Political correctness, like sex (see previous blog) sells. I understand if you put a picture of a movie star or royal on your cover, you have a 25% increase in sales. And this brings me to today’s blog. As said before, I only read the largest Afrikaner magazine (according themselves) when on the toilet and I assure you, a few glances only as it is uncommonly bad for my blood pressure. I collect old books, old magazines and here we have one with a proud history, one which had an educational function for a volk (Afrikaans, nation) shattered by war, injustice and plain genocide. Yes, with a fatherly touch perhaps but one with very good intentions, no doubt. It used to be a wonderful read, a real family magazine to be treasured. Regretfully, the latest version is crap and we have it in our house because my mom, like most elderly people, will be buying it no matter what. Yet even she sighs and says it is not the same and yes, we must move on, but blindly forward? No, I don’t want to read about the British Leeches, (royals to you) who have not yet apologised for the genocide of 1901 against the Afrikaner. I don’t believe that I have not mentioned this aspect, the concentration camps, in any of my books (last count, 26 or more), they are in anything I write less we forget! And no, I don’t hate the Pommies, if you read deeper and all the books, you will find a remarkable respect. However, unlike a certain US liberal, we do think that it matters that we lost one third of our population to genocide.
I pointed out, historically correctly, that concentration camps are a British Army invention, shockingly so. Yes, not a Nazi one and the results were the same, between thirty and thirty-seven thousand white women and children dead and we don’t even know how many black citizens died with them. They died of disease and hunger, yes, the same pictures we see the Pommies crying crocodile tears over at Auschwitz and erect monuments for. Yes, the same skeleton frames of non-combatants dying behind barbed wire. And all this against the Genève Convention they had signed by that time. Go and Google it as I often invite any reader of my books, fiction and non-fiction, and wake up, I know my history better than most.
The Afrikaner felt rather vindicated when the main Leech (Queen Victoria to you) died during the Second Anglo Boer War, obvious a higher justice prevailed and when Lord Kitchener, the suspected homosexual (an immense insult in the old South Africa, a crime) who started the concentration camps, drowned in 1916 when a German U-Boat sank his ship under his ass, we were rather glad and hoped he took a long time to die. An Afrikaner, working as a German spy, later claimed he got him assassinated by betraying the ship's position (not confirmed). The help the Afrikaner loyally extended in two World Wars and Korea was not appreciated much and yes, we mention that too in my books and the point is, why would I want to read about the so called royals? It is crazy, why do they even exist in a modern society? They have zero value. They say, that they have a stabilizing influence? Really, read any article in a British newspaper and see the angry comments on those wanting them gone and those blindly following them. They only divide and we urinate (I use a better word in my books, more manly) on titles and awards issued by them – this country does not legally recognise such things. Plainly put, no one is going to bow to you. They say, that they bring in money and also tourism? Really, explain to me then why the French palaces with no royals, chop chop and good riddance, hello freedom 1789, are visited by so many thousands of tourists? Yep you cannot because it is the buildings which remain, not the Leeches. They don’t bring in money and they are not working hard either, it is a grand life. And then we have their “war service” which is an insult to any fighting man. When last did a Leech die in battle, I ask? No not flying accidents in Scotland, battle! More than 400 years ago and that says it all. Flying a MacDonald Phantom II fighter bomber, or a helicopter, is not war service, it is a joke, the easy way. But all this is not mentioned in polite company, no, we must wave the flag as some did in 1947 when Jan Smuts felt so sorry for them, having survived a World War which millions others did not, 66 million to be exact, that he invited them here. From that came an incident where the proud Zulu Nation conducted a dance for them as a welcome (why I would not know, they are not welcome). We see a young “princess” jumping in alarm, perhaps she recalled the Battle of Isandlwana where the British Army got wiped out to a man, and hitting out with her handbag when they warriors came too close to her. Yes, perhaps they smelled badly having waited for hours in the warm sun, who knows? It is on YouTube for you to smirk over, I often do when I want to laugh. As one fellow said at the time, they actually came to taste meat, the British had food rationing until long after the rest of Europe after that war. They forgot what meat tastes like, it is funny!
In more recent years, the beginning of the 1990s, I for one was traumatized when the former Minister of Foreign Affairs (in those days consisting of the homelands of Venda, Bophuthatswana, Ciskei and Transkei) said he waved goodbye to the old South African flag and anthem as a matter of course. The new dispensation will get a new one, make peace, you are welcome in South Africa. I liked that old flag, I bled for it and I truly meant the oath I took to defend it as required by the anthem “Ons sal antwoord op jou roepstem, Ons sal offer wat jy vra: Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe, Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika.” (Afrikaans, At thy call we shall not falter, We will answer to your calling, Firm and steadfast we shall stand, At thy will to live or perish). And I lost friends in the South African Bush War as it became known, the police, where I was, fought all the way, long before the conscripts became involved. First in Rhodesia, then Owamboland, then South Africa and everywhere else. Yes, we killed 90% of all terrorists as they were called then and freedom fighters today, not the army, and 98% of all terrorist inside South Africa, not the army. And this is not a glorification of war, by the way, just the hard statistics no one can argue about, read my biography Mean Streets – Life in the Apartheid Police or its Afrikaans translation Gewentenlose Strate – Lewe in die Apartheid Polisie and you will learn a lot more.
So when I saw the new flag, I was damn glad not to see a Union Jack on it. That I liked, the rest, well, we got used to it and its derogatory name outside South Africa and today, the old flag is seen automatically as a racist symbol and it will always be, having being dishonoured by Nationalist politicians for 48 years. Yet when it first flew, it was not like that. There was a time when we had pride, when that flag was saluted with honour by good men, brave men. Those days are passed now, and so it is, we accept that and change, life goes on. We want to see success here, good leadership and to be proud. What we don’t want to see is to see a royal Leech or her stupid inbreeds on our magazines, they have nothing to do with us and frankly never did, they were tolerated at best and disliked at worst. The first standing order we had was “Always shoot the Khakis!” (Khakis mean British soldiers, from their uniform.) From now on, let me find a Leech on the cover, and I will use that magazine in ways in the toilet which it was not designed to do.
Life is not the same as it was in my youth, I can tell you. In those days we were convinced that women had little black stars on their chests as I call a woman’s bosom, also known as “assets” in polite terms. Surely with the censors working overtime and making their kids, like all good Nationalists, in the dark and the missionary position only, approved by the church, I am sure, we grew up with rather odd ideas on life. But one thing we did have was respect and that I see respect sadly lacking these days and not only among the youth who often surprise me with a polite “more oom” (morning sir) when I bump into them. Well, I am 49 years old in a few months, divorced and a widower and have gone around the block, my graying hair testifies to this, I deserve to be called like that.
But I have to wonder why there is a need to show us endless pictures and articles on the passing of Celine Dion’s husband and brother. Really, I speak of experience, when in such a situation, and you will be one day, you would want to suffer alone and in silence without the entire world gazing on what you wear, what you say or how much you wipe the tears away even if a super star. Yes, there is life after death. I believe so and in my forensic legal work I often joke that I can prove this: “Did Jan van Riebeeck not come back as coffee?” Yep, a silly South African joke which foreigners will not get. But the fact remains, when faced with death of a loved one, and you will be, you have to decide where you stand with God, the law, yourself and why life is this hard. There is no way that it will not affect you unless you suffer from serious psychological issues.
I feel sorry for Miss Dion after others like her. I know how she feels and I have no advice really, you turn to God and you carry on and with time you hear the birds again singing outside your window. And you do realise that life is so precious, even on earth where no one wants to stay longer than needs be. It is sudden you know, one day you are quite happy and then she is ill and she gets worse and worse no matter how much you pray, or your child goes on a camp and word comes back, she fell and is dying, or your dad, always so strong and there, now becomes a helpless wreck on a hospital bed. Yes, your life can change overnight and after death, when the funeral is done, and you are alone with your thoughts, shattered, you are faced with every shyster known to mankind. They want to sell you a tombstone, they want to invest your inheritance and then you have the gigolos wanting to move in because you have “needs” which he can fulfill and nothing else, it is just money for this fellow and he usually has none of his own. Yes, it happens, read my books on this, they are on the internet free of charge. I am talking, again, of experience. When I became a widower on Facebook, suddenly I had half naked women 20-25 years my junior wanting to be friends! Really? I have a news flash, the man who is turned on by your protruding chest is close to a Neanderthal and not really a good husband. At some stage he notices another chest and you will sit with the kids at home writing bitter notes on “Let us click or whatever” on the loyalty of man. My late wife was super smart, even her few enemies would tell you that, I fell in love with her brain but that is me. I may be the odd one but I doubt it, many friends agree with me on this subject, we like smart women. We actually want to talk about everything and nothing and enjoy your company, explore your soul and admire your body (staring like a hyena in heat as one of my characters puts it, admiringly so, I would say).
It is entirely sad that sex is used to sell books, movies and what have you (cars, buildings, cell phones, investments, everything). I read this morning of “bikini barista servers” which turns out to be American for half naked women making coffee at over inflated prices. And sales doubled which is ironic in a deeply flawed philosophical way. Oh, I know about the place called “Hooters” or something too because I watched an episode of “Undercover Boss,” yep, you will never find me in one, ever, it is embarrassing. A while ago, I was approached by a fellow stating he is a Hollywood script writer and he believes my fiction books can be turned into a movie. Well, he is right, they can, they are that good even if they feature South Africans and do not rate anyone else highly in this theater. When I wrote the books, I asked myself, what do I want in books like this and I wrote them like that with, of course, the codes for my late wife to chuckle about. Unfortunately, according to this fellow, the books do not have enough sex in them. Well, he is right, they have no sex in them whatsoever. The closest was in book 1, “That night we finally became one” and if you are too stupid to figure that out, don’t read my books. In the Police Books, under my own name, I often mentioned going blind being unmarried and unwanted, no doubt. Anyone who knows about the Roman Catholic Church would get my joke but alas, many did not. My point is this, certain things, like your love life, your assets if from the improved specie and your grieving at the side of the grave, do not belong on the internet or newspapers. Where has the respect and worse, self-respect gone to? Let us get it together and re-evaluate our values in life.
It is entirely odd, that we live in fear in a country supposed to be the liberal dream after Apartheid ended in 1994 according to the history books but not in the brains of many. Sadly, I am not talking about crime here although I should and could. With eighteen thousand murders a year, yes, one every 30 minutes, most people would be guarded if not in actual fear. We make excuses, of course, we say “this is Africa” and “the police cannot be everywhere” or “put your faith in God.” This is all fair and well and nice but highly abnormal in other countries not cursed with violent crime.
Actually, being in Africa, on itself, is no reason to live with fear and note, living with fear is not the same as living in fear. So that is no excuse, you should not fear crime and if you do, the Government had failed you. And yes, you should expect to have a good police service, it is not normal to have a bad one. It is not normal to have them looked down on and always read how pathetic they are. It is sad and should make you cringe to read such things. Now God, in my experience, helps only those who helps themselves. There is not going to be a pot of gold waiting for you at your doorstep no matter how hard you pray. Which is not to say God cannot intervene, or miracles do not take place anymore. I simply mean, if you want something done, do it yourself. The law is neutral as I said before in my books and in this blog. Unless you invoke the law, you cannot expect it to act pro-actively, help yourself to get rid of the fear in you.
The fear I am speaking about is not crime, it is of being called a “racist” if you dare to criticize anything in this country. The Constitution, with its Bill of Human Rights, is supposed to give you something called “Freedom of Speech” which means you should be able to speak your mind (criticize) without living with fear of being officially investigated, publically humiliated and hounded to leave the place and get into hiding. A perfect example is Donald Trump stating he will ban all Muslims from entering the USA. And less you forget, the US did ban all Japanese at some stage, before the Second World War, so there is a historical precedence for what he said besides the other reasons. There were howls of angry protest, but no one said to Mr Trump he is now prevented from speaking his mind, he has “Freedom of Speech.” In South Africa, I guarantee you, those very same words would have been seen as “hate speech” and there are consequences in law, for such things. He would have been stopped in his tracks.
It is an old legal debate, how far is your right to free speech allowed to go before it becomes hate speech which is unlawful. No one really knows, to be honest, but where you become openly racist, calling for white South Africans to be gassed, or Jews to be exterminated, or black South Africans monkeys, that is going too far. Note the above are statements, not criticizing, big difference when you think about it. I said time and time again, be very careful what you post on social media, even that what is posted on your website or Facebook page by others, may come back to bite you in the ass. Once you have a reputation as a racist, it will never go away from you and this brings fear because I have found that many, the moment you criticize, fall back on the racist argument. “You are racist, you are jealous, you are not in Apartheid anymore, you are not the white boss, a black man earns money also, you don’t like me because I am black” and so many respond, angrily, creating fear and hiding behind it.
It is crap, obviously, such arguments, that is not what the law had in mind when it was written to protect you. There is nothing wrong with robustness between men as long as it is not indecent or hate speech. You should not be too over sensitive and jump on the racism bandwagon all the time. I think most of us are past the stage where we notice if a guy is black or pink on the sports fields, but none of us are willing to lose games because he is there on anything but merit. Such an argument, will immediately, in this country, be seen as racist even when it is not meant to be because it is criticism. This sensitivity goes further. You seldom to never see or hear the police admitting the race of the culprit and so everyone takes it for granted, it is black on white crime. And yet, many times it is not, many times we find the family member, doing the slaying. We should never jump to conclusions, it is a cardinal fact of law, to hear the other side first before making a judgment. But what do you do when the police stay silent and refuses, because of fear and politically correct nonsense, to admit who they are looking for? It is entirely silly, no normal person will ever have a problem with a factually correct description of the culprits to assist in spotting them. And it is fear, of being called a racist, that most would rather turn a blind eye to open corruption and other injustices afore reporting it. It is entirely sad that we are failed by our leaders, that South Africa is not even the biggest economy in Africa anymore because we had in practical terms, zero growth the last few years. This is justifiable critique, not racism, who cares what skin colour the leaders are, as long as they perform as promised. How long can we accept fear as part of our existence? Bob Dylan said:
“Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.”
I have a newsflash for some, most actually want to be proud of their country, their citizens, sport teams and leaders. Not everything is about race, wake up and move on, stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in hostage survival training and reducing legal risk in Sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters. Koos is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.