Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saki Macozoma, BEE, Brenda Schahmann, Cosatu, Port Elizabeth, Anton Momberg

For a small coterie of conveniently connected comrades, the advent of democracy in SA brought wealth beyond their dreams. One of them was Saki Macozoma. I took a little dig at him in the Sunday Times in 2004. This post also carries an art crit I did for the Herald, Port Elizabeth, which ruffled a few sanctimonious academic feathers. I again tried to encourage Cosatu to split from the ANC and criticised plans to ditch the name, Port Elizabeth. Finally, there is a review of an exhibition by scultpor Anton Momberg.

My letter criticising Saki Macozoma led the page on October 17, 2004, in the Sunday Times. I see there was also a letter of support for David Bullard. We all know what became of him a few years later. (Please click on the text to see it larger.)

I printed out my original on Saki. This shows how editing can change the nuances of a letter.

The first part of my review of Through the Looking Glass, an exhibition curated by Brenda Schmahmann, professor of fine art at Rhodes University. The piece continues below. Imagine my surprise, a few months later, to find a lengthy personal attack on me by this academic in the pages of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum's newsletter. Re-reading this, I think what probably most irked her was that it was wittily written and maybe just a little too close to the truth. I've mislaid her attack on me, and my response, but hope to uncover them soon. Please watch this space.

The concluding part of my review of the Through the Looking Glass exhibition.

I hoped, against hope, that the fact that Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi and a few of his mates were booted out of Mugabe's Zimbabwe dictatorship might lead to some sort of split within the ANC-led alliance. Seems the split, if it is to be, will instead be led by Julius Malema.

Mkhuseli Jack again got up my nose with his clamour for Port Elizabeth to lose its name. This is the top part of the article, which concludes below. It was published in the Herald on November 4, 2004.

The conclusion of the name-change article.

A review of Anton Momberg's exhibition. I remember the wonderful job he did in the early 1990s restoring and cleaning the marble statue of Queen Victoria outside the Main Library in Port Elizabeth.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Global rock legends, Pollok Beach, Esme Goosen, Mara Sapera

I am an unashamed advocate of the view that the music of the 1960s and 1970s, when I was growing up, was so ground-breaking that groups subsequently have battled to make an impact in the wake of what happened in those decades. I wrote an A-Z of the best musos of that period and it is posted here. Also in 2004, I wrote condemning a plan to put a conference centre at Port Elizabeth's Pollok Beach. There are also a couple of art reviews I had published in the Herald.

This article on the greatest musicians of the 1960s and 1970s filled a page of TGIF, the Herald's Friday supplement, on August 27, 2004. It continues in two parts below - but read the U and V sections now as they aren't repeated. (To see the print larger, please click on the text.)

The second part of my piece on the greatest musos of our time.

The final part of my piece on the greatest musos (remember U and V are in the first take). Subsequent to this article I started the mammoth task of compiling a blog about the musicians listed here. I've got pretty damn far and you can read it at

My piece on the conference centre plan, which appeared on August 31, 2004.

I got some support for my article on the musicians.

This letter, also in the Herald, appeared on September 6, in response to a debate on affirmative action covered in the previous posting.

The wonders of the steam age! I got backing for my views on the conference centre in this letter from Brazil, thanks no doubt to the online edition of the Herald.

My review of an exhibition featuring top PE artists Esme Goosen, Stephanie Liebetrau and Andre Dalton, which appeared on October 6, 2004.

My review of an exhibition by Mara Sapera, which appeared on October 14.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zimbabwe, wealth creation, affirmative action, Kathryn Smith, Michael Hartnack

It is the latter half of 2004 and Zimbabwe continues to go through hell thanks to Mugabe's regime. I had another go at the dictator in the Herald at the time. Another issue which raised a fair amount of debate was affirmative action. This segment also includes a review of a book about wealth creation, a critique of an art exhibition by Kathryn Smith, and an article on Zim by Michael Hartnack.

My article on Zimbabwe, which appeared in the Herald, Port Elizabeth, on July 17, 2004. (Please click on the text to see it larger.)

My review of Seeds of Wealth, by Henry Hobhouse, which appeared in the Herald on July 28, 2004. ANC supporters should take some pointers on just how wealth is created.

This piece on affirmative action, published on August 5, 2004, stirred up the proverbial hornets' nest. It concludes below.

The last part of my piece on affirmative action.

My review of an exhibition by Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Kathryn Smith.

These letters were published in response to my piece on affirmative action.

The Herald also ran this piece on affirmative action by University of Port Elizabeth (now NMMU) academic Prof David Rosenberg.

An unexpected attack from a white man in Cape Town, Waldo Muller.

Then a couple of volleys from some supporters, including a former Evening Post senior editor, Graham Etherington. Interesting, too, is the letter on the left, from Athol Fugard's sister, Glenda. I wonder if she ever had any joy with her request?

My views on Zimbabwe under fire from the left.

Ironically, on the same day the above letter appeared, this article by correspondent Michael Hartnack was run just below it on the page. I trust the letter-writer read it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Janet Cherry, Glen Goosen, Bernice Wright, Robert Brooks, Bruce Woolard, Zapiro

I stirred up a veritable hornets' nest in 2004 with an article in the Herald, Port Elizabeth, exposing what I saw as the hypocrisy of activists protesting about the situation in the Middle East while remaining volubly mum about the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe, not to mention at home with Mbeki's Aids denialism. This section also includes a little letter to the Sunday Times criticising the cartoonist, Zapiro.

My swipe at Port Elizabeth activists Janet Cherry and Glen Goosen, both of whom were prominent anti-apartheid campaigners in the 1980s and about whom I wrote extensively as a reporter. They seemed to have forgotten that charity begins at home. This appeared on June 10, 2004. It concludes below. (Please click on the text to read it in larger format.)

The concluding part of my piece on Janet Cherry and Glen Goosen.

I was happy to get support from Bernice Wright, whose letter appeared on June 17.

Then came the inevitable backlash, as Goosen and Cherry responded to my piece on June 18. Their article concludes below.

The rest of the Cherry/Goosen article.

Former Rhodes fine arts prof Robert Brooks gave me a welcome boost in a letter from June 21, 2004, which was mainly about my former editor, Derek Smith.

Another letter-writer, Bruce Woolard, took up the cudgels on my behalf on June 23.

I had a little jab at Zapiro in the Sunday Times of July 4, 2004.

This response followed on July 11.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Desmond Tutu, Tossie Theron, football in schools, Zim sanctions, Gillian Slovo, Amy Chua

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been in the news of late, calling on whites to pay a reparations tax for apartheid. Back in 2004 I took him to task, in a book review published in the Herald, Port Elizabeth, for failing to address the festering sore of Zimbabwe on his doorstep. This batch of writings includes a review of an art exhibition, a feature on getting football into former white schools, a review of a book on sanctions against Mugabe's regime, a little dig at Gillian Slovo and a review of a book that puts into perspective the sort of change happening in South Africa.

In this review of Desmond Tutu's God Has A Dream, published on May 12, 2004, I ask a few awkward questions of a man known for his moral courage. Where, I wondered, was that courage when it came to Mugabe? The article concludes below. (Please click on the text to see it larger.)

The last part of my piece on Desmond Tutu's book.

A review of an art exhibition with a very political object or two from Anton Brink, published on May 24, 2004.

With two sons in primary school and the World Cup coming to South Africa in 2010, back in 2004 I campaigned for soccer to be introduced in former Model C schools. My sons' school eventually did so, which no doubt impacted on rugby. But rugby, really, is not suited to primary school because there is such a vast disparity in the size of the boys, with some virtually fully grown by 13 and others still tiny. This appeared in the Herald on May 24.

My review of New Tools for Reform and Stability, a book from the SA Institute of International Affairs, was published on May 26, 2004. It concludes below.

The concluding part of my review. "Inspired" by images such as this, of Mbeki hugging Mugabe, I did a series of artworks at the time incorporating press photographs showing how readily Mbeki was prepared to be compromised by the Zimbabwe tyrant. When will the Arab Spring go African and reach down to that beautiful country?

I managed to get this little dig at Joe Slovo's daughter, Gillian, into the Sunday Times's Lifestyle supplement on June 6, 2004.

Amy Chua made headlines a few years ago for her views on why Asian parents turned out such high-achieving children. In her book, World on Fire, she tackles the tricky problem of how to manage change in countries with economically dominant minorities, like South Africa. The piece, which was published in the Herald on June 9, 2004, concludes below.

The last section of my review of World on Fire.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Drum Magazine, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Iraq, Mike Xego, Mkhuseli Jack, Nceba Faku, Anton Brink, Aziz Pahad

I've been labelled all manner of things, but this posting will show you I am, if anything, a chameleon. I go from lauding the anti-apartheid journalists of Drum Magazine in the 1950s to slamming the ANC. There are also a couple of art reviews in the mix.

The first part of my review of The Drum Decade, Stories from the 1950s, by Michael Chapman, which appeared in the Herald, Port Elizabeth, on April 7, 2004. It continues below. (Please click on the text to see it larger.)

The concluding art of my piece on the Drum book.

I continued to beat the Zim drum, as the situation got ever worse. This was run in the Herald on April 12, 2004.

Even the Rwanda genocide was somehow twisted to make it appear the West was at fault. This letter was run on April 13, 2004.

I continued to take the broader view on the war in Iraq. This appeared on April 19.

I reported extensively on the UDF-led uprising of the 1980s, and one of those at the forefront was Mike Xego. But by 2004, and now a city councillor in Port Elizabeth, Mike was revealing a vehement dislike for anything that reminded him of the city's colonial past. This appeared on April 20. His views inspired a short novel I wrote soon after, called Azanian Apocalypse, which can be read online at:

Amidst the political madness, some light relief at the art gallery.

Another of those I helped make famous, if you like, during the 1980s was Mkhuseli Jack. Khusta was head of the PE Youth Congress and led the UDF's consumer boycott committee which put immense pressure on businesses to confront the government over apartheid. Khusta has recently jumped ship to Cope. Who knows, maybe one day we'll see eye to eye.

A question mark still hangs over the dealings of then PE mayor Nceba Faku. Here I tackled one issue affecting him.

The Sunday Times still provided the best forum for intellectual debate. I loved tackling the supposed boffins, like Prof Malegapuru Makgoba, as I did here, along with others, on May 2, 2005.

Several people jumped to Mr Faku's defence in the Herald of May 3.

Anton Brink is a talented Grahamstown artist who will, I'm afraid, always live in the shadow of his famous dad, Andre.

The smug face of Aziz Pahad is hard to erase from one's mind. This letter appeared on May 9, 2004, in the Sunday Times.