Botha Yearns Apartheid Era

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At 90, apartheid-era South African dictator P. W. Botha is still crowing contemptuous and patently offensive statements which shows that the old man of apartheid policies is an unrepentant trapped in the psychological strictures of his racism.

In a recent interview, it’s clear it has not dawned on him that the days of “baasskop,� or “massa� are long gone. Botha just like Zimbabwe’s, Ian Smith, who is still a Rhodesian to the core, believes in white supremacy. He pours cold water on the hand of reconciliation extended to him by Blacks when South Africa held its first democratic election in 1994.

In the filmed interview which has been snubbed by a string of radio and television networks, this relic of the past said he did not regret a moment of his decades in power and he denies Blacks were considered inferior under white minority rule. Botha claims South Africa would be “in the drain� by now if Blacks had gained power in the 1960s. The siege mentality of his National Party was the major obstacle to change for decades.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) refused to air the interview which was launched on DVD by a commercial production company recently. Pay television channel M-Net turned down an interview with Botha and E-tv also decided against broadcasting the interview to coincide with Botha’s 90th birthday.

Asked what would have happened if the Black majority had taken control in 1948, the year the National Party came to power, or during the 1960s when most African countries won their independence, Botha declared, “I think by this time we would have been in the drain already.� Asked if white South Africans were racist at heart during the apartheid era, he responded, “Yes, some of our people were and some of them still are.� Asked whether he had read the best-selling autobiography of Nelson Mandela, “Long Walk to Freedom,� and what he thought of it, Botha said, “I don't think it’s one of the best books in the world.�

Once feared as the “Great Crocodile,� Botha is rubbing salt in the wounds of Blacks who were exploited ruthlessly for many centuries to sustain white South Africa, Europe and America.

Many Africans and people allover the world, can’t forget that it was Botha who unleashed the full force of state-sponsored oppression and a vicious onslaught on internal and external forces seeking to bring down apartheid. South Africa under President Thabo Mbeki has done extremely well and in 2005 registered a whopping 5.1% economic growth, ushering a significant growth of a Black middle class. Mbeki’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) program seeks to transfer 25% of the economy to Blacks by 2015.

Botha should spend whatever time he has left here, before he goes to the hot spot, thanking every Black person he comes across for sustaining him and his kith and kin at no cost to them. He has yet to pay for the heinous crimes and injustices he perpetrated against blacks inside South Africa and across the “Frontline States,� such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia and Tanzania.

Whites still control a major share of the economy; 12% of whites control 90% of the wealth on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. If Botha had his way it would still be 100% control.

Botha was a vile autocrat. “Pretoria has been made by the white mind for the white man,� he once declared in a speech to his cabinet. “We are not obliged even the least to try to prove to anybody and to the Blacks that we are superior people. We have demonstrated that to the Blacks in a thousand and one ways…

Intellectually, we are superior to the Blacks, that has been proven beyond reasonable doubt over the years.�

He also boasted that their kith and kin allover the world would never abandon them, adding in that speech: “It is comforting to know that behind the scenes, Europe, America, Canada, Australia and all others are behind us in spite of what they say. For diplomatic relations, we all know what language should be used and where. To prove my point, comrades, does anyone of you know a white country without an investment or interest in South Africa? Who buys our gold? Who buys our diamonds? Who trades with us? Who is helping us develop the nuclear weapons?

The very truth is that we are their people and they are our people. It's a big secret. The strength of our economy is backed by America, Britain, Germany. It is our strong conviction, therefore, that the Black is the raw material for the white man. So brothers and sisters, let us join hands together to fight against this Black devil. I appeal to all Afrikaners to come out with any creative means of fighting this war.�
For good measure, he surmised, “By now every one of us has seen it practically that Blacks cannot rule themselves. Give them guns and they will kill each other. They are good in nothing else but making noise, dancing, marrying many wives and indulging in sex. Let us all accept that the Black man is symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness and emotional incompetence. Isn't it plausible therefore that the white man is created to rule the Black man? Come to think of what would happen one day if you woke up and on the throne sat a Kaffir! Can you imagine what would happen to our women? Does anyone of you believe that the Black can rule this country? Hence we have good reasons to let them all—the Mandelas, rot in prison and I think we should be commended for having kept them alive in spite of what we have at hand with which to finish them off…�

Tsiko is The Black Star News’s Southern Africa correspondent based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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