Schlagwort-Archive: whites

Ubuntu in Germany Column

Tackle deep-seated racism or the SA economy will suffer

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is a South African journalist and speaking in her column about the country of her birth. She had lived in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).

South Africa has experienced a wave of racist incidents showing the deep-seated white opinions and insecurities. It began with Durban estate agent Penny Sparrow, spread to Johannesburg with ex-‘Idols’ host and DJ Gareth Cliff and onto Cape Town as advertising executive Nicole de Klerk got fired for racist comments.

UbuntuMuizASS

© Multiracial beach at Muizenberg in Cape Town. If only all of South Africa was as harmonious… (Picture by Alexandra Smit-Stachowski)

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Ubuntu in Germany Column

Whites only as South Africa exhibits at Anuga in Cologne

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is speaking in her column about life as a South African now living in Germany. The South African journalist lives in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).

It was like a throwback to Apartheid days. Visitors to the South African pavilion of the Anuga trade show, held in Cologne recently saw a sea of white faces. What has happened in South Africa since ’94 and with black empowerment? One single black person among the 40 exhibitors – that is shameful.

© Alex Smit-Stachowski with Doris Lily Mallaun of Great Heart of Africa behind her, at the Anuga Trade Show in Cologne.

© Alex Smit-Stachowski with Doris Lily Mallaun of Great Heart of Africa behind her, at the Anuga Trade Show in Cologne.

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„Versöhnung ist ein nie endender Prozess“

Im Interview mit Antjie Krog, Schriftstellerin und Journalistin

(Autor: Ghassan Abid)

© Antije Krog zählt zu den führenden Schriftstellern in Südafrika. Ihre literarischen Werke zur Aufarbeitung der Apartheid machten die in Kapstadt lebende Autorin international bekannt. Im Vorfeld ihres Auftritts auf dem "Internationalen Literaturfestival Berlin" stand Krog für ein Interview mit "SÜDAFRIKA - Land der Kontraste" zur Verfügung. (Quelle: Krzysztof Zielinski)

© Antije Krog zählt zu den führenden Schriftstellern in Südafrika. Ihre literarischen Werke zur Aufarbeitung der Apartheid machten die in Kapstadt lebende Autorin international bekannt. Im Vorfeld ihres Auftritts auf dem „Internationalen Literaturfestival Berlin“ stand Krog für ein Interview mit „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ zur Verfügung. (Quelle: Krzysztof Zielinski)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Antjie Krog zählt zu den führenden Schriftstellern Südafrikas. Die in Kapstadt lebende Autorin ist international für ihre Analysen des Lebens in Südafrika bekannt. Sie beleuchtet nicht nur die Lebenswirklichkeit der weißen, sondern auch die der schwarzen Bevölkerung. In ihrem bislang populärsten Buch „Country of My Skull” befasste sie sich mit der Aufarbeitung der Apartheid im Rahmen der Wahrheits- und Versöhnungskommission. Sie hält fest, dass die Versöhnung ein nie endender Prozess ist.

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Ubuntu in Germany Column

Some Whites fear Genocide if Madiba Passes, so the thesis by a group of Conservatives

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is speaking in her column about life as a South African now living in Germany. The South African journalist lives in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).

It seems like a joke – a throwback to the early 90’s where whites packed tins in anticipation of civil war as negotiations between politicians got testy. It is deadly serious – there is a sector of the white population who fear if former President Nelson Mandela dies, there will be a bloodbath and they will be the victims.

© A group of conservative whites fear that when Madiba passes and the initial mourning period in South Africa has been observed, it will be a free-for-all for angry blacks to massacre them. Ubuntu-Columnist Alex Smit-Stachowski is checking this thesis.

© A group of conservative whites fear that when Madiba passes and the initial mourning period in South Africa has been observed, it will be a free-for-all for angry blacks to massacre them. Ubuntu-Columnist Alex Smit-Stachowski is checking this thesis.

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Understanding the Malema Debacle

An analysis to the Malema-Zuma-relationship

(Editor: Leon Schreiber*)

The circumstances surrounding Julius Malema’s suspension has been extensively covered in the South African media. But just how did such an embarrassing situation arise? Why has an organisation with a proud history of integrity reached a point where its representatives are openly calling for regime change in democratic countries, provoking racial tensions and publicly insulting its President? And why did the top six leaders of the African National Congress (ANC), including President Zuma, decide to hold an embarrassing press conference last week where they were preaching unity, while it was obvious to all observers that there are great tensions between them? The answer is to be found at the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference.

President Jacob Zuma is no longer supported by Julius Malema. The suspended ANCYL president is using the chaotic lack of discipline & respect and embarrassing the ANC leadership. (Quelle: flickr/The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa + GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma is no longer supported by Julius Malema. The suspended ANCYL president is using the chaotic lack of discipline & respect and embarrassing the ANC leadership. (Quelle: flickr/The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa + GCIS)

It was during the Polokwane conference that Zuma’s camp let the Malema genie out of the bottle. They had identified the populist talents of the newly-elected ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader, and these talents were very useful to Zuma at the time. Zuma’s supporters sat back and watched as Malema was given free rein to use whatever tactics were necessary to get rid of Zuma’s opponent at the time, Thabo Mbeki. The important point is that there were no limits to the lengths Malema was allowed to go, as illustrated by his infamous call that the ANCYL is prepared to ‘kill for Zuma’. But there was more to it than just this rhetorical flourish. Zuma’s camp allowed Malema to completely assassinate Mbeki’s character. He was also allowed to make pronouncements on the corruption and rape investigations which were being carried out against Zuma at the time. However, in the process of using Malema to advance his own political agenda (seeking the position of President), Zuma effectively sacrificed all discipline and integrity. Indeed, if integrity and discipline were still present within the ANC, Malema would never have gotten away with claiming that the alleged victim of Zuma’s rape ‘had a nice time’ whiles the case was still sub judice. In short, political expediency was regarded by Zuma to be more important than the principles of the ANC. In 2007, the ANC spectacularly surrendered all of its principles in the most public of fashions. And from Zuma’s perspective it had worked like a charm. The corruption and rape charges were controversially dropped and he was free to be elected as President of the ANC, while his opponent Mbeki was unceremoniously tossed out to sea.

During the ensuing four years, Malema has steadily lost favour with Zuma and his supporters. It appears as if Zuma initially believed that there would be no consequences to allowing discipline and respect to collapse. He may perhaps even have felt vindicated when Malema started making racist pronouncements against whites, because it gave the ANC an easy scapegoat to blame for its lack of progress in fighting poverty and inequality. If Malema could get young black South Africans to blame whites for the lack of service delivery and their continuing poverty, then the ANC’s hold on power would not be threatened by its own incompetence. This explains why the ANC initially did not even attempt to reprimand Malema for his clearly racist behaviour – it continued to work in their favour. However, the honeymoon came to an abrupt end when Malema started openly criticising Zuma, even ironically comparing him to Mbeki in an unfavourable light. Never mind his calls for nationalisation, racial violence and perhaps even regime change in Botswana (the ostensible cause for his suspension) – it was Malema’s decision to attack the Zuma camp (which includes powerful individuals like the ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe) which finally led to the marriage collapsing.

The embarrassing events of the past few months are very easy to understand when keeping the context of the Zuma-Malema relationship in mind: now that Malema has lost his value to Zuma, the ANC is trying to put the genie back into the bottle. But they will find that it is much harder to force Malema’s considerable girth back into the proverbial lamp than it was to let his (skinnier) self out back in 2007. This is because reinstating discipline and integrity will be almost impossible after it was sacrificed on the altar of Zuma’s quest for political power in 2007 for the entire world to see. The result is that Malema will continue to use the chaotic lack of discipline and respect which now rules in the ANC to embarrass the leadership. He will defy his suspension(s). He will openly criticize Zuma. He will call for a new ANC President to be elected in December. Why? Because Zuma had opened the floodgates at the Polokwane conference. And now the torrent may very well wash him away to the ocean, where he would join Mbeki in floating around aimlessly as pieces of South African political driftwood.

*Leon Schreiber is a South African PhD student in Political Science at the Free University of Berlin in Germany. The views expressed are his own. Follow Leon on Twitter @Die_Schreiberei

Sarah Britten in interview

„The poor who rely on service delivery by the government will suffer most.“

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Sarah Britten ist in Deutschland weitgehend unbekannt. In Südafrika zählt sie zu den Who’s Who der nationalen Blogger- und Journalistenszene. Eigentlich kommt sie aus der Werbebranche und analysierte für ihre Doktorarbeit die nationale Identität Südafrikas aus der ökonomischen Perspektive heraus. Dementsprechend hält Sarah Britten fest, dass das Multikulti-Konzept in Südafrika besser funktioniere als in den USA oder Australien, wenn es beispielsweise um die muslimische Gemeinde geht. Zwar steht dem Land noch viel Arbeit bevor, doch verbinden eine gemeinsame Nationalflagge, Verfassung und Braai das Volk. Die infolge der Kriminalität ausgelöste Abwanderungswelle von mehrheitlich gut ausgebildeten Südafrikanern weißer Hautfarbe, welche als „brain drain“ bezeichnet wird, begegnet die Journalistin mit einer zu beobachtenden Gegentendenz. Denn zunehmend mehr Bürger kehren in ihre Heimat zurück. Die Regierung ist nun in der Pflicht, die Arbeitsbedingungen – vor allem für medizinisches Personal – zu verbessern und die Ursachen der Kriminalität anzugehen. Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit in Südafrika sieht Sarah Britten durch die geplanten Regulierungsvorhaben seitens der Regierung als nicht ausrangiert an, sondern eher als eingezwängt. Sie betont, dass die größten Leidtragenden der Secrecy Bill die Armen selbst sein werden. Deutschland besuchte Sarah Britten im Oktober 2011, wobei ihr Berlin sehr gefallen hat und sie diesen Ort auf Basis ihrer Erfahrung als beste Stadt für Touristen bezeichnet. Gegenwärtig bloggt sie für das renommierte südafrikanische Online-Medium Mail & Guardian.

© Sarah Britten, blogger, journalist and book author. She is also a blogging member of Thought Leader from Mail & Guardian.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German Gateway to South Africa, Ms. Dr. Sarah Britten – blogger, journalist and book author.

You completed your PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand with focus on new national identity in South African advertising industry. Is South Africa counting to the successful multicultural societies?

Answer: We have our problems but for the most part we muddle through. In one respect, we manage multiculturalism far better than most: unlike other nations, Muslims are one of our many communities and are not seen as a threat as they are in the US or Australia.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How would you describe South African identity? Does it exists?

Answer: South Africa is very diverse and we have a long history of division between groups. So we have had to work hard to find something we have in common. We have our flag, which is a very important symbol of the nation. There is the braai – our version of the barbecue – which is now celebrated as National Braai Day on September 24. And there are other aspects of life that only people who are South African or who live in South Africa will understand: minibus taxis, biltong, robots (traffic lights) and so on.

We also have our constitution, which celebrates its 15th birthday this February. This document is the bedrock of our democracy and I have worked closely with Media Monitoring Africa on the strategy for a campaign we are launching soon. We will be asking ordinary South Africans to publicly declare their support for our constitution, as a nation-building exercise.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: South African media are reporting constantly about the brain drain phenomena, which means, that well-trained South African citizens – especially whites – are emigrating to UK, Australia oder New Zealand. How should government counteracting to this challenge?

Answer: The brain drain dominated public discourse in the earlier part of the 2000s, but in the wake of the recession, some South Africans returned. In general, government needs to improve working conditions, especially for medical staff. The underlying factors that drive emigration – mainly crime – have been there for a long time. To address crime is no simple matter, because it means tackling the root causes,  poverty and a culture of lawlessness, as well as improving policing and the criminal justice system. Affirmative action policies have also been cited as reasons driving skills from the country.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are blogging on Thought Leader, an editorial group blog of quality commentary and analysis from Mail & Guardian. Thought Leader is known as a thought-provoking forum. Do you think, that the freedom of speech & press freedom could be scrapped by the South African government (e.g. by Secrecy Bill)?

Answer: Freedom of speech and press freedom won’t be scrapped, but they will be constrained. The Secrecy Bill will have implications far beyond the media. Because it will make it more difficult for civil society to have oversight of state activities, especially corruption, it will impact all aspects of life. The poor who rely on service delivery by the government will suffer most.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How would you characterize your profession as journalist and blogger? Which aims are you following with your editorial writings?

Answer: Blogging is quite different from journalism. Because it isn’t paid, I write about whatever I feel like – anything from politics to lifestyle – and I don’t spend as much time crafting it because I can’t justify it. Journalism, because I get paid for it, requires getting quotes from sources, checking facts, and crafting.

Both blogging and journalism are sidelines for me, as my main source of income is communication strategy and social media.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What kind of perception do you have from Germany and German literature?

Answer: I visited Germany in October last year – Bonn and Berlin – and enjoyed my time there. There is so much culture and history, and Berlin is the best city for tourists I have ever visited. I would recommend it to anyone. Interestingly enough, my first book was translated into German! I don’t think we see enough German literature here in South Africa. I know German literature through my university comparative literature studies, and German philosophy has had an immense impact on Western thinking.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which further dreams would you like to realize, especially in editorial and literary context?

Answer: I have many projects in the pipeline – too many in fact. I would like to publish more serious fiction, as well as non-fiction and commercial crime fiction. I will be kept busy for a long time to come!

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Sarah Britten – blogger, journalist and book author – thank you very much for this interview.