David Africa
David Africa

No new light, just recycled trash: Anthea Jeffery’s People’s War

Anthea Jeffery commits 634 pages to a study of the “people’s war” in the South African context in an attempt to debunk what she claims to be a false conception of how the ANC gained power, the nature of the political violence that characterised South Africa from the 1980s up to 1994, and a special attempt to whitewash the Inkatha Freedom Party from its role in fomenting and carrying out large-scale violence against black South Africans. Jeffery, acclaimed for her “meticulous and objective approach”, manages to rewrite history and in the process expose a fraud of monumental proportions: one in which the ANC, internal political opposition, the media, liberal organisations (except her beloved SA Institute of Race Relations of course) connived to effect the overthrow of the apartheid government, destroy the democratic black opposition (aka Inkatha) and establish itself as the supreme political movement in South Africa. And of course the Russians plotted the whole thing, assisted by their devious yet able local lackeys the SACP! Her central thesis is that the ANC’s “people’s war” was imposed on an unwilling populace and that the current dominance of the ANC flows from its bludgeoning of all opposition into submission through the “people’s war”. Those who continued to defy the logic of “people’s war” were unjustly ostracised and labelled “enemies of the people”.

A thorough read of Jeffery’s book, painful as it is, reveals very quickly how she constructs this scam. For purposes of brevity I will only deal with a few of the many flaws in this “meticulous and objective” book. Firstly Jeffery paints the apartheid regime as a relatively benign organism, though with some obvious shortcomings. In particular she attempts to create the impression that the post-Voster apartheid regime was one committed to a negotiated settlement and the general improvement of the lot of the black population. As evidence for this she cites Botha’s Rubicon speech claiming that he intended an even more enlightened speech than the one he delivered, and that in any case that he basically pronounced the death of “grand apartheid” during this speech. She also refers to the government’s commitment to broadening the political representation of blacks by extending the authority of black local councils that would have powers akin to their white counterparts. Other decisions by the regime such as allowing the establishment of student representative councils at all black schools (though they would not be allowed to affiliate to organisations such as the United Democratic Front or the Congress of South African Students) are evidence of its increasing openness and commitment to change. In Jeffery’s world, black local councillors and police officers were charitable public servants, not crucial elements of the regime’s national security management strategy which permeated all levels of government and what the primary instrument through which the Botha regime executed its “total strategy” against the democratic movement.

Some critiques of Jeffery’s book deny the role of “people’s war” or moderate its actual effect on the political dynamics of 1980s South Africa, and its centrality in ANC thinking. I would argue that “people’s war” was both a necessary and crucial element of ANC strategy and that it is in fact the implementation of this strategy, refined after the ANC study tour to Vietnam in 1978, that brought about the possibility for change towards the end of the 1980s. Jeffery distorts the whole concept of “people’s war” by quoting supposedly independent experts which were in fact members of the US administration engaged in Vietnam, members of the apartheid regime and others with very explicit political agendas. Quoting General Viljoen, Lennox Sebe and others as if they are impartial observers betrays Jeffery’s own bias when looking at “people’s war” and the history of the South African struggle. “People’s war” is portrayed as a war in which the entire populace (of course special mention is made of women and children) are machines in the armed struggle, to be used and disposed as such. The concept of “people’s war” as practised by both the Vietnamese and South African liberation movements cannot be further from this distortion.

In Jeffery’s world all major decisions of the ANC were imposed or initiated by Soviet communists or their local henchmen in the SACP. Evidently the non-communist natives were in no position to decide for themselves their mode of struggle, and in this narrative serve as mere pawns of the communists. The move to armed struggle was a joint decision of the ANC and SACP and the initial training of Mandela and other commanders of Umkhonto weSizwe took place in Algeria, not the Soviet Union. The fact that the Soviets supported the ANC while Western governments continued to enjoy cosy relations with the apartheid regime until the late 1980s does not enter the “objective” narrative of Jeffery’s. ANC president Oliver Tambo’s affinity to Western European social democracy is well-documented, and the attempt to portray the ANC as a pawn of the Soviets is patently false. In fact much of her book is a complaint about the fact that the ANC chose armed struggle in the face of overwhelming violence, the banning of the organisation and the widespread arrest and imprisonment of its leaders. Her preferred option was the route followed by Inkatha, which, whatever you think of them, is definitely not responsible for the fact that black South Africans now have the right to vote and other basic human rights denied to them under the apartheid government. While claiming anti-apartheid credentials Jeffery would have much preferred an ANC that accepted its banning and responded to the apartheid government’s violence with petitions and marches, notwithstanding the fact that black leaders have been petitioning their rulers since the early 1900s and the state’s response to peaceful marches was laid bare for all to see in Sharpeville and Soweto.

All in all this work is a deliberate and cheap distortion of the anti-apartheid struggle, and one meant to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the post-apartheid political order. The thesis that the ANC came to power on the back of a great deception (people’s war) is popular one amongst liberals of Jeffery’s ilk. How painful it must be for them that their favourite blacks did not come to power … that is assuming they are happy with blacks having power at all.

48 Responses to “No new light, just recycled trash: Anthea Jeffery’s People’s War”

  1. Mark Robertson #

    Having read much of the available literature from a very wide range of sources including ANC, SACP, Soviet, UDF and other internal documents, I think there is a great deal of truth in the ‘People’s War’ concept and that this was indeed the chosen strategy (I am suspending any value judgment). You may wish to consider if the following statement is factually correct: “People’s war” is portrayed as a war in which the entire populace (of course special mention is made of women and children) are machines in the armed struggle, to be used and disposed as such. The concept of “people’s war” as practised by both the Vietnamese and South African liberation movements cannot be further from this distortion.” If this is a gross distortion for both SA and Vietnam, this implies the converse is true, i.e that a small, professional political or military force was the main instrument of war, focused only on military targets, and the population as a whole was irrelevant to the battles that were fought. This seems to directly contradict all of the documents I have read to date, and most historical research in both countries (Vietnam and SA). I welcome comments from military historians in particular.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm
  2. Dave Harris #

    Excellect review David.

    This book will undoubtedly find its way quickly onto the rubbish dump of history, just much of the drivel from these apartheid apologists. She probably did not mention or glossed over the role the US played in propping up Jonas Savimbi (UNITA) or Regans’s “constructive engagement” or Britian’s steadfast refusal to consider economic sanctions. These are some of the reasons why the apartheid crime against humanity was perpetrated for so long.

    Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and the many others that opted to join the Tricameral Parliament parliment were sellouts during the liberation struggle. Buthelezi will alway remain the divisive figure that cause the bloody carnage in the green hills of Natal just before independence.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm
  3. Eagle #

    the honeymoon for the ANC and their Soviet allies is coming to an end.

    More and more books like these exposing the truth and party propaganda for what it is and was will emerge.

    Well done Anthea Jeffrey.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:51 pm
  4. The real con is that apartheid was overthrown militarily, never mind by whom. Marches, boycotts and the international dimension (sanctions etc.) were more important than the efforts of MK.

    Where military events had a real impact was in Angola, but it was mostly Namibians, Cubans and Angolans who sent the signal to the apartheid regime that it could no longer dominate the subcontinent militarily. The relatively few casualties suffered by the SADF were still too many for the regime to be able to justify to its constituency.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:13 pm
  5. I haven’t even seen the book, but it appears the author’s assessment completely renders void the notion that one has a clearer view if you’re on the outside looking in.

    January 4, 2010 at 5:19 pm
  6. Hugh Robinson #

    Having studied Vietnam 56 – 72 there was one constant. People, particularly students were the cannon fodder. The real difference in Vietnam was the use of outside forces.

    What struck me were the methods employed. The use of youth to spread the “teaching” of the communist vision. Stories of valiant, heroic acts that in truth were a mixture of blatant lies, half truth and acts of common criminality.

    The Vietcon used sympathetic teachers and lecturers, many of whom were not communist nor anarchists but simply making a statements against what any reasonable person would complain.

    Some were manipulated and subtly coerced into their heroic roles to suit that set by the local politburo.

    Another example, the Hearts and Minds programme was used to turn the rural populace. The message was that the food parcels were deliberately poisoned. The communists later admitted to deliberately poisoning the food and did so to prove their claim. On the other hand they would force the headman to demand more aid rice of which they took 50% as a “protection” tax.

    The South African condition took a similar coarse.

    For the most part SA children were used as the cannon fodder. Teachers were the soothsayers and they created the false heroes.

    Afrikaans was the excuse, but the underlying truth was that the ANC needed children to be wounded or killed to prove to the world and the local populace that Apartheid was real bad. Kill children and the adults will follow. An ANC victory was assured.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:40 pm
  7. Ratau #

    Jeffery’s book is full of anti-revolutionary and reactionary drivel that could only be believed by all Apartheid Apologists the world over.What is abundantly clear, regardless of the political fence in which one stands, is that the revolutionary spirit of “No Surrender” as propagated by the time tested revolutionary movement of our people(ANC)and the INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY ensured the speedy collapse of APARTHEID.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm
  8. Carl Wille #

    Until we DEAL with the following we will not be able to move forward as a country:

    Hold Apartheid Cabinet Ministers accountable for international human rights violations; hold the Corporations who benefited from and backed Apartheid accountable; prosecute those from all sides that did not come clean at the TRC and get to the bottom of the ARMS deal and the related offsets due to South Africa.

    There has simply been too much ostensible forgiving and superficial reconciliation and far too little truth and justice. If we do not confront and address these matters our souls will rot on earth.

    The tone for the future unfortunately appears to have been set by priests: rape, pillage, steal, confess, wash feet and be forgiven. That may, or may not apply in the world hereafter.It certainly should not apply in the real world that we live in.

    Or should it?

    Would it not be better to have justice, accountability … and then forgiveness?

    January 4, 2010 at 8:44 pm
  9. Eagle #

    @Michael Greef

    “The relatively few casualties suffered by the SADF were still too many for the regime to be able to justify to its constituency.”

    I was there, were you?

    What the border wars proved was that the SADF was more than capable of taking on the Soviet-backed forces that were being thrown at it and like in WW1 and WW2 and the Anglo Boer war it was again mainly whites fighting for the freedom of this country. Whites were required those days to do 2 years of compulsory military training but the SA Armed Forces and the Police Forces were disciplined, motivated and strong, not like today. Civil war was being threatened by the ANC but the border wars proved to us that our armed forces would be able to control a civil war.

    However, on the moral front it was felt that we did not want to be responsible for large-scale civil deaths and that we should give democracy a chance. For this and other reasons whites voted overwhelmingly with a majority of more that 70% in the 1992 referendum to hand over power to a black majority government which then took place in 1994. Blacks did not have the vote in 1992 so the actions of voting over power to a black government was driven by whites and the Nationalist (Apartheid) government.

    Any statements that the “apartheid government” was overthrown by an armed struggle are nonsense. What armed struggle??

    January 4, 2010 at 9:16 pm
  10. Eagle #

    @ Dave Harris

    Please provide some facts concerning what you call “the drivel from apartheid apologists” and “Buthelezi will alway remain the divisive figure that cause the bloody carnage in the green hills of Natal just before independence.”

    I for one, am getting a bit tired of people minority-bashing when they have no idea of what they are talking about.

    January 4, 2010 at 9:26 pm
  11. Kholekile Tshunungwa #

    I still harbour bitter memories of the far-right insurgency of the early 90′s. They almost plunged SA into a civil war and nearly succeeded in sabotaging the new SA. To me, Jeffrey is the intellectual manifestation of that counter-insurgency as she seeks to obscure the real intentions of the far-right, the CCB, IFP etc.

    However, it would be somewhat disingenous to dismiss completely the basis from which the fear that is the rooi gevaar emanates, i.e., that the liberation forces were indeed linked to the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc, China and even the KGB. Perhaps, the extent of that involvement has still not been explained in a way that sets the record straight. Also, the double-pronged nationalistic and communist struggle rhetoric doesn’t help allay those fears. Additionally, the US/UK led West and the apartheid SA government may have known something about this that kept the former unflinchingly opposed to our armed struggle, despite reserving limited sympathy for the anti-apartheid cause. Perhaps, KGB and Cold War records need to be made public perhaps to highlight to what extent the USSR was involved, and whether the ANC/SACP owed to establish an USSR satellite state had the insurrection succeeded.

    Nonetheless, the end of apartheid happened peacefully instead, by a very international and multilateral struggle effort, in a climate in which communism and the USSR was dying. Thus, the far-right counter-insurgency had/has no excuse in its valiant purpose to defend apartheid.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:43 am
  12. Chico #

    @Mark Robertson: Thanks for your thoughtful observations.

    I have no doubt that the narrative of recent SA history as propagated by the ANC and its propaganda instruments (SABC) is just as much a distortion as that of Jeffery’s version.

    In my view, the ANC’s military effort against Apartheid was spectacularly unsuccessful. It managed a few landmines on farm roads, a few roadside shootings of civilians, a pub bombing, etc.

    Its political campaign and its “People’s War”, on the other hand, was very successful. It was also very dirty: street justice; tire-burnings; enforced mass participation of boycotts; etc. If you were not seen to be toy-toying with the mobs in the street, you risked being burnt alive as an impimpi. Old gogos were forced to eat raw meat because they had broken a boycott. Anyone who mingled with ordinary Black folk in the 80′s and 90′s knows of their terror.

    Buthelezi dared to differ in respect of both the wisdom of economic boycotts, and the notion of a socialist-based future for SA. He paid the price for daring to do so.

    I have no inside knowledge of the Black-on-Black wars in the 80′s and 90′s. But I do not for one moment believe that it was simply a matter of the ANC being all sweetness and innocence, and Buthelezi a blood-lusting war-mongerer trying to keep the ANC out of power.

    January 5, 2010 at 8:38 am
  13. Blackbravo #

    We (RSAns) should be wary of judging literature solely on the basis of whether it paints the ANC as good or bad.

    There is so little written about it pre-1994 that few in this country could really have a legitimate understanding of what transpired to bring us to democracy. The views are so diverse that it is not feasible that a single political entity achieved democracy for this country.

    We should accept that Jeffrey has done research on this topic and has concluded as she alludes to in the book. Any contrary views should be supported by ancillary evidence and empirical research.

    Emotions should not stifle debate on such important matters as the ‘people’s war’ was waged by the people; thus democracy was achieved by the people. No political party can claim sole ownership of our democratic dispensation.

    January 5, 2010 at 8:43 am
  14. brent #

    Dave Harris, at least get your facts straight. Buthelezi/Inkata were not part of the Tricameral Parliment. They were part of the Black Allaince which included the ‘Coloured Party’ of Hendricks who were kicked out of the BL when they entered the Tricameral Parliment.

    Buthelezi was key in thwarting the Nats grand Apartheid plan when he rejected independance for the Zulus (not like Transkei/Ciskei and Bafuta…) as this would have been a key achievement for the Grand Plan.

    The ANC directed Buthelezi to form Inkhata (i actually saw O. Tambo on tv state this truth) but they fell out in 1979 in a meeting in London when Buthelezi refused to let KwaZulu join the rest of SA in inflamed revolution. Thereafter Buthelezi was always in the ANC cross hairs and the truth of his/Inkhata’s actions fall between what his admirers and his haters claim.

    Brent

    January 5, 2010 at 1:17 pm
  15. @”Eagle”: i apologise for being slightly unclear – I was also stating that it is a myth that apartheid was overthrown militarily, with the exception of the Angolan front.

    Yes, I did my 2 years in the infantry ending up as a 2nd Lt. What I saw (terrorism from “our” side) caused me to refuse further service, though it incurred a jail sentence.

    January 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm
  16. Suburban Terrorist #

    Good Review! Shot Bru!

    January 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm
  17. lolonga #

    It would seem that some people are hankering after the bad old days.Whatever may be said about ‘people’s war’, one fact remains it proved to be a convenient battering ram to demolish the edifice of apartheid. No one can ever be happy for what was termed ‘black on black violence’ but it is worth mentioning that it was part of the grand strategy of the then National Party to destabilise liberation movements.No amount of trying to fudge the role played by Inkatha is going to alter the fact that it was used by the system! If there are any who do not believe that please ask yourself whatever happenned to UWUSA? I made bold to say that the apartheid regime established UWUSA to counter the growth of COSATU. Alas, we still have COSATU but UWUSA seems to have gone the way of all flesh.

    January 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm
  18. Eagle #

    Anthea Jeffery’s People’s War will indeed be a monumental event in literature. The author has displayed tremendous courage and the book is well researched and well written.

    Although I am not a right-winger, in reality most of my efforts over my 40 year working career has been focused on alleviating the plights of the poor, predominantly black, growing up in the era of separate development, now called apartheid, I have long felt that history has been grossly distorted in line with party/leftwing propaganda and that the unjustified vilification of whites for political purposes in reality represent a gross violation of the human rights of the white minority.

    This book appears to expose the truth in many ways as I remember it.

    Significantly, there has already been some backlash by the left-wingers and liberals on the various blogs such but typically there is no factual debate, just attempts to smear the publication and the author.

    Well done, Ms Jefferey. Please stand firm.

    January 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm
  19. Jeff #

    Eagle is right. MK was a totally useless organisation. There was no war of independence. The downfall of apartheid was brought about for a number of reasons. MK was not one of the reasons. These MK veterans are as much a joke today as when they “fought” against apartheid forces.

    January 5, 2010 at 2:15 pm
  20. I have NOT read this particular book by Anthea Jeffery, of IDASA, but similar tirades of hers on the same theme. However, the review of Mr Africa falls neatly into the “My Enemy’s Enemy Is My Friend” category, where both South African Left and Rigth can maintain their particular siboleaths, and confluctual prejudices.

    The veritable intellectual cottage-industry of ‘re-interpreting the past’, especially our more contemprary past, say the 20 to 40 years has been particulary affected by this bi-partisanism, a bifucated world-wiew of supposed opposites.

    Reality is much more nuanced and ‘hidden from history’. This is especially the case with the analysis of the ‘transition period’ from Apartheid to, well, neo-Apartheid in our country. Now, with with Zuma as President, many fear that the political pendulum will swing in the direction of an African dictatorship and a ‘hard line’.

    While here had always “co-existed” many political ideologies/class trajectories in the ANC, there was, however, only one force that held “real” power and dictated “policy” in the years of exile since the early 1960s: the South African Communist Party (SACP).

    This became clear when the “exiles” returned home and put their indelible “stamp” on the jack-boot on proceedings. The UDF was soon disbanded. In the preceeding 20-30 years inside South Africa, and especially during the UDF period from the early 1980s, democracy was a process of constant practise and renewal, of recall, election, of negotiation between the leaders and led. Or?

    January 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm
  21. Mark Robertson #

    Some interesting responses. It appears clear from the main article, and most reading, that SA certainly experienced/ suffered a ‘People’s War’ a la Vietnam and the classic definition (as per Mr Mbeki’s strategy speech of the early 80′s). Most struggles have elements of nobility and elements of depravity – even the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The unanswered question about SA’s ‘People’s War’ is a little more subtle – Was this war intrinsically about ‘principle’ (freedom, democracy, liberty, non-racism, non-sexism, non-chauvinism, freedom of speech, Jeffersonian democracy, human rights, equality, individual freedom from state tyranny) or about ‘power’ (dominance, control, destruction of any and all opposition, one party control, control of ‘truth’, use of state resources, elitism, the Big Man syndrome? Was it about ‘recht’ or ‘macht’? Or was it somewhere in between? I will not attempt to answer this, but leave you to reflect carefully, drawing in a few other examples from history (Zimbabwe and Namibia are also interesting cases), and empirical evidence to support one or the other viewpoint.

    January 5, 2010 at 2:50 pm
  22. Dave Harris #

    @brent
    I never said Buthelezi was part of the Tricameral Parliament, although I can understand how you may have conveniently misread that in my comment. But whats your point?

    The regimes being ousted have consistently used this divide and conquer strategy very effectively to gain short-term leverage in last minute negotiations before handing over power.
    - Buthelezi fought for a tribal homeland in KZN and was directly responsible (with the apartheid government) for the black on black violence in the rural areas of Natal.
    - Jinna fought for an Islamic state now called Pakistan that resulted in hundreds of thousands dying in subsequent rioting and mass relocation just before India’s independence.
    - The Vietnamese were subjected to a brutal “third force” that caused the deaths of thousands of civilians just before the American withdrawal.
    …the list goes on.

    @Eagle
    Were you really fighting for “freedom” during your days in the SADF or were you just like those Nazi jackboot thugs that believed in racial superiority and the use of brute force through your superior weapons and technology against the defenseless, to maintain your privileged lifestyle while accumulating wealth for generations. There is no free lunch, all that brutality will have to be accounted for in some way.

    January 5, 2010 at 9:56 pm
  23. MLH #

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s hero of the struggle and all the rewritten history until doomsday will never change that, particularly in SA where there are so many sides to the story and so many stories from all sides.
    In a country where so many people still go missing every day, or are still found as corpses in the veld or sugar cane, I sometimes wonder whether some of the blame that is laid at apartheid’s door might not relate, in part, to crime. Was there none at all during the apartheid years? Oops! How silly of me to forget all those people who fell off trains in the 80s, etc.
    You may prize the ANC above all else for their part in the ‘struggle’ but it seems quite clear that the memory of their efforts in the education, health and crime (for instance) arenas may still outlive their pride in overcoming apartheid.

    January 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm
  24. Eagle #

    @ Michael Graaf

    My apologies as well for interpreting your posting incorrectly. I get a bit irritated with these libbers. Look at the postings on this blog. Name-calling, insults, propaganda clichés, but not one good reasoned argument. It is actually a pleasure reading postings from balanced freethinkers like brent, chico, blackbravo, jeff, michael, etc. but as for the liberals and the progs …………….

    The book is extremely interesting and confirms much of what one had strongly suspected but what was covered up such as the Soviet and SACP influences.

    I read these white liberals on these blogs and I ask myself, what did people die for in the World Wars, the Angloboer war, the borders wars of the 1800’s and the ones thereafter? You’ll remember we thought we were fighting for freedom as most soldiers do. But now I say, were we actually fighting for these people who vilify there own race at every turn, people with “opinions” but very little understanding of what they speak about. People who want to appear cool at all costs.

    Quite honestly the ones making the most sense at the moment are some of my black friends. There is a strong groundswell of black intellectuals who know what is going on, who sees through the corruption, who are violently anti-communist and who want prosperity and freedom. People who want to do it for themselves. They are the ones who will probably play a major part in the future of this country.

    January 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm
  25. Congratulations Anthea, on giving a different viewpoint and working hard to find its factural basis. This reviewer seems to be upset that his prjudices are challenged.

    January 6, 2010 at 10:09 am
  26. Ratau #

    @EAGLE
    It is high time you climb down from your Apartheid high horse Bru.If you regard Jeffery’s book as well researched,then obviuously you regarded P.W. Botha as a statesman and VLAKPLAAS as some sort of a Research Institute.It is actually an insult to the black people of this country for you to claim they were liberated by the whites in the 1992 Whites only referendum.The white racist minority regime was under immense pressure from various quarters e.g the underground,sanctions,the international solidarity,the millitary offensive by the ANC in ANGOLA (CUITO CUINAVALE-remember this one boertjie?)etc.Even if you had voted the other way round in the referendum,the National Democratic Revolution had reached a stage of no return.Stop drinking your Apartheid inspired Mampoer and be realistic and open minded.Don’t get intoxicated by the rightwing shortsighted drivel in Jeffery’s book.You would be a political ninicompoop to believe that the ANC is pushing the Soviet agenda as you would like us to believe.

    January 6, 2010 at 11:07 am
  27. Eagle #

    @ Dave Harris

    “jackboot thugs, racial superiority, use of brute force, privileged lifestyle, accumulating wealth, etc., etc.”

    Eisch, same tired all old groupspeak clichés repeated yet again for the 10 millionth time by yet another limited intellect and overinflated ego. Why don’t you lot do a handbook of clichés and then you just copy and paste whenever you like to give an “opinion”, or maybe you do that already.

    And yet once again we get the evasive tactics used by the liberal when he is being called on to demonstrate what he actually knows about the subject he is going on about. Let me cut through all that and ask you; please answer the questions in my previous post.

    January 6, 2010 at 11:58 am
  28. @”Eagle”: I must distance myself from your apparent assumption that the old SA was worth defending, even though I grant that most SADF members sincerely believed so (as did I when I entered at the age of 17). As already mentioned, what I saw wised me up and I was willing to go to jail rather than provide further assistance to the regime.

    Much as I am critical of the new SA, its failings resemble those of the world at large, whereas apartheid was a special delusion that the clock could be turned backwards.

    January 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm
  29. hjs #

    @Ratau, if the ANC was present at Cuito (no MK, only FAPLA and Cubans) , they were most probably running away. The heaps of dead bodies I saw were not SADF bodies. MK were sitting in Tanzania, too scared to face the SADF. The officers in the SANDF are so fat, it seems that they started eating in Tanzania, and haven’t stopped since. The liberation war centred around people getting necklaced in the townships, for not handing over their pay packets to the drunken thugs threatening them with death. Not much to proud of.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm
  30. Ratau #

    @hjs
    You are a typical brainwashed rightwinger if you deceive yourself by alluding that the ANC was never involved in the battle of Cuito Cuinavale.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm
  31. Eagle #

    @ Ratau

    Carefully study some of the other postings on here and study Anthea Jefferies book and see how well-researched, factual arguments are put together and debated. Spewing forth profanities might be your lifestyle BRU, but that is not the purpose of these blogs.

    “It is actually an insult to the black people of this country for you to claim they were liberated by the whites in the 1992 Whites only referendum.”
    This is an indelible (means it can’t be rubbed out)historical fact and all the ravings of a delusional denialist will not change it.

    By the way, have you read the book, BRU?

    @ Michael Graaf

    “I must distance myself from your apparent assumption that the old SA was worth defending.”

    Yet here you are today enjoying its bounty and not labouring under the communist yoke whereas hundreds of thousands who fought for your freedom in the many wars which I mentioned have perished under great sufferance. Seems a little bit bigoted to me.

    However, read my posting again. I was referring to SA as a homogeneous entity with all of its peoples from its inception up to the present.

    January 6, 2010 at 10:42 pm
  32. Jon #

    Anthea’s on the money. You, David, missed it by a country mile. Sad, but true.

    Right throughout apartheid millions of blacks from across the border “did their damnedest”, to use a Vorsterian expression, to get INTO the apartheid state, while a mere trickle of locals went in the opposite direction.

    That voting with ones feet says it all.

    January 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm
  33. Eagle #

    @ Ratau

    “the millitary offensive by the ANC in ANGOLA (CUITO CUINAVALE-remember this one boertjie?)”

    Cuito Cuanavale (not CUINAVALE) is where the communist backed FAPLA had retreated to on the run from the SADF after a string of defeats from Operation Modular and Operation Hooper launched by the SADF. hjs is quiet right, MK was nowhere to be seen.

    FAPLA was screaming for support from CUBA and the Soviets who responded with massive amounts of troops, equipment and weaponry.

    Despite the combined military resources of CUBA, PAPLA(Soviet backed) and the Soviet armed forces, equipment and generals, they were unable to overcome the SADF from tiny South Africa laboring under international weapons sanctions. Enormous casualties were inflicted on the CUBANS, Soviets and the MPLA by the SADF using primarily South African designed and manufactured weaponry. Ultimately the SADF brought these powerful forces to a stalemate.

    So, BRU, your point is?

    BOERTJIE

    January 6, 2010 at 11:26 pm
  34. Johan Meyer #

    Another point – these bullshitters who effectively supported Winnie et al. whine that pointing out the abuses of apartheid is somehow ‘anti-white’ last time I checked, the very worst the ANC government has done against whites specifically (as opposed to general failings like crime and the neoliberal programs) is narrowing access to the civil service and changing a few names. If that constitutes ‘anti-white’, we’ll need a much more powerful and violent concept than ‘anti-black’ to describe apartheid.

    January 7, 2010 at 1:06 am
  35. brent #

    Dave Harris, your actual words were: “Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and the many others that opted to join the Tricameral Parliament parliment were sellouts during the liberation”. So you did accuse Buthelezi of being part of the Tricameral set up. My point is you very often get your FACTS wrong.

    Buthelezi entered and won the fight for control over KwaZulu specifically to prevent it going’independent’ like the Transkei etc, that is a fact as there was never a Zulu independent homeland. Violance in KWAZulu must be aportioned between three organisations: The Nats, ANC and Inkatha any other interpretation is just plain false.

    Brent

    January 7, 2010 at 11:55 am
  36. @Eagle: I am not enjoying the “bounty” of the old SA, but the enduring the mediocrity of the new SA. As for the “communists” the SADF was supposed to fight, they are now in power in case you hadn’t noticed (turned out to be pretty capitalist, didn’t they?). So what exactly do you believe was achieved by all those deaths?

    January 8, 2010 at 11:25 am
  37. afrocentris! #

    she’s an incredible apologist for right wing interests, then and now
    http://www.moneyweb.co.za/mw/view/mw/en/page292681?oid=489782&sn=2009+Detail&pid=287226

    thanks for the review
    aluta continua!

    June 3, 2010 at 11:14 pm
  38. Chris #

    David Africa’s name says it all. Anthea Jeffery’s insight and other similar opinions is slowly starting to emerge from the European liberal rubbish dump.
    It will become common knowledge in the next decade or two, when Europe struggles to find an answer to the immigrant problem.
    Unfortunately, I also see and end to Western type of Democracy in Europe soon after that.

    October 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm
  39. As we would say in my ghetto, “Watch-It, DIE booykie is ‘n spy”. Basically, the fact that Mr Africa teaches something called “Security Studies” says it ALL!

    His febile attempts to hide his PRO-ANC slant(s) and grovelling before the reigning ANC Monarch/Prez/’Mah Leader’ with his pathetic views/reviews leaves me totally cold.

    So Anthea Jeffery does not get the ‘BIG PICTURE’ and is also a biased little-DA researcher/hack, BUT thereby hangs a tale my bro!

    I cannot condone Mr Africa’s pathetic nonsence.

    Dr Cool

    October 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm
  40. Michael Graaf #

    Chris, could you elaborate on your statement that David Africa’s name says it all? Obviously it says something, but which of many possible things, I am unsure. David may wish to enlighten us, but first let’s hear Chris.

    Brent, your statement that Buthelezi entered and won the struggle for control of KwaZulu to prevent it going pseudo-independent begs the question: who, besides the apartheid regime, ever wanted it to be “independent”; who did he “save” it from?

    October 22, 2010 at 11:01 am
  41. David Africa

    Chris,I suppose its the Africa (read Black) in my name that gets to you? Your ramble about Europe’s ‘problem’ with immigration has nothing to do with the topic under discussion, and if there’s one thing I can guarantee you, its that I am not a liberal…the problems left behind for us by Apartheid need solutions much more radical than the liberal nonsense prescribed by many in the ANC and opposition parties.

    Selim – I suppose everyone teaching security studies at any institute, think talk or university is a spy? Rather large fraternity, isn’t it? Sounds rather paranoid to me. Any brief look at some of the stuff I’ve posted shows that I am no liberal, but no ANC hack either. In fact a number of my blogs have been specific critiques of the ANC. What I cannot accept is liberal license with the truth about the struggle. Whatever one’s political position, it cannot be denied that the ANc played THE key role in the liberation struggle, and that the picture portrayed by Jeffery is gross distortion of that history. How I manage to grovel in front of the ANC while hiding my allegiance is quite beyond me….but i suppose I am trained as a spy to do these things well? Pathetic

    October 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm
  42. Eagle #

    @ David Africa.

    It is pathetic that 30 years after “apartheid” ended in the workplace and 15 years after your government came into power you are still leaning on the crutch of “apartheid”. 15 years later and things are worse than they ever were in this country.

    The Afrikaner took less than 10 years to recover and surpass the near genocide and massive losses of their farms, livestock and families suffered under the Anglo-boer war. Your “hardships” are nothing compared to what the Boer nation went though fighting for “your” country.

    The Japanese in less that 15 years, recovered from the devastation of WWII and starting dominating world markets.

    The Jewish nation overcame the holocaust and the death of 6 million of their people and rose again as a nation in just more than a decade.

    It is the type of mentality that you are displaying that is depressing your race.

    Instead of coveting the few possessions of a minority race which you outnumber 50 million to 3.9 million why not do something about the Billions that have been squandered through corruption and incompetence by your government. If that money went where it was supposed to go there would not have been a poor person left in this country.

    October 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm
  43. dd #

    @ Michael Graaf
    “a jail sentence”
    How long were you in jail, and where?

    November 4, 2010 at 2:24 am
  44. Michael Graaf #

    @dd: I was the first objector to have his jail sentence suspended – on condition of unpaid community service (in a hospital). This was probably because in between the time I refused and my sentencing (almost a year), FW had started his releases, unbanning etc. What I said was that I had been willing to go to jail.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:53 am
  45. dd #

    @Michael Graaf
    Thanks. How long was your community service? Why in a hospital, do you have medical skills? How did you find this work, compared to a jail sentence; how disruptive was it to your life and normal work? What is your attitude to community service as an option for the vast unemployed youth – a non-military conscription?

    November 5, 2010 at 5:50 am
  46. Michael Graaf #

    If I remember correctly it was to have been 1800 hours, performed at the rate of 18 hours per week, so it would have taken a couple of years. However after 6 months I was allowed to stop while my appeal was heard, and before that process completed, I got amnesty. Although it was so part-time, the timing was awful (12 of those hours were from 6 on Friday evening to 6 on Sat morning).

    The hospital was my own suggestion; I had done first-aid training in the army, and it connected with the Gandhian tradition. I had to do a Red Cross course at my own expense as part of the sentence.

    Community service would be fine as long as it was voluntary and non-politicised.

    November 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm
  47. dd #

    Its good that you did your own first aid course, and ok it cut into your time at the Rift, but that was better than jail.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The New York Times reports on political violence in South Africa – Africa is a Country - December 7, 2012

    [...] By the way, much of contemporary historical work has overlooked this relatively recent painful era, but for those wanting to learn more about the transition-era violence one might start with Mario Krämer’s Violence as Routine; Gary Kynoch’s “Crime, Conflict and Politics in Transition-Era South Africa”; and Philip Bonner and Vusi Ndima’s “The Roots of Violence and Martial Zuluness on the East Rand” (in Zulu Identities). Not so good would be the work of Anthea Jeffery. [...]

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