Our cover story Prince of pot might be worth the telling simply because it’s so outrageous, but note that it follows a series of stories Noseweek has published about small-time landlords suffering serious harm at the hands of squatter tenants and some of the extraordinary laws they so easily exploit.
To understand why those laws need urgently to be amended, consider this: we as a society – our government – are unable to provide housing for our millions of indigent citizens who then occupy land to erect shacks. Yet we are happy to shift the burden on to individual citizens who happen to own property that they rent out – with a law that keeps a non-paying tenant in residence indefinitely.
To add insult to injury, the landlord is forced by other laws to continue paying the bond, electricity, water and rates. And we claim our laws are reasonable and fair?
I am sure readers have noticed how racist, puerile and generally offensive so much of the interaction is on our social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and the comment facility found below most news reports on the internet. The exchange (copied below) that I came across beneath IOL’s recent report on Bob Hewitt having been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for raping two minors more than 20 years ago, makes the point.
The focus of the very first comment is race. By the second comment we have left Hewitt’s case far behind, in favour of our preoccupation with race, gleefully recalling the 19th century Xhosa prophetess who wished all white men to be driven into the sea. So far, both commentators are (apparently) black. Now a white enters the fray, addressing “you racists” – also with no reference to Hewitt. Invigorated by having succeeded in provoking a white opponent, No. 1 Black delivers a neat “Like you”. At this stage, White No. 2 comes in with a jovial bit of puerile doos-abuse, launching a my-race-is-better-than-yours sparring match.
Civilised people might by now think this is getting really ugly and, in fact, a moderator appears to intervene to strike out a particularly offensive contribution – only to have the participants all complain: “That’s stupid because all of us on this forum are practically invisible, so we must be able to speak the truth as it is, I mean what harm is there?”
Maybe until now I’ve missed the point entirely. A younger generation of black South Africans are free and equal enough to roundly abuse their white contemporaries, while the whites learn to take as good as they have been used to dish out.
Might there be something to be said for this racist sparring? Let it all hang out; unburden yourself; confront your abuser and, hey, what’s more fun than a good wrestling match to let off steam? A sort of online sport. Maybe it’s another way of getting to know one another?
Let Noseweek know what you think of this (and other examples you may have come across).
That internet exchange in response to the Hewitt sentencing:
Lerato Lerato: Only 6 years because he is white
JveeSobukwe: bathathe Nongqawuse you are my hero today
Micky Summer: You racists have to stick together after all
JveeSobukwe: Like you… How does it feel to be on the other side
Jilly: you are such a DOOS. Johannesburg is the rapist capital of the world, how many whites are guilty of that?
JveeSobukwe: whatever… we will overcome, and soon
Jilly: you mean you haven’t? after 21 years?
JveeSobukwe: not at all... we are way behind... take note, the old man sold us out to you on a silver platter
Jilly: you never will you are not smart enough bwaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa There is no place for racists like you in the WORLD
JveeSobukwe: Are you sure?
Rogan Twort: Yes on every point
Onedtent: Overcame his shyness – 21 years before he plucked up the courage to comment on this forum…
Jilly: and now he makes a total twaat of himself, he does not believe in Democrazy
JveeSobukwe: its everybody for himself, with us africans, what do you expect
Rogan Twort: Not much
JveeSobukwe: yes baas
Witte Boer: You have the normal low standards we have become accustomed to
JveeSobukwe: it affects you, thats why
Jilly: and you are fugly bigtime
JveeSobukwe: these scumbags don’t learn
MO: if some1 flags your post it will be deleted when the moderator is online they dont read just delete… so its user censoring
Nongqawuse: that’s stupid because all of us on this forum are practically invisible and so we must be allowed to speak the truth as it is, I mean what harm is there?
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