KOBUS Faasen describes himself as a direct descendent of the Khoisan. After taking exception to the ongoing use of the term “Bushman” to describe members of South Africa’s first nations, Faasen is suing Media24, owners of Die Burger for an estimated R10 million. The resulting courtroom drama is investigating the crimen injuria resulting from the affront against the dignity of his people, despite many self-described Khoisan showing a disdain for confrontation and general disinterest in a problem which is not unique to South Africa.
This case should be seen in the light of the recent apology issued by the Australian government to people termed Aborigenes. South Africa shares a settler history with Australia, and so the world is watching to see if this case sheds any light on the trauma and suffering experienced by victims of colonisation, as well as the inevitable impact on freedom of expression.
When Faasen is done with Media24, perhaps he will turn his eyes to a local chile sauce manufacture, whose product “Bushman’s” is bound to offend those who remember a time when tannies utterring the racist phrase, “Hotter than a B@$&^%#$ bum” was an accepted ephithet in reference to the African weather. Whatever ones feelings about political correctness and whether or not the courts should be interfearing in free speech, the case of the Khoisan, and whether or not the term First Nation is a better collective phrase than “Bushmen” or “Aborginal”, is a special one indeed.