About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

18 Jul 1990: Gouws, Kobie

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POM     A lot has changed in the last year. I remember talking with Koos (van der Merwe) just about this time last year. Koos was pretty confident that the Conservative Party would in fact win the last election. What do you think happened that the party did not live up to the expectations that it had at that time?

KG     My personal feeling is that they lost the election in the last fourteen days before the election. They started their campaign too long before the time, they started about five months before the election and they swamped the world with their posters and their slogans and so on and towards the end they were tired. You know there were only 17 men, right they had a lot of candidates doing their work too, but these 17 people were used to travel the whole of SA and to deliver speeches, campaign speeches and help do things that towards the end they were absolutely tired out and in that last 14 days the National Party came with everything. They opened everything they could. They brought in new and very sloppy posters, they took over the radio and they took over the TV and they bombarded apart from having those debates up until then, it stopped before then, and after that all you heard and all you saw and all you listened to were NP speakers and I think that did it.

POM     What's your own background? Were you a member or a supporter of the NP at one point?

KG     Yes, years ago.

POM     Could you trace your own political development and what happened to change your mind?

KG     I have always been a nationalist, not in capital letters. That means I have been a nationalist in spite of the National Party. I was born an Afrikaner. I was born in a house and out of a family who had trekked in the early eighties and who had fought in the two wars that we fought against England. My father died during the first war just before they interned him because he didn't want to fight for England. So I have always been an Afrikaner nationalist whether there was a party or not. So automatically when the NP was formed we were members of the NP. I was a member of the party until 1966, after Dr Verwoerd was murdered. I remember the date was 13 September 1966 and it was the first major speech that Vorster made and in that speech he said that he was going to allow the Masters (or someone of the big golfing men in SA) which was a multiracial event. Now I have nothing against multiracial events in the sense that different nations compete in the same event, but I immediately said to my husband, "Now how are we going to confront our own blacks? Here we have a black because he is, say, American or Australian or what have you, or a coloured, and he comes over and he plays the Masters in my country, he socialises afterwards, drinking tea etc., etc., but my own black people cannot do that." So my moral ground was taken out from under my feet for being an apartheid person, apartheid being understood by me always, and also by the old NP, as separate development with your emphasis on separate as well as the development so that in the end we could be a Europe of South Africa, if you want to call it that.

     I know we had pressure round the table while we had dinner that evening that we couldn't even read out of the bible because of this. My husband said I was mad and I was jumping the gun, etc., etc. but then I went out of the NP and I haven't belonged to a party till 1983 or 1984 when they wanted to consolidate the right wing in SA and we had that very big meeting in Skilpad where we invited the HNP (Herstigte Nasionale Party), Mr Jaap Marais, and I thought we were going to vote whether we should become one party or not but I couldn't vote if I wasn't a member of the Conservative Party so I joined the Conservative Party to vote and we never got as far as voting. So I'm still a member of the Conservative Party. Not that I am in disagreement with the Conservative Party but I do still think that they tend my opinion is still too much to want to go back to the old sort of separate development idea of we'll put the blacks in their homelands where they originated and the rest of SA will again be taken by whites and I believe that the rest of SA is too large for the five million whites and a few of the five million are Afrikaans. I believe in much more a homeland for us. So you could see that I have some tension within.

POM     You're married? You have children?

KG     Yes. I have one son, he's 28 now.

POM     Are you all supporters of the Conservative Party?

KG     Yes, yes. My husband works for the Conservative Party. He belongs to their committees where we live in Roodepoort but I only give them my support when there's a major election and then I go out, I canvass, but I'm not really a committed Conservative Party member; I'm much more cultural.

POM     This process that's been under way for the last year since De Klerk's speech in February, in the eyes of most people that we've talked to in SA and in the eyes of everybody outside of SA it's going to inevitably lead to a situation of a universal franchise, one man one vote.

KG     Yes I agree.

POM     And either a majority, a government dominated by blacks, or perhaps for a period of time a kind of power sharing government between the NP and the ANC.

KG     Well if you listen to the ANC I don't even think that's going to happen. I think the ANC really wants one man one vote right from the beginning and if that happens there can only be power sharing if they are benevolently allowing one or two whites to be there but there will be no place in SA where a white person, I think, can win an election. I can't see that it can happen.

POM     What do you think is going to happen?

KG     I don't think it's going to be such plain sailing as Mr de Klerk or the ANC thinks it's going to be because at this moment they're making the grave mistake of considering the ANC as the only black people to really consider and speak to. The ANC is thought of overseas as the representative of the blacks in SA and that is not true. The Zulus are far more than the Xhosas, out of which the ANC originally stemmed, and now with Mangosuthu Buthelezi declaring Inkatha a political party that is a force that has to be reckoned with. They are such a proud nation the Zulus, they are a beautiful people. They're not going to sit down and sit back and allow only negotiations now between the government and the ANC. And I blame the government for giving the impression whether they have or they have indicated over the past week that first of all they want to come to terms with the ANC and then they will also bring in everybody else that's got to be considered in the new SA. I don't think that this is the correct way to go about it. I think they are creating an atmosphere in SA that is definitely detrimental to peace in SA.

POM     But what do you see happening? Do you see the situation of ...?

KG     It's so volatile at the moment. What I think will happen is that the violence will escalate. If Inkatha and other blacks aren't brought in early and on a better basis than at the moment, enter the negotiations, this violence in Natal is going to spill over. I hesitate to say that I also see white right wing violence because on the broad right wing people that I know they are not violent people and they definitely don't want violence but you have these occasional nut-heads who are at the moment doing things and I think that is going to ignite even more. I think SA is a very explosive keg.

POM     Do you believe that if there was more of this right wing violence that it would be violence that would really take place with the disapproval of people who are conservative, supporters of the Conservative Party?

KG     Yes at the moment we disapprove of that.

POM     I'll tell you why I ask, in Northern Ireland the Protestant community there of which most of the police are members of the Protestant community, there's very little paramilitary organisation, very little support for extreme right wing violence because the people are basically educated and raised being supporters of law and order. Do you think the same kind of situation would apply for the average white person, that the Afrikaner particularly would find it very difficult to break the law?

KG     Yes.

POM     In his campaign De Klerk promised that any new constitutional dispensation that is agreed upon would be submitted to the white electorate for their approval or disapproval. If that did happen, if that situation did emerge and a majority of white people approved of a new constitutional arrangement which would in time allow for black majority rule, would you accept that?

KG     The Afrikaners won't accept it.

POM     What if the majority of the Afrikaners accepted it?

KG     There are still hard core Afrikaners; the nation, the volk won't accept it. No. Up until now they have, many Afrikaners have voted NP and reform because they had a humanity feeling within their breasts. They thought, they were brought up and bombarded with the fact that apartheid is inhuman and wasn't fair because they never knew really what was meant by Dr Verwoerd when he spoke about this separate development. And you must remember that since 1966, it's now 30 years nearly, so you have a whole generation brought up in a peaceful SA living very affluent and bombarded with news and propaganda from especially America and fed with humanism and they don't know what Verwoerd had planned ever for SA. They haven't got a clue if you really speak to them. You can hear them answering you in these clichés of his real enemies.

     What was actually thought of by him was a SA separated into several states where every nation could be free under his own government with perhaps a sort of EEC like you have in Europe or a federation or something on the top where we would always work together because we will always be inter-dependent because of trade and what have you. But that didn't happen because when Verwoerd came to power he stopped all separate development and for a while it was stopped and then it was reversed. So a lot of these people grew up in the establishment, being very affluent, becoming very blasé and when they were in the beginning fed with the idea of being fair to the other people living in SA that appealed to them. The poor Afrikaans people, you can just tell one Afrikaner you are not a Christian if you don't do this or that and he nearly dies because he's very afraid of not being a Christian. Of course, again, they have this warped idea about Christianity.

     So in the beginning when they were told there was going to be change, we're going to give these people a franchise, there's not a person in SA, in spite of what Mr Mandela said, "Twenty seven years ago I didn't have the vote, I still don't have the vote", that's nonsense. Pik Botha should have answered him immediately, "But you've always had the vote." He could always vote in the Transkei and the Ciskei. Transkei, he's Transkei.

POM     He could vote in his homeland.

KG     Of course! He could vote in his homeland. I couldn't vote in his homeland. I can still not vote in his homeland but I can vote in mine.

     I think where I stopped was they in the beginning thought that this was only for being human, being humane, vote for these changes because in the beginning they were told we will never go further than mixed sports. That is the first thing we will do. We will allow all South Africans to participate in sports so this isolation we are in now will be taken away, we will come out of this isolation and we will once again be part of world sport. That never happened. And once you start with sport you have to go further. How can you say I can play rugby with you but I can't go to bioscope? How do you live with yourself with morals like that? I don't know. So they took all the morality out of separate development. The moment everybody was in his own country it would have been like all other countries, nobody would have been a menace to anybody else any more.

POM     Wasn't the message from many, many black people that they didn't want to be treated as separate peoples, that they didn't want the homelands imposed on them?

KG     Oh yes.

POM     Two questions: if you had an election where De Klerk put new constitutional arrangements before the white electorate and if the white electorate said we give it our approval, if in addition to that a majority of the Afrikaners gave it their approval what would you do?

KG     I would still work for what I'm working for at this very moment and that is for a separate Afrikaner homeland. I would still go on doing that.

POM     But it would be within the constitutional framework of the country?

KG     We hope so. I hope that they will always allow us to take part in the change within the constitutional allowances. I sincerely pray that they will never push us so far that we will have to fight for our freedom.

POM     What would you call the 'push so far'?

KG     Where they will for instance say, no, you can't have a separate homeland, you can't have your own schools. I don't even want my own schools in Azania, I don't even want my own church in Azania. I want to be free in my own country because the Afrikaner people are the only people next to the blacks in SA that is a nation. The rest of the white people are South Africans, whatever that might be.

POM     Do you see yourself as an Afrikaner first and as a South African second?

KG     Yes, yes. I see myself as a Christian first, then an Afrikaner and then a South African.

POM     How long do you think it would take for ...?

KG     We can't allow it to take too long any more. We are running out of time. We will somehow have to force this. There is no way that we can stop it.

POM     Do you think that the new dispensation will happen before 1994?

KG     Our dispensation, the Afrikaner's dispensation?

POM     No, De Klerk and Mandela will hammer out a kind of an agreement that they will put before the people.

KG     I don't think they want to do this before 1994 but they will be pushed to hammer it out because there will absolutely be they will be pushed, they are being pushed by the international people, international community. They can't wait until 1994. Well America gave them only six months, that's what Bush said, "We'll see where you are in six months and then we'll review again", and the business world in America also said, "Six months, then you must have some agreement between you." That was February. Now six months will be August/September more or less, then they must have an agreement, some agreement.

POM     If they have an agreement, what I'm getting at is when this agreement becomes effective then would you see at that point the Afrikaner people taking up the fight?

KG     We won't fight, we will still ask for our own homeland.

POM     Would they contest an election, contest it on the basis that if elected to parliament they will look, continue to look for a homeland for white people?

KG     Yes.

POM     So you would still be operating within the system. At what point do you think the Afrikaner people would endorse going to an armed struggle to get their homeland rather than ...?

KG     If we are pushed exactly as our forefathers were pushed, that there was no way out any more to gain our freedom, if every door is closed on us because we won't go into a South African Azanian part of the world, we won't. We don't want to. Secondly, if there is no way constitutionally open for us any more to go, if whoever is in power then doesn't even want to negotiate with us, I think when there is absolutely nothing left for us we will fight for our freedom. We will probably die but we will fight.

POM     Are you sure of that? When you look around you and see your neighbours and your friends and the wider community and the young people and they're having a good time and whatever, what convinces you?

KG     People I work with, the people I mix with, the people I am at this moment involved with. We are very, very earnest. I don't know how many of us you have talked to yet but you will go along, I don't know whether you are going to have appointments with other conservatives, Afrikaners, but this is the answer you will find from all of us who are leaders of our people, definitely, this is the answer you will find. You will even find this attitude in the CP that if there is no way open left for them then that is what they're going to do, they're going to fight for their freedom. How we're going to do this I don't know, but we hope that we will have a negotiated settlement for our future too. That is what we hope for and pray for.

POM     It seems that one of the problems that other people throw in the face of a white homeland is that it's impractical. How likely, if you think about it, you and your friends and your colleagues talk about it, how do you envisage it?

KG     We have already started envisaging it. We already are working on a homeland and to make it a practical proposition. We are already thinking along the lines of making this country economically viable. We have to think, we already are working on our own schools.

POM     Just give me an outline of it? Would it be one piece of territory, would it be several pieces of territory?

KG     At the moment it seems as if there will be at least two territories.

POM     Which would be?

KG     Part of the Transvaal, the one, and the other one the North Western Cape.

POM     The part of the Transvaal would centre around?

KG     Pretoria up into the Eastern Transvaal more than the Northern Transvaal where you have a lot of blacks.

POM     It wouldn't include Johannesburg?

KG     No! Nobody includes Johannesburg. Nobody wants Johannesburg.

POM     The Northern Cape?

KG     Well we want the Orange River of course, we want the Orange River basin. That is quite a development area in SA. The other four are already developed to their full capacity, they can't develop any more. What you have now is standards falling lower than African standards, third world.

POM     Would you see something that would be akin to a new trek, that Afrikaners would make their homes ...?

KG     People are already trekking, you might not believe me but they are already trekking. Among my friends I can name you ten people who are now in this year, the end of this year trekking to the North Western Cape.

POM     They would be like pioneers?

KG     We're trying to do the same thing the black people do, which is to occupy the country and to occupy the land and to squat and then say this is ours, we want this. There are people in the Northern Transvaal, in the Messina district, for instance, who are at this moment making their peace with their existing homes and they want to trek. We have people in Nylstroom, it's north of Pretoria, who want to go and buy in their homeland again. So there are people who are already making the sacrifice and who have already bought land. You see there is a part of the country in the middle, more or less around Verwoerd Dam and Graaff-Reinet, that part of the Karoo and the southern Free State where all the ideas of an Afrikaner homeland sort of overlap. So more or less if you buy there you will be in everybody's homeland at this moment thinking about it. And although we laugh about it, although we even joke amongst us because of all the ideas we have, there is one thing exactly like our forefathers had, the one wanted to move to the Transvaal, as far away from the English as possible, the other one wanted to move to Natal because it seemed such a green wonderland and the other one wanted to be near a harbour and the other one said the moment you go near a harbour you'll have the English on your tail again, so don't go near the harbour. They all had one thing and that is: we are going to trek for our freedom. Now we are the same, we are the same stock. I think I'm more afraid than my forefathers. I think so, I can't imagine them being as afraid as I am at the moment with everything happening around me.

POM     What are you afraid of?

KG     Oh, upsetting my whole life because that's what's happening now. I'm on the border of going on pension. My husband will be a pensioner within two years now, he's a teacher, and I always thought that when I reached my 55s and my 60s I'm going to have, being a hard worker right through my life, really a hard worker, that now I'm going to relax and I'm going to do the things I really want to do. I am afraid my life is going to change. I'm going to have to change my lifestyle. I think I will have to go and work hard again. I won't have a maid because we're not going to have maids.

POM     If you identify the things?

KG     I think it's the change.

POM     What do you think the change will do? You said you won't have a maid. Why?

KG     That's one thing. No, we're not going to allow blacks in our country again. We're not going to start all this over again. There's going to be an Afrikaner homeland.

POM     But before you get that, what are you afraid of after, say, the new government takes power here? What are you afraid of?

KG     I'm afraid of my country which I love so dearly becoming another Ethiopia, Ghana, Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola, you name it.

POM     Just as speculation, if there was a new government and there has been an election and the Conservative Party win a number of seats on the basis that they will continue to demand the right to self-determination in the new parliament, what if four or five years go by and the economy is doing quite well, in fact the economy, a lot of international investment, the economy is doing well, fundamentally in economic terms your life hasn't changed. You're allowed to have your own culture and ...?

KG     We won't be allowed to have our own culture.

POM     But let's assume you are, the government says it's no problem, you can have your own your schools. What if I were here four years from now? I hope they'll let me in!

KG     I hope so, I hope they'll allow you in otherwise you will have to come and see me in my own homeland.

POM     But what if we were having this conversation and you couldn't really point to anything that was significantly different in your life?

KG     I can already point to differences now which I do not want. For instance, I don't like the schools, that's going to come, it's already on the cards. On 1st January schools in SA have two choices, they can either become an institutionalised mixed school or a private mixed school. I don't want any one of those because the syllabus will change. It must inevitably change. For the Afrikaner it is his belief that his school, all our educational institutions we believe must be based on what we in Afrikaans call Christelike Nasionale. I'll try to translate it for you, it comes down to being a Christian national education, national meaning that everybody can develop his education amongst his own nation's lines. In other words you have Afrikaans as your language, all your subjects must be taught from the Christian viewpoint. I'm not talking about orthodox, saying that there was no such thing of evolution or things like that, I'm not talking about that sort of nonsense. I'm talking about our cultural inheritance must always be part of our education.

     So, for instance, in the first place I don't like what is happening because we will be swamped and your education, the standards of education are already at this stage being lowered. So who are going to be the entrepreneurs in this country if our standards are going to be lowered to meet that of the blacks, for instance? That's the one thing that has already changed in my country. They are already swamping my white cities, I cannot change that because if this is their country they have all the right to come to the cities. Who am I to tell them they can't come in? They're swamping my cities. I don't have a cultural place where I can still either go to the bioscope or go to the shops or just drive in my streets and feel I'm living amongst my own people, my own kin, let me call it that way. So that has changed for me, I don't like that.

     My churches will, by the bill of human rights, be open to all people and I don't like that, not because I don't want to pray with a black person but, again, because religion is brought to you in your own language and in your own cultural style. I believe that mixing the cultures takes away something of that religion. I don't even go to English churches in my country. I have no affinity with them. I hardly go, being Dutch Reformed, I hardly go to the ordinary Reform Church, the Afrikaans Reform Church, because we have a different way of presenting our sermons.

     I don't like my suburb where I stay to be swamped. They are already swamping me there. They are already in the bushes we have there. We had beautiful trees and things not far from my home which we had to cut down now because they were squatting there and the most atrocious things were happening there. I can't stop them if this is their country. Who can stop them? I don't like that type of living. I want to be with my own kin and I want to be in my own country where my people govern me according to my beliefs. And that's all that the Afrikaans people ask.

POM     Do you see certain characteristics which the Afrikaner people have which distinguish them from the English?

KG     Oh yes.

POM     Could you run through them?

KG     Our religion for instance, the way we see things. The English people are much more liberal than Afrikaans people, much more liberal in all senses, in their family life, in their church life, in their political life, in their schools. They don't believe in too much discipline in their schools which the Afrikaans people believe in. We don't believe in militarism in our schools, we believe in discipline. Immediately if you should go to a school athletics gathering, for instance, where you have Afrikaans and English schools competing together you can immediately by standing outside, I will point out to you all the Afrikaans schools just by watching their behaviour and you can go and question afterwards and you will see that I was right in the Afrikaans school and the English school.

     So, yes, there are vast differences. There is the same difference that you have between the English and the Irish and the English and the Scots and the English and the Welsh, not such big differences, but between the English and the Americans, for instance. In America they haven't spoken English for years. So you can see that type of thing.

POM     But do you have different values too?

KG     Yes we have absolutely different values.

POM     The values would be? What values do you think distinguish you from other English speaking people?

KG     Our values are rightly based on our Christian belief. We follow the bible much more strictly in our values than the English people in our country. And we have certain values like we don't believe in free love and free sex and free everything that's free. That's not to say that you don't have Afrikaners who are like that. I mean that would be stupid to presume a thing like that. That's not what I'm trying to say but on the whole that is our classic difference.

POM     And what characteristics or values would you associate with black people that would distinguish them from Afrikaners?

KG     From all white people, not even just from Afrikaners. They are a herds people, they like to be herded where the white people are individuals. When we go to school we individually try to become tops. We are always competing individually with each other, they are not. That's why the education cannot be the same. They mistrust an individual who suddenly excels himself from his group, they don't really like that. You will always find them in little mini buses together like fish where we would like to travel only in our own cars, for instance, one in a car. They're a herd people where we are individuals. Then of course they have marriage beliefs and things which are totally different to the Afrikaans belief of monogamy or whatever you call it, only one wife. They believe if you can have four or five even better. There are vast differences. They are a different people, absolutely different people. And I'm not against them.

POM     So you're saying they're different.

KG     No I'm not prejudiced against them.

POM     Are there any other things you can point to that would specifically ...?

KG     The blacks and us? I think that is one of the bigger differences that they are a herd people and we are individuals. Then they still believe in their forefathers' spirits, which we don't believe in and which we don't really understand. They believe in more than one wife. We believe in only one wife or one husband. They're not worried about being married before having children. As a matter of fact it is a cultural institution with them to test the wife before they get married to see whether she is fertile or not and then he is allowed to leave her alone, he needn't marry her then if she can't have children. Hygienically we are far different. They are much, much more because of their herd instinct. If I had a baby with you she wouldn't mind looking after my child while I go off somewhere else, which is perhaps a very good thing because men go off quite a lot and some of their women have to go out to work too so they don't mind doing that, they're not that family tightly knitted. That's not to say they are not family people, they love their children dearly but they don't mind whether it's only one man's child or ...

PAT     How do you learn these things about the blacks?

KG     Growing up with them.

PAT     Is it because people who have been present in your home have told you these things?

KG     Yes, but also because you study sociology in your cultures and of course you are interested in people in your country, you learn these things. Also we have grown up together. I was on a farm and we had blacks on the farm from my birth and we were much more closer to them than people in the world on the outside want to believe, much more closer.

     Another American asked me last week, for instance, he made this assumption that he wants to write a book to take this hate between the whites and the blacks away. I said, "Where did you come on that thing? Who told you we hate blacks?" So he said, "Well the Afrikaans people I mix with they say that." I said, "Well then you mix with the wrong Afrikaans people. You rather break that mixture now because you'll also land in jail. That is not true." That is absolutely not true. We don't hate each other that much. I think the climate that has been created over the last year and the last ten years, ever since PW Botha was inducive to a sort of, not in the beginning, hatred but a differencing.

POM     Do you think there are differences with regard to the work ethic?

KG     Yes. I can only give you one of their slogans and you can decide for yourself how they believe in work. They say work never stops so why work yourself to a standstill? While we work like demons. I mean white people work and they don't. They work slowly, they've got this mentality towards work that if you can't finish it today so what? You might finish it tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. It's a different view of work.

POM     This time next year when we're talking what do you think will have changed?

KG     I don't think it's a very difficult question to answer because if in a month's time when they meet the ANC again the government can reach an agreement to start serious negotiations, they will start negotiating a new constitution. That will be the first thing they will negotiate. Either that or to get that started they might have an interim government which I think is more likely, to placate the blacks they might now start with an interim government and while this interim government goes on and governs the country the negotiations on the other hand will go forth and they will negotiate a new constitution which no black leader will accept if it is not absolute equality, one man one vote and everything will be equal.

     What I see will happen in the near future, you will get more squatting, much more squatting, they will bring them in, COSATU and UDF will bring them in illegally and they will squat on all open land that you can see making it difficult for the government not to grant them that land in the end. So they will become more urbanised, the squatter problem will become more difficult because in no way do we have the money, do five million people have the money to give forty million people a decent loan within months. No ways you can do that. That's another reason why we want to pull out of the RSA and go and live on our own because we see the blacks as a bottomless pit where everything, your wealth, your way of living, everything is going drop out from the bottom because that's what happened in Africa. Why won't it happen in South Africa?

     I foresee more violence, black on black as well as white on black. That will also escalate no matter what they do in the police, they cannot handle that sufficiently. And I see our economy taking a plunge as never before. That's what I think will now in the next year happen to us.

     I don't think politically there will be such a drastic change. It might be an interim government but I don't see politically it will drastically change.

POM     Not politically changing an awful lot? More these other things.

KG     Some more so-called apartheid laws will be scrapped.

POM     Group Areas Act will be scrapped, the Population Registration Act?

KG     Yes I have no doubt about that, that will go. How can you anyway morally have those laws any more? I can't see how you can.

PAT     Do you think that Conservative Party leaders will or should talk to Nelson Mandela?

KG     Not now. I don't think now but when he is officially one of the negotiating partners then I do think the CP, because they are at the moment our only, the Afrikaner's only spokesmen. And how can we negotiate, well I don't like the word negotiate, but how can you ask anything for yourselves if you're not there to ask it? I don't see how you can do that.

POM     You've now seen Nelson Mandela, a man who has been in jail for 27 years and he emerges from prison and he's on television and the newspapers and is travelling, what kind of impression do you have of him?

KG     He's a doddering old man, he's going to die one of these days. He's not going to have much influence further on. Whether his wife is going to take over, that I don't know. I think he's a very sick man at the moment and I don't think that he's going to go. I think that we are ignoring the PAC, we should watch the PAC much more than the ANC. Maybe in the next year it will come from the PAC side and not so much from the ANC because their next man here in SA, their next big man is Walter Sisulu who is also an old man and their younger people have had no experience really in leading people otherwise they would have taken over now and they wouldn't have given these old men the chance to get in and step up their younger leaders. I'm not so sure about the communist part of the ANC. It might be, but they will never, never, never make a man like Joe Slovo, they will never make a white man their leader. He will always be a behind the scenes strong man but they won't make him a leader.

POM     Do you see a comparison between what's happened in Eastern Europe and what's happening here?

KG     No I don't because I think people are reading Eastern Europe quite wrong. I don't think it was upsurgence of nationality that really took place there. I think it was an upsurgence of people being damn fed up with not being economically able to compete with the West. I think what is happening there and why it has been allowed to happen is ...

POM     Allowed to happen by whom?

KG     I don't know, by the powers that be or whoever. Why this was is because Russia has always crushed all national upheavals. Why didn't they crush this one? Just ask yourself that? Nothing was done. It was not because Mr Gorbachev is such a glasnost person, that's not true. He's one of the biggest followers of Lenin I know. He is a true Leninist so why will he do that? I believe what's going to happen there is they are preparing Europe for a united Europe, for a federation of European states or what have you with Mr Gorbachev one of the big leaders there. That's what I think so I don't see this Eastern Europe thing as a parallel with what's happening in SA.

     What's happening in SA has been happening here always, there was always a struggle for the black people for what they called their liberation. Some of them wanted to be liberated in the whole of SA and the other said, well, I'll be pleased to have my own country. If you now speak with the CP they are serious and earnest, they will also tell you how many black leaders, disciplined, during the months and during the years telling them that, "We don't like what's happening in SA."

POM     When you talk about black leaders, black leaders like?

KG     The Kangwane people, you know.

POM     Tribal, tribal chiefs?

KG     Yes, big tribal chiefs. In Kwandebele for instance. They are on the other side of Pretoria, on your way to Grobblersdal and Marble Hall.

POM     Do you know the name of a chief there?

KG     Oh no, I don't know a chief's name.

POM     I can find out.

KG     But that you can find out from Sepi who is helping me there, they will be able to tell you. They had a coup just a few weeks ago and they have a new leader now, I don't know exactly what his name is.

POM     Do you have anything more? Thank you ever so much for waiting.

KG     I'm a married woman so I know all about waiting.

POM     We had left your number behind.

KG     Well I know if you don't know a place really it's not easy. I decided to wait until two o'clock.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.