Posts filed under ‘Justice’

But what good came of it at last? 36 years after “The Yellow Train”

By Roon Lewald

 Hansina Oktulseja, the young Moluccan train hijacker who diedAs a young staffer of a U.S. news agency’s Bonn bureau in Germany 36 years ago, I was seconded to command the agency’s forward desk in the Dutch town of Assen during the final week of a sensational train hijacking by armed South Moluccan terrorists. In an autobiographical  short story (see “The Yellow Train”) posted on this blog a few years ago, I described the lasting emotional impact on me of the events. (more…)


July 17, 2011 at 6:12 am 3 comments

Martin Luther King of Georgia

January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

We have flown the air like birds,
השכלנו לטוס באוויר כמו ציפורים
حلّقنا في الهواء كالعصافير

We have swum the sea like fishes
השכלנו לשחות בים כמו דגים
سبحنا في البحر كالأسماك

But have yet to learn the simple act
אך עדיין לא למדנו את המעשה הפשוט….
لكننا لم نتقن بعد، تلك المهارة البسيطة ….

Of walking the earth like brothers
של ללכת על האדמה כמו אחים
أن نمشي على الأرض كالأخوة

Words by: Martin Luther King Jr.
מילים: מרטין לוטר קינג הבן
من أقوال:مارتن لوثر كينج

January 13, 2011 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Coming Strongly

By Roon Lewald

“Frauen kommen langsam – aber gewaltig!” (women come slowly – but mighty strongly.) When this double-entendre refrain propelled feisty singer Ina Deter’s song about “strong women” to the top of the German charts in 1986, it documented the gradually accelerating, finally irresistible onslaught of women against the lofty bastions of male privilege. Just two decades years later, Chancellor Angela Merkel is firmly entrenched as the only female leader of a major western country and scores of other women have captured important seats of power and influence in many areas of German politics, business and society. (more…)

October 19, 2010 at 6:49 am 1 comment

Afro-pessimism: Robert Mugabe

By David Mpanga

“I will never, never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine, I am a Zimbabwean. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.”  Robert Mugabe, December 2008.

If a white fiction writer had dreamt up the Zimbabwe-under-Mugabe plot, he would have been roundly condemned as an Afro-pessimist and a racist. But we have all seen that after ruining the Zimbabwean economy with misplaced policies, purportedly intended to emancipate the downtrodden black man, Mugabe “secured” an 85.51% “landslide victory” by beating his opponents into submission.

Having failed to declare official results for over a month when it looked like the great hero of the revolution was losing, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission reclaimed its reputation for efficiency by counting all of the ballots and verifying the results of the presidential run-off election in one day. So it is back to business-as-usual in Zimbabwe. (more…)

December 16, 2008 at 3:56 am Leave a comment

Die Nag van die Vlieënde Miere

GeckosDeur ‘n onbekende skrywer

In English

“Ons het selfs tot aan die uur van ons dood die illusie dat ons onsself ken, wéét wat ons wíl…”


deur Roon Lewald

Hieronder verskyn die oorspronklike Afrikaanse manuskrip van die kortverhaal Die Nag van die Vlieënde Miere, waarvan my noodgewonge eienmagtige Engelse vertaling elders op hierdie blog verskyn. Ek wens dat die onbekende skrywer van hierdie pakkende, heel toevallig deur my tussen my oorlede suster Deanne Lewald se besittinge na haar dood gevonde storie daarvan te hore sal kom en sy eie kommentaar sal lewer daaroor. Intussen wens ek hom geluk met sy raak siening van intellektuele Afrikanerdom se sielewroeginge op die drumpel van rewolusionêre veranderinge in die ontstuimige 1980er jare. Hierdie laat publikasie daarvan, seker goed 20 jaar na die verhaal se ontstaan, is m.i. ‘n déja vu wat vandag nog – of miskien weer – groot aktualiteit besit. Sekerlik sou lesers graag meer wil weet oor die tyd en omstandighede van die verhaal se ontstaan, hoe die outeur vandag dink oor die werklikheid van die ou bedeling se destyds al onvermydelike einde, en hoe hy die huidige asook toekomstige rol en toestand van die Afrikaner en sy taal in (of buite) Suid-Afrika sien. (more…)

May 21, 2008 at 8:17 am 1 comment

Bishop Jefferts Schori on Zimbabwe

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, issued a statement May 6 on the political and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. The full text of the Presiding Bishop’s original statement follows:

Together with millions of people around the world, my heart has been drawn in recent months to the political and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe. The tragedy of that nation’s descent into internal chaos is magnified by the high sense of purpose and prosperity that a newly independent Zimbabwe brought to Africa and the world nearly three decades ago. Sadly, Robert Mugabe’s government has undermined that promise beyond recognition with its systematic repression of human rights, democracy, and economic opportunity for the people of Zimbabwe. The turmoil in the wake of Zimbabwe’s recent elections signals an urgent need for governments and other leaders in the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, and call for an end to this long hour of human suffering and the beginning of a new era of promise and opportunity. (more…)

May 7, 2008 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

The Night of the Flying Ants

Die Nag van die Vlieënde Miere

Klik vir Afrikaans

Author unknown. c. 1986. Translation from the original Afrikaans manuscript by Roon Lewald.

“Right up to the hour of our death, we have the illusion that we know ourselves, that we know what we want . . .”

Click here for translator’s introductory remarks

The sun is rising blood-red over the sea and the dagga (marijuana) sellers have not yet taken up their positions as we drive out of the city. As we turn off onto the Kwamashu road, about the only other traffic consists of rickety Putco busses and minibus taxis, over-filled with black faces. The whites, high up against the Berea, are still dazed with Saturday-morning weariness after waking up to Nescafé and “Goeie môre, Suid-Afrika!” – good morning, South Africa! Altus lights cigarettes for us as we try to work out how to tackle the Afrikaans tutorial for the black matriculants today. We have to do Ernst van Heerden’s “Die hardloper” (the runner) and the passive and active voices (I silently consider the irony that, in this country, the Afrikaans terms for these two grammatical expressions — “lydend” and “bedrywend” — literally mean “suffering” and “perpetrating”). (more…)

March 21, 2008 at 9:38 pm 1 comment

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