This Is What Apartheid Looked Like

A South African libertarian remembers.


Jim Peron, a libertarian who used to live in South Africa, has posted a thoughtful article on the late Nelson Mandela and the system that Mandela helped bring down. Here's an excerpt:

Azania will be free.

The vision of South Africa promoted by conservatives in the West was propaganda. Conservatives pretended the apartheid regime was some sort of Western island of freedom in a sea of "black dictatorships."

This is a lie, a legacy of Cold War propaganda, where "anti-communist" was falsely equated with being pro-freedom, and where the West turned a blind eye to tyrannical governments, no matter how vile they might be, provided they were "on our side." Among the worst was South Africa.

While South Africa was no North Korea, it wasn't free either. Even "free enterprise" didn't exist there. The apartheid era economy was one tightly controlled by the state to prevent markets from working—because markets didn't produce racist results desired by the architects of apartheid.

It was a country where the government assassinated critics.

I ran a libertarian-oriented newspaper for the LGBT community—two reasons to be disliked by the government….One day, I had police show up to investigate the mysterious slashing of all my car tires. When I refused to let them into my house, one went the police car and radioed in an "anonymous" tip that I had drugs. That was the pretense for searching my home without a warrant. Of course, there were no drugs, but they didn't expect any….

I was on the streets of Hillbrow, when some young white thug started harassing a black man. The police arrived and arrested the victim. I went to Hillbrow station to defend the man and to attest that the white man had attacked him, not the other way around. While I was there police questioned another suspect they had arrested and started beating him to force him to give them the answers they wanted. I started yelling and the police made it clear that I was to leave the police station immediately or I would face similar treatment.

This is just what I saw in apartheid's sunset years, and I never came close to seeing the worst of it, when the system was its height.

To read the rest, including Peron's explanation of why he is "mostly positive on Mandela, but negative on the African National Congress," go here.

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  1. And this is what post apartheid looks like...

  2. The vision of South Africa promoted by conservatives in the West was propaganda.

    Reagan vetoed an anti-apartheid bill in 1986 but was overridden by Congress.

    (dodges pro-GOP Peanuts)

    1. Halibut Cheeks with Ginger-Orange Sauce
      "Halibut cheeks are really delicious and super-easy to cook. Here they are pan-seared and served with a zingy orange sauce with Asian seasonings. Great with asparagus and jasmine rice for a light and tasty Spring dinner."
      1/4 cup fresh orange juice
      2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
      1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
      1 clove garlic, minced
      1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon sesame oil
      1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

      1 tablespoon olive oil
      4 (3 ounce) halibut cheeks
      1. Whisk the orange juice, cilantro, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl; set aside.
      2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the halibut cheeks until golden brown on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Pour the orange juice mixture into the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the halibut flakes easily with a fork and the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove halibut cheeks to a plate and drizzle with orange sauce to serve.

      1. The lime wit turned out really well yesterday. Fermenting away as of this morning.

        I think its going to be tasty, and make the GF very happy.

    2. Funny, when I do a Ctrl+F and search for the word "reagan" the only result is in your comment. So nobody mentioned Reagan other than perhaps the voices in your head.

  3. Well, I don't see any comments here, so first?

    1. I still don't see any comments. Odd, I'd have thought this would have gotten some kind of response.

  4. A great economic analysis by a South African economist as to how racist white trade unions formed the vanguard to bring about Apartheid:

    The Economics of the Cour Bar.

    1. er... the Economics of the Colour Bar

      1. Thomas Sowell had some interesting writings about how the market militated against apartheid economics, and how the SA government had to fight hard against it.

  5. It looks like there's five or six surveying transits in the illustration on that old reason cover. What's the story on that, if there is one?

  6. Its so disgusting to watch some "Libertarians" bend over backwards to piss on Mandela's grave and wax poetic about the GOOD OL' DAYS of Apartheid. Jesus. Christ. I'd expect this much from the Neo-Confederate nutjobs, but anybody that patronizes Reason Magazine REALLY should know better. You'll talk all this smack about how you'd rather be DEAD THAN FREE and how noble fighting for freedom is etc, yet you'll shit your fucking pants because a guy decided that non-violent resistance alone wasn't enough in the face of an illegitimate government more than willing to employ State Terrorism? Give me a break.

    "blah blah blah b-b-b-but post-apartheid South Africa sucks because-!" Oh I'm sorry? Is freedom too HARD and MESSY for you? Would YOU rather live as a colonial subject with no fucking human rights in a country with a stable economy and "low crime"? Or would you rather be FREE, warts and all?

    For some around here, the answer is apparently the former. For shame.


      lol typos

      point stands. Don't tell me about how we need the 2nd Amendment for government tyranny when you're getting your panties in a bunch about a people (legally forbidden from owning guns...) deciding to pick up the rifles in the face of GOVERNMENT TYRANNY.

    2. This. The caterwauling about SA's current condition as compared to the halcyon days of apartheid is especially loathsome. I mean, gee, it's almost like brutally repressing 80% of a country's population, denying them their basic human rights and access to education is having some lingering aftereffects! Who knew?

      The ANC does share a lot of the blame for what's happened in post-apartheid SA, but that shouldn't all be heaped on Mandela, and SA is a damn paradise compared to the some of the basketcases that exist elsewhere in post-colonial Africa.

    3. I'd rather have civilization. If we're going to be accepting ideologies "warts and all"', warts being reducing civilized countries to 3rd world hellholes, we might as well stick with the commies.

      Libertarianism In A Nutshell:

      1. Turn a civilized country into a 3rd world hellhole.
      2. Pronounce it "free".
      3. ?????
      4. Profit!

      If you want to be free to roll in the mud like a wild pig, knock yourself out. Just don't expect the rest of us to join you.

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