'If you can stand the loss, leave SA'
Say it with a sting.....
December 17 2008 at 12:09PM
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South Africans flocking home
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The grass is not always greener...
One of South Africa's most celebrated writers has issued a damning attack on the South African political order for failing the country's citizens.
Breyten Breytenbach, the poet, writer and anti-apartheid activist, has written a scathing article titled Mandela's Smile: notes on South Africa's failed revolution, in the latest edition of the US magazine, Harpers.
Breytenbach now divides his time between New York, where he teaches creative writing at New York University, and the Goree Institute in Senegal.
A reviewer of the article said that Breytenbach cites "the relentless, mindless violence, nepotism and corruption that prevail here as sources both of South Africa's shame and of Breytenbach's incendiary call to quit the country".
In a subsequent radio interview, Breytenbach charged: "Critical institutions have practically imploded under our national health system, to some extent our educational system, certainly our security system. It is claimed that even under apartheid more houses were built for the poor than has been built by the new government."
He said that could be explained, in part at least, because of the "very difficult national conditions" in which the ANC took power.
"But a lot of it must be brought to the door of responsibility of those in power within the ANC. There's been a very rapid promotion and enrichment, quite obscenely so, of a small number of senior cadres."
He said the transition to democracy could be rightly described as a "boardroom revolution", to the exclusion of the poor.
"It's a very intelligent and I suppose natural way for the very rich international enterprises in South Africa to obtain credibility by co-opting black faces or brown faces or Indian faces and paying them extraordinary amounts of money to do so," he told Democracy Now.
Breytenbach was appalled by South Africa's crime rate.
"The situation is that we have an average of 55 murders a day.
"We probably have something like 150 women being raped. We have, in vast parts of the country in urban areas, what are in effect being considered as war zones. With organised hijacking, with police repression."
The Harper's article is accessible to subscribers only, but news reports on the internet quote Breytenbach suggesting: "If a young South African were to ask me whether he or she should stay or leave, my bitter advice would be to go. For the foreseeable future now, if you want to live your life to the full, and with some satisfaction and usefulness, and you can stand the loss - then go!"
Breytenbach was born in Bonnievale, about 180km outside of Cape Town, and his work includes the book, The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, in which he describes aspects of his imprisonment by the apartheid state.
This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Argus on December 17, 2008
Comments by Sonny
Colonel Jan Breytenbach, of 32 Battalion, would never consider running away from harms way.
He is a true South African soldier, an officer and a gentleman.
Labels: Breyten Breytenbach runs.