South Africa’s gifted Rian Malan is a peerless writer. And the bestselling author’s contribution to the debate around Helen Zille’s controversial colonialism tweet is up to his world-class standards. He reminds us that socially-inflicted wounds take generations to heal, especially when they were violently enforced. Such was the antagonism even three quarters of a century after the Boer War that it was one of our Matric class’s proudest achievements that the two language groups mixed socially. Malan reminds us of an unfortunate kink in the human condition: that we bear grudges inherited from our forefathers long after those involved have died. Appreciating this reality helps accelerate the time it takes to heal, but can never totally overcome it. Helen Zille is paying dearly for raising the holy cow of colonialism. Doing so wasn’t in itself wrong, but as Malan explains so brilliantly, for most of South Africa the conversation is premature. Have a read of his piece, which was first published on James Myburgh’s superb Politicsweb site. You won’t find a better assessment of South Africa’s hottest topic of the moment. – Alec Hogg
By Rian Malan*
A day or two after Helen Zille published her ill-fated “colonialism” tweet, I turned on the radio to hear talk show host Eusebius McKaiser squealing with delight at the prospect of harpooning a really big white whale. . . .