Monday, February 25, 2013

South Africa: good news and bad

The bad news first. In the wake of Oscar Pistorius' killing of his girlfriend, there has been much discussion of misogyny and the culture of violence toward women in South Africa.  Read the opinion piece in the New York Times on 20 February, 2013 by Eusibius McKaiser. The Mail & Guardian has further commentary here.

Now the good news. Mampehle Ramphele recently announced that she is forming a new political party, Agang, to be launched in early June. An interview with her can be found here. Perhaps an effective opposition to the ANC can finally emerge. An open letter to Dr. Ramphele asks all the right questions and raises all those prickly issues no one really wants to face. That letter is at this link.

The winner of the documentary film category at last night's Academy Awards was Searching for Sugar Man. This is the story of a musician from Detroit, Sixto Rodriguez, who was never well known outside of the taverns he played, except in South Africa. Unbeknownst to him, a huge fan-base evolved and two people set out to find him, bring him to South Africa, and perhaps help get the royalties due to him.


Christopher Swayzer said...

Their impulse to judge Mr. Pistorius hastily is driven in part by the desire to prove that a white man — seemingly nice and virtuous — is as capable of wrongdoing as a black one.-NY Times, Opinion Pages

Here is a nation whose foundation was built on murder, thievery, racism and discrimination. The poverty that South Africans face is a direct result of European aggression and violence. Yet, it is the Europeans that call the natives violent criminals.

Can you speak to the incongruous notion of amicable Europeans? With all of the violence Europeans have exhibited in the past 600 years, how is it that they are viewed as a peaceful and civilized people? How is it that Europeans can forcefully take land from people, discriminate against them in their own land, rape and kill the natives, yet are viewed (by far too many) as a peace loving, civilized people? How is it that they are able to make the people they terrorized look like terrorist? It appears to be the biggest magic trick the world has ever seen!

Hazel said...

Thanks for your comments. I am not sure that Europeans are viewed as any more peaceful and civilized than anyone else! Any careful reading of history shows us that all people, from everywhere, engage in power struggles, often violent, to get what they want. Six hundred years ago, the Europeans were equally violent on their own continent as various kingdoms and principalities jockeyed for control of resources. The Japanese were engaged in violence on their island.