Civil Society statement on POI Bill

19 August 2010, 6:59 pm

Note: The following is a statement drawn up, I understand, by Civil Society organisations, mainly for such organisations, but also for individuals, to endorse. The Institute for Security Studies is administering/organising it. According to http://writingrights.org the deadline has been extended to 20 August. Contact details are at the end of the document.

I wish to add my name to the statement.

Let the Truth be Told – Stop the Secrecy Bill!

A responsive and accountable democracy that can meet the basic needs of our people is built upon transparency and the free flow of information. The gains of South Africans’ struggle for freedom are threatened by the Protection of Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill) currently before Parliament. We accept the need to replace apartheid- era secrecy legislation. However, this Bill extends the veil of secrecy in a manner reminiscent of that same apartheid past. This Bill fundamentally undermines the struggle for whistleblower protection and access to information. It is one of a number of proposed measures which could have the combined effect of fundamentally undermining the right to access information and the freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution.

Read the rest of this entry »


What’s the time?

31 March 2010, 1:35 pm

Brandon Edmonds knows what time it is.

He’s just published a comprehensive take-down of the political sensibilities that underpin figures like Gareth Cliff (radio ‘personality’, self-proclaimed libertarian) and David Bullard (columnist), most pithily expressed as in: “Well, fuck you, Gareth Cliff, and David Bullard, and the ‘courtesy cars’ you drove in on. Fuck your racist, self-serving alternative-scenario porn.”

It’s a brilliant piece, full of verve (his other pieces at Mahala are too). It shimmers and slithers, and prickles, like the skin of some rough beast awakened, but the rage just in control and never allowed to get the better of the analysis. And it gives voice to something that I am sure many people think and feel.

Check it.

More articles by Brandon Edmonds at Mahala.


The Talented Mr. Poplak

25 March 2010, 9:12 am

“Ag nee, man, fok” – Sven Eick

(for Sven)

Despite the length and eloquence of Mr. Poplak’s response, it should be clear to anyone willing to resubmit to reading his original piece and my long comment on it, that he has not read my original comment with the required perspicacity, such as one would rightly expect of someone who writes with such an eloquent and bravura mixture of discourse that flits quite comfortably from informal ‘street’ rhetoric to high art to arch-postmodern anthropology, even if the latter appears in “lite” aphoristic reference. The to and fro of such long and eloquent disquisition says at least one thing: Die Antwoord is a cultural product of some worth. Had it been otherwise, individuals would not be investing so much time in spilling ink, real or virtual.

But it seems that saying something like “a cultural product of some worth” – in this style of archaic charm that I adopt here, for I am easily charmed – may not be evidence enough of a critic’s viewpoint, or his or her likes and dislikes. Mr. Poplak, it seems, would prefer that one either celebrate something in absolute carnivalesque abandon or not raise one critical squeak.

Read the rest of this entry »


Review: Notes from the Middle World, Breyten Breytenbach

17 March 2010, 10:45 am

[Original in Afrikaans at Rapport.]

Breyten Breytenbach, Notes From the Middle World, Haymarket Books, 2009, 978-1-931859-91-2

Once gathered into English liberal bosoms for his cultural and armed opposition to the ideology of his tribe, Breytenbach has of late received controversial coverage, especially in the English press. (But I do remember a cartoon in the Afrikaans press – was it in Vrye Weekblad? -, which showed Breytenbach standing in Paris and pissing on SA.) In 2008, a lot of this centred around A Veil of Footsteps (see the coverage at BookSA). His new book of essays, Notes From the Middle World (it includes two beautiful but scorching poems), has now already received a critical review at the Sunday Independent.

Read the rest of this entry »


Dear Comrade: Letter to Mandela

13 July 2008, 10:52 am

Following is the English version of a letter to Nelson Mandela, commissioned by the books editor of Rapport in celebration of his 90th birthday. The Afrikaans version appeared in Rapport, 13 July 2008, with minor cuts and variations of meaning:

Dear Comrade

Firstly, even as I have never been a member of the ANC (or any political party), allow me to address you as “Comrade”. After all, growing up into a politicized young adult during the 1980s in this heart-breaking country, I shared (and still do) many of the broad visions of the future that the ANC then held.

You are now 90, and I wonder, when you look at everything around you, what goes through your head? We are a long way from the heady days of my own politicisation, and, of course, a long way from your own birth, from your eventual entanglement with and incarceration by the Pretoria regime of old. Your life has been remarkable, but you don’t need a snotkop writer to point this out. So I won’t go into detail about your achievements and credentials. Neither will I engage in my normal anti-hagiographic critique of which my friends have heard enough.

Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers

%d bloggers like this: