Tag Archives: south africa

Patience and maturity

Wimpie de Klerk — older brother of F.W. de Klerk, who would later become the last apartheid ZA prime minister — was by the standards of mainstream Afrikaner politics a racial liberal.  Here’s how that sounds in December 1981:

Experience throughout the world shows that black groups have a thin skin in their attitude to whites, and the reverse is apparently often the case.  We simply have to accept this element of mutual hatred…

We, the whites, will have to take a lead, and forget about demanding an eye for an eye on the score of hatred.  We must exercise patience and maturity.

“Apparently” is my favorite part.

By the late 1980s, by the way, de Klerk, against his brother’s wishes, was participating in secret meetings with the ANC.

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Imraan Coovadia on South African fiction

Pungent as usual:

During the late 20th century, the black-white struggle in South Africa interested Americans because it looked like an African version of the civil rights movement. But it never was. We seem to have fulfilled some imaginative need in the 1980s and 90s. We were grateful for the interest. But we’re not actively persecuting anybody nowadays. As a result, people aren’t particularly interested in what’s happening here any more, except for the occasional Aids, infidelity and polygamy controversy. Nowadays, people are more interested in reading about how terrible Zimbabwe is. They’ve moved on.

Imraan’s new novel, High Low In-Between, won the 2010 South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize.  It’s not out in the US, but you can mail-order it.  I just got mine.

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