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Peter Bruce Editor-at-large & columnist


It’s Easter, let’s be nice to each other. No, wait, it’s an election, let’s not. South African politics never changes. It’s about winning everything. From a distance we can see it easily now in Donald Trump’s America, or in Brexit Britain. People, citizens of the same country, of the same colour, of the same party, literally hate one another.

It’s not race or even ideology. White South Africans were throwing chairs at political rallies long before blacks were. Before black and white somehow met, our politics were already inevitable, between races and within them.

We’re conviction politicians. I’m right and you’re just wrong, so go rot in hell. And be quiet. The worst thing you can do in this country is have an opinion and the temerity to express it. Every jack and his dog will shoot you down. Social media has made fatalities possible even before anyone has actually read your opinion. Take the case of David Bullard. Bullard was invited to participate in an Institute of Race Relations (IRR) debate or seminar at Stellenbosch University in March. There was an outcry. Someone wrote a letter to Business Day demanding the event be banned. He said Bullard would play to “white fears of a dystopian future”. So Bullard, who is politically conservative and tells jokes, was not to be heard, not to be seen. This is perfectly recognisable South African behaviour, but fortunately the IRR went ahead with the event and Bullard attended. When it was his turn to speak, Frans Cronje, the IRR CEO, quoted a colleague, Michael Morris, who had written in The Citize...

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