Shut Up

I have no images of myself left of that time . This one I cropped from
a photo of my ex wife and I taken at the Royal Hotel in Pilgrims Rust in South Africa.
We absconded on a weekend away and got married although we barely new each other.
We were both journalists working at Die Transvaler in Pretoria.
I was a wild child with long flowing blond hair and I had a Red Motorbike. I was a wide eyed junior journalist.My first job in journalism at Die Kouter , an agricultural newspaper at the time ended abruptly when the Paper folded.
The then editor got me a job  Die Transvaler as a  Supreme Court Reporter. I was in a world I did not know.I was suddenly working with Afrikaans Icons. Big names,well known people and yes a bunch of us juniors.
I barely spoke to the Big Names, most much older than me. There is one I remember fondly. Koos du Plessis who famously penned the song Kinders Van Die Wind,that received International recognition'
he was a Sub Editor, a reserved guy that did not speak much.
I mention him because he acknowledged me by complimenting an Article I wrote about the holding cells under the Supreme Court. I was the first journalist to be allowed in there to write a story with permission from the Attorney General.
I am writing this in protest because another of my colleagues from  those times, Foeta Krige was gagged by his employer the SABC in recent weeks.Foeta and I were the same age and we were friends.He was a Crime reporter. During Court recess I covered whatever was thrown at me including crime. My then wife was also a crime reporter.
My wife and I left suddenly on her insistence as she organised jobs for us at a local Newspaper Group in the Southern Cape. For many years I did not hear from or see my old colleagues.
I was pissed off because another journalist handed me a roll of black and white film before we left.On it was incriminating photographs of my nude wife being photographed by a couple of guys. I know them and some of them became well known and have holier than though attitudes today.
This is not about that. It is another story I put behind me. This is about State Censorship. At the time we were well aware that we could not write what we wanted.It was censored by the state and If you dare insist to write about issues they banned you would end up in jail or even en up dead.I was a junior it was none of my concern. I did what I was told and If I transgressed it was edited out.That did not stop  the authorities from giving a person a midnight visit to keep you on track.
There were many  things I wanted to write about.many goings on in court that stuck in my throat.I may have been young but I was not stupid.Things like a Judge telling accused,complaining about being assaulted by police. "Ja al wat julle kort is 'n paar warm klappe dan praat  julle.' "Yes all that you need is a couple of smacks and then you talk."
The Julle(You) he was revering to were black people.It was Apartheid days and terrorism was rife. There were many terrorism cases and when people were found guilty the were given the death penalty by hanging.
Most of the journalists working the court were ladies. I and a black colleague from the Rand Daily Mail,were the only men. We all cooperated and we all understood the "unwritten" rules of censorship.During breaks my male colleague and I used to saunter over to a local Milky Lane outlet to buy take away's that we enjoyed on the steps of Church Square, where we could talk in private.or at least we thought so.The girls had their own favorite haunt. We used to discuss the cases we covered and speculated about the most likely outcome.
One thing that I hated with a passion was injustice.There was a lot of that going around.It was the order of the day and segregation was still enforced and peoples movement were still restricted based on their color of their skin.
There were liberal newspapers and those that were state controlled by design or by choice depending on the political orientation of the money that owned them.It was also the time of the Muldergate Scandal that lead to the resignation of John Voster.
I left Pretoria and I left Main stream journalism and today I am grateful because I surely would have ended up in deep trouble with my leftist leanings considering the dreaded color-line. I got into a spat with a "terrorist" of another color.Eugene Terreblanche of the AWB who threatened me in court one day because of a story I wrote that  upset him.
The next week there was a pretty young white "student" that pulled strings to be allowed into the Press gallery. She did her best to influence me and even tried to get me into bed All to change my attitude towards "her leader". She was not my type on all counts and wasted her time and breath on me.
Now the same old sick saga of State Censorship is once more raising its ugly head under another banner.Again there is denial from the Government of the day, that it is policy. Again there are journalists that are targeted because they speak up against it.
It was not right then and it is not right now period.
I am not a polemically oriented person, in fact I hate politics for the dirty game it is..If anything I am a humanitarian. It galls me when a Government wants to stamp its authority on the people by keeping the people in the dark.
My God the entire world knows what is happening in South Africa today.The entire world sees the images of destruction and violence and protest on a daily basis. The entire world knows of political killings ahead of an election.The globe knows censorship for the evil that it is and is not fooled by the noises emanating from the National Broadcaster in South Africa trying to say that it is done as part of a "noble cause" to prevent destruction of property and assets.
I stand in solidarity with my former colleagues and journalist friends.
 "A luta continua, vitória é certa"

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