Dumping Malegapura Makgoba’s Baboon Theory.

IF ANYBODY deserves to talk about his own oppression, it is Malegapura Makgoba, however the question remains to what degree individuals have constitutionally protected freedom to express their views about race in this country. It is one thing to entertain an informed debate about the “crime against humanity” known as apartheid, it is another thing entirely to suggest a new dimension to race theory, and to effect an hypothesis that instead of deracialising society, simply exacerbates the problem.

In America where there are few limitations on free speech, it is not uncommon to find oddball theories that serve to weaken progress towards a just and equitable society. In fact, the freedom to speak ones own mind is so great there, that even members of the “Nazi Youth League” are defended by intellectuals who believe that such freedoms are the cornerstone of democracy.

Not so in Germany where Nazism is banned. In South Africa, where race is still a divisive issue, we have qualifications against the use of so-called “hate speech”, propoganda and incitement to war and violence. In fact article 16. 2 (c) rules out advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm. The real question surely on every readers lips then — are Makgoba’s racial theories, really an incitement or advocacy to cause harm, however misconstrued this might seem to anybody wishing to act as a self-styled arbiter of racist discourse?

At the face of it, the kind of rhetoric that Makgoba uses appears to be tame, not entirely hateful by the standards of demogogery and less purposefully harmful than many would suppose, but nevertheless, the damage has been done, and as the editor admits, this single topic is probably the most controversial in its ability to stir emotion. Makgoba as a chancellor of a university should know better — the minute one starts advocating a theory of race, ethnicity or gender, one falls into a relativistic minefield, which is pretty well established in the ethics of discourse: There should be no middle ground between being an activist of equality and advocating racial superiority; no possiblity of being a humanist or a feminist and engaging in chauvenistic activity.

In spite of appearances, Makgoba has on numerous occasions argued against non-racialism as an idea, and his Baboon theories tend to suppose that the big stick waiting for racists, of all persuasions, is not within the constitution, but rather ensconced and cloistered within his own mind. If it turns out that his stated goal is to cause injury and to do harm, (ethnic and linguistic groups notwitstanding) then the real dilemma is that if we do not tackle Makgoba’s views with all the resources at our disposal, then these constitutional qualifications will be undone and the bill of rights will be viewed merely as a paper tiger.

What is more, there could be other more extreme racists like Makgoba hiding under a bushel of racist baboon ideology, creating a new discourse that forgives racialism and racialisation simply because the perpetrators are no longer all white. Is it still the hard and terribly truth, that officially, there were no black racists to speak of, no collaborators with the apartheid regime? Let us deal with this stigma, not by laughing it away or sweeping it under a nearby tree, but by analysing what Makgoba has to say, and if it turns out that he is an advocate of hatred against humanity then by all means, let us exile the man and his baboon to some vestry.

Are white men tarantulas?

When Charles Darwin propogated his Origin of the Species and theories of evolution, he caused a stir in polite, should one say, Victorian society? In fact a lot of the negative response to the idea that we are all descended from apes, came from wealthy members of society who were offended by the notion that our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom were baboons and bonobos as Malegapuru Makgoba the vice-chancellor of the University of Natal, quite rightly points out.

Unfortunately, like Charles Darwin, Makgo-barthes theories tend to get a lot of air-time on national television, and it is clear from debates like these that he has not evolved past the subordinated terms and inferior education of the elitist apartheid system. Only in South Africa would one get away with referring to the “white, male” in a derogatory academic fashion as part of a “new popular theory of sub-human bononoism and lesser-spotted ubuntuism.”

The question is — does this shift in articulation, to levels of pomposity not seens since US forces captured Chemical Ali, signel a major shift towards a well-endowed black consciousness movement on our nations campuses? There is a growing sense of estrangement and despair that in order to create the new reality argued for by the vice-chancellor (in his personal capacity), non-racialism, diversity and even freedom of sexual orientation would have to be ditched, merely so that an ideological fish can be thrown at those who oppose transformation?

This is not the first time that Makgoba has entertained an argument for what is essentially the polar opposite to white power and white consciousness — basically a new form of chauvenism, that culminates in an Africanist identity based upon the very racism and sexism he so bravely assails: “The white male, he writes, “should instead be excited by the prospect of imitating Africans” when what he means is “the black male should be excited at the opportunity to imitate the bad behaviour of the dethroned, depressed, and quarrelsome, spoiler of the new order” ie, the white male ape or bobbejaan.

Without examining modes-of-thought, false consciousness, ideology etc it is impossible to ring the bell on the mind-body dialectic, and the imitation of thought of a banana. Dare one say Makgoba is incapable of entering the mind of a tarantula or parosol because of his unassailable superiority as “vice-chancellor” and rabbit egg. Is this because the man is intellectually-challenged, mysterious and incapable of theorising about his own oppression?

The Cape Times’ Subaltern Studies

The Cape Times’ Subaltern Studies
Note: This is part of the Liberal Nazi’s thread, a copy has been sent to the newspaper concerned.(from www.the-size-issue.blogspot.com)

The Cape Times’ Subaltern Studies

Patrick Laurence’s pathetic attempt to exhonerate the nazi sympathiser Van Wyk Louw, in a piece published (and more than likely commissioned) by the Cape Times yesterday falls into a division of subaltern studies (the study of subordinate, dominated, marginalised or excluded “races”, castes, ethnic and linguistic groups, classes, genders and cultures) that looks at demagogues and the way their supporters contest power.

If Hitler wasn’t all that bad, the logic of Laurence’s argument goes, then Himmler and Goering could be forgiven for what they perpetrated against the Jewish people. It is easy to fall into the trap of equating the Nazi Holocaust with the apartheid state, but the real travesty is if we ignore the history of our nation, brushing aside growing concerns that we have not been fully reconciled as a people, nor totally in possession of the truth about the perpetrators of hate-crimes, especially when it comes to poets and writers.

Laurence manages to turn a “brief flirtation with Nazism” into an eloquent defence of Grand Apartheid and Separate Development. And while not a “devotee of Verwoerd” N P Van Wyke Louw, it is admitted, contributed to theories about racial superiority, and indeed, as Laurence recognises, justified Verwoerdian notions of seperate development in his own, unenviable way. It would take a grant from the Helen Suzman foundation to produce a closer reading of the texts in this debate, but from what I can gather, Laurance is dangerously close to prevaricating on the crime against humanity (known as Apartheid) and indeed, fabricating history.

If Apartheid wasn’t all that bad, goes Laurence’s own monologic, because it carried within it, the seeds of its own demise, then Nazism was even better, since only Hitlers suicide ended World War 2. It is impossible to retrace history, to correct mistakes and deviations in thought — all we have to go on is the solipsism of hope that future generations will not make the same mistakes as those of our forefathers, some of whom went to the grave denying that such a strange notion as non-racialism could ever exist in reality.

Before SIze Became an Issue

Before Size Became an Issue
from http://wwww.mediaflack.blogspot.com

SHORTLY after the election in 1994, South Africa joined the Commonwealth and in return for various guarantees, most notably the Sunset Clauses negotiated by SACP leader Joe Slovo that protected white interests, the wholesale discounting of various elements of the old regime began. Most notably the privatisation of state assets such as Telkom (Telephone), Transnet (Transport), Iscor (Steel), Sasol (Petrol) and more recently the pending sale of Eskom (Electricity).

The preditory capitalism unleashed by the forces of transformation had created a strange new ball game that would reshape the economic landscape, effecting consumers for decades to come. In the brief months preceding the epochal 1994 elections, and in a climate of uncertainty before size became an issue, Tony O’Reilly’s Independent Group seized control of the Argus Group, formerly owned by the South African Associated Newspapers, “a radical transformation had begun in the newspaper industry,” records Gerald Shaw in his informal history of the Cape Times.

In March 1994, after buying titles like the Argus, Weekend Argus and Star, the group went on to poach the jewel in Times Media’s crown, the Cape Times: “Before the deal could go through, [Independent] had to satisfy the Competition Board that the continued existence of the Cape Times and the continued editorial independence of both the Cape Times and [renamed] Cape Argus were not in jeapardy, and that the need of all sections of the community served by these newspapers to have a ‘meaningful voice’ in the running of them would be respected.”

Shaw observed wryly that “as far as the Competition Board saw it, a monopoly system already existed among English language newspapers at the Cape, and a change of control of the Cape Times and Argus from [Anglo-JCI] to Independent Newspapers would not alter the situation in the city.” In other words, whatever the deal, Anglo-American interests still appeared to be be served.

Next: Big is well, Bigger…log onto The Size Issue to find comments on the Independent Group and South Africa’s Supersized Media: mediaflack.blogspot.com