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Returning To Jozi


Guest Chris Rimmer
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Guest Chris Rimmer

Following is a draft of an article I've written for The Australian. I'd welcome any input from you guys. I've tried to be as fair and objective as I can ultimately you have to tell it as you see it. Sorry if anyone's offended in the process. I'm leaving for Jo-burg again tomorrow morning and am interested to see if my view is changed. I wrote this 12 months ago. Happy New Year to everyone by the way.

Regards,

Chris

Returing To Jozi

If you want to get an idea of the enormous economic gulf that still exists in South African society fifteen years after the end of Apartheid you will obtain a good impression by driving through Sandton, the sprawling and privileged enclave in Johannesburg's north.

The stark polarization between this salubrious suburb and the corrugated iron shanty towns surrounding the city home to the poorest of the poor has to be seen to be believed.

When it dawned on white population of Johannesburg that black majority rule was coming whether they liked it or not, they commenced a mass exodus from down- town Johannesburg beginning as a trickle and then accelerating into a stampede, ending in the formerly bucolic suburb of Sandton where they built a bland metropolis which sits uncomfortably in a landscape that, until relatively recently, had been African bushveld.

I am staying with some English friends for a few nights in a place called Fourways, an adjoining satellite suburb forming part of the massive conurbation spilling over on all sides from Sandton itself although developed with a similar lack of ascetic judgement. The traffic is congested and chaotic, made worse by the fact that everyone seems to be driving like a maniac, the worst offenders being the hundreds of taxis who weave in and out of the banked up traffic, seemingly a law unto themselves.

These Toyota Hiaces and Hiluxes are often in an approximate state of repair and always packed with black commuters being ferried to and from the nearby predominantly black township of Alexandria. A Metro Police officer once reported pulling over a taxi with no steering wheel, the driver steering with a shifting spanner attached to the vehicle's steering shaft. He also reported once seeing a taxi who's fuel supply was provided by the driver's girlfriend sitting in the front passenger seat balancing a 25 litre container of petrol on her knees, a plastic tube leading from the top of the container, went through a hole in the van's dashboard, directly into the carburettor!

My arrival in Fourways is announced by a cacophony of conflicting architectural influences, non of them African, which have generated an incongruous and uncomfortable free for all consisting of ersatz Provincial Italian, Greek Islands, Ye Olde England and heaven knows what else. The vulgarity of the monstrous five star Monte Casino hotel, casino and shopping complex which attempts to recreate a Medieval walled town in Tuscany can scarcely be articulated without resorting to alliteration.

The landscape surrounding the shopping and entertainment precincts is infested with clusters of duplex residential apartments constructed from pre cast concrete and surrounded by high walls topped with electrified fences. Traffic in and out of each gated community is monitored by manned boom gates and dozens of CCTV cameras filming anything that moves. Large signs displayed around the outside perimeter walls of each cluster warns of an immediate armed response to any security threats, twenty four hours per day, seven days per week.

Hundreds of security companies operate in Johannesburg and began doing massive business after the hated pass laws were repealed in 1900 allowing black people freedom movement in areas where they had formally been subjected to curfew. The white population's response to black Africans being in 'their' areas after 6pm was to build even higher walls and install laser triggered alarm systems.

You can't blame the folks of Sandton really because some of the reports of crime in the media are just horrendous. It's not just the pandemic of breaking and entering that is the main problem, it is the fact that often these crimes are accompanied by mindless and sometimes lethal violence. Everyone seems to know someone who has been a victim. Alarmingly, the government refuses to publish official crime statistics so everyone relies on the media and the grapevine thus providing further credence to Johannesburg's reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

Local author Max Vladisslavic, in his book about life in Jozi 'Portrait With Keys' recounts a crime story with a difference involving one of the animals resident at the city's zoo in Westcliff. Police were in pursuit of a man armed with a pistol and suspected of theft. The hapless suspect decided to seek refuge in the zoo's primate enclosure, an unfortunate choice as it turned out.

A large lowland gorilla known as Max to his friends and Mr. Max to everyone else decided he didn't want a law breaker in his personal space and promptly lunged at him. Terrified, the fugitive shot the animal three times, twice in the shoulder and even more worryingly, once in the neck.

The zoo's small animal hospital lacked the facilities required to remove bullets from animal vilgilanties so Max was transferred to the casualty department of a nearby hospital more used to dealing with human beings. Medical staff filling in his admission card gave his occupation as 'Gorilla.' After surgery to remove the bullets Max made a full recovery but not before his recouperation became a cause celebre among the crime weary residents of his adopted home town.

Of more concern though, is the front page of today's Johannesburg Star which carries a harrowing report of a bungled burglery in Randburg in which a father is shot dead through the eye at point blank range. His two cowering young daughters witness his execution in complete horror, one praying aloud during the entire ordeal.

On page two, a middle aged woman recounts an overnight break in at her home in Sandton in which she emptied the barrel of her revolver in the direction of a fleeing burglar who returned fire only narrowly missing her in the process. She thinks she may have wounded him but isn't sure. She's a white, middle aged woman and there's a picture of her holding her empty revolver.

On page three are others and this is just in the last 24 hours. There will be more tomorrow and the day after that. It is estimated that nationwide up to fifty people die in violent acts every day. As has always been the case, and although the media doesn't normally denote race, it seems the vast majority have names which indicate they are probably black. Even in the days of Apartheid, blacks always made up the vast majority of the victims of violent crime, the whites just got bolder fonts and more column inches in the press.

It serves no purpose harping on about the crime, it exists, most black people I speak to say crime is decreasing while most white people say the opposite. If you take reasonable care and aren't partial to flashy jewellery, you are probably in no more danger on a visit here than you would be in Rio. In the ten years I lived here and in the three trips back to South Africa whilst writing this book, I have never been a victim of crime, never witnessed a crime and I have never met anyone who has. I have however, met many extremely paranoid people over here, mostly all white, who are on a constant state of alert, always glancing over their shoulders and thinking of new ways to fence themselves in. The atmosphere of tension crackles like electricity in the air.

So here, in these gilded cages of Joburg's north, the whites, enjoy it, endure it or plan their escape overseas whilst continuing their lives of braaivlies, swimming pools, golf, tennis and multi channelled television. The only difference being that BMW's, Audi's, Mercedes Benz's s and the occasional Porsche and Ferrari have superseded the big Chevrolets commonplace during the 1970's.

Everything is bland and clean. Gardens, often tended by full-time gardeners, are manicured with deep green, neatly trimmed lawns of Kikuyu grass bordered by huge mature tropical palms.

Even the people who live here look like they have been through a few a few spin cycles with added powdered bleach. Neatly pressed chinos, deck shoes and a crisp Oxford shirts are de rigueur for the men while the women prefer resort style dresses with prints featuring a predominance of turquoise. Make up is often heavy but immaculate.The over all effect is one of sterility, order and banality coupled with an intense atmosphere of paranoia.

I had arranged to meet David and Vivian at their new duplex which was in a cluster development called Mykonos located in a quiet street just off the rush hour madness of Witkoppen Road. Surrounded by the typical high walls and electrified fence, Mykonos attempts to lure its residents into the feeling, at least architecturally, that they where in fact - in Mykonos itself or at least a white washed pre-fabricated concrete version.

At the front entrance the boom gate was lifted and I was waved through after being given the once over by the black gatekeeper.

David, who is an insurance broker specializing in the mining industry and his wife Vivian have been living on and off in South Africa since the early 1970's. They spend the rest of their time between properties in Spain and North Wales. They are long time family friends and the coincidence involved in our meeting is worth recounting here.

A few days before we emigrated to South Africa, my father went for one last pint at his favourite pub, the Heaton's Bridge Inn which has been serving alcohol alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in rural West Lancashire since 1821. A older chap drinking there the same night overheard my father talking about his imminent departure and told him that his son and daughter in law had emigrated to South Africa a few years before. Suggesting my father get in touch with them he scrawled their name and address on the back of a beer coaster which my father slipped into his wallet and promptly forgot about.

A year and a half later he was walking our German Shepard at a sports club close to our house in Germiston, just south of Johannesburg and happened to share a park bench with a young woman who was watching her husband play tennis on a nearby court.. He thought he recognized her accent and asked her what part of England she was from.

'It's in the countryside she replied, 'You'd never have heard of it even if I told you.'

'Try me,' countered my father.

I was now turning my rented Golf Polo into their driveway.

As fond as I am of David though, we don't look for the same things in Africa and the following morning he excitedly tells me that he is taking me to visit a theme park called Gold Reef City which he just knew I was going to love.

Located south of the city just off the M1 free way, Gold Reef City is a confused mixture of ersatz Victoriana and Disneyland. It is located on the site of a decommissioned mine which retains its iron shaft head. When I was growing up, these deserted structures, relics of the Nineteenth Century gold rush and topped with huge spoked wheels, dotted the landscape all over the Witwatersrand creating gloomy silhouettes at night. The remaining example here at Gold Reef City though is surrounded by a noisy fun fair and a few reconstructed buildings which lamely attempt to recreate the gold rush days of old Johannesburg.

The place is swarming with white kids all stuffing their faces with candy floss or screaming because they don't have candy floss. An adjoining craft shop offers an extensive range of cheesy souvenirs - all at extortionate prices. After blowing a week's wages getting into the park, Dave excitedly informs me that for an additional cost, we can take a 200 meter plunge down the old mine shaft but being naturally claustrophobic, I politely decline. We settle on a gum boot dancing display, surprisingly for no extra cost, which takes place directly under the shaft head.

Performed today by a troop of professional dancers in spotless white singlets and brand new miner's helmets, the slapping of gum boots was originally a means of communication used by the miners whilst underground. Later an amalgamated language consisting of several tribal dialects mixed with some Afrikaans and English thrown in somewhere, called Fanagalo evolved as means of communication between the thousands of conscripted workers from tribal areas and their white overseers, all of who came to work in the mines of the Witwatersrand after the discovery of gold in 1886 but who found themselves without a means of talking to each other.

Following the dancing display we trudge around the park in the rising afternoon heat but a mixture of jet-lag combined with the vapid atmosphere is making me irritable. Just we are making our way back to the car, David suggests we visit the new Apartheid museum which is located in an imposing looking building directly across the car park.

I had first encountered the machinations of Apartheid when walking across a divided railway bridge with my mother shortly after we arrived in South Africa. Large enamel signs at each end of the bridge designated one side for the use of Europeans' and the other for 'Bantu' and 'Coloureds.'

Before reaching the station on the other side, the two sides of the bridge separated at right angles to each other each other, delivering the two groups to opposite ends of the same platform.Trains pulling into the station had carriages configured in order to collect the racially segregated commuters separately from their respective ends of the platform.

As we walked over to the museum I described the experience to David and we tried to imagine the government transport engineer, presumably tertiary educated and middle class, who sat down at his drawing board all those years ago, charged with designing a railway bridge which separated public transport users according to skin colour.

Perhaps back in 1972 my mother and I, in the simple act of catching a train, had walked across his life's work - on the European side naturally!

The Apartheid museum was built by the same company who built the nearby Gold Reef City Casino and covers a site of over seven hectares. We pay the entrance fee and are given tickets that require us to enter the museum through the white entrance. This simple act of racial segregation sets the stage for a very interesting few hours.

Through the medium of film, photography, artefacts and spoken word, the museum takes visitors on a harrowing journey from the beginnings of Apartheid following the historic elections of 1948 in which the Afrikaners seized power through the farce of the Rivonia treason trails, which saw many leading members of the ANC either jailed or exiled, the Soweto riots of 1976 and finally to the release of Nelson Mandela in 1992.

The museum tells the story calmly and simply without any particular political agenda being forced on visitors and the overall effect is impressive. I can't help feeling a sense of shame mixed with something approaching elation when we reach the end of the displays covering the difficult birth of the baby Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu christened The Rainbow Nation.

I would love to put family up as a bastion of enlightenment and liberalism who spoke out against the patently obvious injustice of the system white privileged under which we lived and benefited. Sadly though, the truth is that like 99.9% of other white people, we slipped into life in the South Africa of the 1970's seamlessly like a hand into a glove. We had even less justification for doing so since we had emigrated from Britain where there was no government sanctioned racism. Both of my parents had worked with Africans and my brother and I had Africans in our class at school.

My father was allocated three 'boys' to assist him by Escom. Everyday they would drive off into the bush in my father's huge grey Chevrolet truck to fix the faults in the lines all over the Transvaal. When it was time for lunch, a fire would be built and meat would be cooked on a hot shovel placed over the glowing coals. Strong coffee would be brewed and creamed with condensed milk. The 'boys' would make thick cigarettes of coarsely cut Boxer Brand tobacco rolled in newspaper which they would smoke contentedly whilst talking to each other in their language some words of which featured the distinctive clicking sounds made by flicking the tongue off the roof of the mouth.

Occasionally on a Saturday, if my father was doing over-time, my brother and I would be invited along. Once off the main roads we would ride through the bush on the truck's roof.

Following lunch an alarm clock was set and they would all steal an hour's sleep whilst still earning the over-time hourly rate courtesy of Escom.

My brother and I would use this time to fish in the many rivers that criss-crossed the area. Once we walked up to the fence line of a nearby lion reserve and teased a large lioness through the mesh fence much to my father's annoyance.

George, the eldest if the trio spoke the English more fluently than the others and one night my father invited him over to our house from his dormitory at the nearby Zulu compound, for a beer on the stoep. The tut tutting over the fence from the Potegieters on one side and the Gerbers on the other soon made him realize it was not the done thing and he was never invited again.

Zuma also lived with George in the Zulu compound and wore in his ears circular discs painted with colourful geometric designs commonplace on Zulu men during that time. For years after my father's death, Zuma would catch the bus to our new home in Hazeldene every December on Dingaan's Day to drink coffee and chat with my mother. It was his way of honouring my father's memory but the gesture seemed lost on my mother who would fob him off onto our nanny, Elena when the social gulf between them too apparent.

It wasn't just the language barrier that divided these kinds of relationships. Unless in possession of a special endorsement in their pass books, black people were not permitted in white areas after 6pm. Even if you felt so inclined to socialize outside work hours, which no one ever seemed to, this law would have stood in the way.

In addition ,all whites seemed to agree that black people had an unpleasant body odour and wore ill fitting, worn out and unwashed clothes never making the correlation with the lack of running water in many of their homes and minuscule rates of pay which barely ensured they could feed their own families.

Whenever the subject was raised, all white people agreed black people also couldn't be invited home for dinner because they didn't use cutlery.

Once my mother returned unexpectedly to her surgery to find her three black nurses sitting on the floor around a plastic washing up bowl filled with meilie pap which they shared community by rolling the pap into small balls with their fingers before eating it.

My mother was far from impressed.

'Bloody kaffirs,' she fumed when she returned to the car, 'you can take them out of the bush but you can't take the bush out of them!'

Today though, all four are friends and my mother lunches with them when ever she visits South Africa – these days they all use knives and forks.

In the Seventies though, my parent's relationship with the few blacks with whom we had regular contact although always cordial, was one of distance, my father always addressed as 'baas' (boss) my mother 'Madam' while my brother and I, 'Klien Baas,' (small boss).

The former editor of the Apartheid era liberal newspaper, The Rand Daily Mail, Allister Sparks describes in his book, The Mind of South Africa, how the first Dutch settlers at The Cape in 1652, sowed a perimeter hedge of Bitter Almond in an attempt to seal off their tiny European enclave from the remainder of Africa. He uses this as a highly effective metaphor to explain the evolving mindset of whites towards black Africans that had it's genesis over three centuries before, the 1948 elections which finally enshrined this same mindset in legislation. My family simply became part of that expended process.

This makes the transformation I see all around me in the new South African seem all the more remarkable.

As we walk back to the car park at Gold Reef City, I pass a smartly attired black man and woman who are strapping their children into booster seats in the back seat of their BMW four wheel drive. - a normal, everyday scene in any developed country but still a complete novelty to me after 21 years away from South Africa.

On our way back to David's Grecian enclave in Fourways, he asks if I would like a detour through down town Johannesburg.

'Why not,' I reply keen to verify if all the horror stories I have heard are true.

'Better wind the windows up then in that case,' he cautions, as we head off the M54 and enter the Commissioner Street Overpass.

'Don't point your camera at anything either,' he adds seriously, 'unless you want to lose your camera with your hand still attached to it - that is!'

With the scrapping of the Aparthied era laws requiring blacks to be out of the city centre at night Johannesburg effectively lost its cordon sanitaire against the poverty.

The whites packed up and fled to Johannesburg's north while the black population streamed in from the surrounding townships like Soweto and Alexandria filling the vacuum. The result is a city completely changed compared to the one I knew and I find the experience of driving through her streets again profoundly movning.

Immediately we enter the down town area the first change I notice is the smell of urine and the thousands of street hawkers who line the pavements of the main streets. In the shadows of the run down and boarded up sky scrapers they sell clothing, toiletries, one cent sweets and fruit and vegetables There are cages of chickens and stalls cooking meat and corn on open fires. Piles of dirty mattresses used by the homeless and the stall keepers who guard their stock at night by sleeping on the streets are drying in the sun. Everywhere a piles of stinking rubbish and full overturned dustbins disgorging even more.

On old sofas and armchairs wheeled out onto the street, people sit in groups gambling or lie asleep whilst drug dealers stand nearby openly selling crack and dagga to passing customers.

I notice one decrepit office block with barely a window pane left intact on the upper level whose doorway is guarded by two men holding sub machine guns strapped across their shoulders but they are both laughing at each other hysterically, one almost falling over in the process.

Around another corner a traditional doctor fronts a table on which is strewn the dried pieces of various animals - heads, paws and bits of fur all in various stages of decay. It is hot and the sudden sweet stench of decomposition is over powering. The streets are gridlocked with dilapidated cars and packed out taxi vans all belching black acrid exhaust fumes into the summer air whilst constantly sitting on their horns.

In the surging crowd I notice a single white face - an old woman in a filthy cardigan who walks aimlessly through the chaos with a glazed expression - she stands out like a beacon in this surging mass of black faces.

We pass a park which has been denuded of trees and grass, and is now filled with informal shacks made of rusting corrugated iron, scrap timber and plastic sheeting. Piles of rubbish lie between them. I see a mother pouring a bucket of water over a child who stands naked in the dirt, her little body glistening in the bright afternoon sunshine.

Despite the sunshine, the morning had been chilly and dying fires in braziers made from steel drums punctured with holes still send wisps of black coal smoke into the air.

Further on we pass the Carlton Centre, the tallest building in South Africa and its adjoining former five star hotel which has a distinctive upside-down Y shape. It is boarded up and has been mothballed. It's palatial interior which once played host to luminaries like Mick Jagger, François Mitterrand, Margaret Thatcher and Henry Kissinger now waits in darkness for better days.

Travelling up Smit Street we enter the former bohemian district of Hillbrow with the distinctive Telkom Tower calmly piercing the pale blue sky from the dark street level chaos below. This was Johannesburg's party suburb back in the 1970's and featured legendary night spots like the Harrison Reef Hotel, The Sands and The Chelsea. The buildings they once occupied are now either in ruins or bricked and boarded up.

Hillbrow was the city's first unofficial 'grey' area were authorities turned a blind eye to the rare sight blacks and whites socializing and living side by side. After my father's death my mother and I would stroll it's vibrant streets on a Sunday afternoon browsing in it's book and record stores and it's eclectic flea market. These afternoons would always finish with a visit to the famous Jewish delicatessen on Catherine Street, The Hatikvah, for a delicious fresh bagel and cafe latte. We pass the site today and the front is completely bricked up and over scrawled with graffiti.

On Pretoria Street, the celebrated Café Zurich, which served the best Black Forest Cake available in Africa, is in ruins, it's smashed and filthy neon sign still pathetically hanging in position above it's boarded up windows.

This heart of this once celebrated suburb of good times is now stagnent, regarded as a no go zone by all of Johannesburg's whites and many blacks for that matter and it's easy to see why.

The scene on the streets is similar to what we saw just ten minutes before but there's something different – a feeling of unease you can't quite explain, something almost apocalyptic. It's as though you sense a drop in the air pressure, like the joy has been wrung out of the place, and in it's place a dark, brooding and slightly sinister atmosphere permeates the air like a tightly coiled spring of bad energy about to be released at any moment, unleashing a lethal amount of violence in the process. Everyone seems to stare blankly as we drive through.

White people claim that the area has been overrun by gangs of Nigerian illegal immigrants who manufacture and sell 'Tick' - a type of Crystal Methamphetamine. Many suspect a link between the senseless violence that often accompanies muggings and the rampant use of this potent amphetamine by criminals.

As David succinctly pits it, 'You politely hand over your wallet and cell phone and then they pull out a revolver and shoot you through the forehead – why?'

If Hillbrow represents the new rainbow nation of South Africa I want no part of it and I ask David to get us the hell out of this God forsaken :censored: hole.

Then just as suddenly as it appeared, Hillbrow is disappearing in the rear vision mirror and we are back on Jan Smuts Avenue heading north to Sandton in an innocuous tree lined landscape, an astonishing contrast to what we have just seen. In itself, a metaphor for the city of Johannesburg, a complex and compelling city of astonishing and often disturbing contrasts but, at the same time, always exciting, dangerous, salubrious, squalid and vibrant.

There are plans afoot to revitalize down town Johannesburg and in Newtown and Braamfontien there are increasing signs that the rebirth of Johannesburg is already under way. The opening of the new Nelson Mandela bridge which is the longest cable - stayed bridge in Southern Africa has been seen as an important starting point although David somewhat triumphantly informs me that some of the bridge's structural components have already been stolen and sold for scrap. Still at 284 metres, it's an impressive structure and

links northern Johannesburg and Braamfontien with the Newtown cultural precinct where much of this rejuvenation is concentrated.

Brickfields, renamed Newtown after all its buildings were burnt to the ground by Jo-burg's fire brigade after the out break of Bubonic plague in 1904, attempts to frame itself as the cultural heart of the city and has many new bars, restaurants and galleries surrounding the spruced up Mary Fitzgerald Square.

Newtown feels like an oasis of normality when compared to the rest of the city but doesn't suffer the sterility that typifies the Muzak infused malls of Sandton. On the other side of the bridge is Braamfontien which is dominated by the University of the Witwatersrand or 'Wits' by which it is affectionately known.

If the chaps at the City of Johannesburg get their way, this area will be transformed into a kind of African version of Paris' Latin Quarter. It is hoped that these two areas will serve as a launching platform from which the campaign to bring light and hope into other areas of this dark city will be commenced. After seeing the devastation in Hillbrow, you can only wish them the best of luck.

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This is great stuff Chris!

Personally I found it balanced and you give a good, dispassionate account of what is going on.

Just one typo; the pass laws were abolished in 1987.

I'll post some more info later on,

Cheers,

Dax

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You certainly made sharp observations, and your descriptions of Sandton versus the shanties are quite vivid.

You describe places that I know well myself, and I can also speak of some first hand observations since my visit to those places about a year ago. Some of my family lives in the Randburg/Bromhof area, others in Durban, Mossel Bay, and Brackenfell in the Cape.

Much of these situations were foreseen since the elate 80’s, as the abolition of the pass laws created freedom of movement, but not much in the form of employment, unfortunately. The demise of the inner city of JHB especially is a tragedy, but since the early 90’s it was clear that it has became a place that was virtually impossible to police.

Actually, the quick rot that happened to JHB, is spreading as slow rot to other areas, during my visit last year one saw signs of it in areas in Roodepoort and Krugersdorp. However, one does not see much of it in smaller centres like Mossel Bay for example, while places around the Cape peninsula seems to be going in the same slow direction, not to speak of Durban.

While one could blame much of these situations on Apartheid, a large proportion of blame should go to ineptness and don’t care attitudes of the present rulers as well.

Examples are

* Surely by now systems could have been devised for electricity piracy to be curbed?

* The question of farm murders – one get an impression that the government simply don’t try its best to put a brake on this practice.

* Lowering of standards. The most vivid memory I have in this case was our visit to Cape Town Castle. We witnessed the changing of the guard ceremony. I was on garrison duty there myself as a young conscript, and as I remembered our standards and practice back then, I was simply aghast at the shabby and “slapgat” way in which the present garrison went through the changing of the guard ceremony.

* The present problems with electricity supply are a point in case. The nitty gritty of this situation was common knowledge since the early 90’s, this is ONE thing the government can’t blame on Apartheid.

Many white people will have a sense of betrayal, as many of them are of the younger generation who had no hand in Apartheid, or seeing that thing could not go on indefinitely in the early 90’s, voted for change, only to see themselves sold down the river by stupid/naïve negotiators at CODESA. These people truly believed in a better, fairer South Africa,only to be confronted by AA and BEE.

Just my 2c worth

Cheers,

Dax

Edited by Dax
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Dear Chris

Your descriptions are vivid and eloquent but I find it very cynical and stereotypical. I am afraid that Australians who read it will get a biased view of white South Africans. Most of the people on this forum are young (twenties to thirties) middleclass, salary earners who have a justified fear of crime. Whites who have tried their best to shake of the prejudices they grew up with and who made their fair contrbutions to this country and now give up. Not the type in your article.

You say that if you are carefull and dress down you are probaly just as safe as in Rio. That is so insensitive and unfair towards the victims of crime. It affects everybody. From the poor black mother to the heavily made up white rich. In a comment like that you imply that whites are victims of crime beacause of their flashy jewelry. Boy oh boy. Explain that to the many poor and middleclass black and white people who struggle through the remnants of rape, assault and murder. You have no idea. Really you don't. We do not live with paranoia anymore. Paranoia is for spoilt rich woman who need prozac. We live with fear. Adrenalin charged fear. Nobody says "I refuse to live in fear" anymore.

Your article leans heavily towards the post-apartheid South-African legacy and very little towards the corrupt, greedy, incompetent black government of the South Africa of today. The quick-rich black elite and the incompetent, lethargic affirmative action workforce of today. Be cynical about that as well, because how is it ever going to work.

Maybe if I read your article again tomorrow I will see it in a different light. Take my view as you wish. The world is made up of different people with different views and somewhere in there we have to find the truth. I have always appreciated the comments you made on this forum as being intelligent and well thought. This however is to one-sided. Maybe because it is based on visits to that part of the country and not the nitty gritty of life in this forsaken country. It will be OK if the audience is South African, but what will the Australians make of it? I want them to know that the whites who come to their country are not like the whites you portray in your article i.e racist, paranoid, prejudiced, priviliged (spoilt) and addicted to Tuscan architecture. (Which brings me to gold reef city. Yes, the whole thing is fake except for the mine but so is Waterworld near Brisbane. Imagine seeing a polar bear in Brisbane! To cynical. It is not all bad taste. Otherwise all theme parks are bad taste. Kids love it! Gold Reef City is one of the most toddler and child friendly places to go. Much appreciated by parents stuck at home with their kids weekend after weekend becaue there is nowhere to go.)

Edited by Antoinette
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I have to agree with Antoinette. Crime affects black and white South Africans, so not sure who you spoke to. To think that The Australian would publish this kind of drivel makes me sad and frustrated. Fortunately it takes some reading given the writing style and I doubt that the average Australian will be interested enough to delve through it.

One other thing - why bother to go back there if you harbour such negativity and animosity?

Edited by saffer2
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Guest Mauritz

Happy New Year Chris :ilikeit:

You're a good writer and a man with a good heart :D

Don't get me wrong - I'm not going to try and defend Apartheid - I'm just going to give my opinion. ;) I see many people, especially younger people from South Africa on this 'Apartheids guilt trip.'

As I see it :holy:, this country, the Americas, Canada, New Zealand (to name a few) wouldn't have existed (as we know it today) if it wasn't for separation. No 'white government' would've existed today in Aus or other countries if it wasn't for a purposeful goal of diminishing/destroying the local native populations. If South Africa followed the principles - whala, another white Utopia, another successful white country.

THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN, although the first real black Africans were only discovered further north (think east coast somewhere) - the same time Australia was colonized. Today, I can't claim South Africa as my country - everybody else can call Aus home, America home etc - just because they were very naughty and got away with it :whome:

In all of these countries you'll be flat out trying to find a real native inhabitant with intact cultures - they're all gone. In South Africa you can still find Zulu's with Zulu culture and a 'Zulu' land - the same with the Xhosa's and nearly all the other tribes. The same in Namibia, the same in Zimbabwe. This happened because of separation - in many cases 'natural separation' which existed anyhow between various blacks tribes for thousands of years before white man set foot in Africa.

The first whites that set foot in these countries, didn't get of the ship - looked at the native inhabitants - jumped in the air and shouted: "Gee whiz, just look at the way these people live - I always dreamed about this!!!! :blush: " Then off came the clothes, they chucked their tools and firearms in the see and lived/changed to become like the native inhabitants. People landed to ESTABLISH their own cultures. These culture were different - so very different, from the natives cultures - there were always clashes. Therefore high fences, borders etc - SEPARATION.

If we go on democratic principles - Captain Cook didn't get of his ship and stood on the beach, counting his men - about 3. Then asked the natives - millions - if they all can have a quick election to see who'll run the show. It doesn't take much to see why people didn't want to give the inhabitants the vote - everywhere in Africa and elsewhere - BECAUSE WE SEE THE ZIMBABWES, THE ANGOLAS, THE ZAMBIAS - in other words totally dysfunctional countries with very, very ugly governments - war, destruction and famine.

Unfortunately - in some countries - these are blamed on colonisation. Last time I looked the larger part of these first world countries were colonized, very successfully for the new comers (that's why you and I are here today :D ), not so nice for the local inhabitants.

I can't be blamed for the fact that people can't read and write in Africa, or for the fact that they can't eat with a knife and fork or have bad body odour. If someone blames me now - who was to blame for the same conditions before April 1652????????? It is impossible for a handful of 'new comers' to educate millions of native inhabitants. My ancestors had to go through evolution of thousands of years to achieve these kind of standards. How do these cultures live together????? Who is supposed to run the show????? All I know is that Africa doesn't work - the countries that are still doing well are the ones that have been colonised the longest. The countries that are the worst off, are those who've never really been colonized or where the native inhabitants have been running the show the longest.

Yesterday I started a job at a local winery - beautiful place - all these white yuppies stop and taste/buy wine - all very civilised. No burglar proofing visible anywhere - all the equipment, tables & chairs are outside. People don't even lock the places up. The visitors don't lock their cars. If this winery was at Cunnamulla or the Northern Territory - everything would've been locked up - burglar proofing everywhere. If you don't believe me - go and look - I've been there ;)

The same in Africa. If you want a nice restaurant that attracts the right customers in Hillbrow again - like the good old days ;) How are you going to do it??? BY SEPARATION. If you have the current Hillbrow locals there going to your flashy restaurant, doing what they do best - the customers that walk, talk and dress like you - won't turn up. If you want to make the place safe - you'll need a big stick and you'll be resented by the locals, just because you want to establish your HIGHER standards there. That's unfortunately the way it is.

I don't have friends with ringworm or lice - friends that eat their meals with their hands. I don't have friends that own mistreated dogs, pigs & chickens. I don't have friends that live in houses provided by the government with NO gardens, NO windows, NO working plumbing. I don't want neighbours like that. Does that make me a yuppie, a racist or just someone that tries to establish a standard of living that's good for kids, wifes, animals and the environment???? Are we really that bad, because we want to establish a higher standard??

What is the alternative - just give up and let the locals/native inhabitants carry on and on. Live on a small piece of land with about 3 mielie plants, a skinny dog, skinny chickens, skinny cow and about a dozen kids with chronic ringworm and no future. Someone has to put a foot down - create environments that will attract overseas tourists and investors - safe beaches, nice restaurants, nice and safe neighbourhoods.

How do you do that in these countries????? How do you work with people that are naturally so different from you????? What is the alternative?????

It is easy to blame apartheid, if the 'freedom fighters' can go and sit safely in exile in countries where the native inhabitants and their cultures were complete destroyed. It is easy to sit safely in a country, where your kids and wife can enjoy a safe life, because the 'new comers' did EVERYTHING to create that environment ........ then point a finger at a country like South Africa that tried a different way ..... a way that kept the original inhabitants traditions intact (in comparison to Aus & America).

We can't point fingers anymore - we must come up with a workable solution. If we, the Aussies, the Americans can do it all over again - how will we/they do it????? According to our current democratic principles- the native inhabitants will run the show and the 'invaders' will just have to sail around and around, hoping to find a place with nobody. In other words - Aus and all these other first world countries would've been third world countries. I don't think so. Why must I feel guilty???

If you want that article in the Australian - a few comparisons would be nice. ;) That black couple with the BMW are obviously self made - not funded by the government like the Aboriginals here in Aus. They are, most likely, either full blood Zulus or Xhosas, not a 16th black like most Aboriginals.

Blacks here still eat with their hands, can't read and write. Child, spouse, drug and animal abuse are so well and alive here - the army and police had to step in with big sticks. Separations principles still exists here and this country was created on these principles. This country has a white yuppie government that functions well because of very ugly things that happened in the past.

There's no point in spoon feeding the Aussies, by making them feel good about the way they created Aus and how South Africa is turning out now. If we followed the Aussie (and other's) principles - then maybe Rhodesia, Angola, Zambia and South Africa would've been countries with my type of standards - safe, clean places for kids :D:ilikeit:

Maybe I must go and stand in a corner and hit my head against a brick wall, because my ancestors were so stupid :whome:

I just scanned my scribbeling above - what gibberish :whome:

I'm just sick of people trying to tell my I must feel guilty - guilty because I now live in a colonised country, guilty because my own colonised country is going for the dogs, guilty because nealry all the countries I can live in and thrive in were created by colonisation. Guilty because people like me are resented by the rest of the world, because we climbed the ladder of evolution.

I'm proud of my people. If it wasn't for them, that black couple wouldn't have been able to enjoy being educated, driving a BMW or the invention of a baby seat. Africa would die if it wasn't for MY PEOPLE who step in and help if people are starving on the most fertile soil Mother Earth can give.

I DON'T FEEL GUILTY :ilikeit::ilikeit:

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It's simple really - survival of the fittest. That's why western nations (despite their own corruption) have been able to explore, colonise, produce and flourish. Africa's perpetual complaining will get it nowhere. It seems that Africans are excellent at holding endless indabas and lekgotlas, but pathetic when it comes to taking action.

I had a look at the personal website of Reuel Khoza, the previous chairman of Eskom. I noticed that his website was last updated in 2004, that it 3 YEARS ago! With such sloppy MAINTENANCE, no wonder Eskom is imploding. Upon further investigation, I found that Khoza's CV doesn't really say that much, apart from a plethora of directorships and chairmanships. And that’s what most of these "BEE dealmakers" concern themselves with… sitting on multiple board meetings, feeling very important and getting paid (not earning!) millions of Rands.

When I saw that the gold/platinum/diamond mines, South Africa's biggest earners of foreign currency, SHUT DOWN on Friday, I realised that the end is much nearer than we think.

"At the moment, things are as there were yesterday," De Beers spokesperson Tom Tweedy told AFP. "There is no production. Our six mines are closed."

"Our mines are still closed. We are in ongoing discussions with Eskom," said Steve Lenahan, spokesperson for AngloGold Ashanti, which employs 35,000 people in seven mines.

Harmony Gold spokesperson Amelia Soares said "we are all in the same boat. All of our 20 gold mines are closed".

With electricity already in short supply, now Koeberg will reduce output for maintenance until May! Oh dear.... No mining activity = no earnings = falling stock prices =???? Richemont chairman Johann Rupert described it as South Africa’s biggest crisis so far — the “final straw”. “Can you imagine the impact if you start shutting mines?” he said.

So, I really cannot see anything else but a serious recession (or perhaps depression?) on the horizon. Economists are freaking out at the prospects of ZERO economic growth and imagine the revolt when thousands of mineworks won't have any work to do, when unemployment is already sky-high.

Eric Mafuna, founder of the Black Management Forum (BMF), asked himself why the Jewish, the Indian and the Afrikaners got it right, while black South Africans didn’t. Read his essay, The African, here. A few main points that Mafuna raises:

"In my home area of Nzhelele, in Limpopo, virtually all the general dealer shops, which number more than 20, are now run by Indians after the African owners went bankrupt."

"Two weeks ago, I had lunch with someone who runs a 3 500-strong company, the most Africanised section of which had been fired en masse for fraud and dereliction of duty. A white replacement has been appointed and work is going on."

"When you come from where we come from and you then have to realise that if you want something done quickly you have to rely on whites, it is really debilitating. You bleed internally, but our very own comrades do not work. There is generally no work ethic. Documents will not come on time or they will be sloppy. That is the painful truth."

"Community structures, religion, history, culture and all other things that make Jews who they are, are intact. Indians are by and large the same as Jews, sticking together and supporting each other in their business ventures, and also ensuring strong community structures. Afrikaners built their own communities and businesses and, despite the loss of political power, are still a community - distinct and thriving. The African structures, on the other hand, are all gone, and those that are still around are being ridiculed each day, from circumcision and cultural practices to religion and the medicines of our forefathers."

"The reality today is that people in this country who are indigenous Africans are prone to irrational behaviour fed by greed and irresponsibility. The numerous corruption and fraud cases involving esteemed African leaders are worrying issues."

Finally, I see Rapport's editor, is beginning to see the light (or is that candle?):

Tim du Plessis: Só begin die mislukte staat (The beginnings of a failed state)

For the benefit of English-speakers who battle with Afrikaans, Du Plessis argues that:

Zimbabwe-born prof. Paul T. Zeleza, one the leading authorities on African economic history, believes that South Africa's future will be the same as many African countries after independence. First exhiliration, then decay and disillusionment. Zeleza predicts "Africanisation" and that Zuma has all the hallmarks of Africa's notorious "Big Men", the despots who have ruled with impunity and done so much damage to Africa's prospects. Which prompted Du Plessis to look north and realise that power failures were endemic to countries (and eventually failed states) where liberation movements became the new governments after independence.

Zeleza's original article, Clouds Over the Rainbow Nation: South Africa and the Zuma Saga, can be found here.

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Chris, I like the cynicism but like others have said, perhaps it does require more balanced cynicism & less critism of your country of birth.

I know this piece was never meant to be a comparison between SA vs Oz taste in architectural influence but the amount of faux Tuscan, Andalusian, Swiss Chalet style developments I've seen in my travels to Oz (particularly the newer suburbs Sydney & Melbourne - though this might be due to the sudden influx of SAn's !) perhaps you do need to tone it down, you might p!ss off some Aussies.

I am not sure all the tongue in cheek will be understood that way by non SAns ...

I think you may be intrigued at some the changes since your last visit, In Jhb go & look at Yeoville & Berea (if you dare), the Newtown inner city renewal project , the formerly white suburb of Bramley and Orlando West the Soweto suburb known as "Beverly Hills", do a bit of background research into what is happening in these suburbs there is surely lots to write about cynically.

P.S give me a call when you are in Jhb there is a wonderful Curry Den in Fordsburg that I'd like to take you to, if we can get a booking for all the British expats who frequent the place :) !

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"If you take reasonable care and aren't partial to flashy jewellery, you are probably in no more danger on a visit here than you would be in Rio. In the ten years I lived here and in the three trips back to South Africa whilst writing this book, I have never been a victim of crime, never witnessed a crime and I have never met anyone who has. I have however, met many extremely paranoid people over here, mostly all white, who are on a constant state of alert, always glancing over their shoulders and thinking of new ways to fence themselves in."

I don't think that today anybody living here could honestly say this... whether you are living in one of the "wealthy" suburbs or in one of the "shanty towns".

I work in the field of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban design. My projects (until the birth of my daughter two years ago), were mostly in the worst locations in Cape Town. The abject poverty and dispair is completely tangible. I find it a very "white" assumption that it is only white people who are paranoid about crime. Moreover, it is not paranoia it is a sad reality of the SA's current state of affairs - at the moment, the chances of becoming a crime statistic are very probable, no matter what the colour of your skin is. All races are equally concerned about crime - as an example from a mother with a little girl, just go into one of the "shanty towns" and speak to some mothers there and ask about their fears of their daughters being raped... Having said that though, I don't know how often you have beed to these areas, but you cannot just waltz in and expect to interview people and get their true feelings. Many people there still have a lingering fear of white people and also, they often fear retributions from people in their area. From my own experience working in these areas - through numerous community workshops, and getting envolved with the community for a number of months - this is the only way to get a true perspective of peoples needs, fears and dreams - they are not going to open up to you if you are a stranger, they will just smile and agree, or say what they think you want to hear.

I don't know if you are going for this - but it is a very "white" perspective of Jozi.

I am also concerned about your negative view. It is very biased and not well balanced. I think your imagery would be much more vivid and be more believable if you included some of the positive parts of Jozi in you journal. At the moment, it just looks like anti-SA, rather than a true observation of SA, the latter of which I feel you are trying to capture.

Edited to say - on the whole, it makes and interesting read.

Edited by Gizmo
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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Chris Rimmer

Hi Guys,

This is the third and final attempt to respond to comments made on the draft of my feature Returning to Jozi.. Thank you all for taking the time to read this rather long piece and your thoughtful responses. I returned from another trip to South Africa last Sunday. As a result, there will be some changes to this draft and it will reflect some of the comments made by forum members. As I said in my introduction, it was only a draft and I invited comment. Some people, Saffer 2 for example, seem to see this as an opportunity to inflate themselves by insulting and denigrating others. Anyone who has read my stuff on this forum would know that I love South Africa completely in all its contradictions and complexities.

Antoinette, I can see how you would find the view stereotypical but I still think that the stark polarization between rich and poor in one city is the dominant impression. This would be all the more obvious to a first time visitor, the audience this feature is aimed at. It probably is cynical, but then again so am I. Watching my home town come to this has been a painful experience.

I certainly do not wish to downplay crime in JHB nor trivialize the victims. I think the examples I provided were pretty harrowing. The fact is through, South Africa is experiencing a tourist boom and the vast majority who visit have an incident free holiday. The comparison with Rio wasn't meant to be trite. Rio is also a city which requires extreme diligence when it come to personal security but that doesn't stop people going there. Of course, I concede it's different if you live IN Johannesburg. We all know that.

I do feel some degree of guilt over Apartheid and I do think it has played a role in how things have panned out but we all know it's not the whole story and shouldn't constantly be used as an excuse by over-stuffed and lethargic governments. Finding out recently that our maid of 12 years , Elena died ill and in extreme poverty a few years after we left didn't help either. We could have done something but we ended up doing bugger all. Still, I understand what Mauritz is saying and I commend him for his clear thinking in this regard.

In the final analysis, you have to tell it as you see it. The writer's view can never be omniscient. Indeed it is the writer's particular and sometimes biased vision that gives his/her view credence. General overviews are what politicians possess - which is why they are always so boring.

A few observations from my recent trip:

South Africa is beautiful - as can be seen from the photographs I posted. Where on earth to you find that unmistakable quality of light in the morning? At midnight at Puda Maria camp in Kruger it was so quiet you could just about hear the stars!

You shouldn't compare I know, but Victoria's Great Ocean Road` pales into insignificance when compared to Chapman's Peak Drive. We travelled so many Great Ocean Roads over there, I lost count.

Nothing works - ATM's, electricity, internet services, mobile phone services, general utilities. Delivery is spasmodic or non existent. An infrastructure in place when the ANC was still a banned organization, is being relied upon. It's old and it's unreliable. It may have been built with black sweat but it seems to still require white know how to expand and maintain what's already there. Why is that? I said to my wife that if I see one more vacant black face saying, 'Sorry, is not werking,' I'm going to do a full Basil Faulty right there and then. It drove me nuts!

Who is going to invade South Africa? Swaziland? Zimbabwe perhaps? Why buy submarines when what the country really needs is power stations?

Corruption - got pulled over three times in and out of Kruger. First time paid R750.00, second time R100.00 (no ATM working in Kruger hence nothing in my wallet) third time 'let off' because my wallet was now empty. No receipt issued and the only cars being pulled over had white drivers and GP plates whilst black drivers sped past at break neck speeds in clapped out cars. I wasn't even speeding! Go figure. With two little kids asleep in the back of the car, in the middle of Venda and with an empty fuel gauge, I'm not going to make a fuss - doesn't mean that I don't feel pissed off about it though.

Nilo, I went through Dallas and Germiston. Interviewed a guy in Dallas who was virtually living in a steel cage. Could have been for effect but as we spoke he had a loaded pistol on the dining room table. Also saw a white Afrikaans guy begging in the street.

The night after I got back I watched Channel 9 news and burst out laughing as the trivial stories that passed for news were read out with much gravity by Peter Hitchener. It was good to be back safe and sound in Australia even if at times it does feel like a Disney theme park. A sunburnt version of Gold Reef City perhaps Antoinette?

As a friend said to me on the last night in JHB, 'It's easy to cultivate liberal views about Africa when you no longer live there,'

In that regard, I'm as guilty as anyone else.

Edited by Chris Rimmer
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Chris,

You are a WONDERFUL writer. You really manage to engage your audience and put all the different and complex issues in SA in perspective. It is not easy seeing things from EVERYONE'S perspective, but you blend it fantastically. Was a very interesting thread to read.

Edited by Delphi
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Guest Chris Rimmer
Chris,

You are a WONDERFUL writer. You really manage to engage your audience and put all the different and complex issues in SA in perspective. It is not easy seeing things from EVERYONE'S perspective, but you blend it fantastically. Was a very interesting thread to read.

Thanks Delphi, it is very true what you write. We all do indeed experience things differently and just as well. I've yet to write anything that someone, somewhere didn't get upset about. When it comes to South Africa it is even more true, I can't think of anywhere I've been to in the world with a more variable stew of issues all competing with each other in their complexity. If that wasn't enough, the stage on which this drama is played out is one of breathtaking beauty. Despite everything that's happened, good or bad, each one of us is very fortunate to have his/her own personal relationship with this amazing country. I can't help but feel a sense of personal renewal everytime I put my feet on the ground in South Africa. I'm not even religious but I pray (to whoever is out there listening) that things work out for my and your Beloved Country.

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Guest Mauritz

Welcome back Chris :ilikeit:

Love the pics of your kids :whome:

Are you going to post an update regarding the Johannesburg issue? The following is not a trick question :ph34r: I enjoy YOUR view of South Africa - think I've learned a bit there :blush: After all these years, what is your honest opinion - especially regarding the future of South Africa? Did you get a 'feeling' in South Africa - feeling of hope, maybe despair??

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Hi Chris,

Thanks for your latest contributions :ilikeit:

You talk about feelings of guilt about apartheid. I think it’s a normal feeling for most of us. It was an abnormal way to organize a society, no matter how one looks at it.

When I think back then I remember MY life as it was, an ordinary white bloke working, studying, playing rugby, and doing stints in the Civilian Force. My life was much easier and more privileged that that of most blacks. I living in a middleclass white suburb which was a far cry from the run-of-the-mill Sowetos, Mamelodis or Kwa-Mashus, I roamed the streets as a youngster till the wee hours of the morning, black could not, due to the curfew rule.

That is just a few examples of how it was, and my point is that while we lived our lives we were not really aware of the stark realities of the different levels of societies in South Africa. I think it was a matter of indoctrination or simply a type of cultural mindset derived from out collective DNA’s that caused guys like me to live my life without really bothering about what the issues were with the â€other half.†That’s how things were for me and most other people in the circles in which I moved.

Something that kept me in my state of “bliss†might have been that as far as servants/gardeners were concerned, I have always been a South African anomaly, I never bothered with servants, and so I missed out on a type of contact with the “other halfâ€. In my daily life black people were simply “thereâ€, when I crossed a street, walked to work etc.

Therefore as I grew older I encountered a few “cultural shocksâ€, e.g. the 1976 Soweto uprisings, and as a result of a work assignment, my first visit to a Township/Location. The strange thing is that I realized that something was not Hunky Dory, but I did not really cared much. The others had their lives, I had my life and the divide between us was very, very wide.

My military service.

I am open to criticism here I know, but I do not acknowledge Apartheid in this context. All my service periods were in Namibia/Angola, and I never cared (and still don’t) a flying fig for the SWAPO aspect. I always saw that conflict in terms of the then Cold War, as South Africa as a proxy of the USA, pitted against Cuba/USSR, and as a veteran of operations Savannah & Sceptic, it merely reinforced my mindset.

So, what I’m trying to give you is a snapshot (a cryptic one, I admit) of the paradigm of one single white bloke in South Africa living there in the time context of especially the 70’s and the80’s.

I know that I tend to rant :blush: a bit at times, but my criticisms has nothing to do with race or being insensitive to black people, not in the least.

I do however; tend to criticize the present South African Government at times. I must admit that when things started to change during the early 90’s I saw visions of a new and improved South Africa where everyone would have had a niche, a slice of the cake, a stake in the future, name your metaphor. But things did not turn out that way. I was disillusioned very soon, and due to the circles in which I moved during the mid 90’s, I had a fair sense of what was to come, e.g. AA, BEE, the deterioration of the service industry, health services etc. (But the present Minister of Health’s recipe of beetroot and garlic to treat AIDS, came a s a bit of a surprise to me. :blink: )

After 15 years of being in government, the ANC still blames hiccups on the previous government, while the present electricity problems were firmly within their capabilities to solve. The current electricity problems were predicted since 1997/98, I think.

The things you saw and encountered during your last visit, bears out what I hear from family and friends in South Africa, and the present wave of people of al races hell bent on leaving South Africa did not come as a complete surprise as well.

Cheers,

Dax

Edited by Dax
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Not to detract from Chris's article, but here's an article (from IOL) from a black African that returned to SA from Canada, for a visit, after being away for some time.

I found his tale of his experience interesting, more because of his reactions when he was in an exceptionally dodgy part of Jhb. It bears up that earlier post about how easy it is to be liberal when you're not actually living here in SA. And his third/fourth last paragraph about the manufactured "enemy" takes the cake! :rolleyes:

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Not to detract from Chris's article, but here's an article (from IOL) from a black African that returned to SA from Canada, for a visit, after being away for some time.

I found his tale of his experience interesting, more because of his reactions when he was in an exceptionally dodgy part of Jhb. It bears up that earlier post about how easy it is to be liberal when you're not actually living here in SA. And his third/fourth last paragraph about the manufactured "enemy" takes the cake! :)

Chris, I wonder if you would have written your article with the same tone if you were still living in SA. When everytime your wife drives to the shop with your children, you fear for them. You say you don't know anybody directly affected by crime - well I do and I can assure you, you don't want to know !!

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