Nosey Pieterse and the lumpen ravers

WHAT fun to find that Cape Times columnist Tony Weaver is now referring to me as a “blogger and raver“. In a 11 February riposte tackling the hate speech allegations made by Nosey Pieterse and the striking farmworkers, Weaver admits to having completed his military service under the apartheid regime, before ‘bravely exposing the infamous police minister’s Adrian Vlok and Louis le Grange’.

He then tries to wriggle his way out of a sticky problem involving the wrong charactersation of local share croppers as a”rural lumpen proletariat” — If a farmworker is not a member of the proletariat then who is?

In Weaver’s cynical and salaried view, farmworkers (and ravers) are essentially a bunch of working class yobs if they happen to exercise their constitutional right to strike or dance on the grass.

Does Weaver seriously think that us ravers are a class on our own, or perhaps, a class fraction of the new “lumpen proletariat” that includes dissident unionists and fruit and vegetable pickers? Calling agricultural workers “lumpen” merely because much of the farmwork is seasonal is a real disgrace. It is a means of belittling an important and valuable  pursuit in the countryside, so that city slickers like Weaver get to have cheap food all year round.

People dance outdoors and eat organic vegetables not because they can’t afford to party indoors and drink expensive cocktails, they do this rather because there is an alternative cultural milieu to the capitalist mindset — a cross-over fusion of African tribal culture and Western dance music — something which the South African media should be celebrating.

Having just turned 45, hence the lateness of this response, I must say being called a raver at my age is a real compliment. It also exposes the Mink and Manure focused Cape Times and its anachronistic attitude towards youth culture, since ravers (and the word rave) has long since passed into cultural folklore along with punks, beatniks and rockers.

All perfectly respectable nowadays to party outdoors, to the point where I can already see the Mastercard advert. “Going to a decent trance party R500. Waking up to discover you’re a raver, priceless.”

News of the sale of Independent News South Africa by its bankrupt Irish parent company will therefore come as no surprise. (The sale, which still needs to be authorised by shareholders was concluded over the weekend.)

Weaver will thus have a hard time explaining his priggish stance to the new owners, as too an uneven career as a journalist and war correspondent during South Africa’s period of race segregation.

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