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Rian Malan South Africa: ‘Yes, I am paranoid’

Rian Malan to Sisonke Msimang: ‘Yes, I am paranoid’

“I have aspirations to kill white people, and this must be achieved!”


Rian Malan: A week ago today, a small town was burning and I was sitting at my desk, writing a story that opened thus: “I spent several days in Coligny, but let me start by admitting that my expertise is slender and my knowledge of what happened there full of gaping holes. On the other hand, history is accelerating at a frightening rate, and I fear that anything I have to say might be meaningless if I don’t say it now.” That paragraph didn’t make it into the final draft, which you can read here in its entirety.

(AFP)As you will see, my story notes that the case against two whites accused of beating 16-year-old Matlhomola Mosweu to death remains unproven, and goes on to dissect the rioting that followed from the perspective of its victims – local whites and Indians, or foreigner traders burned out of their shops in Coligny’s satellite township.

This inevitably offended readers who felt I’d paid scant attention to the grievances of the town’s black community. This is true, but then again, it was not my purpose to provide alibis for the rioters; many other journalists had done that already, and besides, I had another message to deliver, one that upset certain activists and intellectuals.

Writing in the Mail & Guardian, Wits Professor Nicky Falkof accuses me of reawakening “the slumbering troll of racial paranoia, the idea that ‘they’ are out to get us.” Another important response came from News24 columnist Sisonke Msimang, who says my account of the riot is “fiction,” fatally infected by my “deep anxieties” and “increasing paranoia.”

Mesdames, you are both absolutely right: I am paranoid, and I must thank you for moving this discussion to the terrain where it belongs – the national psyche in general, and my own state of mind in particular.

As I said in the opening stanza of a book that made me briefly famous, I am “one of them,” a white of approximately Afrikaans extraction and allergic to apologising about it, because what’s the point these days? The Rainbow Nation is dead, weakened by a long illness and put out of its misery by last year’s Fallist uprising, which confirmed the emergence of a virulent new strain of anti-white extremism in this country. Let’s listen to it:

“All whites are thieves.”

“I have aspirations to kill white people, and this must be achieved!”

“Hitler took white people and killed them. I love Adolf Hitler for that.”

“Whites are alien in South Africa.”

“I will call all whites and say, you are visitors to this country.”

“We’re not going to slaughter whites – for now. I am asking politely for the land to be returned. And if they don’t return it, I cannot guarantee what will happen.”

“We must now practice a degree of madness. Destroy the systems, capitalism, the neocolonial structure, burn the buildings, destroy the enemy.”

If you don’t recognise those quotes, feel free to Google the sources. And if you think they aren’t sinister, replace the term whites with “Jews” and see what they call to mind.

So yes, I am paranoid. Most mornings, I wake up feeling like a Jew trapped in Nazi Germany circa 1938, trying to convince myself that most Germans are nice people and that the extremists can’t possibly mean what they say. Some friends say, ah, stop worrying, it’s just demagogues angling desperately for support they won’t get. Others urge me to listen to dissenting voices like Thuli Madonsela’s, who is disturbed by the whiff of Hutuism in the air but stops short of predicting apocalypse. Finally, there is much solace to be found in opinion surveys which invariably show that the vast majority of black and white South Africans have no serious problems with one another and want above all for the races to work together.

These palliatives work for a while, but when blacks started burning white homes in Coligny, the darkness came crashing in again. I thought, it’s just a matter of time before the mob arrives on my own doorstep, best buy some mace and night vision goggles so I can at least see the black radicals coming for me. Msimang is right to say that I went to Coligny with a preconceived agenda, but it was not the one she imagines. I went there to confront demons, my own as well as the nation’s.

I was particularly keen to explore the link (if any) between extremist rhetoric and the summoning-up of a demonstration that soon lost its moral focus and degenerated into looting. In this I failed hopelessly. Couldn’t even identify the organisers of Coligny’s supposed slave revolt, let alone ask which political faction they answer to. So I came home to write an opinion piece highlighting aspects of the drama previously underplayed by journalists, and presenting some arguments that Falkof and Msimang found highly offensive.

They accuse me variously of trivialising Mosweu’s death, replicating apartheid tropes about white innocence and black savagery, and promoting a “politics of fear” that “polarises and isolates” and further inflames our already psychotic society. It’s strong stuff. You should read it. Some of it is fair comment, some less so, but at least we’re talking about the unspeakable instead of ignoring it.

Msimang’s contribution is particularly searing, and she really nails me towards the end. “This article is one in a long line of pieces Malan has authored that showcase both his gift for prose and his increasingly paranoid, bleak and analytically tepid thesis that South Africa is paradise lost; a ruined country where the inexorable slide towards Zimbabwe – that signifier of all the horrors of African independence – may soon be unstoppable.” She’s dead right. That’s exactly how I see things.

I could continue in this vein, but there is little point. Msimang and I are both to some extent in thrall to the dictates of our genes. Something in me yearns to believe white farmers who say Mosweu’s death was a tragic accident. A countervailing force compels Msimang to a different conclusion: “A black boy is dead. Coligny is racist. These are the facts.”

In this, she relies heavily on Shenaaz Jamal, a TimesLive reporter who exposed allegedly racist practices by some white shop-owners in Coligny’s business district. That’s another contested story but there’s no space for details here, so I’ll just note that Msimang is remiss in attributing Jamal’s alleged mistreatment to blackness, because Jamal is Indian. (Sorry to draw apartheid-era distinctions, but the new politics is reducing all of us to barbarism.) Soon as I heard that there were Indians in Coligny, I sought them out, thinking that since they were neither Boer nor black, their perceptions were less likely to be contaminated by blind loyalty to one side or the other.

If Jamal had done the same, she would have met Afrikaans-speaking Indians who said, “Ag, the Boers are okay,” or, “Never happened to me” – this in response to Jamal’s claims regarding separate queues for races at Coligny’s OK Supermarket. She might even have found herself taking tea with a dignified Muslim elder and his white Afrikaans wife, recently united in holy matrimony in their late seventies. If Coligny is really “trapped in an apartheid time-warp,” as Jamal claims, the plot surely called for this couple to be run out of town by white racists. Instead, they were set to flight by blacks who burned down their neighbour’s house.

Why am I telling you this? Just to underline a brutal irony. If Coligny was really an expression of inchoate rage against injustice and white racism, as my detractors claim, how come the vast majority of its victims were Asian?

That’s a detail that would have troubled Steve Biko whose BC philosophy was an important influence on my youth, much of it spent drinking with cynical black reporters in an unused office above The Star’s newsroom. Those okes were all BC, and they’d say stuff like, “Rian, you know what hell is? It’s a place where really bad Bantu are sent to spend eternity discussing cricket with whites like you.” Then we’d laugh and clink glasses. They’d never have admitted it, but I suspect that deep in their hearts, they sort of liked me. The same might even be true of Andile Mngxitama, the ultra-radical leader of Black First Land First. Last time I saw him, he said, “Rian, I like you, but I’m afraid we’ll have to kill you anyway,” or words to that effect. I said, “That’s okay, I quite understand.”

And I do. It must be unbearable for blacks to live with the fact that their household incomes are still one-fifth of the white average, 23 years into majority rule. But I think some politicians are selling a snake-oil solution. The primary cause of inequality in South Africa is rampant black unemployment, not white selfishness. Extremists who say otherwise put whites in an impossible position, damning us for inequality while at the same time denying us any chance of ameliorating it by creating jobs. I mean, what else are white capitalists good for?

Msimang and Falkof have misconstrued my concluding argument in this regard, so let me repeat it in slightly amended form. Brothers and comrades, burning the country to cleanse it of “whiteness” is not the wisest idea. We should rather follow the truly revolutionary path of Deng Tsaio Ping, who set forth in 1978 to “seek truth from facts” and deliver Communist China from its misery and backwardness. His first move was to free peasants from the yoke of collectivism and allow them to work in their own interest, which to say, if you worked harder and grew more tomatoes than lazy me, you were entitled to pocket the profits and spend them on your own family. This was the genesis of a peculiarly Chinese form of free enterprise. Four decades later, China’s economy is the world’s largest, and Chinese people have experienced a happiness explosion unparalleled in human history.

With discipline and courage, we could achieve something similar. I struggle to see how killing white farmers, engineers and scientists will help, but if extremists want to try, there is nothing I can do about it save utter a warning. My handle is @DeadWhiteMan2 and you have heard from me.

Rian Malan a writer who does not tweet. He tried it once found it impossible to say anything coherent in 140 characters & gave up

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

 – NEWS 24


Jim Rose Remembers Radio Monday May 15, 2017


May 15, 2017 [Monday] Issue #1616


CANCER TAKES LONGTIME DALLAS, TX NEWSCASTER Longtime Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX newscaster/reporter John Pendolino is born on April 9, 1953 in Massillon, OH. John is a 1971 graduate of Central Catholic High School. He gains a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from the University of Akron. John is on KLIF-1190/KPLX FM from 1985 to 1995, WBAP-820 from 1995-2013, Total Traffic, KLIF-570, plus, newscaster on KRLD-1080. On April 30, 2017 John Pendolino passes away at 64 from esophageal cancer in Arlington, TX .

IF YOU THINK THIS ISSUE OF JRRR IS WORTH READING…Please forward this entire issue to five of your friends and associates! To subscribe to Jim Rose Remembers Radio send your full Name, City, State and Country of residence plus email address to

MICHAEL TRAVELS LONESOME HIGHWAY LAST TIME From 1969-70, one of our favorite TV programs Then Came Bronson that stars Michael Parks as TV’s first easy rider, Jim Bronson, who quits his job and rides the highways looking for adventure on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Michael’s theme song Lonesome Highway makes #20 in Billboard. Michael Parks with more than a hundred film and TV roles for more than 50 years passes away at 77 on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA.

SEAWEED ENDS 44 YEARS IN THE BAY San Francisco Bay Area radio icon Steve Seaweed, a fixture on local airwaves for the last 20 years in middays on Cumulus Classic Rock KSAN FM (107.7 The Bone) San Francisco, CA retires after 44 years on the air. Steve’s final broadcast is Friday, June 30, 2017 from 10am-3pm PT. In 1972, Seaweed has his New Year’s Eve debut on KLRB FM (101.7) Carmel, CA. Steve’s voice appears on KRQR FM (97.3 ) San Francisco and KLLC FM (97.3) before he returns to KSAN FM for good in 1997.

PRO GUN TALK HOST’S SAFETY IN QUESTION Conservative pro gun radio Talk show host Dana Loesch, who also is a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, plans to do her show live in front of an audience at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, MO on May 19, 2017. But because anti gun protesters attack several Conservative speakers around the country in recent months, concerns for her safety forces her to now broadcast live from the local KSGF-1260/KSGF FM (104.1) studio without a live in person audience.

TRIVIA QUESTION: What is the longest tenure for an M.C. of a network entertainment program? The answer appears below.


•HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Beverly Bremers [Don’t Say You Don’t Remember #15-1972] March 10, 2017. •TERRI ANN SCHLESSER renews her contract as co-host of the Jason & Terri Ann Morning Show on iHeartMedia Soft AC KSOF FM (Soft Rock 98.9) Fresno-Dinuba, CA. •COREY FOLEY & MITCH ELLIOTT are new hosts of the Alpha Media Triple A KINK FM (101.9) Portland, OR morning drive show effective May 2, 2017. Foley is most recently on CBS Radio Country KILT FM (100.3 The Bull) Houston, TX.


•1954 KGLO TV (now KIMT) CBS CH 3 Mason City, IA 1st broadcast on May 15th. •1969 HEE HAW replaces controversial Smothers Brothers Show on CBS TV on June 15th. •1970 THE BEATLES’ last LP Let It Be releases in US on May 15th. •1980 ALABAMA’s single Tennessee River releases on RCA records on May 16th. •1994 ROYAL DANO character actor (Outlaw Josey Wales – 1976) dies of a heart attack at 71 on May 15th. •2013 ZAC BROWN BAND’s video Jump Right In debuts on May 17th on CMT TV. ‎‎


TOM ELLIS [Veteran WABC TV NYC & WBZ TV Boston, MA & KONO-860/KONO TV news anchor] (Boston-Cape Cod-East Sandwich, MA) Hi, Jim and Suzie, Your work keeps your mind sharp as a needle, and it’s work that you love doing. It’s work that we readers also love reading, so keep up the good work, Jim. Tom

WHERE DO YOU READ JRRR? Tell us how far away from Houston, TX that you read JRRR. Got a news tip or a question? Send your full Name, City, State and Country of residence to

DAVID HOUSE [Former Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Senior Editor] (Ft. Worth-North Richland Hills, TX)Subject: Carolyn Babin passed away. Jim, I received sad news that Carolyn Babin passed away Thursday, May 4. Thought you and your readers would want to know. Many may remember her. I understand that, at her request, there will be no funeral. She was a charming pistol. Very pretty, smart and vivacious. She was with stations in the Houston, Texas, and Shreveport, La., markets for many years before she retired in 1978. She left KCIJ in Shreveport in 1954 to work briefly in New Mexico then moved to Baytown, Texas, where she managed KRCT, then back to Shreveport and KCIJ then to KENT and KEEL there. She was Faron Young’s fiancé 1950-51. Broke off that ill-starred relationship then dated the Louisiana Hayride’s Tommy Trent for a while. Dated Elvis 1955-56 and was good friends with many country stars before marrying her husband, Frances. Carolyn and Frances have resided in Waskom, Texas, for many years. She was a friend of my mother’s (Jewell House) and was a great help as I researched mother’s career in country music to pull together God grant Carolyn rest and joy. David House – Freelance Writer Member: SPJ, SPJFW

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JIM STANFORD [Broadcast Engineering consultant Apr 1978–p] (Waco, TX) Call signs you may have heard of: KCBS / KRQR – SF, Ca. WCNN / WALR -Atlanta, WYLD AM FM New Orleans, WWFE (am) WRHC (am) Miami, WQUE AM FM New Orleans. These are all places I have either been Chief or staff engr or DE. My client list is way too long to be included here. It spans over 20 states And Mexico. The Miami stations are clients and have been for 20+ years. I am also the go to guy in engineering circles across the nation for questions on vintage transmitters as I have worked on most that are post WW II. Your history is much longer than mine and more colorful. I can tell stories all day. Warmest regards Jim

TRIVIA ANSWER: The Breakfast Club is a long-run morning variety show on NBC Blue Network/ABC radio (and briefly on television) originating in Chicago, IL with host Don McNeill from June 23, 1933 through December 27, 1968. McNeil’s 35½-year run as host remains the longest tenure for an M.C. of a network entertainment program, that surpasses Johnny Carson (29½ years) on The Tonight Show and Bob Barker (34⅔ years) on The Price is Right.

JASON WAYNE [ex KNOW-1490] (San Antonio, TX) Very interesting information as I am sure those were exciting days at KPCN (730). Any word about Bill Mack and health issues as I must think he might be close to 80 ? Maybe ? I was also wondering if you ever hear from Web Hunt, a long-timer at KQUE-FM, who did overnights until the format change to Mexican? KQUE-FM was a great station I enjoyed listening to I can only recall a few names from that time period…like Paul Berlin, Gary Hoffman, Mike Marshall, and afternoons with “Gary & Cindy”. I talked many times with Web Hunt until we lost contact after the format change, maybe some 20 years ago?

W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM (1874-1965) We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.

Jim Rose and Suzie
Houston, Texas – Laus Deo

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