Of English moral hysteria and student pranks

South Africa is apparently experiencing another tedious outburst of moral outrage about an innocuous case of “blackface” put on by two women students at the University of Pretoria for a 21st-birthday party.

I try to keep the mass media at a safe distance and therefore do not listen to radio, watch TV or buy any newspapers. The internet is a more clinical way of accessing information without background shrieks, unless it is YouTube.  Yet, judging from responses on Twitter, there is some hullabaloo going on and the two students have now been “charged” by the university and will be subjected to a disciplinary hearing. They could face expulsion or some other form of punishment.

roodt_fbfotoSouth Africa has slid so far down into an abyss of sadism, crime, murder and rape that it seems entirely risible that anyone should care about how white students make up their faces at a fancy-dress party. Yet, as one of the zealous anti-racists in Johannesburg, Gillian Schutte, once intoned in desperation: “Where is the outrage?”

Indeed. We need outrage to distract us from our abject failure as a society and even the increasing signs of a failed state in what used to be called the “Republic of South Africa”. Hardened and jaded by armed robberies, shootings in broad daylight, car hijackings, murder and torture of farmers, endemic corruption and the highest incidence of rape on the planet, the average South African – black or white – could hardly care about the latest student prank in Pretoria.

Yet the media and academic elite, in their slavish imitation of American political correctness, have to have their outrage and moral hysteria. There is something particularly British about moral hysteria which I suppose one could trace back to the time of Cromwell’s puritanical rule and which Fleet Street still has on tap whenever the United Kingdom has to rally public opinion behind another BP or Shell oil war somewhere.

It is certainly ironic that these days British moral hysteria is often projected towards Russia where once the rigours of communist zeal held sway. I was surprised to learn that anti-Semitism in the USSR carried the death penalty. As I do not know any Russian, I could not tell you which words merited a bullet in the head. Were it not for the fact that the death penalty had been abolished in 1994, one could well imagine how “racism” or politically incorrect utterances might soon become a capital offence in South Africa.

Thus South Africa gets its propensity for anti-racist outbursts from both Britain and the ex-USSR where many of the post-1994 leadership spent their formative years. Also, the Marxist-Leninism of the USSR has migrated to the USA in the form of so-called “cultural Marxism” which is the staple at most American universities, slavishly imitated by our local campuses. As Paul Craig Roberts put it recently in one of his sharply-worded commentaries on US-UK war-mongering:

If we are honest and have the strength to face reality, we will realize that the Soviet Union did not collapse. It simply moved, along with Mao and Pol Pot, to Washington and London.

In 1934 or so, shortly before the University of Pretoria completely abolished tuition in English in favour of Afrikaans, a Union Jack was burnt in front of the Old Arts Building by a young poet, WJP Erlank, who wrote under the pen name Eitemal. The English press was outraged, leading to his expulsion as a student but he instantly became an Afrikaner hero.

How the tables have been turned! It is certainly indicative of Afrikaner powerlessness that an English-speaking student, Thorne Godinho of the liberal DA’s youth movement DASO on the campus, was able to engineer the current outburst by publishing the photograph of the two Afrikaans girls dressed up as black servants on Facebook and get the university to punish them. If you want to know the meaning of “kowtow”, just watch today’s Afrikaans university administrators in action.

In more senses than one, Afrikaners find themselves completely at the mercy of latter-day zealots who are endlessly beating their quasi-religious precepts about race and racism into them. The slightest semantic or symbolic deviation is immediately punished and the guilty ones pilloried or subjected to a witch-hunt that will ruin their careers or “shame” them for years to come. It was the case during the so-called “Reitz 4” incident, as well as earlier this year during the photographing of a women’s residence initiation ceremony in Potchefstroom where for one split second and from a certain angle it could resemble a Nazi salute. Now the University of Pretoria is experiencing the same spate of orchestrated “outrage”.

Mr. Ponty Thuynsma, 76, in hospital. Photo: Lisa Hnatowicz, Beeld
Mr Ponty Thuynsma, 76, in hospital. Photo: Lisa Hnatowicz, Beeld

Over the past few days an elderly Afrikaner, Koos Jonker, was literally beaten to death by blacks near Ellisras. In a separate incident, Mr. Ponty Thuynsma was tortured with a hot iron and made to drink petrol in his home east of Pretoria. Thuynsma had to be admitted to the intensive care unit of the Wilgers hospital (see picture). However, these murderous, sadistic incidents pale into insignificance next to purely linguistic or symbolic transgressions of the dominant anti-racist theology committed by Afrikaans students.

In the USA, African Americans have been endowed with a special “minority” status akin to a sacerdotal class with special privileges protecting them against public criticism. As a special caste they also need to be treated with above-average respect. All of this dogma has been imported who