Believe it or not there was a time many, many years ago when I considered myself to be a dab hand at poetry. If you didn’t captain first team rugby at school or come from a family with a large trust fund, you had to resort to more cerebral ways to make an impression on the ladies. At least that was the idea.
For a while I found myself running with a crowd more familiar with Breyten Breytenbach, Andre P Brink and Chris Barnard than the Frik du Preezs and Moff Myburghs of those days. I even won a poetry competition at the old RAU, for an English poem, nogal. One of our superheroes at that time was, of course, Antjie Somers – now writing under the name of Krog—who at 17 was already published for the first time.
Since then Krog has become an absolute superstar in the world of poetry, prose and is the winner of many national and international awards for her works, the most famous book most probably ‘Country of my Skull’, which was the winner of the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for literature in 1999. Search her works and achievements on Wikipedia for an appreciation of her longevity and impressive line-up of books, poems and prose. Amongst it all she’s also made time to be mother to four children!
But she needs to stay away from economics.
Alan Paton Awards
I must admit I haven’t read much of Krog’s latest works, instead being more attracted to the music/songwriting genius of Leonard Cohen or even the late Maya Angelou, who sadly died recently. They focused on all the emotions that make us human.
Krog’s work, on the other hand, is increasingly just dripping with white (and especially Afrikaner) guilt about everything that was wrong with apartheid and that all the ills of modern day South Africa are still the fault of, at first, the colonialists, and more recently the Afrikaners and all whites, by implication.
Fast forward to last week’s 2015 Sunday Times literary awards, at which she was the main speaker. She was at it again (speaking about the 1994 transition to a multiracial democracy in her speech):
“Did whites really think setting matters right stopped at charity, NGOs, philanthropy, paying domestic workers more than a living wage and allowing a black middle class to grow? What was promised in 1994 didn’t happen. A systemic fault-line prevented the momentous emblematic political transformation from being complemented by an equally momentous socio-economic transition. Did we think it was enough that affirmative action was meant for those already employed, not the unemployed? That BEE was for those mixing with the elite and not the 50% on the margins of destitution?” she asked.
Her solution to SA’s problem: share everything with everyone else.
“In one’s frustration one is pushed to wonder whether the empty frame (the vision of SA) calls for a two-year radical construction period in which all energy, resources, every South African is used to achieve massive structural change.”
Using the analogy of SA becoming one massive scrambled egg she says: “…during this radical restructuring period, all suburbs and farms are given two years of free range to scramble themselves. Every house in the suburbs should be confronted by the fact of shackness (her word), every park filled with squatters, every street filled with vendors. Every home- and landowner, every suburb, every farm free to negotiate a living space with whoever moves in.
“Liberation remains incomplete when the colonial or apartheid city is not reorganised but simply taken over. A ban should be put on changing the name of any town before the town has fundamentally, practically and collectively prioritised the poor.
“Those who finish their studies and those who have retired should work for a year in the town or city of their birth to remove backlogs and shortages in courts, hospitals, schools , administrative offices, corruption investigation, child care…..for no salary. The town will provide food and a place to sleep. We are facing a disaster in the absence of a crucial social unifying vision of a liberated humane society. The times are pitiless. No vision is coming to save us. Let us dirty our hands with the tactics of communality needed to create openings into which new rhythms, new language and new modes of being human can be poured.”
I’m not making this up, dear reader. Please read the whole article in Sunday Times and see for yourself.
So for two years it will be an absolute free-for-all in South Africa. Every home, every farm and by implication every other asset will be up for grabs, after which everything will be great – a socialist nirvana. All for one; one for all. Peace, happiness and eternal brotherhood.
It makes the Marxist rhetoric of Julius Malema and the Economic Freedom Fighters appear right-wing by comparison. Julius only wants to nationalise the mines and the banks.
Krog, on the other hand, wants to be really radical and share everything.
And what then? What will be left of foreign capital? Foreign investors who, after all, own more than 50% of all listed equities and 30% of all our bonds, will be out of SA in a flash, leaving us looking worse than Greece – a basket case like so many other countries north of our borders.
*Magnus Heystek is the investment strategist at Brenthurst Wealth. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for ideas and suggestions.