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This is a trilogy, published over a three week period, which was an extraordinary success for me, with a huge readership, and the BBC even posting a link to part 2, much to my delight and surprise. It is simply a response to Mr Hitchens and the Daily Mail, I recall how deeply angry he made me, so angry, I had to rant 3 times about it. It is in essence a tribute too, to uMsholozi, and to South Africa, to our democracy and our dreams and Umshini Wami. It was written at a time when the doomsday prophets were out in force, and too I received heaps of racist comments, and a good dose of ridicule, however most responses were positive, especially from the UK, much to my surprise. I have learnt too, that there are people all over the world, white South Africans who consider themselves part of a diaspora who resoundingly identified the soul of this piece, from London to Texas, they too remember what it is like to hear Africa sing. I was touched by them.

I publish the entire trilogy,as one, here and I dedicate it to the South African Diaspora.

Have you heard us Sing Umshini Wami ?

Part 1  – How Very Dare You Mr. Hitchens or When it comes to Jacob Zuma, The European Press have a double Standard.

On the 31 March 2009, Peter Hitchens, wrote a piece for the Daily Mail in London, entitled He has four wives and he faced 783 counts of corruption: PETER HITCHENS on South Africa’s next president.

In a deeply matronly tone, chumped up with sarcasm and typically European superiority, and a good dose of self-righteousness, Mr. Hitchens has taken a swipe at Jacob Zuma, South Africa and even Nelson Mandela. No stranger to controversy, veteran commentator Hitchens, takes punch after punch at South Africa and our next president in a nasty little piece that just drips with the underlying sentiment that so often is the inarticulate discourse in commentary, by yet another self-involved voice, masquerading as informed opinion from her Majesty’s island directed at us savages in the Colonies.article-1165473-029cff4f000004b0-878_468x634

The salvo begins right out the starting block like a machine gun, with Mr. Hitchens asking his millions of readers how they would feel about Gordon Brown singing “umshini wami” while dancing. This just above a picture of JZ in traditional attire with the caption below ” Zuma loves to Dress up and Dance Like a Zulu Warrior”

It’s a pathetic and crude attempt to portray Zulu and African culture as backward, tribal and savage. When black men dress in traditional dress, they “like to dress up like Zulu warriors” but when white British men don kilts and hats, and march around blowing the modern equivalent of a pig’s bladder then it’s Scottish culture, quaint and meaningful too. The war-going-garb of the Scotts is fine from funeral to formal function,and the occasional wedding too in her Majesty’s dark Kingdom, but not in Africa, oh no.

In Africa its proof of the pudding eaten, of savagery, and backwardness and then some.

They can play Scotland the Brave, a war song in civilized, skirt wearing Britain and environs.

Hell, I’m sure Gordon Brown hums it in the shower. Oh yes, and they can let the Americans sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

They sing it in the UK too.

They blast these dreadful dirges out on their bag pipes, well skirted up,like not very good transvestites and lash out the very macabre lyrics of their war tunes set to screeching pipes and second rate tunes:

“trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.

He has loosed the fatal lightning of his terrible swift sword”

They gather en mass to remember in deeply held affection, those days of old when tribal Scots in skirts, with beards,whisky breath and sans underwear, tore down the hills to slaughter their enemies who lay helpless on the ground, tortured by that wailing pig skin screech they so lovingly coddle, in their civilized memorials to their bloody history of conquest.

Yes, dear reader, swords,lightning and grape trampling along with warmongering deities are ok, machine guns in the hands of blacks, no never, God no.

And singing dancing black men with votes, even worse.

Perhaps if we played pig bladder instruments and wore multicolored frocks?

Umshini Wami, is as historical a song as the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Scotland the Brave, you won’t find them dancing to the stuff, that’s because they don’t really have a beat, and of course white men can’t dance.

That Umshini Wami is a battle song sung by our men and women when they went to war against apartheid, against the machine of the State and all odds for freedom, is irrelevant to him. That it is a song with great historical value to South Africa is of no concern to Mr. Hitchens. That it is about liberation from the violent oppression of one of Her Majesty’s Colonial left overs, by freedom fighters who fought a huge military machine, sometimes just with matches and tyres is meaningless to Mr. Hitchens’ grandly civilized mind.

How would you feel if your leader faced charges of corruption, he questions sarcastically and smarmy like.

They are so much better at this in the civilized world than us with our Zulu savages and corrupt officials. Gosh if only we could be so vainglorious as them.

Sophisticated and civilized nations would not put up with this nonsense.

This is his implication.

Really now?

I wonder, how do Mr Hitchens’ readers there in the western democracies of civilization feel about allegations of Tony Blair’s corruption?

“In Britain, Tony Blair has been caught up in the sort of sleaze and corruption allegations that his Labour Party used to great effect to bring down the Tory Government in 1997.The facts are simple and undisputed. At least four of Britain’s richest men made loans worth millions to the Labour Party before the last election. The loans were kept secret and shortly afterwards Tony Blair recommended those same four men for peerages.

Rafael Epstein reports from London.” http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1597414.htm

Or better yet, what of John Major’s claims about Mr. Brown and his Government?

“Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, has launched a withering attack on Gordon Brown, warning that Labour is now more sleazy and less competent than the Conservative government he led to a landslide defeat in 1997.

While he acknowledged that there had been individuals in the Tory Party who “misbehaved” in the 1990s, he said that under Labour the problems of “sleaze” had become “systemic”.

Recalling Tony Blair’s attacks on his own government, Sir John mocked Labour over the two separate police inquiries that have been launched into its finances in the last two years.

“I think if they were to say today ‘whiter than white’ or ‘purer than pure’, people would just laugh,” he said.

Sir John compared the tactics adopted by Tony Blair . There was, he said, a “clear pattern” linking the row over Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s £1 million donation to Labour in 1997 to the current “proxy donors” scandal involving property developer David Abrahams – with “serial offences” in between.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/1572706/John-Major-accuses-Labour-of-systemic-sleaze.html

Marching BandDo you see any prosecutions? I don’t. But never mind just Her Majesties country and allegations of fraud and other mischief. Does Mr. Hitchins ask his readers how they would feel about Mr Berlusconi, Italy’s sitting president, who has been on trial since March 2007 on charges of giving £350,000 from alleged “secret funds” to David Mills, his former tax lawyer and the estranged husband of UK Olympics minister Tessa Jowell? “Even if Mr Berlusconi is eventually successful in having the charges against him dropped, the judges indicated that the case against Mr Mills will continue. Judges in Milan ruled that the Constitutional Court should decide whether the law violates constitutional principles, including the one that all citizens are equal before the law.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/3140413/Silvio-Berlusconi-corruption-charges-taken-to-Italys-highest-court.html

Or his predecessors, in uber civilized Italy.

“The same cannot be said of the oligarchy he replaced. For most of the post-war era, Italy was run by a cartel of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats who, though notionally rivals, tended in practice to prop each other up like two exhausted boxers. A party membership card was your IOU: when your friends took office, you would become a headmaster, or a political editor, or get the contract to build a parking lot.”

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2009/02/18/labour_could_teach_berlusconi_all_about_corruption

Lets not forget too, the French with their Chirac Option, which simply prevents prosecution of their sitting head of state, never mind even trying to go to trial.

Any mention of that?

Not a word by our smarmy, self righteous prophet of the doom of civilization at the hands of Zuma.

Legislating against prosecution is how the civilized do it in France.

Ignore it, is how they do it in Britain.

Then again, this all begs the very big question:

Nothing about the Clintons being a grave threat.
Nothing about the Clintons being a grave threat.
What about Clinton ?

“- The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance 
- Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates* 
- Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation 
- Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify 
- Most number of witnesses to die suddenly 
- First president sued for sexual harassment. 
- Second president accused of rape** 
- First first lady to come under criminal investigation
- Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
- First president to establish a legal defense fund.
- First president to be held in contempt of court
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions 
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
- First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court.”

http://www.prorev.com/legacy.htm

And lets not forget Hillary,

“▪ A $100,000 windfall from cattle futures after a $1,000 investment.

• The Castle Grande real estate scam.

• Her role as attorney for the Rose law firm in what would become the endlessly controversial-cum-criminal Whitewater affair that would follow her to the White House.

• The serial philandering of her husband, which cast her – depending on one’s viewpoint – as a clench-jawed stoic, a perpetual victim, or a willing collaborator.”

http://www.therant.us/staff/swirsky/03132006.htm

Italian President Kicks His Trial to Touch ?
Italian President Kicks His Trial to Touch ?
When Jacob Zuma is accused of crimes and acquitted of rape, and the NPA decides not to prosecute, it becomes a ” fast-approaching catastrophe..(and) a source of shame and apprehension to millions of honest people, white and black, in South Africa itself” in Hitchens mind. Not happy with just that, and to add insult to injury, “.. grave news for the civilized world, which needs no more failed states.”

The USA, France, Italy, UK, no problem!

When it happens in South Africa it’s the end of civilization.

What this reveals, dear reader, is a deeply seated racism and superiority that languishes in the deep, morally stagnant, psyche of men like Mr Hitchens and his fans. This blatant and outrageous hypocrisy is astonishing in the extreme.

I for one am left speechless.

How very dare you !!!!

End of part 1

Epilogue of sorts:

This is the second time I have been upset by European, and particularly British snobby, rubbish, journalism, the last time I found myself outraged by Gideon Rachman’s disdain for the American Dream. You can find that piece here :euro-trashing the american dream or how to blame pandora for your bad taste.

Postscript

For my non South African readers, you should know that the singing of “struggle” songs is an historical and cultural part of our Nation. I suggest you view the following video of JZ singing, not Umshini Wami, but other songs, take note too of his demeanour and that of the crowd.

That this is not just a black, or Zulu thing, linked to tribalism and such like nonsense from Mr Hitchens is evidenced by the following video of Helen Zille, leader of the mostly white, middle class, opposition:

And, of course, JZ singing Umshini Wami (Please will you bring me my machine, my machine, my machine gun):

Part 2 -We are no longer your Colony, Mr Hitchens or Umshini Wami, Africa, Democracy and Colonialism.

A friend of mine, whose opinion I hold dearly commented about the Hitchen’s piece, the following:

“I have always held, and still believe that when it comes to the British, one needs to take into account the very deep feelings that they have about losing their empire. I mean by that, that when they wake up in the morning they seek to prove to themselves, what a mess we have made of things since they relinquished their control.”

He is a very clever man, a formidable opponent, who is well known for these kind of insights, which he is capable of defending, when the moment takes him, with astonishing eloquence and brutal realpolitik.

His words resonated with me, and they are, the intellectual capital behind this piece.610x-31

We languish here, in the colonies, us whites most of us very English, if not Dutch, for that is our inheritance. I am a Scot, and that gives me some ammunition against the English press. I am reminded of when Her Majesty’s mother, the queen mother, as she is known came to our lowly shores.

After her many photo op appearances an Afrikaans woman, a Boer, broke through the barricades and made it to her Highness’ personal space. She said then, with the kind of Afrikaner defiance that we hold dear, “ Us Boers, we hate the English !”

Her Majesty replied “ So do we Scots.”

Indeed.

For we have suffered under the English.

Not just Afrikaners, but all citizens of the rainbow here in South Africa.

Colonialism is about rape. The rape of a country, and all it’s people, but mostly about the rape of blacks. However in the aftermath, we who remain, all suffer at their hand.

Today, our greatest diamond is nothing more than her Majesty’s accoutrement . The spoils of war, part of the ugly inheritance the English have left us to repair in our beloved land.

Franz Fanon said ““What I call middle-class society is any society that becomes rigidified in predetermined forms, forbidding all evolution, all gains, all progress, all discovery. I call middle-class a closed society in which life has no taste, in which the air is tainted, in which ideas and men are corrupt. And I think that a man who takes a stand against this death is in a sense a revolutionary.”

boer_war-2And that in Africa is what we face.

Mr. Hitchens, despite his hypocrisy, which I have so amply illustrated in the first part of this response, clings to just this very last bastion of the defeated Empire. The middle class values. They may be of great value in her Majesty’s Kingdom, but they clang around with vacant and empty irrelevance here in the colonial aftermath of her Majesty’s bloodbath and terrible aftermath here in Africa.

Here in the colony that they established, with its deeply entrenched, Eurocentric racism, that would finally become the internationally hated apartheid, we sit, with this their demonic inheritance, and on top of it all, their scoffing, self important ridicule.

They, in their protected, now, newly found democratic convenience, sit in judgment, with the very same white, Eurocentric superiority they landed here with, and proceeded to enslave us with, black and white.

Mr. Hitchens, in typical English, highbrow sentiment casts Jacob Zuma in the light that these terrible, imperialist Brits have always done, the savage. What Mr. Hitchens would like to see in Africa, is well, what he would like to see in Covent Garden. The adherence to her Majesty’s, tried, tested, and ever regurgitated over the Empire, Britishness. Yuck !

Of course.

He wants kilts, and bagpipes, stiff upper lip and black pudding, egg and chips, mind you, with HP sauce.

How very dare he?

We face unimaginable poverty.

Not the kind Mr. Hitches ignores in Elephant and Castle.

Real poverty.

Poverty of wealth. Poverty of spirit. The poverty of colour. The very true consequence of his royal pompous English Majesty’s decades long, bloodthirsty rape fest in South Africa that led to her Cullinan diamond. Our Diamond that sits in her vault, for Harry and William to get hard over, while our people, starve, and work for less money in a day than Mr. Hitchens’ G&T before dinner cost.

The poverty you so gloriously gave us, with your self righteous, stiff upper lip.cullinan-diamond

And then you left, with our heritage, nothing more than a token on your corrupt majesties crown, a notch on her bloodstained belt.

Sies man.

You left us here, white, english, scott,irish, black and guess what?

We found a way.

Its called democracy.

You may not like it.

Thats a good thing though.

We love it here.

We have it here.

We have a bill of rights.

 

We have a constitutional court, separate judiciary,the rule of law, and one man one vote.

You remember that one ?

You never let us have that, while you stripped our country, raped our resources, imprisoned our blacks, put our Afrikaners in concentration camps.

That the vast majority of this country will exercise their vote for Jacob Zuma, is for Mr. Hitchens and his gin guzzling, ex colonial dimwits, not an example of democracy, but the proof of his deep-seated belief in the savagery of blacks in the old colonies, is an incitement upon him.

tb001339Those black savages should have voted for someone more suited to his dinner parties, no doubt.

Democracy is not about your mother’s manners, Hitchens, nor about your English high school precociousness.

NO !

Its about the will of our people.

Yes, our savage, black, people, who have their own culture, without pigskins and the BBC.

Mr. Hitchens, for all his pathetic prancing and posturing is upset about only one thing.

We did not vote for a good British wannabe.

Thank God.

We will vote.

It will be democratic.

And I hope to God, that Mr. Zuma never dons a kilt and fry’s up some egg and chips.

The one thing we need in South Africa, is to get as far away from your violent, racist, and self serving colonial history as is humanly possible.

We can elect our own president thank you very much.zumad2

We can do it without you.

Trust me.

Once again, how very dare you ?

Mr Hitchens; ” Umshini Wami”

 

 

 

 

Part 3 – The Late, Great Success of The South African Democracy or Have you Heard us sing, Mr Hitchens?

zumadanceA friend commented on the “passionate” and “angry” style of the first two parts of this piece , and in particular on the second part.

“Franz Fanon” he cried, “they are going to think you are some kind of neo Marxist, you do yourself a disservice.”

Perhaps, for I am not such.

In fact you will find me quite the opposite.

It’s just that Mr. Hitchens made me frothing mad. He made me mad like like no one before Helen Zille, more so, because unlike Helen, he is no idiot, and precisely because I am white, middle class, eurocentric in many ways, educated and privileged, he was writing, in his mind for people like me.

I used Franz Fanon, because, he has a point here. It is assumed, by many, black, and white, that because of my middle class background, I will see this country in terms of a certain class, or colour stratification, its not so.

I am all those things above, but I am more, an African. I was born here. This is my soil. These are my people. This is my home. I have grown up here. I have lived under a police state, and a democracy, and it is my simple observation that things are so much better now, so much better that you can not imagine.

I am not suggesting that there are not massive problems facing us, in fact just the opposite. It is precisely because of those very problems that an inflammatory piece of commentary like Mr. Hitchen’s ugly little piece of self-congratulatory spite gets me so upset.

Crime is part of the contextual reality of our democracy. What were we to expect, in a nation that had waged a war against 80% of its population for years? What does Mr Hitchen’s think could possibly have happened where massive and conspicuous consumption exist side by side with abject poverty? Would Mr. Hitchens pick up a gun for a loaf of bread?

Even he does not know the answer to that.

Do you ?

Of course we have a crime problem, how could we not?

I wonder at night, in bed, does Mr Hitchens not understand that our bloodless revolution is on its own, cause for hope?

In the dark night of Africa, can he not see the shining light of democracy here?

Is he so blinded that, because he does not care for the people of this country’s choice, he cannot say ” My God, look people, look, democracy is alive in Africa, it works there. Isn’t this fantastic, sure they have problems, but hell, they go to elections, in peace, to choose their man.I wouldn’t have him in England, but hell man, he is the democratic choice in the newest and brightest hope that Africa has ever seen.”

To much?

Probably ?

That we haven’t had a bloody revolution is an extraordinary feat. Mr. Hitchens would have us looking like Covent Garden in 10 years. Please man? Can you imagine a UK with 40% unemployment, where millions of people made less money in a day than tube fare?

You put our historical and current circumstances on the UK and Mr. Hitchens wouldn’t be alive to make the 7 o clock news.

40% just think about it. We live with it.

For all his doom and gloom, there has been no election violence here.

You are safer as a white person at an ANC rally than at a football game in London.

What is astonishing is not that we have a crime rate, it’s that we have not slid down the gutter, long ago.

That we haven’t, that our ANC government has maintained solid fiscal policy is extraordinary._45013214_singing_afp1

Its factors like these, poverty, lack of access, and almost insurmountable odds, that have pushed so many African countries into hell.

And tonight, here in South Africa, despite all this, I sit here, my windows and doors open, drinking wine, writing, on my laptop, and I am not afraid. Tomorrow, I will drive, my white self to a court inland. I will park my new car, just next to a poor market, I will get out of my car, lap top, pin striped suit, and gold watch, I will walk past 1000’s of black poor people, and most of them will smile at me and greet me, and I will walk to court and back, and I will not be afraid.

I did it today; I have done it so many times.

Rape, murder and theft are real, but they are not staple here.

Our people are poor sir, not violent.

I wonder, often if I was one of those people, with their few wares, laid out on the ground, atop a blanket, selling loose cigarettes and bubblegum for a living, if I might want to just hit that white man with the gold watch on the head, his piece of flash could feed me for years.

They haven’t yet.

I would have long ago.

Mr. Hitchens, if you could see the smiles, if you could see the willingness to try, if you could see the good will, you would, my friend, die of shame.

Did you watch the election rally at Ellis Park?south africa singing umshini wami ?

Did you see them sing Umshini Wami? Did you understand from the smiles, from the deep charisma of our new President, that it was not literal? Did you see war?

If you did, then you were not watching like me.

Let me tell you what I saw, sir.

I saw a man, who despite terrible manipulation of our judicial process by Machiavellian men was where his people wanted him. I saw a man dancing, I saw a man smiling.

I saw the people of this land exercising their right to choose, sir.

I heard too, something that you should come to Africa to hear; I heard the swell of a hundred thousand African voices in deep harmony. I heard the tremendous echo of their voices. Their key so perfect, you can scarcely believe it.

It begins slowly, very slowly, deep, and melancholy like , a tremendous rumble in the distance, faint and menacing , like a clarion call from a far away warrior , then it grows, and grows, slowly with the deep confidence of far off thunder and it sweeps and soars with alarming beauty and resonance, it starts to envelop you, it punches your heart and it rubs up against your soul like velvet. It rises and falls, it calls your deepest pain,like myth and legend, it rises from nowhere, it cascades into your night with impunity, it dips and echos, dips and swells, it rises, rises and rises, it covers you – blankets you, it reaches for you – calls to you, it strokes your soul and it shines into your darkness and then it swells, slowly, methodically, like an ocean with intent,into cataclysmic waves that crash over your senses in an ecstacy that only the sea could know.

And it humbles you.

I have heard them sing like you can only hear in this land sir. Hundreds of thousands of your savages, Mr. Hitchens, tears in their eyes, not yet there, but full of hope, and voices straight from heaven.

They sang, in Soweto in 1976, they sang, they sang like thunder over the staccato machine gun fire of guns. They sang , as the bodies fell onto our bloodied earth.

They sang, in their own blood.

They sang Umshini Wami.

And they still sing it.

And they sang it yesterday, well above the fire of your piece, in swells of emotion, Umshini Wami, they held hands and they swayed, some closed their eyes.

They sang of their dreams, they sang of their hopes.

The Angels gazed on in deep envy sir, the kind of envy that brings even heaven to its knees.

For our African humanity in the face of our terrible suffering, is divine.

I defy you to stand in the way.

I defy you to stand in the way of Umshini Wami.

The massive machinery of the Apartheid State fell before that song.

Apartheid fell before that song.

You too, like them, fall before that song, sir.

Guns, tanks, and hate fell before that song.

Umshini Wami, held aloft by the voices of African pain.

Their pain.

My pain..

They sing it.

That is our weapon.

This is one of the wonders of our land.

You should hear us sing sir.

We sang an enemy into submission.

We sing today.

We sang yesterday, with the same words, the same power.

And standing there, in front of my television set,I heard that swell of emotion, that sea of hope and dreams and it made me cry.

I cried Mr. Hitchens, big, white, African tears, which fell upon the soil of this land, I cried for yet another absolution, for yet another chance.

SAFRICA-POLITICS-ZUMA-RALLYI cried not, for our bill of rights, our constitution, our separate judiciary, our freedom of speech, our independent electoral commission, our free press or our Nobel Laureates.

I cried sir, because despite unspeakable odds, and a history drenched in blood, our innocent blood, we will find a way, or we will die trying.

But mostly, Mr. Hitchens, I cried because I saw Democracy, how did you miss it ?

 

How dare you sir?

How very, very dare you ?

 

Comments
  1. […] here is the replying piece from a South African that, in my opinion has skewered poor old […]

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