South African Archbishop Emeritus of the Anglican Church of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Mpilo Tutu has died at the age of 90, South Africa's acting President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in Cape Town this morning.
Tutu was one of the icons of the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s, which worked to desegregate South Africa. Many South Africans of all skin colours owe their lives to him, who had an incomparable sense of humour. Together with Mandela, he achieved this goal, the abolition of apartheid.
Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his fight for human rights.
Born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, in what was then the Transvaal, Tutu initially studied to be a teacher, but turned to theology after the Bantu Education Act (Wet op Bantoe-onderwys), 1953.
In later years, at Mandela's request, he chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 1996, which dealt with the crimes of apartheid.
After IOL South Africa wrote about this excellent book, we didn't want to wait to ask the author for his own presentation.
The book is a prime example of modern South African literature, which is otherwise entirely unknown worldwide.
Van der Merwe describes the life of homosexuality in an almost loving way.
Thirty years after the end of Apartheid he leaves a figurehead for the path of the following South African literature, which finally says goodbye to the ghosts of the past and sets off into a time that critically deals with modernity. It describes the path of real South African art.
My book titled: JUMPING OVER THE RAINBOW by Ronnie Van der Merwe is my debut book.
It was released this year March 2020 and I have self- published it. I will describe it as; short, compact and interesting. Holding a book in my hand written by myself has always been a long-time dream of mine. Dreams were made to be realized and I decided to go ahead and do just. My motto in life is: We create our own experiences. I wanted to be an author, so I created that reality.
On the back cover of my book I wrote: A rainbow is synonymous with bravery, brightness, brilliance and vibrancy. In the bible it is a symbol of God’s faithfulness and mercy. My short memoir of only 41 pages is about my journey to self- acceptance and freedom. In my short memoir I write about how I had to go on an overseas trip to get the courage to accept myself and become comfortable in my own skin. However, this was not done deliberately.
I hid my sexual preferences before I went to Europe. In my book I talk about my homosexuality. My new surroundings abroad and my foreign encounters provided me with no choice but to change. This occurred very subtle. My au-pair experience was not always easy but in the end it paid off. It made my shell to crack open. I went to Europe as a very naïve and inexperienced young, black (in the closet) African man. I believed by going on this trip I jumped into the deep end of the pool and had to learn to swim very quickly. My book details all my experiences abroad and shows my vulnerabilities.
I decided to title my memoir- JUMPING OVER THE RAINBOW because I wanted readers of my book to see my desperation to get my freedom. I told my book cover designer that I wanted a vintage suitcase on a platform. The suitcase symbolises my love for travelling. I also wanted a rainbow in the colours of the gay flag which shows how proud I am of my sexual orientation. My book is about my life living in a foreign country and the challenges I faced. In it, I also write about the bad and the good times. I also speak about the beautiful friendships I formed. I wrote this book mostly to make everybody who is different, like myself, realize that they are not alone in this world. I wanted my readers to see that adversities can be overcome and that we all have a place in this world irrespective of our differences. But, I also wanted to make them aware that there is not always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
In my memoir I talk about the few hardships I experienced with my host family. These challenges assisted me in becoming a stronger person. I want the readers of my book to see the importance of going out into the world and experiencing new things. I hope that my book will show my reader that ignorance can have a negative impact on your life. I believe that if I had been exposed to more opportunities prior to my trip to Europe I might have had a different experience. In my book I do not try to point my host family as cruel, evil or cold because they were not. I just give an honest account of what I felt and how things seemed. I am just trying to showcase in my memoir that as humans we are different and that we all have our shortcomings.
Since it was released my book have mostly been criticised for being too short. People say it is so well written and interesting and that they don’t want it to end so soon. However, I have also had people who welcomed the short book. These people said it is perfect for them since they want to read but don’t always get the time due to their busy work schedules. They therefore welcomed the quick, interesting read.
This is my first book, and I was just testing the water. However, I also wanted the readers of my book to see my talent and make them look forward to my next lengthier, thicker and exhilarating and adventurous books.
JUMPING OVER THE RAINBOW by Ronnie Van der Merwe is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book at $7.99. It is also available on Smashwords and Goodreads. The book is also sold at Walmart. It retails for R120.00 on Loot.co.za online in South Africa. It is also available at bookshops like Protea bookshop for R150.00. Book site Africa in Cape Town, the largest book warehousing and distribution facility to the South African book trade also have stock. Books can be ordered from Book site Africa via your local bookshop. The ISBN is 978-0-620-87091-7
Kroonstad, Oranje Vrystaat, Republiek van Suid Afrika
Now I am sitting in this horrible hotel with thousands of mosquitoes on the road to Bloemfontein. Literally in the middle of nowhere. And I have to go further. The journey on the back of the pick-up yesterday was arduous.
I just called Harold at the office. Usually, the call went through the switchboard; probably the censor was listening. The line was cut several times. It's about 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
Harold told me to come right over. He can hardly believe I'm here. Harold's happy as a clam. If he even knows what a snow king is. Everyone speaks Afrikaans here; it's easy for me. Thank God, I learned. The coloureds speak isiXhosa, Bantu dialects and Fanagalo, which the whites here call KafferKitchen. That's pretty disrespectful. Subhuman is still the friendliest thing the hardliners here think and say about the majority of the population. Many locals seek shade under the trees along the road.
The Department van die Binnelandse Sake casts long shadows not only in the morning sun.
Moment of calm
I've never seen a breakfast like this morning in my life.
Must have been six eggs and a large sausage ring. It's called Boerewors. The meat was delicious, unlike in Europe. Better. Much better.
It was served with fried tomatoes, bacon, toast with salty butter, deliciously bitter jam, over which I drizzled a lime.
It can't be bitter enough.
The moon I saw last night is the same all over the world.
The black woman sat down with me, at the table by the kitchen. The black girl is alone; otherwise, it would not be possible. It is forbidden. Something like fraternizing, after the war. "Slegs vir Blanke!"
Because of Apartheid.
She comes from the town of Pietermaritzburg. In Natal on the Indian Ocean. The air conditioning hums and rattles. On the radio are ancient songs like Bert Lown - Loving You The Way I Do
It's like a colony here. A pretty lovely but evil settlement. A bad colony. White men in blue uniforms are everywhere with their yellow emergency vehicles. There was sometimes the riding-whip pulled, but not against horses, but the black passers-by on the road.
In the night tanks rolled past in front of the window. Army for hours in earth brown cars until the dawn over the Kalahari. I listened to the radio, music, Springbok radio.
The woman who spoke Afrikaans, sometimes whole sentences in Fanakalo, with me, of which I understood only half, meant something like this:
"If you want to start a new life, you have to be strong." I was somewhat ashamed to have the right skin colour for South Africa from fate. It is a lousy dictatorship; I realized that after a few hours.
I probably drank a litre of lychee juice for breakfast and a large cup of very bitter, but delicious coffee. And this incredibly beautiful music, which is like honey in my ears.
After my adventure yesterday, I was quite happy that I could listen to music in the morning. This music from Jack Denny never goes out of my ears.
Yesterday I was still in Johannesburg, Egoli, city built on gold. Burning barricades on the road to Vanderbijlpark. Men lying in the street, dead. They were dead. They couldn't have been more dead. Brains and blood everywhere. Bone fragments. The Hiace's windshield shot out. There was a lot of ammunition and casings in the street. Poor guys' bodies were so twisted you'd think rubber men were lying around. Death is omnipresent here.
The almost hour-long approach to Johannesburg, to Germiston (Jan Smuts Lughawe), was gigantic. One could see the spoil heaps. Huge mountains, white and they shone in the sunlight—rays in the middle of the red, very sandy earth of Africa.
Now I am here. The fan buzzed in the same deep sound as the tank engines. It's a frightening noise in the middle of the night.
It is a frightening sound amid the silence.
And the song is in my ears again.
Tea in the shadow of Steve Biko
The editor took his time. He tells about the 1950s when he travelled across Europe. It's almost noon, we eat sandwiches with mayonnaise-chicken and drink coffee, lemonade, with lychee juice, which cures everything here. Then rooibos tea with milk and sugar. Nobody in the newsroom trusts anybody.
There's something in the air.
He spoke to me for a long time and gave me a phone number. A black woman served us tea with lemon afterwards.
A serious man who thought I should arrive first. The mistrust is all about Muldergate. -I'm supposed to call him in the next few days. He invites me to a Braai. And the Boerendans.
The Boer is a chain smoker of the worst kind. He smoked Lexington, 30 cigarettes was enough for half a day.
They say he's not getting on with the government in Pretoria.
There's a climate of fear. It's deliberate.
Which sane person can get along with Nazis who made skin colour the criterion of their politics?
He was arrested several times. I was warned that at any moment a jamboree unit could descend on the newsroom. Some wacko kept coming forward.
My youthful recklessness amazes me. But it's an honour to fight against the Nazi edge.
SAP came and took away plenty of unpopular editors.
On the street, everything seems peaceful. SAP patrols.
Why not, thought the man with the riding-whip in his hand. The right hand was always sitting loosely on the holster of his pistol. Ever since the Potgieter Commission, the police's behaviour has been more like that of an informer.
"The murder of journalists is not unusual here when we think of Steven Biko."
I didn't know much about Biko. The editor gave me a folder with articles, Afrikaans and English.
Pieter Botha was like the bad man who came for you and nobody else.
I sit for hours at the Wawiel Bridge, reading, at the monument from the Anglo-Dutch Boer War.
There were concentration camps here that the British set up during the Boer War.
Here are still Nazis.
What do people do to themselves?
Living mummies are coming back from Angola. Soldiers who are only alive because they eat, breathe and drink and sleep, their eyes are blank. A few minutes ago, some of them passed me in a wheeled tank called "Casspir". Direction Welkom, Thabong, which sounds like a swearword to the soldiers.
It gets dark over the thorny bushes, which form the end of the Karoo at the edge of the city.