Eusebius McKaiser, author of A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics, has written an article for The Star about being approached by a a young man who said that in societies where homosexual people are accepted the population decreases, “So, what is the difference between a homosexual like yourself and a terrorist like Bin Laden?”
McKaiser writes that he initially responded angrily but after a tense chat where the man asked him to help him understand why that was an offensive statement, they “proceeded to have a beautiful and long conversation about morality, philosophy and critical thinking.”
So there I was minding my rib-eye steak, possibly originating from a cow but who really knows in these horsey times? It looked juicy, though, just like the picture on the restaurant’s menu, until my protein enthusiasm was drained by what was about to happen.
An enthusiastic 21-year-old recognised me from a book event I did at the University of Johannesburg. He wanted to ask a question. I obliged. His slight frame, innocent brown eyes and hesitant body language did not prepare me for what was to come.
- A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
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Julius Malema’s mansion in Sandown, which is still in the process of being built, was auctioned off for R5,9 million this morning to Norman Tloubatla, CEO of Magnified Designs, reports IOL News.
The Mail & Guardian reported that Bidders Choice, the auction house running the sale, “was hoping to raise between R2.5-million and R3-million for the three-storey property”, which includes “a private cinema room, a cigar lounge, a pool and a spa bath, a wine cellar, a coffee bar and provision for a lift.”
The profit will go towards paying off Malema’s R16 million debt to the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
Expelled ANCYL president Julius Malema’s half-built Sandown mansion was sold for R5.9 million in an auction on Thursday.
The buyer was Norman Tloubatla, CEO of the company Magnified Designs.
The bidding for Malema’s house began at R3-million on Thursday. The new owner is businessperson Norman Tloubatla, chief executive of of Magnified Signs.
The Star previously reported auction house Bidders Choice was hoping to raise between R2.5-million and R3-million for the three-storey property.
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Former ANCYL leader Julius Malema has called on the National Prosecuting Authority to charge the Gupta family with high treason for illegally landing a chartered jet at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.
In a statement, Malema said the Guptas should be charged for “undermining and threatening national security”. According to the Mail & Guardian, Malema alleges in the statement that the Guptas control the government and the ANC. “It is not a fallacy that the Gupta family has tremendous control over the ANC and government and have had influence and knowledge of key decisions even before the most senior of ANC leaders are aware,” he said.
“We call on the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] to charge the Gupta family with high treason for initiating and pushing through efforts that led to the usage of our military airbase despite the disapproval by the minister of defence,” Malema said in a statement on Sunday.
“If the NPA is not in the pockets of the Guptas like many are, it will proceed to lay charges of treason against the Gupta family for undermining and threatening national security.”
Read Malema’s complete statement:
We have over the past week observed the events, statements and developments that happened around the illegal and treacherous landing of a Gupta plane carrying more than 300 people in one of South Africa’s National Key Points, the Waterkloof Airbase, without the approval of the Minister of Defence.
Since that incident, everyone, including the media, analysts, union leaders, government Ministers have been egg-walking around the problem and therefore failing to expose and speak to the reason why South Africa’s security was undermined. As considerate and fearless South Africans, it is now the moment once again to speak truth and expose what many people are scared to say. As youth, we carry an obligation to speak truth at all times, and we will never claim easy victories.
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The Mail & Guardian reported on Sunday that the curators of Julius Malema’s estate were bringing an application against him for allegedly failing to list his assets. Malema’s lawyer, Tumo Mokwena, said that he would be opposing the contempt of court application.
A farm in Limpopo, allegedly belonging to Julius Malema, was seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit in at the end of March and some of his belongings had been auctioned in February to pay his tax debts.
Malema was due to appear at the North Gauteng High Court today, but the Mail & Guardian reports that the case has been taken off the roll:
Malema was expected to appear in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday. Details on why the case was removed from the court roll were not immediately available.
The curators of Malema’s estate brought the application against him for allegedly failing to declare his assets.
Malema will appear in court on Tuesday after the curators of his estate brought the application against him for failing to declare his assets, the Sunday Independent reported.
Cloete Murray from Sechaba Trust and Aviwe Ndyamara from the Tshwane Trust Company were appointed as the curators of his estate in the beginning of March.
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With a subtitle like “From A(ids) to Z(imbabwe)”, any discussion about Reverend Frank Chikane’s new book, The Things That Could Not Be Said, is sure to touch on some controversial questions – and Chikane’s talk with Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel at the book’s launch last night definitely did not disappoint.
Following from his previous offering, Eight Days in September: The Removal of Thabo Mbeki, Chikane’s latest book does look at (often controversial) policy decisions made around the situation in Zimbabwe and the treatment and prevention of HIV/Aids during Thabo Mbeki’s presidency. But, as the guests at The Fugard Theatre learned, The Things That Could Not Be Said is also about much more than these two topics.
“I don’t tell the popular stories, promoted by the media, but I tell the real stories, as I see it.” Chikane said. The book contains many of his personal experiences as a struggle veteran and Director General of the Presidency under Mbeki. “You can read about my fight with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and their handling of the Adriaan Vlok matter in the book,” Chikane said. During the struggle against apartheid, Chikane was poisoned. He had an idea who had done it, but was not sure. During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings, the culprits did not come forward and Chikane felt he did not have enough evidence to accuse anyone. It was only later that Chikane took up the matter with the NPA and Adriaan Vlok admitted that he was involved. Vlok sought forgiveness and washed Chikane’s feet to show that he repented.
“Forgiving is not a problem for me,” Chikane said. “I don’t want to hold onto the past.” He described the experience of having his feet washed, saying, “If you think it’s humbling to wash somebody’s feet, think again. It’s even more humbling to have your feet washed. It was in my office and I had to take off my shoes!”
Chikane also writes about his problems with the TRC, because they included in their report the fact that a man with the surname Chikane had wiped out a family, but accidentally called this man “Frank Chikane” instead of his actual name. “It took four years before they eventually corrected it,” Chikane said. He had demanded that the Commission track down all copies of the report to paste an in erratum note in them. “And there are still some copies missing!”
On the topic of Mbeki’s Aids policy, Chikane said that the former president, “a brilliant man”, did not simply accept it when he was told to use certain drugs to treat the disease. He researched Nevirapine and was concerned that it was prescribed differently in poorer countries than in richer nations. Chikane admits that there were problems with the HIV/Aids policy during Mbeki’s term, but by 2003, he says, it was back on track. “Everyone thinks that HIV policy remained a problem until Mbeki left, but they are wrong.” The outline for our current HIV/Aids policy was crafted during that period, he says.
With regard to Zimbabwe, Chikane reminded the audience about the British promise to help finance land reform, which never came to pass. That the land needed to be giving back to the people, no one can dispute, Chikane says, but the violent way in which it happened, due to a lack of support for the process, was not the best way for it to come about. “I can understand that Zimbabwe is such an emotional topic,” Chikane said, since both black and white people had been affected, “But now we need to move forward to a better Zimbabwe for all.”
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Carolyn Meads livetweeted from the launch using #livebooks:
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Frank Chikane’s latest book, The Things That Could Not Be Said: From A(ids) to Z(imbabwe), was launched last night at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto. At the event, Chikane spoke about threats his family has received because of the books he has written. He made an appeal to people to leave his family alone, and said: “In my view, no cadre of the movement can be involved in such criminal activities. In any way, in the ANC we have what we call the ‘festival of ideas’. Members have the right to think and express their views without fear of any reprisals.”
He also spoke about the risk of his books “being misunderstood”. Chikanse said that people react to sensationalist reports about his work in the media, without having read his book. “I invite you to read the book carefully, page by page, and you will not find a Frank Chikane who lashes at the ANC,” he said. “What Frank Chikane is concerned about is cadres of the movement or those who claim to be cadres of the movement who appropriate it (the ANC) and use (abuse) it to achieve their self interests (or those of their friends and families) at the expense of the people, particularly the poor.”
Read his full speech:
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The book that occasioned this launch event is The Things that Could Not be Said. Besides books in which I have participating as an editor there are two other books I wrote, namely, No Life of My Own and Eight Days in September.
No Life of My Own was first published in London by the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR) as a smuggled underground literature as it was considered as subversive material in a repressive apartheid system. The book was later published in South Africa by Skotaville Publishers, 1988.
One would not think of Eight Days in September as “subversive” material, but some thought that it was controversial, and that it raised feathers in some quarters. But for me it was a necessary reflection of a particular moment in our history from which we had to learn to make sure that we do not make similar mistakes again.
The Things that Could Not Be Said is a second part of Eight Days and it is focused mainly on the substance of the issues and policy matters we had to deal with during my thirteen and a half years in Government. The responses to the book have been overwhelming and many people have already rushed to find the book.
In the midst of the excitement yesterday I got a call from one of my brothers who said that he has just been in his private business meeting (which has nothing to do with me) and he was told that they would not want to work with the Chikanes because of my books. Later he got a threatening note.
Although I refer to this matter of turning family members who have nothing to do with my books or writings in one of the Chapters, I never thought that it would manifest itself in the manner in which it has. The perpetrators of these acts do so in the name of the ANC. Now I would like to make it clear that these cannot be members of the ANC and can’t be doing this with authority from any member of the ANC. If it is then it must be criminal elements amongst us.
In my view, no cadre of the movement can be involved in such criminal activities. In any way, in the ANC we have what we call the “festival of ideas”. Members have the right to think and express their views without fear of any reprisals. As the older generation would say, the ANC is the Parliament of the people who have different views or perspectives but agree on one thing: the liberation of our people and to better their lives and those of the people of the rest of the continent of Africa.
In this regard I would like to make a special appeal: PLEASE LEAVE MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS ALONE! They have no responsibility for what I write, nor can they be held responsible for my views and ideas. They don’t even agree with some of my views and perspectives. Anyone who targets innocent people for the views and ideas of others is dangerous; and cannot be fit to govern this country now or into the future.
The second risk of writing is that of being misunderstood as people never read the text carefully and at worst depend entirely on newspaper headlines. Some even react to the title before they even get hold of the book. I am sure that those who threatened my brother yesterday had not even got the book in their hands, let alone read it. They may have relied on one of the weekend newspaper headline which said “Chikane Lashes ANC” using the Chapter dealing with “Warning Lights”.
In this chapter I publish discussion document I produced in 2001 entitled “Threats and Potential Threats to the Achievement of the National Democratic Revolution”. I also refer to a letter I wrote to President Mandela and Deputy President Mbeki in about 1997 raising an alarm about the emerging trend of the ‘old order’ elements corrupting or compromising the cadres of the ‘new order’. I also refer there to the ANC NGC resolution on the need for “new cadres” who will be focused on serving the people of South Africa rather than themselves (at the expense of the people).
Any careful ready of this Chapter cannot have the headline, “Chikane lashes ANC”. Instead one should have heard the cry of a genuine cadre of the movement who is concerned about “threats” to the movement and to its capacity to pursue the objectives of the “national democratic revolution”, which is called NDR, in ANC circles. Even if one wanted desperately to use the word “lashes”, one could only use it in the context of “lashing” at cadres of the movement who are threatening the noble character of the movement – that is, the ANC of Albert Luthuli, O.R. Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Lilian Ngoyi, Govern Mbeki, Helen Joseph, Joe Slovo, Nelson Mandela, Amina Cachalia and many other stalwalts of the movement.
There are those who keep on coming back to me in interviews and tweets about the question of “why now and not earlier when I was in Government”, referring to my books. This question is answered in the first three Chapters of the Book. In short, when you are a civil servant you have limitations about what you can write or talk about publicly, especially on party political matters. People forget that I was a public servant and not an elected political official or political appointee.
What is troubling though is that this question misses the fact that the period I am writing about is not just about the period after I had left Government. It is in fact about the period when I was in Government. The document on “Threats and Potential Threats’, the letter I wrote to Mandela and Mbeki and the 2001 NGC resolution are all about the period when I was in Government.
In this regard I can only say maybe the idiomatic express: “Le molato la ikatlhola” is the only way to explain this hysteria.
I invite you to read the book carefully, page by page, and you will not find a Frank Chikane who lashes at the ANC. What Frank Chikane is concerned about is cadres of the movement or those who claim to be cadres of the movement who appropriate it (the ANC) and use (abuse) it to achieve their self interests (or those of their friends and families) at the expense of the people, particularly the poor.
South Africa has the capacity and resources to eradicate poverty, but the project is being slowed down by the leakages within the system through corruption and inefficiencies occasioned by the engagement of personnel who just cannot manage the operation to achieve our objectives of the NDR.
If one reads the book carefully the message is that WE MUST CHANGE COURSE AND CHANGE NOW otherwise we are dead! The Mangaung “Organisational Renewal” document says exactly this. It says clearly that the ANC earned the status of the “leader of the people” because it existed for the people and not for itself. If it has to remain the “leader of the people” it must refocus its lens and put all its energies on offering the best it can offer to the people.
Being here at the Hector Pieterson Museum we owe it to Hector Pieterson, Antoinette Sithole and Mbuyisa Makhubu to do everything possible to change the quality of lives of all South Africans, especially the lives of those who are victims of the apartheid system. We owe it to those who died in the struggle, those who were tortured, and those who lost their loved ones.
The tragedy about focusing on self interests is that even when one reads this book one misses the fundamental issues of the rotten international governance system which is working against the interests of the weak and powerless and favours the rich and the powerful. That whatever “best” we can do here it is still constraint by the political and economic powers that be internationally. For instance, the chapters on ‘Farewell to Innocence’ have been missed completely in the last few days because they seem to be dealing with matters that are far away from where we are.
I would like to end with the good story that has been lost in the midst of all the noise, that is, the historical moment during which some of us found ourselves in Government. We came to Government at the time when we were called upon to change the system and create new things; things we had no knowledge of creating. We came at time when we had to create new national coat of arms, new national orders, a new flag, and so on. We were in Government at the time when we had to think and work on the renewal of the Africa continent – what we called the “African Renaissance”. This you will ironically find in the Chapter on “Colonialism in a New Guise”.
There is a profound statement Mbeki crafted at the introduction of a Chapter on “Africa’s Time Has Come” in the book, Africa – the time has come (Tafelberg/Mafube, 1998).
He says that IT IS NOT GIVEN TO every generation that it should be present during and participate in the act of creation. I believe that ours is privileged to occupy such historical space.
I ask you, can you today say the same?
Maybe, this should be the subject of our future publications!
I thank you.
Image courtesy of SABC
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