pants, exposing his privates. Based on hearsay, the pack animals of the Western media insisted that the motive for the murder was a “labor dispute.”
In Malema’s defense, the ANC claimed he was not responsible for the Facebook page. The youth leader might be hard to track down in cyberspace, but Malema performed in person at the University of Johannesburg, stomping about with a group of students and singing, in Zulu, “Shoot the Boers, they are rapists.”25 ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe spin-doctored Malema’s live performance by choosing to dismiss the power of “Kill the Boer.” He maintained, implausibly enough, that the killer phrase does no more than pay homage to the Party’s illustrious history and is “not meant as an incitement to violence against whites.”26
No one who remembers the role of Radio Rwanda (first) and Radio-Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM), next, in galvanizing the Hutu to exterminate the Tutsi “inyenzi” (“cockroaches”) in 1994, can shrug off what is under way in South Africa. Many South African blacks have a pathological preoccupation with variants of “Kill the Boer; kill the farmer” (which is why it is naïve to imagine that banning an incitement to murder will do anything to excise a dark reality embedded so deep in the human heart). In its hypnotic hold on the popular imagination, the mantra resembles the “Kill them before they kill you” slogan that helped excite Hutus to massacre 800,000 of their Tutsi fellow countrymen. In Rwanda, it was the old media that transmitted older hatreds; in Mandela’s South Africa the new media are doing the same.
Is Facebook the face of incitement to genocide in South Africa?
Peter Mokaba’s funeral was attended by Jacob Zuma (not yet President) and his two predecessors, Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela.27 At the sight of the coffined Mokaba, the crowd roared, “Kill the Boer, kill the farmer!” Witnesses will not say whether “Madiba” (to use Mandela’s African honorific) partook, but to dispel any doubts about the esteem in which Mokaba is still held despite his savage slogan, the ANC named a soccer stadium, built for the soccer World Cup, after this son of the New South Africa.
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[*] A kind of machete.
20. Cedric Mboyisa, “‘Kill whites’ Facebook page not ours—PAC,” The Citizen, February 25, 2010.
22. Cedric Mboyisa, “Savagery posted on Facebook,” The Citizen, March 21, 2010.
23. Hilda Fourie, “Murdered girl’s hands cut off,” Beeld, March 12, 2010.
24. AWB (The Afrikaner Resistance Movement), “Information,”
http://www.awb.co.za/inligting_e.htm (accessed April 5, 2010).
25. Peroshni Govender, “South Africa’s ANC defends ‘Kill the Boer’ song,” Reuters, March 30, 2010.
27. Wikipedia, “Peter Mokaba” (accessed March 30, 2010).
So “who are the Afrikaners, or Boers, as they are often called?”, mused Afrikaner activist Dan Roodt. “A hundred years ago, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the popular British writer of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, asked [and answered] much the same question in his book”:
Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country forever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer—the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain.28
In a recent translation of Tacitus’ Annals, a question was raised as to whether “there were any ‘nations’ in antiquity other than the Jews.”29 Upon reflection, one suspects that the same question can be posed about the Afrikaners in the modern era. In April of 2009, President Zuma infuriated the “multicultural noise machine” the world over by stating: “Of all the white groups that are in South Africa, it is only the Afrikaners that are truly South Africans in the true sense of the word. Up to this day, they [the Afrikaners] don’t carry two passports, they carry one. They are here to stay.”30 As a white South African who traded her passport for another, I have to agree with the president. A social conservative and a proud Zulu, Zuma has exhibited a far greater understanding of—and affinity for—the Afrikaner than did his deracinated predecessors.
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28. Dan Roodt, The Scourge of the ANC: Two Essays, PRAAG, (Cape Town, 2004), pp. 95-96.
29. Barbara Levick, “Tacitus: Annals: translated by A. J. Woodman,” The Times Literary Supplement, February 11, 2005, p. 28.
30. Jenni O’Grady And Natasha Marrian, “Zuma: ‘It’s only the Afrikaners who are truly South African,’” Mail & Guardian, April 3, 2009.
How formidable an antagonist “the modern Boer” was could have been deduced from history well before Conan Doyle wrote. Admittedly, the first European ever to see South Africa was not a Dutchman but a Portuguese: Antonio de Saldanha, back in 1503.31 Saldanha Bay still bears this sea-captain’s name. For all practical purposes, though, South Africa’s white history begins a century and a half later, with the first Dutch settlement in the region (and the foundation of what would become Cape Town) occurring in 1652. The Puritans have 350 years of history on the continent of Africa—as long as their American cousins have been in North America.
Despite the climatic problems that Dutch settlers found locally—poor soil, few local industry prospects, extreme distance from major world markets, and nothing like the trading opportunities supplied by other outposts of the Dutch empire, such as the East Indies (today’s Indonesia)—a robust spirit of independence and patriotism soon manifested itself. As early as 1707, a youth named Hendrik Bibault, of Stellenbosch, defied the local authorities who had come to arrest him for a misdemeanor by shouting “I am an Afrikaner!” (“Ik ben een Afrikaander!”).32 That exclamation has become epochal in tracing the birth of Afrikaner nationhood. Woe to those Britons who underestimated such pride. The great age of the voortrekkers—that is, Afrikaners seeking to leave British-controlled territory to settle what would afterwards become Natal, Transvaal, and the Orange Free State—started in the 1830s. Most notable of all was the 1836-1837 Great Trek, which included among its participants the very young (eleven years old) Paul Kruger, future Boer President. Affectionately known by his supporters as “Oom [Uncle] Paul”, Kruger would achieve world fame in the 1890s for the Old Testament-derived fervor which he shared with so many of his compatriots—a fervor analogous to that of American Puritans in the seventeenth century—and for his tenacious championship of Boer rights against anyone who might threaten them.
The Grahamstown Manifesto, issued in February 1837 by Afrikaner leader Piet Retief, became a founding document of the Afrikaner heritage. It set out the grievances which Retief and his people felt at the way Britain had treated them as second-class citizens: particularly in the matter of slavery, which Britain had recently abolished without adequately compensating Afrikaners. Overall, the Boers favored a “loose master-servant relationship.” “What they could not accept,” explains historian Donald R. Morris, “was the concept that their servants were their legal equals.”33 Matters were further inflamed by the influx of missionaries who “displayed more zeal than common sense,” and began laying charges of murder and maltreatment against the Boers. “Most of the accusations evaporated in the cold light of evidence,” but “the very fact that a man could be forced to leave his family unprotected while he traveled to a distant court to defend himself against the capricious charges of an irresponsible Hottentot was deeply disturbing”34 to the Boers.
The following year, Zulu king Dingane slew Retief and one hundred of his followers. Retief “had proceeded openly and carelessly, and made no effort to understand Dingane. The Zulu monarch was in a state of deadly fear, and he had no intention of allowing an armed European folk who had beaten the Matabele—something the Zulus had tried to do but failed—to settle in numbers on his borders.”35 But a terrible revenge came at the December 1838 Battle of Blood River (Slag van Bloedrivier, to quote the Afrikaans phrase). There, 3,000 Zulus perished at the hands of Retief’s fellow Boer general Andries Pretorius.
For as long as white rule lasted, this victory (attained by a spectacularly outnumbered force, it should be noted: Pretorius commanded only around five hundred men, not a single one of whom was killed) retained a sacred significance in Afrikaner culture. Especially notable was Pretorius’s defense strategy: the laager, whereby wagons would be placed to form the shape of a circle, with horses and cattle on the inside of the circle, to protect them from marauders. Pretorius did not invent this method himself. After all, there are records of similar formations being made by rebels in Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic) as early as the fifteenth century. But he used the method to devastating effect. In 1949, as an act of homage to Blood River’s heroes, the government unveiled a Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, the city which owes its very name to Pretorius. The dome of this monument’s roof is structured so that at noon on the anniversary of the battle, a ray of sunlight falls directly onto the cenotaph.36
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31. W. A. de Klerk, op. cit., p. 41.
32. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., p. 22.
33. Donald R. Morris, The Washing Of The Spears: The Rise And Fall Of The Zulu Nation, (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1998), p. 127.
35. Ibid., p. 138.
36. David Harrison, The White Tribe of Africa: South Africa in Perspective, (London, 1981), p. 15.
With the discovery of gold and diamonds in the late nineteenth century, dreams of Anglo-Saxon empire made a British-versus-Afrikaner conflict inevitable. In the 1899-1902 Boer War, a guerrilla-dominated force of no more than 87,000 Afrikaners—who had been perfecting guerrilla strategies for decades—held at bay, for nearly three years, no fewer than 447,000 troops from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well as Britain. Through sheer frustration, British commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener established concentration camps in which approximately 26,000 Afrikaners, mostly women and children, perished.
The outrage which these camps inspired burned itself into the Afrikaner soul, and remains vivid there even now.[*] Surviving photographs from the camps can still give today’s beholders—however desensitized they might be by the legacy of two world wars and countless other massacres—a salutary shock. They suggest nothing so much as emaciated Jewish victims of Nazi atrocities. During the early twentieth century nothing like these pictures had ever been imagined in the West before. As a result, the condemnation which the camps provoked in Europe and America was fully matched by British censure of them. Britain’s future Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman called them “methods of barbarism.” Boer commander Louis Botha subsequently paid tribute to Campbell-Bannerman’s outspokenness: “Three words made peace and union in South Africa: ‘methods of barbarism.’” It deeply impressed Botha that “the leader of one of the great English parties had had the courage to say this thing, and to brave the obloquy which it brought upon him. So far from encouraging them [the Boers] to a hopeless resistance, it touched their hearts and made them think seriously of the possibility of reconciliation.”37
By the Treaty of Vereeniging (May 1902) Afrikanerdom finally surrendered. Representatives at the surrender ceremony included three future South African Prime Ministers: Louis Botha, Jan Smuts, and J. B. M. Hertzog. Nevertheless, reconciliation proved superficial. Conan Doyle saluted the Afrikaners as valiant opponents; such generosity of spirit was all too rare among the British elsewhere. Britain’s High Commissioner in South Africa, Lord Milner, announced his intention to “knock the bottom out of the great Afrikaner nation.”38 The preferred method took the form not of violence, but of petty slights. South African schools thereafter had to conduct instruction in English, save for three hours a week in Dutch, with severe and humiliating punishment for any schoolchild caught speaking Dutch outside those hours. “I am a donkey—I speak Dutch,” was the sort of sign a refractory Dutch-speaking schoolchild would be compelled to wear in public.39 Admittedly, during World War I both Botha and Smuts favored Britain; but beneath the Anglophile surface an increasing Afrikaner linguistic consciousness simmered, particularly after Afrikaans became an official tongue in 1924.40 There occurred a new emphasis on Afrikaans in literary and academic contexts. As one leading recent historian puts it: “Afrikaans became one of four languages in the world—Hebrew, Hindi and Indonesian are the others—which, in the course of the twentieth century, were standardized and used in all branches of life and learning.”41
With World War II’s outbreak, Prime Minister Hertzog, openly neutralist, lost office; Smuts (espousing a renewed alliance with Britain) took his place; and many who found both men insufficiently radical formed their own movement, the Ossewabrandwag (OB), which—while clandestine—succeeded in pulling Afrikaner opinion toward the political right. Smuts, more popular abroad than at home, fatally underestimated his opponents, telling the Rand Daily Mail newspaper in 1948: “I anticipate victory in the election.”42 That year Smuts’ United Party lost easily to the rurally-oriented Nationalist Party, led by hard-liner Daniel Malan.[†]
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[*] Which has not stopped Andrew Roberts, veteran apologist for British governmental crimes, from attempting (A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, London, 2007) to deny the camps’ horrors: “The ‘war crime’ [Roberts wrote] for which the British have been most commonly held responsible during the Boer War was the supposed [sic!] ill-treatment of Afrikaans women and children in camps there. In fact, these ‘concentration’ camps – the term had no pejorative implication until the Nazi era – were set up for the Boers’ protection off the veldt, and were run as efficiently and humanely as possible … A civilian surgeon Dr Alec Kay, writing in 1901, gave a further reason why the death rates were so high: ‘The Boers in the camps often depend on home remedies, with deplorable results’” (p. 31). Further details of (and quotations from) Roberts’s propaganda can be found in R. J. Stove, “Court Historian,” The American Conservative, September 22, 2008.
[†] Smuts’s defeat infuriated King George VI, who conferred on him the Order of Merit at Cape Town the following year. Nationalist leaders boycotted the ritual, and “the King burst out characteristically, ‘I’d like to shoot them all!’ to which the Queen [Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother] replied in her voice of gentle remonstrance, half-smiling, ‘But Bertie, you can’t shoot everybody’—as though he could at least shoot some.” (Elizabeth Longford, The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes, [Oxford, 1991], p. 483.)
37. J. A. Spender, The Life of the Right Hon Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, 2 vols. (London, 1923), p. 351.
38. David Harrison, op. cit., p. 48.
39. Ibid., pp. 52, 55.
40. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., p. 376.
41. Ibid ., p. xvii.
42. David Harrison, op. cit., p. 151.
Under Malan (Prime Minister till his retirement in 1954), apartheid in the true sense began. His government outlawed mixed marriages, banned sexual relations between races, and set up the Group Areas Act to regulate internal migration. J. G. Strijdom, Malan’s successor as Prime Minister, continued such policies from 1954 to 1958 (he died in office). So did Strijdom’s own successor, the more charismatic and intellectual Hendrik Verwoerd, who had a philosophy doctorate from Stellenbosch University. Once Verwoerd assured an interviewer that he always slept well, however demanding the circumstances, since “one does not have the problem of worrying whether one perhaps could be wrong.”43 Confirming his enviable self-confidence is his portrait—published August 26, 1966—on the cover of Time magazine: a publication which, it is fair to suggest, would not dream of even attempting to discuss such a figure disinterestedly these days.
“South Africa,” Time conceded in its accompanying article, “is in the middle of a massive boom. Attracted by cheap labor, a gold-backed currency and high profits, investors from all over the world have plowed money into the country, and the new industries that they have started have sent production, consumption—and the demand for labor—soaring.” Again, from the same article: “Verwoerd often boasts that the blacks of South Africa are better off than anywhere else on the continent. Economically he is right. What with decent paychecks (minimum daily wage for an unskilled laborer is $2.80) and easy credit, many an urban African can afford to buy … wood furniture for his dining room, neat school uniforms for his children, and in some cases even a car for himself. Every year countless thousands of blacks from nearby countries flood into the republic looking for work.”44 Despite or because of these facts, Verwoerd became personally detested overseas, as his predecessors had not been: particularly after the 1960 Sharpeville shootings (in which sixty-nine blacks perished), South Africa’s withdrawal from the British Commonwealth, its move to republicanism, and the 1964 sentencing of Nelson Mandela to life behind bars for terrorism. (Who would have guessed back in 1964 that Mandela would, in little more than a generation, be regarded as everyone’s favorite cuddly role-model?)
Yet Demitrio Tsafendas, a parliamentary messenger who stabbed Verwoerd to death in Cape Town (September 1966), had no political agenda. He blamed his action, instead, on “a huge tapeworm with serrated edges, which tormented his body.”45 This being surely the most surreal alibi any killer had hitherto provided (though California’s 1979 “Twinkie Defense” subsequently rivaled it), a bemused court spared Tsafendas the supreme penalty; and he eventually died of natural causes in a mental home.
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43. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., p. 520.
44. Anon, “The Great White Laager,” Time, August 26, 1966.
45. Alexander Hepple, Verwoerd, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England, 1967), p. 203.
Upon Verwoerd’s murder, former Police Minister J. B. Vorster—whose ultra-rightist background and OB membership had sent him to prison during the war—became head of government.46 In foreign affairs he modified his predecessor’s policy by doing what to Verwoerd would have seemed unthinkable: abandoning support for white Rhodesia. Since 1965 Rhodesia’s Prime Minister Ian Smith had defied Western elite opinion by refusing to countenance black majority rule for his country; and for the decade after 1965 he had been able to count on South African support for his policy. Then Vorster altered course, deciding that in order to get black African nations on side, it would be needful to abandon South Africa’s support for the Smith government. Some might see—certainly Smith, when writing his memoirs, saw—in the subsequent fate of Vorster’s party a lesson on the theme “What goes around, comes around.”[*]
In home affairs, nonetheless, Vorster kept his promise “to walk further along the road set by … Verwoerd.”47 It is now known that under Vorster, South Africa covertly began a nuclear weapons project.48 What drove Vorster from power was a domestic scandal which quickly became known as “Muldergate,” after Vorster’s Information Minister Connie Mulder. Three of the cabinet’s most powerful men—Vorster himself, Mulder, and Mulder’s deputy Eschel Roodie—were using, it turned out, funds secretly siphoned off from the Defense Department, in order to subsidize ostensibly “independent” English-language pro-government newspapers. Nowadays, when terms such as “spin-doctors,” “astroturf” and “sock puppets” have entered common discourse, such media tactics by a beleaguered political party would surprise nobody; but in 1978 even those who most detested white rule in South Africa assumed that it was run by personally incorruptible individuals. All the greater was the public outrage at the discovery that this personal honesty no longer prevailed. (Americans in 2010 scarcely have the right to complain about the methods of “Muldergate,” since Iraq’s Radio Sawa—controlled by the U.S. government—has always operated on much the same principle, while still being considered perfectly legitimate by neoconservatives. As part of “exporting democracy,”conquered Iraqi youngsters were flooded with the sounds of J.Lo’s caterwauling and Jay-Z’s gutter grunts, piped through American-controlled airwaves.)
Suitably disgraced,Vorster resigned from the Prime Ministry in 1978 to make way for P. W. Botha, yet another wartime OB member (and, incidentally, someone who had opposed the Muldergate chicanery from the start). Although Botha modified apartheid legislation, sometimes softening it, the international campaign against white rule—involving shrill demands for disinvestment—intensified. In 1984 Botha (made President under a new constitution) declared a state of emergency; but the domestic situation grew worse and worse, while the practice—particularly among the Xhosa—of “necklacing” suspected police informers attained international ill repute. (This has already been alluded to in Chapter One of the present book.) According to a 1997 statement by the South African Press Association, the first-ever necklacing was of a girl named Maki Skosana, who in July 1985 was necklaced after being accused baselessly of involvement in the killing of several youths.49 “With our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country,” proclaimed Mandela’s increasingly deranged wife Winnie to The New York Times on February 20, 1989.50 Between September 1984 and December 1993 the death toll from civil strife amounted to 18,997, including approximately 600 white deaths.51
A severe stroke forced Botha from power in 1989. Nothing in the background of his successor, President, F. W. de Klerk, indicated the revolutionary policies he would pursue. Among much else, De Klerk scrapped the ban on the ANC and other opposition parties; freed Mandela from incarceration; acceded to Namibia’s independence; and junked the nuclear weapons. As is mentioned in Chapter Seven, a 1992 referendum, asking white voters if they favored de Klerk’s reforms, resulted in sixty eight percent of respondents saying “yes.” And for good reason: de Klerk had made his views clear to constituents: “negotiations would only be about power-sharing.”52 At the time, these respondents generally trusted de Klerk, who had specifically condemned majority rule. “While quite prepared to abolish apartheid and remove obstacles to negotiations, de Klerk did not envisage competitive elections and a system that could reduce the NP to a perpetual opposition party.”53 By the time the average “yes” voter discerned the fact that de Klerk had no intention of maintaining this opposition when push came to shove, it was too late. With Mandela, de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize the following year; and a Transitional Executive Council was set up, to oversee the forthcoming general election. This event, occurring on April 27, 1994, brought Mandela to power with over sixty percent of the vote.
Of course, the election was scarcely the peace-and-love-fest you might have gathered from Jimmy Carter or his fellow Western pundits. Even the election report issued by the Library of Congress, hardly a hotbed of Afrikaner sentiment, admitted that “in ANC-controlled areas, some of that party’s activists intimidated IFP, NP, and even liberal Democratic Party (DP) organizers and disrupted their campaign rallies, despite ANC leaders’ pleas for tolerance.”54 The harsh truth is that “large-scale intimidation made it nearly impossible for rival parties to campaign in the African townships.”55 (More about the racial aspects of the 1994 poll can be found in Chapter Seven.) Severe class divisions also marked the poll, and would go on to mark subsequent polls in 1999 and 2004.56 No such considerations have been allowed to impinge upon the typical cosseted Western journalist, for whom dreams about the “Rainbow Nation” continue as a substitute for reality. So much about modern South Africa is reminiscent of the famous line in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
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[*] Ian Smith, Bitter Harvest: Zimbabwe and the Aftermath of Independence, (London, 2001), quotes acidly (p. 194) a South African politician who “had worked with all four National Party prime ministers—Malan, Strijdom, Verwoerd and Vorster—since 1948. With the first three, when they gave an undertaking they kept it, he said; but Vorster would tell you one thing today, and do the opposite tomorrow…too cunning by half!”
46. Christoph Marx (trans. S. Gordon-Schröder), Oxwagon Sentinel: Radical Afrikaner Nationalism and the History of the Ossewabrandwag, (Pretoria, 2008), p. 325.
47. Martin Meredith, Nelson Mandela: A Biography, (New York City, 1998), p. 323.
48. Hermann Giliomee, op. cit., pp. 576-578.
49. Anon., “Truth Commission Looks At First ‘Necklace’ Murder,” South African Press Association, February 4, 1997.
50. Martin Meredith, p. 375.
51. Hermann Giliomee, p. 632.
53. Hermann Giliomee, “Democratization in South Africa,” Political Science Quarterly, (Volume 110, Number 1, 1995), p. 93.
54. Library of Congress Report, “The 1994 Elections,”
55. Hermann Giliomee, “Democratization in South Africa,” p. 103.
56. Carlos García-Rivero, “Race, Class, and Underlying Trends in Party Support in South Africa,” Party Politics, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2006), pp. 57-75.
How paradoxical, then, that a people, “who are widely credited with having fought Africa’s first anticolonial struggles, who are native to the land and not colonist in any normal sense, came to establish [what came to be considered] one of the world’s most retrogressive colonial systems.”57 But so the Afrikaner leadership did. The honing of apartheid by the Afrikaner National Party started in 1948 after Daniel Malan assumed the Prime Minister’s post, although elements of the program were part of the policy first established in 1923 by the British-controlled government. There was certainly nothing Mosaic about the maze of racial laws that formed the edifice of apartheid. The Population Registration Act required that all South Africans be classified by bureaucrats in accordance with race. The Group Areas Act “guaranteed absolute residential segregation.” Pass laws regulated the comings-and-goings of blacks (though not them alone), and ensured that black workers left white residential areas by nightfall.
Easily the most egregious aspect of flushing blacks out of white areas was the manner in which entire communities were uprooted and dumped in bleak, remote, officially designated settlement sites—“vast rural slums with urban population densities, but no urban amenities beyond the buses that represented their slender lifelines to the cities.”58 Still, apartheid South Africa sustained far more critical scrutiny for its non-violent (if unjust) resettlement policies than did the U.S. for its equally unjust but actively violent mass resettlement agenda in South Vietnam. Between 1964 and 1969, the American army uprooted 3.5 million South Vietnamese, the process including massacres and the razing of numerous villages.59
Nor should we forget previous American military misdeeds. There was, for instance, the 1890 Wounded Knee bloodbath in South Dakota (where a U.S. cavalry regiment wiped out, within an hour, between 150 and 300 Native Americans, women and children included). A decade later occurred the war in the Philippines, where a million Filipinos perished at American hands. The 1990 book In Our Image, written by historian Stanley Kurnow, reports that at least 200,000 of the dead Filipinos in that war were civilians. Many of the civilians breathed their last in disease-ridden concentration camps which were known as reconcentrados. Conservative writer Michelle Malkin credits herself with shattering the “liberal” libel of equivalence between America’s World War II internment camps and Germany’s World War II death camps. Other than Holocaust deniers who claim the gas chambers were really Jacuzzis, no one thinks Manzanar or Minidoka matched the horror of Majdanek. The fact is, however, that between 1942 and 1945, the FDR administration dispensed with habeas corpus in order to relocate en masse, and confine in camps, some 112,000 Japanese aliens and American-born citizens of Japanese ancestry. That the Japanese internees were not gassed, starved or shot does not justify penning them in camps, often for years, without charging them with any crime, and while freezing their bank accounts. Nothing in Afrikaner rule, even at its least enlightened, can match such episodes in American history.
The offending Nats, as they were known, began to dismantle apartheid almost a decade before the transition to democracy; by 1986, the party had already brought down apartheid’s pillars. “Beginning in the early 1980s, the South African government expanded democracy by drawing colored people and Indians into Parliament.”60 By the end of the 1980s, the pernicious influx control laws had been scrapped, public facilities desegregated, and racial sex laws repealed. “Blacks were allowed full freehold rights to property,”61 and admission to historically white universities.
As the vignette following the next will attest, I was still doing battle with what remained of apartheid in 1995.
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57. Joseph Lelyveld, Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black And White, (Johannesburg, 1986), p. 54.
58. Ibid., p. 120.
59. Sophie Quinn-Judge, “Lawless Zones,” The Times Literary Supplement, February 26, 2010.
60. Hermann Giliomee, “Liberal and Populist Democracy in South Africa: Challenges, New Threats to Liberalism,” The South African Institute of Race Relations, address delivered February 15, 1996, p. 4.
61. Hermann Giliomee, The Afrikaners, p. 613.
America, being a rib from the British ribcage, was built on liberal individualism; Afrikaner culture was first and foremost grounded in the survival of the Volk. This is not to say that Afrikaners were not fiercely individualistic; they were, even more so than early Americans. However, to perceive the fundamental way in which the Afrikaner and American creeds differed early on we must first examine the former’s ideas of what a nation and a state were, respectively. For the Boers, the nation encompassed “the land, the culture, the terrain, the people.”62 The state, on the other hand, had no such prestige for the Boers, who regarded it as just “the coercive apparatus of bureaucrats and politicians.”63 Against this apparatus, above all, the Boer rebelled. The nineteenth century found him still resisting majority rule, by which time Americans had thoroughly submitted to it. Although the Boer’s outlook remained passionately political, his preference was for a parochial self-rule.64 It might be said, then, that if in the Americans the vagaries of the frontier bred an atomistic individualism, those same vagaries bred in the Afrikaner a very different attitude, namely, a keen sense of the collective and the need to preserve it. “The worth of the nation is even higher than the worth of the individual,”65 exclaimed one Volk philosopher.
To the existential threat which they faced on the Dark Continent, Afrikaners responded by circling the wagons metaphorically (much as, during the 1830s, they had done literally) and devising the corpus of racial laws known as apartheid. Monomaniacal Westerners have come to think and speak of apartheid as a theory of white supremacy. It was not. The policy of “separate development,” as it was euphemized, was not a theory of racial supremacy, but a strategy for survival. “We shall fight for our existence and the world must know it. We are not fighting for money or possessions. We are fighting for the life of our people,” thundered Verwoerd.66 Malan had already used different words for the same sentiment, announcing his devotion to “My God, my people, my country.”67 Strijdom believed unswervingly that if they were to survive as a group, whites would need to retain a position of guardianship,68 and that ultimately, white hegemony was indispensable for the good of all. Those intellectuals who heralded from the University of Stellenbosch phrased the issue thus:
The granting of political rights to the Bantu, of the kind which would satisfy their political aspirations, was altogether impossible in a mixed community, since such a step would endanger the present position and survival of the European population. If this danger was to be avoided, and at the same time the Europeans were not to violate their own conscience and moral standards, a policy of separate development would prove the only alternative.69
To that end, a “tortuous social structure” was erected to keep blacks from forming a political majority in South Africa proper. Africans were assigned to homelands in accordance with tribal affiliation, still a central organizing principle across Africa. These “black satrapies”70 were to function as “national and political homes for the different Bantu communities;”71 in the “Bantustans,” blacks were to exercise political rights.
Hermann Giliomee—whose grand historical synthesis, The Afrikaners: Biography of a People, is referenced extensively in this work—agrees that Afrikaner anxieties were overwhelmingly existential, rather than racial. Giliomee is adamant that the apartheid policy did not spring from “racist convictions or antiquated religious doctrines” (even if these convictions were at times present in specific Afrikaners themselves), but from an overriding need for security.
For leading thinkers in the NP such arguments almost completely missed the point because the security of the Afrikaners as a dominant minority, and not as a race per se, was what concerned them. The Cape Town-Stellenbosch axis of the nationalist intelligentsia, which was the most influential lobby in Malan’s NP, almost without exception defended apartheid not as an expression of white superiority but on the grounds of its assumed capacity to reduce conflict by curtailing points of interracial contact.72
Giliomee contends that “apartheid was not uniquely abhorrent and had much in common with Western colonialism and American segregation.”73 Another of the historian’s apparent heresies has it that “attempts to depict the nationalist leaders as proto-fascists showed a poor understanding of both the Nazi and the Afrikaner nationalist movement.”74 Giliomee’s deviationism has prompted a critical mauling, courtesy of Patrick J. Furlong—another liberal historian, an expatriate safely ensconced in the U.S. since 1983. Furlong accused Giliomee of coming close to “perilously defending the system that he so long opposed”—even growling at Giliomee for becoming an “outspoken champion of the Afrikaans language and culture” (as if these were intrinsically bad).
In retrospect, it is easy for me to see the merits of Giliomee’s argument for “the essential moderation of Afrikaner nationalism.”75 Anybody who lived, as I lived, among Afrikaners during the apartheid era can testify that crime and communism were foremost on their minds. To rationalize the cruel, Kafkaesque laws of apartheid, Afrikaners spoke of the Swart Gevaar (which meant the “Black Threat”), and of the Rooi Gevaar (the “Red Threat”). My Afrikaner neighbor would regularly admonish me for my incipient liberalism: “You want Black rule so badly, look around you at the rest of Africa! Anglos like you simply don’t understand what’s at stake.”
We didn’t. But when the going got tough, the Afrikaners, stayed behind; we upped and left, leaving those we loved. One beloved person was Ethel, whose Xhosa name was Nomasomi.
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62. Ilana Mercer, “Nation, State & Mass Immigration,” WND.COM, April 7, 2006.
64. Donald R. Morris, op cit., p 247.
65. Ibid., p. 250.
66. W. A. de Klerk, op cit., p. 246.
67. Ibid., p. 236.
68. Ibid., p. 230.
69. Ibid., p. 248.
70. Joseph Lelyveld, op cit., p. 64.
71. W. A. de Klerk, op cit., p. 248.
72. Hermann Giliomee, The Afrikaners, p. 497.
73. Ibid., p. 208.
74. Ibid., p. 211.
75. Ibid., p. 208.
I was on time; Ethel, my longtime housekeeper, was early. That was her habit; her work ethic. She and I had arranged to meet at the equivalent of what is today the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town. Before departing for Canada (and then the U.S.), I had paid Ethel a lump sum in lieu of a pension. However, I wanted to see about getting government retirement benefits for her. Ethel doesn’t know this book is dedicated to her, among others. We corresponded for years. I’d send self-addressed envelopes and bank drafts; she, brief, achingly beautiful letters. Ethel was near illiterate, but the power of her idiom was enough to punch a hole in my heart. She addressed me as “My Dear Eyes.”
Dressed to the nines, Jim (Ethel’s husband) and the children sat on the bench waiting. To claim welfare benefits one had to be in The System. Although this was 1995, by which time apartheid was all but dismantled, these were early days still. The laws on the books had not caught up with de facto law. At this stage, most blacks remained assigned to a specific Bantustan, and as a result, they were officially considered to be aliens in South Africa proper. This would explain why Ethel and her family did not appear on the lists of South African citizens. The lady clerk raised an eyebrow; our little group must have made quite an impressive spectacle. I knew we were in for a tussle when said clerk told me that there was no trace of the family in “The System”—and certainly no birth certificates. If the family wished to claim benefits, they’d have to “go home” to their designated “homeland,” Transkei. It was going to be a long day.
“The Cape is their home,” I told the clerk. They have been here for a generation. I introduced each child to the clerk by name, and suggested that she bring them all into official existence by issuing them with birth certificates. “Start with the youngest, Peliwe, please.” We would not be budging without these items. The clerk left and reappeared with the requested certificates.
Ethel’s children were now in The System and eligible for a variety of assistance programs. I persisted: “What about Mr. and Mrs. Khala?” Jim had a debilitating, work-related lung ailment and would need disability benefits. He could hardly walk more than five feet. The clerk was coy: “Mrs. Mercer, the two are not married. They must have had a tribal ceremony.” “Well then, let’s have us a wedding,” I smiled, as it appeared, winningly. For I won. The woman was beginning to understand what it would take to be rid of me. She departed and returned accompanied by the in-house magistrate. With me as their witness, Jim and Ethel solemnized their twenty-five-year-old union.
To the orgiastic killing spree that threatens the “Teutonic folk who have burrowed so deeply into Africa,”76 recent years have added the horrors of a Stalinist land grab. The ANC regime is preoccupied with redistributing white-owned land to poor blacks.77 By 2015 (so the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has promised), thirty percent of all agricultural land will have been handed over to blacks. It looks as if, in the ANC leaders’ eyes, the fewer farmers there are to negotiate with, the better.
76 Arthur Conan Doyle, The Great Boer War, Chapter I (London, 1902).
77 The Economist, op. cit., p. 9.
Simon Barber, “the United States representative of the International Marketing Council of South Africa,” categorically rejects the common perception that South Africa “looks set to sail the same course as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe in pursuing a policy of ‘uncompensated expropriation of land held by whites for black resettlement.’”78 Barber wants there to be no misunderstanding about the “South African government’s land restitution and redistribution policies.” He’d like Americans to think of the process—which has seen thousands of white citizens turned out of homesteads which their black compatriots covet—as no different to the eminent domain process in the United States.
Sadly, he has a point. Eminent domain abuses in the U.S. are wide-ranging. Although the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution sanctions taking for public use only and with just compensation, as with all things constitutional, case law has intervened to redefine and broaden the meaning of public use. There exists, however, one big difference between the two countries. It is this: America’s eminent-domain depredations notwithstanding, the U.S. has yet to establish a legal procedure to effect the forcible transfer of property from one private owner to another in the name of social justice.
More closely resembling the American eminent-domain laws was the apartheid-era Expropriation Act of 1975. The new “improved” Expropriation Bill of 2008 is a different matter entirely. Enforcing this procedure took longer than expected, but the ANC finally tired of the old-style courts-adjudicated legal system (with its long-standing mixture of Roman and Dutch traditions) as it applied to land restitution, replacing it with a blend of tribal and totalitarian laws. These laws duly dispensed with pesky due-process formalities, such as matching a willing buyer with a willing seller and arriving at fair compensation. With the 2008 Bill, the dominant ruling party had empowered itself—and “any organ of state, at any level of government”79—to take ownership and possession of property “simply by giving notice to the expropriated owner.” “The state would make the ‘final’ determination of the compensation due, subject only to a limited form of court review.” Both movable and immovable property is up for grabs—“livestock and farming implements, residential homes, business premises and equipment, patents, and shares.”80 The 2008 Bill, shelved temporarily before the 2009 elections but not forgotten, has led in short order to talk about nationalization.
However short the shrift the SAIRR gives to the evidence of racial rage imprinted in the ravaged remains of thousands of rural white South Africans, it is, mercifully, willing to disbelieve Zuma and his Land Reform director-general. Despite the evidence to the contrary, they claim they do not intend to nationalize farm land. The facts speak otherwise. In March 2010 a plan was tabled in Parliament for turning “all productive land into a national asset leased to farmers.”81 Such sentiments are hardly new. True to a promise made in its 1955 communistic Freedom Charter, the ANC has already nationalized the “mineral wealth beneath the soil,” and the water rights. And now, to supplement the Expropriation Bill, the Party has published a policy paper that suggests two land-use models other than the system of freehold title, and warns of the need to water-down the already weak property-rights provision in the Constitution.
This should pose no great problem. The entrenchment of a property clause in the South African Constitution has angered judicial activists, who conflate the protection of private property with the entrenchment of white privilege. Their fears are overblown. I wager that nationalization might not necessitate a change to the South African Constitution, since the latter allows a good deal of mischief in the name of the greater good, including land expropriation in the “public interest.”
The Hobbesean choice which the ANC plans to present to white farmers is between making them mere tenants of the state (by declaring all productive land a national asset under state control) and, on the other hand, “placing a ceiling on how much land individual farmers can own.”82 Which, in practice, limits economies of scale, and with them successful commercial agriculture. “One farmer, one farm” was how Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF described this policy. The government still asserts that it is merely putting in place a “mechanism for taking back failed farms from black farmers.” But the SAIRR has exposed such assurances as “a red herring to conceal the State’s more plausible intention to wrest control of agricultural production from white commercial farmers.”83
Channeling the ANC, The Economist has mouthed about the alleged need for “making white farmers transfer forty percent of their farms by value to black shareholders.”84 This magazine endearingly describes the ANC as a “friendly monolith.” Friendly? The ANC has already nationalized water and mineral rights, has tabled the Expropriation Bill of 2008, and shares with its Western governmental cheer-squad a willingness to “sacrifice performance for racial ideology.” So talk of further anti-white economic persecution is only logical.
As a matter of daily practice, white farmers are currently being terrorized and threatened with land claims. As if this were not bad enough, they can now expect nationalization. In case Zimbabwe is a distant memory, the nationalization of South Africa’s farms will increase unemployment in the agricultural sector, and with it, rural poverty. That will guarantee mass migration to the cities, with all the attendant problems which this exodus poses. Also, it will undermine South Africa’s ability to meet its food needs and deter investment in the country. And these, so help us, are the positive aspects of land parity.
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78. Simon Barber, “Land ‘expropriation’ in context,” SouthAfrica.info, May 5, 2006.
79. South African Institute For Race Relations, “Institute calls for Expropriation Bill to be withdrawn,” May 15, 2008,
http://www.sairr.org.za/press-office/archive/institute-calls-for-expropriation-bill-to-be-withdrawn-15th-may-2008.html/?searchterm=land%20reform (accessed April 2010).
81. South African Institute For Race Relations, “Warning bells for South Africa,” March 18, 2010,
http://www.sairr.org.za/sairr-today/sairr-today-warning-bells-for-south-africa-18th-march-2010 (accessed May 2010).
82. South African Institute For Race Relations, “Warning bells for South Africa,” March 18, 2010,
(http://www.sairr.org.za/sairr-today/sairr-today-warning-bells-for-south-africa-18th-march-2010) (accessed May 2010).
84. The Economist, op cit., p. 9.
When former farm laborer Mooiman Elias Mahlangu came before Justice Antonie Gildenhuys’ Court, in 1996, to initiate proceedings against farmer Breggie Elizabeth de Jager—claiming her house, land, bakkie (pick-up truck) and other possessions of which he had availed himself during his tenure on her land—Justice Gildenhuys searched the plaintiff’s affidavit for facts. He looked high and low for evidence to support the claims. In what was a harbinger of things to come, Mr. Omar, the plaintiff’s lawyer, asserted that the mere fact of Mahlangu making allegations shifted the burden of proof to the respondent. Justice Gildenhuys, in a crisp, concise decision, reminded Mr. Omar that “substantive law determines where the burden of proof lies,” and that “such a burden is not shifted in the course of the litigation.” The Judge granted the applicant leave to renew the application when all relevant facts had been placed before the Court.85
The same search for facts and fairness is evinced in the claim on Macleantown, a small hamlet approximately forty kilometers northwest of East London, which “was declared a white group area” during 1970. Land owned by blacks was expropriated. The residents were not compensated for the land they lost, and received no title to the land on which they were resettled. The same Court, Justice Gildenhuys, affirmed that the expelled residents had a right to be compensated and ruled that “the forced removal during 1970 had been clearly established.” Once “the involvement of each of the claimants” had been properly shown, alternative state-owned sites were set aside for the purpose of restitution.86
In 2005, by which stage apartheid was little more than a memory, individuals calling themselves the Popela community laid claim to farms in the Moketsi area of the Northern Province, on the grounds that they were dispossessed of their land rights by racially discriminatory law. They cited, in particular, the abolition of the labor tenancy system on the farms, and the institution of a wage-earning system. But Gildenhuys did not oblige them. He ruled that this conversion could not be considered racially discriminatory, and did not constitute grounds for a land claim.87
These decisions exemplify the South African Land Claims Court at its inception, when rules of procedure and evidence applicable in civil actions and familiar to the West were still followed. Some decisions are for the plaintiff; others against him, as expected. This was the law before it was thoroughly “indigenized