Letters to the Editor

Letters for July 19, 2001

Maybe she's the one who sent the economy into a tailspin:Excuse me, can we talk? I have been following the "misadventures" of Jen Karetnick, first to humor my boyfriend, then to learn more about the restaurants in the area. Recently I visited two of the restaurants that Ms. K has criticized ad nauseum, and I must say that I am insulted. I am not particularly interested in her and a friend having to spit the food into a napkin ("The Gods Must Be Crazy," June 28). Jen, who is paying you? Whatever your salary is, it's a real waste of the economy. Are you ever happy? Do you ever have a good time anywhere? Thank heavens the tabloid that employs you is free!

Adalinda "Addy" Gonzalez
Pembroke Pines

Recolonize this writer's computer!I read Amy Roe's article in the New Times about the mass white exodus from South Africa ("Generation Exodus," June 21). I go back to southern Africa twice a year on business, and as much as I love Africa, the fact remains that it is and will continue to be a basket case. The work ethic and determination of most Zimbabweans and South Africans is to the advantage of the countries they adopt! The only southern African countries that can manage to a certain degree are Namibia and Botswana. The population of each of those two nations is only 1.2 to 1.4 million; that's why they seem to be doing fairly well.

A week ago I returned from S.A., where I spent some time with a wealthy sugar cane farmer in Durban. He decided to be proactive about educating the local laborers on all his farms about the effects of AIDS and HIV. He flew down a woman from Johannesburg who was HIV positive to lecture his 5000 laborers about AIDS and how it effects us. After she completed her speech, three of his foremen approached him to tell him that they found this woman extremely attractive and would like to sleep with her. "But she is going to die; she has AIDS," he said. They replied: "We do not care, we find her attractive and want to sleep with her." That unfortunately sums up the mentality of some of the people. Most Africans live for today; tomorrow is another day. Without being racist or biased, recolonizing Africa may be Africa's only hope.

Do you realize that different tribes do not like each other? People of mixed color are not regarded as Africans, and Indians are looked down upon. Under apartheid whites were in charge; coloreds and Indians were second-class citizens and blacks third. Now that the blacks are in charge, whites are second-class citizens, and coloreds and Indians are third-class people. The rest of the world has no clue how complicated the whole situation is. Remember what happened when Idi Amin kicked 50,000 Indians out of Uganda? The whole country collapsed. The same thing is happening in South Africa; as the brains leave the country, it becomes more and more unstable!

In order to understand Africa and its people you have to live among them or have been born there.

I believe that most Americans are much more racist than most Zimbabweans and South Africans.

Patrick Pullin
via the Internet

Learning the easy way:Your article "Generation Exodus" brought back memories and also struck home with a few points that I couldn't previously put my finger on. I'm an African-American, a naturalized American citizen born and raised in South Africa. And I'm white. Fort Lauderdale has been my home for the past 23 years. I'm proud of being South African, but until some seven or eight years ago, I didn't dare advertise the fact. I was afraid that, if my neighbors knew my country of origin, my car or house would be vandalized. Once Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994, however, I proudly displayed stickers with ZA (Zuid-Afrika: the international automobile sticker for South Africa) as well as the new flag. Apart from declaring my pride of origin, I hoped it would invite other South African expatriates to make contact. So far no one has. I now realize that, as your article pointed out, ex-pat South Africans are bitterly divided by political convictions, which afflict personal relations even here in the diaspora.

I left South Africa in 1967, when departure was still considered a traitorous act by right-leaning whites. I didn't leave out of any political conviction, just because of a simple urge to see how the rest of the world looked. I returned to my country of birth on a visit after a five-year absence and was at once amazed and appalled. I was amazed that long hair on white men had become fashionable even in such a conservative country, and I was appalled at how entrenched apartheid still was, considering what I'd seen and experienced in Europe and Asia. I wasn't brought up as a racist, but as a youngster, I found it impossible to avoid being sucked into the stereotypical paradigms of the day. Every facet of life was segregated, and my only contact with black South Africans was in a master-servant relationship. For years I went with my parents and family on vacation to Nelson Mandela's homeland, the Transkei, a black enclave set amid pristine hills, forests, and beaches. It was the land of the Xhosa people.

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