filosifiekafee @ café Riche
June 2, 2008
Café Riche is situated on the western side of Church squere in Pretoria. It is 14 years old, which mean it was started in 1994, I still wonder who had the mind to start this place in 1994 in the Pretoria inner-city! On the last Friday evening of every month they have the filosofiekafee, a philosiphy café that has been running for about 10 years now.
After reading something written by one of my heroes, Jurie le Roux, who said that he delivered this at this filosifiekafee, and then again finding it when searching for something on Johan Rossouw, I decided to go check it out. So on Friday evening I visited it with some friends.
Rian Malan was speaking on Conservative Black USA and the lessons, even hope, we can find in their writings. In short the conservatives he talked about was against affirmative action, saying that this devalue the black, fought for strong family ties and hard work. The problem in Africa he identified as victimhood, the idea that I am a victim still found in black South Africa.
Sadly this remain an all-white, and almost all-Afrikaner, conversation. When we got out at about 10 PM or so, after sitting in the all-white basement of Café Riche, the restaurant was all-black. This intelectual conversation still miss the context I think. I also got the idea that they kind of sit their talking about the problems of South Africa, but work with the idea that the time of the Afrikaner has passed, so we can’t so anything in any case. I even think Rossouw said this at one point (update: Maryke reminded me that this was actually Malan). Furthermore it’s another conversation with an average age of about 50. And myself and my two friends probably was the only under-25’s in the room (except for one other guy who was their for a little while).
All this being said, I still think it was a good conversation. Some of the people I thought naïve, like the lady who said that Afrikaners are not at all that much Western, because many of us were brought up by black workers (a fact that is very true). Luckily someone else helped out by pointing out that actually, we are just Americans thanx to Hollywood. Rossouw himself also call certain parts of Afrikaner culture a colony of America. This is sad but true.
I have a dream of a conversation of young South Africans. People who are strong intelectuals, who can work through the issues of the day, who can do this in a multi-racial way, in a critical way, and who can provide moral and intelectual leadership to a broken country… Is that too far-fetched?