The South African flag is flying at half mast this week and Mandela and Mbeki singing the praises of PW Botha. Reconciliation can mean a lot of things but this is not one of them. It sounds more like appeasement and is an insult to those who suffered, struggled and died under Botha’s rule. Kamellahwrites gives her take on his death and responses to it
shall i tell palestinians to give a high five to the IDF and the israeli government? should we go back in time and get slaves to lead a ceremony for slave owners and leaders of the confederate army? i mean damn.
botha died without ever apologizing or ever acknowledging his wrong. apparently, his wife barbara believes that her husband had been “terribly misunderstood” and that south africans would come to realize what they had lost. she says and i quote, “the man cared about everyone, irrespective of what politics said. he really cared. he wanted everyone to have a piece of the pie.” if apartheid was a manifestation of this ‘care,’ i’d hate to see what he would do if he didn’t ‘care’ about black south africans.
Icarus Redeemed has a different take on the death of Botha in a piece on “White South African Society”
First of all, white South African society is one which has largely been untouched by the Enlightenment. That may be seen as a good thing in many ways and in many quarters. But, it also means the white South African has been untouched by the reality check features of some Enlightenment concepts like “Utilitarianism”.
Second, the white South African appears (‘appears’ being very much the operative word here) to be the carrier of those traits to which his Teutonic counterparts of an earlier era may justly have laid claim — of being at the cutting edge of Western or European civilisation.
My take – I cannot bring myself to say the words RIP and I believe my feelings are more representative than those of the likes of Mbeki. COSATU spokesperson speaks
PW Botha will be remembered with “hatred and disgust” as a brutal dictator who presided over a system that denied the majority all their basic human rights, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Thursday.
“His hands were stained with the blood of hundreds who were murdered during the struggle for democracy and liberation under his presidency,” Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said.
“The overwhelming majority of South Africans and the people of the world will remember PW Botha only with hatred and disgust.”
Reconciliation is one thing but I dont see that it means writing a revisionist history and to quote Kameelawrites once more
…….there is forgiveness, then there is praising your colonizers, slave owner and the man who put his foot in your neck.