Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Racial insults pass sleeping editors

Dear Mondli Makhanya, Big Shot Editor and Sunday Times Columinist,
          Don’t you ever learn at the Avusa Group of newspapers (Sunday Times, The Times, Sowetan, Sunday World etc)? Columnists are by nature controversial so editors shouldn’t blindly trust them to do the right thing.
          Before columns are printed the editor or one of his deputies should read them to make sure that they have not over stepped the mark. But this doesn’t seem to be the norm at Avusa and as a result you keep putting your foot in racial quicksand and ending up floundering around with pathetic excuses.
          Three years ago that whitey, David Bullard got his marching orders from the Sunday Times. His crime was that he insulted Blacks in his Out to Lunch column.
          Mondli you were the Black editor of the paper at the time and you apologised saying, We were complicit in disseminating his Stone Age philosophies.  
        As you know your paper is big on investigations so how come he was writing for you for 14 years before you found that out?
          Well if you don’t mind me saying so Mondli you still have Stone Age editing on the papers in your group
          Nothing has changed since that 2008 boo boo even though you have moved up the ranks to become the Big Chief Editor of your entire Group.
          This time it was Kuli Roberts, a Black columnist, on the Sunday World who let her prejudices get the better of her without her Editor, Wally Mbhele, noticing until the Twitter hit the fan.
          She accused our Coloured population of all manner of diabolical behaviour. From being nuts; very violent as if Blacks are not; breeding like rabbits and having girls who are more obsessed with naai majiene than any other race. In other words sure bet, shaggers.
          If the African National Congress controlled Government is hoping to regain the Western Cape which is essentially Coloured, in the coming Municipal Elections, the oppositon Democratic Alliance must only wish that Kuli was still an ANC spokesman there?
          According to The Times, Wally awoke at the Sunday World with this inane gem, Though I recognise the right of columnists to express their opinions without fear or favour, these should not amount to prejudice.
          Have you ever read a column that hasn’t got an element of prejudice in it?
          Her’s, appropriately called Bitch’s Brew, was promptly axed.
       So much for those well worn, press clichés without fear or favour or publish and be damned.
          The aptly named Wally apologised and you added, Avusa Media will not allow any of its titles to disseminate prejudicial commentary that reinforces divisions and entrenches racial stereotypes.
          You’re a fine one to talk. Only a few weeks earlier your regular column in the Sunday Times was headed Healing its racial scars remains the Western Cape’s biggest problem.
          It was all about how Blacks felt out of place in Cape Town and that the racial discord in that part of the country requires action before it becomes a destructive wave. You didn’t say what action, but how about sending some Zulu Impis down to teach the Coloured Capies how to behave.
          The fact that you got the wrong end of the stick completely is something I will deal with at another time.
          The Western Cape, you said, remains out of step with South Africa’s march towards a non-racial society. What March? The Government for a start is making sure it doesn't go anywhere.
          Not half as out of step as your newspapers where the editors are snoozing while columnists have a field day with their racial prejudices.
          Did Kuli perhaps get the idea of knocking the Coloureds from that column of yours?  Could it have been a case of follow my leader with Kuli trying to impress by making it a lot more vicious this time?
          I see the statement your Group issued admitted that Kuli’s attack on the Coloureds was a clear violation of the South African Press Code and Avusa’s Media’s internal codes.

          I don’t know about the Press Code, but as I have often pointed out on my blog, newspapers in your Group don’t take much notice of your own internal codes and this is just another much more disturbing example of that.
          Can you tell me this? Will Kuli get fired by all the papers in your Group in the same way that Bullard got dismissed or will her Blackness save her?
          She has quite a media pedigree. She is or was Deputy Editor of the Sunday World; presents SABC’s TV reality show What not to wear and she also writes a social column in The Times. Could this also make her too big to boot?
          I suggest you warn Kuli, as she doesn’t seem to know much about these things, that if she ever writes another column she should never refer to an Indian as Kuli. It’s too close for comfort.
          Yours respectfully,
          Jon, former Sunday Times columnist in the days when Editors were not asleep at their desks.
PS. Watch out for Morals of Newspaper Columnists on my Blog.

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