Flinging Poo at South Africa’s Past

Dan Roodt, American Renaissance, May 15, 2015

The Rhodes statue and the “transformation” of universities.

South Africa has not become the multi-racial paradise we were promised when white rule came to an end in 1994. Songezo Zibi, the black editor of the Johannesburg Business Day, our equivalent of the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote a column with a title that says it all: “Race Relations at a Low Ebb.” While blacks habitually blame whites for their failures and shortcomings, whites now openly roll their eyes at the incompetence in banks or government offices staffed by blacks. The blackouts caused by our government-run energy utility Eskom are the butt of many jokes. On websites and social media, the tone is acrimonious, ethnic, and openly racial. Even the liberal Mr. Zibi had to concede that:

Whether one listens to the radio, reads comments below articles on websites, reads newspaper readers’ letters to the editor, or listens to conversation in queues, there is a palpable anger and bitterness towards one or other group of South Africans.

Strong race preferences and the quasi-Hollywood lifestyle of black politicians have done nothing to appease the anger of blacks. They are as convinced as ever that they have been perpetual victims ever since the first white set foot in the Cape. In fact, the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, stated in February:

You must remember that a man called Jan van Riebeeck arrived here on 6 April 1652, and that was the start of the trouble in this country . . . . What followed were numerous struggles and wars and deaths and the seizure of land and the deprivation of the indigenous peoples’ political and economic power.

Jan van Riebeeck was immediately rescued from the relative obscurity to which he had sunk under ANC rule. On Twitter and Facebook, hundreds of whites adopted Van Riebeeck’s portrait as their profile picture, and pretended to have the surname “Van Riebeeck.” The slogan “Je suis Jan” became popular, and various complaints were laid with the South African Human Rights Commission, alleging that Zuma’s statement was “hate speech” against whites and Afrikaners.

Jan van Riebeeck

Jan van Riebeeck

The hullabaloo over Van Riebeeck had hardly died down when a bizarre culture war erupted on the very liberal campus of the University of Cape Town. Black students complained that bronze statues representing the country’s past “caused them pain.” A black student, Chumani Maxwele, invited photographers and cameramen to watch while he and his friends threw “human excrement” at the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, the famous British imperialist. The headline of The Cape Argus was “Protesters Throw Poo on Rhodes Statue.”

Besides funding the famous scholarships, Rhodes bequeathed a huge amount of money to the university, but for roughly a month, black students occupied a building, demanding the statue be removed from its position overlooking the sports grounds. The mainly white liberal professors of UCT, as it is known in South Africa, were caught in the rest rooms, so to speak. For years they had preached liberalism, Marxism, and anti-colonialism, and now finally black students were acting on it.

The principal of the university, Max Price, did some hand-wringing, but eventually he and his entire senate caved in to the demands of the excrement throwers. Not a single white professor voted against the proposal to banish Rhodes’s statue. The actual removal by truck and crane was a considerable victory for the anti-white side, as it was broadcast on national television, with pictures in all the newspapers. Excited young blacks climbed onto the statue as it was being lifted, throwing paint on the old imperialist, as if vicariously attacking the entire white population and everything it has done for four centuries.

A few people mentioned that the hasty removal contravened various statutes regulating the country’s historical and artistic heritage, but no one dared challenge Mr. Maxwele and his bucket of feces. Academic historian Rodney Warwick explained why English-speaking whites would not defend Rhodes:

Rhodes’s statue was obviously never going to be physically defended. The white English South African community feel no passionate claim to Rhodes as ‘theirs’–and neither should they. Rhodes is simply part of the country’s collective history to be debated ad infinitum. Although Rhodes is inextricably part of South Africa’s colonial (and of course UCT’s) heritage, any ‘tribal-type’ loyalty to him by the once ‘British South Africans’ faded away decades ago.

The Rhodes controversy is part of a “permanent revolution.” As liberal columnist and radio announcer Stephen Grootes wrote:

This protest has brought to our (my) attention how desperately important it is as a South African population to constantly reassess our standard of reformation, and a warning that we cannot ever feel ‘comfortable’ with the progress made so far. We must never stop refreshing our opinions and moving forward as a country.

Given this kind of encouragement, the movement to vandalize statues quickly spread, and someone smeared green paint on the Paul Kruger statue complex in Pretoria’s Church Square. Afrikaners are not like the English-speaking whites in Cape Town. There was an immediate and irate protest on the square, and singers Sunette Bridges and Steve Hofmeyr chained themselves to the statue. Many people threatened retaliatory vandalism of statues of Mandela and others erected by the ANC.

The government actually pledged to protect public statues, and for a while Paul Kruger was surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by police. However, during the ensuing debate, the government suggested that all statues of whites should perhaps be removed from public view to a “Boerassic Park,” where they would not be vandalized but “contextualized” as representations of historical white racists.

I wrote a letter to UNESCO requesting intervention to save our statues and also to have all of Pretoria’s Church Square declared a World Heritage Site. South Africa is a signatory to UNESCO’s Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, so our government is bound to protect even the heritage of whites, however much it may hate it. UNESCO took a month to reply, but we are now starting the process that may protect our heritage from black vandalism.

Of course, the Rhodes-statue debacle is a symptom of a wider black objective, and that is to take complete control of formerly white universities. South African Marxists have long used the word “transformation” to mean revolution, but since the ANC takeover it increasingly means “replacing whites with blacks.” The ultimate goal appears to be to get rid of all whites at universities and schools, government service, business, and sports. As long as white sportsmen represent South Africa, our national teams are still considered racially deficient. Every day, blacks clamor for “more transformation” at all levels.

With all the “soft disciplines” and politically correct fields such as Women’s Studies, Whiteness Studies, African Literature, African Philosophy, Bantu languages, etc., our universities should be teeming with black professors and lecturers. The entire country was therefore shocked to learn that even at the hyper-leftist University of Cape Town, where “transformation” is about as mandatory as Islam in Saudi Arabia, there are only five black professors out of a total of 200. A black lecturer, Xolela Mangcu, complained to the Cape Times that if Harvard, Yale, and Columbia could have black professors we could too, adding that “the students want to be taught by black professors and they want management to get rid of racist lecturers.”

The idea of “racist lecturers” at UCT is, of course, outlandish. Whites are routinely subjected to witch-hunts for even the mildest statements in private emails or even text messages. Every white lecturer at UCT must be careful not to voice any opinion that is not 100-percent politically correct.

One of the demands of the Rhodes-statue protestors was that the university immediately fire at least 50 percent of the faculty and hire blacks instead. The administration responded with vague promises of “faster transformation,” but nothing of the kind has happened yet.

On May 10, I watched a talk show on South African television in which irate black students went on to demand that courses also be changed so blacks can get better grades. Instead of “Eurocentric” instruction in commerce, with its smattering of math, they wanted economic history that would emphasize the exploitation of the Third World.

Of course, the big problem with “transformation” is standards. For what such rankings are worth, the University of Cape Town is number 124 in the world, and is supposed to be South Africa’s top university, followed by the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch, and Pretoria, which are all in the top 500.

The only university that really embraced “transformation” was the University of Kwazulu-Natal, which has slipped out of the top 500. A liberal academic, R. W. Johnson, has described what happened to the university during the reign of its fundamentalist black principal, Malegapuru Makgoba, who once claimed that blacks had surpassed whites on the evolutionary scale. He says Africanization has been “calamitous:”

The cumulative effect of these factors is to make ‘university transformation’ a completely unrealizable ideal unless one is willing to take several more generations about it. To force through the Africanisation of posts in the short term can only result in a catastrophic lowering of standards.

Mr. Makgoba left the university in a mess, with about $200 million of debt. It is now up to the new principal, a white Afrikaner, to sort out the chaos. In the meantime, Mr. Makgoba has been appointed as the Minister of Higher Education’s “transformation chief,” with the task of getting whites out of all the universities. On May 13, the minister himself, Blade Nzimande, who also happens to be the leader of the South African Communist Party, stated that:

Despite the significance of symbols such as names and statues, we must not conflate these with more fundamental matters of transformation. . . . There remains an urgent need to radically change the demographics of our professoriate; transform the curriculums and research agendas; . . . .

“Demographics” is a euphemism for race, so he is merely repeating the injunction that whites be replaced by blacks. A few years ago, a white university administrator told me confidentially that up to 96 percent of South African academic publications in peer-reviewed journals are written by whites. One effect of getting rid of white professors would be our disappearance from the academic press.

One reason young blacks and politicians are increasingly vehement is that despite all the anti-white measures and laws, whites still outperform blacks in education, business, and even in sports. South Africa’s all-black soccer team is something of a joke, and loses to any of the better international teams, while in “white sports,” such as rugby, cricket, and swimming, we produce world champions.

The minister of sport, Fikele Mbalula, recently imposed racial quotas on cricket and rugby teams at the club, provincial and national levels. The South African cricket team must now have six “players of color” out of 11, while the Springbok rugby team must field at least seven non-whites out of 15. Political interference was blamed for South Africa losing the cricket world cup this year when key white players were excluded at critical moments during the tournament.

To return to the Rhodes debacle at UCT, it gained enormous attention, in part, because the more liberal, English-language universities usually manage to stay out of the spotlight and avoid the racial spats that are more common at Afrikaans universities. Some years ago, the infamous “Reitz Four” scandal erupted at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein–long considered a bastion of Afrikanerdom. Four white male students persuaded some chubby black female cleaners to go through the traditional initiation ceremony for students who want to live at the Reitz residence. This included drinking tainted beer, and playing a mock game of rugby.

Someone leaked a video of the proceedings, and this prompted weeks of liberal hysteria and even resulted in criminal convictions and fines for the four students for “humiliating” the cleaning women. The Reitz residence, named after a 19th-century Boer leader, was permanently closed and turned into a kind of re-education camp where students get compulsory “diversity training.” The university also appointed a coloured (mixed-race) principal, Jonathan Jansen–coloureds often speak Afrikaans–who immediately started an intense “transformation” program. Many white parents deserted the University of the Free State and started sending their children to the Potchefstroom campus of North West University as a kind of last outpost of white, Afrikaans culture.

Unfortunately, our Communist minister, Blade Nzimande, is intensely aware of the Potchefstroom campus and finds it intolerable. It is the only one of the “historically Afrikaans” universities where lectures are still 100 percent in Afrikaans. The government has forced all the other campuses to appoint blacks and accept English-speaking students, including whites.

Potchefstroom is now in the crosshairs, with a new black principal, Dan Kgwadi, who was appointed after a fabricated scandal. The liberal Afrikaans daily Beeld had sent four journalists to the campus to look for dirt, and they came home with a photograph of some female first-year students giving a “Nazi salute” during an initiation ceremony. In fact, there was no Nazi salute. As a later video showed, the girls were raising and lowering their arms, but the moment frozen in the picture made it look like a mass seig heil.

The minister of higher education frenziedly demanded the “immediate racial transformation of Potchefstroom.” The newly appointed Principal Kgwadi was in his office only a few days before he went on record complaining about “the lack of diversity on campus.”

Potchefstroom is reputedly 80 percent white. Blacks who do not understand Afrikaans are accommodated through simultaneous English interpretation through headsets, a service offered at considerable expense to the university. However, even this highly “inclusive” measure is interpreted as a form of “racial exclusion.” At a recent mass meeting held by Principal Kgwadi, a black student called the headsets “a symbol of the black man’s oppression on campus that must be thrown away by July first.” To their credit, the mass of white students laughed derisively.

This is all part of the ongoing culture war against the Afrikaans language and the Afrikaner people. For black activists and other leftists, the mere existence of Afrikaans lectures, even on an officially bilingual campus, is segregation, since most Afrikaner students prefer to go to the Afrikaans lecture which will in practice be all white. Mixed groups attend lectures in English. What Principals Jansen and Kgwadi really want is to ban all Afrikaans lectures.

The University of Pretoria, where lectures in different languages give rise to the same de facto segregation, has used several methods to evade government scrutiny. First, it has banned political parties on campus, which has taken some of the edge off of black-white relations. It has kept standards high, so most blacks study education. It has also appointed a coloured principal, Cheryl de la Rey, as a sop to “transformation,” but she maintains a low profile and does not go in for the kind of wholesale engineering practiced on some other campuses.

However, no university, no matter how carefully policed, is immune to racial furor. In August 2014, two white female students at University of Pretoria who blacked their faces and dressed up as domestic servants for a privately-held fancy dress party were expelled from their residence. They were allowed to continue their studies, however, so most newspaper commentators found the punishment “too lenient.”

There have been years of grinding destruction of the Afrikaner academic tradition at most of our universities, but especially at the University of Stellenbosch, considered by some to be the “Afrikaans Harvard.” Its pristine white buildings in the Cape Dutch style nestle among the mountains of the Stellenbosch wine country. To the university’s pride–but now considered a great source of shame–all our prime ministers during the 20th century studied at Stellenbosch, including the “architect of apartheid,” Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd. Not only did he study there and at universities in Germany, he lectured at Stellenbosch in sociology, and wrote a textbook that was used for decades. He grew up in a missionary home, so his parents knew a lot about black education and culture. This doubtless influenced his politics.

Only a few days ago a liberal journalist, Allister Sparks, committed social suicide by including Verwoerd among the “clever politicians” he had had the good fortune to interview. No one now dares remember that the hated Dr. Verwoerd was a man of superior intelligence, a cultivated Afrikaner and European, who was not only a university professor but the top student at his competitive high school. So vociferous was the reaction that Sparks publicly apologized, ascribing his lapse to “senility.”

The coloured theologian Russel Botman, who ran Stellenbosch from 2007 to 2014, was a typical wrecker. He supported white-guilt indoctrination, and created an ideological bureaucracy called the Centre for Inclusivity, whose purpose was to exclude whites. When Botman died of natural causes in July 2014, his fellow coloured university head, Jonathan Jansen, more or less blamed white racism. In a newspaper column called “Who Killed Russel Botman?” he answered his own question:

They killed him . . . . The more he pushed for transformation, the more he was mercilessly vilified by right-wing alumni, aided and abetted by the Afrikaans press, in blogger postings, in alumni associations, and in formal gatherings of the institution.

Botman’s successor, Wim de Villiers, is an Afrikaner liberal medical professor who spent a lot of time in the United States, and is therefore deemed politically correct enough to manage the university, despite being white.

Although to most observers Stellenbosch looks decidedly liberal and even radical–like most Western universities–the black group “Open Stellenbosch” says the university is “a hostile environment that privileges White Afrikaans culture.” Its members discourage other blacks from enrolling in order “to spare them the pain and humiliation of being silently subjugated by a passively hostile culture of White Afrikanerdom.”

So South Africa lurches from one racial incident to the next, whether it is Rhodes’s statue radiating “pain” to black students in Cape Town or other blacks a thousand miles away being oppressed by headsets in rural Potchefstroom. The race-mad media in Johannesburg and Cape Town are always on the lookout for the next racial scandal and glory in shaming some hapless white who says the wrong thing. This will all be drearily familiar to anyone who follows events n the United States.

The rest of the Western world forced this crazy black Marxist government on us and cast us into their diversity blender. We suffer intensely from the American-made political correctness that now dominates the West–and diversity doesn’t work any better here than it does anywhere else.

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Dan Roodt
Dr. Roodt studied at the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Paris. He founded the Pro-Afrikaans Action Group (PRAAG) in 2000.
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