David Saks

Verwoerdgate: A different take on Alistair’s faux pas

Alistair Sparks undoubtedly put his foot in it by referring, in the context of praising Helen Zille, to Hendrik Verwoerd as a “smart” politician. Whether he likes it or not, lumping the two together, as well as including him in a list of otherwise progressively inclined white parliamentarians from the apartheid era, to some degree…

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South Africa’s Weimar moment?

What motivates a young black student leader — and we’re not talking here of a self-hating Uncle Tom-like figure but of one well to the left of Malcolm X — to fulsomely declare his admiration for Adolf Hitler? It is surely common knowledge that extreme anti-black racism was an inextricable part of the Nazi ideology….

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Monty Python and the Rhodes statue controversy

Does the name Monty Python still mean something to those under 20? In my day, Monty Python sketches were an inextricable part of everyday discourse. This was despite the fact that, as a result of the cultural boycott of apartheid, the original BBC programmes were not readily available. Fortunately, Jood maak plan, as the saying…

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Global freedom in retreat?

Following the collapse of communism, Francis Fukuyama famously asserted that humankind was on the threshold of “the end of history”. By this, he meant that humanity’s sociocultural evolution was poised to resolve itself in a general acceptance of the principles of Western liberal democracy as the basis of government. This he spelled out in his…

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Pogroms in Mandelaland

With regard to the latest outbreak of xenophobic violence, I can do no better than quote Ranjeni Munusamy, who wrote (Daily Maverick, January 23): “Incidents of racism and xenophobia have again exposed South Africa as a superficial, ugly, violent nation that lacks respect for other human beings. From exclusive restaurants in Cape Town that discriminate…

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On jihadism, Islam and the ‘collective guilt’ notion

“For us, it is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. You know it well … If you harm our children, old women, our fighters, our old men, we will attack the men who fight against us.” This is what Amedy Coulibaly told his hostages following his attack on a kosher…

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The latest neo-fascist threat from Cosatu: Should I laugh or start worrying?

Earlier this week, the Western Cape branch of Cosatu put out a statement that, even by the increasingly feral standards of hard-core left-wing politics in South Africa, was quite extraordinary. Issued in the name of Provincial Secretary Tony Ehrenreich, this presented the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) with an ultimatum to cease its “Zionist…

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‘Hitler got it right’ goes multiracial

A posting by Rene Smit, an obscure ANC party worker in the Western Cape, quickly went viral when it emerged that it sang the praises of Adolf Hitler for killing off the Jews and intimated that had been retro-actively justified by the behaviour to date of those Jews who survived. The post featured a picture…

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The receding spectre of a one-party state

“If you have a country where everyone is complaining, you’ve got a democracy; if you have one where no-one is complaining, you’ve got a problem” (not bad, huh? — © Saks, D — all rights reserved etc … ). Related to the above is the paradox that huge victory margins in elections are indicative not…

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Is climate change all a ghastly mistake? Someone please tell me

In the early days of TV in South Africa, ie the late 1970s, a programme portentously called “Is the Ice Age coming?” was screened. After watching it, and being of a naturally panicky disposition, I spent a long time afterwards worrying about our imminent freezing to death. Had I been born twenty years later, I…

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