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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
05 Oct 1999: De Klerk, Willem
POM Is there a breakthrough?
WDK Is there something, can we be hopeful that let's say within a year's time there will be a breakthrough?
POM I wouldn't say so. I've heard the same thing, the first AIDS conference I went to was in 1985 and scientists there were talking about a vaccine being in the pipeline, just maybe three or four years down the line. You go to conferences now and you hear the very same line. You talk to the top scientists in the field and it's not that they are totally pessimistic, they might be less pessimistic than they were 15 years ago but they're not really optimistic in part because there are so many different strains of the disease that have developed, like the strain that's in SA is called Strain C, which is a completely different strain than the strain that struck Central Africa. If you're developing a vaccine and the emphasis on development of a vaccine has been on the strains that are in developed countries, Strains A and B, but there's very little work being done on developing a vaccine for Strain C. Now on the drug side in the USA there are what they call 'drug cocktails' which are a combination of different drugs that you take on a daily basis, that prolong your life 15, maybe even 20 years, sometimes apparently indefinitely. They're not a cure but they keep the disease in check but they're expensive and what SA and other African countries are looking for is access to these drugs, they're expensive. One of the scientists at Lusaka talked about the regimen and the need to take the drugs every day, never to deviate and then he was tossing off figures like $5000 a year or $10,000 a year - the rest really made no sense. After he mentioned the figure, the rest really was irrelevant to the audience.
WDK One can't even think of it.
POM Then you've got the half conspiracy theory that pharmaceutical companies are more interested in developing drugs than a vaccine because a vaccine is a once over, you give the vaccine and you've cured the disease, whereas an indefinite proliferation of drugs means you're making money all the time. So they put their research
WDK There is that theory too.
POM If you're putting money into research why put hundreds of millions or billions of dollars into research if you're a private company that would produce a vaccine that once it's used and used widely that's the end of its use? Why not develop other concentrations of drugs that prolong life and ensure the company a continuous flow of profits, indefinite flow of profits?
WDK That's the ugly face of capitalism.
POM Yes. In fact we'll come back to it. You're looking healthy, healthy.
WDK Yes, well I'm not really that healthy, I've problems with my chest, bronchial problems and rheumatism and I had a knee operation that wasn't really a success. I can't walk any more, two, three, four Ks, if I walk around the block it's taking but that's part and parcel of getting older. I must accept that. I presume you're still younger than I am definitely. How is the Ireland initiative going?
POM Well George Mitchell is back there again trying to the issue of decommissioning has and always was going to be the point at which crisis would occur and it has occurred for 18 months and there's no appearance yet that there will be a breakthrough. Part of the problem is, you know I had written so much about Northern Ireland always from a pretty non-optimistic point of view, that after the agreement was signed I said I wouldn't write anything about it for a year, I would give the agreement a year during which it should have been implemented and it's due to be implemented within six months. This is now nearly going on 18 months and it's still at stage one. But I now have come back to writing about it and the flaws in the agreement and trying to work with people who are trying to find ways around the decommissioning issue. But it's very difficult because the IRA were not party to the agreement so they say, "Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, whatever, we don't care what agreement they signed, they don't speak for us. They may speak to us but they don't speak for us'. And the agreement itself is flawed because it says that the political parties must use whatever influence they have to bring about decommissioning by April 2000. Well I, as Gerry Adams, can go to you as Chief of Staff of the IRA, I can go down on my bended knees, I can implore you, I can beg you to please just hand in a weapon, just get a process going that will satisfy the Unionists, and you will say, "Gerry, you've used all the influence you could. We're not decommissioning a single weapon." And I can go back and say I've used every influence I could, I've cried. I'm in compliance with the agreement.
Then you have a second factor that's a complicating factor and that is what I call the Blair factor, that in the early hours of the Good Friday in question after their marathon session which was government driven, not party driven, government driven and both governments were really pressurising the parties, about three o'clock in the morning they had been going on for about 34 hours, David Trimble, the head of the Unionist Party, came to Blair's office and said, "I can't sell this to my party because of the language in it on decommissioning. They insist that the language is not specific enough." Blair said, "Well David, it's too late to change the language now. We're due to have a press conference in four hours and I want to go and announce a victory, a triumph: I've brought peace to Ireland." So he took out a piece of government stationery, Downing Street stationery, and signed a note to Trimble saying that decommissioning of arms and the admission of Sinn Fein to the Executive would be parallel processes. Trimble took that back to his party and on that basis he was able to sell it to his party.
So when Adams says the agreement does not call for prior decommissioning before we are allowed to join the government, he is correct. And when Trimble says the agreement calls for prior, at least parallel, decommissioning and the entrance of Sinn Fein into government, he too is correct. They are both using different documents. One is using the agreement as signed off by everybody and the other side is using the agreement plus the letter from Tony Blair. Now Blair probably figured, "I can sort this out in six months, I'm just going to buy time but I want the agreement. I want to announce there's been a breakthrough."
WDK So it's very complicated.
POM And then on top of that you had Chris Patten who issued his report on reform of the policing and of course all hell broke loose. I was talking about this with Van Zyl Slabbert yesterday. Now all hell broke loose because this is a force that's 93% Protestant, 7% Catholic, the entire command structure is Protestant. If you were a Catholic and you joined you would have been shot by the IRA so it wasn't a matter that maybe people didn't want to join the police and get a job, it's that they were joining the enemy and you were going to pay for it. You certainly couldn't live in a Catholic community and be part of the police force, it was a death sentence. But to bring about, to downsize it a normal level that would be compatible with a similar sized police force in the rest of the UK and at the same time to change its entire ethos and bring in affirmative action and get Catholics to join, were problems all over the province that were faced here and in fact the commission had a number of meetings with George Fivaz and the report quotes quite extensively on the experience of SA in transformation. But the issues that raised all hell when the report came out were not those issues, it was the symbolic issues: they were going to change the name of the force from the Royal Ulster Constabulary to the Northern Ireland Police Service. The Unionists went crazy, this was breaking the link with Britain, the Union Jack would no longer fly over a police station. Oh, this is even worse! You would no longer have to take an oath of allegiance, you would no longer be required to take an oath of allegiance to the Queen! Oh! There went the Union! And we were talking about how in SA there was so little commotion over these very issues, over what the change there would be ones like the change in the flag. Change the flag? OK, change the flag. Change the name of the police service? And these are the issues over there that arouse the greatest emotion.
WDK Luckily symbolic issues, it's always a force in history as you know, but I would say here in SA we really overcame all the problems of symbolic issues. It's a little bit the Afrikaans language still, that's a very sensitive point in the public debate but it's becoming more and more relaxed and more and more balanced. Thabo did a lot of symbolic things, reaching out to Afrikaner organisations and so on. So we're moving into the zone of more objective, relaxed kind of feelings about the Afrikaans language. It's also a very positive development. Still a lot of in-fighting but it's moving OK.
POM That's another issue I will get back to. I'll begin with FW's autobiography which I spent a lot of time going through. If you were a reviewer, and I don't know whether or not you have reviewed it for any journal, what would be your critical analysis of the autobiography?
WDK I've read it through not really in depth but I would say, first of all, it's basically an honest kind of a document. I don't think there are a lot of tricks and a lot of manipulating and so on, it's a kind of an honest representation of the facts as he experienced it. That's the first thing, that's the positive thing about it. The negative thing is that FW, it's typical of his personality, I know him very well in this regard, he's always covering up, he's always too argumentative, too cautious, trying to put things in perspective. There's a tendency for him to get out of the problem and point fingers to others. That's a tendency in FW's style. So it seems like a kind of a paradox now what I've said. In the first place it's an honest document, it's an honest record of everything that happened, it's an honest presentation of his perceptions. On the other hand it could have been more open, less cautious and less trying to defend certain things. It could have been a little bit more open. I think there were great expectations about this book that it would uncover a lot of problems and answer a lot of questions but that's not FW's style.
POM Now Van Zyl Slabbert said, and he had, I guess, reviewed the biography, but I think one of the criticisms he had was that FW had said that he simply didn't know about the gross violations of human rights that were going on in the sixties, seventies and into the eighties. Van Zyl Slabbert's point was that he sat in a parliament and on the opposition benches sat Helen Suzman who day after day read out, catalogued in detail the gross violations of human rights that were occurring and he was sitting in that very parliament and that either he wasn't listening to her for all those years or he thought she was some crazy old witch making this stuff up.
WDK But that's typical. FW is one for technical issues, he's a typical lawyer in that regard. He would argue there was never a document before me, I was never part of a meeting, a Cabinet Committee or something where this was discussed, there was never an official report on my table, there were rumours, yes, but I am not reacting to rumours. That's typical of FW's kind of semi-intellectual, legalistic procedural kind of handling things.
POM So he would be saying that even though she sat there that what she said were allegations which weren't backed up because on a number of occasions he says when Mandela would come to him and say the army or the security forces are involved in the violence up to their necks, he would say, "Show me the evidence", and Mandela could never produce the evidence.
WDK Yes but on the other hand in the book one of his arguments is that every query, the main queries of Mandela he had investigated immediately with the Goldstone Commission about arms, etc., etc. So he acted upon Mandela's problems with the third force and those kind of things but FW is a man of legalistic training and it all depends what are the procedures. He would say, for instance, yes he heard rumours about what's going on in the police but that's not his department, he was Minister of Education and if the president informed him or if it's a point in Cabinet, a general point, then he will take initiative to give his point of view but it's not his department. That kind of legalistic, procedural attitude is typical of FW and that was part of his failure. He had wonderful successes really but part of his failure also with the Truth Commission and so on was this legalistic, procedural kind of attitude.
POM I've also heard a number of people say, and I will raise this with him I have an interview with him at the beginning of next month that even though throughout the book he apologises for apartheid, it's an apology made more on the grounds that apartheid was a policy that didn't work rather than on the grounds that apartheid was morally wrong.
WDK Or evil, yes.
POM That he hasn't made that leap from saying yes it was wrong and we shouldn't have done this and we shouldn't have done that, but it was because it simply didn't work as a policy and in fact made things worse for the country rather than saying we were doing something wrong.
WDK I would say I disagree on that. He said on several occasions, also in the hearing of the TRC and on TV, etc., etc., that it was morally wrong. (Break in recording)
POM We were discussing
WDK I said the middle class people. You know there's an initiative coming from the ground now, becoming more and more focused on that. If every white household and every white family reached out financially, bursaries for children, etc., then they reach about six million black families, like my maid, she's got a family, and there's an initiative going that to help the poorest of the poor begin with your people and their family, make it a project, an organised project in wages, in bursaries for their children, in helping them with pension funds and to create a pension fund for them. That's becoming a success story in white circles now, that's a kind of a response to Mbeki's and the ANC's call for co-operation for upliftment of the poorest of the poor. There are 18 million in SA, never mind what the business people do, but the ordinary man in the street, the ordinary man with an ordinary salary has now become more and more aware and there's a lot of talk about this and perhaps a new organisation, institutionalised, to organise this whole thing, that if every family had been there, also in contact with government, every white family reach out as a kind of a symbol but also concrete to help the poorest of the poor. That's accepted with great enthusiasm because it's something concrete. You're not that impressed about that?
POM No I'm not, I'm just worrying about my tape recorder for a minute. I'm noting that this is forward (break in recording)
WDK I can't help you out of that with the kind of argumentative prognoses at this time.
POM I asked Richard Goldstone about this because he quotes Goldstone quite extensively and Goldstone says he received nothing but complete co-operation across the board and he is one of those who believe that he was deceived by his Generals and by his security people who simply lied to him or did not follow his instructions and to that extent he did not know. But if you ask him about the seventies and eighties Goldstone said there's no way he couldn't have known, no ways, he draws the distinction between the two. Maybe in terms of what you're saying is that, well, I'm education, that's not my problem to deal with that, that belongs to somebody else's portfolio.
WDK That will be his argument, I don't say that's right but that would be his argument. Then you must always see the background of FW, remember that he was in the seventies and eighties a full 100% apostle of apartheid. He was verkramp, he was ultra-conservative and he tries his utmost best to say he wasn't really that conservative but he was, I know that.
POM That comes across.
WDK Yes in my book I also underlined that fact. Then he became a converted 'liberal' and it's a different FW from October 1989 when he was elected leader of the NP and especially later. That was a different FW de Klerk than the FW de Klerk of the early eighties and seventies.
POM The sense I got from the book was that it was open in manners I didn't expect it to be open and closed in ways that one wouldn't have suspected either, was that it was defensive, that it was saying 'I've taken a lot of criticism for the way I handled negotiations but you don't know the pressures that were on me I had to run a government and I had to negotiate simultaneously', which was a choice on its own. And while the ANC could run around and act irresponsibly and mass mobilise the people and call three-day strikes without regard to what it was doing to the economy, that the ANC (he puts a lot of emphasis on this) never owned up to their own degree of participation in the violence, that it was always either the IFP and if not the IFP then the third force inclusion with the IFP. Then he just doesn't handle the matter of or that Mandela never handled the matter of ANC participation in the violence both as perpetrator on occasion and as defensive on other occasions. So the equation was skewed against him and that he never got a fair hearing at the TRC, that the TRC were out to get him, they had to nail somebody and he was the only live body around since Botha told them to go to hell.
WDK That's more or less, I think, what he believes. I think he's a little bit over-sensitive about that but he believes that he had a raw deal and that Mandela didn't bring, from his point of view, enough co-operation, enough understanding, enough initiatives and input and open-mindedness into the process and he believes in that. That's his interpretation of that whole period.
POM The third thing that emerges is that one gets the impression that he wanted the negotiating process to move along as quickly as possible and to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible and that the sooner there was an election the better for the NP and the better for the country. That was probably predicated in his mind at the time if he made that assumption, and that's what I want to ask you about, on his believing that what would emerge out of negotiations would be some form of an entrenched power sharing.
POM When CODESA 2 broke down (i) what do you think his strategy was in February 1990 when he released Mandela, and (ii) what path do you think he had mapped out in his mind as to the direction things were going and what strategic objectives he would concentrate on?
WDK Well I would give the same answer that you just mentioned a moment ago. FW was a man that firmly believed that it is possible to negotiate the kind of a settlement of entrenched power sharing and that there will then follow a gradual process of affirmative action, etc., etc., and that the outcome after the first and the second and the third election will be the outcome of a capable, of a partnership, a power sharing partnership government. That was his ideal and he believed that that was possible but he under-estimated the passion of black SA to become the rulers of the country. He under-estimated black nationalism to a certain extent. He under-estimated the savvy of the ANC and its strategies. They surprised him with very clever moves and clever strategies so gradually he then that was one reason why he stepped out of the GNU - I was very cross with him when he left the government of national unity but then it was clear that the whole power sharing concept will not be continued so he felt then what's the use of still being in? That's his argument in private circles, what's the use of being any more in government, this is not going to be the pattern of the future.
POM Sad really.
WDK It's only for a few months, because the decision was then that after this 1999 election there won't be any power sharing any longer.
POM It won't be a government of national unity?
WDK So, yes, he was too optimistic about a 'federal concept', a negotiated outcome that white, black will form two partners and let it be a fifty/fifty or 60% black 40% white, that was his expectation. He also had, I told you that before, Patti who wrote about that, the day before the election he told me personally that the NP would get 34% or 30%. So everything goes wrong for him as from that election, the 1994 election, and this ideal of his of a power sharing concept for SA as the final solution, not only as a temporary arrangement.
POM When one looks at power sharing models around the world one sees that, in fact I can't think of an example of one where power sharing is entrenched in the constitution there may be power sharing but it is a voluntary arrangement among parties involved, not mandated by the constitution.
WDK So that was the wrong I'm not referring only to myself, the criticism against the NP during this election hearing in 1994 and during the constitution was that the power sharing concept (this is from their own people, intellectuals) will not work, it's a pipe dream. But FW believed and his lieutenants believed that they could pull this off. They under-estimated the ANC's readiness, they thought (he didn't say that) but they thought they need us and they will need us for the next ten years at least and we can have a settlement then where we are being a junior partner but a very important partner.
POM Particularly if you came out with 30% of the vote you're in a much stronger position than if you come out with 20% or 15% or 10%.
WDK That's the crux of FW's strategy I would say, that he tried to sell a concept to his own people and to the ANC and to the world of a power sharing model and it was never, ever seen by people of integrity and of knowledge that this can be the answer. Joe Slovo's sunset clauses softened the whole take-over as from 1994 to 1999 but it had no life in itself to be continued any longer.
POM Did he not also envisage, I think this was one of the arguments he made recently to some ANC people, because I've been re-visiting the whole subject in connection with an article that I was doing for a collection of articles on Northern Ireland and I was asked to write one on the conference that we had in Arniston in 1997 on SA/Northern Ireland, so it began as an article and suddenly it developed a life of its own and I'm now 120 pages into it. The Editor is saying, where's your manuscript? And I'm saying I'm only on the first part of 16 points I'm going to address. Was he looking for veto power as distinct from, say, power sharing. One model of power sharing might be you get 60% of the vote, I get 40% of the vote, so I have 40% of the Cabinet seats and you have 60% of the Cabinet seats and that's the arrangement under which we generally work.
WDK Aim to make decisions on a basis of
POM Try to make them on a consensual basis but if the consensual basis fails then the fall-back will be the majority will get its way, but certainly in most governments Cabinet decisions are, even in coalition, voluntary coalition governments, where there are often deep policy differences, Cabinet decisions like that wouldn't last, the coalition would fall apart.
WDK So they must work on compromise.
POM But he was in a sense looking for a veto power, that if the NP didn't like the decision that there would be this second chamber that could also appoint it first in its first formulation that could overrule
WDK That was to a certain extent, I think, plan A, but am I correct? I think you're more in the know than I am of this specific point, didn't they drop that veto idea during the negotiations, of a veto power in the first constitution?
POM No they dropped that.
WDK You're saying that they dropped that?
WDK But that was to a certain extent a plan A and that's why I say they under-estimated the ANC, they thought the ANC wouldn't be really ready to take over, they wouldn't have the manpower, they wouldn't have the knowledge, they wouldn't have the entrepreneurship and they will still depend on them and in this inter-dependence kind of a situation we can work together and say, OK we, FW, we will help you out on a listing to a certain extent, being the elder brother of the ANC, helping them.
POM It would be like maybe on a small scale the analogy of Derek Keys taking Trevor Manuel under his wing and saying, OK even though I'm Minister of Finance, you're going to be the future Minister of Finance so I'm going to train you, I'm going to help train you and show you the ropes and be there for you.
WDK That was the idea.
POM Be there for advice and you can ring me up any time and ask me.
WDK That kind of thing. The ANC didn't accept that and rightly so because they were ready to a certain extent, not fully ready but who is always ready to govern the country? And they had their power base and there was still this feeling of absolute rejection of this white apartheid regime. There was a lot of real anger within the ANC so it was a wrong idea, it was a wrong idea.
POM So in a sense he, or the NP, developed a negotiating strategy that was based on a series of false assumptions?
WDK Yes I think so.
POM And rather than changing their assumptions as they went along they adhered to the strategy until events forced them to change the strategy, rather than saying we've got to revise our assumptions?
WDK That's it. Then FW couldn't manage that process. He managed it fairly well before, from 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 up to the election but all of a sudden when his basic concept was falling apart FW couldn't manage a new strategy.
POM There was no plan B, no fall-back position.
WDK Then he collapsed to a certain extent as manager of the whole process. Then he resigned from the government of national unity and he was very aggressive then after that as a new opposition leader, fighting Mandela now. He couldn't find ways and means in himself and the circle around him, because they were really not very strong people around him, to a certain extent here and there.
POM To a certain extent who?
WDK Let's say Roelf, he could help him a little bit more, but the pressure from his right wing he said he himself was more or less in the middle but the pressure from his right wing, walk out, we're not going to get what we want and we're going to rejected by our own people, let's fight that, let's (Tony Leon) fight back. He couldn't re-organise the NP then.
POM The lesson, I think as has been said before, that in negotiations often you have greater difficulties in managing or handling the divisions within your own constituency than with your purported enemy. It's easier to reach compromises with your enemy than it is to assuage the fears or the differences within your own party. Just related to that, and this goes back to CODESA 2 both sides pointing the finger to the other being responsible for the breakdown, looking at the question in two parts: (a) why would a breakdown in negotiations in May 1992 be in the interests of the NP? Now the ANC would say, or the reply I would get, the strategy was to stretch out negotiations for the longest period of time, that during that period of time the ANC would come to be de-mythologised, would be seen as just one more political actor on the stage and if the NP could produce good governance during the period it could perhaps put together a coalition that would defeat the ANC, so the more you put off the election the better chance that the support for the ANC would begin to erode as people saw they weren't delivering anything, they were just like any other and they would become more cynical about them.
WDK I think this ANC interpretation that you just gave now, I think that's a little bit far-fetched. I really think that it was a great shock that CODESA 2 fell apart for the NP. That's my interpretation. They wanted the elections as soon as possible and get the whole negotiations finished.
POM The caveats we inserted before regarding entrenched power sharing and ?
WDK That kind of thing. The shock was that it was a kind of the atmosphere, the symbolism of that was that this ANC grouping is not going to participate on the terms of NP dictates and so on, they're aggressive, they're very, very aggressive. They're not saying thank you baas that we're not in the whole thing and so on and it was a shock for the NP. My interpretation, I don't know what was in the inner, inner circles going on, and that resulted in the break in relationship between FW and Mandela to a certain extent at CODESA 2. I can't remember how he interpreted that in his book, I can't remember it now, but I remember the real shock for him that the whole thing broke down.
POM This is where I get to one of those points where different people's versions are fascinatingly different.
WDK Just help me out, just after that CODESA 2 collapse then there was this
WDK No, there was this meeting between the ANC and the NP in a bosperaad
POM That was the Record of Understanding, but they had Boipatong in between where Mandela cut off negotiations and then they established the back channel between Roelf and Cyril and then they had a series of meetings and out of that came the bosperaad where there was the Record of Understanding.
WDK And then Buthelezi was really aggressive.
POM He then took a walk at that point. It's ironic that he's the only one left in government.
WDK The fact that this Record of Understanding happened with Boipatong in between is really for me the proof that the NP was very, very focused on the fact that they must negotiations going again and the proof that they accepted the fact that they've got a tough lot of people here and they must find accord somewhere otherwise this whole negotiation thing will collapse and that was not the intention of the NP to let this whole thing collapse.
POM Were Van Zyl Slabbert and Heribut Adam unfair when they concluded that the best negotiators the ANC had were Roelf and Leon Wessels?
WDK What did they say?
POM They came to the conclusion that in essence once Afrikaner elite's interests had been taken care of, FW accepted majority rule and what the ANC wanted and he sent in the wrong people.
WDK I think that's unfair, really I think that's unfair. I don't think one must look at it that way. FW promised the electorate, the Afrikaners, the whites and to a certain extent business interests and abroad that there will be a power sharing model and the whole idea collapsed, it was unacceptable, rightly so. It was a foolish thing to think that it will work and after that the whole thing collapsed. FW had no other choice, it's not a question of a sell-out, he had no other choice than to accept majority rule, a full majority rule situation and he accepted that but he couldn't handle it, he couldn't manage it, he couldn't go back to his electorate and say, well sorry, the power sharing thing is now something of the past. Well he said that but he couldn't really have any impact after the power sharing thing had fallen apart with the electorate and he felt that, he felt that there was a kind of hostility building up against him.
POM I want to go back to some questions that arose out of our last interview and give some continuity. The relationship between the SACP, COSATU and the ANC, a lot of which one heard about in the year leading up to the election and about which one hears very little right now: have COSATU and the SACP more or less been successfully co-opted? And put that in the sense of Mbeki's two advisors, Essop Pahad, a member of the SACP, Charles Nqakula, former Secretary General of the SACP, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, put her in the position to take on the unions, a member of the SACP, Trevor Manuel a former member of the SACP put in charge of Finance, now he is on the Board of Governors of the IMF and the World Bank.
WDK I would say it was a wonderful strategic move of Thabo. I think the whole tension between SACP, COSATU, ANC is still there but he managed the whole thing to tell them in no uncertain words who is the boss of this idea. So he neutralised it, at least I think that was his strategy. I'm not worried that they have any real influence for policy making.
POM They're all good communists. You have Alec Erwin, that's another one, Trade & Industry.
WDK So there are old communists in SA but there's not really communism in SA, there's social democracy, that's more or less the trend I think, our own social democracy. I always said somewhere COSATU, communists and the ANC there will be a split. Perhaps yes, but I think the way Thabo is handling it, we shall see how successful he will be next year when the second round of consultations about wage problems and things, but he handled it now very, very nicely. It's one of his most prominent successes that he calmed down to a certain extent, I think only on the surface, but he calmed down this relationship of tension and he managed to be seen also by them as 'I'm the boss here and the ANC will say what's going to be and what's not going to be'. I think that was a very successful development.
POM Has he also managed to co-opt persons who appear to be his more vociferous critics like Sam Shilowa?
POM Just a little. That's like rewarding a man who made it up from being a security guard by making him Premier of the most important province in the country.
WDK I think it's all Mbeki, you know probably better than I, but he is known as a very good strategist and, all right, as a general manager he must still prove himself, but he's centralising all the power in his office now. I think it's not a bad development. I think we need centralisation to a certain extent, a strong hand in the country now regarding crime and corruption and trade unions, etc., etc. We need a strong hand.
POM I was discussing this yesterday with someone else, that if one looks at India, the Congress Party rules unilaterally for 30 or 40 years and now you have a coalition of 23 or 24 parties forming the government and you've elections every couple of months and there is no strong central government and being the huge country it is it needs a strong central government to get things going and keep things moving. So for developing democracies is there a trade-off that the message of being fully involved with having always to adhere to pure democratic procedures, just the cost of the time, that it's not worth it in terms of having a strong, dominant party government that is in a position to deliver and that if in time it does not deliver then the electorate will in time change its mind about it?
WDK Well you see I don't think that a typical two party state or a three party state with the opposition being in a position to become government will ever be realised in SA. I don't believe that, that's not the style of African democracy. Human rights and constitutionalism is the important thing and not two or three parties. It's necessary in a democracy but I believe that a one-party state under the constitution with all the gate-keepers, Constitutional Court, etc., etc., the Charter for Human Rights, that that's for this phase in our history and for the next decades will be the scenario.
POM So this continuous emphasis on the need to provide more opportunities for the development of a multi-party, a viable multi-party democracy, is in a way hypothetical, that what might be called a viable multi-party democracy might create more havoc at the top than direction at the implementation level?
WDK Really this whole re-grouping of opposition and things, that's not for me really high up on the agenda. All this re-grouping will come down to a kind of a white re-grouping. Unfortunately Roelf's party, the UDM, I don't think Bantu Holomisa and Roelf will be successful with the UDM. So you've got this ANC alliance representing 60%, let's say, of the population and the rest is all these little parties, NP, DP, etc., etc. Hopefully there will be a development that this one party, dominant party will be not that dominant with a two thirds majority, hopefully that will be a development, but an opposition grouping as an alternative government in SA I can't see that for the next 15 years.
POM Talking about dominant parties, in any other democracy if the governing party going into the election was faced with a situation where it was perceived to have lost the battle against crime, where it was perceived it had lost the battle about creating jobs, lost the battle on the economy, lost the battle on education, and by the electorate it is re-elected with a larger percentage of the vote, although a slightly lower turnout but one couldn't expect a turnout, although it was an enormously high turnout by western standards, that it would be returned to govern with an even greater majority than it had before.
WDK I would say with a greater well we're speculating now but I think that even if this Mbeki government, let's be concrete about this, if they fail within the next three years to deliver, they can't deliver everything and they can't deliver a full 100%, but if there is a major failure of government on all the levels of job creation, etc., etc., there will be a reaction, there will be perhaps a Workers' Party emerging, but I think that the ANC, COSATU, the communist alliance with the co-operation of, let's say, the left, the middle to the left white participation and working together with that, they will still be in government but perhaps then with a majority of 58% or 55% and a more leftist grouping or rightist grouping, more workerism, socialistic kind of grouping may form. They won't be able to overthrow the government even if the government failed to a certain extent.
POM When I ask people the question why that scenario will play out they respond in terms of, well there is no viable opposition, the opposition doesn't have any alternative policies or whatever, and I would suggest that it's surely a matter of racial voting, that 97% of the ANC's vote is an African vote, nearly 100% of the vote for the NP, the DP is the white vote plus elements of the coloured vote, and that will be the defining characteristic of elections here. Two, that if you fail, you're the government and you fail to deliver me a house that you promised me, the idea that I would go back and vote for a party or parties I have perceived to have been part of apartheid, that oppressed me for 50 years, is sheer nonsense.
WDK Well I agree with that. That's why I say I can't say what's going to happen within 15 years or so. I fully agree it's a racial, SA will always have a racial, or for the next 15 years, a racial vote, ganging up together, and we must accept that. Not that I'm worried about racism, there are elements in our press and so on that say there's a building up of racism in SA and I don't go with that.
POM Which direction?
WDK Blacks still becoming more and more anti-white and whites more and more anti-black. I don't see that, I don't feel that, I don't think that. I think that we're on our way to live together and we're still on our way to a South African nation but it's very essential to underline the diversities and it seems to me that Thabo's strategy is to accept diversities more actively, not only in words but also in deeds. This thing in the constitution, what's it going to be called, the Committee for Cultural Differences or something, that's going to be with us in his office during the next month or so. He's by-passing all the political leaders and talking to communities, talking to traditional leaders. That's one part of it, talking to the Afrikaner establishment, talking to business people, that's going to be the democracy in SA. That's not racism, racism is not going to play a major role but African sentiments, yes, it's an African country, they want African government and the only party that can succeed against another party must be also a black dominated party. All the rest, coloureds, Indians, whites, will be an appendix to this other party or the ANC.
POM If you had to run through the parties and their performance in the elections, leaving aside the ANC, the NNP, has it just imploded upon itself?
POM And can it recover or is it terminal?
WDK I think it's terminal but I think there's also death in the air for the DP even. The DP was successful in this election because they focused on the Afrikaner right wing to a certain extent and there's Tony Leon now with all these right wingers around him, not only right wingers, and it was an anti-NP vote. I think there will emerge from the old NP and the new NP a new party that will be more or less a more coloured party, the so-called coloureds.
POM Some people have said that the ANC are beginning to make overtures to Van Schalkwyk whom they always treated with derision in the past, they're now far more respectful and perhaps they might not be adverse to seeing the NNP back in government in some way.
WDK I really think that the NNP will remain 7%, 8%, 9% party with a majority of coloureds and that the DP will again be representative of more English speaking, upper middle class kind of constituency, also a party of all these others, that Roelf and a lot of them will fit in these two groupings and that these two groupings will try their utmost best to focus on black support but they won't get that black support now or for the next five years. But if there are important ANC people, a schism within the ANC, that I don't expect for the next five to eight years, then two groupings, and that's my old thing, two groupings will develop in SA but two dominant black parties and these opposition groupings, DP, NP whatever
POM Black you're using in the sense of the word African?
WDK African yes. There will be appendages to these two groupings but there will never be a situation that these two groupings will be a 50%/50%, there will always be a one-dominant grouping, 60% plus and another grouping of 40% plus. That will be our multi-party situation in future.
POM How did the DP, associated with liberal western values, 'steal' the Freedom Front's vote? It still has General Viljoen in shock.
WDK I think it was Tony's 'We'll fight back' slogan, very aggressive electioneering campaign, very visible and it was a protest vote against specifically an attitude of 'let's work together'. Van Schalkwyk's whole attitude was a kind of reconciliatory attitude that we must work with the ANC, we see the problems, we want to be an opposition but an opposition in partnership, we accept the ANC's policy framework, etc. That was more or less his attitude and Viljoen's attitude was - his people felt that he dropped them because he said that Mandela will give them a home and they believed him, so they were very aggressive against the leadership of the Volksfront, the ordinary members. Then Tony Leon was the only option, he said, "I'm going to fight Mandela, I'm going to fight Mbeki, I'm going to be the watchdog and you can fight back and we can make a difference, etc., etc." and it was a vote for the most aggressive kind of opposition campaign.
POM Did the ANC, and I suppose in a way I would include Mandela in that, take the Freedom Front to the cleaners? They kept dangling self-determination in front of them and kept dangling it and dangling it and every time it got close to being bitten they just pulled it back a little. When the FF moved a little forward it tried to get the carrot but they never got their teeth around the carrot.
WDK No and they're dismissed now. The whole concept of self-determination of a homeland is dismissed by government finally. It's not part of the political debate any more.
POM Now is cultural self-determination part of the political debate or has that reduced itself more or less to the debate over language?
WDK I would say language and communities. I see Thabo doesn't refer easily to 'cultural' entities but to 'communities'. Well it's a question of another word but there's a meaning in that. There is an Afrikaner community, never mind, they must look after their own culture and so on and so forth but one must get, that strategy of the ANC, one must get the co-operation of communities in priorities of the government for the country and must give them enough space in their language, etc., etc., so that they don't feel threatened. I think that's the strategy and I think it's successful thus far. The atmosphere within the Afrikaner community is more and more an atmosphere of reconciliation and acceptance, more and more. There's not that absolute kind of pessimism about the future. It's still there but
POM You hear less of 'we're going the route of the rest of Africa'.
WDK And accepting we're Africans, we're also Afrikaners and we're also whites and I'm referring now to the ordinary man. I think the worker, the white worker and lower classes and middle classes, lower middle classes are very open-minded about the future. The high ranking higher middle classes are more sceptical but the bulk of white people, middle classes
POM Why do you think that gap exists between the upper class whites whether Afrikaner or English speaking, why do you think that exists?
WDK I can't give you an answer but that's my experience. I'm going around doing a lot of speeches in Afrikaner circles, Rapportryers, etc., etc., and the upper groupings are more sceptic, are more inclined to point at the negative things because there are still a hell of a lot of negative things in the country, while the under classes or middle classes are more relaxed that things are going fine, feel less threatened. Why exactly I don't know but it's a common thing, if it's a party with medical doctors and professors and business people, a braai or somewhere, they will easily say, "The Kaffirs are making a bloody shit house of the country", and that kind of speech, and if you talk politics to them they say, "But will we ever get employment? Will we ever be in the position to wipe out corruption? They're hypnotising you people (like me). It's going from bad to worse, to worse, to worse." They're the emigration chaps sending their children overseas and so on while the ordinary man, the ordinary middle class man says, "Well I accept the fact things change, it's not that shocking, Mbeki is doing good. I can see why there are problems of crime and so on and we must just everyone try to help this whole ideal of trying to help the poorest of the poor." It's becoming a popular thing also in white middle class circles.
WDK The Afrikaners - I can't translate those words, pessimistic, kind of turning into themselves, very aggressive and kind of looking things in the eye and trying to make peace with our situation and to be positive. So I wrote about our exclusivity, our fights against each other.
POM Could you maybe on each one give a brief summary as to the main theses?
WDK I'm not going to do it now but I will prepare a kind of a summary for you.
POM Oh, that will be marvellous.
WDK You're in SA so give me your address and I will prepare something there, depression and then also identity and that we would think inclusive and so on. It's only 90 pages the little book.
POM Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet, always said to me, he always gave me an endorsement of every book and he never gives endorsements so I feel if they don't sell at least it's more important to have the right people saying your work is good than to sell 100,000 copies!
WDK That's true.
POM But he said, "Padraig, there's room for two books in this material. Why turn what can be two books into one book?" And as a poet I think he's the only poet or one of the few poets in the world who are commercially successful, who make money for their publishers. All his books are thin.
WDK I've read this very well known Angela's Ashes.
POM Yes, Frank McCourt.
WDK That was wonderful, really it was for me a very intense experience that book. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
POM That's interesting, I got half way through it and I had to put it aside. I said I know this too well. It was like growing up again, it touched too many
WDK Sensitive areas.
POM Areas that I wanted to forget about start coming to the surface again.
WDK I will definitely, I promise you, I will put it down here so after you've left I will put it somewhere in my diary. I will give you on each chapter a paragraph, just for the feeling. I think I represent in the viewpoints here the typical, I would say, 60% of Afrikaner thinking now. It's a liberal book and it's very outspoken about things that we've done wrong. It's very outspoken on apartheid again, it's not political, it's a chat with my own people about the past, the present and the future. I will give you a little summary about that.
POM That was one of the sidebar questions that I was going to ask you after you talked about the Freedom Front's performance in the general election with self-determination no longer being on the political agenda. Would it be a mistake on the part of the Mbeki government, or any government for that matter, to mistake that vote for being an indicator that Afrikaner nationalism is a dead duck?
WDK That will be a mistake but then, let me put it this way, the ideal of self-determination of a volkstaat is dead also within their own ranks. That's one of the points of the in-fighting within the FF. Their next option was becoming a province of SA, let's say somewhere in the Western Cape.
POM The Northern Cape is where they had it designated.
WDK Northern Cape, I think in the terms of Weskus, Northern Cape. That's the next option but it's also not really alive and well. The followers of the Volksfront don't believe that that will be possible and I think the message from government is also forget that. So the switch is now within their ranks to accentuate the language matters, the fight for Afrikaans on TV, radio, advertising, etc., etc., and to accept the fact that they will never, ever again have political say in local government, provincial government or national government. That's the mood within the Volksfront. The Afrikaner right wing is dead but Mbeki mustn't under-estimate the language issue with Afrikaners because we're very much rooted in our language, and I think he must also accept the fact that there must be at least two Afrikaans speaking universities in SA and the rest parallel, I mean English. RAU, Rand Afrikaans University is now parallel, it's Afrikaans and English, full parallel medium language instruction.
POM This is at?
WDK Rand Afrikaans University. So Afrikaans education, especially primary school, they mustn't try to force Afrikaans out of primary school education, give the green lights for two Afrikaans universities in SA. They must be more accommodating even in the civil service with the language. They can't go on with nine languages, you can have English and then Xhosa, the Nguni group, the Zulu/Xhosa group as one language group, the Sotho group as another one and Afrikaans as another one. Four languages. Switch to four language groups and official documents that must also be representative I think, and then affirmative action. It all depends whether Mbeki is more lenient about whites and Afrikaners in the workplace. If we do not feel threatened in careers, in education and we feel we're accepted and there's not going to be discrimination against us because we're Afrikaners, that will result in the fact that the Afrikaner community specifically will be the closest ally of the ANC, because we really are African nationalists.
POM It's a point made to me over and over again. Whenever I speak with Niel Barnard it's like a mantra. "I must tell you before we start anything, I am an African and an Afrikaner nationalist. Everything I believe comes from that and to the extent that all my responses are biased that's why." But you both come out of traditions of struggle against forms of imperialism. That's one of the tragedies that what should have been a common bond
WDK I think we're accepting that fact too, that there is a parallelism between the black struggle movement and the Afrikaner history in SA. There's really a kind of link, at least at the start of 1948 with affirmative action, everything, there's nothing new.
POM We did in 18 months what it's taken the ANC more than four or five years to do. This struck me the other day when I saw some report on the Deployment Committee of the ANC that is placing key ANC operatives in different sectors of civil society so that they can report back to the ANC. I think Tony Leon was attacking this as being unconstitutional or something but it's really a replica of
WDK Of what the NP did.
POM Did in 1948.
WDK And there is really, I'm very optimistic about the relationship between the Afrikaners as a group and the blacks as a group. Really I think, I'm not an idealist, race feelings are always there, it's part of identity and so on but I really think there will emerge a partnership between the Afrikaner people and the black people in this country and I'm very excited about that. I can see the signs now, I feel it, I can listen to people, I read newspapers, I read magazine articles, Afrikaans now, talking to ordinary people, church people and they're all on the verge of accepting we're stripped from political power, we're stripped from influence really, we're very guilty, we made a mess of this whole bloody apartheid thing, it was a wrong thing to do and we must start anew with a new attitude and the attitude must be inclusive, part of Africa. We must cut our Eurocentric sentiments to a certain extent and we must try to show, there must become deeds of reaching out and be a kind of a major force in solving the problems of our country. That's the attitude that's growing.
POM Do you pick that up as being the attitude of Viljoen or is he still preoccupied?
WDK That's the small nucleus of the Volksfront people. They won't agree with me on this but it's only a small cell. The ordinary man that voted Volksfront, the ordinary AWB chappie, Terre'Blanche's pals, they are becoming aware that their kind of sentiments and policies and rallying for things that will never ever become reality and that we must adapt to the situation and that we must become more and more integrated as peoples on different levels of life. You know the Afrikaners, there is also a piece of survival in our history. We're survivalists, we're really survivalists and survival now means to get into the bloodstream, to get into this new African state of ours and not to play a role as chiefs and the capitalists but to play a role as ordinary people with everyday work. But then they mustn't touch, they must be very cautious with Afrikaans education, primary education and universities.
POM I want to just talk for a minute about something which arose out of part of our conversation last year and that's the business sector and apartheid. On the one hand it profited immensely from apartheid, then you had the protectionist policies of the sanctions era which meant you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to be a successful businessman. You had important substitution industries developing in an enclosed market where whether you produced efficiently or inefficiently wasn't the prime criteria of whether you were going to succeed or not succeed so there was no competition, so to speak. Then you enter into an era of the new SA, of the global economy, you've got to become competitive, you're downsizing, you're doing all the usual things to be competitive in that market, yet just from my reading South African business seems to hold itself up as a model to be emulated; the business sector is one of the most important sectors of the society and if only government could be as efficient as business then things would get done and there would be implementation. And I'm saying to myself, well with your historical background you never had to be efficient, you never had to be competitive, things were rather cushy, life was rather simple, so who are you to be dictating the way things ought to be done? I remember having a conversation with Tito Mboweni just after he came back and he talked about being lectured by businessmen on how the government should run the economy and how his hair stood on end. He was anything but kind in his remarks! He probably dines with them now every day!
WDK There is a mentality within SA business people to be very arrogant and very outspoken, that the ANC must still prove themselves to be an efficient government. They are waiting, seeing what's going on but they don't believe really, really, I'm generalising now, but they don't believe that the blacks will be successful in governing the country. There is something of a racist superiority attitude in business circles.
POM I'm putting that in the context of who are they, especially when this world competitive report just came out and SA has slipped further down the ladder, it hasn't gone up.
WDK They've got nothing to brag about.
POM Countries like Mauritius, places you've never heard of in Africa, are ahead of them -whether that's an adequate measure, it's some kind of measure.
WDK I'm not informed on this, I'm a little bit out of the mainstream in the last year, I'm more focusing on Afrikaners now for the last years that I may be active. Business people, really there is still a very tense relationship between government and business. According to one piece of information, Mbeki is to a certain extent fed up with certain negotiations with business. He's got the feeling that business is fooling around with him. Somebody told me about that from Mbeki's office. So there is a tense relationship still between business and government.
POM My larger question is, from the culture they have come from which is non-competitive, non-efficient
WDK I agree, yes, non-productive.
POM - if you overrun costs so you just simply rise the price, the consumer has no alternative choice because of sanctions, so to make a lot of money you don't have to be very competitive, so who are you to say to somebody else you're ill-equipped to run anything else since most of them are lame people of left, right and centre and trying to catch up to the way modern corporations and multi-national corporations are run?
WDK I agree with you on that. They haven't got the right to argue that way. Their whole history was a history of non-competitiveness and of laying back and receiving favours from government and sanctions, etc., etc. Their attitude towards SA as a whole and the government is really not that positive.
POM Now are there implications in that?
WDK I think that according to my gut feeling Mbeki will try his utmost best to convert business to certain ideals and priorities of ANC government, but in deeds he's going to measure them in what they do, not what they say, because every businessman is optimistic and cheering Mbeki and kissing him and so on but they don't deliver from his point of view in the priorities of the SA political situation, especially training and development, affirmative action to a certain extent and reaching out to the poor. He is focused on getting business involved in that but really, really involved with deeds and a master plan and so on and if, that is in the phase of talking to them privately and publicly and his speeches refer to that and so on, but somewhere there may be a clash between business and government.
POM We talked about this the last time but that was before the elections, I think it was June. Do you think there is, within the ANC, a shift of emphasis, a realisation that quotas for the sake of quotas in the long run could lead us into a situation of where we lose more jobs than we create and what you must do is shift the emphasis from quotas onto development and training and skill building?
WDK I think so. It's on record. I've read in the newspapers, there were two speeches of Mbeki and he underlined in both speeches that they will come back to the labour laws and trying to be a little bit face-saving say, but then you must convince us that these labour laws are contra to that of employment, etc., etc. But there is a more open-minded attitude to review the labour laws. That's definitely a fact.
POM This would particularly become acute in the case of if they wished to reduce the size of the public service. You have a set of laws that on the one hand make it very difficult to fire somebody and the other, that's one minister passed those laws and another minister is faced and tasked with the function of unloading hundreds of thousands of civil servants and they can say go to the law that was passed by the government and say we have certain protections under the law. They're your laws.
WDK Yes perhaps that's also because they are also very outspoken about the thing that they must reduce the whole civil service dramatically and drastically and they must review their laws to do that otherwise they are going to have problems with that. I think that they are more realistic, maybe for their own sake for reducing but I think that if the business sector really convinces the government that these laws are counter-productive to employment, etc., etc., I think they will be willing to change the laws and with this in the back of their head of what are we, government, going to do when we want to reduce the civil service with these laws. It's impossible to do that with these laws. Quota system, some minister now is squealing and said we must have quotas here, there's not enough done in this aspect of SA society, but I think that's more addressed to their own people so that the people sense that they are pushing this whole thing of quotas but I don't think really that they are hooked to that quota thing for ever. This little bit of information I had from Mbeki's office is that he wants the affirmative action part of his five year term to get that at the back of him. He wants to accelerate the whole thing and then drop it from the prominence that it had at this moment for the sake of the whole country's feeling of not being threatened.
POM It's still a huge issue in the USA where blacks account for 12% of the population. Of course it varies from major urban centre to major urban centre and from the south to the north but it's an ongoing debate that just doesn't go away and that has now become even more gender oriented than colour oriented. The whole question of counter-discrimination.
WDK That will always be with us as you know as in the States, but I think that to accelerate it, to get it behind us, not for ever but to get the first phase behind us, I think that's a wise attitude.
POM So it's no longer one of those touchstone issues that ignite immense emotions?
WDK That's it.
POM Out of proportion to the importance of the problem.
WDK I think that affirmative action will always be with us but I don't believe, perhaps it's naïve, that real counter-discrimination towards whites will be an energy for all the years to come. I think really that there will be a more balanced approach after the ANC government feels that they've done enough now to secure affirmative action on all levels and then become more open-minded for merit and with the argument that it's also to keep the non-black population we mustn't threaten them with this affirmative action thing, we must keep them in the country, we must stop emigration, we must also become a little bit colour blind and look more to merit. First of all we must achieve something in this whole thing and therefore we must push it, force the whole quota system down, but somewhere it must stop and I think they realise that.
POM This is a small issue but it struck me as ironic and that was I was going through Braamfontein the other day, the whole street was tied up and there were police all over the place. I asked them what was going on and they said they were removing all the hawkers. In the old days it would have been cause for a world-wide outcry. It would appear on television all over the world.
WDK That's very true.
POM There's something odd about it. These people eke out a living, they provide for themselves in some way. It's accepted that helping the poorest of the poor, that if there is any job growth it will be in the informal sector and these people have goods supplied to them and there is a wholesale chain of some description but they are surviving if they're doing nothing else. To say you're going to change the image of a city and rebuild it because there are hawkers on the street seems to me to be a very superficial analysis of the situation and also doing an injustice to the poor old hawkers.
WDK There is, they say, I'm only quoting newspapers now because I followed the stories about the hawkers in the newspapers, that they just want to organise things better for them. But to take them off the streets and put them somewhere in a building block is going to take them away from the market because they are there, you walk by and you buy a packet of cigarettes or a tomato or this or that, but you're not going up to the second floor of building X to buy that. So it also struck me, perhaps they can just subsidise them to make it a little bit more comfortable also for them and for all the people in the city with little roofs and so on, modernise the thing instead of - that can be a good move and then something is also attached to this and this is the foreigner, the aggression of local blacks that a large part of the hawkers are Zimbabweans and Mozambicans and Nigerians and so on. That's quite a thing and that's true. You walk here down in Caradoc Avenue and Rosebank Mall, just listen, the majority of people speak French, the black people. So it's not South Africans there and our local population is very, very aggressive about this question and it's problematic for the government to handle.
POM But there is still a lack of, you were talking about your wife in her advertising agency and the signals they got to employ more people in senior managerial positions, you say, "But there's still a lack of black experience in certain sectors of the economy. What's happening now in her world of advertising agencies first of all is that the really able black people, you can't get them at a salary beneath R20,000 R25,000 a month, that's four, five or six dozen very competent blacks in the market for that. There's a lot of window-dressings." Then you talk about people with master's degrees and whatever, you talk about the revolving door syndrome. I assume that is that if you are a competent educated black person that you are in a supply and demand and a huge demand for your services and you can keep moving quite easily from job to job. My question would be, do you or others sometimes get the impression that the struggling masses in the townships who were at the forefront of the campaign to make the country ungovernable, at the forefront of the struggle, so to speak, concomitant with that you had a black middle class who sent their children to good schools and to college and that the people who are really the beneficiaries are those who went to school and went to college, those who put education before liberation, that they're the real gainers here, they are the beneficiaries of those who struggled in the townships?
WDK Do you mean that what's going on in SA now is that the middle class is alive and well, doing very good, but the black masses are still in a situation of desperation?
POM That's right, one. And two that it was the black masses who took the brunt of the security force retaliation for their actions in the townships, that they were in the forefront of the struggle while the black middle class sent their children to the proper schools and made sure they got the proper education and now they're inheriting because they have the qualifications, the proper jobs.
WDK Exactly. That's why you can couple that with Mbeki's, it's a year or two back now, warning that we're heading for a new black revolution if we're not going to uplift the standards of the poorest of the poor, the ordinary township people. Of course it's also the survival of his own party. He needs the support of the ordinary black man. He must deliver to them to keep their support. That's one argument. The second argument is he is really with his African renaissance idea, trying to uplift the whole standard and quality of life in SA and therefore his main priority in all his speeches is really the upliftment of those people and he, I think, is worried about the fact that the perception and the fact, not only a perception but a fact, that ordinary black people don't really reap any fruit from the new regime, a little bit here and there. So yes, the middle class is the fat cats now.
POM They had the least to do with the struggle for freedom.
WDK That's ironic but that's true.
POM Just on the last point you made, I came across in a poll by the Indicator, a magazine that comes out in the University of Natal, and it was done before the elections and it found that the strongest support for the government and its performance came from the poorest of the poor, that as you went up the economic scale of blacks that their measurement of government performance fell and their explanation, or the explanation of the analyst, was that if you were a very poor person and you received a little in terms of your total amount you had that was a lot, whereas for somebody up high on the ladder who got the same little, it meant a lot less.
WDK Yes and it's still a belief
POM If you had walked eight kilometres a day to get water and suddenly you had a tap, that was a huge change to the quality of your life.
WDK It's 100% change. The poor people are more or less uneducated and there is still this belief, this messianic belief that the ANC will deliver. They still believe, it's naïve to a certain extent but I'm not surprised that the poorest of the poor are still the staunchest supporters of the ANC because they still believe that these people are the only people that can help us and they will help us. They will only believe that for so long. Somewhere, and that's why Mbeki is so worried and says we must do something about the poorest of the poor. I just want to refer back, that's that initiative that I told you about. Who are the poorest of the poor? It's people like my maid here, she hasn't got a husband, she's got five children at home, her grandmother is looking after the children. If every household started with that, the poorest of the poor, giving a wage increase, really you must suffer to do that but you must do that, helping her with a pension fund, giving her some money for the schooling of the children, help her in negotiating with officials about things and so on, that's the help that's one initiative and that will reach more or less six million black families. That's something.
POM That's also reparation, the best form, at the personal level, not done by the government and handed out.
WDK Even farmers and even business people, I really think that businesses can do more, the Sanlams and the Anglo Americans and so on, the ordinary business with 500 blacks employed, they can do more for their specific people on ground level. It's not going to upset their budgets that high, to just reach a little bit out, just push it for 10%, 15% up what you're doing for them.
POM The UDM, does it lack a solid political identity, is it schizophrenic? How would you rate it's performance, first of all in an electoral sense, given that it was a new party and it didn't have the benefit of government funding? How did it do in the comparative, in terms of expectations in the election and has it found a niche for itself in parliament? You have people defecting to the ANC every other day.
WDK I think your summary is correct, it's kind of schizophrenic, it's a more local thing of the Transkei, it's Bantu Holomisa's followers are more or less their only power base. Roelf couldn't deliver in bringing substantial whites into the whole situation. They haven't got an identity because they're only against the ANC. I don't think that Holomisa is really a very charismatic man and Roelf, I like Roelf, I know him very well, but Roelf is not a leader than can inspire, he's not a man who can draw people like a magnet. So I think they will eventually dissolve into a new kind of formation. I don't think they will grow during the next five years. They haven't captured a niche for themselves so I write them off.
POM Two comments, one is on the DP, and again I'm offering an hypothesis: is part of the hostility of the ANC towards the DP (i) got to do with the arrogance of Tony Leon, accent and arrogance, (ii) that while the DP opposed apartheid they were beneficiaries of it in every way and that while they were against apartheid they weren't quite for majority rule, they wanted every man to have a vote but they didn't want to be ruled by blacks?
WDK What was it called again, that kind of voting system? Everyone has one vote but I will have 60 votes. Yes, I think it goes back to the fact that the DP, it's still an English speaking, upper middle class grouping and there is a deep-rooted distrust of black people in the English speakers of SA.
POM This is a colonial thing.
WDK It goes back to the colonial days, yes. In Afrikaner circles even today there is still a kind of a feeling that the English, SA English, keep them a little bit away from you, we're not that happy to be part of a faceless white population, you don't want to be too much in bed with the English establishment. That's really still an attitude in Afrikaner circles and from the black point of view it's still truth that there is a kind of a distrust, a kind of a feeling that you buggers when the Afrikaners bullied us you played with them and you reaped the fruits of apartheid and you're looking down on us, you're not honest with us. I could quote you what I said to my wife. In the meantime her board is now two thirds black and her chairman is a black person, a very able man, I can't remember his surname, and the blacks on her board, she's the only Afrikaans person in that whole Triple A. The blacks invited her to a little cocktail to say we're so happy with you, we can understand you because you're Afrikaans, you speak to us, you're not trying to fool around with us. You see us and you listen to us and you're part of us, you're not talking double-tongued. That's on a high-ranking level of blacks now, professors and professional people.
POM Now this has to do with language and this is not peculiar to SA because I've often been in other places in the world, non-English speaking places but which have been under British colonialism at one point of time or another and when the news comes on if I close my eyes, on television or even radio, I could believe that I'm listening to the BBC and that the black presenters of the news on the BBC speak with what I would call BBC accents, and that the women who are on these shows as presenters are light coloured or the white man's conception of what a good looking black woman should look like.
WDK There are a lot of jokes going around about the English of the black TV commentators and reporters because with the poor English language, you've got an Afrikaans version of English and then a black version here and it irritates the high ranking English community, while we Afrikaners to a certain extent say, well, we've got three English languages in this country, Afrikaans English, black English and English English, so we're happy with that.
POM The ANC and Buthelezi, a chess game, who has played whom against whom? Who is the net gainer?
WDK I would say nobody gained at this moment in time, but that's intuition, I'm not informed on this. Thabo definitely tried to buy Buthelezi by offering the Vice Presidency. He definitely tried to do that. You can say what you ever want to say about Buthelezi, he's not my friend, he's too erratic for me, but he's an honest kind of a man, he was absolutely public that Thabo did that but perhaps there was a misunderstanding but he's not going to do that, he's not going to accept it.
POM Was it offered on the basis of a trade-off, that the ANC would get the premiership in KZN?
WDK Yes. I think there is a kind of a, not a tense relationship, Buthelezi they must keep Buthelezi there, they can't reject him now. That will be dangerous for them and Buthelezi can't walk out because that will be dangerous for him, for his grouping. So they're playing with each other but I don't think there's really an open-hearted, open-minded, relaxed relationship between Buthelezi and the ANC. We will see how things develop but nobody gained something. The ANC is not number one in this whole situation or Buthelezi. It's still a wait-and-see, see how things will develop.
POM The Ambrosini case would be a test of some sort. Did you ever see, this brings me back to the TRC in a roundabout way, can you ever see a situation the TRC in its report I think spent more time damning Buthelezi than it did any other single individual - can you ever envisage a situation of where the government would prosecute Buthelezi, where the government would prosecute Winnie Mandela? In what case can the state ever prosecute lesser known but politically not as dispensable characters or must they address the question of amnesty?
WDK I think the whole trend is that there will be a general amnesty.
POM If there were a general amnesty, would it mean that those who had applied for amnesty and didn't receive it would receive it retrospectively?
WDK I think that's the consequence.
POM In an unjust situation that would be the just thing to do.
WDK Yes. I really think that the mood within the ANC is definitely towards that general amnesty. Even these hard, hard criminals, Eugene de Kock and so on and this Dr. Basson, I see in the newspaper this morning they say that Basson already received amnesty in Namibia during the war against SWAPO.
POM He did? By the Amnesty Act there, yes.
WDK Louis Pienaar was then the Administrator General of South West Africa and he already gave Basson amnesty, that's the argument of his Advocate. So these Bassons and Eugene de Kocks, it's going to be fairly difficult and I think it will be a positive development if there's a general amnesty and let's turn the page.
POM Do you see a situation in which they would allow free the murderers of Chris Hani?
WDK If they must do it, if they give general amnesty.
POM If I were Clive I'd get on the first plane, just take to the airport!
WDK What do you think about general amnesty?
POM I think the TRC has been a failure. It has been partially successful at revealing the truth but there has been no justice and that it certainly hasn't done anything for reconciliation.
WDK And reparation.
POM And there's no money for reparation and people are getting mad, so I in fact argued against Alex Boraine in Belfast a couple of years ago, we were both on a panel discussing it because there's talk about setting one up in Northern Ireland, or some variation of one which Northern Ireland is simply not in a position to even contemplate bearing the consequences of what would follow from that. People are still far too bitter. It's such a small place, everybody knows somebody who's been killed or injured or whatever and just other ways must be found to deal with these things.
WDK I think it was OK that we went through this whole exercise, this very costly exercise, this whole TRC exercise, but the outcome of the whole thing now, it didn't achieve anything other than a little bit of opening the curtains to see a few injustices that took place. It was necessary to go through this exercise but I think we must leave it now. I think that's the trick. Tutu wrote a book, did you see that?
POM I just bought it, but I assume it's a justification of it.
WDK He said racism played a major role in the TRC. He was very much against, that's according to the newspaper report, against the ANC's efforts to, the Reconciliation Commission to focus on their people.
POM Well their people simply don't believe they believe they fought a just war and they don't distinguish between a just war and unjust means in pursuit of a just war. They more or less say anything done in pursuit of a just war is in itself just, which the commission rejected I think and that was one of the finer and better distinctions it made. I just bought that last night.
You were talking also about democracy in SA and you said, "But the style of SA can't be a western style." I can read you what you said and then give you my interpretation of what you were saying because it was just a transcript. It says, "But the style of democracy in SA can't be a western style and we must find our own style and that must be also more or less Africanised because I think that even the man in the street, the majority of blacks are converted to the idea of democracy and of the constitution, the human rights culture and that kind of thing. I don't think that they will reject that except from activist groupings but the style must be more relaxed, it must be more co-operation, it must be partnership."I assume that is between the opposition and the ANC. "That's the developmental model of democracy and that's the way we must develop in the country. It's another kind of democracy. They also call it a participatory democracy and not a representative democracy as in the western world, so there's a whole philosophy at the back of what kind of democracy there should be but I don't think we can copy western democracy and we've got a constitution now that's more or less a mixture of European, American and German."
I suppose my question is, are you saying that even among whites it is accepted that SA will be a one-party dominant democracy for the foreseeable future but that the style of democracy here can't be based on a western style, it must be a participatory democracy, i.e. not a consultational one as in, say, Westminster which is a representative democracy where MPs represent constituencies and the interests of constituents, that presently the opposition is playing opposition through the media and that opposition means opposition to policies of the ANC without offering anything concrete in return but it gets you on the media and you get your two minutes of air time and show that the fight's still on?
WDK Against the ANC.
POM And that this kind of opposition generates nothing but a flurry of headlines but has little impact on legislation itself, that opposition parties would be better off co-operating with the ANC behind closed doors and reaching compromises which they can influence rather than the 'let's take them on on everything' politics of the DP which makes for good hype but for little effectiveness.
WDK That's what I wanted to say. Your interpretation is absolutely right. I still believe in that. I still believe that's the way that democracy must develop and will develop in SA.
POM So it's still back to the consensual style of it's always with a difference, it's not just take a vote for and against but let's in some way cut the difference.
WDK Yes, let's make the little compromises and make a deal here, make a deal there.
POM It goes back in a way to as a child I used to go to county fairs where they would bring in the cows and the sheep and goats or whatever to be sold and you had buyers and sellers and the matchmakers between the buyer and the seller and in the end they would always say, "Split the difference", each one then would spit on their hand and bind the hand and that meant the difference had been split and the deed was done.
WDK That's more or less I really believe that that must be the style, the style is developing. The accent of Thabo now going to communities rather than he's also going to political parties but to get their co-operation. I was present at this ATKV Congress (Afrikaans Language & Cultural Congress) in Rustenburg, I was a speaker there. It's middle class people and Thabo was there as the opening speaker and I was also a speaker there and he again said that you, as ATKV, this organisation, must give me feedback, what's the need. It's politics but he's underlining it very strongly, "What's the need, what's your critique on the government? I want to be in constant communication, my office, with all the different groupings and communities in SA because it's in the interest of all of us that we must solve problem one, problem two, we need each other." He's very reconciliatory in his approach and we must follow up.
I had one little thing, Kader Asmal said something somewhere about education so I wrote him a letter and said congratulations, that's very good and I've read an article in the Afrikaans Academy's Bulletin on education and it's very interesting and it's in Afrikaans but I'm sending it to him so that he can get it translated because I think it's a very important article. And he wrote me a wonderful letter, Kader is a nice guy to a certain extent. He said, "Please, I'm not in the Afrikaans world, but please if you read something in Afrikaans newspapers or in symposia, etc., etc., and you think it can help me, give me the input of Afrikaner thinking and feel free to send articles. I will get them translated." That's a personal thing now but that's the kind of co-operation that I mean. Kader doesn't expect me to vote for the ANC or to rally for the ANC but that's co-operation of communities in solving the main problems and focusing on the main agendas. So that's correct. I believe that's the only way that we can always have an overwhelmingly strong one-party, I hope a little bit not that strong, 66%, and we must work with them and also politicians must work with them they must be opposition but it must be a co-operative opposition.
POM I was coming to that next. Is Thabo not in a way dismissing parliamentary opposition and going the extra-parliamentary route to reach organs of civil society which he believes are more representative of the true feelings and sentiments of the different groups of people than their representatives in parliament?
WDK I think so and there's a danger in that. You must have seen I think Tony Leon said that Thabo never attends parliament.
POM That's right, he will only attend once a month to answer parliamentary questions.
WDK Yes and ignoring parliament and so on. There is a danger you know but I think it's a temporary thing. I think Thabo wants to establish relationships with communities and passing political parties at this phase, as a building up a kind of an atmosphere in the country of co-operation.
POM If you have a president with power, a lot more power centralised in the president's office, and a cabinet that's hand-picked and chosen for its loyalty and that will follow his line, his ability to appoint and dismiss premiers of provinces as he sees fit, contracts with the director generals of departments would not be with the minister of the department but rather with Thabo, that the chairman of almost all of the parliamentary committees now that the government of national unity is over, are ANC and that oversight in that situation is rather likely to be less strict than it was when you had opposition members as chairmen of portfolio and oversight committees and you will have chairman of oversight committees who are less likely to cross-examine and they are senior ministerial colleagues in the party since loyalty is everything, and where most of the major foundations of transformation, the legislative foundations have been passed in the last parliament, are you not getting close to a situation of where parliament either becomes marginalised or becomes just a tool of the executive, a rubber stamp?
WDK It was of course always so during NP rule too. It smells like a little bit it's authoritarian to a certain extent, it's not that worrying for me. I think it's more a phase of Thabo's regime now to establish control and to establish ways and means to look over the shoulder of every official to check things out and to get the whole machine in working order, but there is the danger that parliament will become more and more irrelevant as in the rest or some of the African states. One must watch that closely. I think the government will also accept the fact that if the perception is that they are developing in an absolute authoritarian direction that it will be counter-productive for SA in global relations and in the internal relations too. I think they will keep the balance. You know about this book of Giliomee, The Awkward Embrace?
WDK Well I've paged through that book and read a few chapters. That's the book that you wrote in something? No?
POM No, I did something else back in the early nineties.
WDK My feeling was Lawrie Schlemmer here and so on of this book, well one party domination and democracy can embrace each other in SA without falling or developing an authoritarian kind of dictatorship, that this is a fact that we must accept. It's an awkward embrace but it's necessary that democracy must be, as I've said there, more Africanised in SA. This is the African kind of model to a certain extent.
POM Where does the African renaissance what place does it play in this? First of all what do you understand by the African renaissance? I just bought the proceedings of the conference held last September which I attended for two days and which I tape recorded the entire proceedings. There is no relationship between the proceedings and what I recorded. The proceedings are all nicely written papers with notations but I came away from it, I must say, with an awkward feeling that I was out of place there as a white person, with a lot of low key anti-white sentiment that one could pick up.
WDK At that conference? Perhaps it was a lot of Africanists.
POM William Magkoba, the usual
WDK Old PAC people. Somebody asked me what's the meaning of this and I asked the researcher to see what Thabo said on different occasions about the African renaissance. This was the outcome of this little research.
"The ideal of an African renaissance, that is Mbeki's intention that Africa will awake to the new world of democracy, human rights, technology, competitive market economy, literacy and all that is part of success. It is also a protest against Afro-pessimism in which the world and many South Africans are caught. It may sound very idealistic but at least it is a strong signal that the Mbeki government will be a conscience for Africa south of the Sahara, that South Africa will play a modern, constructive role in at least Southern Africa, that we will grow as an entrepreneurial region of power."
POM So in terms of what that says, what's the essential difference between what renaissance in that meaning would say and what the ethics of globalisation would say?
WDK There's no major difference. I would say there is no philosophical symbolic thing in that it's only Africa must awake to the recipes of success in the global world today.
POM You distinguish between the renaissance on the one hand and what's often referred to as 'Africanisation' on the other?
WDK Yes, Africanisation is I also ask if this is the same thing. What this definitely does not mean is that the interests of black people must be cultivated at the expense of white interests. That's not Africanisation. Mbeki has explained this dozens of times. Mbeki is on record for having said numerous times that the definition of Africanisation is the following: in practice it means black empowerment to give the country's workforce and the economy a black face in order to get a more equal society broadly representative of the SA demography without excluding whites as part of the SA nation.
POM On the national squad which says that the object of the game is not to win but that the team must be representative of the society from whence it comes. Out of that small argument would you like to say, well you've a team out there, it's a Springbok team that's perfectly representative of the whole country but God damn it, we're not going to win a single game!
WDK I think that was a little bit as a bull in a china shop. There is in rugby circles, it seems to me, a lack of enough initiative on local level and provincial level to promote and that was a warning, but the whole question of quotas was absolutely rejected. I think it's a strategy to push the Rugby Union and it's necessary but I don't think that ever, ever will any government department or government spokesperson enforce a quota system for national teams.
POM I was trying to make an analogy of it because somebody told me who watched the opening ceremony, I think Ladysmith Black Mambaza was playing there and there was African traditional music and dancing and no-one said, "Hold it, this dancing troupe is entirely black, there's got to be one white person in there even though they can't swing and they've got no rhythm."
WDK But we're in the phase of enforcing affirmative action and threatening with quotas and threatening with lots of things.
POM Do you think it's more of an intellectual exercise, conference? When one goes to at least that conference it was all extremely well dressed people, lots of Mercedes, it was intellects, academics, people from the higher echelons of Escom and the like, it certainly had nothing to do with the man in the street.
WDK I don't think the man in the street would even know about this. This conference may be a symbolic thing, it's very symbolic the African renaissance concept but translated into hard facts, as I've read to you, it means follow these recipes of success in the global world, productivity, literacy, technology, human rights culture.
POM This again goes back to what I raised regarding the Deployment Committee, the ANC putting people in strategic sectors of society. Is the ANC developing its own brand of a Broederbond?
WDK I think there's enough democracy within the ANC in their own circles. They've got a democratic culture to a certain extent, indaba, talking things through, report back, participation in decision making, etc., etc. I think it is widening their sphere of control and influence but I won't see it as parallel with a typical Broederbond thing. I think that's normal political activity in a country like SA that had for a president, a prime minister, to set the scene with people that he has close contact with. He's entitled to do that and that's for the sake of more efficient government I think. Perhaps it's wishful thinking but I don't think there's a kind of a plan to manipulate everything, to have all this
POM Nook and cranny.
WDK No I don't, I only think he needs a network of people in all spheres of society to be in contact with the realities of people that he thinks he can trust. There are also a lot of power in-fights within the ANC. He's gathering around him people that he can trust and that's what any prime minister would do if they appoint their cabinet, they appoint people, not all the ablest people, but people that they think they can trust.
POM Judging Mbeki's first 100 days in office? Reassuring?
WDK Yes. I think very reassuring. I think it's a journalistic thing to judge 100 days in office. You must judge Mbeki during let's say the end of 2000, October 2000 would be a very good date to check what happened. I think the first 100 days was the setting of the scene and there were successes in the whole reorganisation of the police, specialised units. There's not deliverance, it hasn't taken place, but it's impossible to deliver in 100 days. But the setting of the scene regarding crime, corruption, affirmative action, the army, the reorganisation of the whole army groupings, SA's policies about Africa, the economy, the budget, the whole setting of the scene that these are the rules for the game. We're going to play the next five years according to these rules and this style and now we must begin to deliver. I think it was a successful 100 days.
POM So if you had to compare, contrast an Mbeki style with a Mandela style?
WDK I think Mbeki is more a doer, I think he's more organised than Mandela. I think he's working from a blueprint somewhere in his head or in his desk, he's working from a blueprint while Mandela worked more within the leadership. Mandela's role was to calm down things to a certain extent, to be a godfather, kind of a saint. Mbeki is the general manager, the executive.
POM Maduna's decision on the Heath Commission?
WDK I see in this morning's paper they say he didn't dismiss Heath. He didn't do that, he said he is just reorganising Heath's focus to regional.
POM OK, I haven't read today's papers yet. Again, this is going back to the NP. Is it being hypocritical when it takes on the ANC about corruption given the pervasiveness of corruption, particularly covered up corruption during their own days? At least the government here is making an attempt to uncover it because if they uncover it there is obviously more to be seen.
WDK I think it's hypocritical. Every time when somebody refers to the problems of corruption in SA I blush to a certain extent and my answer is always, "There was corruption in the NP's regime that's more shocking than the corruption during the ANC regime."
POM You talked the last time that the ANC still wasn't very self-confident in itself, still distrustful, still looking at third forces and things like that. Now that it is gaining or on its way to gaining controlling power in most spheres of life why does the paranoia not diminish?
WDK Do you think they are still that full of paranoia? I think that they're more relaxed about that.
POM You do?
WDK Yes I think so, really.
POM Less references to the third force or third force influences?
POM Less pointing to elements of the old order as disruptive?
WDK They are very more relaxed about that.
POM You also talked about differences within the ANC. What kind of main differences would you point to? Are they differences that existed during negotiations?
WDK It's the old Lusaka mob as to the Robben Island groupings and the old UDF, the internal wing of the ANC. That's the personality clashes.
POM More personal power than about ideology.
WDK But there is the philosophical thing in the ANC, they are all more or less social democratic in their orientation but there's a grouping that's more populist, socialism accent, and a grouping more in the rules of the global economy, democracy, capitalism.
POM Who would you put where? Manuel and Mbeki?
WDK Some people think Mbeki is here on the populist side more or less. I don't believe that. I think Manuel, Erwin, all the main actors in government now are in, let's say, this democratic, free market, democracy with social democracy tendencies. But the Winnies and others are in the grouping of full blown social democracy. I think that's the philosophical schism.
POM Has Mbeki consolidated his grip on the party to the point of where he is now in control? There is no-one breathing down his back, no need for him to be looking over his shoulder?
WDK No. Well I think he's well aware of danger points but I think he's handling it excellently well and I don't think there's any threat for him or his authority or a rising star within the ANC that can challenge him. They always say Ramaphosa will turn up, will come back to politics, but I don't believe it. He's a very rich man now.
POM He's a very rich man now?
WDK He's a very, very rich man and he likes the good life.
POM I'm seeing him in a couple of weeks. Will let him have it.
WDK Well it was nice to talk to you again.
POM Just last thing is, I'm collecting them, have you any favourite anecdote about Mandela? I remember you telling me one when he rang you up at five o'clock in the morning and he was in Switzerland some place and he was pedalling his bicycle and said, "I thought about that letter that you wrote."
WDK Yes, that he apologised that they didn't bring the letter under his attention and he only saw it yesterday evening, let's say, so he was phoning me and giving me and said, "Well join the majority and then everything will be OK." I haven't got a specific anecdote. You must ask FW about that.
I hope we will see each other again.
POM Thank you very much. We will, we will be more relaxed.
WDK Where can I mail this?
POM Send this to Judy. I will ring you so that she can give you the address.
WDK Or I can fax it through?
POM I can give you a fax number.
WDK Here's my card as a psychologist. I'm also playing with psychology. There's the fax number also in it. Yes it's my old I'm qualified as a psycho-therapist and so I thought that's a very relaxed kind of a job now that I'm near old age, so I'm doing a lot of psychological work too. That's nice.
POM I've always thought that of all the ways, all the prisms that you might look at SA through, that perhaps looking at it through a psychological prism is the best prism.
WDK Well this little book of mine about the Afrikaners is with a psychological lens. I'm using psychological terms also, depression, anxiety, attrition.