Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Apartheid, More 1986 Unrest.

Fraser, still temping at Briardene, rented his house to tenants. Fraser slept in the khaya, using mom's caravan as a spare room. His tenants' North Beach restaurant failed, near where the old Cuban Hat had been. Fraser left his phone connected for tenants to use, provided they paid the phone bill. They didn't. Fraser got demand letters from Telkom. Fraser argued with a male tenant, shoved him away and stomped the phone. "Pay your phone bill!" said Fraser. He then got letters from the tenants' lawyers, accusing Fraser of assault: forbidding Fraser disturbing his tenants' peace.

A tenant restored mom's mouse-in-the-cats'-cream oil painting, then asked me for it. I said, "No!"

Unrest: Rent and consumer boycotts and township wars continued, stirred up by ANC / UDF. Hostel dwellers killed hostel dwellers and township residents. ANC Comrades killed Zulu Vigilantes: Vigilantes killed Comrades. Necklacing continued. SAP and SADF, patrolling townships, were accused of siding with Zulus killing ANC blacks.

Natal: Black-on-black killing in rural areas like Tugela Ferry and Mpumalanga. Hugh told me white NED inspectors were forbidden driving through Tugela Ferry, as the Zulu area was dangerous. Mpumalanga kraals I'd trudged past as a troopie were torched, and refugees fled KwaZulu to 'Maritzburg and Durban.

On our Cape Town and Durbs treks, cops at roadblocks waved us whiteys through, and harassed other skin-colours. We drove past coloured townships alongside the Orange River. At night, we passed Upington townships, their lights like welders' fire-splashes... On N7 freeway, SAP Pampoen stopped us while searching for terrorists... At a Port Nolloth roadblock, a coloured cop clucked, "Hier's 'n fout." Our third-party insurance had expired...

Alwyn and Pampoen hung SADF posters in Kleinzee supermarket, ordering all conscripts and "Old Men's Army" reserve-conscripts, like me, to report to Pampoen's cop-shop. Kleinzee till then had been a hideaway for dodgers and conscientious objectors. I hadn't heard from Durban North Command for seven years: not having sent them forwarding addresses. I didn't intend doing Springbok Command camps with Alwyn, but I soon received SADF letters from Springbok Command. I didn't approve of Alwyn's and Pampoen's intelligence methods, but they did me a favour, as my Commando record went from KwaZulu-Natal slaughter to Namaqualand healing sands.

Unrest: During apartheid, 3.5 million blacks were forcibly moved from their lands to reserves and homelands. (Fergal Keane, The Bondage of Fear, A Journey Through the Last White Empire, Penguin UK, London, Viking, 1994). During States-of-Terror, thousands of black youths were gaoled and tortured with beatings, sleep deprivation, partial suffocation with wet bags over their heads, electric shocks, standing on bricks, and other tortures. (Ibid Keane). The legacy of Verwoerd's crappy Bantu Education was outcast youths roaming streets: then detention.

Tens of thousands of black adults went on strikes; were sjambokked; tear-gassed; shot; arrested; tortured. White businesses were boycotted. Black businesses, homes, schools, churches, community halls, clinics, buses were torched and petrol-bombed. (Rian Malan, My Traitor's Heart, The Bodley Head, London, 1990).

John Allen (Editor), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Rainbow People of God, Bantam, London, 1995, said: "Detainees' Parents Support Committee estimates 25000 people were detained under emergency regulations between June and December 1986. The Institute of Race relations reported that 1300 people died in political violence." Political violence and criminal violence were indistinguishable. Many so-called criminals became criminals because of apartheid, like pass law infractions, or drug peddling crimes, like growing dagga to survive, while cops and troopies quelled township violence.

We'd birthed Jake into a welder-world of fire-splashing violence, of purple-hot, iron-fusing murders, yet Kleinzee was safe. Media photos of people destroying property, or dancing around fire-splashed corpses, showed joy on attackers' faces.

While a teenager, holidaying near Caledon Poort, I'd stoned every window in a deserted farmhouse - exhilarating. Had I done that two decades later, I would've played Activist.

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