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HuffPost South Africa Apology To AfriForum

AfriForum lodged a complaint with the Press Ombudsman, who found in its favour and directed HuffPost SA to apologise to the organisation.

13/09/2017 13:54 SAST | Updated 30/11/2017 15:40 SAST
Frennie Shivambu/ Gallo Images/ Getty Images
Tumi Morake.

HuffPost South Africa apologises to AfriForum for wrongly ascribing the alleged views and actions of Solidarity to the organisation.

In a blog post on 13 September 2017 under the headline "Tumi Morake: A Victim Of South Africa's 'Bell Pottinger'" we conflated the two organisations' actions and pronouncements on the Morake issue.

AfriForum lodged a complaint with the Press Ombudsman, who found in its favour and directed HuffPost SA to apologise to the organisation.

In particular, we wrongly said that AfriForum had attacked and vilified Morake for her views, and had called her a racist. This also included the alleged fanning of the Spur boycott, and the launching of a campaign against the new director of the ATKV.

AfriForum has denied waging a campaign against Morake on social media or that it planned to lay a complaint against her with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA). This was done by Solidarity.

HuffPost South Africa subscribes to the Press Code and subjects itself to the judgment of the ombudsman. The full finding can be read on www.presscouncil.org.za.

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AfriForum and Solidarity, the two Afrikaner-rights organisations headquartered in DF Malan Avenue in Pretoria, are now targeting Tumi Morake, one half of the presenting team on Jacaranda FM's popular breakfast show.

They are threatening to take her to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa over an analogy she drew between the effects of apartheid and how a schoolground bully reacts after being forced to make peace with their victim. They have also launched a campaign against her on social media and have penned a nasty editorial on one of their various websites.

Morake -– who presents the breakfast show with Martin Bester -– has since received numerous threats, including a direct message [DM] that says she must "go to the bush".

This is what Morake said, decoded:

"Apartheid was about the oppression of black people and after apartheid."

That's merely stating an obvious fact. Apartheid was the systemic and institutional subjugation of the majority of this country's citizens based on a range of race-based laws which deprived blacks of opportunities, freedom and choice.

"We were told in 1994 that we are all one, as opposed to going: 'You broke down a people on skin colour before you build them up, you are now saying they must just share with everybody and be friends with everybody."

The negotiated settlement that followed the tumultuous events of the early 1990s meant that both sides of the political divide had to make compromises. These compromises are now coming under pressure owing to pervading economic inequality that still manifests along racial lines. We hoped to get a rainbow nation, the reality is much different.

"It's like a child whose bicycle was taken forcefully away from him, and then you say to the bully: 'No, no no: share the bike, don't be like that.'"

The bully in this context –- white nationalists who ruled the country for decades –- was forced to "give back the bike", that is, give their fellow countrymen full political rights.

"Then the kid whose bike was taken from doesn't feel like there has been retribution because the bully wasn't punished and, on top of that, the bully is being rewarded because he still gets to share the bike even though he took it forcefully and enjoyed it..."

South Africans craved reconciliation after 1994 and many believed the political transition would be enough. But many black South Africans feel hard done by, and it's a national debate that everybody should engage in. The oppressors were by and large left in peace to continue with their lives. It was part of the compromise, but it riled many.

Nothing in what Morake said is racist or represents an attack on whites. In fact, it's clear that she is very much in tune with the national debate and involved in talking about questions that many South Africans are asking.

Solidarity and AfriForum, who have attacked and vilified Morake for her views, can quite easily be compared to Bell Pottinger, the disgraced British public relations firm. Like the Brits from London, the Afrikaner activists from Pretoria employ subtle and polished, but equally racially divisive tactics to get their message across. Bell Pottinger had #WhiteMonopolyCapital, Solidarity has #TattaTumi.

Both Solidarity and AfriForum –- flush with cash from donations and memberships –- run slick and smooth operations. This gives them a veneer of modernity. But they hark back to yesteryear when Afrikanerdom was ascendant and the only race that was talked about was whites.

They fanned the boycott of the restaurant chain Spur earlier this year after a white man was banned from returning to the restaurant after he was filmed abusing a black woman.

They have launched a campaign against the new director of the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging [Afrikaans Language and Cultural Association] because she wants to build bridges between Afrikaans and other languages.

And they maintained a vindictive boycott against Beeld newspaper after it exposed dubious initiation practices at North-West University in 2014.

All with the same subliminal message: whites are being marginalised, whites are under siege, whites need to get back into the laager. Solidarity and AfriForum thrive on ethnic mobilisation through fear and creating a victim complex. And now Morake is the target because she was "racist". Another opportunity to scare whites into joining the two sister organisations by creating false narratives.

On Solidarity's Facebook page the organisation's administrator thanked their supporters "for the overwhelming support" it received -– presumably after launching the campaign against Morake –- but reminded them not to counter "racism with racism" because it would hurt their arguments. Not "racism is wrong" or "racism is despicable" -– but don't do it because it undercuts our argument.

Further down on page one Petra Godfrey writes of the radio presenter: "I will never say sorry for something I never had part of. I don't break into blacks' homes and steal, murder and rape innocent people like my family was brutally murdered. I am an Afrikaner and if I came across her on the playground she would get the hiding of her life."

Solidarity's reply to the post? "Very sorry to hear about your family, Petra!"

Bell Pottinger would be impressed.