By: Clyde Ramalaine
Finally the ANC or shall I say someone in the ANC despite risking the internal political gallows dares to respond to Max Du Preez, whom I ages ago have dubbed the “bedonderde Boer.”
Du Preez shared his lament in which he identifies Secretary-General Ace Magashule as a problem that needs to be dealt with. Dealing with Magashule for Du Preez means to have him arrested, charged, brought to courts and sentenced on what he deems a half-dozen of corruption cases. In this instance, his prescription of the arrest, charging, and sentencing of the ANC’s elected Secretary-General Ace Magashule as an automatic fixing of what he among others identified Ramaphosa’s utter lack of presidential power. With scant regard for constitutional democratic directed justice processes and ANC internal policies, ‘Media Goliath’ Du Preez tells Ramaphosa, the Police Minister, Shamiela Batohi and the Judges what to do, all for his desired political outcomes that will apparently extend Ramaphosa more space to implement what Stephen Koseff and others of white monopoly capital have declared the economic solutions for SA.
Why Niehaus’ response had to be in Afrikaans?
1. This response is not just an important intervention but it is also necessary to be addressed in Afrikaans. Afrikaans a language that adopts discursive narratives for some who only see it in the narrowness of an apartheid language description. Yet Afrikaans is a language alive in democratic South Africa as I reprimanded Breyten Breytenbach when the latter emptied his stuck mind on the occasion when Stellenbosch University a few years ago in a progressive sense moved to adopt a transformative means to first language medium of instruction at an institution that historically remains the cradle of apartheid ideology.
2. Niehaus in the brilliance of poetic and idiomatic style lays bare the factory-faulty mind of a Max Du Preez. His usage of idiomatic and poetry symbolism uniquely common to Afrikaans first language speakers would have been lost in any other translation. He critically engages Max, the one that long ago has depleted his proverbial savings in a then Vrye Weekblad role, one whom today arrogates a right to direct, instruct, berate, accuse and denigrate all he detests at the political and ideological level.
3. Another reason why Niehaus’ response must be welcomed as long overdue is the fact that many in the ANC are too scared to engage Du Preez because his role in a historical Vrye Weekblad erroneously renders him almost an “ANC “veteran.
4. This article had to be published in Afrikaans for the obvious reasons advanced. It at another level has to be in Afrikaans because the ANC senior leadership whom I as far back as 2013 warned remains absent in Afrikaans print, digital and media spaces- no wonder the Western Cape and Northern Cape and every other province where a significant group of Afrikaans first language speaking community resides confirms this grave ANC lack in Afrikaans media spaces in elections seasons.
Niehaus gets under the skin of the self-appointed Goliath of Afrikaans media personified in veteran journalist status.
He engages the psyche of the apartheid dominant white race mind, a living reality in the sojourn of manifested presence in democratic SA. That dominant mind can only be understood in “baasskap” and Max’s baas mentality unveils his trapped state of mind from which he never could free himself. Niehaus contextualizes this in what he terms as evidencing a “hard-gebaktheid” (searedness). He relays a history from the iron-ore Vrystaat farm life then the only province where Indians under apartheid could not spend a night. What Carl unravels is that despite Max’s zillions of articles draped in kaftans of a liberated mind, he is today as trapped as he was in that Vrystaat plaasboer (farm) mind growing up. D Preez remained a prisoner of an apartheid baas mentality and thus can dare to direct everyone as he so glibly does in this case with the president of the ANC.
Niehaus succinctly captures the pervasive narrative that for Du Preez and Stephen Koseff the ANC is their proverbial ”jong” (boy) to be instructed on what to do since the ANC as majority black liberation movement and also government remains a black group that warrants being instructed by those who have always in baasskap known to lead.
Thank you, Carl, for letting us read in what some of call moedersmelk (mother-tongue) such a response to one who arrogates way too much power and daily hogs media attention in trapped mind from the bedrock of his false superior ‘white’ race immanent in baaaskap mentality.
In conclusion, if only Du Preez would respond in engaging Niehaus intellectually or will he like so many again resort to regurgitating known historical 11-year-old missteps on the part of Niehaus for which no ANC or any SA court ever found against him. I, unfortunately, hold no hope for any proper engaging from Du Preez.
On another level, one can only hope that Carl Niehaus is not again privately threatened and publicly attacked by ANC leaders who conveniently see him as a scapegoat for a failed unity. Some in the ANC who easily espouse none-racialism, conveniently at times accused him of being a “white” man that divides them as “blacks” as if the “blacks” in the ANC share a hegemony of agreed meaning of unity. We know that some in the ANC who are either intimidated simply cannot respond to Du Preez’ and other Baasskap practitioners like Derek Hanekom.
In my assessment, Niehaus ought to be appreciated in ANC circles, for sharing a personal but essentially ANC defence against the media tyranny of Du Preez and his interest group. Yet we all know the ANC attests a daily reconfigured coagulum of multi-interests in which factions defines its bone marrow. Maybe I am cynical but Carl will be ridiculed again I would be surprised if not.