I can not identify with racist: Udo Froese
Posted: Saturday, August 27, 2005
Saturday, 27 August 2005; www.zimbabweherald.com
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Conversation with Caesar Zvayi
AT a time some misguided Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and some journalists at home are demonising the country for personal gain, there are non-Zimbabwean voices that choose to tell the truth simply because it is the truth.
One such voice belongs to South African business consultant, media columnist and independent political and socio-economic analyst, Udo W. Froese, who always tells the Zimbabwean story from a perspective some people either decide to reject or ignore for fear of recriminations from right wing forces. Today Udo speaks about his experiences, South Africa and Zimbabwe-South Africa relations among other issues.
Q: You are a white South African, who writes so passionately about African independence and black emancipation, what motivates you?
A: Having been born in the third generation of German colonial settler background into Africa, more precisely into Namibia, I was brought up knowing the difference between right and wrong, good manners and bad manners, kind and unkind.
My mother is very religious and brought us up according to her beliefs. Being of German background, we never had house helpers. I always believed that we Caucasians, who actually had conquered Africa and became wealthy from the new "continent-of-storage" for the international West's manufacturing industries, should be respectful, as we are mere guests! Biting the hand that supplies you (feeds you), is not only amoral, but un-Christian and uncivilised. Honestly, I feel very embarrassed and even ashamed, coming from such an alien people, who would do anything for their own greed, using the Judeo-Christian civilisation, calling all black Africans "pagans" and other more racist names, therefore, people of a lesser race. I cannot identify with that mindset. I also have no interest in "group escapism" of British sports — cricket and rugby — just to please and justify my personal and exclusive greed. May I take this opportunity to apologise sincerely for all the vicious racism and collective evil we, as white, Caucasian colonial imperialists have meted out to you, your land and your continent.
Q: You also do not make your admiration of President Robert Mugabe a secret, don't you face any problems in your business dealings because of your Pan-African stance?
A: In fact, I firmly believe in Afro-centricity and Pan-Africanism. My columns hopefully reflect my convictions. Africa has delivered great leaders, who had to continuously adapt to alien imperialism, based on a racist, petty-cash mentality with a huge negative and amoral mindset. Africa's revered leaders include His Excellency, Comrade President Robert Gabriel Mugabe; His Excellency, Comrade President Sam S. Nujoma; His Excellency, Comrade President Kwame Nkrumah; H.E. Cde President Agostinho Neto; H.E. Cde. President Samora Machel; H.E. Cde. Pri! me Minister Patrice Lumumba; H.E. Cde. President Jomo Kenyatta; Her Excellency, Comrade Winnie Mandela; Comrade Chris Hani, the list goes on. And it is not only political leaders from Africa, I also admire. Africa's warmth, never-ending forgiveness and endless and humane wisdom. You know, why I embrace Africanism, Pan-Africanism and Afro-centrity? It is humane. It is based on love and respect for your fellow human beings, it is fair! Many of those traits were ridiculed by the conquerors' brutalities such as slavery, colonialism, its natural predecessor of apartheid and UDI (Unilateral Declaration Of Independence) and today's international Western imperialism.
Can you imagine a reversed role in Europe and the USA, transferring laws, judiciaries, "civil society" (whatever that new post-modern creation means), "democracy and a free market economy" (merely a new coat for the old imperialist exploitation), freedom of media, freedom of expression etc. to their communities and doing it exclusively? I am sure we would have war.
So what, if it takes business away from me? I couldn't care less. In fact, I am proud to say that I have more often than not been marginalised. I am not a rich man, but I am not a mercenary either. My conscience is clean! My hands are clean! My children were not only born on this good continent; they are from an African mother! I am very proud of them.
Imagine we would all be eating in the same kitchen as the mercenary-media in South Africa and its hooligan armchair academics, church leaders and egotistical leaders of dubious "civil society" organisations. Where would this continent be?
Q: South Africa has adopted a policy of quiet diplomacy towards Harare, and has been attacked by the right wing media for that. What do you feel about the policy?
A: South Africa's President Mbeki and his government have very little else, they could do. It is therefore, realistic, pragmatic and hopefully, it will work out. Not only the right wing foreign-owned and foreign-controlled media based in South Africa, (has attacked it); but also the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and a host of opportunistic mercenaries, among them dubious academics and analysts. These have increased their public, fascist noise against not only President Mugabe and his Zanu-PF led Government, but against any Africa-focused leader critical of international Western neo-imperialism. Democracy is a mere figment of their imagination, cunningly used and abused, when it suits them. Add the HIV/Aids and NGO industries, and you have a new, alternative well resourced economy-of-propaganda. But they are only a front for those with vested interests on this continent.
Q: Is it true that there are two South Africas, one white and rich; and the other black and poor? How do you evaluate race relations in South Africa?
A: President Mbeki actually defined South Africa as a country with two people and two economies. Yes it is true! Did you know that Johannesburg's northern suburb, Sandton, is considered Africa's wealthiest living area? The occupants are mostly white, among them foreigners from Europe and the USA. Next door is one of the poorest suburbs, the blacks' only living area of Alexandra. There, children below the age of five are exposed to diseases like kwashiorkor and marasmus; both based on abject poverty and starvation.
Let us not be fooled --- getting rid of colonial-apartheid has actually set us whites free from international sanctions and isolation. Never has business been as good. However, very few, if any black South Africans have any form of access to the foreign, white owned and controlled economy. This economy is a very powerful constituency. The ANC-led government has in fact, been able to incorporate some blacks into the economy. There is also the programme of "affirmative action". Both are working. But, the economy remains exclusive, despite spreading its wings into Africa at a rate that would make the arch-conqueror, Cecil John Rhodes pink with envy. I am afraid that black South Africans are merely used as a tool to get what the real owners want — opening the doors to governments and government institutions in South Africa and the rest of Africa. It seems, the record of South Africa's industries expanding into Africa is not a fine one.
Q: The South African media has been touted as a model for the whole continent, how do you see it and do you feel it is the media the rest of the continent should have?
A: A model for whom and for what? Is it, because it is so well resourced? Is it, because it regularly insults this continent? Are we forgetting the advertising industry and its role? No! As I mentioned earlier in this interview, the South Africa-based media is foreign-owned and foreign-controlled with so-called experts in their field being used daily to aggressively and propagandistically campaign against Africa. Everything north of the Limpopo seems bad, riddled with hunger, starvation, HIV and Aids, ethnic and civil wars — an uncivilised continent. Everything south of the Limpopo smells of roses — African settlements happen in Sun City and five star luxury hotels in Tshwane (Pretoria), Johannesburg/Sandton, Cape Town and Durban. There is international golf, international summits etc. According to that alien media, South Africa now works. No wonder that some South Africans feel uncomfortable about being part of Africa.
We should not forget that SA's media was used during the colonial-apartheid era to condemn Africans as "communist terrorists".
In the early nineties, up to the first democratic elections, when the apartheid military machine, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB), launched one of its most vicious programmes of urban terrorism into the townships and over 40 000 black South Africans were mass slaughtered, the same media defined that brutality as "black-on-black violence," questioning, if blacks were ready for democracy.
This same media with the same ownership and its "house boys and girls" has now again turned its manufactured war on Africa, against President Mugabe, against former President Nujoma, against Winnie Mandela, Allan Boesak and Africa's so-called short-comings. Living in South Africa, it seems that Africa should be renamed to Zimbabwe. We read, hear and see in all our local newspapers and current affairs programmes nothing else, but what a "dictator and tyrant" President Mugabe is.
No, South Africa's print and electronic media is an abused instrument for propaganda, a weapon-of-mass-destruction. It is self-righteous, arrogant, self-censored, propagandistic and vicious, but not informative and definitely not African. The ownership has to change and ownership certainly means real financial ownership by black African South Africans. But, blacks in SA also have no money and no access to it.
Q: You read South African papers daily, yet you write for other papers outside South Africa, did you try to put your articles in the SA media as well?
A: I was published in a national Sunday newspaper, "City Press", which belongs to "Media 24" or "Na sionale Pers". But they sacked me overnight. Then I tried to have my columns published in the "Sunday World" and had some printed. This was short-lived too.
I was headhunted to co-host a current affairs programme on SABC-Africa. But, after three months, the contract was just not renewed. They have their own reasons. Ever since, I could not have anything published again. Friends in the print and electronic media tell me that I am defined as a "terrorist journalist", a "Mugabe apologist" and a "Winnie Mandela thug". Whatever that all means ... the racist colonial-apartheid mindset becomes vicious, when confronted with the truth, particularly, when one doesn't tow their line of international Western civilised propaganda.
Q: How does the "Zimbabwe" in the South African and Western media compare with the Zimbabwe you encounter during your visits?
A: There must be two Zimbabwes, as there are two South Africas. The real Zimbabwe is to my observation, peaceful, where not much happens every five hours. Of course, people struggle. And, it is working. The current economic hardships have been inflicted upon them by international financial, economic sanctions and certain local economic sabotage. The black majority suffers in South Africa too.
Q: South Africa is planning to advance a US$1 billion to Zimbabwe, amid so much opposition in the right wing media, yet this is not the first time Africans have bailed each other out, the ANC launched its offensive against apartheid from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Why do you think there is so much opposition to the loan?
A: Who opposes that loan? Is it not Tony Leon and his colonial-apartheid rooted "Democratic Alliance" (DA) and their cronies, their paymasters? Who owns the SA-based media? Who pays the NGO and church industries? Where do all those funds come from?
The media based in SA has to date actually failed to inform its clientele that the US$1billion is a loan, motivated by Washington and guaranteed by the IMF. According to your media reports and to my reliable information, President Mbeki was approached by a representative from the IMF, much to his surprise.
No, Zimbabweans should not be discouraged! H.E. President Mugabe and his Zanu-PF-led Government are very much respected on the ground in South Africa as real Africans! Don't be fooled by the vicious propaganda from this minuscule, xenophobic press.
Did you know that hardly 5 percent of South Africa's population actually read all daily, weekly and monthly printed matter? So why should you be bothered by white, racist and fascist apartheid hangovers? Focus on repairing your economy and know your friends. You have more than you think!
Q: As you said earlier, initially the loan was viewed as a South African initiative but it has since emerged that the US government approached South Africa to help Zimbabwe. How do you read the US move?
A: The international Western community and its fronts in this region are hell-bent to divide and rule, to split South Africa from the rest of the continent and use South Africa to discipline the rest. They also know, that it will be difficult to do that. But, as I mentioned earlier, the foreign owned and controlled economy in SA is a powerful constituency.
Q: The Jacob Zuma saga generated so much interest, and one can say the media lynched him, why was the South African media against him?
A: Why was the South Africa-based media against Winnie Mandela, against Chris Hani, against Allan Boesak, Peter Mokaba and Tony Yengeni? Why is that media against President Mugabe and President Nujoma? Does this media have any respect? What is its agenda?
Q: Is Zuma likely to affect the ANC and what are his chances in 2009?
A: The ANC deputy president's sacking and "investigation" has and still is affecting the ANC almost at all levels, but more so at leadership level. Personally, I don't think that Cde Jacob Zuma will stand a chance in 2009. All odds are against him.
Q: It is said South Africa is sitting on a worse time bomb than Zimbabwe, in terms of addressing colonial inequalities. What is your view of the South African situation?
A: Now you understand the brutal activities of the international Western community and its henchmen and women in this part of the world. Destabilisations to control ill-gotten gains (strategic raw materials) are important for the manufacturing industries of the G8. There is just no way out of the land question. It is becoming very urgent. People on the ground, the voters are indeed aware of their role, their rights and their situation. They are pushing for a change in ownership of land, the economy and judiciary. It could become very difficult to handle. The government would have to speed up its land resettlement programme with urgency. The extremely wealthy and the starving poor can never live together in peace.
Q: Finally Udo, the UN Security Council reforms, do you think the seats should be occupied permanently by individual countries or should it be on a rotational basis? If permanently who, between South Africa and Nigeria, do you think deserves the seat?
A: There is no question — the two UN Security seats envisaged for Africa have to be accepted on a rotational basis only. Are other African countries lesser countries than South Africa and Nigeria? If so on what basis? What about the "democratic order"?
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