PW Botha

Le 10 novembre 2009, par Jeff,

Pieter Willem (PW) Botha (1919-2006). Dernier président d’Afrique du Sud (1978-1989) avant l’ère de Klerk. Le dernier des premiers ministres, puis présidents Afrikaans, conservateurs et même un peu bornés.

Il était surnommé "Die groot krokodil" ; et on se souvient de ses mémorables citations oscillant entre le maire de Champignac et le tragique ; de ses colères ; de ses mouvements de l’index, comme un instituteur sévère. De son manque de repentance aussi, même dans les années 90.

Son éloge funèbre, par Helen Suzman, résume pas mal le personnage : " He was not enormously intelligent ... but he had enough sense to realise that change would have to come because the black resistance was gearing up considerably and the opposition of the international community was growing very strong"

Ainsi que, comme toujours, le cartoon de Zapiro du 3 Novembre 2006, lendemain de son décès :

Et pourquoi s’embarasser de PW Botha ? Eh bien, il y a quelques temps, au sein de sa belle série sur les évènements de 1989 en Europe de l’Est, Nicolas Holzschuch a glissé une note sur l’attaque (cérébrale) qui a frappé PW Botha, alors président d’Afrique du Sud, en 1989. Ce qui a donné lieu à quelques commentaires sur les capacités politiques du reptile en question.

A quelque temps de là, je suis tombé sur un petit bouquin [1] d’anecdotes sud-Africaines, dans lequel il y avait une collection de merveilleuses citations de PW.

Je ne résiste pas à l’envie de les recopier : un vrai feu d’artifice, les amateurs apprécieront...

“If the principle of permanent residence for the black man in the area of the White is accepted, then it is the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it in this country”

“The people who are opposing the policy of apartheid have not the courage of their convictions. They do not marry non-europeans”

“Where in the world is there a more just society today than South Africa ?” (1976)

“I grew up in the best tradition of membership of the Dutch Reformed Church. I have served the DRC as an office-bearer. I grew up in a home in which both my parents were recognised church people. What is more, my mother died from a stroke which she had while she was working behind a counter at a mission bazaar”

“The security and happiness of all minority groups in South Africa depends on the Afrikaner”

“We do not force people in South Africa to move, we coerce them”

“I will see to it our enemies do not succeed in creating the idea that we are a bunch of racists” (BBC interview, 1979)

“We can’t say there are no blacks. There are blacks and we can’t shoot them all. It is not only impossible, It is unjust” (1981)

“All coloureds are not skollies”

“We have helped create peaceful conditions in a large number of other African states, for example Zimbabwe and South West Africa” (1979)

“The pot of internal conflict in Zimbabwe must subtly be kept boiling” (1983)

“Do you expect me to seek peace with our neighbours or must I sacrifice the youth of South Africa recklessly in the struggle ?” (1982)

“I know for a fact there are certain elements of the opposition press and leftist inclined members of the PFP who are seeking black majority rule in South Africa. There will be no problem as long as black leaders stick to their own affairs and do not clash with the South African government” (1979)

“Millions of Blacks supported this government on every measure it took” (1987)

“Most blacks are well disposed to my government. I am as welcome in Soweto as I am in Boksburg”

“I do not wish to discuss Mr Tutu. He is not representative of our Blacks, the majority of whom are well behaved” (BBC interview, 1981)

“Nelson Madela can rot in prison until he dies or I die, which ever takes longer” (1987)

“Most Blacks are happy, except those who have had other ideas pushed into their ears”

“Marriages between race groups are not necessarily sinful. But they are not in the best interests of the Republic and will not be legalised nor tolerated” (1979)

“Apartheid is dead” (1979)

“You’re a bloody Arab” (1983 in Parliament – PWB to PFP MP Alf Windman after Mr Windman referd to Coloured people as “black Afrikaners”)

“There is nothing wrong with being an Arab. An Arab is only the half brother of the Jew” (apology to Mr. Windman, the next day).

“I don’t make statements about Britain’s fight in Northern Ireland. I would value if Mrs Thatcher kept herself out of South Africa’s affairs” (BBC interview, 1981)

“Who will rejoice if the Nats fall from power ? Dar es Salaam will rejoice. Moscow Hill rejoice. Peking Hill rejoice” (1979)

“The whole bloody world will rejoice !” (Donald Woods, the next day in the Daily Dispatch)

“If we run out of the skunks with poison pens, this country could be a dream of hope and peace” (1981, referring to the English press)

“Like an unlicensed woman driver let loose in Adderley Street in rush-hour traffic” (A Treuchnicht, on PWB’s statesmanship – 1987)

Et pour finir, l’histoire qui se racontait à l’époque :

"All presidents of South Africa in the foreseable future will be Botha’s. First we have PW Botha ; than we’ll have Pik Botha [2], and eventually Botha-lezi".

Notes :

[1] Ag shame – a collection of true humorous South African anecdotes. J. Ritchie. Papillon Peess, Hout Bay. ISBN 0-9583948-6-5

[2] Ministre des affaires étrangères, relativement progressiste

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