Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tim du Plessis, the great pretender

It baffles me everytime, Tim du Plessis, the editor of the Afrikaans weekly, Rapport presents himself as either a uninvolved arbiter of the public discourse on reconciliation or nationbuiling or in a moment of sheer editorial bliss, the sole guardian of redelikheid (reasonableness?). His most recent editorial, Die Brugbouers het ophou bou (The bridgebuilders has stopped building), he (again) rises to the occasion, this time analysing the current psyche of our nation, in terms of gloom and doom, like back in the 80s. He bemoans the dearth of people like himself and Mandela (bridgebuilders) and, using the examples of Reitz and Eskom, he illustrates how far we're actually from one another.

Well, from the responses and comments it might seem that he is hitting a nerve ( at least amongst some of his likeminded white Afrikaner buddies). Admittedly, I can affirm, with some of them also the positives. In fact, the recent perspective from the Arch 'The Arch still hopeful', as well as Pallo Jordan, etc has helped me in getting perspective in the aftermath of the Freestate gemors, but also down to earth personal conversations and difficult reflections with fellow white Afrikaansspeaking friends and colleagues. What irks me about Tim though, is the manner in which he speaks of reasonableness and middleground on the one hand, but on the other hand couldn't wait to pounce on Danny Titus' article, which in all fairness, wasn't even aimed directly at his powerful Rapport. That was so petty. This little incident, in his editorial last week, again pointed to the Rapport's skewed and biased editorial policy, when it come to black people. Let's not go down the Deon Maas affair. Point is: the Rapport repressents crime as consciously being targeted against white Afrikaners by black (ANC) people, that Afrikaans is (by some sinister dark plan) under siege, whites are struggling economically and that young white people are either unemployed or desperately scraping together a living, forcing them to leave the shores of our country with only the clothes on their backs.

If anyone wants to read reasonableness and find bridgebuilders today, then I would suggest a starting point to be an article by Johan Pienaar, Die persepsie van tweederangse burgerskap onder die Afrikaner, ( The perception of secondrate citizenship amongst the Afrikaner people). You can also follow the conversations on Litnet, for some more simulating and balanced debates... building bridges. A recent read of Xolela Mangcu's book, To the Brink, found it to be a scathing critique on the current ANC racial nativism and fundamentalism. Mangcu, comes from the Black consciousness stable and don't mince his words when it comes to the paranoid racial politics, under Mbeki-rule. A close read, indeed points to so many a (unexpected)commonground...bridgebuilding. The public servant strike last year, saw teachers from all shapes and sizes, or variants of the rainbow, marching side by side staring down, my favourate minister, Geraldine, to see who will blink first. So, Mr du Plessis stop pretending as if you don't know these tireless and relentless efforts in civil society to build bridges, but more so, stop pretending as if you don't have an agenda, or some vested interests in fuming the racial tension amongst us, in creating ans sustaining the gloom and doom. We know that it sells the Rapport. Afterall, that's the bottomline, right ?
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