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November, 1988

In November 1988, after an absence of nearly 5 years, I returned to Southern Africa.  As before, I went on my own time and money, in the capacity of a Luther College Regent.  This diary, written for the edification of the Board of Regents, is an account of what I saw and heard.

Luther College President Anderson (ED: now Bishop of the ELCA) said in his September 1988 report to The Board of Regents, regarding his recent trip to Europe, "... I saw once again how much one 'learns' from even a brief contact with another country.  I believe the critical experience is not dependent on length of stay or location. ...Just a few days, if they are spent in the company of persons native to the place, can do the job.  Such a visit can lead to the determination to be ... more sensitive to the country and its history."

Over the years I have also found that to be true.  I have had more than enough experience in South Africa to get a basic feel for that country, and to develop a sensitivity to the country, its history, and its people.

I hope what I learned on this trip will be of value to all the Regents.


I have carefully reviewed the 1984 diary of the first trip and conclude it needs no substantive changes.  For the sake of accuracy, however, I would note that the country has a larger social welfare program than I observed earlier.  Also, many Scandinavians now live there, but as in America, most migrated after 1850, and, except for a few whalers, played almost no role in the nations early development.  It is still a nation of free enterprisers, and the blacks, especially, are moving into small cash businesses which are hard to monitor, thus hard to license and tax.  This is a good sign.  The Indians have long been shopkeepers and entrepreneurs.

I had planned for some time to return to Southern Africa alone, rent a car, and just wander the country, as I seem to run into more interesting people and situations by accident than most people do on purpose.  Besides, I don't like group tours.  

(I have also maintained a standing offer to pay President Anderson's expenses in the event he might wish to see South Africa for himself, on the grounds that any issue important enough to be brought to the board by the administration with a recommendation deserves to have its facts in order.)

The opportunity arose for me to return to South Africa with a group of people whose contacts I could not duplicate, so I went.  The group included a former State Governor, a sitting U.S. Senator, a retired University President, Pastors, medical professionals, retired teachers, writers, retired military officers, graduate students, former high level government officials, and dozens of successful entrepreneurs, and spouses, 92 in all.  I think the fact that these people don't usually herd, or take group tours, helped make this trip an unusually good one.

After several days conducting personal business in England, I visited the Greenwich Observatory and museum, fulfilling an old desire, then joined up with the group already in London.

Thursday, Friday & Saturday November 10-12, 1988 were spent with prominent speakers from Britain, Europe, South Africa, Rhodesia, etc. discussing subjects both historical and contemporary.  We topped it off with a private tour of The British House of Lords, followed by a sumptuous feast at Lord Brocket's 500+ acre estate an hour north of London.  Nice to see how the other half lives.

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Sunday November 13, 1988 (Johannesburg) - 13 hour nonstop flight from London.  Have to go around the western horn of Africa since some countries below will not allow overflight.  Envy is a nasty thing.  Flying in a long range 747-200 with juiced-up engines, so a gas stop at Ilha do Sal in the Cape Verde's is usually not necessary.   Few people realize how many innovations South African Airways has sponsored through Boeing over the decades, due to its requirements for departure from high altitude warm temperature airports, with very heavy loads, traveling extreme distances at high speed.  Many of these innovations in wing, flap, and engine design are now standard on the rest of the world's airliners.

SAA can no longer fly into the United States.  (ED: No longer true.)  There is no problem however flying the Russian airline Aeroflot between the US and Moscow.

Sat next to a couple from Portland.  She said her local travel agent gasped when learning she would be flying on a "third world airline."   Obviously the agent had not been on South African Airways, as it's part of the only 1st world nation on that 3rd world continent.

Arriving at Jan Smuts Airport, jumbo jets from Switzerland, Britain, Spain, Israel, and Germany were lined up at the gates.  Varig also flies from Rio.  Access to South Africa is no problem, except from the US.

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Resting here on the 19th floor of the luxurious Carlton Hotel, (ED: Now closed due to rampant crime and the collapsing economy of the new government.), the night view of Johannesburg is pleasant.  The city of 3 million, 1M white and 2M black, is bustling.  The freeways are busy and suburban lights sparkle to the horizons in the clear, dry air. The only two illuminated signs visible from here are for Sanyo and Yamaha.

I see in the paper that Mother Teresa is in the country for a week or so.  Bishop Tutu nosed his face into the picture and tried to get her to make a political statement, but she had better sense.  Local joke relates to the Pope having to land in Johannesburg recently due to their being no bad weather airports in a neighboring Marxist country.   When he got off the plane he didn't kiss the ground, as he usually does.  But then, the South Africans didn't kiss his ring, or anything else.

Monday November 14, 1988 (Pretoria) - The cities lovely Jacaranda trees are past Octobers prime, but their pleasant smell still permeates the city streets.

Today we met with high ranking government officials in the plush auditorium of the SA counterpart of our Federal Reserve Bank.  Some were members of President Botha's Cabinet.  Botha had a press conference at the same time so bureaucrats scurried back and forth, and made last minute substitutions.

The auditorium was laid out something like the United Nations, with microphones at every seat, and was not lacking in amenities.  Security was very tight, and we had to pass through x-ray and magnetic detectors prior to entry.

The speaker's presentations were straightforward and very detailed.  The leading issues in the American media were faced head-on, and no punches were pulled.

I was especially impressed by the presentation of a lower level type, head of statistical research.  The quality and detail of his survey results were superb and could buy him (another) doctorate from any good university.  Many of the overheads were marked CONFIDENTIAL and some SECRET.  The country may have problems, but they do know what the problems are, and just as important, what are not, and know what every segment of the country is thinking.  Few organizations in my experience have access to such carefully documented management tools.

A cocktail reception followed in the elegant foyer and the speakers were all available for additional one-on-one questioning.

In light of the supposed problem with press censorship, it should be noted that when applying for the South African visa I listed my occupation as "author."  Also on the application were questions such as "do you write books or articles", and "do you appear on television?"  I answered "Yes."  At an x-ray machine in the building I advised the guard there was a word processing computer in my shoulder bag.  There were no additional questions asked.

During the briefing and the very tough Q/A period, every question from the audience was answered in detail except one, and it should not have been.  (During the entire trip, only 2 questions were not answered, and they would not have been answered in the States or anywhere else.  One dealt with their nuclear weapon status, and I don't recall the other.)

To top off the "press censorship" complaint, this entire briefing and press conference was openly videotaped by one of our group.  I suspect that any group which demonstrated more common courtesy and intelligence than the Washington press corps would be treated with the same openness.  So much for the phony issue of press censorship.

On the way to this briefing in Pretoria we drove through upscale Sandton, which the guide identified as the Jewish part of Johannesburg.  Loaded with very large homes with views, pools, tennis courts, etc., it was very pleasant.  (I stayed there on the last trip.)

Something strikes me as very strange.  I have never seen it written or mentioned at all in America (except in my prior diary), but I bump into a lot of Jews in South Africa.  We chat on every flight to and from, and within the country, and they are very cordial and accommodating.  They identify themselves as such, and I very much enjoy their company.

Many migrated here a century ago from Eastern Europe via England, and some adopted English names.  Traditional Jewish names are seen on major retail stores in the cities.  The developer of the Sun City resort is Jewish.  DeBeers Diamonds and the Oppenheimers of ASA are major holders in over 600 other companies with 800,000 employees.  They make up a very significant, perhaps even the dominant part of the nation's financial infrastructure.

I wonder why the Lutheran Church so strongly supports the Jews in Israel, but not in South Africa?  Hmmm...  Important pieces are missing from this puzzle.

We passed a huge new banking complex along the freeway.  It is the HQ for a multinational central banking system to loan money to black entrepreneurs.  Not confined to SA, the money can cross borders, the theory being that prosperous neighbors who got that way by their own business skills will fight the evil empire to keep what they have.  Sort of like our Small Business Administration, but supposedly with less red tape.

Tuesday November 15, 1988 (Johannesburg) - An optional free day.  Only 50 slots are allocated for the trip down into a deep gold mine.  Since I went down on the first trip, I passed.  Need a day anyway to catch up with the fast pace.  With the travel, time changes, 18 hour days and short nights (plus having to wear a suit and tie every day), this is harder than work.

Chatted with two young military officers in the hotel elevator.  Asked them if it was safe to walk around the town.  They said "yes, much safer than in New York City," from where one had just returned.  (ED: But not anymore.)  The other one offered to show me around, but I was tied up until later in the day, so appreciatively declined.  Told them if I had my way we would give them a thousand new aircraft.  They appreciated that.

One asked if I had been to SA before.  When I answered "yes", he said "then you know the truth."  I said "yes, I do."  He said, "Too bad the rest of the world doesn't know it."  They were both younger than my own children.  Their work is cut out for them.

Walked around downtown Johannesburg to confirm what was seen from the bus.  It is about 90% black.  Well-to-do black.  Well-dressed, well-fed, and spending money.   Downtown Johannesburg seems awash in black cash.

I asked a clerk in the hotel if it was just my imagination that there were a lot of blacks and Asians (Indians) with lots of money around the hotel.  She said, "Oh no, they pull up here in their Merc's and BMW's all day long."  I asked where the money came from.  She said they were "mostly small businessmen in JoBerg and the homelands."

They are doing well indeed, as staying at the 5 star Carlton Centre is not free.  But then, you can't keep a good entrepreneur down.  And they in turn are creating jobs for other blacks.  (That is the way the world works, isn't it?)

There is no way I can communicate the level of prosperity among the blacks I saw in Johannesburg.  These are certainly not the faces of the starving of Ethiopia.  This is fat city!  The black bartender wore a wristwatch that cost a lot more than mine, and the diamonds were impossible to miss.  (See the pictures for yourself when the next "spontaneous" uprising is shown on American TV.)

Chatted with the Indian shopkeeper who ran the hotel newsshop.  He confirmed that while "not every day is Christmas," business was good indeed.

The long drought is finally over and the mist outside has turned into a hard afternoon thunderstorm.  The lightening can be severe and dangerous here on the high veldt.   Johannesburg's elevation is 6000'.  (ED: Higher than Denver.)

TUESDAY EVENING - What a bash!  92 of us + 200 "close friends" of a local businessman at his suburban estate.  (Actually, they came in from all over SA to host us.)  A large tent was set up on the grounds for the barbecue.  The house, inside and out, looked like something from the set of Gone With The Wind.

Met lots of businessmen, politicians, military strategists, and refugees from Rhodesia and other "front line" states.  Most interesting to me was a bright 30 year old plain-clothes military chap who had spent quite a bit of time in the US.  We talked of the Lutheran Church in Namibia and South Africa.  He said in Namibia they are very pro-Marxist and supportive of SWAPO (South West African Peoples Organization).   Preach primarily Liberation Theology.  The Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches are centers of political espionage.  Lutheran leadership takes its marching orders from the leftist fringe in West Germany, its primary source of financial support.  Also said Brot fur die Weld (bread for the world) is a major front organization, collecting money at the congregation level for food, then using it to purchase arms.  Also has propaganda branches on many college campuses.  The campus leaders know not what they do.

Said the South African Lutheran church is a little different.  It keeps a lower profile and stays out of heavy duty politics.  I asked him what the Lutheran Church leader would say if I talked with him.  He said "He would say about the same, but that the government is not moving fast enough."   Told me to go and ask him.  That sounded reasonable, so I will try to meet with him, wherever he is.  (I later talked with the Lutheran Bishop's secretary, but we just missed due to schedule conflicts on both ends.  I did chat later with the Methodist Bishop.)

Probing other issues, he said SA will roll out a new state-of-the-art military plane of its own design and manufacture within a year, and will launch its own spy satellite using its own launch facilities.  (In conjunction with Israel, I suspect, with whom there are very close ties.)  Cannot depend on the outside, so must do everything themselves. Says blacks are excellent with computers, and some are playing key roles in certain hi-tech military operations.

I asked him the key question, "When does the money run out?"  He said "it won't be long."  Namibia is costing nearly a half-million dollars a day, and it buys them nothing but position for fighting the Cubans and Russians in Angola.  When they pull out, SWAPO will take over Namibia because the UN wants it that way.  That's OK with him as the war will then move to Namibian soil.  "The defense line will be in the desert, much easier and cheaper to defend than in Angola," he said.

Insists there is no fear of the Cubans.  Cited kill rates of 32 SA's vs 10,500 Cubans, using advanced SA gunnery.  (I heard similar wild claims repeated throughout the trip.) Says they have a mobile gun that while traveling 75 mph can fire accurately to hundreds of miles.  I suggested that had to be a Cruise type missile.  He confirmed it.  Said all this is public information, announced but not reported in the US press.  (Sale of arms is now SA's 2nd largest source of export revenue.  They built the industry because of the international arms embargo against them.)

He also confirmed the huge amount of cash I sense in the hands of black entrepreneurs. Says is the result of a program begun a decade ago to fund small startups.  Says the blacks are great entrepreneurs, and the government is feeding them money as fast as they can meaningfully absorb it, via their Small Business Administration.  The theory behind it is if they have something they have built themselves, they will fight to defend it.  Says it is working, and in turn creating many additional new jobs.  As a result, SA membership in the ANC (African National Congress) is dropping.  All the ANC can hit nowadays are "soft targets" like Wimpeys hamburger shops.  But that kills mostly blacks, further eroding the ANC's appeal. (ED: It turns out he was conceptually correct on many issues, but little of what he said militarily came to pass.)

Wednesday November 16, 1988 (JoBerg) - This long day began with a very interesting speech by Bishop Isaac Mokoena, leader of the largest Christian denomination in South Africa, with 4 1/2 million black members.  That's nearly twice the size of the American Lutheran Church prior to the merger.  (See the enclosed videotapes for excerpts from his and many other speeches).  He confirmed that the Lutheran Church in both Namibia and SA were funded and dominated by the West German Communist party.  Said Tutu is a joke in SA, rushing around the US and Europe playing to the media.  Says he has only a tiny political following in SA, but is Bishop of 1.5M mostly white Anglicans.  Said Winnie Mandela wants to be the "Queen of South Africa".  Her 3 children of different fathers do not fit with the image of her pining away, waiting for Nelson.

Throughout the trip I heard locals say that attendance in the Anglican church is off, but the church is laying the old "keys to the kingdom" number on members, trying to keep them in line.  (Apparently some haven't heard there is more than one set of keys.)  But giving has dried up from those who continue to attend.

SOWETO - What would you like to hear about Soweto?  Tell me what you want to prove and I can write a story to prove you are correct, complete with pictures to support your case.  (I took so many pictures there the film ran out.)  The story will even be true.  It just won't be complete.  I can do the same with any large city in America.

We were guests today of the Mayor and Council of the City of Soweto.   They provided a very comprehensive tour, followed by a reception luncheon, complete with speeches.

Soweto is a big independent city of 2.5 million people.  The last census was in 1985 and indicated 1.5 million, but it is growing so fast their 1988 estimate is 2.5 million. That would rank it in the top 5 American cities, between Houston and Chicago.  It is located on a major freeway within sight of the skyscrapers of JoBerg, with a view about like that from the suburbs of Dallas.  Its suburbs roll over the hills from horizon to horizon.  Soweto is not a small town.

No whites live there, though the Mayor says they can, if they "meet the requirements."  He didn't elaborate on the requirements.

The tour began with the older part of Soweto. These houses are about 50 years old, and I estimate their size, along with a lot of other company and government type housing to be about 900 square feet.  Most earlier Soweto construction is of solid brick, and most houses have small fenced yards.  Later housing is either brick or stucco, and the yards are larger.  A major effort is under way to convert tenants to owners, and the prices and terms are extremely favorable.  The theory again is simple.  Make them owners and they will have something to lose.  Turns them into instant capitalists.  This good (if overdue) idea seems to be working.

The difference in condition between owned houses and rented houses is startling, and as in the rest of South Africa, is was easy to tell a neighborhood of owners from one of renters or in government housing.  (Just like in America.)

Much of Soweto has good paved streets in conventional grid layouts, off of which are clusters of several dozen houses on unpaved streets.  I couldn't help think of how few American farms have paved roads, and how many Midwestern small towns have unpaved streets.  The Luther College barracks didn't have paved streets, nor did the road to railroad depot in which I grew up.

Electricity appears everywhere, but I'm not sure about "city water" and sewer.  Didn't see any wells, or the open sewers which run everywhere in the 3rd world.  Guess I'm not the only Regent who didn't have running water until going to college.  Aside from the massive piles of bagged but uncollected garbage which were everywhere, due we were told to a 14 week old Soweto municipal garbage workers strike, (which happens even in New York) the neighborhoods were generally quite livable.  Certainly nothing like the 3rd world norm.

Since the black residents of South Africa own more private cars than do the residents of the entire Soviet Union, traffic congestion is a problem.  Construction trucks are everywhere, supporting new construction.  There are a number of municipal police stations, (black -- everyone here is black), but they look more like our small prisons than police stations.

The guides provided by the city council said that because of all the misinformation about Soweto and the false rumors about its safety, the council had T-Shirts printed which say on the front:

                   I went to Soweto . . .

and on the back:

                                                      . . . and safely returned.

Many of us wanted to buy one but the store was closed.

They also showed us "the famous fence" and ridiculed the US media which had represented it as "The fence which keeps Sowetans in their prison."  It is just an ordinary freeway fence to keep children and animals off the freeway.

Soweto is full of impressive schools, colleges, hospitals, rest homes and the other amenities you expect in a city that size.  Major boulevards are being expanded and extended to accommodate the growth.  Unfortunately a scandal was brewing at the huge central hospital complex.  It dealt with theft of drugs and other supplies by insiders, though SA in general does not have our major drug problem.

We were questioned and chastened here, as by other blacks elsewhere, for letting Jesse Jackson and Teddy Kennedy come to SA.  Our defense was that we only issue the passports, they issue the visas.  Seems that one of those visitors was interested only in getting the right camera angles, using a script written in the US before he arrived, and the other was so drunk he didn't hear or see anything.  They were very bitter about those visits and the publicity which resulted.

The hypocritical loudmouth opportunists from Hollywood, Washington and Church Headquarters who come, get the photographs they want, and return to the US to propagandize their causes leave little in the way of return for the residents.  The only constructive residue I saw was a modest tennis court built by Arthur Ashe.

Soweto has 7 acknowledged millionaires, but there are many more.  Not the least is Winnie Mandela.  Her $600,000 mansion is the talk of the town, and not all that talk is endearing.

The worst housing is pretty bad.  It is a squatters camp, shacks built on part of one of the town's 2 nice golf courses.  Word from the guides is that the previous mayor, one of the millionaires, made a bundle by placing them there, but I didn't get the details on how he ripped off the system.  It is these often-photographed shacks where incoming black refugees from the north are herded by Soweto police.

On the flip side, the best housing rivals anything I have seen in America.  There are many estates which could make the front cover of any posh magazine.  Several stand out as rivals to the mansions of Palm Beach, and hundreds would fit into any top neighborhood in America.  I saw one which rivals the castles of Europe.  There's a lot of money in Soweto.

California's growth boom of four decades has caused an average growth of about 1,000 people per day, every day of the year.  (The last 3 years its averaged 2,000 per day.)  It is all that California's well-financed and well-oiled infrastructure can do to keep up with that growth.  Migrants from other states can't be turned away at the California border, even if some do have to live in ditches, culverts and cardboard boxes, and in cars and trailers parked along the road.  But it has jobs to support those with the needed skills.  Those who are qualified, and legal, are soon settled.  (ED: This was written in 1988.)

South Africa, with about the same population as California, has a growth rate of 1,500 people per day.  Nearly all are blacks coming over the Northern borders, escaping the Marxist dictatorships which our State Department helped into power.  About 60,000 per year come over electrified fences, and through the Kruger National Park, where not a few are eaten by the animals.  It is estimated that about 10% do not make it. These blacks are literally dying to get into South Africa, not to get out.

The difference is that in SA not nearly enough jobs are available, and not enough money to train for the skills needed.  Only 1.5 million (mostly white) people pay the income taxes which must support the defense force, education, health care, welfare, and the entire infrastructure of a nation of 33 million.  It just doesn't pencil out.  Since sanctions were imposed, the job market is shrinking instead of growing.  I heard unemployment statistics as high as 55% for some segments in some areas, and it's those on the bottom of the ladder who have the least cushion.

Soweto grew by 1 million in just 3 years.  That's 1,000 people per day.  At Crossroads, near the Cape Town airport, 700 new people arrive each day from somewhere.  And there are few jobs.  The government has set up hundreds of large military tents which provide at least minimal shelter, and put out portable toilets.   What else can be done?  With sanctions making the financial situation worse in every way, the situation looks hopeless.

Every Southern African country has fabulous natural wealth and is quite capable of supporting itself in style.  Their problems are strictly political, and religious.  These countries have all gone or are going communist except South Africa, which is the shining beacon of the continent.  But it cannot carry the load for the rest.  The Russians send these countries military aid to keep their Marxist leaders in power, while we send them economic aid to do the same. It is madness!

VOCATIONAL TRAINING - On the way back from Soweto we stopped at a privately funded vocational training facility in downtown JoBerg.  It provides 1 and 2 week nearly free courses in sewing, carpentry, being a maid, and marketing.

This doesn't sound too impressive to us, but 2 weeks of what we call Jr. High School Industrial Arts is enough training for a black man to get a job on a construction site, and he can grow from there.

Remember all those nice houses in Soweto?  They need maids, as do many houses in JoBerg.  One week in the "how to be a maid" course qualifies a black woman for a job as a maid, and her income will be enough to feed the average family of 7.  An important topic is "How to boil water on an electric stove without being electrocuted."  Seriously!  This is the level at which the training must be approached.

The sewing students become eligible for low interest loans from the Small Biz Admin to buy a sewing machine so they can work at home doing piecework.  The school has a project making cute cloth black dolls with a "papoose" on her back, which are then marketed by the school's retail sales class.  They proudly gave us each one, and I brought it back as a souvenir.

There's a lot of lighting of candles here instead of cursing the darkness.  Far more students want in than can be served.  The funding is all private, but with sanctions moving cowardly US companies out, contributions have dropped by a third.  The Presbyterian Church in America provides the instructional materials.  I left a cash contribution on the spot, knowing I could not rely on today's Lutheran Church to funnel plate cash to something this non-political and genuinely humanitarian.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT - We were treated to an elaborate banquet in the Carlton Hotel penthouse by the Republic of Transkei.   Their young black leader, military dictator Major General Bantu Holomisa, assumed power within the year in a bloodless coup.

The purpose of the banquet was to promote industrial development in the Transkei, and they had fancy brochures, a good promotional film, and a Cabinet member sat at each of the tables.  I sat with the Minister of Commerce.

This was their first pitch to an American or European group, and was a little rough, but very interesting.  The Chinese and others from the Orient have already established plants in the Transkei.  They are smart enough to take advantage of the American and European sanctions.

When we left Johannesburg 10 days later, Major General Holomisa appeared at the airport to shake each of our hands, and invite us to return next year as his personal guest in the Transkei.  He was dressed casually, and no bodyguards were observed as he slipped quietly back into the airport crowd.

Thursday November 17, 1988 (Rustenberg & Sun City) - Platinum mines supposedly never give tours. So the management of the world's largest platinum mine (now Anglo American Platinum Corporation) at Rustenberg, threw a big barbecue for us, then an inside tour of a processing plant.  This was followed by a reception at the private club.  The head ducks flew in by chopper from JoBerg, and I had a good chat with the pilots, formerly of the SA Air Force.  They insisted on giving me a souvenir, so the bus waited while one of them ran to the chopper and brought back a SA aviation magazine.  Other souvenirs of the visit were made of platinum.

The buses and bob-tail luggage truck moved us on to Sun City, where we were hosted by the Cabinet of the Republic of Bophuthaswana.  We heard the same theme here as presented by black leaders throughout Southern Africa.  "Knock off the sanctions.  Our people are beginning to starve."

One clear difference from my earlier trip was the look in the eyes and tone of voice of these and other legitimate black leaders.  They were begging us to do something to bring foreign investment back into the country.  They are not outwardly angry at us, but cannot understand why America so badly misunderstands South Africa and its people.  It was uncomfortable listening to them, knowing what we knew.

Friday November 18, 1988 (Sun City) - A free day.   My room overlooked the first tee at the Gary Player golf course, but I mostly loafed.  In the evening we were guests of the Prime Minister at a Las Vegas style stage show.  Sun City is the largest resort in the Southern Hemisphere.

Saturday November 19, 1988 (Kruger National Park) - I thought this would be a real yawner. What could possibly beat the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park?   Wow!  What a surprise!

We bused from Sun City back to the JoBerg airport and took 2 chartered F-27's to the short airstrip at Skukuza, near the park.  I rode the cockpit jump seat in the lead plane and chatted with the Captain.  Scenic two hour flight took us over the Drakensburg Mountains, with views of the forests and citrus farms northeast of JoBerg.  It was like a long aerial sequence from the movie Out Of Africa.  Only the background music was missing.

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At the airport, 13 VW Kombis and guides were waiting to take us to our huts.  Designed to look like Zulu mud huts with grass roofs, they were actually made of concrete block, had all the amenities, and were very comfortable.  Kruger Park is about the size of New Jersey, fenced all the way around, and not far north of Zululand on the Moçambique and Zimbabwe borders.

Sunday November 20, 1988 (Kruger Park) - Up at 3:30am for coffee or tea and toast at 4:00am, and into the park at 4:30am for the first 8 hours of game watching.  7 per combi plus the driver, and a magnificent time watching game in the wild with no fences between us.  The roads are laid out to follow the rivers and water holes where animals congregate.

The animals grow up with the Kombis as part of their environment, so, except for the elephants, who don't like them, travelers are virtually ignored.   Our group was the only one which saw all of the "big 5", elephant, rhino, leopard, Cape buffalo and lion on the first outing.  It's quite exciting to flee in reverse in a Volkswagen while being charged by an unhappy bull elephant!

About 9:00 am we came upon a shopping center and parking area right in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by tall trees and fence.  It had a large cafeteria where our breakfast was waiting.  Outside, on the large green lawns, were comfortable chairs for just sitting and watching the animals, birds and trees.  It was hard to leave this pleasant surrounding.

One lady with a video camera saw 3 leopards stalking a herd of antelope immediately ahead on the road.  She caught the charge and kill as they brought down and ate a big buck.  (See the videotape.)  Our group saw many lions up close, including a mother with 3 new cubs.  We watched her stalk several animals, but the cubs slowed her down.  She didn't seem very hungry.  It's an amazing sight to travel the roads and have to wait for genuinely wild animals of all kinds to get out of the way.

The parks natural food system is nearly balanced, with the exception of elephants.   Since the elephant has no natural enemies, they have to groom the herd a bit each year, and a few animals are sold off to private and public parks elsewhere.  Animals which are rapidly becoming extinct in the rest of Africa are doing well here, as long as there is enough tourist money to support the park.  Kruger Park is the last hope in Africa for many species.  Sanctions and disinformation have cut into the park's income.

It is worth the long trip to SA just to spend a few unforgettable days in Kruger Park.

Monday November 21, 1988 (Namibia)  - Sabotaged!  We flew from Kruger Park back to JoBerg in the F-27's, then across the continent to Windhoek, Southwest Africa in an A320 Airbus.  (Old German Southwest Africa is also known informally as Namibia.)  The elected Transitional Government was to host a banquet reception for us at the Kalahari Sands Hotel.  This is the elected government the UN doesn't recognize.  They only recognize the communist-controlled SWAPO.

On arrival, we discovered that the reception had been cancelled, as had 30 of the hotel rooms.  The hotel had received a phone call from someone representing to be from South African Airways, notifying them that due to scheduling problems we would not be coming.  Since we, our hosts or speakers were on the radio and television news every day of the trip, we weren't hard to trail.

When we arrived, hot and sweaty, the hotel hurriedly put out some peanuts and chips and set up a bar, and we sat on the floor of a conference room while chairs were set up.  Several members of the government were rounded up, and we were informally briefed.  It turned out alright, but this was a cannon shot across our bow.

Tuesday November 22 (Windhoek, Namibia) - #2  The next day we had a tour of the main government buildings followed by a reception with the SA Ambassador General, Louis Pienaar and his wife at their elegant old state residence.  It was like being in Germany, but in Africa, which it was, sort of.

From there, we walked to the Headquarters of the SW Africa Military Command and received an excellent military briefing.  We were admitted to secure areas, and after the generals and colonels did their thing, received a very concise and detailed briefing from a major called in from the front.  He gave numbers and showed many maps indicating the locations and strength of all the Cuban troop encampments, including updated maps of expanded Cuban radar coverage now extending into Botswana and Namibia.  Since the beginning of UN435 talks (which require South African troops to leave Angola and Namibia, among other things), the number of Cuban troops has dramatically increased, not decreased.  (We openly videotaped the entire briefing.)

We saw a listing of the Russian generals in Angola by name and duty.   It impressed me that they have one general there whose sole responsibility is the dissemination of propaganda.  Russia still can't feed its own people without loans and credits from the US, but is the world's master at propaganda and disinformation.   We should be so smart.

Namibia resembles the Arizona desert.  To those who love the desert, it is beautiful.   The Teutonic ethic of the former German colonists remains.  Although some of the farms looked bleak, they were immaculate, and there were no junk cars parked in the front yard, and no old refrigerators on the front porch.

The hundred-thousand population city of Windhoek was the same.  Crisp architectural design, and not a scrap of paper in the streets.  The famous German Lutheran Church spire dominated the skyline.  The outdoor setting felt much like Reno, Nevada.

Twice the size of Texas + Oklahoma, and mostly desert, Namibia is rich in minerals, diamonds, and gemstones.  Most of the population is native and lives up near the Angolan border.  The middle and south are part of the Kalahari desert.

But SWAPO is not here for the diamonds or for the people.  (No organization with "People" in its name is ever for "the People.")   They are a product of the Soviet Union, through its surrogates, and the target is South Africa.  Namibia is the last country bordering SA which has not gone or is going communist, and it must be conquered to complete the encirclement.  All the noise their propaganda machine generates through church hierarchies about "human rights" is just a smoke screen to soften up the world for the conquest of Namibia, (more), then SA.

Wednesday November 23, 1988 (Cape Town) - A day off in Cape Town to rest.    Several groups chartered helicopters to fly south to Cape Point, to see the southern tip of Africa from the air.  Then I took time to catch up on some reading, including newspapers collected on the trip.

The English speaking SA news media is radically liberal.  Much worse than in the US, you really have to wonder whose side they are on.  Since they are English, but the Afrikaners (Europeans of continental descent) now run the government, one would expect they would be the loyal minority.  But their "reporting" goes far beyond that.   Day after day they harangue the readers.  As in Europe, America, and other white enclaves, there is an unlimited supply of white liberal guilt, begging to be exploited.   This is the SA press we see quoted in America.   We don't see translations of the majority Afrikaans newspapers or television.

In Cape Town, the day after SA agreed to go along with the UN435 accord, the Cape Sun "rewarded" President Botha (ED: a real rat, and a traitor to his nation) by printing a huge front page color picture of him, praising him for his "statesmanship".  William Randolph Hearst had nothing on these people.

Thursday November 24, 1988 (Thanksgiving abroad) - Group was invited for Thanksgiving dinner to the Stellenbosch (more) estate of Dr. Robert Hall, American inventor of the high speed dental air drill and derivative surgical equipment.  Sold (or licensed) the rights to 3M and moved to SA where he has lived for the last 8 years.    Rebuilt an old 200 acre Cape Dutch wine farm overlooking Cape Town into an elegant private estate with fish ponds, waterfalls, etc.  Doesn't want to be bothered with growing grapes so just raises a few riding horses.  We viewed a new TV documentary he and Dr. Christiaan Barnard (of heart transplant fame) produced, showing how things really are in Southern Africa.  (Don't hold your breath waiting for it to appear on American TV.)

Another hundred SA's were invited, and a good time was had by all.   Guest speaker was Ian Smith (see photo), former Prime Minister of Rhodesia.   His government lived through 15 years of sanctions, and went from a food importer (because they could afford it) to a net exporter (because they had to) in under 2 years.   Africa has the potential to be very wealthy.

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He said they could have easily survived sanctions and beaten the communists but were sold out by the US State Department, and by the UK Foreign Office.   Said SA is being set up with the same false promises, the current sell-out of Namibia being the latest example.

Also met the oldest living British pilot.  Was Minister of Justice under Ian Smith, and lowered the final flag when Robert Mugabe's communist government took over and renamed the country Zimbabwe.  That lovely and once prosperous country now cannot even feed its own people, and has gone the way of the other "front line states."  It is one of the few nations in the world where auto registrations are actually decreasing.  A wife can be bought for about $250 plus 6 cattle. (I don't know the local price of cattle.)  Hundreds of thousands of Rhodesians have died, as refugees pour across the border into SA looking for a better life.

There were once 300,000 whites in Rhodesia.  Being now disenfranchised, all but 75,000 have left.  Most of the remaining are trapped by their age and the dubious equity in their real estate.

Zimbabwe is a major training ground for ANC terrorists, feeding the most promising ones on to Russia for advanced training at Patrice Lamumba University.   (All assignments are made from ANC headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia.)  Others are sent to US colleges as "students" to disseminate propaganda, and to US churches and campuses as "guest speakers."  They are relatively easy to spot as their presentations are as hackneyed as Radio Moscow, and their literature amateurish. They are invariably "refugees from white oppression, etc., etc." and travel with fictional biographies.

The Mugabe government began as a phony "democracy" with promises of an election.  There was an election, one time.  Predictably, Mugabe won, then declared the nation to be a one-party state.  There will be more elections in the future.  And, as in Russia, there will be only one candidate to vote for.   Of all the losses in Africa, the loss of Rhodesia may be the saddest, to date.

Friday November 25, 1988 (Cape Town) - A quiet day.   Visited the naval base at Simons Town on False Bay for a tour, briefing, and refreshments.  The SA navy is very small, with less personnel than on a single American aircraft carrier.  The fleet consists mainly of 3 French submarines, several small Norwegian tankers converted to supply ships, and a number of small missile launching attack ships and minesweepers.

SA is in no position to protect the critical Cape of Good Hope shipping lane, through which passes most of Western Europe's oil, and some of ours, plus a lot of global cargo.  Over 3,000 ships a year go around The Cape.  The actual shipping lane is very narrow, right along the coast, due to severe currents from the merging Indian and Atlantic oceans, and storms in the area.  Cargo ships are not strong enough to go further south, away from the shoreline.  Military ships are stronger and can withstand the severe storms closer to Antarctica.  Several warships and/or a small minefield could easily block this cape route indefinitely.

The entire SA military is under a single command, with priority going to land and air power.  The military claims to devastate the Cubans in combat with almost unbelievable kill ratios.  The key is a new "super-tank" which fires computer controlled missiles 30 or 40 miles to direct hits on Russian tanks.   When asked why they didn't just go ahead and wipe out the 60,000+ Cubans and be done with it, they cited fear of antagonizing the Russians and Americans.  Shades of Viet Nam!

The Cubans acknowledge 55,000 troops in Angola to SA's 3,000.   UN Resolution 435, which was formulated by the same Andrew Young who under Jimmy Carter sold out much of Southern Africa, requires SA to remove all its troops from Angola immediately, while Cuba has 27 months to leave, and the UN moves in 7,000 troops under Leftist control.  Who is kidding whom?  How about asking some serious questions like "Why is Cuba in Angola and Ethiopia?"  "Why are Chester Crocker and the US State Department pushing UN435?"  Why are so few people paying attention?

There are about 10,000 black Cubans trained to speak Portuguese.   They are now infiltrating the Angolan population so when (if) the acknowledged Cuban troops pull out, 10,000 will still remain.  Nothing is said in the agreement about removing the rapidly increasing Russian, East German, North Korean, North Vietnamese and other communist troops from Angola, or where this 55,000 are to go.

Saturday November 26, 1988 (The Spook Flight) - 11 adventurers quietly left the group yesterday. I had signed the necessary liability release and was to go along, but Montezuma was having his revenge and I was quite unable to travel.  I had to forfeit this unique opportunity.

They boarded an unmarked DC-3 (with a US registration number) retrofitted with turboprop engines, flown by unmarked pilots, and crossed the Kalahari desert, then the border, behind the lines into Angola.  Flying the last miles at treetop level to avoid possible heat-seeking missiles, they landed at Jamba, headquarters of UNITA (National Union For Total Independence).  There they met and were hosted by its leader, Dr. Jonas Savimbi, and tens of thousands of UNITA troops and civilians.

(The riders called the plane the "vomit comet" as almost everyone became airsick.  But all say they would go again.)

After landing on the dirt strip, they went overland by truck.   Soldiers were waiting with refreshments at checkpoints along the route.

They visited complete machine shops in the jungle and watched skilled mechanics overhaul captured Russian and Eastern-block arms and vehicles.  An entire plant was filled with new Singer sewing machines where workers manufactured and repaired military uniforms.  A tour of the UNITA Radio and TV news monitoring facilities deep in the jungle had those who understand these things raving, and made me angry with Montezuma.  Electricity was coming from somewhere.

Savimbi controls the SE 1/3 of Angola and half the border between Angola and Namibia.  With long-term United States and South African financial and technical aid since 1974, his army of dedicated native Angolans have completely outclassed the Cubans, Russians, East Germans, etc.  They have shot down so many Russian MIGs that even without a serious Air Force they control the skies.

These travelers were guests of honor at a banquet attended by thousands of troops not in combat, and their families.  They report it was a moving experience to be guests of honor on a platform in a lighted arena as large as a baseball field, in the jungle behind the enemy lines. (See videotape.)

During our visit to SA, Jonas Savimbi was sold out by our State Department.  Moving quickly, before Bush took office (we were told "off the record"), they told SA to accept UN Resolution 435 immediately or they would crush the South African currency, the Rand.  SA had no choice, they said, so it went along.   Savimbi was not even consulted about the future of his country, only told the final result when the deed was done.  The result may be the fall of UNITA during the upcoming Cuban offensive, Namibia temporarily receiving its "independence" as the war moves from Angola to Namibia.   Russian chemical and biological warfare weapons are moving from Afghanistan to Angola where they have already been used, and into Namibia.  The infamous Russian "toy mines" that blow the hands off children who find them have also been used in Angola.  Gorbachev is a sweetheart.

Sleep well, America. Once again you have again sold out your friends and given comfort to your enemies.

Today the travelers returned to join the main group.  The stories that came back, authenticated by videotape, qualify this as a once in a lifetime adventure.  The rare UNITA and "Free Angola" passport stamps are collector's items.  The gifts they received from Dr. Savimbi included invaluable ivory carvings which he autographed.

At Johannesburg, we boarded the flight to London and the US.   Since there were strong Atlantic headwinds, we had to stop at Ilha do Sal for fuel. To the disappointment of many, we did not get off the plane to feed the "famous" limping dog.  But many knew of him, and wondered how he was.  The plane was late into Heathrow, so most of the group was bumped to Pan Am Flight 103, London to New York.   (ED: Several days later, Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the air over Scotland.)


A surprisingly frequent question by readers of my 1984 diary was "...but what do YOU think about the South African situation"?  In response to that question, I will try to encapsulate these 2 diaries in a sort of "wrap up" of my own private thoughts on the subject.  I have presented a series of chronological vignettes in the diaries, but there are many intangibles which subtly influence the subconscious to create a certain "gestalt."  What follows are some thoughts shared in a less structured way.

Most of the people on this trip had been to SA before, some many times.  A frequent comment was "people back home don't believe me when I tell them what I saw, and what's really going on here.  They think I'm some sort of nut because I tell the opposite of what they've heard on the news, from the church, and in propaganda movies like Cry Freedom."  I have sometimes encountered that reaction.  The truth does stretch credulity, in some minds.  If I had no other source of information but the church and the media, I would also still be skeptical.   That's why I went to South Africa, to see for myself.

But there is a communications barrier, perhaps an "experience barrier" which I am not competent to completely bridge.  This cultural gap is very wide.  Heavy duty international travelers with 3rd world experience and exposure to tribal cultures have much less trouble understanding than those who have not traveled off the tourist routes.  That may be a large part of the problem.

Some people don't believe there is such a thing as a conspiracy, or a "bad guy."  To discuss subjects like "disinformation" with those who do not understand what is happening geopolitically is largely a waste of time.   (But they let these people vote?)

Still other readers would like to stick their necks out on South Africa, but cannot afford beheading.  Jobs, careers, professional reputations and egos are riding on their being right about this seemingly safe subject.  Read the ongoing feverish harangue in The Lutheran magazine, better named The Lutheran Jokebook, or Lutheran Follies, and ask yourself how Bishop Herbert Chilstrom and his minions could acknowledge the truth after years of pushing raw disinformation about Southern Africa.  The same thing is happening in nearly every large mainline religious denomination, worldwide.

Here are some of the questions I am most frequently asked:


Basically, they are no different than we are.  The bad news is, they are no smarter. The good news is, they are no dumber.  Their ancestors migrated from the same little part of the world as most of ours, and for the same reasons.   Some English went to SA in the 1600's to escape persecution by the Church of England.  Other English came to America at the same time.  Some Dutch, German, French and other "continentals" went to SA the same time as others came to America to escape persecution by the Roman Catholic church.  That they ended up there, and we ended up here, is the luck of the draw.

Their national history is remarkably similar to ours, as I discussed in the 1984 Diary.  A major difference is that they developed in Africa simultaneously with black tribal competitors who were chased down from the north by more powerful tribes, while we quickly overwhelmed Indian tribes which were small in comparison.

The two white tribes hate each other with the same passion that has kept white wars going in Europe for many centuries.  There is no other word which adequately describes their relationship, but they downplay it publicly.  The white tribes get along publicly because they have to.  Like the rest of the SA's, they are all in the same lifeboat.  In private, however, no love is lost.  But I have never heard any white say an unkind word in public or private about nonwhites.   One-on-one, I respect and much enjoy the company of both the British and the Afrikaners.

Being predominantly farmers, or at least rural, a lot of the Afrikaners (European continentals and their offspring of up to 10 generations) grew up with and among blacks.  I have met whites whose first language is Zulu.  They do not dislike blacks, but have great respect for them.  I've heard Afrikaners say they would vote for Dr. Jonas Savimbi for President of South Africa, and I think they would.   The Afrikaners tend to be family oriented and politically conservative.

The British are primarily urban and can be a swinish lot.  As has been said of the British by other writers, "wherever in the world they appear, they automatically assume they're in charge."  Many lives have been lost over the years because the Afrikaners won't accept this assumption.  I suspect a lot of the flak the blacks have taken was not directed at them, but is "overshoot" from the battles and spite between the whites.  The British are mostly urban and politically liberal.

The Afrikaners have been in control of the SA government for 40 years, and are not about to give it up.  That's as long as the US Democrats have held Congress.  Both institutions could benefit by a change.  The alternative was to let the British have it again, but look at all the countries they've messed up.  It's as bad as the American dilemma between Democrats and Republicans.  Anyone like to characterize our politicians?

The best single word I can think of to characterize the Afrikaners handling of the government over the years is "knuckleheads."  Apartheid is found worldwide, but they were dumb enough to put it into writing.  One does not have to be a genius to see that the concept of "separate development" is remarkably like our policy towards the American Indians.  Be that bad or good, it seems not possible to even enter a discussion of SA without first stating a passionate opposition to apartheid.  This search for truth carries a heavy load of emotional baggage, much of it pure garbage.

The understand the SA whites it is absolutely necessary to understand the Boer war.   Fortunately, that information is easy to come by.


America's constitution is not gospel.  A whole lot of mythology aside, we have tuned and tweaked it over the years so it can live with us.  It simply works, for us.  Other countries have tried to copy it without a single success.   It is not the same as is found in Britain, or France, or Germany.  In fact, Great Britain has no Constitution or Bill of Rights.  We have no special insight as to how people should live.  Our founding fathers didn't even include the right of non-property owners to vote.  Or blacks.  Or women.  That and a lot more has been added.  Our purported "universal franchise" is not the do-all and end-all of successful government and global happiness.  It is only provincial American arrogance that presumes so.  Each people must find its own way.  Since our Senate is not based on equal representation, should it be done away with?  (On second thought ...)

The overwhelming number of blacks live in tribes, and they don't vote there, or almost anywhere else in Africa.  The Chief represents them and looks out for them.  There is no real property.  It belongs to the tribe, and the Chief decides who will live where.   There is no rational reason to believe everyone wants to vote, even if SA could immediately adapt to an entirely different political system.  (What percentage of Americans voted in the last election?)   Chief Buthelize of the Zulu's, the undisputed political leader of far more blacks than anyone else, recognizes this.  He recently said that all he wants is some sort of representative form of government, and having everyone vote is not necessary.   (What he didn't say is that his tribe outnumbers the other tribes, so the others don't want equal voting weight either.)  I think he is very wise.  And I think the day of a coalition government will come soon, if SA is just left alone.

A proposal receiving much attention was spurred by a best-selling book entitled The Solution, written by SA authors.  Sold in the US under a different title, it basically proposes a new government structured after the 600 year old cantonal system used in Switzerland.  The authors claim that Switzerland was in an even more impossible political situation than SA when its current government was formed.  I read an interview with the authors, and they do make an interesting case.


I think they are very different than American blacks.  They have the security of their individual tribe behind them, with all its tradition, discipline, respect, and honor.  This is something our blacks were robbed of by the African blacks who kidnapped and sold them into slavery, an old yet current African practice, and the white Europeans who bought them and shipped them to the Americas.

The SA blacks who are in positions of broader authority are very bright, and interface well with whites.  They know who they are.  All South Africans have a much better understanding of each other than we will ever have.

Over 3/4 of the SA military (counting Namibia) and over 1/2 of the police are black.   Black motorcycle police in downtown JoBerg pack sidearms and do their job just like everyone else.  I heard Afrikaner whites say they would fight alongside Zulu's or other blacks anyday.  Don't believe all you hear about "problems" between blacks and Afrikaners.  From what I've seen and heard, blacks trust them a lot more than they do the "Red Coats."

SA blacks have much, much more in common with SA whites than they do with American blacks.  They think and act along tribal lines, not color lines.   When it comes to the killings, it's black against black.  To fail to understand this is to fail to understand all of black Africa.

Unlike the myths and propaganda movies, blacks are not waiting with linked arms, singing "we shall overcome" in Cambridge accents, looking to American blacks to "rescue them."  They will fight outsiders to protect SA, as they are doing everyday in Namibia and Angola and on the borders of frontline states, side by side with SA whites.  If American troops are drafted into a UN "peace keeping force" in Angola or Namibia as part of UN435, we may be very surprised to discover who is shooting at us across the fence.


A good question.  Most people who have visited there are friends.  It's those who have not, and who get their information after it's suitably "cooked" and "pre-digested" that are enemies.

Apartheid is NOT the issue in South Africa.

The real issue is:

"WHY is South Africa an issue?"

SA is a primary global strategic military target.  In fact, the first communist party outside the USSR was formed in SA, long ago.

Remember the Brezhnev doctrine of 1973?

Our aim is to gain control of the two great treasure houses on which the West depends: The energy treasure house of the Persian Gulf, and the mineral treasure house of Central and Southern Africa.

The Soviets have done a pretty good job of implementing that doctrine.

If it wasn't for the obvious stupidity of petty apartheid, which is almost gone except in American "news specials", the communists would have to find another issue, which they would certainly do.  As one white bus driver said, "I live in a mixed neighborhood.  It wasn't planned that way, but no one is complaining, and the petty laws will not be enforced."

Vital to Marxist strategy is a "class struggle."   They have convinced the world that a black-white struggle is underway in South Africa, and the blacks need help to "remove the yoke of white oppression."   That's mostly rhetoric, but is an easy thesis to sell.   By institutionalizing apartheid, SA set itself up as an easy target.  The only "class struggle" of substance is economic, and there is definitely economic "discrimination".  If you have more money you can buy more things.   But then, isn't it that way everywhere?


The church is not . Only certain church leaders have found themselves a little cause.

Warriors disguise themselves in different ways.  Some pose as professors, others as clergy.  Others pretend to be journalists.  But they are not what they appear to be.

Some clergy have no meaningful theological reformations to pursue, and no good inquisitions to savour.  Discovering that they were not called, but called themselves, they are trapped by the paycheck and "company pension."   Unwilling to let God do things his way, and in his own time, and concentrate on their ample pastoral duties, their solution is to find an "approved" cause and become a "holy social worker."  Some choose to labor in the vineyard of their maximum incompetence, geopolitics.  The virus of theocracy is never far below the surface.

The zealous minds of these warriors spin in tight little circles, ever seeking relevance, not seeing the larger whirlpools in which we live.  They believe in the ultimate perfectibility of man.  And it is their duty to perfect him.   At any cost.  To him.

Remember Lenin's famous declaration?

We shall find our most fertile field for the infiltration of Marxism within the field of religion, because religious people are the most gullible, and will believe almost anything as long as it is clothed in religious language.


Yes, they have.  They have caused a reversal in the upward momentum blacks had towards a higher standard of living.  They have caused many blacks to starve, and die.  To willfully cause starvation is murder.

But despite the wish of many who support sanctions, they will not cause the blacks to rise up in revolution and overthrow the whites.  That is the single cruelest lie about sanctions.

To impose sanctions is to declare war.  The declaration of war is a serious matter, and can be a two-way street.  Picking on easy targets is the domain of the coward.   Cowards and bullies have a lot in common.  I hate bullies with a passion, but in the end they get their reward.  A special place is reserved for them in Hell.


Yes. It is very safe (at this writing) compared to the US, especially our large cities.  Go and see for yourself.  You will be among friends of all colors.  You will have a good time in a California-type climate and will find a strong dollar against the Rand.   Unusually diverse, South Africa lives up to its tourist bureau billing as "A World In One Nation."

Everything there is first world.  The food is good, the health care first rate, transportation and communications as good as Europe.  Nearly everyone speaks English.  The open and outdoors feeling suggests Australia or New Zealand.  It is in SA where you discover who American friends are, both black and white.

And it is in that intense geopolitical context that Paul's words seem to take on special significance:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

On the other hand, if you are not willing to see myths shattered, and prefer to live in the warm coziness of misconception nurtured by years of lies, better to stay home.   South Africa is for those who dare to learn, and who dare to do their own thinking.

Enjoy the trip!  I look forward to exchanging notes when you return.


(ED NOTE:  Click on Links for a current closing statement.)

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