'Whites have reason to moan'

2010-05-16 10:09

Marlene Malan and Anastasia de Vries

Cape Town – Writer and musician Rian Malan and writer and poet Antjie Krog were involved in a heated discussion at the Franschhoek Literary Festival over the weekend.
“I’m not disillusioned, I’m fucking furious! All I see is darkness,” said Malan after the discussion where Krog tackled him and other whites in South Africa who sat on the sidelines and "only complain and don’t get involved in solutions".

Malan and writers Imraan Coovadia and Mandla Langa were panel members of the discussion “Writing on the Wall” on Friday. The discussion was about SA’s future after the 2010 World Cup and was led by journalist Christi van der Westhuizen. She admitted on Sunday it was a “heated debate”.

Krog was furious after Malan said SA didn’t have the ability to solve its problems.


“I said whites had reason to complain. White people feel irrelevant, impotent. We complain, but nobody listens. And if we complain, we are called racists or we have to hear: How dare you! You are white!” Malan said.

He said he had to pay tax but got nothing in return. He also said there were many in the ANC who didn’t agree with the way the country was run but they were too scared to open their mouths.

Krog said on Saturday she had said it was problematic if a person had become so entrenched in privilege, as everyone who was sitting in beautiful Franschhoek was, telling one another how the country was going down the drain, then washing their hands of it and moving on to a nice wine tasting.

“It is the height of privilege to enjoy the benefits during apartheid and now, under the new dispensation to still enjoy all the benefits PLUS blame everything that is wrong on other people.”

“If Jacob Zuma had only four years of schooling before he went to Robben Island; whose fault is that?”

Van der Westhuizen said it had been a debate about white identity and “about what it meant to be white. It was a constructive discussion.”