by Dan Roodt
In a recent article in the Sunday Independent, Gillian Schutte mistakenly blames so-called “white conservative narratives” for the appalling sexual violence that is sweeping South Africa at present. As rape is notoriously underreported, most estimates put the number of such crimes at more than a million per year or approximately three thousand per day.
The macabre forms of dehumanising torture during farm murders provide another clue to the societal breakdown that is occurring in our country. Even calling it “our country” might be a malapropism in that Afrikaners like myself are no longer considered full citizens in an Afro-Saxon state that is slouching towards some incarnation of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or, better still, Charles Taylor’s Liberia. This week, Taylor’s conviction as a war criminal was confirmed by an international court, the first head of state to be jailed for such crimes committed in Sierra Leone while he was in office.
South Africa has become a sadists’ apocalypse. No amount of “reframing”, circumlocution or leftist pseudo-intellectualism can disguise it any longer. Nor can the seemingly desperate massaging of the crime statistics. In the age of social media, people communicate their horror and despair at being captives in this, our “paradise of cruelty”. Policing our language as in the cowardly attack upon Louise Mabille is a poor substitute for the lack of policing elsewhere.
As the twentieth century has shown, utopias are always dangerous, be they fascist or communist. Every utopia has turned into its mirror image, a dystopia replete with genocide. South Africa’s pursuit of a racial biopolitics known as “transformation”, as well as extreme forms of cultural relativism, have unleashed hitherto unknown social consequences. In the domain of sexual violence at least, the country has earned the dubious title of “rape capital of the world” and it regularly tops international murder tables too.
Understanding the causes of this immense violence, unknown in peacetime, represents a rare analytical challenge. None of the usual explanations actually fit. The same people denouncing “colonialism” are the most accomplished colonialists in their slavish subordination to US or British racial discourse and political correctness.
However, neither Britain nor America has absorbed any significant African cultural influence so it is of no use applying the sociology of New York or London to an outbreak of sadistic violence in Limpopo province. It is risible to see ostensibly educated people constantly blaming either “apartheid” or “poverty” for the horrors and cruelties afflicting this society.
The retreat of Afrikaner power in South Africa has been coterminous with the resurgence of African belief systems, including witchcraft and ritual murders. In the early nineties South Africa experienced hundreds of killings associated with witchcraft and occult beliefs, leading to the Commission of Inquiry into Witchcraft Violence and Ritual Murders. We still do not understand the role that occult beliefs played during the revolution, especially in establishing hegemonic black politics and racial nationalism. The necklace, that symbol of revolution, is pregnant with ethnographic and cultural meaning. There is also evidence that young “comrades” intimidated traditional healers to extract money from clients and that the accusation of being a witch was used to eliminate political opponents.
Mrs. Winnie Madikizala-Mandela, that international heroine and former wife of Nelson Mandela, subscribed to the Maoist doctrine – ‘kill one, scare a thousand’ – that support is gained through terror and horror. She notoriously stated in 1986:
…with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country.
Child and even baby rape is another ghastly phenomenon indicating that South Africa has navigated to a new, alien moral code. Stating that white men sometimes do it in some other country too, hardly mitigates the particular horror that it has assumed here.
The British Guardian ran an article on 12 March 2009 entitled, “Raped and killed for being a lesbian: South Africa ignores ‘corrective’ attacks“. The Guardian’s website contains an accompanying video interview with lesbian rape victims, as well as young black men who are outspoken in their support of “corrective rape”. One of them says:
Me, I have no time to rape them, but if there are some of the other guys who want to teach them the way, they must rape them, they must rock them.
But perhaps white conservatives are a bigger problem: they might go to church or caution their children against drugs and sexual promiscuity, which would undermine the libertine morals that so many have advocated for so long in South Africa. In Hillbrow, as recounted to me by a former policeman, young white female drug addicts are employed as prostitutes by Nigerian gangsters. When they are no longer useful to their pimps, they simply get injected with heroine and pushed off highrise buildings in what gets officially recorded by the police as “suicides”. In South Africa, the crime reality show is so much better than the fiction.
The country’s academics are all but ignoring the scourge of rape, including infant rape, judging from the paucity of published articles in the field. To some extent they have acculturated to the witch-hunting culture in persecuting dissidents in their own ranks. Otherwise they engage in repetitive denunciations of “patriarchy” as if there were still a father left somewhere that has not been killed.
South Africa’s “transformed” universities have been turned into the “armed brothels” Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn spoke about when he said:
Rousseau is the grandfather of the concentration camps and also of those armed brothels that we continue to call universities. We have with us on one hand the Old Left, a finished product of L’éducation sentimentale, with its bent for social engineering and its tendency to identify its own plans and policies with the volonté générale; on the other the New Left which has taken up the slogan Retournons à la nature! exemplified in the rabble of unwashed, unkempt, debauched, unbridled ignoble savages who look to the Third World of the underdeveloped for inspiration. Its heroes are Chairman Mao with his Little Red Book, Ché Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Holden Roberto, the Harlem criminals and the pistol-packing priests.*
That is why leftist university intellectuals find any form of criticism of traditional African culture to be inherently “racist” and eschew references to practices such as ukuthwala (the kidnapping and forced marriage of young maidens). Recent legislation has placed about 18 million black South Africans under so-called customary law in which such practices are legal.
Everybody in South Africa, whether white or black, fears a witch-hunt in some or other form. Especially the kind of witch-hunt whereby you are called a “racist”, lose your tenured university job and spend the rest of your life in ignominy. Therefore white academics are completely silent on ukuthwala or the so-called “virgin cleansing myth” if the professors do not actually deny in writing that such phenomena exist!
Here and there information filters through the iron curtain of political correctness. The only academic article worth reading on the “virgin cleansing myth” is that by Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala which appeared in The African Journal of AIDS Research in 2002 under the title, “On The Virgin Cleansing Myth: Gendered Bodies, AIDS and Ethnomedicine“. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the psycho-sexual paradigm in which, as she puts it, “virgin cleansing is believed to have both a therapeutic and a prophylactic effect” (against HIV-AIDS). Raping a child or a disabled person is therefore seen as a form of AIDS prevention or cure.
But even the virgin cleansing myth obliquely alluded to by Dr. Mabille in her critique of insipid Western feminism does not go far enough in explaining South Africa’s journey upriver into the heart of darkness. We really lack the concepts to understand the enormity of what we are faced with.
Much of what passes for analysis of sex and culture in South Africa consists of rehashed hippie or New Left thinking from 1960s America. Get liberated, man, is more or less the gist of it. Call it Marcuse on Durban Poison. Repression or any form of “holding back” is invariably seen as “bad”. But sometimes repression might be desirable, even imperative. Freud was old-fashioned enough to advocate a balance between the pleasure principle and the reality principle.
The old Afrikaner government, while encouraging African ethnic identities, saw fit to suppress witchcraft and ritual murder by making it a criminal offence. Prior to becoming the first president of a united South African republic, Charles Robberts Swart introduced the Suppression of Witchcraft Act 3 of 1957. To the principled cultural relativist, the act – which is still on the statute books – is an affront and he would probably agree with the Marquis de Sade that “morality is just geography misapplied”, meaning that a crime in one culture is a harmless pastime in another.
One could even argue that the very structure of the South African political system is tending towards sado-masochism. Last Sunday the new CEO of the liberal Institute of Race Relations, Dr Frans Cronjé, argued in Rapport that whites should assume a far more submissive role in South Africa, lest they expose themselves to some form of collective revenge during a Second Revolution. According to Cronjé, such a revolution will be
…a violent, racist and destructive transition from a reconciling democratic state to a hostile, black nationalist state… After the Second Revolution, white South Africans will lose their homes, their jobs and their businesses.
Apart from exhortations to submissiveness, white guilt and even “vows of silence” à la Samantha Vice of Rhodes University, South Africa’s academic sycophants contribute little to our grasp of contemporary violence. In this respect, French literature is more instructive. Sade’s amoral theory of nature, of course. But also his notion of the sovereignty of sexual instincts that should not be tamed by any man-made law or religious scruple.
The Marquis de Sade had a disciple in the surrealist author Georges Bataille who espoused a theory of “transgression”. He took an interest in violence, punishment and eroticism. Bataille also collected photographs of Chinese executions which included horrific torture.
South Africa’s army of sadists regularly commit acts that shock a weaker Eurocentric sensibility. At the same time they are creating a world without limits, revelling in a new-found innocence that to them must represent the perfect freedom, the sovereignty of Sade’s libertine who pursues excess in celebration of pristine nature, a nature that punishes the weak and rewards the strong. To impose one’s will on a woman is also a gift of nature to all men. As Sade writes in Philosophy in the Bedroom:
If then it becomes incontestable that we have received from Nature the right indiscriminately to express our wishes to all women, it likewise becomes incontestable that we have the right to compel their submission, not exclusively, for I should then be contradicting myself, but temporarily. It cannot be denied that we have the right to decree laws that compel woman to yield to the flames of him who would have her; violence itself being one of that right’s effects, we can employ it lawfully. Indeed! has Nature not proven that we have that right, by bestowing upon us the strength to bend women to our will?**
Human rights or even a puritanical code such as feminism is not incompatible with sadism. As Bataille would argue, morality is needed for transgression to take place.
Sylvia Plath wrote in her poem “Daddy” that “Every woman adores a Fascist”. She was wrong. Every woman adores a sadist. Especially if she happens to be a feminist.
* Erik van Kuehnelt-Leddihn. “The Western Dilemma: Calvin or Rousseau?” in Modern Age, Winter 1971, p. 55.
** The Marquis de Sade. The complete Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom and other writings, transl. RIchard Seaver and Austryn Wainhouse. New York: Grove Press, 1965, p. 319.