It seems that these days, all you have to do to get a blog campaign rolling is to stick a five letter word in front of ZA or SA and Bob is the maniacal leader of your neighbouring country. It’s almost tempted me into organising one myself, which would obviously be DrinkZA. I hear that others are considering FightZA, but I’m not subscribing to that.

One that I’m happy to put my name down for is UniteSA – organised by Rob Valentine – because I think that the more sane voices that speak out at the moment, the better and thus, I agree with all that he writes below (although I am hugely disappointed that he didn’t manage to get the word “hubris” in there anywhere).

South Africa stands at a crossroads – a time in which racial tensions run high and the attention of the world is focused on us. Neither the people of South Africa nor the country itself can afford to have negativity and irrational outbursts rule our daily lives.
To that end, UniteSA is an attempt to bring people from all corners of our nation together in a call for peace, calm and rational thought.
Various ministers have called for restraint as has President Zuma – certain organisations have chosen to use this time to push a political agenda and we appeal to them to allow the authorities the chance they need to resolve the issues.
We urge the people of South Africa to express faith in the police force and the justice system at this time.
We call upon the ANC to rein in Julius Malema appropriately and urge him to behave responsibly.
We call upon the AWB to continue to act responsibly after the death of Eugene Terre’Blanche.
We call upon the National Government to plan for protection of farmers as they worry about their futures.
We express our solidarity and empathy for those who have suffered because of crime and corruption in our country.
We are far stronger united than we are apart.


As with any blog/social media campaign, the more noise that can be made about this, the better it will work. So please use the retweet button below as liberally as you can, visit the other blogs on the list and feel free to link to, copy or publicise this post as much as you like.

Oh – and before I go, please, please take the time to read Sipho Hlongwane’s column in the Daily Maverick on this issue, because it might just be the most accurate and most salient collection of words I have ever set eyes upon (outside this blog).
Simply brilliant.

And more: here from COPE’s Mosiuoa Lekota:

“If the ruling party continues on this path, then any disaster will be on their heads,” he said when asked about the potential explosive situation in the country.
Lekota condemned the ANC in general and Jacob Zuma in particular for not taking action against Julius Malema’s “kill the boer” song.
“I may be an African, but I feel uneasy when I hear these songs, because I feel somewhere somebody is encouraging young people to do these things… The government should take actions against anybody who says you must kill, even if it is in a song.”

A view echoed in part by Jacques Rousseau at his synapses.co.za blog.

9 thoughts on “UniteSA

  1. Really guys, is he worth?, this attention ET is getting?

    We are not even sure he is a racist, maybe he was just a fly-by-night making some extra money by prying on the fears of the simple local people.

  2. Carl > Welcome back.
    I think you’re missing the point. This isn’t about Terre’Blanche. No-one important gives a toss about him. This is about the idiots attempting to utilise his death for their political means.
    Their views are extremist, unpopular and outdated. It’s time to move on. It has been for years now.

  3. The reactions are fascinating. From pacifist Canada, when ex gang members who have done similar things to this man wind up dead, it’s often quietly viewed as a karmic retribution and covered neutrally. Yes, ex cons die violent deaths here too!

    Frankly, I thought the wheels were coming off when Bring Me My Machine Gun became a campaign slogan, or when xenophobia became an excuse to light people on fire, or… wait, this happens Every Six Months. South Africans need to have a little more faith in themselves to steer at the helm.

    Right now SA is having the problem that the USA had from the mid-90’s to late 00’s: they have allowed political agenda to run the media, inform debate and otherwise educate uneducated people. They chose to talk about Monica Lewinsky rather than health care, fake nuclear weapons rather than a fake economy, and how Hilary Clinton seemed unduly stern. They have paid dearly for it.

    I was impressed living in SA at how politically aware people were and how willing they were to turn their minds to complicated issues. It’s time for them to support and demand media do the same, and to look the process of getting people elected who can direct the nation’s thoughts in a way that solves problems. Barack Obama’s political credentials, frankly, sucked, and he has absolutely no nepotistic ties to rely upon, and odds are the man should have never been elected. But he’s educated, he can explain things to people, and he has a lot of good (young) people working for him. He got elected against the odds because frustrated people mobilized and did something and figured out how to mobilize other frustrated people. There are at least ten of him somewhere in SA, working away on smaller government structures, studying law in your universities, getting ready. There is an obligation on the media to find those people, report on them, and make them the objects of news. Slot it in after the rugby scores.

    But hey, I’m just a foreigner.

  4. Referring to J, in the previous comment:

    That comment is so much out of the blue, makes such a lot of sense while going against all the blog-nonsense in which I find pleasure to show my lack of respect, that I really got nothing to say.

  5. carl > j’s comment is great. And probably quite accurate – at least in some regards.
    But while it tells us everything (?) that isn’t right, it doesn’t tell us how to fix it, save for some airy-fairy ideas about how to get elected if yuou are Barrack Obama. Oh – and that people need to stand up and speak out – which is what this campaign and the previous #speakZA campaign were about.
    Strange then that you seem to agree with him when you choose to criticise those initiatives.
    Sipho Hlongwane who organised #speakZA and who wrote that wonderful piece I linked to in this post is one of those for the future.

  6. If not able to abstract, here’s what I was getting at:

    1) Don’t support sensationalist media with your money or your attention. If you must, write critical letters to the editor directed at specific journalists who aren’t doing their jobs properly and who feed the paranoia machine. Similarly, draw attention to journalists who are doing the right thing. Opinion columns aren’t enough, btw, it’s a lot easier to comment on someone else’s reporting than it is to go out and get the story yourself.

    The poor majority isn’t the group funding horribly biased newspapers, they’re way too expensive and online access is a joke, it’s the wealthy people who are keeping this racket in business. A step further, if you own a business, pull advertising from media that sensationalize violence and crime and direct it to papers that don’t. Tell them this is why you’re doing it.

    2) Do support media that covers political initiatives that matter and write about them in informal media (blogs. Facebook. whatever.). This includes searching out magazines/books that give accurate information and ideas. Write about what’s going on in your community and make a point of showing up to observe political activity, even if you don’t support it. It’s a pain but you aren’t entitled to complain if you don’t participate.

    3) MOST IMPORTANTLY, stop panicking every time some extremist waives something controversial around, be it a song or a threat for revenge. Call a ridiculous spade a ridiculous spade. Forming some odd blog coalition endorses these threats as real and gives credibility to the people who make them, even when you throw a positive slant on the front. How about a blog coalition for responsible, accurate media? Or a blog coalition for policy promotion and development? Where are those? Instead of telling people to have faith in the police force, tell people WHY they should have faith in the police force and focus on how justice is being done – which in this case it is. Don’t ask the AWB for anything, condemn that an organization like this still gets as much air time as it does. They exist in every country, no other country would ask them for anything or treat them as legitimate. Don’t ask Zuma to rein in the ANC, openly condemn him because he hasn’t done so already and compare it to his record of response.

    And that whole “protection of farmers” thing? It’s well known that many farmers are armed to the teeth and the real issue isn’t more protection, it’s encouraging relationships that take place in life after Apartheid, which a lot of rural people are still having trouble with (on both sides). The guy wasn’t going to pay his workers, and I’m guessing wasn’t really pleasant about it. The violent reaction is similarly wrong but it would have been significantly greater protection to him to change his attitude and way of dealing with his employees rather than stationing the army outside his door. Calling for “protection of farmers” only increases the view that there is an Us and a Them and that one needs protection from the other because the other is the sole source of the problem. This is interestingly completely contrary to the stated purpose of the coalition. Maybe there needs to be an unbiased intervenor between farmers and farm employees who takes the (often racial) sting out of disagreements and makes sure people feel like they are being treated fairly on both sides before things escalate. It’s certainly not more security.

    For the record, my partner is an Afrikaaner from rural roots. We talk about this over dinner. I get that it’s very difficult for people from a certain background to start thinking about things in different ways. But it starts over dinner and it has changed with their generation and it will change more with our kids. I have to take responsibility for bringing this change to my house and community.

    I use the USA not because it’s a perfect roadmap for SA but because it’s a good example of a country that completely screwed itself up and then turned around in how it was addressing it’s problems quicker than anyone thought possible. My suggestion there was meant to be that people be a little more optimistic that change can happen and stop focusing on the regrets they have in putting the ANC in power. It happened, it hasn’t worked, so what are you going to do about it? If the answer is complain, hide and ask for your own sovereign nation I know a few fascinating people I could introduce you to…

    How’s that for airy fairy.

  7. Once again Mr J, you make so much sense that I feel if I add something to it, I will de-grade you comment.

    Mr 6000,

    No, your statement “you choose to criticise those initiatives.” is not correct. Most problably my fault because my statement “blog-nonsense in which I find pleasure to show my lack of respect” does not refer to any of the initiatives you are referring to.

    Sufficient to say, as an Afrikaner+boer, I have first-hand knowledge of what we are up against, but once again, I feel I would lower the standard set by Mr J should I mention the objects of my disrespect.

    (And just to be clear, my disrespect is/was always aimed at what I have experienced in and with my small circle of white Afrikaner friends and family.)

  8. I actually think (possibly) we’re all in agreement here, we’re just coming at it from different sides.
    I would love JZ to show some more leadership. I would love there to be someone sensible to take over when JZ moves on. I would love Malema to shut up with his singing.
    Not because it has influenced ET’s murder, but because it is simply distasteful and divisive.
    I wish people would talk instead of fighting.

    But these are my wishes. They’re not reality.
    It’s unrealistic to expect these things to happen.

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