As Mark Boucher’s day of reckoning – his CSA disciplinary hearing – draws closer, those who support him are trying to show that one of the charges he faces, calling the Proteas left-arm spinner, Paul Adams, ‘brown shit’, is not serious.
This bout of name-calling in the 1990s, was a time racist comments were being thrown around like the excrement that still came out of the mouths of members of sports teams.
On Sunday, the Afrikaans weekly, Rapport, went full tilt, claiming Adams, in turn, had called Boucher: ‘A wit naai….
Let’s not translate this because in Cape Town most people probably know what it is.
I support Adams.
In the early- or middle-1990s – Adams won his first cap for the Proteas in 1994 – power was still firmly in the hands (as indeed it still is now) of white South Africans.
Boucher and any of the other white members of the Proteas would not have been hurt had they been called any racist name – in a show of tit-for-tat.
White South Africans still owned everything worth owning in this country (as indeed they still own it now) – from land to jobs to houses to businesses – and rights as to who played for the Proteas.
Many thought that what they had was unearned – and so, they were spoken about in less than flattering terms.
Black players – the few who were selected for the Proteas – did not even earn the same as white players.
Rapport needs to be reminded about its history.
‘White naai’ doesn’t come close to how it used to support the apartheid National Party in their cruel, heartless treatment of South Africa’s black, voteless masses.
Let me quote from one of its own, a former Nasionale Pers stalwart, Tim du Plessis. And I’m going to touch on just one aspect of the company’s attitude: its relationship with the TRC.
It didn’t have a relationship – where it should have counted.
According to Du Plessis: ‘Coverage of the TRC’s proceedings was extensive and generally fair. Many readers of the Afrikaans newspapers despised the TRC and its chairperson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but they read the stories about the atrocities, the death squads, and other abuses of the apartheid era.
But here’s the thing….
Du Plessis wrote that most Afrikaans newspapers were critical of the TRC, none more so than Die Burger and RAPPORT.
‘They accused the TRC in emotional language of a lack of balance and of severe prejudice against the Afrikaners and their institutions,’ he wrote. And he added: ‘On the editorial pages, the Commission was scathingly referred to as “Tutu se bieg en liegkommissie” (Tutu’s Commission of confessing and lying)’.
The way I see it is that they did not believe most of the traumatic stories that emerged at the commission
And there’s more.
In September 1997, the TRC invited media and media companies to testify at special TRC hearings on the role the media and media companies played in the period it was investigating.
How do you think Nasionale Pers responded?
They refused. They said, ‘No!’
And that’s not all….
They chose, instead, to hand the TRC two published books, which extensively documented the ‘history of the company over nearly nine decades, as well as a written submission on the origins and nature of the relationship between Naspers and the NP’.
Individual journalists were eventually given permission to testify, which they did, and which the company criticised them for.
Think about this….
Should we care much now for a newspaper that wants to spread a message of ‘Holier than Thou.’
I don’t think so. Not with its record….