Last week I watched an episode of the American "comedy / slapstick" television show known as "the smoking gun presents..." and fair enough, you really should not expect much more than a few chuckles about the idiotic behavior of people. At times it can even be classified as funny and it is absolutely worthwhile to watch if only to see the delightful Jaime Andrews. Besides her the rest is rather second hand or as we say in Afrikaans, "erg grondpad geloop." (To have walked on a dirt road, i.e. not people you want to invite to your house to meet with mom.)
Ok so what happened that I would waste ten minutes of my life to write about it and subject my poor readers (that is you) to my ramblings? Simply that I was once again astonished about the lack of knowledge so proudly displayed by one presenter - not Jaime Andrews I assure you. Another presenter on this show has pushed the wrong buttons before by stating he has a college degree. In my world everyone does and unless you have several it is nothing to brag about. Mind you, when you look at the antics on screen he may be indeed be an intellectual giant. Now note please, your blogger (what a strange word?) does not claim to be an intellectual either, I count the school of hard knocks to be worth more than any degree. I also know my limitations in life. I assure you my ex took great delight in telling me exactly what my failures in life are and I still remember after all these years.
But it is astonishing how little we know of each other in this day and age. I have a friend who came from Montana (the State in the US) and I had to search on a map for it. What I like most of my late wife's tribe is that they kept their history intact. I studied the American Civil War because it interests me. I believe anyone who is not moved by what happened is a cad and have neither feelings nor decency. And what is wonderful about it is that I would say to Melissa, "Honey, I want to see where the Battle of Bull Run took place. Or follow General Sherman's great march to the sea." And she replied, "Yes Honey, we can go. Look at this link, there it is to see and look there may even be a re-enactment or museum."
At other times she would say "K, you don't know how big an aircraft carrier or battleship are until you stood next to them or on them and look, we can go here or there to see it." And so we planned history lessons and music nights and reading holidays. She was the smartest person I have ever met in my life and I am the type who falls in love with brains above anything else. If I cannot talk to you why would I want to be with you? Her death was to me a shattering blow, the worst ever and there is nothing which can happen to me in the future which will be worse but what I also miss is that she will never show me around as we planned. I really regret that. I wanted to see these places.
I live in a country without a history. We have road name changes almost every month honoring people we have never heard of before. Our GPS maps cannot update fast enough and sometimes city names are changed to reflect the "majority" and to get away from "colonialism and slavery." Yeah, our monuments are neglected and our proud history as an Afrikaner Nation is ignored or re-written. Take as an example our international gateway to Africa and the world. Oliver Tambo International used to be Johannesburg International Airport and before that for many decades Jan Smuts Airport and God knows (because we don't) what it will be next year. Every time this takes place the road signs and maps must be changed at vast costs.
But to get back to the television show which caused this blog. They showed a video clip of three white lads, about sixteen years old trying to be stuntmen. The first one drives with an old Toyota Corolla at the other in a corn field. The "stuntman to be" jumped up and tumbled over the roof to slam down in the ground behind the car where he stayed down for the count. Yes, rather stupid but teenagers are stupid. That is how you learn. This does not bother me but the comment on it from the intellectual giant of the show did: "I don't feel sorry for white South African kids because their fathers started Apartheid."
Of course he cannot even say Apartheid properly; it came out EPERTHEIDT. However I have news for you. Apartheid started officially in 1948 so it is not the fathers but perhaps grandfathers and it was always here, just never under that name until 1948. Secondly, it is an offensive remark and let me explain why. If I say I don't feel sorry for the Jews being gassed in the concentration camps because, you know, their ancestors murdered Jesus" I would be crucified as an anti-Semitic. If I say I don't feel sorry for white Americans because their ancestors kept slaves stolen from Africa a few eye brows would be raised. If I say I don't feel sorry for Australians because you know, their ancestors hunted the indigenous Aborigines for sport I am sure they would be upset. And we can write ten pages of such crap to prove my point but let us leave it there and mention something our intellectual giant so obviously don't know.
It was my generation, the parents of those sixteen years olds, who voted Apartheid out of existence. We were not military defeated in any way shape or form and could have kept the system going for decades. It was the younger generation who said "enough" and we knew the consequences of saying so would be bad for us. Furthermore, we did not start Apartheid, we were born into it. Perhaps you should read my book series Mean Streets - Life in the Apartheid Police which explains a lot you will never read in history books. And even those books have the name "Apartheid Police" because intellectual giants like you don't know what the South African Police Force was. Hence I used the name to describe the time period much to the anger of many older members because somewhere in your search for intellectual giant fellowship you may have heard the name "EPERTHEIDT" before. You may be able to click what I am talking about.
And let me tell you, once you read that book series you will understand the privilege to be born into a country with a history and a working human rights bill of law. You will stop complaining and you will never refer to your president as "Obama" or "Bush" or whatever. You will use the correct term of MR Obama or MR Bush because you will be proud as my wife was. She was proud enough for me to call her "my American Patriot" in my books. I have never in any book or article I published wrote of an American president without using his title, be it Mr or Dr. Why, because it is common decency and respect for the office. I am not an American citizen as my late wife was and hence I do not have the right to be that disrespectful to the leader of the free world. But you know what, you do, you are so used to your freedom of speech and entitlement to sprout offensive rubbish that you do not even get what I am saying to you. It is rather sad. You don't know what the dream of America means to the rest of us. Rather keep quiet on subjects you know nothing about and sprout your rubbish about your own people. Perhaps they will find you funny. I don't.
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. 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 practicing commercial law attorney for eight years. He also wrote several books on business, law, counter terrorism and security issues. He is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.