I want to like Jonathan Jansen but he makes it almost impossible most times.
In the past I have written here that Jansen is "a prodigious kisser of white ass" only to edit those words because I worried that I was not being fair.
I guess there are times when my will to say as I please must be tempered.
But then again I have not really been one to mince words irrespective of the fallout.
Jonathan Jansen, as you know, is the first black vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS) since apartheid ideology brought it to life.
That he was chosen by the 'herrenvolk' who still run that institution is telling.
I was, therefore, not shocked to learn that he decided to drop the charges and cook up some contrived contextualization that essentially robs the black victims of a fuller redress in a criminal court.
Jansen is adept at playing racial politics to seem as if he is addressing wider concerns about fairness, equality, and justice, among other concerns.
Take for example a recent media article where he comments on skin discrimination and race essentialization in post-apartheid South Africa.
His article is entitled "Our Troubles Are Still Skin Deep" and it deals in part with a movie about a white girl who appeared coloured.
The movie was shown on the UFS campus and the audience participated in a discussion afterward.
Jansen comments on some of the audience discussion and defies his own logic by racializing the commentators and their individual comments.
In so doing, he appears to berate black students for their 'usual' responses.
He also addresses the absence of white students at the screening by saying that they would be victimized by blacks and made to feel guilty for their parents deeds.
His reasoning betrays a nuanced understanding of post-apartheid racism.
I don't think Jansen is stupid enough not to know what he is doing. I think he is deliberate in the well worn manner that many liberals are when faced with racism.
He knows the game very well.
When it suites him he will elevate individual racism over institutional racism.
Where it does not, like in the Reitz case, he hides the complicity of four white thugs behind the issue of institutional racism.
Either way, he softens the gaze on whiteness and its excesses.
In short, I am now absolutely convinced that his political purpose can be crudely summed up by my kissing comment above.
His Reitz decision is nothing short of a betrayal.
Jansen's nonsense about a need for reconciliation at UFS merely advances his standing among his chosen volk.
Nothing can come out of denial and he must not be seen to be anything more than a selected leader who promotes the consensus that black life is worth less than white life.
If he was more than just another lackey of whiteness he would remember that the Soweto Riots of 1976 demonstrated the will of black folk not to be taught in the language of the oppressor.
The fact that he has now decided that part of his reconciliation efforts is to force Afrikaans on black students demonstrates the political substance of Jansen.
The ball is now in the court of the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Blade Nzimande, to set aside Jansen's usual drivel.
UPDATE (October 20): "Jansen clarifies Reitz statement"
Seems Jansen needs to let you know that UFS is "simply" dropping its complaint against the Reitz 4 but that criminal charges and human rights charges are still pending at the Directorate of Special Prosecutions and the Human Rights Commission, respectivley.
Additionally, in a move that adds to the idiocy of doing advertisements for ABSA (the bank owned by the incalcitrant former slave trading Barclays Bank), Archbishop Tutu has come out in support of Jansen's decision.
I am starting to believe that the Arch is losing his damn mind!